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Sri Aurobindo on Nationalism and Spirituality





Sri Aurobindo, who was the spiritual leader of India in the early 20th century, wrote extensively on the subject of nationalism and spirituality. His thoughts on nationalism were closely associated with his spiritual beliefs and he saw nationalistic passion as a powerful tool for unifying people across religious and social divides.

However, he was also acutely aware of the dangers of chauvinistic or excessive nationalism and warned against pursuing it blindly. He argued that by connecting to a higher purpose, such as attaining spiritual enlightenment, individuals could rise above narrow-mindedness and work together to build a stronger nation. His unique perspective on nationalism is highlighted in his writings which have become widely known throughout India and the world.


Sri Aurobindo’s Views on Nationalism


Sri Aurobindo was an Indian philosopher, yogi, poet, and freedom fighter. He is best known for his views on nationalism and spirituality. His views on nationalism have had a major influence on India’s independence movement and he has become an important figure in Indian history.

In this section we will explore Sri Aurobindo’s views on nationalism and how they relate to spirituality:


Nationalism as a Positive Force


Sri Aurobindo saw nationalism as a positive force in the development of a nation, when implemented in the spirit of justice and selfless service. In his writings, he promoted what is called “Integral Nationalism”. This is a form of nationalism that does not seek its own selfish benefit, but works for the upliftment of all peoples within the nation.

He emphasized that economic independence and prosperity must go hand-in-hand with spiritual growth, noting that these two components are both necessary for an individual or community to achieve self-actualization. In this framework, he saw India’s struggle to gain independence from British colonial rule as an opportunity to further develop the country spiritually and socially, in addition to politically. He believed that this would lead to greater harmony between nations by removing imbalances caused by unequal power.

Sri Aurobindo also stressed the importance of morality in nationalism – specifically toleration and respect for neighbors with different cultures or beliefs – arguing that only through mutual understanding could healthy relations among nations be achieved. Furthermore, he advocated for higher education and programs geared towards the moral advancement of citizens instead of relying on economic policies alone for development.

Therefore, Sri Aurobindo argued that nationalist ideologies should be grounded in ethical principles focused on human collective progress over individualistic gains.


Nationalism as a Tool for Self-Realization


Sri Aurobindo, an Indian spiritual figure and philosopher, believed that nationalism could be used as a tool to help individuals reach self-realization. He felt that in order for individuals to see beyond their limited sense of separate self, they must be able to identify with something greater than themselves–their nation.

According to Sri Aurobindo’s views, nationalism is not only about the physical boundaries of a nation. It implies deeper connotations; this is because citizens must view the national entity as a part of their own individual identity. Sri Aurobindo argued that when an individual identifies with the national entity and unified spirit it represents, s/he can consider herself/himself a part of something larger than herself/himself. This clear sense of belonging and identification contributes to heightened feelings of responsibility, conscientiousness, devotion and loyalty towards the nation which then can lead them closer towards self-realization.

Sri Aurobindo also believed that transcendental truth defeats all boundaries in nationality making it possible for any human being to identify themselves with any nation on this earth if they are devoted enough to its spirit. Therefore, according to his views nationalism can be seen as a path or tool which could help individuals find their true nature and discover higher truths within themselves or even beyond what they have already known or experienced before.


Sri Aurobindo’s Views on Spirituality


Sri Aurobindo was a prominent Indian philosopher, yogi, poet, and nationalist who believed in the power of spirituality to transform the world. For Aurobindo, the path of spiritual growth was the only path to true freedom and liberation. He was particularly concerned with the need to combine Indian spiritual values with nationalism in order to create a harmonious India.

In this section, we will look at some of Aurobindo’s views on spirituality and how they applied to India and beyond.


The Nature of the Spirit


Sri Aurobindo believed that spirituality is a kind of energy that resides in the individual and that each individual has its own unique spiritual power. He wrote extensively on the topic of spirituality and felt that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to lead a spiritual life.

According to Sri Aurobindo, the nature of spirituality is innermost, akin to our very soul. He saw it as something inherent in every human being, an impulse for self-realization and self-development. He held the belief that when a person meditates deeply, something stirs within them which can be difficult for words to express. To him, this inner stirring was an “urge toward perfection“. Through meditation, contemplation and practice one can realize their true potential and live a life of joy and fulfillment.

Sri Aurobindo believed that if we seek to grow spiritually then it is important to understand ourselves fully: our thoughts, feelings, habits and ideas so that strategies may be developed which encourage us towards harmonious growth. He maintained this could be achieved by:

  • Cultivating patience with oneself in order to inhibit reactivity and cultivate understanding;
  • Expanding our understanding of the purpose behind what we do so as not only gain insight into ourselves but also recognize our interrelatedness with others;
  • Cultivating mindfulness or an awareness of our connection with all things; and
  • Maintaining awareness of our body’s energy levels on physical mental or emotional level so as maintain harmony between them all.


The Role of the Spirit in Society


Sri Aurobindo believed that the spirit fundamentally shapes society and should be the basis for national transformations. He was a strong proponent of spiritual nationalism, which seeks to combine national pride with a devotion to spiritual truths. He argued that splitting “spirituality” and “worldly” concerns into separate categories is an artificial dichotomy; he believed that India should strive to transform both the material circumstances of its people, as well as embrace spirituality in an effort to weave together human emotions, culture, faith, and action.

Sri Aurobindo advocated adopting spiritual principles into everyday life. He argued that sacrifice at the individual and collective level was necessary if material progress were to be complemented with spiritual growth. To him, patriotism was ennobled by the ideal of selfless service which flows from a recognition of the divine forces binding all humanity together. Sri Aurobindo further proposed that any successful liberation movement ought to combine practical political wisdom with a deep understanding of true spirituality; unlike many other nationalists at this time, he also emphasized ahimsa (non-violence) as an essential part of any meaningful liberation movement.




The philosophy of Sri Aurobindo on nationalism and spirituality is based upon a broad vision of identity and belonging, focusing on the world’s humanity rather than spiritualism. His holistic approach speaks to all individuals involved in nation-building, be they politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats or community activists.

Nationalism was for him a uniting force that celebrated diversity and focused on the common good for everyone. Furthermore, he proposed an evolutionary conception of patriotism and national pride founded upon respect for individuality as well as cultural components.

In considering Sri Aurobindo’s ideas on nationalism and spirituality as part of one’s own spiritual journey, it can serve as a source of inspiration to develop meaningful action plans geared towards creating a better society.