Photo of Sri Aurobindo, circa 1915. Original url
The yoga we practice is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature and a divine life into the mental, vital and physical nature and life of humanity. Its object is not personal Mukti, although Mukti is a necessary condition of the yoga, but the liberation and transformation of the human being. It is not personal Ananda, but the bringing down of the divine Ananda -- Christ's kingdom of heaven, our Satyayuga -- upon the earth.
-- Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) was born in Calcutta on 15 August, and educated at a christian convent in Darjeeling. At the age of seven, along with his two brothers, he was sent by his Anglophile father to England in order to receive a "British Education". Returning to his homeland at age 21, he worked for some years in the public service, while learning from scratch the languages and traditions of his own culture. He was prominent in the struggle for independence against the British, and spent a year in prison. Whilst in prison he had a vision of the Divine, which assured him that India would attain its independence and that he could leave the movement to devote himself to the spiritual task. He retreated to the French colony of Pondicherry, where he would be safe against the British, and set up an ashram. There he became an important philosopher, yogi, and teacher and developed he calledIntegral Yoga, the yoga of the whole being. He was joined by his co-worker and fellow Adept Mirra Alfassa, who later became known as The Mother. For the remainder of his life Sri Aurobindo worked tirelessly for the transformation of the world, the yoga of the earth. A prolific writer, he produced a total of twenty-nine volumes, including such classics of spirituality as Savitri, The Life Divine, and the Synthesis of Yoga. He spent many hours each day writing replies to letters from disciples, some of which were later collated and published.
Sri Aurobindo's East-West Synthesis
Sri Aurobindo's teachings are interesting, indeed unique for a major Indian philosopher, in that he presents a very theosophical-anthroposophical cosmology, involving specific planes of existence, subtle psychic faculties, spiritual entities, and long processes of evolution. In a real sense he represents more the theosophical-gnostic stream in Indian guise, rather than a specifically Indian (Advaitan or Tantric) approach; the very real contributions of the latter notwithstanding. So if Western spiritual philosophy aquires an Indian-Tibetan flavour with Blavatskian Theosophy, India conversely aquires a Western (esoteric and exoteric) flavour with Aurobindo.
Of course, Theosophy itself had a strong influence on Indian politics. Madam Blavatsky's successor Annie Besant was outspoken in her struggle on behalf of Indian independence (
swarajor "self-rule") from the British; and Gandhi was chosen, educated, and primed by Theosophical people in London. And the Vegetarian Society he founded there was strongly Theosophcal.
Sri Aurobindo - Exoteric and Esoteric interpretations
Sri Aurobindo was not just a Realizer, he was a Divinizer. And, like all Realizers and Divinizers, his life - as he put it - was not on the surface for men to see. That is, his real work was conducted on an occult and esoteric level, of which secular modernity, and even progressive forms of modernity likepostmaterialism, know nothing.
More on Sri Aurobindo
Summary and Main Points of Sri Aurobindo's Teachings
Sri Aurobindo on Meditation
Sri Aurobindo's Cosmology
Sri Aurobindo's Psychology
Sri Aurobindo's conception of the transcendent Absolute - Sacchidananda
The Absolute and the Manifestation
The Intermediate Zone - from a letter by Sri Aurobindo to a disciple - one of the most profound and insightful descriptions of the occult realities and the dangers on the spiritual path ever written.
The Higher Self in Sri Aurobindo's Teaching
The pure "I"
Sri Aurobindo on Supramentalisation
Was Sri Aurobindo a Vegetarian?
Osho, Sri Aurobindo, and Immortality - like most gurus, Osho had no idea what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were on about. Ken Wilber on Sri Aurobindo - integral thinker Ken Wilber also misinterprets Sri Aurobindo in a number of places.
Sri Aurobindo and Avatarhood by Barindranath Chaki - refutes the "old fashioned" avatar interpretation of Sri Aurobindo by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet and her disciples.
Beyond Man by Barindranath Chaki - essay on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the coming Supramental world
Sri Aurobindo is with us by Barindranath Chaki - essay on Sri Aurobindo and the Realisatiom of the Supramental state.
The Luminous Future by Barindranath Chaki
Comments on photos of Sri Aurobindo
Bernard's site for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother - selected words and images of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother - (site no longer being updated)
Sri Aurobindo Ghose 1872 - 1950 - includes bio and lots of quotes and passages from his writtings.
Sri Aurobindo - good autobiographical and biographical material on Sri Aurobindo.
Dr. Debashish Banerji's Talk on Sri Aurobindo - Excellent introduction to Sri Aurobindo's life and teachings; covers his political revolutionary period, early experiences, the basis of his integral yoga, and at the end a brief but very useful synopsis of his Integral Yoga
Sri Aurobindo and Transpersonal Psychology - useful essay, by Michael Miovic.
Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo - published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram (note, some volumes still to be issued at the time of writing); each published volume can be viewed and downloaded in PDF format.
Biography - Sri Aurobindo - a very good biography - other resources on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are also available here.
Web-Server for Integral Yoga - presents various on-line texts pertaining to the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Excellent resource. Includes material in Russian and English
The Future Evolution of Man - Sri Aurobindo - includes chapters from The Life Divine, The Human Cycle and The Synthesis of Yoga
Sri Aurobindo - Wikipedia page, which has a checkered history, slowly improving in quality
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page uploaded 28 May 1998, most recent revision 27 February 2011