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Knowledge: According to Aurobindo
In many traditional societies, knowledge is considered a sacred and valuable commodity passed down through the generations through oral traditions such as storytelling, poetry, and song. This knowledge is often considered to be the accumulated wisdom of the community and is essential for the survival and well-being of the community. In some traditional societies, such as those in the east, knowledge is also considered to be the product of a spiritual or divine revelation. Knowledge is often considered a gift from the gods or a higher power in these societies. It is thought to be necessary for understanding the mysteries of the universe and achieving spiritual enlightenment.
Additionally, traditional societies often have a holistic view of knowledge, in which different forms of knowledge are interconnected and cannot be understood in isolation. For example, traditional societies often have a holistic view of medicine, in which physical, emotional, and spiritual health are interconnected and cannot be understood in isolation.
Sri Aurobindo's Views on Knowledge
He believed that knowledge is not just acquired through books or other external sources but also through inner experience and spiritual realization.
Knowledge as a Higher State of Consciousness
Sri Aurobindo believed that true knowledge is not limited to the mind or the intellect but comes from a higher state of consciousness. He believed that knowledge is not just about understanding facts or information; it is also about understanding the deeper truths of existence. He called this higher state of consciousness the "Supermind" or the "Divine Mind," which he believed was the source of true knowledge.
Knowledge as Holistic
Sri Aurobindo's view of knowledge is also holistic, in which different forms of knowledge are interconnected and cannot be understood in isolation. He believed that knowledge is not just about understanding the external world; it also includes understanding the inner self and the connection between the individual and the universe. He emphasized the importance of the inner journey and the cultivation of spiritual qualities such as love, compassion, and detachment, which he believed would lead to a higher state of consciousness and true knowledge. Knowledge can be attained through meditation.
Knowledge as Meditation
Sri Aurobindo believed that knowledge is not just something that is acquired but also something that is attained through spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation. He believed these practices could help individuals transcend their limitations and achieve spiritual realization and true knowledge.
The temptation to characterize knowledge as a particular, constrained formulation based on one quality or tendency that we can recognize in our conscious consciousness is something Sri Aurobindo resists. He acknowledges that each significant philosophical development and declaration of truth speaks to a certain aspect of our nature, but these statements must be balanced, unified, and connected. It does not conflict with itself; rather, truth enlarges to encompass all facets of truth. His objective is to reconcile seemingly incompatible definitions of reality into an all-encompassing, all-embracing paradigm, not to win an intellectual war.
The truth of all aspects of life, individually and in connection to one another, and the truth of the Spirit must thus be known to be part of holistic knowledge. The fundamental truth of things, their fundamental reality, must be found in some at once fundamental and universal Real; it is that which, once discovered, must embrace and explain all; however, as is evident from the insistence and variety of the human mind's speculations as to the fundamental Truth which explains all others, the Reality at the basis of all things. The fundamental Real must logically be and contain the truth of all existence, the truth of the person, the truth of the universe, and the reality of everything that is beyond the cosmos. That being understood, all will be known. When we can ultimately merge each of these "truths" into that one all-comprehending Truth that constitutes the Integral Knowledge, the mind's search in each direction has worth. It serves as the foundation for a more thorough understanding.
Impact of Aurobindo's Views
One of Sri Aurobindo's most notable works is "The Life Divine," a philosophical treatise that explores the nature of the universe, the human mind, and the path to spiritual realization. In this work, Sri Aurobindo argues that the ultimate goal of human existence is to achieve a state of spiritual consciousness, which he calls the "Supermind." According to Sri Aurobindo, the supermind is a higher state of consciousness that transcends the limited and ego-bound mind and allows for a direct experience of the Divine.
Sri Aurobindo also wrote extensively about the relationship between spirituality and politics. In his book "The Human Cycle," he argues that the evolution of human consciousness is not just a personal or spiritual matter but also a collective one. He believed that a spiritual revolution was necessary for humanity to progress and that political leaders must facilitate this process. In addition to his philosophical and political writings, Sri Aurobindo also wrote poetry and plays. His poetry is considered some of the most profound and spiritually oriented in the Indian language. His plays like "The Ideal of Human Unity" and "The Future Poetry" are also considered some of the most important works in Indian literature.
Sri Aurobindo's ideas have had a profound impact on the spiritual and political landscape of India. His Integral Yoga continues to be practiced by many people worldwide, and his political writings continue to be studied and debated. His works are considered some of the most important contributions to Indian philosophy and spirituality, and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century.
Sri Aurobindo had a unique and holistic view of knowledge. True knowledge is not limited to the mind or the intellect but comes from a higher state of consciousness, the "Supermind" or the "Divine Mind." He believed that knowledge is not just about understanding facts or information; it is also about understanding the deeper truths of existence, the inner self, and the connection between the individual and the universe, and it is attained through spiritual practices.
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