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The Bhagavadgita in the Nationalist Discourse$
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Nagappa Gowda

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198072065

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198072065.001.0001

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Nation in Spiritual Quest

Nation in Spiritual Quest

Aurobindo and the Gita

(p.124) 4 Nation in Spiritual Quest
The Bhagavadgita in the Nationalist Discourse

Nagappa K. Gowda

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores Sri Aurobindo's spiritual reading and understanding of the Bhagavadgita. Aurobindo felt that the Bhagavadgita could easily lend itself for the justification of violence in the national struggle for freedom. Unlike other interpreters of the Gita, Aurobindo felt that nationalism was not a mere political programme but a religion, an avatar that had come from God. Aurobindo argued that its text expounded a single universal truth while borrowing from certain philosophical systems. He considered all the contemporary interpretations of the Gita that immediately preceded him as Karmayogic interpretations and appeared to want to reproduce the Orientalist image of India as primarily a spiritual realm.

Keywords:   Sri Aurobindo, Bhagavadgita, spiritual text, Absolute Truth, violence, national struggle, avatar, Karmayoga, Orientalist image

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