Sri Aurobindo (August 15, 1872 – December 5, 1950) was a major Indian nationalist, Hindu philosopher, yogi, and poet. He joined the Indian movement for independence from British rule, and was one of its influential leaders before turning to develop his own vision and philosophy of human progress and spiritual evolution.
Aurobindo studied for the Indian Civil Service at King’s College, Cambridge, England. After returning to India he took up various civil service, involving himself in politics. He was imprisoned by the British for writing articles against British rule in India, but was released when no evidence was provided. During this stay in the jail he had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work.
In Pondicherry, Aurobindo developed a method of spiritual practice he called Integral Yoga. The central theme of which is the evolution of human life into a life divine. He believed in a spiritual realisation that not only liberated man, but also transformed his nature, enabling a divine life on earth. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (referred to as “The Mother”), he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
Teachings of Sri Aurobindo
“Man is a transitional being. He is not final. The step from man to superman is the next approaching achievement in the earth’s evolution. It is inevitable because it is at once the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of Nature’s process.”
–The Divine Plan
“I swore that I would not suffer from the world’s grief and the world’s stupidity and cruelty and injustice and I made my heart as hard in endurance as the nether millstone and my mind as a polished surface of steel. I no longer suffered, but enjoyment had passed away from me.”
–Essays Divine and Human
“My love is not a hunger of the heart, My love is not a craving of the flesh; It came to me from God, to God returns.”
–The Divine Plan
Book to Hang Out With – The Life Divine
Man, the highest conscious form of life upon earth, a “transitional being” is destined to exceed his limitations as a mental being and become a supramental being. This change can be brought about through a methodised effort towards self-perfection in which the individual seeks to enter into contact and union (yoga) with the Divine through aspiration and self-surrender, opens himself to the Divine Consciousness and Force which descend into him and gradually transform his mind, life and body. This integral transformation, said Sri Aurobindo, will lead to such a perfection of terrestrial existence that it might well be called a divine life on earth.
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