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Sri Aurobindo

 


Sri Aurobindo, 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.

According to 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.

The ashram at Pondicherry attracts thousands of pilgrims and students from all over the world. Its most ambitious effort is the building of Auroville, a new city nearby, to accommodate the educational and community-service activities of the movement.

 

Aurobindo's writings include The Life Divine (1940) and The Synthesis of Yoga (1948).

 

 


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