What is the view of the mind/ body dualism in Sri Aurobindo's "Is India Civilized?"  

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

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I would say that Sri Aurobindo seeks to answer the question of the mind/ body dualism in the human being through assessing the question on a national level for India.  In "Is India Civilized?," Sri Aurobindo argues that India has to do some level of "soul searching" in terms of what place it will occupy in the new world for both itself and the rest of the world.  Mere imitation of the West is not something he sees as the answer.  Yet, Sri Aurobindo also does not see blind nation worshipping of India as the best path, as well.  In this, one sees him rejecting the basic tenets of binary oppositional dualism that forces a choice.  Rather, Sri Aurobindo finds a new level where India, as a nation to which India can be vaulted:

[What India needs is] a unity with the rest of mankind, in which we shall maintain our spiritual and our outer independence.

The implications of this idea on the issue of mind/ body dualism is a powerful one.  Sri Aurobindo is arguing that there is a way for individuals to exist in both realms without a conscious choice to be made.  One must find a way to unify with others, enabling mind and body to be harmonious with one another, while remaining distinct to retain their individual characteristics.  I don't see Sri Aurobindo advocating the subjugation of one over the other, just as he does not suggest that India's identity come at the cost of others or of itself.  In this "unity," the mind and body dualism is resolved in that both are able to exist within one another as there is a subjugation to a new configuration that praises and acknowledges both realities without sacrificing one over the other.

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