Sri Aurobindo on Ethics—A Review by Deepali Gupta

Sri Aurobindo on Ethics: compiled and edited by Anurag Banerjee. Published by Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Price—E-copy: Rs. 20. (Hard-copy: Rs. 60).

“The outward work can never be small if the inward one is great, and the outward work can never be great or good if the inward is small or of little worth.”— Meister Eckhart.

The above quote wonderfully weaves the ideas of Karma and Dharma to give us a right view of what we know as life. The conventional education system has focused merely on the aspect of action through disciplines of specialized learning but more recently, Ethics and Human Values have come to be regarded as indispensable subjects for education in various fields of study including management and engineering. But “What does one stand to gain by being ethical?” is a question that occupies the students’ mind before starting to absorb the first bit of the prescribed lessons on ethics. It is here that I feel, this well designed compendium of Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on ethics by Anurag Banerjee fulfills its purpose beautifully by answering many questions on why ethics should be an inherent way of life and a guiding principle for action. By a simple glance over the chapters of this book one would feel like taking a break from the accustomed way of looking at development and progress only in the outward sense. On further reading, one comes to regard ethics as essential for one’s inner development and for ably contributing towards building a truly cultured society. Anurag Banerjee, by focusing his endeavors in compiling this book has come to prove as an inspiration to the young generation to explore the arena of an inner self development while pursuing ethics in outward action. Sri Aurobindo’s writings on ethics go a step ahead where much of the study material on ethics stops short. He warns people with ethical motives against the invasion of egoism which can prove to be a deterrent in the pursuit of self development. I would highly recommend this book to all educational institutions desirous of developing their students not only in specialized traits but as a well rounded human being. It will be a value supplement to the prescribed books on ‘Human Values and Professional Ethics’ because human values need to be inculcated and not just to be informed about. To be able to inculcate, the subject matter should be able to touch one to the core by being able to answer all the questions springing from the mind of an inquisitive learner, an instinctive being, the future professional and finally as member of society where ethical conduct is not the usual norm. Needless to say, Sri Aurobindo’s writings being inter-disciplinary do it all by cutting across the boundaries of specialized disciplines of thought and learning. After reading this book, I can well say that through this work, Anurag Banerjee has made a definitive contribution towards an enlightened self-regulation to the society craving for peace, happiness, progress, harmony and sustainability of development.


About the Author: Ms. Deepali Gupta is a Faculty Member at Disha Bharti College of Management and Education, Saharanpur. She teaches courses on ‘Human Values and Professional Ethics’, ‘Business Ethics’ and ‘Information Technology.’ She has been working in the field of education and training for over eighteen years now. She is pursuing a doctoral programme in Sri Aurobindo Studies from SACAR (Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research, Pondicherry). The subject of her research pertains to integrating Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts with contemporary Management Education. Her papers have been published in New Race, a journal of Integral Studies, published by SACAR and in the proceedings of an International Conference. The published works are titled as “Knowledge Societies and Sri Aurobindo’s Vision for the Future”, “The Integral Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo describes the ultimate unifying principle of life”, “Individual and Corporate Well-being”, and “Organizations in the New Millennium—Challenges and Opportunities.”  


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