Sri Aurobindo, yogi, poet, philosopher, social and political leader, was born in Calcutta on August 15, 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England, where he was educated at St. Paul's school, London and King's College, Cambridge. He mastered Greek and Latin, learnt French and had enough knowledge of German and Italian to read Goethe and Dante. Returning to India in 1893, he joined the administrative service of the State of Baroda. Later he became a professor of English at Baroda College.
In 1906, Sri Aurobindo went to Bengal where he was appointed Principal of the new National College in Calcutta. At the time, he became actively involved in the nationalist movement. As editor of the newspaper Bande Mataram, he was the first to put forth the ideal of complete political independence for India. Arrested and imprisoned in 1908, he was acquitted a year later for lack of evide
After his release, Sri Aurobindo resumed his political activity for a time, and even published two weekly papers, one in English and another one in Bengali. But he soon realized that the country was not ready to follow his political programme. Besides, his own views had changed. His twelve months’ detention in the Alipore Jail, which had been spent entirely in the practice of yoga, had made of him “a different man”.
Sri Aurobindo had actually begun his practice of yoga three years earlier, in 1905, because he thought it would help him in the great task God had entrusted to him: the liberation of his country. But now he felt that the seed had been sown, that India was destined to be free. It was a thing decreed, inevitable. A new and great task awaited him: the spiritual upliftment of mankind, the manifestation, in the frustrated play of life, of a new power of consciousness. And for this, he had to concentrate exclusively on his yoga.
After gathering up in himself the essential elements of past spiritual experience, Sri Aurobindo moved on in search of a more complete realization, one that would help solve the painful “riddle of this world”. The traditional yogas of India seemed to him to be insufficient, since they propose an escape from the world and its difficulties. His own yoga – a “yoga of the earth”- calls for a change of consciousness leading to a total transformation of human nature.
In 1910, still under the threat of being arrested by the British government (that had labeled him “the most dangerous man in India”), Sri Aurobindo took refuge in the French terrirotry of Pondicherry. He settled there with a few friends who had left Bengal with him, and cutting himself of from active politics, concentrated on elaborating his new path of yoga. In 1914 he met Mirra Alfassa, later known as the Mother. Together they would work for the manisfestation of a “new world”, a new creation on the ruins of the old, for a “synthesis of yoga” that would help man to take the next step in his evolution. and his world.
Between 1914 and 1921, Sri Aurobindo wrote all his major works in prose: The Synthesis of Yoga, The Human Cycle, Eassy on Gita, The Life Divine, etc. These books explore the domain of philosophy, history, political science, sociology, literary criticism, educational theory, etc. In The Life Divine, we find a new philosophy, a new vision of life and evolution. The ancient wisdom of India is here enriched by the experience of the "supramental consciousness" , and by an immense vision of the Earth's future.
Between 1915 and 1950 Sri Aurobindo worked on Savitri, an epic poem of almost 24,000 lines, the supreme legacy of his yoga.
In November 1926, Sri Aurobindo withdrew into solitude and gave the charge of the Ashram and the disciples to the Mother. The years that followed were for him years of intense yogic practice. He was searching for the “supramental formula” that would transform human consciousness, creating a link between the aspiring Earth and the Supreme Divine.
Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5th of December 1950, but not without giving us the key to the future transformation of man and his world.