Guiding Light of The Month

THERE is a great difference between being in the midst of active work, of external action, while keeping one’s thought constantly fixed on Thee, and entering into that perfect union with Thee which leads to what I have called “absolute Consciousness, true Omniscience, Knowledge”. - The Mother

The Human Race in Light of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga: Nationalism and Internationalism

“There are many conditions and tendencies in human life at present which are favourable to the progress of the internationalist idea. The strongest of these favourable forces is the constant drawing closer of the knots of international life, the multiplication of points of contact and threads of communication and an increasing community in thought, in science and in knowledge. Science especially has been a great force in this direction; for science is a thing common to all men in its conclusions, open to all in its methods, available to all in its results: it is international in its very nature; there can be no such thing as a national science, but only the nations' contributions to the work and growth of science which are the indivisible inheritance of all humanity. Therefore it is easier for men of science or those strongly influenced by science to grow into the international spirit and all the world is now beginning to feel the scientific influence and to live in it. Science also has created that closer contact of every part of the world with every other part, out of which some sort of international mind is growing. Even cosmopolitan habits of life are now not uncommon and there are a fair number of persons who are as much or more citizens of the world as citizens of their own nation. The growth of knowledge is interesting the peoples in each other's art, culture, religion, ideas and is breaking down at many points the prejudice, arrogance and exclusiveness of the old nationalistic sentiment. Religion, which ought to have led the way, but owing to its greater dependence on its external parts and its infrarational rather than its spiritual impulses has been as much, or even more, a sower of discord as a teacher of unity, - religion is beginning to realise, a little dimly and ineffectively as yet, that spirituality is after all its own chief business and true aim and that it is also the common element and the common bond of all religions. As these influences grow and come more and more consciously to cooperate with each other, it might be hoped that the necessary psychological modification will quietly, gradually, but still irresistibly and at last with an increasing force of rapidity take place which can prepare a real and fundamental change in the life of humanity” (Sri Aurobindo, Ideal of Human Unity, Vol 15, p. 526).

The above visionary words from Sri Aurobindo on internationalism written in early 20th century are getting materialized in the 21st century. Several international organizations are being formed in every sphere of life. More and more groups of nations are forming into unions to cooperate among themselves to allow free movement of their citizens across their national boundaries. Nothing today is exclusively confined to one nation whether it is in the field of art and literature, science or technology. Even internal political and administrative decisions of one nation today would bear more impact on the world at large than in the past. National identities are merging into a single international body for social and economic development and peaceful coexistence of humanity is taking shape by leaps and bounds.

20th century was a century of upheaval. Two great wars that have taught us in a hard way about the importance of mutual respect and understanding between nations for the very survival of human race on this earth. During this century new nations were formed redefining their geographical boundaries and with new socio political systems of governance by democracy. No nation can today exist or survive in isolation. We have been recently observing that many are taking citizenship of the countries where they have moved for career or entrepreneurial interests while their other siblings and nearest relations are still citizens of the nation of their birth or origin. It is very common that the members of one extended joint family bear citizenship of different countries. This is a clear indication that we are moving towards the concept of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ the dream of the ancient Rishis that the world is one family.

Scientific and technological advancements and global means of information sharing through the Internet and fast electronic media have bridged the geographical distances, thus drastically increasing interaction between people from different nations. As a result, two friends living at a distance of thousands of kilometers are able to experience the closeness of living as next door neighbors. The very idea of somebody being a foreigner is gradually being replaced by global identity. Uniform life style consisting of a fusion and merging of different ethnic and cultural habits and customs is an acceptable norm. The greatest contributor in helping Mother Nature in its aim of unification is science and technology and fast means of communication and transport.
Next to science it is trade and commerce and economic interdependence that are compelling the unification of the world. We often feel pessimistic that the world is getting commercialized and we are turning towards materialism but the world in the past too witnessed the exchange of cultures, knowledge and all rounded progress whenever ancient kingdoms and countries interacted with one another for trade and commerce. The differences based on ethnic and racial origins too are getting diluted with inter-racial marriages and socio-economic associations and an undercurrent of cultural and social exchange is taking place while people are freely moving across the globe in search of their livelihood.

The major disharmony prevailing in the world arising between different religious groups too will soon disappear when all religions will realize that the very purpose of their birth and existence is to help man to know himself and his Divine origin. The Truth of One in the Many and the Many in the One or Unity in Diversity that the great prophets and saints in the past have realized through their inner experiences must again be re-emphasized in all religious preachings and guidance. Subsequently all external differences arising from various forms of worship and practices will be completely eliminated. The spiritual essence of religions will soon make us realize that we are all parts of a one single Brahma (Godhead) manifest in different forms. The Vedas proclaim that ‘ekam sat viprah bahuda vadanti’ ‘One Truth is said in many ways by the Learned’.

We all know that unification is an external form of linking together the nations of the world for materialistic motive. The real unity will come when all will start realizing the oneness and indivisibility of the universal soul and experience the Truth that we are parts of the One and that the outer division is only an illusion or Maya.
In his profound spiritual visions of the destiny of humanity, Sri Aurobindo has clearly stated that human oneness based on spiritualized social order will become the bright destiny of mankind. We need not get disheartened or pessimistic looking at some external disturbances and misunderstandings. The outer unification and uniformity are predecessors for the inner unity that is yet to be realized in the near future.

“Of the universe he is a part; in all but his deepest spirit he is its subject, a small cell in that tremendous organic mass: his substance is drawn from its substance and by the law of its life the law of his life is determined and governed. From a new view and knowledge of the world must proceed his new view and knowledge of himself, of his power and capacity and limitations, of his claim on existence and the high road and the distant or immediate goal of his individual and social destiny” (Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle, Volume: 25, [CWSA], p. 28).


• Sri Aurobindo (1997). Ideal of Human Unity, Vol: 25, page 526, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
• Sri Aurobindo (1997). The Human Cycle, Vol: 25, page 28, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
• Also in Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo [CWSA],

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