Thoughts on economics and liberty

Sri Aurobindo – the vocal opponent of socialism

Most people think of Sri Aurobindo as a great spiritual and literary master. Few realise that he was, in line with Vivekananda and most Indian philosophers, a great proponent of liberty and – in Sri Aurobindo's case – a direct opponent of socialism.

Had Sri Aurobindo lived, Nehru's plans of socialism would have been still-born and India might have escaped from its (ongoing) misery of the past 65 years.

The more I think about it, it becomes clear that I am speaking from the ANCIENT INDIAN TRADITION. It is an instinctive expression of critical thinking, tolerance, and liberty that ancient India so deeply understood.

Till Nehru came in and confused everybody, including Team Anna/ Arvind Kejriwal and even Baba Ramdev. And of course, RSS/BJP are DIRECT godchildren of Nehru. There is no distinction I can make between BJP and Congress. (Btw, Modi is the same.)

NONE of these people are attuned to what Gandhi, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, and Tagore were attuned to: a deep instinctive tolerance and insistence on liberty. It was an instinctive expression of Indian-ness, the true Hindutva.

But Nehru the Westerner came in with half-baked German (Hegelian) ideas and destroyed India. It is time to reclaim Hindu Capitalism (also known as Hindu Dharma) and bring tolerance and liberty back to India. This includes economic freedom and incentive-based governance outlined in Arthashastra.

Some quotations from Aurobindo:

On liberty
Indian religion has always felt that since the minds, the temperaments and the intellectual affinities of men are unlimited in their variety, a perfect liberty of thought and of worship must be allowed to the individual in his approach to the Infinite.  [Source]

Against socialism

Sri Aurobindo: The Bombay Ministry seems to be working efficiently. They have escaped the socialists trap. These socialists do not know what is socialism. [Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, The Third Series, 26th January, 1939]

"As a spiritualist, Aurobindo is intensely attracted by the social and economic egalitarianism of socialism while at the same time he has a great horror of socialist authoritarianism. Organised socialism, even it be a democratic socialism, signifies to him the absence of liberty. He thinks that "state control and direction [are] the essence of socialism". The full development of socialism would mean the obliteration of the distinction between social and political activities, a distinction which is so vital in the liberal outlook. Under socialist control even social activities would become spheres of state interference. It means the thorough extension of the administrative activities of the state. "Nothing great or small escapes its purview. Birth and marriage, labour and amusement and rest, education, culture, training of physique and character, the socialist state leaves nothing outside its scope and its busy intolerant control." It signifies the full proliferation of the omnipotent state leviathan. Socialism represents the omnicompetence of the all-jealous state and therefore, according to Aurobindo, totalitarianism is the natural, almost inevitable destiny of socialism." [From Political Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, V.P. Verma, p.334, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2nd edition, 1976]


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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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28 thoughts on “Sri Aurobindo – the vocal opponent of socialism
  1. vd

    You have understood nothing of Sri Aurobindo’s views on Socialism. While he was against State Socialism, he was equally against crony capitalism. He believed much more in what he called Democratic Socialism.

  2. SriRam

    Sanjeev ji,

    Request you to watch below videos. Sadguru jaggi expressed his views on market economy, liberty etc. ,

    Dr. jayaprakash narayan ( loksatta party ) with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
    – 7 parts

    In Conversation with the Mystic – K. V. Kamath with Sadhguru

    Leadership – From Ambition to Vision – Sadhguru speaks at IMD business school, Lausanne

    Leadership in Business- A Chat with Sadhguru and K. V. Kamath at Forbes India Awards


  3. SriRam

    Sanjeev ji,

    Two more videos. Watched below presentations , it helped to understand world’s present economy situation. Hope it will be useful to you also.

    Prof. R.Vaidhyanathan Speaks on Global Conflicts & Indian Response

    Prof. Vaidyanathan’s Speech in Tweeple Conference

    His blog


  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    You’ve understood nothing about me as well, young man.

    I too oppose crony capitalism.

    There is no such thing as “democratic socialism”. Either you oppose state control or you want it. Aurobindo opposed state control over our lives. Period.


  5. Dey

    There is one mistake, and as I quote ,

    “NONE of these people are attuned to what Gandhi, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, and …”
    Sir, it is wrong to put Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo in one line, in one page and in one side. Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy was tottaly different from Gandhi. You could probably read more on this.
    Do note that Sri Aurobindo had repeatedly denied Gandhi’s request to visit the ashram. I can not say any further, however it shall be great if you may find my message between the lines.

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