Nationalism, Religion and Beyond : Writings on Politics, Society and Culture

Sri Aurobindo. Edited by Peter Heehs, Permanent Black, 2005, x, 364 p, ISBN : 8178241390, $36.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Nationalism, Religion and Beyond : Writings on Politics, Society and Culture/Sri Aurobindo

Contents: Preface. Introduction. 1. Cultural nationalism. 2. Political nationalism. 3. Religion. 4. Religion and nationalism. 5. Beyond nationalism. 6. Beyond religion. Sources. Glossary. Index.

"Sri Aurobindo is best known as a philosopher and yogi, as one of the early leaders of the Indian Nationalist Movement who also wrote extensively on politics, society, and culture.

His contributions to these fields, although original and often ahead of their time, have not received the attention they deserve. One reason for this is that they are scattered through six or seven volumes of his complete works. Another is their apparent datedness.

But the most important of Aurobindo's writings on these subjects are as interesting now as when they were written, for they deal with matters of perennial concern--such as on cultural identity, and the place of spirituality in society.

Peter Heehs--well-known historian and biographer of Aurobindo-overcomes the first problem (of scattered sources) by selecting representative passages from the entire body of Aurobindo's works. He deals with the second problem (of Aurobindo's seeming datedness) by providing historical background, and by relating Aurobindo's social, cultural, and political ideas to those of contemporary theorists.

Heehs's anthology confronts common misunderstandings by scholars and politicians who reduce Aurobindo's complex thinking to a collection of cliches. Additionally, given the manner in which the leading figures of Hinduism have been appropriated by Hindu fundamentalists, this anthology is a vital corrective. It provides a nuanced and contextualized understanding of one of India's most influential thinkers."

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