When Prof. Sharma came to Sri Aurobindo Ashram, New Delhi in Oct 1990, I took the opportunity to talk to him at length on various subjects ranging from Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga, Supramental evolution, free progress education and finally the future of India.
I present to the readers the record of a very lively discussion that I had with him, which speaks of his grasp of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy and his complete dedication for the cause.
Q. What, in your opinion, has been the impact of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother on the world?
A. Sri Aurobindo and The Mother appeared on the earthly scene as divine incarnations. This world, as we believe, is nothing but self-objectification of the Divine. It is not just a play (lila) but something more because His very substance is involved in this creation. To quote from Savitri:
"He is the Maker and the world he made,
He is the vision and he is the seer;
He is himself the actor and the act,
He is himself the knower and the known,
He is himself the dreamer and the dream."
Q. Could you please tell me the difference between the traditional yoga and the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo?
A. The traditional yoga has always regarded life as a problem and to be away from the activities and involvement of life would make the situation easy. It has always been a running away from life. The aim is liberation. So the problem of this world remains. According to Sri Aurobindo the earthly life appears to be painful because it is still not perfect but we have been shown the process which is trying to perfect it. When this transformation becomes complete the earthly life becomes 'Life Divine". The traditional Yoga disregards life, mind and body but this Yoga tries to purify and transform every aspect of human consciousness and life through ceaseless awareness and total surrender to the divine power, and invite God into the cells of our body. Then only the total transformation that Sri Aurobindo envisaged would manifest.
Q. You have been to U.S.A and France a number of times. Could you tell me how much the Western people have accepted Sri Aurobindo's philosophy?
A. I must say that the more awakened sections of humanity have started feeling a deep hunger, a deep aspiration for spiritual knowledge. The integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo gives the most satisfying and perfect answer to their queries. People who are not involved either their selfish interests or with the interests of their clan, but are open to the light have a greater prospect. I have always found the Western people very keen to know the Eastern wisdom that Sri Aurobindo has articulated and advanced.
Q. The present day education, apart from making doctors, engineers, scientists, etc., is contributing very little to the real progress of man. The free progress system in Pondicherry discards traditional means of teaching and instead lets the students grow in all spontaneity and regards teachers as guides to their growth. Could you explain the system briefly?
A. The traditional education stuffs the mind with information. It does not help the growth and power of personality. Integral Education seeks to bring out the hidden power of the soul and utilize it for right activities in life. Traditional education focusses its attention on mental activities. Integral education stresses upon the integrated development of the body, life and mind. It seeks to build-up a balance in the personality, unknown to traditional education. An educated man in the traditional way may not be a moral man; very often he is not. And that is why though most of our leaders are traditionally educated they have not been able to deliver the goods, and are driven by selfish narrow interests. Integral education helps the growth of soul-quality and soul-consciousness. As long as the talk went on I was transported into the realm of Truth where Light, Ananda, Knowledge reigned supreme.
I felt inspired while Shri Chhote Narayan Sharma spoke to me about the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I felt it is the need of the hour.