India’s work: not to copy the West

    Says Sri Aurobindo:  “We are not here to do (only a little better) what the others do. We are here to do what the others cannot do because they do not even have the idea that it can be done.”

  He says about the political system of Democracy thus: “Certainly, democracy as it is now practiced is not the last or penultimate stage; for it is often merely democratic in appearance and even at the best amounts to the rule of the majority and works by the vicious method of party government, defect the increasing perception of which enters largely into the present-day dissatisfaction with parliamentary systems. Even a perfect democracy is not likely to be the last stage of social evolution, but it is still the necessary broad standing-ground upon which the self-consciousness of the social being can come to its own. Democracy and socialism are, as we have already said, the sign that self-consciousness is beginning to ripen into fullness…. It does not follow that a true democracy must necessarily come into being at some time. For man individually and collectively to come to a full self-consciousness is a most difficult tangle. Before a true democracy can be established, the process is likely to be overtaken by a prematurely socialistic endeavor.”

  On the functioning of this Democracy in practice, Sri Aurobindo says:  “Most governments either have now or have passed through a democratic form, but nowhere yet has there been a real democracy; it has been everywhere the propertied and professional classes and the bourgeoisie who governed in the name of the people…. For that is what the modern democracy at present is in fact; the sole democratic elements are public opinion, periodic elections and the power of the people to refuse re-election to those who have displeased it. The government is really in the hands of the bourgeoisie, the professional and businessmen, the land holders, — where such a class still exists, — strengthened by a number of new arrivals from the working-class who very soon assimilate themselves to the political temperament and ideas of the governing classes…. The government of a modern society is now growing an exceedingly complicated business in each part of which a special knowledge, special competence, special facilities are required and every new step towards State Socialism must increase this tendency. The need of this sort of special training or faculty in the councilor and administrator combined with the democratic tendencies of the age might well lead to some modern form of the old Chinese principle of government, a democratic organization of life below, above the rule of a sort of intellectual bureaucracy, an official aristocracy of special knowledge and capacity recruited from the general body without distinction of classes. Equal opportunity would be indispensable but this governing elite would still form a class by itself in the constitution of the society.”

  He says: “Parliamentarism, the invention of the English political genius, is a necessary stage in the evolution of democracy, for without it the generalized faculty of considering and managing with the least possible friction large problems of politics, administration, economics, legislation concerning considerable aggregates of men cannot easily be developed. It has also been the one successful means yet discovered of preventing the State executive from suppressing the liberties of the individual and the nation…. But it has not yet been found possible to combine Parliamentarism and the modern trend towards a more democratic democracy; it has been always an instrument either of a modified aristocratic or of a middle class rule…. Besides, its method involves an immense waste of time and energy and a confused, swaying and uncertain action that “muddle out” in the end some tolerable result. Parliamentarism means too, in practice, the rule and often the tyranny of a majority, even of a very small majority, and the modern mind attaches increasing importance to the rights of minorities.”

  He further says:   “A deeper, wider, greater, more spiritualized subjective understanding of the individual and communal self and its life and a growing reliance on the spiritual light and the spiritual means for the solution of its problems are the only way to a true social perfection. . .The free rule, that is to say, the predominant lead, control and influence of the developed spiritual man – not the half-spiritualized priest, saint, or prophet or the raw religionist -is our hope for a divine guidance of the race.”

  Village Republic must develop law of its own nature and express it through the institution. On this aspect Sri Aurobindo says:   “Dharma means the law of our nature and it means also its formulated expression. Only the society itself can determine the development of its own Dharma or can formulate its expression; and if this is to be done not in the old way by a mutually organic and intuitive development, but by a self-conscious regulation through the organized national reason and will, then a governing body must be created which will more or less adequately represent, if it cannot quite embody, the reason and will of the whole society.”

     Says the modern visionary: “(Thus) true spirituality will not lay a yoke upon science and philosophy or compel them to square their conclusions with any statement of dogmatic religious or even of assured spiritual truth, as some of the old religions attempted, vainly, ignorantly, with an unspiritual obstinacy and arrogance. The Dharma of science, thought and philosophy is to seek for the intellect dispassionately, without prepossession and prejudgment, with no other first propositions than law of thought and observation itself imposes.”

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