or Aurobindo Ghose, b. Aug. 15, 1872, d. Dec. 5, 1950, was an Indian
nationalist and one of India's most original philosophers. He was
educated at Darjeeling and in England, where he read classics at
Cambridge. During a teaching career in Baroda and Calcutta, he became
active in political affairs.
As a result
of his participation in efforts to free India from British rule,
he was imprisoned in 1908. After his release he retired (1910) to
Pondicherry to found an ashram (retreat) that became one of the
chief religious centers of India. Assisted by Mira Richard, known
as the Mother, he lived there continuously until his death.
Aurobindo's philosophy, cosmic salvation involves both an evolution
and an enlightenment. On the one hand, humanity evolved from matter
to the present stage of development called mind and is now in the
process of moving to a higher state of supermind, or divinity. On
the other hand, human enlightenment and energy come from above.
Aurobindo's system of YOGA, called Integral Yoga, synthesized features
of several paths recognized by Hindu tradition - nonattached action,
intuitive knowledge, and devotion to God.
at Pondicherry attracts thousands of pilgrims and students from
all over the world. Its most ambitious effort is the building of
a new city nearby, to accommodate the educational and community-service
activities of the movement.
writings include The Life Divine (1940) and The Synthesis of Yoga