(This section consists of excerpts from writings, letters, and messages.)
At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis in which is concealed a choice of its destiny.... Man has created a system of civilisation which has become too big for his limited mental capacity and understanding and his still more limited spiritual and moral capacity to utilise and manage, a too dangerous servant of his blundering ego and its appetites....
Because the burden which is being laid on mankind is too great for the present littleness of the human personality and its petty mind and small life-instincts, because it cannot operate the needed change, because it is using this new apparatus and organisation to serve the old infraspiritual and infrarational life-self of humanity, the destiny of the race seems to be heading dangerously, as if impatiently and in spite of itself, under the drive of the vital ego seized by colossal forces which are on the same scale as the huge mechanical organisation of life and scientific knowledge which it has evolved, a scale too large for its reason and will to handle, into a prolonged confusion and perilous crisis and darkness of violent shifting incertitude. Even if this turns out to be a passing phase or appearance and a tolerable structural accommodation is found which will enable mankind to proceed less catastrophically on its uncertain journey, this can only be a respite. For the problem is fundamental and in putting it evolutionary Nature in man is confronting herself with a critical choice which must one day be solved in the true sense if the race is to arrive or even to survive.127
July 4, 1940
(In this letter, Sri Aurobindo is referring in particular to the Allies.)
If the nations or the governments who are blindly the instruments of the divine forces were perfectly pure and divine in their processes and forms of action as well as in the inspiration they receive so ignorantly they would be invincible, because the divine forces themselves are invincible. It is the mixture in the outward expression that gives to the Asura the right to defeat them.128
September 19, 1940
(A message to the Governor of Madras, accompanied by a contribution. This declaration was Sri Aurobindo's first public intervention since he withdrew in 1910.)
We feel that not only is this a battle waged in just self-defence and in defence of the nations threatened with the world-domination of Germany and the Nazi system of life, but that it is a defence of civilisation and its highest attained social, cultural and spiritual values and of the whole future of humanity. To this cause our support and sympathy will be unswerving whatever may happen; we look forward to the victory of Britain and, as the eventual result, an era of peace and union among the nations and a better and more secure world-order.129
March 31, 1942
(The British government, partly realizing the inevitability of India's future independence and partly under American pressure to secure her support during the war, sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India in March, 1942, with a proposal for dominion status after the war, as a first step towards full independence. Sri Aurobindo sent Cripps the following message.)
As one who has been a nationalist leader and worker for India's independence, though now my activity is no longer in the political but in the spiritual field, I wish to express my appreciation of all you have done to bring about this offer. I welcome it as an opportunity given to India to determine for herself, and organise in all liberty of choice, her freedom and unity, and take an effective place among the world's free nations. I hope that it will be accepted, and right use made of it, putting aside all discords and divisions.... I offer my public adhesion, in case it can be of any help in your work.130 
August 7, 1943
(From a talk.)
It was after Dunkirk that I openly came out with my declaration and gave the contribution openly. If I had believed in appearances I should not have. It is in spite of opposite appearances that you have to act on faith.... If you depend upon reason then you can't know what is Truth....
Our people cannot understand why one who has the Divine consciousness or Brahmic consciousness should take sides in a fight. That is all right if you want to remain in the static Brahman; then you can look upon the whole thing as Maya and it may not exist for you.
But I believe in Brahman siding against Brahman—that the Brahman, I think, has always been doing.... Krishna took sides openly in the Mahabharata and Rama also.
September 3, 1943
(From a letter to a disciple.)
We [Sri Aurobindo and Mother] made it plain in a letter which has been made public that we did not consider the war as a fight between nations and governments (still less between good people and bad people) but between two forces, the Divine and the Asuric. What we have to see is on which side men and nations put themselves; if they put themselves on the right side, they at once make themselves instruments of the Divine purpose in spite of all defects, errors, wrong movements and actions which are common to human nature and all human collectivities. The victory of one side (the Allies) would keep the path open for the evolutionary forces: the victory of the other side would drag back humanity, degrade it horribly and might lead even, at the worst, to its eventual failure as a race, as others in the past evolution failed and perished. That is the whole question and all other considerations are either irrelevant or of a minor importance. The Allies at least have stood for human values, though they may often act against their own best ideals (human beings always do that); Hitler stands for diabolical values or for human values exaggerated in the wrong way until they become diabolical (e.g. the virtues of the Herrenvolk, the master race). That does not make the English or Americans nations of spotless angels nor the Germans a wicked and sinful race, but as an indicator it has a primary importance.
Even if I knew that the Allies would misuse their victory or bungle the peace or partially at least spoil the opportunities opened to the human world by that victory, I would still put my force behind them. At any rate things could not be one-hundredth part as bad as they would be under Hitler. The ways of the Lord would still be open—to keep them open is what matters. Let us stick to the real, the central fact, the need to remove the peril of black servitude and revived barbarism threatening India and the world....
P.S. Ours is a Sadhana which involves not only devotion or union with the Divine or a perception of Him in all things and beings but also action as workers and instruments and a work to be done in the world or a force to be brought in the world under difficult conditions; then one has to see one's way and do what is commanded and support what has to be supported, even if it means war and strife carried on whether through chariots and bows and arrows or tanks and cars and American bombs and planes, in either case ghoram karma [a dreadful work, Gita, 3.1].... As for violence etc. the old command rings out for us once again after many ages: “Mayaivaite nihatah purvameva nimittamatram bhava Savyasacin” [By me and none other already they are slain, become only the occasion, O Arjuna, Gita, 11.33].131
(From a letter.)
I do not regard business as something evil or tainted, any more than it is so regarded in ancient spiritual India.... All depends on the spirit in which a thing is done, the principles on which it is built and the use to which it is turned. I have done politics and the most violent kind of revolutionary politics, ghoram karma, and I have supported war and sent men to it, even though politics is not always or often a very clean occupation nor can war be called a spiritual line of action. But Krishna calls upon Arjuna to carry on war of the most terrible kind and by his example encourage men to do every kind of human work, sarvakarmani. Do you contend that Krishna was an unspiritual man and that his advice to Arjuna was mistaken or wrong in principle?
I do not regard the ascetic way of living as indispensable to spiritual perfection or as identical with it. There is the way of spiritual self-mastery and the way of spiritual self-giving and surrender to the Divine, abandoning ego and desire even in the midst of action or of any kind of work or all kinds of work demanded from us by the Divine.... The Indian scriptures and Indian tradition, in the Mahabharata and elsewhere, make room both for the spirituality of the renunciation of life and for the spiritual life of action. One cannot say that one only is the Indian tradition and that the acceptance of life and works of all kinds, sarvakarmani, is un-Indian, European or western and unspiritual.132
(From a letter.)
About the present human civilisation. It is not this which has to be saved; it is the world that has to be saved and that will surely be done, though it may not be so easily or so soon as some wish or imagine, or in the way that they imagine. The present must surely change, but whether by a destruction or a new construction on the basis of a greater Truth, is the issue. The Mother has left the question hanging and I can only do the same.133
October 19, 1946
(From a letter to a disciple who expressed anguish at the widespread horrors perpetrated on Hindus by Muslims in Bengal, notably in Noakhali and Tippera districts, now in Bangladesh; this organized violence—which the British government did nothing to stop—was part of Jinnah's plan of “Direct Action” which was intended to demonstrate the impossibility for Hindus and Muslims to live together, and therefore the inevitability of Pakistan.)
As regards Bengal, things are certainly very bad; the conditions of the Hindus there are terrible and they may even get worse in spite of the Interim mariage de convenance at Delhi. But we must not let our reaction to it become excessive or suggest despair. There must be at least twenty million Hindus in Bengal and they are not going to be exterminated,—even Hitler with his scientific methods of massacre could not exterminate the Jews who are still showing themselves very much alive and as for Hindu culture, it is not such a weak and fluffy thing as to be easily stamped out; it has lasted through something like five millenniums at least and is going to carry on much longer and has accumulated quite enough power to survive. What is happening did not come to me as a surprise. I foresaw it when I was in Bengal and warned people that it was probable and almost inevitable and that they should be prepared for it. At that time no one attached any value to what I said although some afterwards remembered and admitted, when the trouble first began, that I have been right; only C. R. Das had grave apprehensions and he even told me when he came to Pondicherry that he would not like the British to go out until this dangerous problem had been settled. But I have not been discouraged by what is happening, because I know and have experienced hundreds of times that beyond the blackest darkness there lies for one who is a divine instrument the light of God's victory. I have never had a strong and persistent will for anything to happen in the world—I am not speaking of personal things—which did not eventually happen even after delay, defeat or even disaster. There was a time when Hitler was victorious everywhere and it seemed certain that a black yoke of the Asura would be imposed on the whole world; but where is Hitler now and where is his rule? Berlin and Nuremberg have marked the end of that dreadful chapter in human history. Other blacknesses threaten to overshadow or even engulf mankind, but they too will end as that nightmare has ended.134
December 2, 1946
(From a letter.)
Mother India is not a piece of earth; she is a Power, a Godhead, for all nations have such a Devi supporting their separate existence and keeping it in being. Such Beings are as real and more permanently real than the men they influence but they belong to a higher plane, are part of the cosmic consciousness and being and act here on earth by shaping the human consciousness on which they exercise their influence. It is natural for man who sees only his own consciousness individual, national or racial at work and does not see what works upon it and shapes it, to think that all is created by him and there is nothing cosmic and greater behind it.135
December 22, 1946
(A remark to a disciple on India's political scene.)
Out of all of them, Patel is the only strong man.136
April 9, 1947
(From a letter.)
The difficulties [you feel] are general in the Ashram as well as in the outside world. Doubt, discouragement, diminution or loss of faith, waning of the vital enthusiasm for the ideal, perplexity and a baffling of the hope for the future are the common features of the difficulty. In the world outside there are much worse symptoms such as the general increase of cynicism, a refusal to believe in anything at all, a decrease of honesty, an immense corruption, a preoccupation with food, money, comfort, pleasure to the exclusion of higher things and a general expectation of worse and worse things awaiting the world. All that, however acute, is a temporary phenomenon for which those who know anything about the workings of the world-energy and the workings of the Spirit were prepared. I myself foresaw that this worst would come, the darkness of night before dawn; therefore I am not discouraged. I know what is preparing behind the darkness and can see and feel the first signs of its coming. Those who seek for the Divine have to stand firm and persist in their seeking; after a time, the darkness will fade and begin to disappear and the Light will come.137
August 15, 1947
(A passage from Sri Aurobindo's message on the occasion of India's independence. August 15 is also Sri Aurobindo's own birthday.)
India is free but she has not achieved unity, only a fissured and broken freedom.... The old communal division into Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of a permanent political division of the country. It is to be hoped that the Congress and the nation will not accept the settled fact as for ever settled or as anything more than a temporary expedient. For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled: civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest. The partition of the country must go,—it is to be hoped by a slackening of tension, by a progressive understanding of the need of peace and concord, by the constant necessity of common and concerted action, even of an instrument of union for that purpose. In this way unity may come about under whatever form—the exact form may have a pragmatic but not a fundamental importance. But by whatever means, the division must and will go. For without it the destiny of India might be seriously impaired and even frustrated. But that must not be.138 
(From notes to biographers.)
The idea of two nationalities in India is only a newly-fangled notion invented by Jinnah for his purposes and contrary to the facts. More than 90% of the Indian Mussalmans are descendants of converted Hindus and belong as much to the Indian nation as the Hindus themselves. This process of conversion has continued all along; Jinnah is himself a descendant of a Hindu, converted in fairly recent times, named Jinahbhai and many of the most famous Mohammedan leaders have a similar origin.139
History very seldom records the things that were decisive but took place behind the veil; it records the show in front of the curtain.... My action in giving the movement in Bengal [at the beginning of the century] its militant turn or founding the revolutionary movement is very little known.140
In some quarters there is the idea that Sri Aurobindo's political standpoint was entirely pacifist, that he was opposed in principle and in practice to all violence and that he denounced terrorism, insurrection, etc., as entirely forbidden by the spirit and letter of the Hindu religion. It is even suggested that he was a forerunner of the gospel of Ahimsa. This is quite incorrect. Sri Aurobindo is neither an impotent moralist nor a weak pacifist.
The rule of confining political action to passive resistance was adopted as the best policy for the National Movement at that stage [in 1905 and after] and not as a part of a gospel of Non-violence or pacifist idealism. Peace is a part of the highest ideal, but it must be spiritual or at the very least psychological in its basis; without a change in human nature it cannot come with any finality. If it is attempted on any other basis (moral principle or gospel of Ahimsa or any other), it will fail and even may leave things worse than before.
Sri Aurobindo's position and practice in this matter was the same as Tilak's and that of other Nationalist leaders who were by no means Pacifists or worshippers of Ahimsa.141
July 18, 1948
(From a letter.)
I am afraid I can hold out but cold comfort—for the present at least—to those of your correspondents who are lamenting the present state of things. Things are bad, are growing worse and may at any time grow worst or worse than worst if that is possible—and anything however paradoxical seems possible in the present perturbed world. The best thing for them is to realise that all this was necessary because certain possibilities had to emerge and be got rid of, if a new and better world was at all to come into being; it would not have done to postpone them for a later time.... Also they can remember the adage that night is darkest before dawn and that the coming of dawn is inevitable. But they must remember too that the new world whose coming we envisage is not to be made of the same texture as the old and different only in pattern, and that it must come by other means—from within and not from without; so the best way is not to be too much preoccupied with the lamentable things that are happening outside, but themselves to grow within so that they may be ready for the new world, whatever form it may take.142
(Extracts from a message to the Andhra University, which on December 11 conferred on Sri Aurobindo the Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy National Prize.)
India, shut into a separate existence by the Himalayas and the ocean, has always been the home of a peculiar people with characteristics of its own recognisably distinct from all others, with its own distinct civilisation, way of life, way of the spirit, a separate culture, arts, building of society. It has absorbed all that has entered into it, put upon all the Indian stamp, welded the most diverse elements into its fundamental unity. But it has also been throughout a congeries of diverse peoples, lands, kingdoms and, in earlier times, republics also, diverse races, sub-nations with a marked character of their own, developing different brands or forms of civilisation and culture, many schools of art and architecture which yet succeeded in fitting into the general Indian type of civilisation and culture. India's history throughout has been marked by a tendency, a constant effort to unite all this diversity of elements into a single political whole under a central imperial rule so that India might be politically as well as culturally one. Even after a rift had been created by the irruption of the Mohammedan peoples with their very different religion and social structure, there continued a constant effort of political unification and there was a tendency towards a mingling of cultures and their mutual influence on each other; even some heroic attempts were made to discover or create a common religion built out of these two apparently irreconcilable faiths and here too there were mutual influences.
The ancient diversities of the country carried in them great advantages as well as drawbacks. By these differences the country was made the home of many living and pulsating centres of life, art, culture, a richly and brilliantly coloured diversity in unity; all was not drawn up into a few provincial capitals or an imperial metropolis, other towns and regions remaining subordinated and indistinctive or even culturally asleep; the whole nation lived with a full life in its many parts and this increased enormously the creative energy of the whole. There is no possibility any longer that this diversity will endanger or diminish the unity of India. Those vast spaces which kept her people from closeness and a full interplay have been abolished in their separating effect by the march of Science and the swiftness of the means of communication. The idea of federation and a complete machinery for its perfect working have been discovered and will be at full work. Above all, the spirit of patriotic unity has been too firmly established in the people to be easily effaced or diminished, and it would be more endangered by refusing to allow the natural play of life of the sub-nations than by satisfying their legitimate aspirations. The Congress itself in the days before liberation came had pledged itself to the formation of linguistic provinces, and to follow it out, if not immediately, yet as early as may conveniently be, might well be considered the wisest course. India's national life will then be founded on her natural strengths and the principle of unity in diversity which has always been normal to her and its fulfilment the fundamental course of her being and its very nature, the Many in the One, would place her on the sure foundation of her Swabhava and Swadharma....
A union of States and regional peoples would again be the form of a united India.
In this hour, in the second year of its liberation the nation has to awaken to many more very considerable problems, to vast possibilities opening before her but also to dangers and difficulties that may, if not wisely dealt with, become formidable.... There are deeper issues for India herself, since by following certain tempting directions she 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. There is a question whether she may prosper more harmlessly in the outward life yet lose altogether her richly massed and firmly held spiritual experience and knowledge. 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. There are indeed other numerous and difficult problems that face this country or will very soon face it. No doubt we will win through, but we must not disguise from ourselves the fact that after these long years of subjection and its cramping and impairing effects a great inner as well as outer liberation and change, a vast inner and outer progress is needed if we are to fulfil India's true destiny.143
(From a Postcript Chapter to The Ideal of Human Unity.)
The indwelling deity who presides over the destiny of the race has raised in man's mind and heart the idea, the hope of a new order which will replace the old unsatisfactory order, and substitute for it conditions of the world's life which will in the end have a reasonable chance of establishing permanent peace and well-being.... It is for the men of our day and, at the most, of tomorrow to give the answer. For, too long a postponement or too continued a failure will open the way to a series of increasing catastrophes which might create a too prolonged and disastrous confusion and chaos and render a solution too difficult or impossible; it might even end in something like an irremediable crash not only of the present world-civilisation but of all civilisation.
The terror of destruction and even of large-scale extermination created by these ominous discoveries may bring about a will in the governments and peoples to ban and prevent the military use of these inventions, but, so long as the nature of mankind has not changed, this prevention must remain uncertain and precarious and an unscrupulous ambition may even get by it a chance of secrecy and surprise and the utilisation of a decisive moment which might conceivably give it victory and it might risk the tremendous chance.144
(In October, 1950, six months after Sri Aurobindo wrote what follows, China invaded Tibet; an appeal by Tibet to the United Nations fell on deaf ears, and India remained a silent spectator. In October, 1962, China launched an offensive on India's northern borders.)
In Asia a more perilous situation has arisen, standing sharply across the way to any possibility of a continental unity of the peoples of this part of the world, in the emergence of Communist China. This creates a gigantic bloc which could easily englobe the whole of Northern Asia in a combination between two enormous Communist Powers, Russia and China, and would overshadow with a threat of absorption South-Western Asia and Tibet and might be pushed to overrun all up to the whole frontier of India, menacing her security and that of Western Asia with the possibility of an invasion and an overrunning and subjection by penetration or even by overwhelming military force to an unwanted ideology, political and social institutions and dominance of this militant mass of Communism whose push might easily prove irresistible. In any case, the continent would be divided between two huge blocs which might enter into active mutual opposition and the possibility of a stupendous world-conflict would arise dwarfing anything previously experienced....145
April 4, 1950
(From a letter to a disciple.)
You have expressed in one of your letters your sense of the present darkness in the world round us.... For myself, the dark conditions do not discourage me or convince me of the vanity of my will to “help the world”, for I knew they had to come; they were there in the world nature and had to rise up so that they might be exhausted or expelled and a better world freed from them might be there. After all, something has been done in the outer field and that may help or prepare for getting something done in the inner field also. For instance, India is free and her freedom was necessary if the Divine Work was to be done. The difficulties that surround her now and may increase for a time, especially with regard to the Pakistan imbroglio, were also things that had to come and to be cleared out. Nehru's efforts to prevent the inevitable clash are not likely to succeed for more than a short time and so it is not necessary to give him the slap you wanted to go to Delhi to administer to him. Here too there is sure to be a full clearance, though unfortunately, a considerable amount of human suffering in the process is inevitable. Afterwards the work for the Divine will become more possible and it may well be that the dream, if it is a dream, of leading the world towards the spiritual Light, may even become a reality. So I am not disposed even now, in these dark conditions, to consider my will to help the world as condemned to failure.146
June 28, 1950
(From a letter.)
I do not know why you want a line of thought to be indicated to you for your guidance in the affair of Korea. There is nothing to hesitate about there, the whole affair is as plain as a pike-staff. It is the first move in the Communist plan of campaign to dominate and take possession first of these northern parts and then of South East Asia as a preliminary to their manoeuvres with regard to the rest of the continent—in passing, Tibet as a gate opening to India. If they succeed, there is no reason why domination of the whole world should not follow by steps....147
(Some forty years earlier, on September 18, 1909, Sri Aurobindo wrote ...)
The end of a stage of evolution is usually marked by a powerful recrudescence of all that has to go out of the evolution.
(From Sri Aurobindo's last writings.)
This world is not really created by a blind force of Nature: even in the Inconscient the presence of the supreme Truth is at work; there is a seeing Power behind it which acts infallibly and the steps of the Ignorance itself are guided even when they seem to stumble.... In this vast and apparently confused mass of existence there is a law, a one truth of being, a guiding and fulfilling purpose of the world-existence.148
On December 5, 1950, Sri Aurobindo left his body. For ten years he had worked to free India from the clutches of an alien rule; for forty years thereafter he laboured to free the earth from the clutches of a dying age. But among all the nations of the world, India always held a special place in his consciousness: to him she was the Mother, a being with a unique mission and destiny in these birth-throes of a new age.
For a long time now, the ancient Mother has lain prostrate, half slumbering, half decaying, a prey to a thousand cancers. But even today, if we awaken to what makes her a country unlike any other, if we rediscover in ourselves the simple secret of her ancient Shakti, if we see her bleeding flesh and hear her prayer to us, we can yet bring about her rebirth.
June 6, 1967
(An inner communication from Sri Aurobindo to Mother.)
All the countries live in falsehood.
If only one country stood courageously for truth,
world might be saved.149
 The next day, on April 1, Cripps replied with the following telegram: “I am most touched and gratified by your kind message allowing me to inform India that you who occupy unique position in imagination of Indian youth, are convinced that declaration of His Majesty's Government substantially confers that freedom for which Indian Nationalism has so long struggled.”
Sri Aurobindo in addition sent a personal messenger to the Congress to urge them to accept Cripps' proposal; he also sent a telegram to C. Rajagopalachari, in which he said: “... Appeal to you to save India. Formidable danger new foreign domination when old on way to self-elimination.” (Japan was then threatening to invade Burma and India; a few days earlier, it had also become known that Subhas Bose was in Germany and, confident of Germany's victory, was trying to organize with its help an anti-British front.)
Sri Aurobindo's advice was ignored: “He has retired from political life, why does he interfere?” said Gandhi to Duraiswamy Iyer, Sri Aurobindo's messenger. Although Nehru and Rajagopalachari favoured acceptance of Cripps' offer, Gandhi found it unacceptable “because of his opposition to war.” Maulana Azad, President of the Congress, also opposed it, and the Congress finally turned it down. Had Cripps' proposal been accepted, the Partition and the blood bath that followed might have been averted, as also the three Indo-Pakistan wars.
 A reference to the Interim Government worked out between the British and the Congress, which the Muslim League had just agreed to join.
 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950), who as India's Home Minister after Independence showed great firmness in negotiating the integration of the princely states, Kashmir's accession to India, and the merger of the Hyderabad state.
 Newly created Pakistan invaded Kashmir two months later. The Indian army was able to repulse the attack and was about to drive Pakistani forces out of Kashmir when Nehru called a halt to the fighting and brought the “dispute” before the United Nations—with the result that Kashmir is still today divided and its Pakistan-occupied part a continual source of terrorism flowing into India, as part of the preparation for what Pakistani leaders have called “the need for a second partition of India.”
 The formation of Indian states along linguistic lines in the following years, while meeting Sri Aurobindo's suggestion on the surface, was in practice accompanied by such a high degree of centralization and all-pervasive bureaucratization that the “natural play of life” of the provinces was stifled rather than encouraged; the rigid and uniform machinery of parliamentary representation imposed on the states, which admittedly has served mainly to generate corruption and foster divisions, was also hardly capable of providing the “perfect working” Sri Aurobindo had in mind for an Indian federation.
 A reference to the recent discovery and use of nuclear weapons.
 A few days earlier, North Korean forces launched an attack on South Korea with Soviet support; Chinese troops joined in a few months later.
 China invaded Tibet four months later, in October.
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