Shri Aurobindo & Mother

Shri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15th August,1872. At the age of seven, he was sent for his education to England. Having his primary education, first in an English family at Mnanchester, and then at St. Pauls' School, London, he went with a senior scholarship to the Kings College Cambridge. He passed the Tripos in Cambridge in the first class and obtained record marks in Greek and Latin in the examination for the Indian Civil Service.

In 1890 he passed the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, but at the end of two years of probation opted not to present himself at the compulsory riding examination and get disqualified for the Service.

After having mastered all that was precious in ancient Greece and modern Europe, he returned to India in 1893, upon an invitation from the Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwar. He spent 13 years in Baroda as an administrator in the Baroda State and a Professor of English at the Baorda College. During his stay at Baroda, he made a deep study of India's culture and spiritual heritage and started literary and political activity. He also learned Sanskrit and several modern Indian languages, assimilated the spirit of Indian civilisation and its forms past and present.

In 1906, Sri Aurobinbo went to Bengal and openly took up the leadership of the revolutionary movement. His journal Bande Mataram became the most powerful voice in the freedom movement. The concept of purna swaraj was chiefly introduced and propagated by him. He was detained for one year under trial prisoner for Alipore Conspiracy case in the Alipur jail and was acquitted in May 1909. He continued his addressing the government and the people through his weekly English paper, the Karmayogin, and a Bengali weekly, the Dharma wherein his strong words where enough to create anger to the British government.

However, since his twelve months' detention in the Alipur Jail, which had been spent entirely in practice of Yoga, his inner spiritual life was pressing upon him for an exclusive concentration.

In February 1910, he withdrew to a secret retirement at Chandannagore and in the beginning of April sailed for Pondicherry in French India. He realised the magnitude of the spiritual work he had taken up and he saw that it would need the exclusive concentration of all his energies and eventually cut off connection with politics, refused repeatedly to accept the Presidentship of the National Congress and went into a complete retirement. During all his stay at Pondicherry from 1910 onward he remained more and more exclusively devoted to his spiritual work and his sadhana.

In 1926, with the help of the Mother, he founded Sri Aurobindo Ashram and developed a new spiritual path, the Integral Yoga (Purna Yoga), whose ultimate aim is the transformation of life by power of a Supramental Consciousness.

His vision of life is presented in numerous works of prose and poetry, among which the best known are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Savitri, The Foundations of the Indian Culture, The Secrets of the Veda, The essays on Gita, The Human Cycle, The Mother, the Ideal of Human Unity etc.

Sri Aurobindo decided to leave his body on 5th December, 1950 which was laid to the Samadhi after 4 days in the Ashram premises. A constant blue hued light radiating from his body for 4 days was remarkably revealing of his achievement of his sadhana.

The Mother

The Mother, a spiritual successor and a disciple of Sri Aurobindo was born as Mirra Alfassa in Paris on 21st February 1879. An accomplished painter and musician, she began to have spiritual experience at a very early age.

Concerning her early spiritual life, the Mother has said: "Between 11 and 13 a series of psychic and spiritual experiences revealed to me not only the existence of God but man's possibility of uniting with Him, of realizing Him integrally in consciousness and action, of manifesting Him upon earth in a life divine." Around 1905 the Mother journeyed to Algeria, where she studied occultism for two years. Returning to Paris in 1906, she started her first group of spiritual seekers.

In 1914 she came to Pondicherry and recognized Sri Aurobindo as her Master (Guru) who for many years had inwardly been guiding her spiritual development. After having gone to France and Japan for some time thereafter, she retutned to Pondicherry on 24th April, 1920 and resumed her spiritual coolaboration with Sri Aurobindo

When on 24th November 1926, Sri Aurobindo withdrew for exclusive pursuit of his spiritual work, the guidance to spiritual disciples was entrusted to the Mother. She was considered not as a disciple but as Sri Aurobindo's spiritual equal and collaborator. Sri Aurobindo, recognizing Her as the embodiment of the Divine Shakti on earth, addressed Her as the Mother.

This was the beginning of Sri Aurobindo Asharam, which then developed into a many faceted centre of spiritual community and research. She also established a School, Sri Aurobinbo International Centre of Education in 1952, and an international township, Auroville in 1968.

Till her Samadhi on 17th November 1973, the Mother was engrossed in the ardous tapasya of what she called the 'yoga of the cells' - working on the gross matter to divinize and supramentalise it - to discover the path to the supramental being, the next higher stage in the terrestrial evolution, after man.