Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Time has arrived to transmit spiritual values in politics, diplomacy and economic development

Testing India's Democratic and Spiritual Legacies in Nepal Global Politician
Lok Nath Bhusal,
Ph.D. candidate - 2/5/2010

This article attempts to question and answer India’s role in Nepal in the deformation of the Maoist government and afterwards. The basic question is whether this role is consistent with India’s commitment to democratic and spiritual values, and the answer appears to be a huge NO. Embedding spiritualism into politics and diplomacy, I have argued for thinking beyond the conventional deceptive diplomatic and political mind by both the Indian establishment and Nepal’s Maoists in order to find a common policy space where both parties’ interests and aspirations are not dashed in Nepal.

What has been the role of
India in deforming the Maoist government and afterwards in the last seven months? Is that role consistent with India’s long-term commitment to the democratic principles and its global supremacy over spiritual values? When the soul has to speak, the definite answer would be the outright ‘NO’ for all the educated and uneducated equally. While political scientists have noted that democracy could only serve as an ideal proposition for many of the developing countries, many spiritual scientists have argued that mind and speech are deceptive oftentimes in social life and quite often in political life. That could be the precise reason many of the clever people go into politics, but the wise ones venture into searching for higher spiritual values. It is largely a matter of personal choice in terms of undertaking one of these routes, but such a choice has significant implications towards framing politics and diplomacy.

The ever increasing faith discourse in recent times (DFID, 2009) indicates that if the revival of the unity of religion and state is quite unlikely in an increasingly secularised world, an imminent possibility of the same between spiritualism and state would be unavoidable in the near future. Given its greatest spiritual tradition, as envisioned and portrayed by Aurobindo Ghose (1990), this unity would have to start from India, and this has been argued as the true destiny of India. India has produced both sorts of people, and has demonstrated its supremacy, especially in terms of its rich spiritual traditions globally. For the clever ones, India is the largest democracy, and for the wisest ones, it is a noble land. Do these Indian virtues, derived from the great Hindu civilisation and awe-inspiring democracy, feature in its recent policy approach to Nepal? […]

Truly, that dynamism would be a defining and an all-embracing manifestation towards creating a harmonious environment corollary to what the great Indian freedom fighter, metaphysicist and spiritual leader Aurobindo Ghose (1990) has articulated as the descend of divine grace and ascend of human aspirations for human Enlightenment in his Integral Yoga. While Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga portrays a patron-client relationship between the God and human beings in the pursuit of the ultimate goal, the future Indo-Nepal relations must be based on equality, and mutual understanding and respect. Certainly, the current relationships are disharmonious, asymmetric, self-serving, egoistic and bounded up by a number of deceptive, superficial and outward conventional theories of politics and diplomacy, but largely uninformed of our own harmonious and all-embracing spiritual legacies. In his essay entitled India and the New Millennium, Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual follower Deshpande (2010) examines India’s diluted spiritual identity thus:

But what about today? Are we awake? Maybe we are just emerging out of the distasteful sleep of history. But we have not yet shed dullness of the night which is still weighing pretty heavily on our souls. We have not recovered our true national identity. We are still slaves of habit that has no business to persist. In every field of our current activity we want to be a la mode by following ideas and manners of the industrially advanced societies. We are apish. We are copyists, twice removed from reality; we are a copy of copy.

Indeed, it is striking to note here that while the West is importing
India’s spiritual affluences for greater harmony in their part of the world, Indians are imitating the mechanistically oversimplified theories from there and celebrating the mastery over those theories as a success. A deliberate fusion of the above two types of knowledge can only create harmony in our politics and diplomacy, and thus in our public life. Asserting harmony and not strife as the law of spiritual living, Aurobindo Ghose (1933) in his Letters on Yoga has argued the following harmony:

For the spiritual life the harmony with others must be founded not on mental and vital affinities, but on the divine consciousness and the union with the Divine. When one feels the Divine and feels others in the Divine, then the real harmony comes. Meanwhile what there can be is the goodwill and unity founded on the feeling of a common divine goal and the sense of being all children of the Mother... Real harmony can come only from a psychic or a spiritual basis.

Then, isn’t it possible to derive some lights from our own infinitely imperishable and profoundest spiritual tradition in designing our politics and diplomacy? In other words, can spiritual values in Sri Aurobindo’s metaphysics challenge the recent challenges in Indo-Nepal relations? […]

As the Indian leadership and the Maoists appear not to have the divine consciousness, it is crucial to spiritualise politics and diplomacy by the both actors for the all-encompassing harmony. Aurobindo Ghose (ibid) further argues that ‘all jealousy, strife, hatred, aversion, rancour and other evil vital feelings should be abandoned, for they can be no part of the spiritual life’. He has also extended this for public life. Certainly, performing certain rituals in private life is not going to lead towards purification and divine perfection in the body, mind and life, as argued by the Buddha and Sri Aurobindo. Then, beyond the academic discourse on faith, and the preaching of ethical and moral rituals and spiritual values in private realms, now the time has arrived to transmit and crystallise these informal institutions into the formal institutions of politics, diplomacy and economic development. On the issue of India’s delayed development, he further argues that ‘if the majority of Indians had indeed made the whole of their lives religion [spiritual] in the true sense of the word, we should not be where we are now; it was because their public life became most irreligious, egoistic, self-seeking, materialistic that they fell’ (cited in Reddy, 2010). Indeed, these evil deeds are reflected in the pursuits of politics and diplomacy. Hence, lets think now beyond the black box to facilitate a non-dashing of Nepali aspirations and Indian interests. […]

Endnotes
2. Reddy (2010) has made the following synthesis on India’s past and future:
‘her first period was luminous with the discovery of the Spirit; her second completed the discovery of the Dharma; her third elaborated into detail the first simpler formulation of the Shastra; It is important to note that none of these periods was exclusive, the three elements were always present in different proportions. But after that there came a slow and steep decline, which came to a head in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This last phase was a brief but very disastrous period of the dwindling of that great fire of life; it seemed to be a moment of incipient disintegration. Outwardly it was marked by a political anarchy, which gave European adventure its chance, and inwardly by an increasing torpor of the creative spirit in religion and art. At this time, science and philosophy and intellectual knowledge had long been dead or petrified into mere scholasticism. It is evident that all this only pointed to a nadir of setting energy, the evening-time from which according to the Indian idea of the cycles a new age has to start. It was at this moment that the pressure of a superimposed European culture fell upon India and that made a reawakening necessary for its very survival’. Reawakening here should be understood as spiritualising both personal and public life. Lok Nath Bhusal is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics and International Business at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Contact: lbhusal@brookes.ac.uk.

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