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Sri Aurobindo –

Posted: September 9, 2018 at 4:40 am

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The year was 1907. The freedom movement in India was gathering momentum. Its leader was detained by the police. The poet Rabindranath Tagore paid him a visit after his acquittal, and wrote the now famous lines:Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee! O friend, my countrys friend, O Voice incarnate, free, Of Indias soul! The fiery messenger that with the lamp of God. Hath comeRabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee.

In the year 1928, the leader had now left politics and had gone to Pondicherry, where he plunged himself into the practice of Yoga.

The poet Tagore once again paid him a visit and declared: You have the Word and we are waiting to accept it from you. India will speak through your voice to the world, Hearken to me!

Years ago I saw Aurobindo in the atmosphere of his earlier heroic youth and I sang to him: Aurobindo, accept the salutations from Rabindranath. Today I saw him in a deeper atmosphere of a reticent richness of wisdom and again sang to him in silence: Aurobindo, accept the salutations from Rabindranath!

How does one describe or speak about such a personality? Sri Aurobindo has been called a scholar, a literary critic, a philosopher, a revolutionary, a poet, a yogi and a rishi. He was all these and much more. To have even a glimpse of the true Sri Aurobindo, we have to turn to the Mother: What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world's history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme.

In fact, Sri Aurobindo declared, in no uncertain terms that nobody could write his biography and added: Neither you nor anyone else knows anything at all of my life; it has not been on the surface for men to see.

But he was not altogether averse to this effort and even made corrections when some biographers made the attempt. In the process the veil that hid the divine mystery was lifted a little.

The Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo are available for download on Sri Aurobindo Ashram's website.Each volume can be viewed and downloaded in PDF format.

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The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: Peter Heehs: 9780231140980 …

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All students and scholars of Sri Aurobindo will find this extraordinary book most rewarding... Essential. (CHOICE)

A great biography... a doorway into [Sri Aurobindo's] extraordinary spiritual philosophy and vision. (EnlightenNext)

It is engagingly written and supported by a bounty of historical materials. Students of India with little familiarity of Aurobindo will discover that Heehs offers a multisided portrait of a brilliant and enigmatic man whose lifetime spanned a momentous period in modern Indian history... (Hanna H. Kim H-Asia)

The book's strength is Heehs' deep understanding of modern India, which gives him an edge in perceptively situating Aurobindo within the context of Indian national movement. (Vijendra Singh Contemporary South Asia)

...meticulously reported and scrupulously footnoted... (Yoga Journal)

Heehs has succeeded magnificently; The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is quickly becoming the biography for academics. (AntiMatter)

Heehs' work is an epic effort to encompass the outer and inner life of a personality, who seems to defy all definitions and boundaries, written with the intention of making him comprehensible to the scholarly mind of our times. I believe this book to be eminently successful (Debashish Banerji Sophia)

A formidable piece of scholarship. (Antony Copley Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society)

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Integral yoga – Wikipedia

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Integral yoga, also called supramental yoga, is the yoga-based philosophy and practice of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother (Mirra Alfassa). Integral yoga finds all life conscious or subconscious a yoga, defines the term yoga as a methodised effort towards self-perfection by the expression of the secret potentialities latent in the being and highest condition of victory in that effort - a union of the human individual with the universal and transcendent existence which is seen partially as expressions in humans and in the cosmos. As a yoga idea, that Spirit manifests itself in a process of involution. The reverse process of evolution is driven toward a complete manifestation of spirit.

According to Sri Aurobindo, the current status of human evolution is an intermediate stage in the evolution of being, which is on its way to the unfolding of the spirit, and the self-revelation of divinity in all things. Yoga is a rapid and concentrated evolution of being, which can take effect in one life-time, while unassisted natural evolution would take many centuries or many births. Aurobindo suggests a grand program called sapta chatushtaya (seven quadrates) to aid this evolution.


Sri Aurobindo finds that there are two extreme views of life, The materialists & The Ascetics

The Materialists: He finds materialists would only accept the existance of matter or force and deny anything else, & would in their argument find anything which is not knowable (that which would escape once thought and speech) as inert or a passive, silent Atman, an illusion or a hallucination, this affirmation by the materialists is based on the association of the real with the materially perceptible, and becomes the basis of his assumption on all his arguments. Which Sri Aurobindo finds cannot give a impartial reasoning. Due to the above notion the materialists would refuse any further inquiry, thus never having a satisfied understanding. He recommends that the only way to reconcile the materialistic mind with the other truth would be to cross over the layers of inner consciouness either by objective analysis of life & mind as to matter or by subjective synthesis and illumination, arrive at a state of the ultimate unity without denying the energy of the expressing multiplicity of the universe.He finds that the current World is in a state of rationalistic materialism, & finds that this rationalistic movement has served human kind in a positive way, by purifying intellect from the dogmas, superstitions clearing path to a better advancement of Humanity.. Sri Aurobindo finds that root of this Scientific movement to be a search for knowledge, due to this root the movement would not come to an halt & it's progress is a sure sign that it would carry forward in reaching the other part of knowledge which vedantins had found in a different way..

The Ascetics: would only accept spirit/Atman and terming the remaining as mechanical unintelligent substance or energy, leading to believing the reality to be an illusion of senses. Sri Aurobindo finds when the mind retracts from external activities and has experience of silence, a powerfull convincing experience that only the pure self or non-being is real leads them to disregard the outer world. he finds this as an revolt of spirit on matter which was made famous by Buddhism affirming that it is impossible to find a solution in the world which is termed to be dual in nature, but to escape into Nirvana, Brahmaloka or Goloka as beyond. He finds that this apporach is slowly comming to an end and had it's importance as the part of evolution, but is quite different than what was present in vedic period.

Sri Aurobindo terms the Integral yoga to hava a commprehensive approach not rejecting both the ways and towards what vedantins had affirmed. and affirms that not only the eternal spirit which inhibits a body as the divinde but also matter to be divine.

Spirit or satchitananda is the Absolute, the source of all that exists.[web 1] It is the One, having three aspects: Sat (truth), Citta (consciousness, awareness), and ananda (bliss, happiness).

Involution is the extension of Spirit, the Absolute, to create a universe of separate forms. Being manifests itself as a multiplicity of forms, meanwhile becoming lost in the inconscience of matter.[10] The first manifestation of Spirit in the process of involution is as Satchitananda, and then as Supermind, the intermediate link between the higher (Spirit) and lower (matter, life, and mind) nature.[11]

According to Aurobindo the world is a differentiated unity. It is a manifold oneness, that generates an infinite variety of lifeforms and substances. The lifeforms and substances are stretched out on a wide range, from physical matter to a pure form of spiritual being, where the subject becomes fully aware of itself as spirit:

Above Mind proper lie various higher levels of Mind, which ascend toward Spirit.

Through evolution Spirit rediscoveres itself as Spirit. Evolution follows a developmental trajectory from the original inconscience of matter into life, to mind, and then to spiritualized mind, culminating in The Supermind or Truth Consciousness.[14] Evolution is teleological, since the developing entity contains within itself already the totality toward which it develops. It is not a mechanistic or deterministic teleology, but a "manifestation of all the possibilities inherent in the total movement."

The goal of Integral yoga is to become aware of the Divine, to integrate the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of ourselves, and to manifest the Divine at earth. According to Sri Aurobindo, all life is Yoga, while Yoga as a sadhana is a methodised effort towards self-perfection, which brings to expression the latent, hidden potentialities of being. Success in this effort unifies the human individual with the universal and transcendental Existence. Integral yoga reunites "the infinite in the finite, the timeless in the temporal and the transcendent with the immanent.

Sri Aurobindo discerns three types of being, namely the Outer being, the Inner being, and the Psychic Being.

The Outer Being includes the physical, vital and mental levels of Being, which characterises our everyday consciousness and experience. It includes several levels of the subconscient: a mental subconscient, a vital subconscient, and a physical subconscient, down to the material Inconscient.[web 2] Integral Yoga involves going beyond this surface consciousness to the larger life of the Inner Being, which is more open to spiritual realisation.

The Inner Being, or Subliminal, includes the inner realms or aspects of the physical, vital and mental being. They have a larger, subtler, freer consciousness than that of the everyday consciousness. Its realisation is essential for any higher spiritual realisation.

The Inner Being is also transitional between the surface or Outer Being and the Psychic or Inmost Being. By doing yoga practice (sadhana), the inner consciousness is being opened, and life turns away from the outward to the inward. The inner consciousness becomes more real than the outer consciousness, and becomes a peace, happiness and closeness to the Divine.[21]

The Psychic Being is Sri Aurobindo's term for the Personal Evolving Soul, the principle of Divine spirit in every individual.[note 1] The Psychic is the "Innermost Being",[note 2] the permanent being in us that stands behind and supports the physical, vital and mental principles. It "uses mind, life and body as its instruments," undergoing their fate yet also transcending them.[24]

In Integral Yoga the goal is to move inward and discover the Psychic Being, which then can bring about a transformation of the outer nature. This transformation of the outer being or ego by the Psychic is called Psychicisation; it is one of the three necessary stages in the realisation of the Supramental consciousness. This Psychic transformation is the decisive movement that enables a never-ending progress in life, through the power of connecting to one's inner spirit or Divine Essence. The Psychic begins its evolution completely veiled and hidden, but grows through successive lifetimes, and gradually exerts a greater influence, taking on the role of spiritual Guide.[25]

Central Being refers to the transcendent and eternal spirit, as opposed to the incarnate and evolving Soul, which he calls the Psychic Being. Sometimes it refers to both of them together as the essential spiritual core of the being.[26] The Central Being "presides over the different births one after the other but is itself unborn" (ibid p.269). This transcendent Central Being or Spirit is also designated as the Jiva or Jivatman, although the meaning of these terms in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy differs greatly from that of much of conventional Vedanta (especially Advaita Vedanta)

The levels of being ascend from the inconscient to the Supermind.

Inconscient Matter is the lowest level of involution. Spirit is still present in the inconscient: "The Inconscient is the Superconscient's sleep."[web 2] The Inconscient is also the instrument of the Superconsciousness which has created the Universe. According to Satprem, the Inconscient lies at the bottom of the physical subconscient,[web 2] and "life emerged [...] at the border between the material inconscient and the physical consciousness [...] in our body.[web 2]

The physical, vital and mental levels of being contain both a subconscient and a subtle or subliminal part.

The subconscient parts are the submerged parts. It contains "obstinate samskaras, impressions, associations, fixed notions, habitual reactions formed by the past." According to Satprem, there are several levels of the subconscient, corresponding with the different levels of our being: a mental subconscient, a vital subconscient, and a physical subconscient, down to the material Inconscient.[web 2]

According to Aurobindo, the body is partly a creation of the inconscient or subconscient. According to The Mother, the ordinary, false consciousness, which is common to material body-consciousness, is derived from the subconscient and the inconscient. According to Aurobindo, the outer being depends on the subconscient, which hinders the spiritual progress. Only by living in the inner being can this obstacle be overcome.

According to Sharma, the subconscient is "the inconscient in the proces of becoming conscient." It is a submerged part of the personality without waking consciousness, but which does receive impressions, and influences the conscious mind. According to Sharma, it includes the unconscious mind which is described by psychologists like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, though it includes much more than the unconscious of (Freudian) psychology.[note 3]

The subtle or subliminal is the subtle, higher counterpart of the subconscient. According to Sharma, "it has an inner mind, an inner vital being, and an inner subtle physical being, wider than man's consciousness." It can directly experience the Universal, and "it is the source of inspirations, intuitions, ideas, will [...] as well as [...] telepathy [and] clearvoyance."

The gross body commonly referred to in yoga constitutes mainly of two parts the material physical body (annakosha) and the nervous system normally refer to as vital vehicle (Prana kosha) in Integral yoga.

The Physical level refers to both the physical body and the body's consciousness. The body is just as conscious as the vital and mental parts of the being, only it is a different type of consciousness. The Physical not only shades upwards to higher ontological levels, but also downwards into the Subconscient.[note 4]

The Subtle physical is Sri Aurobindo's term for a subtler aspect of the physical nature. This has many qualities not found in the gross physical nature. In The Agenda, The Mother often refers to it. It might be compared to the etheric body and plane, or even the astral body and plane. The term "subtle physical" is used to distinguish it from gross (sthula) or outer material physical.[note 5]

The Vital level of the being refers to the life force, but also to the various passions, desires, feelings, emotions, affects, compulsions, and likes and dislikes. These strongly determine human motivation and action through desire and enthusiasm.

Unlike Western psychology, in which mind, emotions, instincts, and consciousness are all lumped together, Sri Aurobindo strongly distinguishes between the "Vital" and the "Mental" faculties.

In addition to the individual Vital faculty, Sri Aurobindo refers to a Vital Plane or Vital world, which would seem to be partly equivalent to the Astral Plane of popular occultism and New Age thought.

Mind proper is the conceptual and cognitive mind. Mind is a subordinate process of the Supermind. It is the intermediary stage between the Divine and the mundane life. It works by measuring and dividing reality, and has lost sight of the Divine. It is the seat of ignorance, yet it is still capable of an upward ascent toward the Divine.

Unlike Western psychology, in which mind and consciousness are considered the same, Sri Aurobindo strongly distinguishes between the "Mental" and the "Vital" (emotional) faculties, as well as between Mind and pure Consciousness. Sri Aurobindo in part bases his concept of the Mental on his reading of the Taittiriya Upanishad, the mental being (or perhaps just the Mental Purusha) is the mano-maya-atma - the self made of mind (manas).

For Sri Aurobindo, Mind or the Mental being is not simple and uniform, but consists itself of various strata and subdivisions, which act at different levels of being. These various faculties are described or variously referred to, usually in obliquely or in passing, in some of his books, including Savitri, which has poetic references to many types of Mind.[45] In his letters answering questions from disciples, Sri Aurobindo summarises the characteristics of the various levels of Mind.[46][note 6]

Above mind proper lie various higher individual levels of mind, namely the Higher Mind, Illumined Mind, Intuitive Mind and Overmind, which ascend toward the Spirit, and provide a higher and more inclusive vision of reality:

Supermind is the infinite unitary Truth Consciousness or Truth-Idea beyond the three lower planes of Matter, Life, and Mind. Supermind is the dynamic form of Sachchidananda (Being-Consciousness-Bliss), and the necessary mediator or link between the transcendent Sacchidananda and the creation.[52]

Humans are stuck between matter and Spirit, due to the habits of personality and partial awareness, which arise from Ignorance.

Humans are accustomed to respond to certain vibrations more than other. These customs develop into one's desire, pain, feelings, which are all a set of habits. This crystallised set of habits becomes one's personality. This is normally believed to be "self". The appearance of stable personality is given by constant repetition and recurrence of the same vibrations and formations.

According to Aurobindo, humans face three basic problems:

The fundamental cause of falsehood, error and evil is Ignorance. Ignorance is a self-limiting knowledge, which arises with exclusive concentration in a single field. According to Aurobindo, human notion of good, bad & evil are uncertain and relative.

Unlike other Yoga practices Integral yoga does not propose any kind of physical asanas, breathing techniques or external movements. It is more psychological in nature, with internal reflection and self analysis & correction as main tools of development .

The main practices or approaches are divided into

The limitations of the present being can be overcome by the Triple transformation, the process in which the lower nature is transformed into the divine nature. It consists of the inward psychicisation by which the sadhak gets in contact with the inner divine principle or Psychic Being; the spiritual transformation or spiritualisation; and the Supramentalisation of the entire being.[note 9]

Psychicisation is a turn inward, so that one realises the psychic being, the psychic personality or Divine Soul, in the core of one's being. The Divine Soul serves as a spiritual Guide in the yoga, and enables one to transform the outer being.[59] It may also help avoid the dangers of the spiritual path. There is an intermediate zone, a dangerous and misleading transitional spiritual and pseudospiritual region between the ordinary consciousness and true spiritual realisation.[60]

Psychisiation consists of three methods. In "consecration" one opens oneself to the Force before engaging in an activity. "Moving to the Depths" (or "concentration") is a movement away from the surface existence to a deeper existence within. "Surrender" means offering all one's work, one's life to the Divine Force and Intent.[61][62] Guided by the evolving divine soul within, the sadhak moves away from ego, ignorance, finiteness, and the limitations of the outer being. It is thanks to this guidance by the Divine Soul that the sadhak can avoid the pitfalls of the spiritual path.

As a result of the Psychicisation, light, peace, and power descend into the body, transforming all of its parts, physical, vital, and mental. This is the Spiritual transformation, or Spiritualisation, the concretisation of the larger spiritual consciousness. It is equivalent to "enlightenment", as found in Vedanta and Buddhism.

Aurobindo asserted that spiritual aspirants may pass through an intermediate zone where experiences of force, inspiration, illumination, light, joy, expansion, power, and freedom from normal limits are possible. These can become associated with personal aspirations, ambitions, notions of spiritual fulfilment and yogic siddhi, and even be falsely interpreted as full spiritual realisation. One can pass through this zone, and the associated spiritual dangers, without harm by perceiving its real nature, and seeing through the misleading experiences. Those who go astray in it may end in a spiritual disaster, or may remain stuck there and adopt some half-truth as the whole truth, or become an instrument of lesser powers of these transitional planes. According to Aurobindo, this happens to many sadhaks and yogis.[63][64]

Supramentalisation is the realisation of the Supermind, or Supramental consciousness, and the resulting transformation of the entire being. Psychicisation and spirtualisation serve as necessary prerequisites for the Supramentalisation of the entire being.[65]

The supramental transformation is the final stage in the integral yoga, enabling the birth of a new individual, fully formed by the supramental power. Such individuals would be the forerunners of a new supra-humanity, grounded in truth-consciousness. All aspects of division and ignorance of consciousness, at the vital and mental levels, would be overcome, and replaced with a unity of consciousness at every plane. And even the physical body transformed and divinised. A new supramental species would then emerge, living a supramental, gnostic, divine life on earth.[66]

Aurobindo describes several results and different stages depicting the stages of development in integral yoga, called together the sapta chatushtaya, "seven quadrates."[web 3][web 4][note 10] It consists of:.[web 3]

Aurobindo had a strong influence on Ken Wilber's integral theory of spiritual development. Wilber's Causal and Ultimate stages closely resemble Aurobindo's higher mental stages, but Wilber lumps together levels of Being, types of Being and developmental stages.

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The Life Divine: Sri Aurobindo: 9788170588450: …

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The book is based on the Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo.Here is a short write-up on this great Indian Yogi. Sri Arobindo) (15 August 1872 5 December 1950) was an Indian nationalist and freedom fighter, major Indian English poet, philosopher, and yogi.He joined the movement for India's freedom from British rule and for a duration (1905 10), became one of its most important leaders,before turning to developing his own vision and philosophy of human progress and spiritual evolution. The central theme of Sri Aurobindo's vision is the evolution of life into a "life divine". In his own words: "Man is a transitional being. He is not final. The step from man to superman is the next approaching achievement in the earth evolution. It is inevitable because it is at once the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of Nature's process". The principal writings of Sri Aurobindo include, in prose, The Life Divine, considered his single great work of metaphysics,The Synthesis of Yoga, Secrets of the Vedas, Essays on the Gita, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity, Renaissance in India and other essays, Supramental Manifestation upon Earth, The Future Poetry, Thoughts and Aphorisms and several volumes of letters. In poetry, his principal work is "Savitri - a Legend and a Symbol" in blank verse.Most of these books are best sellers on amazon. --Wikipedia

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Sri Aurobindo Ashram

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The Mother, to Women

When the Mother was in Japan, she once addressed the women there, and said something that should be of tremendous interest not only to women anywhere in the world, but to mankind as a whole. She spoke on the mundane subject of maternity, but gave it a twist that makes women potentially the agents of a radical change in human nature. The process of creating a new life through maternity can be a conscious process. The mother's thoughts and feelings during pregnancy can shape the consciousness of the baby taking shape in her womb. The Mother had once seen two beautiful little girls, twins, whose beauty had the perfection of a child in a painting by Reynolds. The girls resembled neither parent, but it so transpired that the girls' mother had looked at consciously, throughout pregnancy, especially just before going to bed, and on getting up in the morning, a painting by Reynolds, and had prayed that she give birth to a child as beautiful as the child in the painting. The physical features offer much more resistance to any modifying influence than do thoughts and feelings. Therefore, if even the body of her child can be affected by a pregnant mother, it should be easier to influence the child's mind during pregnancy. Hence, the Mother urged women to use the power of their minds to "conceive and create a character capable of manifesting an ideal". This, the Mother said, is more important now than ever before in history because we are on the verge of a new step in evolution. The first among the supermen will naturally be born to women, and therefore women can contribute to the process by treating maternity as a process of conscious creation. The superman the Mother had in mind was not the same as visualized by Nietzsche. Nietzsche's superman is "a man aggrandized, magnified, in whom Force has become super-dominant, crushing under its weight all the other attributes of man". Instead, the superman that the Mother visualized is the man who lives by a principle higher than reason. The superman's guiding Light would be the Spirit within, the highest Truth of which man is capable. This faculty would change human nature itself in such a way that evil and injustice, and the consequent misery associated with human life would be wiped out. The Mother also said something extremely interesting about the superman: his mental ability might be less than that of man. But this foresight should not be so surprising, because evolution has not been accompanied by a linear and progressive increase in all abilities. Man's predecessors like the lion have far more physical ability; man cannot even jump from tree to tree like a monkey. Similarly, the superman might lose some of man's mental abilities. What the Mother said further is even more significant. By losing some of man's mental abilities, the superman will lose the "ability to deceive himself and others". It is such a superman, who will change the very character of terrestrial life, that women should concentrate on creating consciously through maternity. For this, they, and their partners, need to be on the spiritual path all along, not just during the woman's pregnancy. We must change if we want to see the change in the next generation.

(Based on: Words of Long Ago by The Mother. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, fourth edition, 1994, pp. 115-126.)

The Mother spent about four years in Japan from May 1916 - March 1920. It was from Japan that she sailed for Pondicherry, where she arrived, for the second time, on 24 April 1920. After that, She never left Pondicherry for even a single day. 24 April is, therefore, an important date in the calendar of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and is one of the four Darshan Days celebrated every year.

Not all great men are famous; this is the story of one such great man. He was born in 1903 in a village called Vahalee in the Punjab, and named Sikandar Lal. When he was 16, Mahatma Gandhi gave a call to the youth of India to interrupt for a few years whatever they were doing to join the struggle for the freedom of the nation. Seems simple, but it is not easy. Therefore, not many responded to the call, but Sikandar Lal was one of those who did. How is it that a few make choices that the majority consider rash, if not foolish. We have three basic tools for making choices: feelings, reason, and an intangible inner voice. In this case, the part of us that is guided by feelings would see in responding positively to Gandhiji's call a life in prisons, certainly not a very pleasant prospect. Reason may see the significance of freedom, and hence the nobility of responding to the call positively, but would also argue against the wisdom of a rash decision that crushes the career and neglects the family for the sake of an uncertain outcome in an unpredictably distant future. Even if the reckless idealism of youth motivates a young man to take the plunge, his parents and other well-wishers may foist on him their discouraging 'mature advice'. However, there is an inner voice, emanating from our deepest Self, which is illumined by our divine essence, the soul. This voice whispers to us what the right choice is. But this voice, although very clear, is a voice that does not insist; it is quite content to be ignored. Therefore, when pitted against the clamour of feelings and reason, this voice does often get ignored. It is only a few rare souls, who are in conscious contact with their deepest Self, who can ignore, oppose and conquer or ignore all opposition in order to act on the dictates of the soul. Sikandar Lal Jauhar was one such person. He responded to Gandhiji's call positively, in spite of opposition from his own family. He joined the freedom struggle, stayed with it till the goal of independence was realized, and during the intervening almost 30 years faced the lathis and bullets of the British police while participating in several demonstrations, and went to jail several times where he was tortured with fetters and beatings, the scars of which he carried on his ankles and the back all his life. He changed his name to Surendra Nath, which he said was a minor phonetic variation on his true nature, which was to 'surrender not'. During the 30 years that he was with the freedom struggle, starting almost penniless, he also initiated a business. God helps those who help themselves. The business flourished, and that is how he acquired in the 1930s a plot of land near Mehrauli. The land was also used for serving the cause of the freedom struggle, but to cut a long story short, when the country became free, Surendra Nath ji faced another dilemma, whether or not to continue with politics. He responded to the faint whisper of his deepest Self once again, and decided not to. This time the choice was easier, because in 1939 he had discovered his true calling. In 1939, an 'unplanned' visit to Pondicherry led to his discovery of The Mother, a discovery that he calls in his memoirs, "the Supreme Discovery of my life, the miracle of Pondicherry where I lost my heart and won the soul and the real life". His dedication to The Mother after 1939 was total, as it had been to the freedom struggle since 1919. The commitment that he made in 1939 finally culminated, with the permission and blessings of The Mother, in the establishment of an Ashram on the land that he had bought in the 1930s on 12 February 1956, the date chosen by The Mother, with its name 'Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch' also given by The Mother. In keeping with the spiritual philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, which is a life-affirming philosophy, the Ashram started a school in the same year, the school that is now known as The Mother's International School and has on its rolls more than 2000 students. Besides education, health care is another major activity of the Ashram today. This is the story of a man who started with the resolve that he would 'surrender not, but ended with total surrender to The Mother. This is the story of a man who started with the ambition of seeing his country free, and ended with the aspiration of liberating the world from the ignorance of a dividing ego-dominated consciousness towards a consciousness dominated by love and oneness.

(Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch, established on 12 February 1956, is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary this year)

The Mother had once called the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry a veritable laboratory to work out the future society. Its counterpart in the capital of India, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch, can best be understood as an extension of the centre of sadhana at Pondicherry. What is being done in this spiritual endeavour is the overcoming of the ascetic phase of the Indian tradition, which in a lopsided way equated spirituality with outer renunciation. In the Vedic times, integral life, prosperity, equality of sexes and a life-affirming attitude were cultivated by spiritual seekers. This integral approach was lost in later epochs when Mayavada (Illusionism) prevailed.

According to Sri Aurobindo "all life is Yoga." In the Integral Yoga, the integral life down to the smallest detail has to be divinised : an inner illumination that does not change the outer life leaves the world as it is. The object of our Yoga is self-perfection and world-perfec-tion.

From an early age The Mother had dreamed of a place where seek-ers of the Divine could completely dedicate themselves to spiritual life. "Earth needs a place where men can live away from social conventions, self-contradictory moralities and contending religions, a place where human beings, freed from all slavery to the past, can devote themselves wholly to the discovery and practice of the divine consciousness that is seeking to manifest itself." By providing a congenial environment and field of activities the Ashram seeks to be such a place. With the needs of the body provided, each one takes his work in the spirit of service and unselfishness, in the spirit of Karma Yoga - as an offering to the Divine.

The Delhi Branch was officially inaugurated on 12 February, 1956, with the Blessings of the Mother. To the great joy and gratitude of spiritual seekers in Northern India, the Mother graciously granted the very first Sacred Relics of Sri Aurobindo to be enshrined here on 5 December, 1957. Since then the Ashram has been growing at a steady pace. The shrine and the Meditation Hall continue to be the centre of life and the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother the guiding light. The Love and Blessings of the Master and the Mother and their Grace are always available to their disciples living here.

All live and work here as equals. No distinctions of sex, creed, religion, race, caste or national origin are observed: all are looked upon as souls and children of the Mother. There is no hierarchy of officials and subordinates. All work in association and as a unit un-der the general supervision of one or more sadhaks.

The doors of the Ashram are open for those who aspire for a higher life, with the trust that their aspiration will not stop merely at having a pious wish for a higher and nobler aim, but will manifest increasingly in the thoughts, the life movements and the physical expressionswhich will all be progressively and integrally conse-crated to the Divine.

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Sri Aurobindo Ashram

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Sri Aurobindo – A Life Sketch

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from Volume 30, SABCL, p.1-6.

Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August, 1872. In 1879, at the age of seven, he was taken with his two elder brothers to England for education and lived there for fourteen years. Brought up at first in an English family at Manchester, he joined St. Paul's School in London in 1884 and in 1890 went from it with a senior classical scholarship to King's College, Cambridge, where he studied for two years. In 1890 he passed also the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, but at the end of two years of probation failed to present himself at the riding examination and was disqualified for the Service. At this time the Gaekwar of Baroda was in London. Sri Aurobindo saw him, obtained an appointment in the Baroda Service and left England for India, arriving there in February, 1893.

Sri Aurobindo passed thirteen years, from 1893 to 1906, in the Baroda Service, first in the Revenue Department and in secretariate work for the Maharaja, afterwards as Professor of English and, finally, Vice-Principal in the Baroda College. These were years of self-culture, of literary activity -- for much of the poetry afterwards published from Pondicherry was written at this time -- and of preparation for his future work. In England he had received, according to his father's express instructions, an entirely occidental education without any contact with the culture of India and the East. (see note 1) At Baroda he made up the deficiency, learned Sanskrit and several modern Indian languages, assimilated the spirit of Indian civilisation and its forms past and present. A great part of the last years of this period was spent on leave in silent political activity, for he was debarred from public action by his position at Baroda. The outbreak of the agitation against the partition of Bengal in 1905 gave him the opportunity to give up the Baroda Service and join openly in the political movement. He left Baroda in 1906 and went to Calcutta as Principal of the newly-founded Bengal National College.

The political action of Sri Aurobindo covered eight years, from 1902 to 1910. During the first half of this period he worked behind the scenes, preparing with other co-workers the beginnings of the Swadeshi (Indian Sinn Fein) movement, till the agitation in Bengal furnished an opening for the public initiation of a more forward and direct political action than the moderate reformism which had till then been the creed of the Indian National Congress. In 1906 Sri Aurobindo came to Bengal with this purpose and joined the New Party, an advanced section small in numbers and not yet strong in influence, which had been recently formed in the Congress. The political theory of this party was a rather vague gospel of Non-cooperation; in action it had not yet gone farther than some ineffective clashes with the Moderate leaders at the annual Congress assembly behind the veil of secrecy of the "Subjects Committee". Sri Aurobindo persuaded its chiefs in Bengal to come forward publicly as an All-India party with a definite and challenging programme, putting forward Tilak, the popular Maratha leader at its head, and to attack the then dominant Moderate (Reformist or Liberal) oligarchy of veteran politicians and capture from them the Congress and the country. This was the origin of the historic struggle between the Moderates and the Nationalists (called by their opponents Extremists) which in two years changed altogether the face of Indian politics.

The new-born Nationalist party put forward Swaraj (independence) as its goal as against the far-off Moderate hope of colonial self-government to be realised at a distant date of a century or two by a slow progress of reform; it proposed as its means of execution a programme which resembled in spirit, though not in its details, the policy of Sinn Fein developed some years later and carried to a successful issue in Ireland. The principle of this new policy was self-help; it aimed on one side at an effective organisation of the forces of the nation and on the other professed a complete non-cooperation with the Government. Boycott of British and foreign goods and the fostering of Swadeshi industries to replace them, boycott of British law courts, and the foundation of a system of Arbitration courts in their stead, boycott of Government universities and colleges and the creation of a network of National colleges and schools, the formation of societies of young men which would do the work of police and defence and, wherever necessary, a policy of passive resistance were among the immediate items of the programme. Sri Aurobindo hoped to capture the Congress and make it the directing centre of an organised national action, an informal State within the State, which would carry on the struggle for freedom till it was won. He persuaded the party to take up and finance as its recognised organ the newly-founded daily paper, Bande Mataram, of which he was at the time acting editor. The Bande Mataram, whose policy from the beginning of 1907 till its abrupt winding up in 1908 when Sri Aurobindo was in prison was wholly directed by him, circulated almost immediately all over India. During its brief but momentous existence it changed the political thought of India which has ever since preserved fundamentally, even amidst its later developments, the stamp then imparted to it. But the struggle initiated on these lines, though vehement and eventful and full of importance for the future, did not last long at the time; for the country was still unripe for so bold a programme.

Sri Aurobindo was prosecuted for sedition in 1907 and acquitted. Up till now an organiser and writer, he was obliged by this event and by the imprisonment or disappearance of other leaders to come forward as the acknowledged head of the party in Bengal and to appear on the platform for the first time as a speaker. He presided over the Nationalist Conference at Surat in 1907 where in the forceful clash of two equal parties the Congress was broken to pieces. In May, 1908, he was arrested in the Alipore Conspiracy Case as implicated in the doings of the revolutionary group led by his brother Barindra; but no evidence of any value could be established against him and in this case too he was acquitted. After a detention of one year as undertrial prisoner in the Alipore Jail, he came out in May, 1909, to find the party organisation broken, its leaders scattered by imprisonment, deportation or self-imposed exile and the party itself still existent but dumb and dispirited and incapable of any strenuous action. For almost a year he strove single-handed as the sole remaining leader of the Nationalists in India to revive the movement. He published at this time to aid his effort a weekly English paper, the Karmayogin, and a Bengali weekly, the Dharma. But at last he was compelled to recognise that the nation was not yet sufficiently trained to carry out his policy and programme. For a time he thought that the necessary training must first be given through a less advanced Home Rule movement or an agitation of passive resistance of the kind created by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa. But he saw that the hour of these movements had not come and that he himself was not their destined leader. Moreover, since his twelve months' detention in the Alipore Jail, which had been spent entirely in practice of Yoga, his inner spiritual life was pressing upon him for an exclusve concentration. He resolved therefore to withdraw from the political field, at least for a time. (see note 2)

In February, 1910, he withdrew to a secret retirement at Chandernagore and in the beginning of April sailed for Pondicherry in French lndia. A third prosecution was launched against him at this moment for a signed article in the Karmayogin; in his absence it was pressed against the printer of the paper who was convicted, but the conviction was quashed on appeal in the High Court of Calcutta. For the third time a prosecution against him had failed. Sri Aurobindo had left Bengal with some intention of returning to the political field under more favourable circumstances; but very soon the magnitude of the spiritual work he had taken up appeared to him and he saw that it would need the exclusive concentration of all his energies. Eventually he cut off connection with politics, refused repeatedly to accept the Presidentship of the National Congress and went into a complete retirement. During all his stay at Pondicherry from 1910 onward he remained more and more exclusively devoted to his spiritual work and his sadhana.

In 1914 after four years of silent Yoga he began the publication of a philosophical monthly, the Arya. Most of his more important works, The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on the Gita, The Isha Upanishad, appeared serially in the Arya. These works embodied much of the inner knowledge that had come to him in his practice of Yoga. Others were concerned with the spirit and significance of Indian civilisation and culture (The Foundations of Indian Culture), the true meaning of the Vedas (The Secret of the Veda), the progress of human society (The Human Cycle), the nature and evolution of poetry (The Future Poetry), the possibility of the unification of the human race (The Ideal of Human Unity). At this time also he began to publish his poems, both those written in England and at Baroda and those, fewer in number, added during his period of political activity and in the first years of his residence at Pondicherry. The Arya ceased publication in 1921 after six years and a half of uninterrupted appearance. Sri Aurobindo lived at first in retirement at Pondicherry with four or five disciples. Afterwards more and yet more began to come to him to follow his spiritual path and the number became so large that a community of sadhaks had to be formed for the maintenance and collective guidance of those who had left everything behind for the sake of a higher life. This was the foundation of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram which has less been created than grown around him as its centre.

Sri Aurobindo began his practice of Yoga in 1904. At first gathering into it the essential elements of spiritual experience that are gained by the paths of divine communion and spiritual realisation followed till now in India, he passed on in search of a more complete experience uniting and harmonising the two ends of existence, Spirit and Matter. Most ways of Yoga are paths to the Beyond leading to the Spirit and, in the end, away from life; Sri Aurobindo's rises to the Spirit to redescend with its gains bringing the light and power and bliss of the Spirit into life to transform it. Man's present existence in the material world is in this view or vision of things a life in the Ignorance with the Inconscient at its base, but even in its darkness and nescience there are involved the presence and possibilities of the Divine. The created world is not a mistake or a vanity and illusion to be cast aside by the soul returning to heaven or Nirvana, but the scene of a spiritual evolution by which out of this material inconscience is to be manifested progressively the Divine Consciousness in things. Mind is the highest term yet reached in the evolution, but it is not the highest of which it is capable. There is above it a Supermind or eternal Truth-Consciousness which is in its nature the self-aware and self-determining light and power of a Divine Knowledge. Mind is an ignorance seeking after Truth, but this is a self-existent Knowledge harmoniously manifesting the play of its forms and forces. It is only by the descent of this supermind that the perfection dreamed of by all that is highest in humanity can come. It is possible by opening to a greater divine consciousness to rise to this power of light and bliss, discover one's true self, remain in constant union with the Divine and bring down the supramental Force for the transformation of mind and life and body. To realise this possibility has been the dynamic aim of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga.

Sri Aurobindo left his body on December 5, 1950. The Mother carried on his work until November 17, 1973. Their work continues.

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Sri Aurobindo - A Life Sketch

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Sri Aurobindo – Wikipedia

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Sri AurobindoReligionHinduismFounderofSri Aurobindo AshramAurovillePhilosophyIntegral Yoga, Involution (Sri Aurobindo), Evolution, Integral psychology, Intermediate zone, SupermindPersonalNationalityIndianBornAurobindo Ghose(1872-08-15)15 August 1872Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India(now Kolkata, West Bengal, India)Died5 December 1950(1950-12-05) (aged78)Pondicherry, French India(now in Puducherry)Disciple(s)Champaklal, N. K. Gupta, Amal Kiran, Nirodbaran, Pavitra, M. P. Pandit, A. B. Purani, D. K. Roy, Satprem, Indra SenLiterary worksThe Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, SavitriInfluencedMirra AlfassaSignature


Sri Aurobindo (Bengali:[Sri robindo]) (born Aurobindo Ghose; 15 August 1872 5 December 1950) was an Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet, and nationalist. He joined the Indian movement for independence from British rule, for a while was one of its influential leaders and then became a spiritual reformer, introducing his visions on human progress and spiritual evolution.

Aurobindo studied for the Indian Civil Service at King's College, Cambridge, England. After returning to India he took up various civil service works under the maharaja of the princely state of Baroda and began increasingly involved in nationalist politics and the nascent revolutionary movement in Bengal. He was arrested in the aftermath of a number of bomb outrages linked to his organisation, but in a highly public trial where he faced charges of treason, Aurobindo could only be convicted and imprisoned for writing articles against British rule in India. He was released when no evidence could be provided, following the murder of a prosecution-witness during the trial. During his stay in the jail he had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work.

During his stay in Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo developed a method of spiritual practice he called Integral Yoga. The central theme of his vision was the evolution of human life into a life divine. He believed in a spiritual realisation that not only liberated man but transformed his nature, enabling a divine life on earth. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (referred to as "The Mother"), he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

His main literary works are The Life Divine, which deals with theoretical aspects of Integral Yoga; Synthesis of Yoga, which deals with practical guidance to Integral Yoga; and Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, an epic poem. His works also include philosophy, poetry, translations and commentaries on the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1943 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.[3]

Aurobindo Ghose was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bengal Presidency, India on 15 August 1872 . His father, Krishna Dhun Ghose, was then Assistant Surgeon of Rangpur in Bengal, and a former member of the Brahmo Samaj religious reform movement who had become enamoured with the then-new idea of evolution while pursuing medical studies in Britain.[a] His mother was Swarnalata Devi, whose father was Shri Rajnarayan Bose, a leading figure in the Samaj. She had been sent to the more salubrious surroundings of Calcutta for Aurobindo's birth. Aurobindo had two elder siblings, Benoybhusan and Manmohan, a younger sister, Sarojini, and a younger brother, Barindrakumar (also referred to as Barin).

Young Aurobindo was brought up speaking English but used Hindustani to communicate with servants. Although his family were Bengali, his father believed British culture to be superior. He and his two elder siblings were sent to the English-speaking Loreto House boarding school in Darjeeling, in part to improve their language skills and in part to distance them from their mother, who had developed a mental illness soon after the birth of her first child. Darjeeling was a centre of British life in India and the school was run by Irish nuns, through which the boys would have been exposed to Christian religious teachings and symbolism.

Krishna Dhun Ghose wanted his sons to enter the Indian Civil Service (ICS), an elite organisation comprising around 1000 people. To achieve this it was necessary that they study in England and so it was there that the entire family moved in 1879.[b] The three brothers were placed in the care of the Reverend W. H. Drewett in Manchester. Drewett was a minister of the Congregational Church whom Krishna Dhun Ghose knew through his British friends at Rangapur.[c]

The boys were taught Latin by Drewett and his wife. This was a prerequisite for admission to good English schools and, after two years, in 1881, the elder two siblings were enrolled at Manchester Grammar School. Aurobindo was considered too young for enrolment and he continued his studies with the Drewetts, learning history, Latin, French, geography and arithmetic. Although the Drewetts were told not to teach religion, the boys inevitably were exposed to Christian teachings and events, which generally bored Aurobindo and sometimes repulsed him. There was little contact with his father, who wrote only a few letters to his sons while they were in England, but what communication there was indicated that he was becoming less endeared to the British in India than he had been, on one occasion describing the British Raj as a "heartless government".

Drewett emigrated to Australia in 1884, causing the boys to be uprooted as they went to live with Drewett's mother in London. In September of that year, Aurobindo and Manmohan joined St Paul's School there.[d] He learned Greek and spent the last three years reading literature and English poetry. He also acquired some familiarity with the German and Italian languages and, exposed to the evangelical strictures of Drewett's mother, a distaste for religion. He considered himself at one point to be an atheist but later determined that he was agnostic. A blue plaque unveiled in 2007 commemorates Aurobindo's residence at 49 St Stephen's Avenue in Shepherd's Bush, London, from 1884 to 1887. The three brothers began living in spartan circumstances at the Liberal Club in South Kensington during 1887, their father having experienced some financial difficulties. The Club's secretary was James Cotton, brother of their father's friend in the Bengal ICS, Henry Cotton.

By 1889, Manmohan had determined to pursue a literary career and Benoybhusan had proved himself unequal to the standards necessary for ICS entrance. This meant that only Aurobindo might fulfil his father's aspirations but to do so when his father lacked money required that he studied hard for a scholarship. To become an ICS official, students were required to pass the competitive examination, as well as to study at an English university for two years under probation. Aurobindo secured a scholarship at King's College, Cambridge, under recommendation of Oscar Browning. He passed the written ICS examination after a few months, being ranked 11th out of 250 competitors. He spent the next two years at King's College. Aurobindo had no interest in the ICS and came late to the horse-riding practical exam purposefully to get himself disqualified for the service.

At this time, the Maharaja of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaekwad III, was travelling in England. Cotton secured for him a place in Baroda State Service and arranged for him to meet the prince. He left England for India, arriving there in February 1893. In India, Krishna Dhun Ghose, who was waiting to receive his son, was misinformed by his agents from Bombay (now Mumbai) that the ship on which Aurobindo had been travelling had sunk off the coast of Portugal. His father died upon hearing this news.

In Baroda, Aurobindo joined the state service in 1893, working first in the Survey and Settlements department, later moving to the Department of Revenue and then to the Secretariat, and much miscellaneous work like teaching grammar and assisting in writing speeches for the Maharaja of Gaekwad until 1897. In 1897 during his work in Baroda he started working as a part-time French teacher at Baroda College (now Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda). He was later promoted to the post of vice-principal. At Baroda, Aurobindo self-studied Sanskrit and Bengali.

During his stay at Baroda he contributed to many articles to Indu Prakash and spoke as a chairman of the Baroda college board. He started taking an active interest in the politics of India's independence struggle against British rule, working behind the scenes as his position in the Baroda state administration barred him from overt political activity. He linked up with resistance groups in Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, while traveling to these states. He established contact with Lokmanya Tilak and Sister Nivedita. He arranged the military training of Jatindra Nath Banerjee (Niralamba Swami) in the Baroda army and then dispatched him to organise the resistance groups in Bengal.

Aurobindo often travelled between Baroda and Bengal, at first in a bid to re-establish links with his parent's families and other Bengali relatives, including his sister Sarojini and brother Barin, and later increasingly to establish resistance groups across the Presidency. He formally moved to Calcutta in 1906 after the announcement of the Partition of Bengal. Age 28, he had married 14-year-old Mrinalini, daughter of Bhupal Chandra Bose, a senior official in government service, when he visited Calcutta in 1901. Mrinalini died in December 1918 during the influenza pandemic.

Aurobindo was influenced by studies on rebellion and revolutions against England in medieval France and the revolts in America and Italy. In his public activities he favoured non-co-operation and passive resistance; in private he took up secret revolutionary activity as a preparation for open revolt, in case that the passive revolt failed.

In Bengal, with Barin's help, he established contacts with revolutionaries, inspiring radicals such as Bagha Jatin or Jatin Banerjee and Surendranath Tagore. He helped establish a series of youth clubs, including the Anushilan Samiti of Calcutta in 1902.

Aurobindo attended the 1906 Congress meeting headed by Dadabhai Naoroji and participated as a councillor in forming the fourfold objectives of "Swaraj, Swadesh, Boycott and national education". In 1907 at the Surat session of Congress where moderates and extremists had a major showdown, he led with extremists along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The Congress split after this session. In 19071908 Aurobindo travelled extensively to Pune, Bombay and Baroda to firm up support for the nationalist cause, giving speeches and meeting with groups. He was arrested again in May 1908 in connection with the Alipore Bomb Case. He was acquitted in the ensuing trial, following the murder of chief prosecution witness Naren Gosain within jail premises which subsequently led to the case against him collapsing. Aurobindo was subsequently released after a year of isolated incarceration.

Once out of the prison he started two new publications, Karmayogin in English and Dharma in Bengali. He also delivered the Uttarpara Speech hinting at the transformation of his focus to spiritual matters. The British persecution continued because of his writings in his new journals and in April 1910 Aurobindo moved to Pondicherry, where Britain's secret police monitored his activities.

In July 1905 then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, partitioned Bengal. This sparked an outburst of public anger against the British, leading to civil unrest and a nationalist campaign by groups of revolutionaries, who included Aurobindo. In 1908, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki attempted to kill Magistrate Kingsford, a judge known for handing down particularly severe sentences against nationalists. However, the bomb thrown at his horse carriage missed its target and instead landed in another carriage and killed two British women, the wife and daughter of barrister Pringle Kennedy. Aurobindo was also arrested on charges of planning and overseeing the attack and imprisoned in solitary confinement in Alipore Jail. The trial of the Alipore Bomb Case lasted for a year, but eventually he was acquitted on May 6, 1909. His defence counsel was Chittaranjan Das.

During this period in the Jail, his view of life was radically changed due to spiritual experiences and realizations. Consequently, his aim went far beyond the service and liberation of the country.

Aurobindo said he was "visited" by Vivekananda in the Alipore Jail: "It is a fact that I was hearing constantly the voice of Vivekananda speaking to me for a fortnight in the jail in my solitary meditation and felt his presence."

In his autobiographical notes, Aurobindo said he felt a vast sense of calmness when he first came back to India. He could not explain this and continued to have various such experiences from time to time. He knew nothing of yoga at that time and started his practise of it without a teacher, except for some rules that he learned from Ganganath, a friend who was a disciple of Brahmananda. In 1907, Barin introduced Aurobindo to Vishnu Bhaskar Lele, a Maharashtrian yogi. Aurobindo was influenced by the guidance he got from the yogi, who had instructed Aurobindo to depend on an inner guide and any kind of external guru or guidance would not be required.

In 1910 Aurobindo withdrew himself from all political activities and went into hiding at Chandannagar in the house of Motilal Roy, while the British were trying to prosecute him for sedition on the basis of a signed article titled 'To My Countrymen', published in Karmayogin. As Aurobindo disappeared from view, the warrant was held back and the prosecution postponed. Aurobindo manoeuvred the police into open action and a warrant was issued on 4 April 1910, but the warrant could not be executed because on that date he had reached Pondicherry, then a French colony. The warrant against Aurobindo was withdrawn.

In Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo dedicated himself to his spiritual and philosophical pursuits. In 1914, after four years of secluded yoga, he started a monthly philosophical magazine called Arya. This ceased publication in 1921. Many years later, he revised some of these works before they were published in book form. Some of the book series derived out of this publication were The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on The Gita, The Secret of The Veda, Hymns to the Mystic Fire, The Upanishads, The Renaissance in India, War and Self-determination, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity and The Future Poetry were published in this magazine.

At the beginning of his stay at Pondicherry, there were few followers, but with time their numbers grew, resulting in the formation of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926.[41] From 1926 he started to sign himself as Sri Aurobindo, Sri (meaning holy in Sanskrit) being commonly used as an honorific.

For some time afterwards, his main literary output was his voluminous correspondence with his disciples. His letters, most of which were written in the 1930s, numbered in the several thousands. Many were brief comments made in the margins of his disciple's notebooks in answer to their questions and reports of their spiritual practiceothers extended to several pages of carefully composed explanations of practical aspects of his teachings. These were later collected and published in book form in three volumes of Letters on Yoga. In the late 1930s, he resumed work on a poem he had started earlierhe continued to expand and revise this poem for the rest of his life. It became perhaps his greatest literary achievement, Savitri, an epic spiritual poem in blank verse of approximately 24,000 lines.

Sri Aurobindo left His body on 5 December 1950. Around 60,000 people attended to see his body resting peacefully. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and President Rajendra Prasad praised him for his contribution to Yogic philosophy and the independence struggle. National and international newspapers commemorated his death.[41]

Sri Aurobindo's close spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (b. Alfassa), came to be known as The Mother.[46] She was a French national, born in Paris on 21 February 1878. In her 20s she studied occultism with Max Theon. Along with her husband, Paul Richard, she went to Pondicherry on 29 March 1914, and finally settled there in 1920. Sri Aurobindo considered her his spiritual equal and collaborator. After 24 November 1926, when Sri Aurobindo retired into seclusion, he left it to her to plan, build and run the ashram, the community of disciples which had gathered around them. Some time later, when families with children joined the ashram, she established and supervised the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education with its experiments in the field of education. When he died in 1950, She continued their spiritual work, directed the ashram, and guided their disciples.

Sri Aurobindo's concept of the Integral Yoga system is described in his books, The Synthesis of Yoga and The Life Divine. The Life Divine is a compilation of essays published serially in Arya.

Sri Aurobindo argues that divine Brahman manifests as empirical reality through ll, or divine play. Instead of positing that the world we experience is an illusion (my), Aurobindo argues that world can evolve and become a new world with new species, far above the human species just as human species have evolved after the animal species.

Sri Aurobindo believed that Darwinism merely describes a phenomenon of the evolution of matter into life, but does not explain the reason behind it, while he finds life to be already present in matter, because all of existence is a manifestation of Brahman. He argues that nature (which he interpreted as divine) has evolved life out of matter and then mind out of life. All of existence, he argues, is attempting to manifest to the level of the supermind that evolution had a purpose. He stated that he found the task of understanding the nature of reality arduous and difficult to justify by immediate tangible results.

Sri Aurobindo was an Indian nationalist but is best known for his philosophy on human evolution and Integral Yoga.

His influence has been wide-ranging. In India, S. K. Maitra, Anilbaran Roy and D. P. Chattopadhyaya commented on Sri Aurobindo's work. Writers on esotericism and traditional wisdom, such as Mircea Eliade, Paul Brunton, and Rene Guenon, all saw him as an authentic representative of the Indian spiritual tradition.

Haridas Chaudhuri and Frederic Spiegelberg[56] were among those who were inspired by Aurobindo, who worked on the newly formed American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco. Soon after, Chaudhuri and his wife Bina established the Cultural Integration Fellowship, from which later emerged the California Institute of Integral Studies.[57]

Karlheinz Stockhausen was heavily inspired by Satprem's writings about Sri Aurobindo during a week in May 1968, a time at which the composer was undergoing a personal crisis and had found Sri Aurobindo's philosophies were relevant to his feelings. After this experience, Stockhausen's music took a completely different turn, focusing on mysticism, that was to continue until the end of his career.

William Irwin Thompson travelled to Auroville in 1972, where he met "The Mother". Thompson has called Sri Aurobindo's teaching on spirituality a "radical anarchism" and a "post-religious approach" and regards their work as having "...reached back into the Goddess culture of prehistory, and, in Marshall McLuhan's terms, 'culturally retrieved' the archetypes of the shaman and la sage femme..." Thompson also writes that he experienced Shakti, or psychic power coming from The Mother on the night of her death in 1973.[59]

Sri Aurobindo's ideas about the further evolution of human capabilities influenced the thinking of Michael Murphy and indirectly, the human potential movement, through Murphy's writings.

The American philosopher Ken Wilber has called Sri Aurobindo "India's greatest modern philosopher sage"[61] and has integrated some of his ideas into his philosophical vision. Wilber's interpretation of Aurobindo has been criticised by Rod Hemsell.[62] New Age writer Andrew Harvey also looks to Sri Aurobindo as a major inspiration.[63]

The following authors, disciples and organisations trace their intellectual heritage back to, or have in some measure been influenced by, Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.




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The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo ( Audio Book )

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A Brief explanation is required about this book and might be summed up by another critique from amazon:

Sri Aurobindos sentences are built of triple dependent clauses (without commas, hes an Oxford grad)

Sri Aurobindos sentences are built of triple dependent clauses (without commas, hes an Oxford grad),but if you stay with him, follow the thread, youre a different person by the time you reach the period. He is pure genius. A gift from the Gods. His long sentences are a kind of meditation really; their gentle coaxing detail draws the inflated reactionary mind down to a still point.

In that vain it must be stated that this is one of the most intellectually difficult books to read and incredibly difficult to narrate because of the sentence structure and the inability to find a rhythm for the work. We have recorded approximately 1/3 of the 900 page book ( 17 hours ) and unless there is significant demand for the rest we will not complete the work for fear of not doing justice to the work. I believe this is one of those books that must be read, slowly, to attain the message. We added the incomplete audio to the site to give readers a taste of Sri Aurobindos erudition.

We apologize for the mispronunciation of any words or sentences, the fault was ours and not the authors. We submit the work with the hope it will be taken in the spirit in which it was intended, and we apologize if we fell short.

We recorded 31 chapters with a total recording length of 17hrs

The Life Divine

Sri Aurobindo

Book One

Omnipresent Reality and the UniverseChapter IThe Human Aspiration 3Chapter IIThe Two Negations1. The Materialist Denial 8Chapter IIIThe Two Negations2. The Refusal of the Ascetic 20Chapter IVReality Omnipresent 29Chapter VThe Destiny of the Individual 38Chapter VIMan in the Universe 47Chapter VIIThe Ego and the Dualities 56Chapter VIIIThe Methods of Vedantic Knowledge 66Chapter IXThe Pure Existent 78Chapter XConscious Force 87Chapter XIDelight of Existence: The Problem 98Chapter XIIDelight of Existence: The Solution 108Chapter XIIIThe Divine Maya 120Chapter XIVThe Supermind as Creator 130Chapter XVThe Supreme Truth-Consciousness 141Chapter XVIThe Triple Status of Supermind 152Chapter XVIIThe Divine Soul 161Chapter XVIIIMind and Supermind 170Chapter XIXLife 185Chapter XXDeath, Desire and Incapacity 200Chapter XXIThe Ascent of Life 210Chapter XXIIThe Problem of Life 220Chapter XXIIIThe Double Soul in Man 231Chapter XXIVMatter 245Chapter XXVThe Knot of Matter 254Chapter XXVIThe Ascending Series of Substance 266Chapter XXVIIThe Sevenfold Chord of Being 276Chapter XXVIIISupermind, Mind and the Overmind Maya 285Book TwoThe Knowledge and the IgnoranceThe Spiritual EvolutionPart IThe Infinite Consciousness and the IgnoranceChapter IIndeterminates, Cosmic Determinations andthe Indeterminable 309Chapter IIBrahman, Purusha, IshwaraMaya, Prakriti, Shakti 336Chapter IIIThe Eternal and the Individual 380

Chapter IThe Human AspirationShe follows to the goal of those that are passing on beyond,she is the first in the eternal succession of the dawns that arecoming,Usha widens bringing out that which lives, awakeningsomeone who was dead. . . . What is her scope whenshe harmonises with the dawns that shone out before andthose that now must shine? She desires the ancient morningsand fulfils their light; projecting forwards her illumination sheenters into communion with the rest that are to come.Kutsa AngirasaRig Veda.1Threefold are those supreme births of this divine force that isin the world, they are true, they are desirable; he moves therewide-overt within the Infinite and shines pure, luminous andfulfilling. . . . That which is immortal in mortals and possessedof the truth, is a god and established inwardly as an energyworking out in our divine powers. . . . Become high-uplifted,O Strength, pierce all veils, manifest in us the things of theGodhead. VamadevaRig Veda.2THE EARLIEST preoccupation of man in his awakenedthoughts and, as it seems, his inevitable and ultimatepreoccupation,for it survives the longest periods ofscepticism and returns after every banishment,is also thehighest which his thought can envisage. It manifests itself inthe divination of Godhead, the impulse towards perfection, thesearch after pure Truth and unmixed Bliss, the sense of a secretimmortality. The ancient dawns of human knowledge haveleft us their witness to this constant aspiration; today we seea humanity satiated but not satisfied by victorious analysis ofthe externalities of Nature preparing to return to its primevallongings. The earliest formula ofWisdom promises to be its last,God, Light, Freedom, Immortality.These persistent ideals of the race are at once the contradictionof its normal experience and the affirmation of higherand deeper experiences which are abnormal to humanity andonly to be attained, in their organised entirety, by a revolutionaryindividual effort or an evolutionary general progression. Toknow, possess and be the divine being in an animal and egoisticconsciousness, to convert our twilit or obscure physical mentalityinto the plenary supramental illumination, to build peaceand a self-existent bliss where there is only a stress of transitorysatisfactions besieged by physical pain and emotional suffering,to establish an infinite freedom in a world which presents itselfas a group of mechanical necessities, to discover and realisethe immortal life in a body subjected to death and constantmutation,this is offered to us as the manifestation of God inMatter and the goal of Nature in her terrestrial evolution. Tothe ordinary material intellect which takes its present organisationof consciousness for the limit of its possibilities, the directcontradiction of the unrealised ideals with the realised fact isa final argument against their validity. But if we take a moredeliberate view of the worlds workings, that direct oppositionappears rather as part of Natures profoundest method and theseal of her completest sanction.For all problems of existence are essentially problems ofharmony. They arise from the perception of an unsolved discordand the instinct of an undiscovered agreement or unity. To restcontent with an unsolved discord is possible for the practical andmore animal part of man, but impossible for his fully awakenedmind, and usually even his practical parts only escape fromthe general necessity either by shutting out the problem or byaccepting a rough, utilitarian and unillumined compromise. Foressentially, all Nature seeks a harmony, life and matter in theirown sphere as much as mind in the arrangement of its perceptions.The greater the apparent disorder of the materials offeredor the apparent disparateness, even to irreconcilable opposition,of the elements that have to be utilised, the stronger is the spur,and it drives towards a more subtle and puissant order thancan normally be the result of a less difficult endeavour. Theaccordance of active Life with a material of form in which thecondition of activity itself seems to be inertia, is one problem ofopposites that Nature has solved and seeks always to solve betterwith greater complexities; for its perfect solution would be thematerial immortality of a fully organised mind-supporting animalbody. The accordance of conscious mind and conscious willwith a form and a life in themselves not overtly self-consciousand capable at best of a mechanical or subconscious will isanother problem of opposites in which she has produced astonishingresults and aims always at higher marvels; for there herultimate miracle would be an animal consciousness no longerseeking but possessed of Truth and Light, with the practicalomnipotence which would result from the possession of a directand perfected knowledge. Not only, then, is the upward impulseof man towards the accordance of yet higher opposites rationalin itself, but it is the only logical completion of a rule and aneffort that seem to be a fundamental method of Nature and thevery sense of her universal strivings.We speak of the evolution of Life in Matter, the evolutionof Mind in Matter; but evolution is a word which merely statesthe phenomenon without explaining it. For there seems to be noreason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mindout of living form, unless we accept the Vedantic solution thatLife is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because inessenceMatter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness.And then there seems to be little objection to a fartherstep in the series and the admission that mental consciousnessmay itself be only a form and a veil of higher states which arebeyond Mind. In that case, the unconquerable impulse of mantowards God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality presents itselfin its right place in the chain as simply the imperative impulseby which Nature is seeking to evolve beyond Mind, and appearsto be as natural, true and just as the impulse towards Lifewhich she has planted in certain forms of Matter or the impulsetowardsMind which she has planted in certain forms of Life. Asthere, so here, the impulse exists more or less obscurely in herdifferent vessels with an ever-ascending series in the power of itswill-to-be; as there, so here, it is gradually evolving and boundfully to evolve the necessary organs and faculties. As the impulsetowards Mind ranges from the more sensitive reactions of Lifein the metal and the plant up to its full organisation in man, so inman himself there is the same ascending series, the preparation,if nothing more, of a higher and divine life. The animal is a livinglaboratory in which Nature has, it is said, worked out man. Manhimself may well be a thinking and living laboratory in whomand with whose conscious co-operation she wills to work outthe superman, the god. Or shall we not say, rather, to manifestGod? For if evolution is the progressive manifestation by Natureof that which slept or worked in her, involved, it is also the overtrealisation of that which she secretly is.We cannot, then, bid herpause at a given stage of her evolution, nor have we the right tocondemn with the religionist as perverse and presumptuous orwith the rationalist as a disease or hallucination any intentionshe may evince or effort she may make to go beyond. If it betrue that Spirit is involved in Matter and apparent Nature issecret God, then the manifestation of the divine in himself andthe realisation of God within and without are the highest andmost legitimate aim possible to man upon earth.Thus the eternal paradox and eternal truth of a divine lifein an animal body, an immortal aspiration or reality inhabitinga mortal tenement, a single and universal consciousness representingitself in limited minds and divided egos, a transcendent,indefinable, timeless and spaceless Being who alone renders timeand space and cosmos possible, and in all these the higher truthrealisable by the lower term, justify themselves to the deliberatereason as well as to the persistent instinct or intuition ofmankind. Attempts are sometimes made to have done finallywith questionings which have so often been declared insolubleby logical thought and to persuade men to limit their mentalactivities to the practical and immediate problems of theirmaterial existence in the universe; but such evasions are neverpermanent in their effect. Mankind returns from them with amore vehement impulse of inquiry or a more violent hunger foran immediate solution. By that hunger mysticism profits andnew religions arise to replace the old that have been destroyedor stripped of significance by a scepticism which itself couldnot satisfy because, although its business was inquiry, it wasunwilling sufficiently to inquire. The attempt to deny or stifle atruth because it is yet obscure in its outward workings and toooften represented by obscurantist superstition or a crude faith,is itself a kind of obscurantism. The will to escape from a cosmicnecessity because it is arduous, difficult to justify by immediatetangible results, slow in regulating its operations, must turn outeventually to have been no acceptance of the truth of Nature buta revolt against the secret, mightier will of the great Mother. It isbetter and more rational to accept what she will not allow us as arace to reject and lift it from the sphere of blind instinct, obscureintuition and random aspiration into the light of reason and aninstructed and consciously self-guiding will. And if there is anyhigher light of illumined intuition or self-revealing truth whichis now in man either obstructed and inoperative or works withintermittent glancings as if from behind a veil or with occasionaldisplays as of the northern lights in our material skies, then therealso we need not fear to aspire. For it is likely that such is thenext higher state of consciousness of which Mind is only a formand veil, and through the splendours of that light may lie thepath of our progressive self-enlargement into whatever higheststate is humanitys ultimate resting-place.

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The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo ( Audio Book )

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We are often confronted with a problem or a situation where we do not know what to do. It is as if we are standing in front of a closed door whose key is lost and we are not able to move forward.

In these moments, if we take a book of spiritual force and power, concentrate quietly and with a kind of seeking, an inner quest, ask for guidance, help or an answer and open the book at random, there we find exactly the answer we were seeking, as if it had been written just for us!

This is a method which has been practised with books in many spiritual traditions since ancient times. Often the books used for this purpose are the Gita, the Bible, the Quran or a similar book that is imbued with a concentration of spiritual force and power.

The Mother explains the process behind this:

We have here a collection of quotations from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. If we can do the same thing as with a book, with a quiet concentration, with aspiration, and with faith click the button below, we believe that just the right quote which contains the right answer for each one of us will come on the screen:

The Mother too sometimes in her classes with children, took a book of Sri Aurobindo, opened a page at random and read out a sentence from there. The Mother was once asked, Can these sentences give one a sign or an indication? What should we do to get a true answer? She explained in detail what actually happens and how it is possible to get the indication or the answer:

Everybody can do it. It is done in this way: you concentrate. Now, it depends on what you want. If you have an inner problem and want the solution, you concentrate on this problem; if you want to know the condition you are in, which you are not aware ofif you want to get some light on the state you are in, you just come forward with simplicity and ask for the light. Or else, quite simply, if you are curious to know what the invisible knowledge has to tell you, you remain silent and still for a moment and then open the book. I always used to recommend taking a paper-knife, because it is thinner; while you are concentrated you insert it in the book and with the tip indicate something. Then, if you know how to concentrate, that is to say, if you really do it with an aspiration to have an answer, it always comes.

For, in books of this kind (Mother shows the book "The Synthesis of Yoga" by Sri Aurobindo), books of revelation, there is always an accumulation of forcesat least of higher mental forces, and most often of spiritual forces of the highest knowledge. Every book, on account of the words it contains, is like a small accumulator of these forces. People don't know this, for they don't know how to make use of it, but it is so. In the same way, in every picture, photograph, there is an accumulation, a small accumulation representative of the force of the person whose picture it is, of his nature and, if he has powers, of his powers. Now, when you are sincere and have an aspiration, you emanate a certain vibration, the vibration of your aspiration which goes and meets the corresponding force in the book, and it is a higher consciousness which gives you the answer.

And in a book there is potentiallynot expressed, not manifestthe knowledge which is in the person who wrote the book. Thus, Sri Aurobindo represented a totality of comprehension and knowledge and power; and every one of his books is at once a symbol and a representation. Every one of his books contains symbolically, potentially, what is in him. Therefore, if you concentrate on the book, you can, through the book, go back to the source. And even, by passing through the book, you will be able to receive much more than what is just in the book.

Naturally, the value of the answer depends on the value of the spiritual force contained in the book. If you take a novel, it will tell you nothing at all. But if you take a book containing a condensation of forcesof knowledge or spiritual force or teaching poweryou will receive your answer.

SABCL: Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library Edition, published on the occasion of Sri Aurobindos birth centenary in 1972 (in 30 volumes)CWSA: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo, published on the occasion of Sri Aurobindos 125th birth anniversary in 1997 (in 37 volumes)CWM1: Collected Works of the Mother, 1st Edition, published on the occasion of the Mother's birth centenary in 1978 (in 17 volumes)CWM2: Collected Works of the Mother, 2nd Edition, published on the occasion of the Mother's 125th birth anniversary in 2003 (in 17 volumes)

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Shri Aurobindo

Indian philosopher and yogi

August 15, 1872

Kolkata, India

December 5, 1950 (aged 78)

Puducherry, India

Shri Aurobindo, original name Aurobindo Ghose, Aurobindo also spelled Aravinda, Shri also spelled Sri (born August 15, 1872, Calcutta [now Kolkata], Indiadied December 5, 1950, Pondicherry [now Puducherry]), yogi, seer, philosopher, poet, and Indian nationalist who propounded a philosophy of divine life on earth through spiritual evolution.

Aurobindos education began in a Christian convent school in Darjeeling (Darjiling). While still a boy, he was sent to England for further schooling. He entered the University of Cambridge, where he became proficient in two classical and several modern European languages. After returning to India in 1892, he held various administrative and professorial posts in Baroda (Vadodara) and Calcutta (Kolkata). Turning to his native culture, he began the serious study of Yoga and Indian languages, including classical Sanskrit.

From 1902 to 1910 Aurobindo partook in the struggle to free India from the British raj (rule). As a result of his political activities, he was imprisoned in 1908. Two years later he fled British India and found refuge in the French colony of Pondichry (Puducherry) in southeastern India, where he devoted himself for the rest of his life to the development of his integral yoga, which was characterized by its holistic approach and its aim of a fulfilled and spiritually transformed life on earth.

In Pondichry he founded a community of spiritual seekers, which took shape as the Shri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926. In that year he entrusted the work of guiding the seekers to his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (18781973), who was called the Mother in the ashram. The ashram eventually attracted seekers from many countries throughout the world.

The evolutionary philosophy underlying Aurobindos integral yoga is explored in his main prose work, The Life Divine (1939). Rejecting the traditional Indian approach of striving for moksha (liberation from the cyle of death and rebirth, or samsara) as a means of reaching happier, transcendental planes of existence, Aurobindo held that terrestrial life itself, in its higher evolutionary stages, is the real goal of creation. He believed that the basic principles of matter, life, and mind would be succeeded through terrestrial evolution by the principle of supermind as an intermediate power between the two spheres of the infinite and the finite. Such a future consciousness would help to create a joyful life in keeping with the highest goal of creation, expressing values such as love, harmony, unity and knowledge and successfully overcoming the age-old resistance of dark forces against efforts to manifest the divine on earth.

Aurobindos voluminous literary output comprises philosophical speculation, many treatises on yoga and integral yoga, poetry, plays, and other writings. In addition to The Life Divine, his major works include Essays on the Gita (1922), Collected Poems and Plays (1942), The Synthesis of Yoga (1948), The Human Cycle (1949), The Ideal of Human Unity (1949), Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol (1950), and On the Veda (1956).

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Shri Aurobindo | Indian philosopher and yogi |

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