History / Spirituality

Sri Aurobindo: A Life in Pictures

‘A divine life in a divine body is the formula of the ideal that we envisage’ – Sri Aurobindo

Early Years

Aurobindo Ghose, better known as Sri Aurobindo was an Indian philosopher, litterateur, a nationalist, poet and above all a supreme Yogi. Born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, he was the third son of Dr. Krishna Dhun Ghose who named him Aravinda – meaning Lotus in Sanskrit. The name symbolizes divine consciousness. Later he married Mrinalini Devi who died of illness at a young age of 32.

As a Nationalist

Aurobindo was the first political leader in India to openly pen down the idea of complete independence in his newspaper Bande Mataram. His political involvement in the Indian national movement was short, but had a great impact over the nation. He was involved in drafting the fourfold objectives of the national movement: Swaraj [self-governance for India], Swadesh [the motherland], boycott [of British institutions], and national education.

During his struggle for the country’s freedom, he served a term of one year in Alipore jail. It was here that he had a deep inner call within him. This made him turn towards spirituality and a philosophical quest. Once during a meditative trance in jail, he rose up and declared that India would gain her freedom at midnight on 15th August, also Aurobindo’s birthday! When the country received her independence on 15th August 1947, Aurobindo took this as a signal of the divine providence that had assured him Indian independence would be achieved.

Towards Spirituality

Aurobindo then moved to Pondicherry. Between 1914 and 1950, he developed a new spiritual practice, the Integral Yoga – a path towards ‘Supramental Consciousness’. The central idea of Sri Aurobindo’s vision was the evolution of human life into a divine life. He founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and gave full charge to The Mother in 1926. After the establishment of the Ashram, Sri (meaning ‘sacred’ in Sanskrit), was added before his name.

Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on the Gita and Savitri. His epic work ‘Savitri’ of 23,823 lines, is his masterpiece. It guides mankind towards the Supreme Being. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Nobel Prize in Literature for Savitri. 

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