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Sri Aurobindo on Politics and Nationalism

On this page, I put a collection of articles/speeches by Sri Aurobindo during his active participation in India's freedom struggle. These are taken from the book called On Nationalism published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry India. They give a broad and clear perspective on popular issues among Indians by applying Indian Spirituality to politics and nationalism.

The Morality of Boycott argues why ahimsa or non-violence (as propounded by Gandhians) is not always the right thing. Excerpts:

The Morality of Boycott

A certain class of minds shrink from aggressiveness as if it were a sin. Their temperament forbids them to feel the delight of battle and they look on what they cannot understand as something monstrous and sinful... To ask masses of mankind to act as saints, to rise to the height of divine love and practise it in relation to their adversaries or oppressors is to ignore human nature... Hinduism recognizes human nature and makes no such impossible demand. To impose on politics the Brahminical duty of saintly sufferance, is to preach varNasankara, and to destroy society and the race.
Aggression is unjust only when unprovoked, violence unrighteous when used wantonly or for unrighteous ends.
It is a barren philosophy which applies a mechanical rule to all actions, or takes a word [non-violence] and tries to fit all human life into it... Ramdas is not complete without Shivaji. To maintain justice and prevent the strong from despoiling and the weak from being oppressed is the function for which the Kshatriya was created. Therefore, says Srikrishna in the Mahabharat, God created battle and armour, the sword, the bow and the dagger.
- Sri Aurobindo (On Nationalism, pp.  360-364)
Read more of this article entitled The Morality of Boycott.

Love in Politics Love has a place in politics, but it is the love for one's country, for one's countrymen, for the glory, greatness and happiness of the race, the divine aananda of self-immolation for one's fellows, the ecstacy of relieving their sufferings, the joy of seeing one's blood flow for country and freedom, the bliss of union in death with the fathers of the race.

The feeling of almost physical delight in the touch of the mother soil, of the winds that blow from Indian seas, of the rivers that stream from Indian hills, in the sight of Indian surroundings, Indian men, Indian women, Indian children, in the hearing of Indian speech, music, poetry, in the familiar sights, sounds, habits, dress, manners of our Indian life, this is the physical root of that love [of Mother India].
The pride in our past, the pain of our present, the passion for the future are its trunk and branches.
Self-sacrifice, self-forgetfulness, great service and high endurance for the country are its fruit.
And the sap which keeps it alive is the realisation of the Motherhood of God in the country, the vision of the Mother, the knowledge of the Mother, the perpetual contemplation, adoration and service of the Mother.

- Sri Aurobindo (On Nationalism, pp.  360-364)
Read more of this article entitled The Morality of Boycott.

Our Political Ideal laments the habit of servility that is deap-seated in Indian minds

The Unhindu Spirit of Caste Rigidity.

The Bourgeois and the Samurai.

The Village and the Nation.

Shall India be Free?.

Unity and British Rule.

Ourselves: explains the true meaning of the Indian caste system.

Opinions and Comments: This can serve as a set of Aurobindo's answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the Karmayoga approach to Nationalism (and to life in general).

"Swaraj" and the Musulmans.

The Hindu Sabha: Aurobindo's reaction to an attempt to create a Hindu Nationality in response to Muslim separatism.

The One Thing Needful.

The Power that Uplifts.

National Resurgence: Explains how a true Aryan should deal with the inevitable conflicts in life such as oppression, conflicts, war. Calls for the resurgence of the Aryan character, not merely that of the Aryan race.
"Conflict, war, even killing can be part of [Arya] dharma, but hatred and malice lie outside of it"

intellect If anyone thinks that we are merely intellectual beings, he is not a Hindu. Hinduism leaves the glorification of intellectuality to those who have never seen God. When we first received a European education, we allowed ourselves to be misled by the light of science. Science is a light within a limited room, not the sun which illumines the world.

It is in the heart where God resides. He works through the brain, but the brain is only one of His instruments.
Whatever the brain may plan, the heart knows first and whoever can go beyond the brain to the heart, will hear the voice of the Eternal.
- Sri Aurobindo (On Nationalism, pp.  266-268)
Read more of this article entitled The Glory of God in Man.

Swaraj and the Coming Anarchy.

The Awakening Soul of India.

The Hammer of God.

The Country and Nationalism: Differentiates the words country and nation. Argues why Hindu Nationalism is an error and can't survive by the very nature of India.

The Life of Nationalism.

The Right of Association.

The Past and the Future.

Ideals Face to Face.

- Sarada and Sai Susarla (