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Enunciate the writers ideas in Sri Aurobindo's "Is India Civilized?" and Anand...

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sayantanis | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted January 14, 2012 at 11:44 AM via web

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Enunciate the writers ideas in Sri Aurobindo's "Is India Civilized?" and Anand Commaraswamy's "The Dance Of Shiva."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 14, 2012 at 8:45 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that there are some significant similarities between Aurobindo's writing and Commaraswamy's thoughts in particular on how India must view "the West."  In "Is India Civilized," Aurobindo is fairly direct about how imitation and modeling the West is not the answer to spiritual notions of the good.  For Aurobindo, the critical question ends up becoming what is to define India.  He understood that the time for British control was coming to an end, and the question that ended up driving Aurobindo would be what form would the new nation take.  As revolutionary fervor was sweeping through Europe, this ended up becoming a central issue.  In Aurobindo's mind, self- definition on both psychological and national levels must come from within and not be externally defined.

It is here where Commaraswamy would find convergence.  The idea of "The Dance of Shiva" is one in which the challenging dualities of being in the world can be resolved in the greatness of Lord Shiva.  The nature of being in the world along with the questions that govern it can be found in Lord Shiva and in his mysticism.  This seems to be the logical answer to Aurobindo's question.  Definition on what consciousness means is not external, but rather found in Shiva's dance and all that is contained in it.  In this, both works can be seen as a type of question and answer to the challenging issue of what it means to be in the modern setting.

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