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  • 8/15/2004

Sri Aurobindo

(August 15, 1872-Decemer 5, 1950)

For the last 40 years of his life in Pondicherry Sri Aurobindo worked tirelessly for the realisation of his vision of a divine life upon earth. He revealed his new message for humanity and its glorious future primarily through his writings which reflect unerringly his genius as a scholar, writer, poet, literary critic, philosopher, social thinker, revolutionary, patriot, visionary and yogi. His masterful command over the English language, his infallible power of expression, his sharp intellect, his poetic genius, and above all his yogic insight and his love for humanity make it a veritable experience reading his works.
Sri Aurobindo was born on the 15th of August 1872, in Calcutta. As a child of 7 years he was sent toEngland for his education where he studied at St. Paul's inLondon and at King's College, Cambridge. During a brilliant academic career he mastered not only English but also Greek, Latin and French and became familiar with German, Italian and Spanish.
At a very young age Sri Aurobindo had begun to feel strongly that a period of great revolutionary changes was emerging in the world and in India and that he was destined to play a part in it.On his return to India at the age of 21, he plunged whole-heartedly in the study of Indian culture. He spent 13 years in Baroda in the administrative and educational services of that State under the Gaekwad of Baroda. These were years of self-culture and literary activity. Gradually his silent political activity turned into active participation in India's struggle for freedom. He became a leader of the nationalist party and his editorials in the daily `Bande Mataram', at once made him an All-India figure. While the then Viceroy of India, Lord Minto, considered him to be "the most dangerous man we now have to reckon with", Dushbandhu Chittaranjan Das hailed him as "the poet of patriotism, the prophet of nationalism and a lover of humanity."
From 1908 to 1909 Sri Aurobindo was kept under detention by the British Government. During this one year of seclusion Sri Aurobindo underwent a series of decisive spiritual experiences which determined the course of his future life. He said after his release: The only result of the wrath of the British Government was that I found God.
In 1910, in answer to an inner call Sri Aurobindo withdrew from the political field and sailed forPondicherry to devote himself entirely to his evolving spiritual mission. He knew that India's freedom was certain. But now he had to work for an inner awakening and a change of consciousness, in India and the world, without which there could be no lasting progress and no solution to the pressing and formidable problems which beset mankind.
Sri Aurobindo's spiritual collaborator known as the Mother joined him in 1920. With the Mother and Sri Aurobindo at its centre emerged the Sri Aurobindo Ashram - not a retreat for ascetics and retired men but the seat of an enduring spiritual experiment which works for the transformation and perfection of life instead of its rejection. Sri Aurobindo affirms that all life is Yoga that man has a greater destiny awaiting him, and through a conscious aspiration he can evolve into a higher being and open himself to a new consciousness which he called the Supramental.
Sri Aurobindo left his body in 1950 but his vision and ideals continue to inspire thousands of people all over the world.

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