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HINDU RENAISSANCE AT A TURNING POINT
was not a starry eyed universalist who thought he could reconcile
all communities and all religions. He did not see all religions as
true and wonderful. Nor did he seek to create a new religion, as he
saw clearly that religion, particularly as it is known in the
Western world, is more a harm than a help to the pursuit of truth.
Aurobindo did not bow down to Islam in an effort to create
Hindu-Muslim unity. He warned of the danger of appeasing anyone and
challenged the Hindus in India to lead and let others follow them.
Similarly he saw the limitations of
Christianity, which he regarded as a spiritual movement that failed
in its early period and became little more than a political entity.
He did not pretend that all religions were the same but noted their
strengths and weaknesses, criticizing not only Christianity and
Islam but also Buddhism. In fact he had his critique of Vedanta and
his own view of a new and more integral Vedanta.
Aurobindo understood both the
strengths and the weaknesses of the West. He could be devastating in
his critique of Western culture without simply being anti-Western.
He honored what was valuable in the West including much of the art
and literature of Europe. He himself composed great poetic works in
English, including Savitri, one of the greatest poems ever
written. Yet he also saw the decline of the West and its culture in
the World War period. He failed to be taken in by the promises of
the communists or the dreams of socialism, which he considered would
lead to disaster.