Motto: “I had no impulse towards spirituality, but I developed spirituality. I was incapable of understanding metaphysics, but I turned into a philosopher. I didn’t have eyes for painting, but I opened it through Yoga.” – Sri Aurobindo
Great visionary and wise of unanity
Sri Aurobindo, by his name Aurobindo Ghosh or Ghose (15 Aug 1872 – 5 Dec 1950), was a great Indian philosopher, yogi and poet, as well as a fearless fighter for the independence of his country.
He is considered one of the great contemporary visionaries and sages, not only of India but also of all humanity.
Sri Aurobindo attached great importance to art and culture for the spiritual evolution of humanity, considering poetry one of the purest ways in which the Spirit can be described. The famous or epic poem “Savitri” may be the most eloquent example of this.
He received a special education
Sri Aurobindo was born on 15 August 1872 in Calcutta into a family of European Indians. His father studied in England, so Aurobindo received an English first name – Akroyd.
At only 7 years old he left India with his two brothers to study in England, receiving a strictly European education as his father wanted.
As a student with extremely good teaching results, at 18 he received a scholarship to Cambridge University where he won all the Greek and Latin poetry prizes in his first year. From that moment he began to be interested in the figures of the revolutionaries and the great revolutions of the world. In this way, he discovers his vocation for politics and becomes concerned about the independence of his country. At 20, a recent graduate of Cambridge University, he decides to return to India.
Only now, back in his native country, sri Aurobindo begins to learn Bengali. Read a lot, becoming passionate about the sacred texts of India: Upanisades, Bhagavad – Gita and Ramayana . He began to study Sanskrit language on his own, fascinated by the mystery and tradition of Indian spirituality.
Although he devoted his life to spirituality, he had an important political involvement
Between 1905 and 1910 he settled in Calcutta and openly marched into the political struggle, organizing the struggle of Indian nationalists against the British occupation. Its role was very important in awakening the national consciousness and especially in gaining full independence from British colonialism.
In parallel with this highly effervescent political activity, Sri Aurobindo develops as a spiritual being. The moment when he decides to integrate into a spiritual path is when, in his seriously ill brother, he presents himself as a half-naked wandering monk with his head covered in ashes – a naga – sannyasin , who utters a mantra and makes a mark on top of the sick, who in a few minutes gets better. From this moment on, Sri Aurobindo, who had in fact witnessed the manifestation of shiddis or paranormal powers of a wandering yogi, decides to go down this path.
It is initiated by the yogi Vishnu Baskar Lele, with whom he lives some upriding spiritual experiences – this is the moment when Aurobindo experiences the height of mental peace and a perfect inner peace. Through this new spiritual level reached, he realizes that his entire Yoga practice until then had been an enormous Illusion.
In parallel with this extraordinary inner “conquest”, Aurobindo continues his revolutionary struggle for The Independence of India, with his brother Barin with whom he organizes guerrilla units in Bengal, masked as sports or cultural clubs. He becomes the leader of a nationalist party, participates in secret meetings where he launches into political speeches, but now these speeches were inspired. Sri Aurobindo thought, wrote, and spoke from another plan, that of the Self. “Seek to be aware of this force within you and manifest it. Whatever you do, do not consider it your action, but the action of the Truth within you”,, are the words you address to the people who listened to his revolutionary speeches.
All this revolutionary effervescence ends on 4 May 1908 when he is arrested, charged with participating in an attack against a British magistrate, which is why he is imprisoned at Alipore for a year. During this time, he realizes that this “happening” forced him to continue his spiritual transformation. The prison turned into his experimental lab. He successively explores the supramental plans, keeping himself in constant contact with God and receiving through His Grace, The Last Knowledge, at that moment he attains the state of Cosmic Consciousness.
Released from prison at 37, a year later, he decides to leave his political life for good, further dedicating his life to spirituality.
From this moment his life can be divided into three stages: Chandernagor (1910-1920), Pondichery (1920-1926) and his total retreat (1926-1950).
Aurobindo will make his whole life a yoga practice
Over the next 40 years, Aurobindo devotes himself entirely to spiritual life. His ideal was to awaken matter, to pretend it and to include it in this process of spiritualization. He said that at this stage humanity must go beyond the level of the gregarious mind, millions of years of existence, and that the transformation that is to take place must take place in the consciousness of humanity.
The next few years he spent writing poems in states of supramental inspiration. It follows the experience of conscious sleep. Its interiorization reaches unsuspectedly high spiritual levels, so that in moments of externalization manifests an overwhelming silence.
The disciple and his French-born wife Mirra Alfassa, nicknamed Mama, witness such an episode, famous for the fact, when during a particularly strong storm, he climbs up to close the wide open windows of the room where Aurobindo wrote immersed in a state of deep inspiration, and finds that nothing had managed to penetrate in his room, not even a drop of rain or a gust of wind from outside.
He was endowed with important paranormal abilities
Aurobindo had an exceptional psychic force, with which he was able to experience with Mother and his close disciples (chosen with the utmost exigency) many of the paranormal spiritual powers.
In the ashram of Pondichery, which was born in 1926, it lived in a very special atmosphere, in which the most difficult spiritual experiences were amazingly easy to obtain, like a play. There, in the presence of the master, what we commonly call “miracles” was very easily produced. Thus, they experienced, on their own body, the powers of consciousness, for example prolonged fasting, without the appearance of any form of devitalization, then levitation and one by one they checked all the so-called natural laws, discovering that they are subject to certain stages of consciousness and can therefore be overcome thanks to control and then transcend those levels. However, being aware that this is not the ultimate goal on the spiritual path, one day they put an end to these experiments and decided to open wide the gates of their ashram, so that they could offer spiritual teachings to all who sought and needed them.
In the studies and works of Sri Aurobindo and Mother, it is not recommended to practice a specific discipline, but rather to practice Integral Yoga, , which means that each aspirant should follow the spiritual path to which he feels he has a calling.
Anyone can begin to study this teaching, there are no specific methods or rituals and no specific speeches. Only sustained daily practice to achieve the highest state will receive divine help, directly from the source and not through the intercession of someone else.
Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual and philosophical teachings influenced not only Indian thinking, but became known throughout the world through the master’s numerous writings and books.
His main literary works are: “Divine Life”, in which are treated theoretical aspects of Integral Yoga, “Yoga of Synthesis”, with the same subject and “Savitri – the legend of the symbol”, an epic poem in 12 volumes, which refers to a specific passage from the Mahabharata where the characters apply integral Yoga in their lives.
His work also includes philosophical studies, poems, translations and comments of the Vedas, Upanishads and Gita.
He dedicated his life to transforming himself, but also to helping others
Sri Aurobindo’s life was totally given to the idea of achieving what to many people seemed to be the impossible. He longed to achieve his transformation and then all the other people and even the destiny of his country. We can say that he dared more than was actually possible, because he believed with all his strength in this strong idea that belongs to him:
“If the Earth asks and the Supreme responds, the moment of realization may be this!”