In the world one of the great scholar was Aurobindo Ghose. He is one of the prominent leader that inspired us. His commitment and hard work throughout his life brings the result of success and a good example for others to follow. In this Blog’s post we shall discuss about Sri Aurobindo life history; and about his contribution to the Indian History; which was highly reflected on his writings such as philosophy, Art and literature, religion etc.
Sri Aurobindo life history
The life of Aurobindo beginning from his birth to till death will briefly be discussed through the following points:
a) Sri Aurobindo’s early childhood:
Aurobindo Ghose was born at 5 am, in Calcutta on the 15th August 1872. He was the third son of Dr. Krishnadhan Ghose and Srimati Swarnalata Devi. He belonged to a Bengali family. But he was not allowed to speak in Bengali and spoke only English or Hindi. His Food, dress and manners followed the English lifestyle.
When he was five years old, he was sent to the Loreto Convent School in Darjeeling. The school was an English medium school; and thus Aurobindo started lisping in English at the age of five years. And also he was profoundly impressed his teachers in Darjeeling school for his intelligence and singular sweetness of his nature.
b) Sri Aurobindo’s boyhood and youth life:
At the age of seven he was sent to England and stayed there for fourteen years. At a very young age, Aurobindo had acquired a very considerable proficiency in the classics and he was therefore able to proceed to King’s College, Cambridge, with a senior classical scholarship of the value of 80% per year. When Aurobindo was just about twenty years old, he had achieved rare academic distinctions.
He had mastered in Greek and Latin, English and French and he had also acquired sufficient familiarity with other continental languages like Germany and Latin. For fourteen years, he had spent his life in England and had develop foreign taste and tendencies and he had been denationalized like his own. But he was destined to change all that inorder to re-nationalize himself. In the meantime, Aurobindo was in search of a suitable job and he gave interview in Baroda and was successful.
He secured a promising appointment in the Baroda state service. He then left England for India in February 1893. At the age of twenty eight he married Mrinalini who died in the plague of influenza at the young age of 32 while waiting in Calcutta to go and join her husband in Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo died in 5 December 1950.
Sri Aurobindo’s contributions:
Aurobindo made exceptional contributions in different fields while he lived; which still have a great impact on the people even before and after his death. Some of his contributions are:
a) Art & Literature:
Aurobindo Ghose believed that there is no other highest Art’s form in differentiation to one another. He said that the great arts own appeal and this own appeal is supreme above all others.
Style in Literature according to Aurobindo is born and grows like any other living beings. He believed that the highest intensity of style; and movement in a poem is the self-expression and for all great poets, expression is the discovery. He says that a poem being an art should make an attempt to make its readers see the truth; and also make them live by awakening the the inner sight.
Sri Aurobindo’s literary works apart from some of his poems and eassy. His epic was “Savitri” which he continued to revise for the rest of his life. He wrote most of his writings in English which was later translated into number of languages.
Aurobindo believes that all life is consciously or sub-consciously a yoga. He believes that there is yoga in all the nature and it comes with life itself. Yoga exceeds the normal cosmic nature and surpasses; it because the aim of the cosmic nature is to realise and embrace the divine in itself; but yoga reaches beyond itself and the divine in itself exceeds the universe; and also the cosmic nature.
There should be three conceptions to practise yoga: God, Nature and the human soul also known as the transcendental, the universal and the individual. Aurobindo believed that Yoga is the first thing necessary to aspire for the divine.
Sri Aurobindo’s main vision was the evolution of human life into the life divine in this earth. His philosophy contradicted the traditional views and he was of the view that it is possible to go beyond liberation and even surpass the normal integration of nirvana. We shall briefly look at his philosophies:
1. The supreme:
Aurobindo constantly refers to the supreme planes of infinite consciousness which are: Sat (truth) ; Cit (knowledge) ; Ananda (bliss). Saccidananda is the supreme in its pure self-existence and in its action through gnosis(knowledge) it appears as God, the creator of the world.
The omnipresent reality became the universe and it dwells in all the objects and also human. We only have to realise it inwardly and outwardly through the consciousness of the absolute. And thus in reality there is no distinction between god and the absolute.
2. Supermind or Gnosis:
The traditional belief is that Brahma created the world. But Aurobindo is of the belief that the real creator is the supermind whose power also exceeds the mind. And of course it goes against the spiritual belief; but Aurobindo emphasizes his philosophy on this creator. The supermind represents the creative power of saccidananda, it is also about manifesting the trinity of saccidananda in to our lives.
Gnosis starts from the truth and shows appearances in the light of the truth. So also, it proceeds by identity or vision, it sees and it knows. It perceives and brings out the budding truth and the principle of harmony which is hidden in the formation of ignorance.
Overmind is the link between the mind and the supermind and conncets them. The supermind transmits all the realities to the overmind and leaves it to it to formulate them.
It also connects the supreme knowledge and the cosmic ignorance; and at the same time also seperates them. It gives importance to the central truth but also gives equal importance to all other aspects.
4. Mind Proper:
The mind is derived from the supermind through the meditation of the overmind. The overmind gives the power and independent form to the mind to acquire full separate importance.
This is the separation of the cosmic truth from the cosmic ignorance; where the transition of the mind in knowledge to mind in ignorance takes place.
5. Lower creation:
There is a life force in each physical body or object. In the lowest creation, the sub conscious is transferred into the animals, plant, metal or stone; so that we are able to distinguish the idea of life.
c) Sri Aurobindo (life history) and Christianity:
Aurobindo spent fourteen years of his youth in Europe; so there is a probablility his religion has been influenced by Christianity. And there are quiet some similiarities where both Aurobindo and Christianity stands on a common ground; that spirit is moving towards a universal creative purpose and God is revealed in God’s creation. Also another aspect is that Christ said “The kingdom of God is within you.” And so does Aurobindo believes that God is in Human.
Though they don’t share the exact conception. It stands on the same view that there is new birth with the spirit working in us. On the other hand there are some differences like the concept of evil and Sin.
He believes that evil or sin cannot exist on their own. But it is dependent on the ignorance just like the light and shadow; where light is not dependent on shadow for its existence. But shadow is dependent on light for its existence. He does not deny the existence of evil but he does not accept evil as an independent principle.
But whereas in Christianity, evil is a reality and not an illusion. So, aurobindo believs that Christ’s incarnation is the avatara; which shows the divine himself coming down to earth to raise humanity; just like the avatars of Vishnu. He counts Christ as such an incarnation as the budhha and Krishna. But for Christianity, Christ’s incarnation is a unique event and Christ is different from other incarnations.
d) Religion (Sri Aurobindo life history)
Aurobindo does not take the comparative study of religions; nor was he involved in any serious study of the perspective histories and teachings of the several religious traditions. However, it has been mention hardly in his writings.
His works offer a major study and interpretation of his own Indian religious Tradition. He was engage with the Christian religion. But his study of Christian tradition was not carried through in a systematic way; and his interest in it has therefore been missed by some students of his writings.
However, his view on religion, is a collection of beliefs; cultural system and world views that relate humanity to an order to existence. It is also believes form within the context of practices and rituals; share by a group to provide a framework connected to God. He says that, India is the meeting place for religion.
1. Spiritual Evolution or the Evolution of consciousness:
Spiritual evolution is the central framework for understanding Aurobindo’s thought. According to him the Consciousness participates in the various level of being in various ways. Sachchidananda, literally the highest level of being consciousness and bliss; is also seen as a series of ascents from material, physical existence up to supramental existence; in which we are able to reach our true being and fulfilment. Yoga is also a means by which evolution thrust can be consciously assisted.
2. Doctrine of God (Sri Aurobindo life history)
Aurobindo conceived about God as, original cause and final result. He is divine existence, builders of the world; lord and begetter of all things. Aurobindo is also the Divine child born into the world who manifest himself in the growth of the creature. He is Rudra and Vishnu, Prajapati, surya, Agni, Indra etc. all the Gods.
e) Political Movement (Sri Aurobindo life history)
In 1906, Aurobindo joined the political movement in Indian resistance to British colonial rule; and became a prominent voice of the Nationalist party; arguing from complete independence from Britain. In 1907, the congress split due to a fight between moderates and extremists.
Aurobindo sided with extremist and supported Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Then he went Pune, Bombay and Baroda to educate and support for national movement. In 1908, he was arrested in connection with an unsuccessful bombing episodes against the British district judge. He spent for a year in the Alipore jail during the investigation and trial.
During this time of imprisonment his interest in yoga deepend. He spent the next forty years in Pondicherry, formulating his vision of spiritual evolution and Integral Yoga; and refusing to pursue direct involvement in political events.
Conclusion (Sri Aurobindo life history)
Sri Aurobindo was a great influence to many. Even though he was brought up with high english influence. He was an Indian nationalist. He was also a great spiritual reformer who influenced and touched many people’s lives through his spirituality and philosophies. It is greatly inspiring; that many Europeans and Americans have become the disciples of Aurobindo while remaining a Christian.