Known as a revolutionary - ascetic, patriot, philosopher and yogi, Sri Aurobindo was a many faceted brilliant
personality. Born in Calcutta on 15th August 1872, he tried to assimilate
both Indian and Western philosophical thoughts and find the paths of divine
communion and spiritual realization.
His father, Dr. Krishnadhan Ghose,
was an Anglophile, and so sent little Aurobindo to England to study at
St. Paul's school in London and then at King's College, Cambridge. In 1890,
he passed the I.C.S examination with flying colours, but as he did not
want to serve the British, he disqualified himself. Instead, he returned
to India and served in Baroda as a civil servant, a professor, and finally
as Vice-Principal of Baroda College.
In 1905, Aurobindo Ghose joined the
freedom struggle of India. He was the revolutionary who encouraged direct
political action against the British instead of moderate reformism. He
began writing essays, poetry, dramas and fiery articles on nationalism
that stirred India's political consciousness. In this phase, he was appointed
editor of the controversial "Bande Mataram" and was prosecuted in 1908
and jailed in Alipur for a year.
It was during this time that he had
a divine spiritual experience in the form of a vision of the all-pervading
reality. This changed his life, and in 1909, when he was acquitted, he
did not return to politics, but retired to Pondicherry to pursue yoga in
order to realise the mysteries of consciousness. He established an ashram
there in 1910 and spent his time in seclusion, writing eminent books and
poetry like ' Life Divine', 'Essays on Gita', 'Basis of Yoga', 'Love and
death' and 'Savitri'.
The Aurobindo Ashram attracts hordes
of people from all around the world to come to Pondicherry, study, meditate
and discover themselves and the true meaning of existence. In India, Sri
Aurobindo is admired not only for his nationalistic fervour but also as
an ascetic and philosopher with a divine vision to guide us into a new
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