[The book ‘Sri Aurobindo on Ethics’ is now incorporated in our latest publication ‘Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Vision of Life’. Compiler and Editor: Anurag Banerjee. Number of pages: 211. Price: Rs. 300]
True spirituality envisions that life is meant to be a manifestation of the Divine and that all life has that as its ultimate aim, the manifestation of the Divine in each and every aspect of life. The vision and teachings of Sri Aurobindo show us how to reach and fulfil this high goal, the spiritualisation of all life. This movement of spiritualisation is a gradual process and goes through three stages: the infrarational, the rational and finally the suprarational. In the words of Sri Aurobindo:
“These stages or periods are much more inevitable in the psychological evolution of mankind than the Stone and other Ages marked out by Science in his instrumental culture, for they depend not on outward means or accidents, but on the very nature of his being. But we must not suppose that they are naturally exclusive and absolute in their nature, or complete in their tendency or fulfillment when they come, or rigidly marked off from each other in their action or their time. For they not only arise out of each other, but may be partially developed in each other and they may come to coexist in different parts of the earth at the same time.”
We thus see that all the different parts of man with their seeking and aspiration, aspire towards this denouement; these parts are the intellectual being, the aesthetic being, the ethical being, the religious being and the life force in man. Thus the intellectual man seeks and arrives ultimately at the Divine through knowledge. In the same way the artist, the saint or seeker of Truth in action, the religious aspirant and the dynamic man absorbed in life all seek ultimately for the Divine.
This applies also for the ethical man who seeks for the Truth in action and in his relations with others. The ethical man goes through these three stages but his fulfillment comes only when he has passed beyond the rational into the light of the suprarational.
In this compilation on ethics this aspect is clearly brought out and is visible to the reader when he goes through it carefully. In our human evolution, it is very important to be aware of the different levels from which our ethical being is working; this is indispensable for a conscious evolution of man to his highest potential and possibilities.
In the modern world where humanity and more particularly India is rocked with problems of ethics in the collective life, this compilation has come as a god send, for it throws light on many of the contemporary problems of modern society whether in the field of art, culture, politics, economics, social problems and even the Armed Forces. As a matter of fact, this compilation has reached some important people who are grappling with this problem of ethics in their respective professions and the response has been very heart warming.
I am sure that this compilation will help the whole society to move towards a nobler and better life.
I would also suggest that similar compilations are brought out in the field of aesthetics, knowledge, religion and life. They will be eminently useful for the future development of human society.
About the Reviewer: Prof. Kittu Reddy was born in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in July 1936. At the young age of five in 1941 he was taken to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, by his father Narayan Reddy, an eminent member of the Swaraj party formed by C.R. Das. He has lived there ever since. He had all his education at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education from where he graduated. He has been teaching at the same Centre since 1958. Since 1987, he has been giving talks to the Indian Army on Indian culture, the Mission of India and Motivation and Leadership. In 1994, General B.C. Joshi, the then Chief of Army Staff, appointed him Adviser to the Army Welfare Education Society. Since then he has been in close touch with the Indian Army and has conducted workshops for the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. These workshops deal with Motivation, Leadership and the Indian nation. They have been held both in Pondicherry at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and at training centres of the Armed Forces. He is the author of the following books: A Vision of United India: Problems and Solutions, Kargil: A Manifestation of a Deeper Problem and The History of India: A New Approach.