Friday, February 8, 2008

Deshpande discourages India from assimilating the scientific gains of the western world

Towards New Age -- RY Deshpande's book reviewed by Dr Joan Price Ph D
posted by RY Deshpande on Thu 07 Feb 2008 05:32 AM PST Permanent Link
In his essay “A Critique of Social Philosophy,” Deshpande begins with a critique of ancient Greek political philosophy. He then turns to a critique of Kishor Gandhi’s book Social Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and the New Age. Part I of Gandhi’s book introduces the reader to Sri Aurobindo’s book The Human Cycle. Part II is devoted to Karl Marx’s theory of social development. Although Deshpande handles this essay skillfully, the reader needs a background in Marx’s dialectic materialism to better understand his point of view. Deshpande agrees with Gandhi that the answer to our social problems lies in Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy of the future evolution of humankind.

India’s soul is rich, says Deshpande, but the people have lost contact with their souls, their inner beings. “We are sleeping the sleep of the medieval ages.” In this chapter “India and the New Millennium,” he calls India to awake from the last thousand years and recover her national identity and nobility. He leads the reader through the Indian crises, from losing contact with the meaning of the Vedas to the frenzied adoption of western life’s “commercial buzz.” To rejuvenate India he turns to Sri Aurobindo, who said that to recover her soul India must move from the age of reason that plunged her into materialism to the age of intuition in which “the Spirit shall take up the human play.”

The book concludes with a question: “Can there be an Indian science?” The author discusses the history of science from the early Greeks to the atom bomb that ended World War II. Although atomic energy can be used for peaceful purposes and scientific advances have given us a new world, he asks if science can make it a better world. Deshpande discourages India from assimilating the scientific gains of the western world. She needs, he insists, to rebuild her own values.

Towards New Age is a sympathetic example of scholarship promoting the poetic and spiritual achievements of Sri Aurobindo. Although some of the subject matter is not easy to penetrate, the book is very well done. R Y Deshpande’s presentations are intelligent, well informed, and visionary. Keywords: SriAurobindo, Spirituality, ScienceSpirituality, Science, Savitri, Poetry, Mysticism, Literature, IntegralYoga Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

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