We do not realize even today the upheaval Sri Aurobindo brought intoIndian darshana, although he based his philosophy only on the mostintegral Vedantic vision and in line with the scriptural discoveries of theancient Vedas and the Upanishads.By the time he returned to India from England in 1892, after fifteen yearsof a highly westernized education and upbringing, Vedanta had cometo mean the Mayavada of Adi Sankaracharya (most likely even Sankarawas deeply misunderstood or mis-interpreted) or the Vishisht Advaitaof Ramanujacharya or the Dvaitavada of Madhvacharya. The ancientfindings of the Vedic rishis and their original spirit of fearless exploration into the nature of consciousness had been forgotten in the oppression of physical colonization. There was a torpor and inertia of vital energy and a lack of clarity and perception across the nation. Sri Krishna’s message of an Integral Vedanta was forgotten, and Indians had forgotten his exhortation not to reject the world of action but to embrace and be victorious through skill in works.India had become colonized not only in body but also in spirit. SwamiVivekananda had initiated the process of awakening the nation andmaking the world aware of India’s spiritual heritage. He worked hardtowards a spiritual renaissance of the nation. Sri Aurobindo took it furtherby transforming Indian Darshana in many ways and completed the taskthat Swami Vivekananda had begun.What is Sri Aurobindo’s contribution to Indian darshana? To my mind,these are his greatest achievements that re-energized Vedanta and Tantra,reconciled Indian darshana with Western philosophy, and prepared for theadvent of a new age of true creative evolution:1. Sri Aurobindo brought back to us an integral understanding ofVedanta along the lines of Sri Krishna. If there is one work of his thatwould have the greatest impact on India’s spiritual rebirth, it would beEssays on the Gita, a bhashya, or commentary, that not only brings to lightSri Krishna’s great philosophic and metaphysical achievement but givesus a path forward in Sri Krishna’s light. Sri Aurobindo continued in thegreat tradition of Sri Krishna and harmonized and synthesized the variousIndian darshanas into a coherent, methodical, and systematic whole thatwas not dry and intellectual but arose from his own realizations and being.
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