Sri Aurobindo on Hindu rites

The rites, ceremonies, system of cult and worship of Hinduism
can only be understood if we remember its fundamental
character. It is in the first place a non-dogmatic inclusive religion
and would have taken even Islam and Christianity into itself, if
they had tolerated the process. All that it has met on its way it
has taken into itself, content if it could put its forms into some
valid relation with the truth of the supraphysical worlds and
the truth of the Infinite. Again it has always known in its heart
that religion, if it is to be a reality for the mass of men and
not only for a few saints and thinkers, must address its appeal
to the whole of our being, not only to the suprarational and
the rational parts, but to all the others. The imagination, the
emotions, the aesthetic sense, even the very instincts of the half
subconscient parts must be taken into the influence. Religion
must lead man towards the suprarational, the spiritual truth
and it must take the aid of the illumined reason on the way, but
it cannot afford to neglect to call Godwards the rest of our complex
nature. And it must take too each man where he stands and
spiritualise him through what he can feel and not at once force
on him something which he cannot yet grasp as a true and living
power. That is the sense and aim of all those parts of Hinduism
which are specially stigmatised as irrational or antirational by
the positivist intelligence. But the European mind has failed to
understand this plain necessity or has despised it. It insists on
“purifying” religion, by the reason and not by the spirit, on
“reforming” it, by the reason and not by the spirit. And we
have seen what were the results of this kind of purification and
reformation in Europe. The infallible outcome of that ignorant
doctoring has been first to impoverish and then slowly to kill
religion; the patient has fallen a victim to the treatment, while
he might well have survived the disease!
Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo Vol 20 p 147-148


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