Friday, February 14, 2014

Sri Aurobindo and Jesus Christ

                                                                             






                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                     





INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
ISSN : 2277-7881
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1, APRIL 2012
1
SRI AUROBINDO’S SYNTHESIS OF HINDU – CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTAL NOTIONS
Prof. (Dr.) K. R. Rajani
Professor of Philosophy &
Director, Dr. DDCWS
Andhra University,
Visakhapatnam – 530 003.
Andhra Pradesh , India.
It is true that, Christianity has largely influenced the Neo-vedantist Sri
Aurobindo. The reason might be, he studied for 14 years (07-21years) at St. Paul’s
School and King’s College, Cambridge, England, lived and associated with Christians.
It is recorded that he was even baptized while at London. Many of his new
philosophical terms and ideas are taken from Christianity. The Holy Spirit,
Son of Man, Kingdom of God, Trinity, Collective Salvation are some of the Christian
concepts which serve as bedrock for Sri Aurobindo’s philosophical concepts like the
Descent of Spirit, Divine life upon earth, Brahmic Cousiousness, Supermind, the Ideal
of Human Unity and some of the other concepts.
The nature of Holy Spirit is explained in three ways in the Old Testament. i)
The Holy Spirit as an agent in creation (Gen 1: 2; Ps. 33:6; Eze 37:1-10) ii) The Holy
Spirit as a source of inspiration and power (evident in the stories of the Judges; /
kings and /prophets) (Israel’s leaders -from Moses to Joshua to the Judges, to David
to Solomon) iii) The Holy Spirit as God’s presence in the covenantal community,
(Eze 11: 14-21; 36:22-32)
In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit represents both the presence and activity
of the God and the continuing presence of Jesus Christ in the Church. It is also
described as a ‘Counselor’ who represents both divine presence and guidance for the
disciples. In Pauline thought, the Spirit makes people one ‘in Christ’ and empowers
them, not only for the mission of the Church, but also for the moral and ethical life
appropriate to those who understand themselves to be the people of the new age.
Sri Aurobindo maintained that, the Holy Spirit which descended on Jesus
Christ is the same spirit which is known as Brahmic or Higher Consciousness.
In his words “… the Holy Spirit, Pure Self, Brahmic Consciousness is that
which makes them one & that also in which they Communicate. For we hear of the
Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus & it is the same descent, which brings down
the powers of the higher consciousness into the simple humanity of the Apostles
(Sri Aurobindo, Essays on Gita, Vol-13, SABCL, Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Trust, Pondicherry, 1971, P-154). Sri Aurobindo viewed that the supramental
Consciousness (Holy Spirit) descends on the body, mind, life of man and transforms
him as divine being or superman. The Christian doctrine affirms that God has
descended into the world to deliver the humanity from Sin. This is the significance of

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
ISSN : 2277-7881
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1, APRIL 2012
2
Jesus Christ’s birth and his suffering on cross. The descent of Holy Spirit will guide
the people to live according to the will of God. In structuring his concepts the descent,
supermind, and involution of spirit in matter Sri Aurobindo was influenced by the
Christian concept of Holy Spirit. His understanding of Holy spirit is nearer to
the Biblical scripture – “Do you not know that your body is a temple of Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were
brought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20, the
Holy Bible, New International Version, Zondervan Press. Michigan, USA ,P –1009)
Yes!‘The Holy Spirit is the mysterious power or presence of God in nature or with
individuals and communities, inspiring and empowering them with qualities they
would not otherwise possess’ (Harper’s Bible Dictionary (1996) & Paul J Achtemeier
(Ed) theological publication in India, Bangalore, P-401).
The Kingdom of God is another concept that has greatly influenced Sri
Aurobindo. The vision of ‘divine life upon earth or the collective perfection &
the ideal of human unity are the outcome of Christian influence on his thought.
Bible maintains different approaches to the existence of Kingdom God . It is a central
topic of apostolic approach. The main concern of apostles is to spread the good
news of the kingdom of God (Acts 8:12). Bible says: ‘Paul entered the synagogues
and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of
God’ (Acts. 19:8). St Paul writes extensively about it in many of his letters e.g.,
I cor: 6 ; 9; Gal 5: 21. To inherit the Kingdom of God in the future ( I cor : 6 : 9; Gal
5 : 21). He also hints that it might somehow be present in the life of Christian communities
(Rom. 14 : 17; Icor 4 : 20). It says those ‘in Christ’ are already new creatures (2 Cor
5 : 17). Paul wrote to Romans saying : For the Kingdom of God is not a matter
of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit because
any one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men
(14 : 17, 18) and hence our question is what should be the approach to life? Paul
advices that let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to
mutual edification (Romans 14:19). For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk
but of Power (I cor 4 : 20), power which contains love and gentle spirit.
The author of the Revelation looked for the establishment of the Kingdom
of God on heaven & earth. Rev 11 : 15 says : “The Kingdom of World has become
the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and will reign forever and ever”.
The Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:20)
Once, having been asked by the Phrisees when the kingdom of God
would come, Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful
observation nor will people say, here it is or there it is because the Kingdom of
God is within you. In Mark 9:1 Jesus said, I tell you the truth some who are
standing here will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God come with

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
ISSN : 2277-7881
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1, APRIL 2012
3
power”.
All these ideas about the Kingdom of God have greatly influenced Sri
Aurobindo’s concept of divine life upon earth. When someone asked M.P. Pandit, a
direct disciple of Sri Aurobindo ‘early in your speech you mentioned that Sri
Aurobindo incorporated some Christian thought, exactly what kind of Christian
thought does it incorporated? M.P. Pandit answered that, “I belive there is reference
in his thought of the Kingdom of God. Now the Kingdom of God Sri Aurobindo says,
is not somewhere there in the heaven, it is within us; it has to be exteriorized. Within us
there are states of felicity, states of purity, we have to dig in ourselves, link ourselves
with that and bring them out and actualize them in life. This is a key concept to
actualize the Kingdom of God” (M.P.Pandit, Sri Aurobindo on Education
consciousness” World Union Vol. XVIII, No, 10, World Union International, Pondicherry,
April, 1978, P 20).
Sri Aurobindo viewed that Kingdom of God does not exist anywhere in heaven
but right here upon the earth. He termed it as the ‘Divine life upon earth’. He does
mean that “Divine life in a material world implies necessarily a union of the two ends
of existence, the spiritual summit and the material base, it joins the heights and the
depths together. The spirit descends into matter and the material world with all its
lights and glories and powers and with them fills and transforms life in the material
world so that it becomes more & more divine, (Supramental Manifestation, Vol-16,
SABCL, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry, 1471, P-5-6)
Almost the similar idea is expressed by the author of Revelation (Bible) saying:
“The Kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord” (11:15) when the
people become more & more divine, without the worldy wickedness, such as ‘Neither
the sexually immortal nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual
offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will
inherit the Kingdom of God’(I cor 6:9,10). The human must be washed from all these
sins, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of
our God. In Sri Aurobindo’s words : ‘the law of sin & virtue ceases for us when the
son of God shines upon the soul in truth and love with its unveiled splendour (the Hour
of God, Vol-17, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry, 1972, p-79). Thus he
accepted that “Christ came to the world to purify” (the Hour of God, Vol – 17, P-99)
and the ‘doctrine of son of man on the cross acquires a new significance and man
himself becomes the Christ of the universe’. He continued to say “it was the knowledge
of good and evil that brought grief and sin into the world; when that knowledge is
surmounted, man will rise above grief and sin. Before he ate the forbidden fruit, he
had the innocence of the animal. When he shall cease to eat it, he will have the
innocence of God” (Essays on Gita, Vol. 13, P-154).
Sri Aurobindo also compares the doctrine of Trinity with Hindu Scriptures.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
ISSN : 2277-7881
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1, APRIL 2012
4
In Trinity “ the father is above in the inner Heaven, the son or the Supreme Prakriti
becomes Jiva of the Gita, descends as divine Man upon earth, in the mortal
body; the Holy Spiri, Pure Self, Brahmic consciousness is that which makes them one
and that also in which they Communicate”. (Essays on Gita, Vol- 13, P-154)
Sri Aurobindo’s neo-Vedantic formula is that – spirit is (becomes) matter and
matter is (becomes) spirit, which is similar with Einstein’s scientific theory E=mc2.
Thus Sri Aurobindo has synthesized the fundamental doctrines of two major religions
and arrived to a harmonious platform to exist peacefully with other religious groups.
 Bibliography:
• Holy Bible, New International Version, Zondervan Press, Michigan,USA.
• Paul J. Achtemier (Ed.) Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Theological Pub,Bangalore.
• Sri Aurobindo, (1971) Essays on Gita, Vol-13, SABCL:Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Trust, Pondichery.
• Pandit, M.P. (1978) World Union Vol. XVIII, World Union International: Sri
Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondichery.
• Sri Aurobindo, ( 1971) Supramental Manifestation, Vol-16, SABCL: Sri
Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondichery.
• Sri Aurobindo, (1972) The Hour of God, Vol-17, SABCL: Sri Aurobindo
Ashram Trust, Pondichery.

* * *                                                                                                                                 * * *                                                                                                                       

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother   

                                          on                                      
                         
Religion and Fanaticism
That is why religions are always mistaken—always—because they want to standardise the expression of an experience and impose it on everyone as an irrefutable truth. The experience was true, complete in itself, convincing—for the one who had it. The formulation he made of it was excellent—for himself. But to want to impose it on others is a fundamental error which has altogether disastrous consequences, always, which always leads far, very far from the Truth.
That is why all the religions, however beautiful they may be, have always led man to the worst excesses. All the crimes, the horrors perpetrated in the name of religion are among the darkest stains on human history, and simply because of this little initial error: wanting what is true for one individual to be true for the mass or collectivity.—From a talk by the Mother cited in All India Magazine, November 2001

                                                                       
* * *
Religions are based on creeds which are spiritual experiences brought down to a level where they become more easy to grasp, but at the cost of their integral purity and truth. The time of religions is over. We have entered the age of universal spirituality, of spiritual experience in its initial purity.—From a talk by the Mother cited in All India Magazine, November 2001
                                                                       * * *
There is nothing noble besides in fanaticism—there is no nobility of motive, though there may be a fierce enthusiasm of motive. Religious fanaticism is something psychologically low-born and ignorant—and usually in its action fierce, cruel and base.—From a letter by Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, p. 490
                                                                        * * *
... You say that you ask only for the Truth and yet you speak like a narrow and ignorant fanatic who refuses to believe in anything but the religion in which he was born. All fanaticism is false, because it is a contradiction of the very nature of God and of Truth.—From a letter by Sri Aurobindo, On Himself, pp. 483–84

5 comments:

pianomonika said...

Sri Aurobindo synthezised the fundamental doctrins of the two major religions, yes, and saw the harmonious platform to exist peacefully with other religious group;but I think, the compare with Hindu scriptures will give protest from Catholics.
In the Hindu-religion there are many Gods,in Christian religion is the Holy Trinity -in one person.

pianomonika said...

I have read the writings several times, and the doctrine, taught by Sri Aurobindo and that what Jesus Christus said.
I ask myself, where is the fundamental difference ,if are so many commonalities?
Is it maybe the Yoga, coming to higher consciousness? Sri Aurobindo wrote a lot about it.

pianomonika said...

Subject: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on :''Religion and Fanaticism''
This post has been added here to the previous contributions.
It explains in simple and so logical words ,from where the 'Fanaticism' comes.
''Religious fanaticism is something psychologically low-born and ignorant''.
And we see in history and also in our presence to what fanaticism led and leads , namely to the worst excesses.
The crimes, perpetrated in the name of religion belong to the darkest points in human history.


Aju Mukhopadhyay said...

Great Souls meet at the Divine level-great ideas coincide. Jesus Christ and Sri Aurobindo met at that point. That they had some common features in thoughts and ideas, in realisations is expected. Though Sri Aurobindo was beyond traditional religions, his philosophy was based mainly on Hindu scriptures. He did not pay much value to his early baptism. The article is interesting for further study and research.

Jitendra Sharma said...

It was August 15, 1943. Sri Aurobindo was being felicitated, it being his birthday. His devotees made a request to him to enlighten them on the spiritual significance of the day. In those days Sri Aurobindo had started withdrawing into himself. But casting a benevolent look at his devotees, he decided to oblige them. He explicated : "August 15 is the day of the Assumption of Virgin Mary; it implies that the physical nature is raised to the divine nature; Virgin Mary refers to nature; Jesus is the divine soul born in man; he is the son of God as well as the son of man". What Sri Aurobindo was trying to underline was that it is always possible for the son of man to wake up and rise to become the son of God.