India and the United States in the Twenty-First Century: Revisiting Sri Aurobindo's Message

Start Date:04-Feb-2023

End Date:04-Feb-2023



The ascent of the human soul to the supreme Spirit is that soul’s highest aim and necessity, for that is the supreme reality; but there can be too the descent of the Spirit and its powers into the world and that would justify the existence of the material world also, give a meaning, a divine purpose to the creation and solve its riddle. East and West could be reconciled in the pursuit of the highest and largest ideal. Spirit embraces Matter and Matter find its own true reality and the hidden Reality in all things in the Spirit. Sri Aurobindo

On the occasion of the completion of 75th year of India’s Independence and 150th year of the Birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society organized a virtual lecture on ‘India and United States in the Twenty-first Century: Revisiting Sri Aurobindo’s Message’ by Prof. Arvind Kumar, Professor of United States Studies’ at School of International Studies (SIS), Jawaharlal Nehru University on 4th Feb., 2023.  

On this occasion, Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society briefed about the ‘International Cultural Relations’ project, which was started with an objective to explore the cultural relations between India and other countries based on research, publication, interaction, collaboration and cultural exchange programs. Highlighting on ‘India and the United States in the Twenty-First Century’ he said that relations between India and US have developed into a global strategic Partnership based on shared democratic values and interests on bilateral, regional and global issues. Sri Aurobindo dreamed about this long before which was reflected in his message given to west. He further said that Sri Aurobindo has also given special emphasis on international understanding including ‘international spirit and outlook,’ ‘international forms and institutions,’ ‘willed interchange or voluntary fusion of cultures’ and ‘development of world Unity.’ It is believed that shared democratic values and increasing convergences of interests, and development of good governance will reinvigorate bilateral ties and enhances cooperation based on unity and integral perfection between India-US.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pradeep Narang, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society said that the Universe is a manifestation of the Divine, but when we look into the world today, we find that it is not the total manifestation of the Divine, as there is disharmony and discontinuity etc. which is enveloping the whole world more and more. We, as the residents of the world, have a role to play and there is a need to work at the national and international levels. Highlighting the relations between India and United Nations, he said that India and US have a symbiotic relationship. Both countries have to learn from each other. He also spoke on the message of the Mother ‘In the full spiritual knowledge, I know that for saving the world and building the New World it is absolutely essential that India and America work together, because these are the two countries that will do it: America with her great material power and India with her spiritual force, both of which are necessary.’ He further said that Sri Aurobindo has said about the openness of the mind which can bring positive change for the entire world. He emphasized that it is important to understand that both nations can bring peace which will be immensely useful for humanity.

The speaker, Dr. Arvind Kumar, Professor of United States Studies at School of International Studies (SIS), Jawaharlal Nehru University said about the Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo to create world unity, one of the core philosophies of Indian civilization since ancient times. He emphasized on Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and the views of Sri Aurobindo on the interconnectedness of the planet earth and the wider universe. Prof. Arvind spoke on the geo-political system of the world including the transition of the political powers, foreign policy approach, cross-border terrorism and emerging technology. He discussed about how India changed the perception of the US by giving the significant role played by India with world affairs. He mentioned about the global strategic partnership between India and the U.S and how the shared democratic values and increasing convergences of interest have strengthened the relationship. He said that India-U.S. bilateral relations have strengthened due to strong political relations, major exchanges, strategic consultations, counter-terrorism and internal security, bilateral, science, culture, trade and economic relations.

He briefed about the geo-political dimensions, complexities, and strategic autonomy of world politics has a major crisis for the entire world and integration of ideas can bring significant changes in this regard. He stressed India’s contribution to the knowledge economy to create a synergy between India and U.S. He mentioned about the discussions between India and U.S. on different issues have become a pathfinder to strengthen the relationship between India and U.S. Emphasizing the message of Sri Aurobindo, he said that Spiritualism of India and Materialism of the East can bring a positive change and the message given by Sri Aurobindo has a significant contribution in the contemporary scenario. In this regard, India’s presidency in G-20 can bring positive changes in the areas of sustainable growth. In a response to the India-U.S Dialogue Architecture, he spoke about the dialogue mechanisms between the two governments on strategic co-operation, energy and climate change, education and development etc. He also mentioned about the spiritual gift of India to the world common destiny of the nations. India’s soft power, yoga diplomacy can bring a positive change in this regard. He hoped that India and U.S friendship through track-one (government to government dialogue) can be a powerful tool for the relationship between India and United nations.

‘That is one considerable advantage of America; there is evidently a sufficiently widespread eagerness and openness of mind to new things. We have to see whether this will be sufficient to open the mind also to deep and true things. The spiritual future of America is not yet decided; it is in the balance. There is a great possibility before her, but it depends on Americans themselves whether she will make good and realise it. Otherwise she will follow the disastrous curve of other western peoples. India and America stand prominent at the two poles that have to meet and become one, the spiritual and the material life; one has shown a preeminent capacity of realisation on the spiritual, the other on the material plane. America must be able to receive freely India’s riches and to give freely in return from her own for the material organisation of a higher life on the physical plane; this is at once a condition and her chance. At present it is only a possibility; let us see whether it can be made an achieved and perfected symbol.’ Sri Aurobindo (CWSA 36:388)

The Speaker: Dr. Arvind Kumar is Professor of United States’ Studies at School of International Studies (SIS), Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Prior to his current assignment, he was Professor and Head at the Department of Geopolitics & International Relations at Manipal University. He has been conducting policy and academic research on strategic and international security issues in addition to his teaching since 1993. His research interests are in the field of strategic capabilities of China and Pakistan, nuclear doctrines and strategy, Nuclear weapons and delivery systems, India’s internal security issues, ballistic missile defence, Space Security, global security issues, export control regimes and matters relating to India’s foreign policy, Indo-US relations and defence strategy and planning. He is formerly Research Faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore and the Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA) at New Delhi. He has a number of publications to his credit in journals, edited volumes, magazines and newspapers. He was the Co-editor of a volume titled Science & Technology to Counter Terrorism published by National Academies Press, Washington, DC. He was a member of high level committee constituted by the GOI on Research and development in National Security. He has been a member of editorial board of a number of journals including UNISCI Discussion papers which is published by the University of Spain, Madrid. He has also been a member of the advisory board of Contemporary India Program of University of Warsaw, Poland and Hoecschule University of Applied Sciences, Bremen.