|Sri Aurobindo (अरविन्द घोष)|
Sri Aurobindo Ashram|
|Philosophy||Integral Yoga, Involution (Sri Aurobindo), Evolution, Integral psychology, Intermediate zone, Supermind|
15 August 1872
Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
5 December 1950 (aged 78)|
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 Sen|
|Literary works||The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Savitri|
|Part of a series on|
Sri Aurobindo, अरविन्द घोष, (born Aurobindo Ghose; 15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950) was an Indian nationalist, philosopher, yogi, guru and poet. 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 was only convicted and imprisoned for writing articles against British rule in India. He was released when no evidence could be provided, following the murder of 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, 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. He died on 5 December 1950 in Pondicherry.
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.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Philosophy and spiritual vision
- 3 Legacy
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Aurobindo Ghose was born into a Kayastha family 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.[lower-alpha 1] 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, born Emmanuel Matthew).
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.[lower-alpha 2] 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.[lower-alpha 3]
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.[lower-alpha 4] 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. Sri 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.
Baroda and Calcutta (1893–1910)
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, Sri 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 traveled 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, 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 1907–1908 Aurobindo traveled 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.
Conversion from politics to spirituality
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 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, 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. 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 practice—others 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 earlier—he 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.
Aurobindo died on 5 December 1950. Around 60,000 people attended his funeral. 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.
Mirra Richard and the development of the Ashram
Aurobindo's close spiritual collaborator, Mirra Richard (b. Alfassa), came to be known as The Mother. 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. Aurobindo considered her his spiritual equal and collaborator. After 24 November 1926, when 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.
Philosophy and spiritual vision
|Aurobindo's model of Being and Evolution|
|Levels of Being||Development|
|Overall||Outer Being||Inner Being||Psychic Being|
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.
Aurobindo argues that divine Brahman manifests as empirical reality through līlā, or divine play. Instead of positing that the world we experience is an illusion (māyā), 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.
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.
His influence has been wide-ranging. In India, S. K. Maitra, Anilbaran Roy and D. P. Chattopadhyaya commented on 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 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.
Karlheinz Stockhausen was heavily inspired by Satprem's writings about Aurobindo during a week in May 1968, a time at which the composer was undergoing a personal crisis and had found 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 traveled to Auroville in 1972, where he met "The Mother". Thompson has called 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.
The American philosopher Ken Wilber has called Aurobindo "India's greatest modern philosopher sage" and has integrated some of his ideas into his philosophical vision. Wilber's interpretation of Aurobindo has been criticised by Rod Hemsell. New Age writer Andrew Harvey also looks to Aurobindo as a major inspiration.
The following authors, disciples and organisations trace their intellectual heritage back to, or have in some measure been influenced by, Aurobindo and The Mother.
- Margaret Woodrow Wilson (Nistha) (1886–1944), daughter of US President Woodrow Wilson, she came to the ashram in 1940 and stayed there until her death.
- Nolini Kanta Gupta (1889–1983) was one of Aurobindo's senior disciples, and wrote extensively on philosophy, mysticism, and spiritual evolution based on the teaching of Aurobindo and "The Mother".
- Pavitra (1894–1969) was one of their early disciples. Born as Philippe Barbier Saint-Hilaire in Paris. Pavitra left some very interesting memoirs of his conversations with them in 1925 and 1926, which were published as Conversations avec Pavitra.
- Indra Sen (1903–1994) was another disciple of Aurobindo who, although little-known in the West, was the first to articulate integral psychology and integral philosophy, in the 1940s and 1950s. A compilation of his papers came out under the title, Integral Psychology in 1986.
- Nirodbaran (1903–2006). A doctor who obtained his medical degree from Edinburgh, his long and voluminous correspondence with Aurobindo elaborate on many aspects of Integral Yoga and fastidious record of conversations bring out Aurobindo's thought on numerous subjects.
- M. P. Pandit (1918–1993). Secretary to "The Mother" and the ashram, his copious writings and lectures cover Yoga, the Vedas, Tantra, Aubindo's epic "Savitri" and others.
- Chinmoy (1931–2007) joined the ashram in 1944. Later, he wrote the play about Aurobindo's life – Sri Aurobindo: Descent of the Blue – and a book, Infinite: Sri Aurobindo. An author, composer, artist and athlete, he was perhaps best known for holding public events on the theme of inner peace and world harmony (such as concerts, meditations, and races).
- Satprem (1923–2007) was a French author and an important disciple of "The Mother" who published Mother's Agenda (1982), Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness (2000), On the Way to Supermanhood (2002) and more.
- N. R. Malkani finds Aurobindo's theory of creation to be false, as the theory talks about experiences and visions which are beyond normal human experiences. He says the theory is an intellectual response to a difficult problem and that Aurobindo uses the trait of unpredictability in theorising and discussing things not based upon truth of existence. Malkani says that awareness is already a reality and suggests there would be no need to examine the creative activity subjected to awareness.
- Wilber's interpretation of Aurobindo's philosophy differed from the notion of dividing reality as a different level of matter, life, mind, overmind, supermind proposed by Aurobindo in The Life Divine, and terms them as higher- or lower-nested holons and states that there is only a fourfold reality (a system of reality created by himself).
- Adi Da finds that Aurobindo's contributions were merely literary and cultural and had extended his political motivation into spirituality and human evolution 
- Rajneesh (Osho) says that Aurobindo was a great scholar but was never realised; that his personal ego had made him indirectly claim that he went beyond Buddha; and that he is said to have believed himself to be enlightened due to increasing number of followers.
- Bases of Yoga, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-77-9
- Bhagavad Gita and Its Message, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-78-7
- Dictionary of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga, (compiled by M.P. Pandit), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-74-4
- Essays on the Gita, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-18-7
- The Future Evolution of Man, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-55-1
- The Future Poetry, Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1953.
- The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-44-6
- Hymns to the Mystic Fire, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-22-5
- The Ideal of Human Unity, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-43-8
- The Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo's Teaching and Method of Practice, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-76-0
- The Life Divine, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-61-2
- The Mind of Light, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-70-5
- The Mother, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-79-5
- Rebirth and Karma, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-63-9
- Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-80-9
- Secret of the Veda, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-19-5
- Sri Aurobindo Primary Works Set 12 vol. US Edition, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-93-0
- Sri Aurobindo Selected Writings Software CD ROM, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-88-8
- The Synthesis of Yoga, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-65-5
- The Upanishads, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-23-3
- Vedic Symbolism, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-30-2
- The Essential Aurobindo – Writings of Sri Aurobindo ISBN 978-0-9701097-2-9
- The Powers Within, Lotus Press. ISBN 978-0-941524-96-4
- Human Cycle, Ideal of Human Unity, War and Self Determination by Aurobindo, Lotus Press. ISBN 81-7058-014-5
- Hour of God by Sri Aurobindo, Lotus Press. ISBN 81-7058-217-2
- If it is suggested that I preached the idea of freedom for my country and this is against the law, I plead guilty to the charge. If that is the law here I say I have done that and I request you to convict me, but do not impute to me crimes I am not guilty of, deeds against which my whole nature revolts and which, having regard to my mental capacity, is something which could never have been perpetrated by me. If it is an offence to preach the ideal of freedom, I admit having done it. I have never disputed it. It is for this I have given up all the prospects of my life. It is for this that I came to Calcutta, to live for it and labour for it. It has been the one thought of my waking hours, the dream of my sleep. If that is my offence, there is no necessity of bringing witness to bring into the box to dispose different things in connection with that. Here am I and I admit it… If that is my fault you can chain me, imprison me, but you will never get out of me a denial of that charge.
- Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of the animal, so out of man the superman emerges.
- Thoughts and Aphorisms (1913)
- What I cannot do now is the sign of what I shall do hereafter. The sense of impossibility is the beginning of all possibilities. Because this temporal universe was a paradox and an impossibility, therefore the Eternal created it out of His being.
- Thoughts and Glimpses (1916-17)
- The meeting of man and God must always mean a penetration and entry of the divine into the human and a self-immergence of man in the Divinity.
- Thoughts and Glimpses (1916-17)
- Hinduism, which is the most skeptical and the most believing of all, the most skeptical because it has questioned and experimented the most, the most believing because it has the deepest experience and the most varied and positive spiritual knowledge, that wider Hinduism which is not a dogma or combination of dogmas but a law of life, which is not a social framework but the spirit of a past and [future]] social evolution, which rejects nothing but insists on testing and experiencing everything and when tested and experienced, turning in to the soul's uses, in this Hinduism, we find the basis of future world religion. This Sanatana Dharma has many scriptures: The Veda, the Vedanta, the Gita, the Upanishads, the Darshanas, the Puranas, the Tantras, nor could it reject the Bible or the Koran, but its real, the most authoritative scripture is in the heart in which the Eternal has his dwelling.
- The Ideal of the Karmayogin (1921), p. 9
- The Hindu religion appears … as a cathedral temple, half in ruins, noble in the mass, often fantastic in detail but always fantastic with a significance — crumbling or badly outworn in places, but a cathedral temple in which service is still done to the Unseen and its real presence can be felt by those who enter with the right spirit.
- Letters, Vol. II (1949) p. 53; also in The Soul of India (1974) by Satyavrata R Patel
- Spirituality is the master key of the Indian mind. It is this dominant inclination of India which gives character to all the expressions of her culture. In fact, they have grown out of her inborn spiritual tendency of which her religion is a natural out flowering. The Indian mind has always realized that the Supreme is the Infinite and perceived that to the soul in Nature the Infinite must always present itself in an infinite variety of aspects. The aggressive and quite illogical idea of a single religion for all mankind, a religion universal by the very force of its narrowness, one set of dogmas, one cult, one system of ceremonies, one ecclesiastical ordinance, one array of prohibitions and injunctions which all minds must accept on peril of persecution by men and spiritual rejection or eternal punishment by God, that grotesque creation of human unreason which has been the parent of so much intolerance, cruelty and obscurantism and aggressive fanaticism, has never been able to take firm hold of the Indian mentality.
- From an essay in A Defense of Indian Culture, as quoted in The Vision of India (1949) by Sisirkumar Mitra
- More high-reaching, subtle, many-sided, curious and profound than the Greek, more noble and humane than the Roman, more large and spiritual than the old Egyptian, more vast and original than any other Asiatic civilization, more intellectual than the European prior to the 18th century, possessing all that these had and more, it was the most powerful, self-possessed, stimulating and wide in influence of all past human cultures.
- The Foundations of Indian Culture (1953), p. 31
- Indian religion has always felt that since the minds, the temperaments and the intellectual affinities of men are unlimited in their variety, a perfect liberty of thought and of worship must be allowed to the individual in his approach to the Infinite.
- The Foundations of Indian Culture (1953), p. 147
- To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughs; Heine was nearer the mark when he found in Him the divine Aristophanes. God's laughter is sometimes very coarse and unfit for polite ears; He is not satisfied with being Molière, He must needs also be Aristophanes and Rabelais.
- Sri Aurobindo : The Hour of God, and Other Writings (1970); variant "To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughed; Heine was nearer the mark when he found in Him the divine Aristophanes" in Mother India (1957)
- There are four great events in history, the siege of Troy, the life and crucifixion of Christ, the exile of Krishna in Brindaban and the colloquy on the field of Kurukshetra. The siege of Troy created Hellas, the exile in Brindaban created devotional religion, (for before there was only meditation and worship), Christ from his cross humanized Europe, the colloquy at Kurukshetra will yet liberate humanity.
- Even soul-force, when it is effective, destroys. Only those who have used it with eyes open, know how much more destructive it can be than the sword and the cannon; and only those who do not limit their view to the act and its immediate results, can see how tremendous are its after-effects, how much is eventually destroyed and with that much all the life that depended upon it and fed upon it. Evil cannot perish without the destruction of much that lives by the evil, and it is no less destruction even if we personally are saved the pain of a sensational act of violence.
- "Kurukshetra" in Essays on the Gita (1995), p. 39
- The seers of ancient India had, in their experiments and efforts at spiritual training and the conquest of the body, perfected a discovery which in its importance to the future of human knowledge dwarfs the divinations of Newton and Galileo, even the discovery of the inductive and experimental method in Science was not more momentous...
- The Upanishads–II : Kena and Other Upanishads (2001), p. 355
New Lamps for Old (1893)
- We cannot afford to raise any institution to the rank of a fetish. To do so would be simply to become the slaves of our own machinery.
- 7 August 1893
- Our actual enemy is not any force exterior to ourselves, but our own crying weaknesses, our cowardice, our selfishness, our hypocrisy, our purblind sentimentalism.
- 21 August 1893
- I say, of the Congress, then, this — that its aims are mistaken, that the spirit in which it proceeds towards their accomplishment is not a spirit of sincerity and whole-heartedness, and that the methods it has chosen are not the right methods, and the leaders in whom it trusts, not the right sort of men to be leaders; — in brief, that we are at present the blind led, if not by the blind, at any rate by the one-eyed.
- 28 August 1893
- To play with baubles is our ambition, not to deal with grave questions in a spirit of serious energy. But while we are playing with baubles, with our Legislative Councils, our Simultaneous Examinations, our ingenious schemes for separating the judicial from the executive functions, — while we, I say, are finessing about trifles, the waters of the great deep are being stirred and that surging chaos of the primitive man over which our civilised societies are superimposed on a thin crust of convention, is being strangely and ominously agitated.
- 4 December 1893
- Theorist, and trifler though I may be called, I again assert as our first and holiest duty, the elevation and enlightenment of the proletariate: I again call on those nobler spirits among us who are working erroneously, it may be, but with incipient or growing sincerity and nobleness of mind, to divert their strenuous effort from the promotion of narrow class interests, from silly squabbles about offices and salaried positions, from a philanthropy laudable in itself and worthy of rational pursuit, but meagre in the range of its benevolence and ineffectual towards promoting the nearest interests of the nation, into that vaster channel through which alone the healing waters may be conducted to the lips of their ailing and tortured country.
- 4 December 1893
The Uttarpara Address (1909)
- The year of detention was meant only for a year of seclusion and of training. How could anyone hold me in jail longer than was necessary for God's purpose? He had given me a word to speak and a work to do, and until that word was spoken I knew that no human power could hush me, until that work was done no human power could stop God's instrument, however weak that instrument might be or however small. Now that I have come out, even in these few minutes, a word has been suggested to me which I had no wish to speak. The thing I had in my mind He has thrown from it and what I speak is under an impulse and a compulsion.
- I waited day and night for the voice of God within me, to know what He had to say to me, to learn what I had to do. In this seclusion the earliest realisation, the first lesson came to me. I remembered then that a month or more before my arrest, a call had come to me to put aside all activity, to go in seclusion and to look into myself, so that I might enter into closer communion with Him. I was weak and could not accept the call. My work was very dear to me and in the pride of my heart I thought that unless I was there, it would suffer or even fail and cease; therefore I would not leave it. It seemed to me that He spoke to me again and said, "The bonds you had not the strength to break, I have broken for you, because it is not my will nor was it ever my intention that that should continue. I have had another thing for you to do and it is for that I have brought you here, to teach you what you could not learn for yourself and to train you for my work." Then He placed the Gita in my hands. His strength entered into me and I was able to do the sadhana of the Gita. I was not only to understand intellectually but to realise what Sri Krishna demanded of Arjuna and what He demands of those who aspire to do His work, to be free from repulsion and desire, to do work for Him without the demand for fruit, to renounce self-will and become a passive and faithful instrument in His hands, to have an equal heart for high and low, friend and opponent, success and failure, yet not to do His work negligently. I realised what the Hindu religion meant. We speak often of the Hindu religion, of the Sanatan Dharma, but few of us really know what that religion is. Other religions are preponderatingly religions of faith and profession, but the Sanatan Dharma is life itself; it is a thing that has not so much to be believed as lived. This is the Dharma that for the salvation of humanity was cherished in the seclusion of this peninsula from of old. It is to give this religion that India is rising. She does not rise as other countries do, for self or when she is strong, to trample on the weak. She is rising to shed the eternal light entrusted to her over the world. India has always existed for humanity and not for herself and it is for humanity and not for herself that she must be great.
- I looked at the jail that secluded me from men and it was no longer by its high walls that I was imprisoned; no, it was Vasudeva who surrounded me. I walked under the branches of the tree in front of my cell but it was not the tree, I knew it was Vasudeva, it was Sri Krishna whom I saw standing there and holding over me his shade. I looked at the bars of my cell, the very grating that did duty for a door and again I saw Vasudeva. It was Narayana who was guarding and standing sentry over me. Or I lay on the coarse blankets that were given me for a couch and felt the arms of Sri Krishna around me, the arms of my Friend and Lover. This was the first use of the deeper vision He gave me. I looked at the prisoners in the jail, the thieves, the murderers, the swindlers, and as I looked at them I saw Vasudeva, it was Narayana whom I found in these darkened souls and misused bodies.
- I looked and it was not the Magistrate whom I saw, it was Vasudeva, it was Narayana who was sitting there on the bench. I looked at the Prosecuting Counsel and it was not the Counsel for the prosecution that I saw; it was Sri Krishna who sat there, it was my Lover and Friend who sat there and smiled. "Now do you fear?" He said, "I am in all men and I overrule their actions and their words. My protection is still with you and you shall not fear. This case which is brought against you, leave it in my hand. It is not for you. It was not for the trial that I brought you here but for something else. The case itself is only a means for my work and nothing more."
- I knew all along what He meant for me, for I heard it again and again, always I listened to the voice within; "I am guiding, therefore fear not. Turn to your own work for which I have brought you to jail and when you come out, remember never to fear, never to hesitate. Remember that it is I who am doing this, not you nor any other. Therefore whatever clouds may come, whatever dangers and sufferings, whatever difficulties, whatever impossibilities, there is nothing impossible, nothing difficult. I am in the nation and its uprising and I am Vasudeva, I am Narayana, and what I will, shall be, not what others will. What I choose to bring about, no human power can stay."
- You have spoken much today of my self-sacrifice and devotion to my country. I have heard that kind of speech ever since I came out of jail, but I hear it with embarrassment, with something of pain. For I know my weakness, I am a prey to my own faults and backslidings. I was not blind to them before and when they all rose up against me in seclusion, I felt them utterly. I knew them that I the man was a man of weakness, a faulty and imperfect instrument, strong only when a higher strength entered into me. Then I found myself among these young men and in many of them I discovered a mighty courage, a power of self-effacement in comparison with which I was simply nothing. I saw one or two who were not only superior to me in force and character, - very many were that, — but in the promise of that intellectual ability on which I prided myself.
- I had many doubts before. I was brought up in England amongst foreign ideas and an atmosphere entirely foreign. About many things in Hinduism I had once been inclined to believe that they were imaginations, that there was much of dream in it, much that was delusion and Maya. But now day after day I realised in the mind, I realised in the heart, I realised in the body the truths of the Hindu religion. They became living experiences to me, and things were opened to me which no material science could explain.
- When I approached God at that time, I hardly had a living faith in Him. The agnostic was in me, the atheist was in me, the sceptic was in me and I was not absolutely sure that there was a God at all. I did not feel His presence. Yet something drew me to the truth of the Vedas, the truth of the Gita, the truth of the Hindu religion. I felt there must be a mighty truth somewhere in this Yoga, a mighty truth in this religion based on the Vedanta.
- The second message came and it said, "Something has been shown to you in this year of seclusion, something about which you had your doubts and it is the truth of the Hindu religion. It is this religion that I am raising up before the world, it is this that I have perfected and developed through the Rishis, saints and Avatars, and now it is going forth to do my work among the nations. I am raising up this nation to send forth my word. This is the Sanatan Dharma, this is the eternal religion which you did not really know before, but which I have now revealed to you. The agnostic and the sceptic in you have been answered, for I have given you proofs within and without you, physical and subjective, which have satisfied you. When you go forth, speak to your nation always this word, that it is for the Sanatan Dharma that they arise, it is for the world and not for themselves that they arise. I am giving them freedom for the service of the world. When therefore it is said that India shall rise, it is the Sanatan Dharma that shall be great. When it is said that India shall expand and extend herself, it is the Sanatan Dharma that shall expand and extend itself over the world. It is for the Dharma and by the Dharma that India exists. To magnify the religion means to magnify the country. I have shown you that I am everywhere and in all men and in all things, that I am in this movement and I am not only working in those who are striving for the country but I am working also in those who oppose them and stand in their path. I am working in everybody and whatever men may think or do, they can do nothing but help in my purpose. They also are doing my work, they are not my enemies but my instruments. In all your actions you are moving forward without knowing which way you move. You mean to do one thing and you do another. You aim at a result and your efforts subserve one that is different or contrary. It is Shakti that has gone forth and entered into the people. Since long ago I have been preparing this uprising and now the time has come and it is I who will lead it to its fulfilment."
- That which we call the Hindu religion is really the eternal religion, because it is the universal religion which embraces all others. If a religion is not universal, it cannot be eternal. A narrow religion, a sectarian religion, an exclusive religion can live only for a limited time and a limited purpose. This is the one religion that can triumph over materialism by including and anticipating the discoveries of science and the speculations of philosophy. It is the one religion which impresses on mankind the closeness of God to us and embraces in its compass all the possible means by which man can approach God. It is the one religion which insists every moment on the truth which all religions acknowledge that He is in all men and all things and that in Him we move and have our being. It is the one religion which enables us not only to understand and believe this truth but to realise it with every part of our being. It is the one religion which shows the world what the world is, that it is the Lila of Vasudeva. It is the one religion which shows us how we can best play our part in that Lila, its subtlest laws and its noblest rules. It is the one religion which does not separate life in any smallest detail from religion, which knows what immortality is and has utterly removed from us the reality of death.
- This is the word that has been put into my mouth to speak to you today. What I intended to speak has been put away from me, and beyond what is given to me I have nothing to say. It is only the word that is put into me that I can speak to you. That word is now finished. I spoke once before with this force in me and I said then that this movement is not a political movement and that nationalism is not politics but a religion, a creed, a faith. I say it again today, but I put it in another way. I say no longer that nationalism is a creed, a religion, a faith; I say that it is the Sanatan Dharma which for us is nationalism. This Hindu nation was born with the Sanatan Dharma, with it it moves and with it it grows. When the Sanatan Dharma declines, then the nation declines, and if the Sanatan Dharma were capable of perishing, with the Sanatan Dharma it would perish.
- There is certainly nothing in Arabinda Ghose's past record which would justify exceptional tenderness to him. On the contrary, though he escaped conviction on the actual charge of conspiracy in the Alipore case, yet it is beyond doubt that his influence has been pernicious in the extreme. He is not a mere blind and unreasoning tool, but an active generator of revolutionary sentiment. He is imbued with a semi-religious fanaticism which is a powerful factor in attracting adherents to his cause: and I attribute the spread of seditious doctrines to him personally in a greater degree than to any other single individual in Bengal, or possibly in India.
- Sir Edward Baker, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, in a letter to Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto, as quoted in India Under Morley and Minto : Politics Behind Revolution, Repression and Reforms (1964) by Manmath Nath Das
- I appeal to you, therefore, that a man like this stands not only before the bar of this court, but stands before the bar of the high court of History… Long after this controversy is hushed in silence, long after this turmoil and this agitation ceases, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone his words will be echoed and re-echoed not only in India but across distant seas and lands.
- Speech by C.R. Das in defence of Aurobindo Ghosh in the Maincktala Bomb Case. The judgement was issued in 1909. Quoted by Dr. Nitish Sengupta in his “History of the Bengali-speaking People.”
- He has retired from political life, why does he interfere?
- Mahatma Gandhi to Duraiswamy Iyer, Sri Aurobindo's messenger, in 1942, commenting on Sri Aurobindo's acceptance of Stafford Cripps's proposal for dominion status after the war.
- Quoted from Sri Aurobindo, Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). 
- I felt the utterance of the ancient Hindu Rishis spoke from him of that equanimity which gives the human Soul its freedom of entrance into the All. I said to him, "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 … O Aurobindo, accept the salutations from Rabindranath."
- Rabindranath Tagore, as quoted in The Self in Indian Philosophy (1964) by Troy Wilson Organ, p. 142
- Of all modern Indian writers Aurobindo — successively poet, critic, scholar, thinker, nationalist, humanist — is the most significant and perhaps the most interesting … In fact, he is a new type of thinker, one who combines in his vision the alacrity of the West with the illumination of the East. To study his writings is to enlarge the boundaries of one's knowledge … He is blessed with a keen intuition. He knows that a man may be right and not wise. He treats each word of his as though it were a drop of elixir. In all this he is unique — at least in modern India. … a yogi who writes as though he were standing among the stars, with the constellations for his companions.
- Review of Collected Poems and Plays in the Times Literary Supplement [London] (8 July 1944)
- Aurobindo described his father as a "tremendous atheist" but Thakur calls him an agnostic and Heehs believes that he followed his own coda.
- Krishna Dhun Ghose returned to India soon after, leaving his wife in the care of a physician in London. Barindra was born in England in January 1880.
- While in Manchester, the Ghose brothers lived first at 84 Shakespeare Street and then, by the time of the 1881 census, at 29 York Place, Chorlton-on-Medlock. Aurbindo was recorded in the census as Aravinda Ghose, as he was also by the University of Cambridge.
- Benoybhusan's education ended in Manchester.
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- Yadav (2007), p. 31: "the fame of Sri Aurobindo mainly rests upon Savitri which is considered as his magnum opus ... [It is] a 24000 line blank verse epic in which he has widened the original legend of the Mahabharta and turned it into a symbol where the soul of man, represented by Satyavan, is delivered from the grip of death and ignorance through the love and power of the Divine Mother, incarnated upon earth as Savitri."
- Heehs (2008), pp. 411–412: "On the morning of December 6, 1950 all of the major newspapers of the country announced the passing of Sri Aurobindo ... President Rajendra Prasad, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, central and state ministers ... recalled his contribution to the struggle for freedom, his philosophical and other writings, and the example of his yogic discipline. Abroad, his death was noted by newspapers in London, Paris and New York. A writer in the Manchester Guardian called him 'the most massive philosophical thinker that modern India has produced.'"
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- Raychaudhuri, Girijashankar.....Sri Aurobindo O Banglar Swadeshi Joog (published 1956)...this book was serially published in the journal Udbodhan and read out to Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry while he was still alive......Sri Aurobindo commented, " he will snatch away smile from my face"
- Sethna, K.D., *---- The Passing of Sri Aurobindo, 1951.
- Sethna, K.D., *---- Sri Aurobindo on Shakespeare
- Sethna, K.D., *---- Sri Aurobindo- The Poet
- Sethna, K.D., *---- The Vision and Work of Sri Aurobindo
- Sethna, K.D., *The poetic genius of Sri Aurobindo by K. D Sethna
- Sethna, K.D., The Mother, Past-Present-Future, 1977
- Official website Sri Aurobindo Ashram
- Rig Veda - Hymns to the Mystic Fire - Sri Aurobindo - INDEX
- The Supramental Cosmology - the Integral Yoga of Patrizia Norelli Bachelet Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondicherry**:
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