Life of the master
Sri Aurobindo was born as Aurobindo Ghose in Calcutta,1872, to a bengali Kayastha family. His father was a surgeon and a former member of the brahmo samaj religious movement.
His schooling began in a christian boarding school, Loreto Convent, in Darjeeling. There aurobindo was introduced to christian religious teachings and symbolism.
At the age of 7, his family moved to london. There for 4 years he learnt french and latin in private tuition in manchester (Since learning latin was a prerequisite to get admission into a good school in britain).
From the age of 11 to 18 he studied in St Paul’s School, London.
Young Aurobindo had thus achieved rare academic distinctions at a very early age. He had mastered Greek and Latin and English, and he had also acquired sufficient familiarity with continental languages like German, French and Italian.
His father wanted Aurobindo to become an ICS officer, for which it was necessary to study in an english university for 2 years,after giving the ICS exam. Aurobindo aced the exam, ranked 11th out of 250. Thereafter he studied in king’s college for 2 years, under probation.
He had no interest in becoming an ICS officer, so he intentionally went late to the horse riding exam,and failed.
Around that time he met the Maharaja of Baroda in England, who offered him an administrative position under his princely state kingdom.
So, Aurobindo came to India and joined the state service in 1893 under the king of Baroda.
He worked for 4 years in different departments, Survey and settlements department, Secretariat, teaching grammar, writing speeches for the king. In 1897, he started working as a french teacher in Baroda college, where he self studied Sanskrit and Bengali.
His interest in indian spirituality started way back when he was preparing for the ICS examinations, when he came across the terms “Six philosophies” (Shad Darshan) of Indian spirituality. The concept of Atman arose great interest in him.
When he was in India,he attended lectures of different saints, met yoga teachers, because of his growing interest.
In about 1904, he started doing Yoga by himself, after knowing the rules from his friend who was a disciple of Sri Sadguru Brahmananda. Brahmanand was a saint living on the banks of narmada river.
Realizing the true nature of British government he started to take interest in the freedom struggle. He moved to and fro between Bengal and Baroda, establishing links with relatives and family members.
The yogic practice and participation in politics went on side by side.
He moved to Kolkata in 1906 after the announcement of the Partition of Bengal. In Bengal he became involved in revolutionary activities – he attended congress meetings, then joined the extremist wing of congress after the separation of moderates and extremists. He went to different cities, inspiring people with his speeches to take up the nationalist cause.
He was arrested in May 1908 in connection with Alipore Bomb case, and was put in solitary confinement in Alipore Jail.
For one year the trial of the case went on but he was acquitted and finally released.
During the year in confinement, he had spiritual experiences, and he said he constantly heard the voice of Swami Vivekananda and felt his presence. There he realised that he was more interested in spiritual pursuits than political.
Once out of the prison he started two new publications, Karmayogin in English and Dharma in Bengali.
He was sought after by the british police for his article in Karmayogin , for which he escaped to Pondicherry in 1910, because Pondicherry was a French colony at that time.
In Pondicherry he started practicing Yoga seriously, full time.
For 4 years he practiced, and in 1914, he met Mira Alfassa, a french national, who had came to pondicherry along with her husband Richard, seeking a spiritual teacher. They fixed an appointment with Sri Aurobindo. When Mira met Sri Aurobindo, she recognised his face from her dreams.
Mira and Richard started a monthly philosophical magazine called Arya,in 1914.
Mira Alfassa would later on be known as “The Mother” by the followers of aurobindo.
Mira finally settled in Pondicherry in 1920 to continue practicing Yoga along with Aurobindo and his followers.
Aurobindo considered her as his spiritual equal and she was called as “the mother” lovingly by the followers.
For 7 years the magazine Arya ran…. The collection of articles in the magazine were published in form of many books like The life divine, Synthesis of yoga etc etc.
His followers started to grow and as a result, Aurobindo ashram was founded in 1926, in pondicherry.
After 1926, Aurobindo went into a life of seclusion , fully focussing his attention to yoga. He left the administration of the ashram to the mother.
Aurobindo left his body in December 1950. His remains are stored in a samadhi in the Aurobindo ashram.
Many people were influenced by the Arya magazine, and they wanted to come to the ashram and learn Aurobindo’s yoga.
Some came to permanently reside with aurobindo and some came just to learn yoga. By 1926 there were 85 permanent inmates in the ashram.
The Aurobindo Ashram was established in 1926.
Aurobindo gave the responsibility of managing the ashram to the mother in 1926.
The mother efficiently managed the ashram, and died finally in 1973.
Another interesting thing to mention is the city of auroville.
The mother conceived of a city which would belong to no country,where people of every country would live together, learn throughout their lives, have spiritual growth and material growth and be in harmony with the environment.
With this vision in mind, the city of Auroville started in 1968.
A piece of barren land was chosen 10 kilometres north of pondicherry, in Tamil nadu.
As of 2016 there are about 2000 people of 49 different countries living in auroville.
Aurobindo wrote poems, short stories, plays, commentaries on Upanishads and Vedas, and much more.
The Life Divine, The Secret of the Veda, Savitri are some of his many books published.
His ENTIRE work is available for FREE in the website https://www.sriaurobindoashram.org/sriaurobindo/writings.php
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