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The Genius Of India

The Genius of India (a 30 minutes audio-visual presentation preceded by a talk) is based on what Sri Aurobindo has said about the special inherent qualities and capacities of India and her culture in his essay The Renaissance in India. The text of this slide-show / video consists of extracts from Sri Aurobindo’s words, illustrated with slides and music.

Sri Aurobindo wrote many books on the foundations of Indian culture. In his essay The Renaissance in India, he presents us with a masterly view of India’s culture through the ages – her essential spirit and her characteristic soul, her unique genius and powers which gave her her remarkably long periods of greatness – that which allowed her to survive for so long when all other antique civilisations today lie in their graves. He has explained the basis of her strength – that which enabled her to resist so many attempts at crushing her culture.

Today we know that this culture, faced with the invasion of western influences, is in danger.

Sri Aurobindo wrote the following in 1949, two years after independence, “By following certain tempting directions [India] may conceivably become a nation like many others evolving an opulent industry and commerce, a powerful organisation of social and political life, an immense military strength, practising power-politics with a high degree of success, guarding and extending zealously her gains and her interests, dominating even a large part of the world, but in this apparently magnificent progression forfeiting its Swadharma, losing its soul. Then ancient India and her spirit might disappear altogether and we would have only one more nation like the others and that would be a real gain neither to the world nor to us.

And he adds :

It would be a tragic irony of fate if India were to throw away her spiritual heritage at the very moment when in the rest of the world there is more and more a turning towards her for spiritual help and a saving Light. This must not and will surely not happen; but it cannot be said that the danger is not there.

That is why there is an urgent need not only for Indians but for all to understand what the Indian culture stands for, what she represents for herself and for the world.

Sri Aurobindo points out importantly that we cannot go back to a past form of our being but we can go forward to a larger repossession of ourselves. Then, as he says, India can become the leader, the Guru of the world, a guide and a light.

Indian action, Sri Aurobindo says, being largely influenced by Western motives and methods, is poor in will, feeble in form and ineffective in results, because it does not come from the roots of our being. “Now that the salvation, the reawakening has come, he adds, India will certainly keep her essential spirit, will keep her characteristic soul, but there is likely to be a great change in the body. The shaping for itself of a new body, of new philosophical, artistic, literary, cultural, political, social forms by the same soul rejuvenescent will, I should think, be the type of the Indian renascence, — forms not contradictory of the truths of life which the old expressed, but rather expressive of those truths restated, cured of defect, completed.”

So if India has to draw nourishment from her own roots, she has first to become conscious of what are her roots, what are the special Indian qualities and where lies her strength and greatness. And then she will recover her incredibly prolific creativity which was one main characteristic of her civilisation. And not only will she be able to develop innumerable new forms in art and science, but maybe she will succeed in devising a new kind of society that the world today desperately needs.

In an effort to bring Sri Aurobindo’s vision to a greater audience, and in particular to the youth, a team of Auroville Press has been touring India for the past two years, presenting this audio-visual in many schools, colleges and universities.

A Publishing House

Editions Auroville Press International is a publishing house based in Auroville (Tamil Nadu), the international city founded by the Mother and named after Sri Aurobindo. Auroville is dedicated to Sri Aurobindo’s ideal of Human Unity. In a new series, launched 2 years ago, Editions Auroville Press International has published several books focusing on Sri Aurobindo’s vision of India : Bande Mataram, Independence Day Message, At the Feet of Mother India, The Genius of India, and The True Destiny of India.

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