A Seer-Poet to the poets, a divine Philosopher to mankind, a Master Yogi to his worshippers, an Avatar to his disciples-who is he? Sri Aurobindo.
Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga is an ambrosial consciousness with infinite possibilities; it is a never-tiring march, a decisive and everlasting victory of Truth.
The keynote of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga is evolution – evolution of consciousness in and through Matter. There is no shadow of doubt that Matter and Spirit are one. Spirit, when it is fast asleep, is Matter; Matter, when it is fully awakened, is Spirit.
Integral Yoga is founded on an all-fulfilling experience which is anything but speculation and reasoning. An Integral Yogi is he who has seen all the phases of existence and whose very life is full of variegated experiences and realisations.
A marvel-idealism and a highly practical divinity are housed in Sri Aurobindo. His are the experiences that may serve as humanity’s royal road to a life worth living a life of the Spirit, the Life Divine.
Sri Aurobindo (August 15, 1872 – December 5, 1950), born in Calcutta. Education: stayed two years at Loretto Convent School, Darjeeling; spent fourteen years in England from the age of seven; studied at St. Paul’s School, Manchester, and King’s College, Cambridge. Returned to India in 1893 after he won the first place in Greek and Latin but disqualified in the open I.C.S. examination for failing to present himself for the riding test. Consecrated to India’s independence from London days, he spent thirteen years in the Baroda State Service, first in the Secretariat, later as Professor of French and English, and finally as Vice-Principal of Baroda State College. While there, he devoted his time to learning Indian languages, absorbing Indian culture, and practising yoga. He conducted secret societies for work towards independence and wrote political articles constructively criticising the thinking of India’s political leaders of the National Congress. The partition of Bengal brought him to Calcutta and into the National Movement in 1906.
While principal of the Bengal National College, he conducted the journals Bandemataram (English) and Yugantar (Bengali). Also a leader of the secret societies, he worked ceaselessly, publicly and behind the scenes, sowing the seeds of love of country and a desire for independence in the national mind and heart. On May 4, 1908, he was arrested on charges of attempting to subvert British Rule.
During a year’s detention in Alipore Jail, he had the vision of Vasudeva everywhere and in everything. He received Sri Krishna’s direct assurance of his acquittal and of India’s independence, along with the knowledge that the rest of the work towards that end would be carried out by others, while he himself would have to work for a higher Cause. After his acquittal, he started Dharma (Bengali) and The Karmayogin (English).
Receiving the adesh (command) from Above, he retired into seclusion, first at French Chandernagore, then at French Pondicherry, to work for the greater Cause of the world’s spiritual transformation and divinisation. He reached Pondicherry on April 4, 1910, and threw himself into concentrated spiritual work. From 1910 to 1920 he conducted Ayra, a philosophical monthly into which the message of the spiritual transformation of humanity poured unceasingly through his pen. This message formed his five major works: The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on the Gita, The Ideal of Human Unity and The Human Cycle.
Apart from these he wrote numerous other works, a few being Hymns to the Mystic Fire (translations of hymns to Agni from the Rig Veda), The Future Poetry, On the Veda, Collected Poems and Plays. His last and greatest work is Savitri, the epitome of spiritual autobiography. An epic of 23,814 lines equalling any epic in Greek, Latin, English, Italian, or German, it is a new Veda for the New Age.
A strange coincidence: with the start of the first World War, shaking human life and culture to their foundations with its unprecedented horrors, the world-saving message of The Life Divine found publication.
On November 24, 1926, Sri Aurobindo attained his spiritual perfection. He withdrew from all contacts and put into the hands of his spiritual Collaborator, the Mother, the disciples who had gathered around him. This marked the beginning of his Ashram at Pondicherry.
For over 24 years, with the Mother working in front, he continued with his yoga, not caring to rest on the laurels of his first victory of November 24, 1926, but pushing upward till he found himself within sight of his supreme and final Victory which alone could achieve the end of his Mission: the descent of what he called the Supermind into the very cells.
For purposes of his own, he decided to part with his body, and he carried out this decision on December 5, 1950, after a brief “illness.” He left the charge of his work to the Mother, who accepted it and gave her word that she would remain on earth to accomplish his work of integral transformation. Sri Aurobindo, in turn, gave his word to the Mother that he would not leave the earth atmosphere until his work was done. People in the Ashram and abroad have been feeling his living Presence and Force at work ever since. On February 19, 1956, the manifestation of the Power for which Sri Aurobindo had sacrificed his body took place, and this Power has since been operating increasingly in world affairs.
The Mother holds that the more the earth responds seriously and sincerely and offers itself for the radical transformation of its nature, the sooner will it change with the help of the New Light and Consciousness
- Excerpt from Mother India’s Lighthouse by Sri Chinmoy.