Ideal of the Karma Yogin


Articles collected from the Karmayogin, 1909-1910.

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The articles collected here first appeared in 1909 – 10 in the Karmayogin a weekly newspaper edited by Sri Aurobindo. The first ten were written by him and the final two by Sister Nivedita, who took over as editor in February 1910. The aim of the newspaper was to encourage a spirit of nationalism, to help India recover her true heritage and remould it for her future. Its view was that the freedom and greatness of India were essential to fulfilling her destiny, to lead the spiritual evolution of humanity.

“The task we set before ourselves is not mechanical but moral and spiritual. We aim not at the alteration of a form of government but at the building up of a nation. Of that task politics is a part, but only a part. We shall devote ourselves not to politics alone, nor to social questions alone, nor to theology or philosophy or literature or science by themselves, but we include all these in one entity which we believe to be all-important, the dharma, the national religion which we also believe to be universal. There is a mighty law of life, a great principle of human evolution, a body of spiritual knowledge and experience of which India has always been destined to be guardian, exemplar and missionary. This is the sanatana dharma, the eternal religion. Under the stress of alien impacts she has largely lost hold not of the structure of that dharma, but of its living reality. For the religion of India is nothing if it is not lived. It has to be applied not only to life, but to the whole of life; its spirit has to enter into and mould our society, our politics, our literature, our science, our individual character, affections and aspirations. To understand the heart of this dharma, to experience it as a truth, to feel the high emotions to which it rises and to express and execute it in life is what we understand by Karmayoga. We believe that it is to make the yoga the ideal of human life that India rises today; by the yoga she will get the strength to realise her freedom, unity and greatness, by the yoga she will keep the strength to preserve it. It is a spiritual revolution we foresee and the material is only its shadow and reflex.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of the Karmayogin

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