The Psychology of Indian Nationalism – 15

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Author: Agali Venkappa Sastri

Continued from Part 14


A spiritual nation knows no exclusions or limits. Science, progress, democracy are welcome to it but only on a new basis as the joyous expressions and activities of the spirit, as aids to the realization of the Divine. Because as Sri Aurobindo reminds us, true spirituality rejects no new lights, no added means or materials of our human self-development. It includes them all and when moulded by the spirit they become the phenomena of a full and varied existence.

How philosophy, science, art and poetry, politics, society and economy will reflect a change in spirit, how spirituality takes them all and gives them a greater, diviner, more intimate sense and what the elements of a spiritual culture are may be understood from the following paragraph:

Spirituality takes them all [all our aims and activities] and gives them a greater, diviner, more intimate sense. Philosophy is in the Western way of dealing with it a dispassionate enquiry by the light of the reason into the first truths of existence, which we shall get at either by observing the facts science places at our disposal or by a careful dialectical scrutiny of the concepts of the reason or a mixture of the two methods.

But from the spiritual view-point truth of existence is to be found by intuition and inner experience and not only by the reason and by scientific observation; the work of philosophy is to arrange the data given by the various means of knowledge, excluding none, and put them into their synthetic relation to the one Truth, the one supreme and universal reality.

Eventually, its real value is to prepare a basis for spiritual realisation and the growing of the human being into his divine self and divine nature.

Science itself becomes only a knowledge of the world which throws an added light on the spirit of the universe and his way in things.

Nor will it confine itself to a physical knowledge and its practical fruits or to the knowledge of life and man and mind based upon the idea of matter or material energy as our starting-point; a spiritualised culture will make room for new fields of research, for new and old psychical sciences and results which start from spirit as the first truth and from the power of mind and of what is greater than mind to act upon life and matter.

The primitive aim of art and poetry is to create images of man and Nature which shall satisfy the sense of beauty and embody artistically the ideas of the intelligence about life and the responses of the imagination to it; but in a spiritual culture they become too in their aim a revelation of greater things concealed in man and Nature and of the deepest spiritual and universal beauty.

Politics, society, economy are in the first form of human life simply an arrangement by which men collectively can live, produce, satisfy their desires, enjoy, progress in bodily, vital and mental efficiency; but the spiritual aim makes them much more than this, first, a framework of life within which man can seek for and grow into his real self and divinity, secondly, an increasing embodiment of the divine law of being in life, thirdly, a collective advance towards the light, power, peace, unity, harmony of the diviner nature of humanity which the race is trying to evolve.

This and nothing more but nothing less, this in all its potentialities, is what we mean by a spiritual culture and the application of spirituality to life.  

~ CWSA, Vol. 20, pp. 35-37


The subject of Indian nationalism could not be more than sketched in these notes; for it has to be as wide as Sanatana Dharma, and that is universal in scope. To summarise, the following points have been argued here:

  1. the evolution of consciousness, the unity of consciousness is the only evolution, the only unity that will abide
  2. this evolution is complex having to reckon with all the parts of man’s nature
  3. the Rishis realized consciousness in its whole gamut of the Transcendent, the universal and the individual,
  4. they laid the foundations of a religio-philosophic polity in their efforts to embody consciousness in all its vastness of which the political is only the partial, the inadequate part
  5. a federation reconciling the claims of the individual, the communal, the regional, the national and the international is the true line of progress
  6. such an evolution aiming at unity in diversity and issuing from within outwards is bound to be slow
  7. the historical evolution of India was interrupted, deflected at one crucial stage by the imposition of an inimical alien culture
  8. in the process of recovery, preceded by a religious awakening, we have successively passed through the phases of intellectual, political and moral nationalism
  9. all this should be but a prelude to spiritual nationalism
  10. the time is ripe for this great orientation, new creation for the true apprehension of spirituality in its application to the various aspects of national life
  11. India is faced with a choice, and her national destiny and her value to the world will be determined by the choice she makes, – whether she shall be like one of the existing nations of the world “evolving an opulent industry and commerce, a powerful organization of political and social life, an immense military strength, practising power-politics with a high degree of success, guarding and extending zealously her gains and her interests, dominating even a large part of the world, but in this apparently magnificent progression forfeiting its Swadharma, losing its soul,” (CWSA, Vol. 36, pp. 503-504) or whether she will be true to her heritage, “live also for God and the world as a helper and leader of the whole human race.” (ibid, p. 475)

To read all the parts in this 15-part series, and other essays from Sri Aurobindo Circle Archives featured on Renaissance, click HERE.

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