Spiritual Education of Humanity and the Idea of a University
Last Updated: February 3, 2008-Sri Aurobindo and The Mother-
1915-1918 (revised 1949)
A spiritual religion of humanity is the hope of the future. By this is not meant what is ordinarily called a universal religion, a system, a thing of creed and intellectual belief and dogma and outward rite. Mankind has tried unity by that means; it has failed and deserved to fail, because there can be no universal religious system, one in mental creed and vital form. The inner spirit is indeed one, but more than any other the spiritual life insists on freedom and variation in its self-expression and means of development. A religion of humanity means the growing realisation that there is a secret Spirit, a divine Reality, in which we are all one, that humanity is its highest present vehicle on earth, that the human race and the human being are the means by which it will progressively reveal itself here. It implies a growing attempt to live out this knowledge and bring about a kingdom of this divine Spirit upon earth. By its growth within us oneness with our fellow-men will become the leading principle of all our life, not merely a principle of cooperation but a deeper brotherhood, a real and an inner sense of unity and equality and a common life. There must be the realisation by the individual that only in the life of his fellow-men is his own life complete. There must be the realisation by the race that only on the free and full life of the individual can its own perfection and permanent happiness be founded. There must be too a discipline and a way of salvation in accordance with this religion, that is to say, a means by which it can be developed by each man within himself, so that it may be developed in the life of the race. To go into all that this implies would be too large a subject to be entered upon here; it is enough to point out that in this direction lies the eventual road. No doubt, if this is only an idea like the rest, it will go the way of all ideas. But if it is at all a truth of our being, then it must be the truth to which all is moving and in it must be found the means of a fundamental, an inner, a complete, a real human unity which would be the one secure base of a unification of human life. A spiritual oneness which would create a psychological oneness not dependent upon any intellectual or outward uniformity and compel a oneness of life not bound up with its mechanical means of unification, but ready always to enrich its secure unity by a free inner variation and a freely varied outer self-expression, this would be the basis for a higher type of human existencei.
24 April 1951
Sri Aurobindo is present in our midst, and with all the power of his creative genius he presides over the formation of the University Centre which for years he considered as one of the best means of preparing the future humanity to receive the supramental light that will transform the elite of today into a new race manifesting upon earth the new light and force and life.
In his name I open today this convention meeting with the purpose of realising one of his most cherished idealsii.
The conditions in which men live on earth are the result of their state of consciousness. To seek to change these conditions without changing the consciousness is a vain chimera.
It is in answer to this urgent need that Sri Aurobindo conceived the scheme of his international university, in order to prepare the human elite who will be able to work for the progressive unification of mankind and be ready at the same time to embody the new force which is descending to transform the earth.
The most important idea is that the unity of the human race can be achieved neither by uniformity nor by domination and subjection. Only a synthetic organization of all nations, each one occupying its true place according to its own genius and the part it has to play in the whole, can bring about a comprehensive and progressive unification which has any chance of enduring. And if this synthesis is to be a living one, the grouping should be effectuated around a central idea that is as wide and as high as possible, in which all tendencies, even the most contradictory, may find their respective places. This higher idea is to give men the conditions of life they need in order to be able to prepare themselves to manifest the new force that will create the race of tomorrow.
That is why the international university centre will be international; not because students from all countries will be admitted here, nor even because they will be taught in their own language, but above all because the cultures of the various parts of the world will be represented here so as to be accessible to all, not merely intellectually in ideas, theories, principles and language, but also vitally in habits and customs, art in all its forms painting, sculpture, music, architecture, decoration and physically through natural scenery, dress, games, sports, industries and food.iii
28 May 1953
I am perfectly sure, I am quite confident, there is not the slightest doubt in my mind, that this University, which is being established here, will be the greatest seat of knowledge upon earth.
It may take fifty years, it may take a hundred years, and you may doubt about my being there; I may be there or not, but these children of mine will be there to carry out my work.
And those who collaborate in this divine work today will have the joy and pride of having participated in such an exceptional achievement.iv
6 September 1961
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 have the idea that it can be done.
We are here to open the way of the Future to children who belong to the Future.
Anything else is not worth the trouble and not worthy of Sri Aurobindos helpv
Mother gave the following questions for discussion by the Conference participants, and her own answers.
How can humanity become one?
By becoming conscious of its origin.
What is the way of making the consciousness of human unity grow in man?
Spiritual education, that is to say an education which gives more importance to the growth of the spirit than to any religious or moral teaching or to the material so-called knowledge.
What is a change of consciousness?
A change of consciousness is equivalent to a new birth, a birth into a higher sphere of existence.
How can a change of consciousness change the life upon earth?
A change in human consciousness will make possible the manifestation upon earth of a higher Force, a purer Light, a more total Truthvi.
() Education will be given, not with a view to passing examinations and getting certificates and posts, but for enriching the existing faculties and bringing forth new ones. In this place titles and positions would be supplanted by opportunities to serve and organize.
Artistic beauty in all forms, painting, sculpture, music, literature, will be available equally to all, the opportunity to share in the joy they bring being limited solely by each mans capacities and not by social or financial position.
2) Auroville will be the place of unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
4) Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual human unity.
1 February 1969
Rogers notes after meeting The Mother vii
Q: Which program should be submitted to UNESCO in the framework of the commission to be created soon?
1) Education by television
The permanent university will be the key to Aurovilles raison dtre. It must be a leap forward; so that it can hasten the advent of the future, of a world of harmony, beauty and union.
2) Permanent Auditorium for organs.
It would be to listen to music coming from the consciousness of the higher domain; straight from the higher domain. I am training someone to be its executor.
3) The University of Human Unity. *******
Some inspiring intuitions and guidelines for the
University of Human Unity in Auroville
Our ideal, therefore, is fixed, - to become one with God and lead individually the divine life, but also to help others to the divine realisation and prepare, by any means, humanity for the kingdom of God on earth, - satyadharma, satyayuga.
The Means of Realisation. In: The Upanishads, II, Pondicherry, 2004, 423.
The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. ()The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted in its own growth. The third principle of education is to work from the near to the far, from that which is to that which shall be
The Hour of God, SABCL 17, 204: 05.
Nothing can be taught to the mind which is not already concealed as potential knowledge in the unfolding soul of the creature.
So also all perfection of which the outer man is capable, is only a realizing of the eternal perfection of the Spirit within him. We know the Divine and become the Divine, because we are That already in our secret nature. All teaching is a revealing, all becoming is an unfolding. Self-attainment is the secret; self-knowledge and an increasing consciousness are the means and the process.
The Synthesis of Yoga, SABCL 20 :18.
There is a common hope, a common destiny, both spiritual and material, for both (East and West) are needed as co-workers. There has been a tendency in some minds to dwell on a spirituality or mysticism of the East and materialism of the West; but the West has had no less than the East its spiritual seekings and, though not in such profusion, its saints and sages and mystics, the East has had its materialistic tendencies, its material splendours, its similar or identical dealings with life and Matter and the world in which we live. On Himself, SABCL 26:414.
Among his five Dreams, the third is about world-union, the unification of the human world as a whole is under way A new spirit of oneness will take hold of the human race. the fourth is about the spiritual gift of India to the world, Indias spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure. And the fifth concerns the step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solution of the problems which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society. On Himself, SABCL 26:404sq.
We of the coming day stand at the head of a new age of development which must lead to such a new and larger synthesis. We are not called upon to be orthodox Vedantins of any of the three schools or Tantrics or to adhere to one of the theistic religions of the past or to entrench ourselves within the four corners of the teachings of the Gita. That would be to limit ourselves and to attempt to create our spiritual life out of the being, knowledge and nature of others, of the men of the past, instead of building it out of our own being and potentialities. We do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of the future. Essays on the Gita, Pondicherry, 2003, 10.
But the aim of our Yoga is Jivanmukti in the universe; not because we need to be freed or for any other reason, but because that is Gods will in us, we have to live released in the world, not released out of the world. ()
The opinion of thinkers & saints & Avatars should be accepted as hints but not as fetters. What matters to you is what you have seen or what God in His universal personality or impersonality or again personally in some teacher, guru or pathfinder undertakes to show to you in the path of Yoga. Essays Divine and Human, Pondicherry, 1996, 110, 112.
If going beyond the experiences of past seers and sages is so shocking, each new seer and sage in turn has done that shocking thing Buddha, Shankara, Chaitanya etc. all did that wicked act. If not, what was the necessity of their starting new philosophies, religions, schools of Yoga ? If they were merely verifying and meekly repeating the lives and experiences of past seers and sages without bringing the world some new things, why all that stir and pother ? Of course, you may say, they were simply explaining the old truth but in the right way but this would mean that nobody had explained or understood it right before which is again giving the lie etc. Or you may say that all the new sages () e.g. Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva were each merely repeating the same blessed thing as all the past seers and sages had repeated with an unwearied monotony before them. Well, well, but why repeat it in such a way that each gives the lie to the others? Truly, this shocked reverence for the past is a wonderful and fearful thing! After all, the Divine is infinite and the unrolling of the Truth may be an infinite process or at least, if not quite so much, yet with some room for new discovery and new statement, even perhaps new achievement, not a thing in a nutshell cracked and its contents exhausted once for all by the first seer or sage, while the others must religiously crack the same nutshell all over again, each tremblingly fearful not to give the lie to the past seers and sages. (1935). On Himself, Pondicherry, 2000, 135.
I am not limited by Scriptures; on the contrary I must exceed them in order to be master of their knowledge. It is true that we are usually the slaves of our individual and limited outlook, but our capacity is unlimited, and, if we can get rid of ahankara, if we can put ourselves at the service of the Infinite without any reservation of predilection or opinion, there is no reason why our realisation should be limited. Tasmin vijnate sarvam vijnatam. He being known, all can be known. To understand Scripture, it is not enough to be a scholar, one must be a soul. Essays Divine and Human, Pondicherry 1996, 38
You must not confuse a religious teaching with a spiritual one. Religious teaching belongs to the past and halts progress.
Spiritual teaching is the teaching of the future it illumines the consciousness and prepares it for the future realization.
Spiritual teaching is above religions and strives towards global Truth. It teaches to enter into direct relations with the Divine.
On Education, CWM, 12:319.
Now I know that what was lacking for the two worlds to join in a constant and conscious relation is an intermediate zone between the physical world as it is and the supramental world as it is. This zone remains to be built both in the individual consciousness and in the objective world, and it is being built
Questions and Answers, CWM 9:245, 272ff..
But a link between these two worlds has not yet been built. ... For the two worlds are there in fact not one above the other : one within the other, in two different dimensions but there is no communication between the two. The moment has come just now in the history of the universe when the link must be established. Words of the Mother, III, CWM 9:245.
******* i Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, CWSA Volume 25, pp. 577-8. Written between 1915 and 1918; revised in the 30s and in 1949.
ii CWM, XV, p. In 1959 it will be renamed: Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.
iii The Mother, An International University Centre, MCW 12: 39-40, Original language: French. First publication: Bulletin, April 1952, Sources: Bull Vol 4, No2, April, and No3, August 1952; pp 46-50.;Partly reproduced in MoA, p.10.
iv Source: CWM, XII, p. 110.
vii Original language: French. Sources: Rogers personal archives, available as a scanned version of his diary :
Question: Quels sont les programmes a soumettre a 1'UNESCO dans le cadre de la commission a crer prochainement?
1) Education par T.V.
L'universit permanente sera la clef de la raison d'tre d'Auroville, i1 faut que ce soit un bon en avant, qu'elle puisse hter la venue de 1'avenir, un monde d'harmonie, de beaut et d'union.
2) Auditorium permanent pour les orgues.
Ca serait pour couter de la musique venant de la conscience du domaine suprieur, directement du plan suprieur. Je suis en train de prparer quelqu'un pour en tre l'excutant.
3) L'Universit de l'Unit Humaine .