Moving Towards South Asian Confederation
Ideal of Human Unity - Chapters

A Postscript Chapter, Part II

Resistances to a global world-order

Of course, a legitimate optimism does not mean turning a blind eye towards the huge and formidable resistances that would meet a global world-order. Already when Sri Aurobindo was penning the Postscript chapter that would be published in 1950, there were serious reservations about the efficiency of the United Nations though Sri Aurobindo discouraged such pessimism about the success of the world-body. In the same breath he cautioned that the leaders of the nations would have to display genuine statesmanship and handle centrifugal tendencies with swiftness and caution. A global world-order had to be initiated and maintained as there was no alternative unless a higher Power changed destiny through some delivering turn in the collective psyche or evolutionary progress.

The failure of the League of Nations provided important clues about the defects that should not be repeated. Sri Aurobindo described that there were conceptual, structural and functional defects. The conceptual defect arose from the contemporary political climate; the structural defect arose from an undue stress on unanimity. Functionally, “The League of Nations was in fact an oligarchy of big Powers each drawing behind it a retinue of small States and using the general body so far as possible for the furtherance of its own policy much more than for the general interest and the good of the world at large”. (The Ideal of Human Unity, pg.582) At the end, “The absence of America and the position of Russia had helped to make the final ill-success of this first venture a natural consequence, if not indeed unavoidable”.(Ibid) In making this comment, Sri Aurobindo was keenly following contemporary movements. (Though President Woodrow Wilson won the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize for being a leading architect of the League, the USA did not join the League due to opposition from the isolationists in the US Congress. The Soviet Union which was initially not part of the League later joined in 1934 but was excluded in 1939 after the outbreak of the Soviet-Finnish war.)

Sri Aurobindo explained that an attempt was made to free the United Nations from such errors but the venture was not full-proof and allowed lacunae to persist in the preponderant place assigned to the five great Powers of the Security Council and their right to exercise the veto that reflected a “strong surviving element of oligarchy”. (Ibid) The veto per se was a double-edged sword. A too hasty attempt to abolish such defects would lead to a crash of the edifice; to leave such defects unmodified would sow distrust, disharmony and a sense of futility that would be tragic for humanity at large.

Collapse of United Nations

What would happen if the United Nations collapsed? Would a new body take its place automatically or whether the collapse of the UNO could lead to another world war that would then facilitate the setting of a new world-order? Would such a resultant world-order be more durable than the present United Nations? Sri Aurobindo answers:

“A third attempt, the substitution of a differently constituted body, could only come if this institution (the UNO) collapsed as a result of a new catastrophe: if certain dubious portents fulfil their menace, it might emerge into being and might even this time be more successful because of an increased and a more general determination not to allow such a calamity to occur again; but it would be after a third cataclysmal struggle which might shake to its foundations the international structure now holding together after two upheavals with so much difficulty and unease. Yet, even in such a contingency, the intention in the working of Nature is likely to overcome the obstacles she has herself raised up and they may be got rid of once and for all. But for that it will be necessary to build, eventually at least, a true World-State without exclusions and on a principle of equality into which considerations of size and strength will not enter. These may be left to exercise whatever influence is natural to them in a well-ordered harmony of the world’s peoples safeguarded by the law of a new international order. A sure justice, a fundamental equality and combination of rights and interests must be the law of this World-State and the basis of its entire edifice”. (Ibid, pg.583)

The Future World-Order

On June 7,1967, The Mother elaborated a vision of the future world-body. She was concentrating on the terrestrial possibility of a harmonious future when she had a vision of Sri Aurobindo explaining to her

“A federation of all nations and countries without exception, all continents. A single federation: the federation of all human nations of the earth.”

The Mother elaborated the vision further:

“And a group – a governing group consisting of one representative from each country, the most able men from the standpoint of political and economic organisation. And nothing of the proportional question that would give large countries many representatives and small ones only one – one representative for each country. Because every country represents one aspect of the problem. And they would sit in rotation”.

She added, “It was a vast vision, not so much with words as with a vision”.

(Mother’s Agenda, June 7,1967)


Date of Update: 18-Dec-20

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu