INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SRI AUROBINDO
RELEVANCE OF SRI AUROBINDO AND THE GRAND VISIONS OF THE ANCIENT INDIAN WISDOM
Indian philosopher, poet, mystic and Yogi, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), argued that human society has evolved throughout history and is destined to move towards better organization of life. His aphorism ‘All Life is Yoga’ is in consonance with his evolutionary philosophy and Integral Yoga that encompass every aspect of human life and society, the onward march of which do not stop at the present transitory formations. Sri Aurobindo did not deny relevance of the transitory formations, but emphasized that they have to be transcended as they are not the culmination in the evolution. Applying this evolutionary logic, neither the individual nor the groups and organizations created by individuals are the culmination of human evolution. Following Advaita Vedanta, Sri Aurobindo believed that there is a fundamental unity as the very basis of existence and at the foundation of all things, and it is the Nature that moves to realize this unity. He termed the Veda as a record of “inner experience and the suggestions of the intuitive mind”, which is beyond “mankind’s ordinary perceptions and daily activities.” Similarly, he described the Upanishads, the waning or lost knowledge recovered by Rishis through “meditation and spiritual experience” or recovery of the old truths in new forms by Rishis who used the Vedic Word as “a seed of thought and vision.” For him, the Veda symbolizes, “the struggle between spiritual powers of Light and Darkness, Truth and Falsehood, Knowledge and Ignorance, Death and Immortality.” He expressed dissatisfaction that the modern individual, busy with his mundane life and outward activities, has decreasing interest in this ancient wisdom. He lamented, “Small is the chance that in an age which blinds our eyes with the transient glories of the outward life and deafens our ears with the victorious trumpets of a material and mechanical knowledge many shall cast more than the eye of an intellectual and imaginative curiosity on the passwords of their ancient discipline or seek to penetrate into the heart of their radiant mysteries.”
Sri Aurobindo’s seminal contribution cannot be confined to a particular discipline as his genius touched almost every branch of human knowledge. It is, hence, impossible to cover all of his ideas and philosophy in a single conference. The conference would cover some aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and its applicability to contemporary problems confronting the human society and the world. Despite the profundity of his philosophy and its wider implications, Sri Aurobindo and his ideas are relatively less known in the West, and there have been few events to make an in-depth study of his philosophy. The conference aims to fill this gap. It is not only interested in the theoretical aspect of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy, but also its practical and educational aspects.
The Mahatma Gandhi Center at the Hindu University of America intends to provide a platform for deliberations on the above themes. It is interested to engage scholars from academia, media, corporate sectors, policymaking, non-governmental sectors, and grass-roots activism for an elaborate inquiry on the relevance of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. The two-day exercise will be academic and educational in content and professional in approach. The ultimate objective is to position Sri Aurobindo’s ideas in theoretical and policy debates on individual, state, society and world. The major objectives of the conference are the following:
- To mainstream the ideas and philosophy of Sri Aurobindo in the contemporary world.
- To highlight the relevance of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga for everyday life.
- To discuss his novel ideas like Ideal of Human Unity and Religion of Humanity and their significance for national and international organizations.
- To provide a platform for scholars specializing on Sri Aurobindo, and develop close interaction among them.
- To publish a volume (from the conference papers) on Sri Aurobindo, and circulate it widely.
Themes of the Conference
The Conference is an exercise towards a threadbare discussion on Sri Aurobindo’s perspectives on the intersection of spirituality and practicality towards a better organization of human life and society. It seeks contributions on the following themes, but the participants are welcome to choose a different topic related to the major theme of the conference.
- “All Life is Yoga”
- Integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo
- Ideal Human Unity and the International Organizations
- The Human Unity Idea in the East and the West: A Synthesis?
- Ideal Human Unity, Conflict and Peace
- The Secret of the Veda, and the Contemporary Debate
- Evolution of Nature: Infra-Rational, Rational and Supra-Rational
- The Life Divine
- Sri Aurobindo and Education
- Sri Aurobindo in the 21st Century
Abstract of the paper (within 500 words) and the bionote (within 100 words) should reach the Center at email@example.com by February 28, 2017. The acceptance notification will be sent by March 10, 2017. Full draft papers (6000 words to 7000 words) should be sent by April 25, 2017. The papers will be compiled in a volume, to be published by an international publisher. The conference is also open to non-paper presenters, who would like to learn about the topic and contribute to discussions.
The Center will provide lunch and dinner for the two days of the conference. Limited need-based funding to defray travel-related expenses will be provided to the paper presenters.
For further details please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration Fee: US $ 50
Lecture on Lord Jagannath – Saturday, June 3rd, 4 to 6pm