Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo  book cover
1st Edition

Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo

Edited By

Ananta Kumar Giri

ISBN 9780367563080
Published November 15, 2021 by Routledge India
326 Pages

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Book Description

This book presents the first systematic critical exploration of the philosophical and political thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo, both pioneers of modern Indian thought. Bringing together experts from across the world, the volume examines the thoughts, ideas, actions, lives and experiments of Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo on themes such as radical politics and human agency; ideals of human unity; social practices and citizenship; horizons of sustainable development and climate change; inclusive freedom; conceptions of swaraj; interpretations of texts; Sri Aurobindo’s views on Indian culture; integral yoga; transformative leadership; Anthropocene and alternative planetary futures. The book discusses the contemporary legacies and works of the two influential thinkers. It offers insights into historical, philosophical, theoretical, literary and sociological questions that establish the need for transdisciplinary dialogues and the relevance of their visions towards future evolution.

This book will be useful to scholars and researchers of political science, Indian political thought, comparative politics, philosophy, Indian philosophy, sociology, anthropology, modern Indian history, peace studies, cultural studies, religious studies and South Asian studies.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Fred Dallmayr



Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo: An Introduction and Invitation to the Adventure of Consciousness and World Transformations

Ananta Kumar Giri


Part I: Life, History and Visions


1. Gandhi, Aurobindo and the Idea of Swaraj as ‘Inclusive Freedom’

Nishant Kumar


2. A Meeting That Never Happened: Unheard Dialogues Between Sri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi

Payel Chattopadhyay Mukherjee


3. Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and the Second World War

Steve Brett


4. Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo: Reconstruction and Reformation of Philosophical Traditions

Asha Mukherjee  


Part II: Reinterpretations of Indian and World Traditions and a New Hermeneutics of Transformations


5. Sundry Freedom Fighters: Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and Rudolf Steiner

Karl-Julius Reubke


6. Interpretation of the Bhagavadgītā during the Freedom Struggle in India and the Theory of Revision of Institutions: Understanding Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo

Binod Kumar Agarwala


7. Interpreting the Bhagavadgita: Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo

Ramesh Chandra Pradhan


8. India and the West in Encounter: Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on Indian Culture

Edward T. Ulrich


9. Re-Reading Ananthamurthy’s Samskara: Perspectives from Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo

Nishtha Saxena


10. The Languages of Being Indian: Sri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi

G. N. Devy


Part III: Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and Contemporary Challenges of Integral Development, Social Transformations and Planetary Realizations


11. Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and a New Social Vision

 Subhash Sharma


12. Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and New Horizons of Sustainable Development

Sanghamitra Patnaik


13. Towards Spirituality of the Environment: A Perspective from Sri Aurobindo and Gandhi

Saji Varghese


14. Social Practices of Citizenship: Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo

Bindu Mohanty

15. Ideal of Human Unity: Evolution of Human Society in Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophy and Glimpses from Mahatma Gandhi’s Thinking

Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra


16. Decolonialization and the Anthropocene:  A Trajectory of Reflections on Radical Politics and Human Agency from Gandhi and Aurobindo to Bruno Latour

Paul Schwartzentruber



Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo: Some Further Reflections

Robert McDermott and Debashish Banerjee


Gandhi and Aurobindo in the Age of Corona: Reflections on Transformative Leadership, End Times, and the Kali Yuga

David Blake Willis



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Ananta Kumar Giri is Professor at Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, India.


‘In this narrow window of time separating the 150th birth anniversaries of M.K. Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo, one of India’s most prolific and creative sociologists, Ananta Kumar Giri, proves once again to be a unique voice of simultaneous scholarship and devotion. In his latest edited book, Giri and his distinguished fellow contributors inaugurate a sustained, synergistic dialogue between these two national and global icons. What is fascinating is the consistent juxtaposition in every single chapter — never before this book have Gandhi and Aurobindo so meticulously been brought together. The two may never have met in person, but Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo reveals countless ways that they were also never apart.’

Aakash Singh Rathore, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonepat, India


‘Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo have left us with a legacy of undeveloped potential for revolutionary political, economic, cultural, and environmental thinking and practice, for ethical living, and for transformative spiritual realization. This most significant book, bringing Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo-informed perspectives into complex dynamic dialogues and interactions, has the potential to burst open some of our present false, immoral, and destructive closures and to offer qualitatively new creative ways of relating to our contemporary crises that threaten life on the planet.’

Douglas Allen, Professor of Philosophy, The University of Maine, USA


‘Amidst pandemic and climate change and global social upheaval this book lifts up the two paths to personal and political freedom charted by Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo. We all seek sovereignty (svaraj). How might we be inspired by Gandhi's nonviolence and holding to truth and Aurobindo's descent of consciousness? These essays boldly bring us into heightened awareness of social location and the relentless and unremitting tragedies of human history. Contemporary solutions require moving into a shared vision of a plural universe, seeking federalist alliances rather than slipping intro nationalisms, setting aside personal, consumerist impulses in favor of a common good. This book edifies and educates the reader about the history of how Gandhi and Aurobindo responded during World War II. It explores literature about justice and injustice as found in the celebrated novel Samskara. These essays remind us of Gandhi's call for lifestyle simplicity, and the quest for human liberation as exemplified by Aurobindo. It poses the enduring question: beyond mere survival, how do we sustain and thrive?’

Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and Director, Master of Arts in Yoga Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, USA