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Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:09 pm

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Known as a revolutionary - ascetic, patriot, philosopher and yogi, Sri Aurobindo was a many faceted brilliant personality. Born in Calcutta on 15th August 1872, he tried to assimilate both Indian and Western philosophical thoughts and find the paths of divine communion and spiritual realization.

Early Influences

His father, Dr. Krishnadhan Ghose, was an Anglophile, and so sent little Aurobindo to England to study at St. Paul's school in London and then at King's College, Cambridge. In 1890, he passed the I.C.S examination with flying colours, but as he did not want to serve the British, he disqualified himself. Instead, he returned to India and served in Baroda as a civil servant, a professor, and finally as Vice-Principal of Baroda College.

Nationalistic Fervour

In 1905, Aurobindo Ghose joined the freedom struggle of India. He was the revolutionary who encouraged direct political action against the British instead of moderate reformism. He began writing essays, poetry, dramas and fiery articles on nationalism that stirred India's political consciousness. In this phase, he was appointed editor of the controversial "Bande Mataram" and was prosecuted in 1908 and jailed in Alipur for a year.

The Aurobindo Ashram

It was during this time that he had a divine spiritual experience in the form of a vision of the all-pervading reality. This changed his life, and in 1909, when he was acquitted, he did not return to politics, but retired to Pondicherry to pursue yoga in order to realise the mysteries of consciousness. He established an ashram there in 1910 and spent his time in seclusion, writing eminent books and poetry like ' Life Divine', 'Essays on Gita', 'Basis of Yoga', 'Love and death' and 'Savitri'.

The Aurobindo Ashram attracts hordes of people from all around the world to come to Pondicherry, study, meditate and discover themselves and the true meaning of existence. In India, Sri Aurobindo is admired not only for his nationalistic fervour but also as an ascetic and philosopher with a divine vision to guide us into a new awakening.

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