Earth consciousness and Self-Realization: A Deep-Ecological study on the poetry of Sri Aurobindo and Paramhansa Yogananda
India, ID CLEaR2015-271;
We live in a magical universe filled with great forces of life and death, creation and destruction, cycling and recycling, ascending and descending flux and reflux of natural laws. Nature herself is the divine mother in manifestation and the universe is her play of consciousness. She provides not only for material growth and expansion that moves outward, but supports our spiritual growth and development, which moves within. Nature possesses a qualitative energy through which we can either expand into wisdom or contract into ignorance. Nature functions through conscious forces, spirits which can be enlightening or darkening, healing, or harming. We are guided by our inherited or acquired tendencies and habits born of environment. Educators, physical culturists, preachers, reformers, doctors, Engineers and lawmakers all are seeking for peace and harmony and all are groping into darkness to live against the odds of life and environmental crisis. They are aspiring for the ways how to develop harmoniously all the factors of life and of man’s nature. All our preservation, conservation, biodiversity management and Environmental justice movements would hasten us back to the time when nature could hold forth meaning and value. After all, there is this underlying aesthetic value that holds all life together and makes it collectively meaningful. Realization of this would mean a step towards the aesthetics of the spiritual. In modern times, the environment is becoming bad to worse. Global warming threatens humans' existence, wars are incessant, and all these bring humans and nature great destruction. Humans are forced to face these problems brought by the Industrial Revolution and reconsider whether the application of science and technology in a human-centered way is right or not. Inequality is a kind of manifestation of anthropocentrism. The inequality in human society is closely related to inequality between humans and nature.
In a land like India with its heterogeneous culture, multi-ethnic and checkered history, varied narratives, huge population, couched in diverse perceptions and points of view, and filtered through multiple discourses over a long period of time, people suffered from environmental crisis, economic gap, scientific exploration and ecocides. Geographically, historically and geo-psychically Indian narratives afford pluralistic and complex readings. Philosophy, religion, and poetry have a deep history in this part of the land of India, as much as oppression, domination, and ideologies of resistance and subversions.
Both in Sri Aurobindo and Paramhansa Yogananda’s poetry we have the smell of deep ecological consciousness and an interrelationship between man and the environment. They thought like humanity, the living environment as a whole has also the right to live and flourish. They stressed the fundamental philosophical questions about the impacts of human life as one part of the ecosphere .Their poetry seeks a more holistic view of the world where humans live in and seeks to apply it to life and its understanding. The phrase "deep ecology" was first coined by the Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss in 1973. Deep ecology seeks to develop this by focusing on deep experience, deep questioning and deep commitment. The main norm for deep ecology is of self- realization and biocentric equality. The human species is a part of the Earth and not separate from it. A process of self-realisation or "re-earthing" is used for an individual to intuitively gain an ecocentric perspective. Proponents of deep ecology believe that the world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by humans. The main ethics of deep ecology are as follows—1.Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves. 2. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital human needs. 3. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease. And Self Realisation means knowing all parts of body, mind, and soul that are in possession of the kingdom of God. Aurobindo’s Poetry is marked with a distinct tone of metaphysical and supra-physical energies in the spiritual bindings of body, mind and cosmic nature whereas Yogananda feels nature and environmental ethics having sense of belongingness to it and nurture nature to save this beautiful planet Eco-philosophical Realization. In ancient India what the saint poets wrote in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata with their environmental consciousness and moral values as being part of nature, is reflected in the 19th century and 20th century saint poets like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ramtirtha, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Yogananda. While most of the critics and learned scholars wrote various articles and research papers on their Hindu philosophy, mysticism, aestheticism, spiritualism, but there is a paucity of Environmental consciousness and Self-Realization issue still untouched by the critics. What the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naes in his Deep Ecological theory wants to focus is still untouched. My article is an attempt to fulfill the area. I want to highlight the poetry of Sri Aurobindo and Paramhansa Yogananda in this perspective of deep Ecology.
These saint poets expressed the Indian cultural heritage and spiritual ethos creating an atmosphere of holiness which runs through The Vedas, The Gita, and the Upanishads in their poetry. The Hindu Philosophical concepts like maya, purusa, prakiti, om tat sat, sat-chit- anand etc are revealed spontaneously through their poetry. They are ever inspiring and guiding forces to the myriads of people of universal brethrenship. Their poems are charged with Vedanta philosophy, eternity, cosmic organization and mighty forces that influence the psyco-physical organisms of all living things. Thus my research proposal is an attempt to fulfill the gap which other research scholars left. By Paramhansa Yogananda’s “Songs of the soul”, “Whispers from Eternity”, “Metaphysical Meditations”, “Scientific Healing Affirmations” and Sri Aurobindo’s “Collected Poems”, “Savitri” I want to research on the deep ecological feelings in their poetry. Their poetry analysis in this field will give an Environmental study which will be a new step to save this world in reformative way. Deep ecological consciousness in their poetry will help us to have deep experience, deep questioning and deep commitment towards Environment and slowly but steadily we shall achieve pure mind and pure Environment with the sweet notes of Self-Realization.
Key words: Deep Ecology, Earth consciousness, Self-Realization, Eco-philosophy.