History of Aurobindo

Aurobindo was a Mahayogi; he was not only a Hathyogi but also a Rajyogi and Layyogi-in fact all in one. He was at the spearhead of the spiritual thinkers of the Twentieth Century. He stated that the soul is eternal, which cannot be overpowered by external enemies. The aim of his yoga was not only rising above the body-consciousness and realization of the self but he wanted to fill the mind, intellect, Pran and the very life with divinity in order to bring on earth the spiritual and supramental existence Born on 15 August 1872, Sri Aurobindo was an Indian nationalist, freedom fighter, philosopher, yogi, guru, and poet. He joined the Indian movement for freedom from British rule and for some time became one of its most important leaders before developing his own vision of human progress and spiritual evolution.

Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta in a Kayastha family. His father Dr. Krishna Dhan Ghose was District Surgeon of Rangapur, Bengal and Swarnalata Devi, his mother was the daughter of Brahmo religious and social reformer, Rajnarayan Basu. Aurobindo spent his first five years at Rangapur, where his father had been posted. Dr. Ghose, who had previously lived in Britain and studied medicine at King's College, Aberdeen, was determined that his children should have English education and upbringing free of any Indian influences. In 1877, he therefore sent the young Aurobindo and two elder siblings - Manmohan and Benoybhusan to the Loreto Convent School in Darjeeling. Aurobindo spent two years at Loreto Convent. In 1879, Aurobindo and his two elder brothers were taken to Manchester, England for European education. In 1884, Aurobindo joined St Paul's School. Here he learnt Greek and Latin, spending the last three years reading literature, especially English poetry. Dr. K.D. Ghose had an aspiration that his sons should pass the prestigious Indian Civil Service. To become an ICS official, students were required to pass a competitive examination, as well as study at an English university for two years under probation. With his limited financial resources, the only option Aurobindo had was to secure a scholarship at an English university, which he did by passing the scholarship examinations of King's College, Cambridge University. Hestood first at the examination. He also passed the written examination of ICS after a few months, where he was ranked 11th out of 250 competitors. He spent the next two years at the King's College. By the end of two years of probation, Aurobindo got convinced that

he did not want to serve the British, and, therefore, he did not present himself at the horse riding examination for ICS and accordingly was disqualified for the Service. During his stay in England, he had developed love for the mother-land. He was also feeling that a great revolution is about to take place in which he had to play an important role. He learnt many foreign languages during this period. He also met Sayyajirao Gaekwad III, the king of Baroda in England, who was impressed by the young Aurobindo. At the age of twenty-one Aurobindo came back to India and started serving the king of Baroda. In 1905 he came to Calcutta and joined as the principal of Bengal National College. He also joined the ‘Swarajya Andolan’ (the freedom movement) and took part in politics for about the next five years. He was also associated with various periodicals and magazines. Many a times he was also sent to jail. While he was in jail, he was allowed to come out of his cell for about half an hour or so. He used to stroll under a tree. One day he had the glimpse of Lord Krishna in place of the tree. In the jail also he started feeling the presence of the Lord in the prisoners, and in all beings. In the court also he felt the presence of the Lord. He, therefore, withdrew from politics and started concentrating entirely on his spiritual progress from the year 1910. Sri Aurobindo chose Pondicherry as the place for his sadhana. He was already in yoga-sadhana but without a Guru. About two years before coming to Pondicherry, he came in contact with Marathi Yogi Vishnu Prabhakar and his guidance helped him to have firm faith in the Divine. The arrival of Mata-French Yogini in the Pondicherry Ashram proved greatly beneficial for the yoga-sadhana of Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo has accepted great importance of Srimadbhagvad Gita and the Upanishads in his yogasadhana. He spent four years in severe sadhana and practiced solitude. Gradually the number of seekers and followers visiting the Ashram started increasing. The atmosphere of Pondicherry became very peaceful and pious because of Sri Aurobindo’s sadhana. Sri Aurobindo rejected a major conception of Indian philosophy of considering the World as Maya (illusion) and that renouncing the world was the only way out. He said that it is possible, not only to transcend human nature but also to transform it and to live in the world as a free and evolved human being with a new consciousness and a new nature which could spontaneously perceive truth of things on the basis of inner oneness, love and light. According to Sri Aurobindo man could evolve spiritually to a state of spiritual and supramental existence. This evolutionary existence he called a "Divine life on Earth", characterized by a spiritualized, supramental, truth-consciousness-oriented humanity.Sri Aurobindo sat steadfast in Mahasamadhi in the midnight of 5 December 1950. His body, however, did not decompose even after one hundred eleven hours till 9 December when he was cremated in presence of thousands of visitors.