Two Who are One: Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

— V. Madhusudan Reddy


Price: Rs 225

Pages: 66
Dimensions (in cms): 14x22
ISBN: 978-81-85853-14-7
Soft Cover
Publisher: Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad

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About Two Who are One: Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

This book is part of a series that presents selections from some of Dr Madhusudan Reddy's works. The author's descriptions of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as one are interwoven with his depiction of their common mission to supramentalise earthly life.


Selected Works of Dr Madhusudan Reddy
Published by Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad

Two who are One: Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

Domains of Light

Science, Spirituality and Culture

The Next Step In Individual and Social Development

The Creative Word: The Veda & Savitri

The late Dr Madhusudan Reddy founded the Institute of Human Study fifty years ago. In the golden jubilee year of its inception, his prolific oeuvre on Sri Aurobindo, the Mother, and the Integral Yoga and Integral Psychology is presented in five compact volumes brought out in his honor by this Institute. Each volume deals with a theme from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and contains Dr Reddy's original contributions to Aurobindonian study and scholarship.

In the articles in these volumes, more easily accessible to the reader who is well acquainted with the primary literature, Dr Reddy not only explains Aurobindonian theses but also advances his own thoughts on them. This gives an informed reader a valuable look into the author's mind as well as his contribution to Aurobindonian study. The chapters in these volumes reveal the author's take on the already deep and wide currents of Sri Aurobindo's thought. They also encase the author's own ideas on various topics that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother touch upon.

The first volume, Two Who Are One, comprises some paeans to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that celebrate their spiritual unity, and a few of Dr Reddy's articles that deal with certain facets of these spiritual stalwarts' lives. Noteworthy among these articles is one titled "Avatar as the Future", in which the author establishes a strong case for Sri Aurobindo's avatarhood by making plausible connections between him and the avatars of the past. Other arresting articles describe Dr Reddy's own spiritual experiences apropos of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, confirming that he was as much of a devotee of these spiritual giants as a student of their works.

In The Next Step in Individual and Social Development Dr Reddy, following Sri Aurobindo, discusses the society of the future in the context of individual development. Keeping in mind the close associations between the perfect individual and the perfect state, the selections in this volume are divided into two sections: the first expatiates on Integral Psychology and the second, on the value of interpreting humanity's progress in psychological terms, as well as on some other ideas. The original articles in both sections develop Aurobindonian theses on these subjects, helpfully filling in details that a casual reader of Sri Aurobindo might not pause to work out.

He begins, in the first chapter of Part One, by stressing the need for Integral Psychology, considering what he sees as the relative poverty of Western psychological theories. Useful comparisons between Integral Psychology and prominent Western psychological theories are made here. In Part Two he addresses the core issue of this volume. Echoing Sri Aurobindo, Dr Reddy argues that the world is moving towards a "perfect state", one in which the individual has maximum liberty to fulfill himself in his inner and outer lives, and in which he reciprocally contributes to the perfection of the state. In the chapter "Towards Human Unity", he pictures human history as a to-and-fro movement between societal organizations that are small in extent but rich in culture, and organizations that are extensive sizewise though not so culturally fecund. This movement, according to him, is a prelude to the attainment of a perfect state.

Science, Spirituality and Culture is a series of articles by Dr Reddy that explore and recast the Aurobindonian synthesis of matter and spirit. In such articles as "Quantum Physics and Consciousness", the author surpasses himself in explicating the Aurobindonian thesis in a unique way. Both science and spirituality are closely linked to culture, and this volume deals extensively with the nexus among these three. So we find here words on the actual synthesis of science and spirituality, as well as discussions on a future world culture based on a synthesis of these two seemingly irreconcilable systems of observing and knowing ourselves and the world.

As we have just indicated, the topics covered in the chapters of this volume go well beyond science and spirituality. Throughout the volume, articles are included that expatiate on history, metahistory, and India's answer to them; also included are Dr Reddy's views on what India can offer to a world culture. In the last chapter, "The Need for a Civilization of a New Consciousness", he exhorts us to adopt a "dynamic ‘theory' of the future" that is more than a merely mental view of history. Such a theory would be deeper, and would see and study history integrally.

In the next volume, Domains of Light, Dr Reddy offers his insights into the interconnections between the Upanishads and Sri Aurobindo's magnum opus, The Life Divine. In a series of essays in Part One of this volume, the author first explains in detail the upanishadic conception of Brahman. The Upanishads all have a single subject – the One that has become the Many – that by its very nature encompasses the entire field of knowledge. The articles in this part elaborate several theses on Brahman, its nature, the self, and also maya.

In Part Two of this volume, he expands on Aurobindonian philosophy, with articles on metaphilosophy, and theories of evolution East and West, and man's relations to them. This part ends with chapters on the triple transformation (the psychic, spiritual, and supramental transformations, with an emphasis on the last), the vision of a divine life, and finally a chapter titled "The New Humanity" in which Dr Reddy explores the nature of the superman. In this article, Dr Reddy says that present-day man must choose between being human and evolving into the divine person or superman, adding that the choice to evolve has already been made by some human beings at least.

Dr Reddy's contributions to the corpus of literature on the interconnections between the Veda and Sri Aurobindo's Savitri occur in the last volume we are dealing with, The Creative Word. Once again, this volume is divided into two parts. The first contains some of the author's essays on the Veda and Savitri that deal with the parallels between them that concern, among other things, the use and power of the creative word. Dr Reddy uses the concepts of sphota, vak, and mantra to link the Veda to Sri Aurobindo's Savitri. Both works, he avers, are similar because they were the result of revelation and intuition; both have a similar vision, for they "describe the evolutionary march of humanity towards its Origin". Part Two is replete with essays on what the Creative Word is all about. Both the Veda and Savitri were created in similar ways, and this similarity is documented in these essays. Several of these essays fall broadly under what we would call in current literature the philosophy of language.

In a valuable final chapter in this part, "Fine Arts: Perceptible Mediation between the Visible and the Invisible", the reader is given an Aurobindonian introduction to the nature of true art. In this last article, Dr. Reddy says that "[t]rue art creation is the result of a suprarational influx of light and power from above." The true artist who produces superior art always works by vision and inspiration rather than relying on reason as an instrument of creation. In a brief space, Dr Reddy discusses several other art forms such as literature, architecture, and sculpture.

One appreciates in these volumes not only the explication of Aurobindonian concepts and theses, but the way the author seamlessly juxtaposes his own originality in relation to these concepts and theses. It is true that, with perhaps the exception of Two Who Are One, the intended audience is an intellectually attuned one. Such an audience, though it may object that there is practically no argumentation from Dr Reddy in support of his own views, will doubtless find sufficient justification from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, especially the former. These volumes are handsome companions to those in search of original contributions to Aurobindonian literature.

—Sivakumar Elambooranan

Sivakumar was an academic philosopher who has now turned to writing. After living abroad for some years, he is now settled in his native Pondicherry, where he is associated with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

December 2014