Guide Great Men Of India : SRI Aurobindo

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This series brings to you the inspiring life stories of people whose lives, work, thoughts and achievements have left indelible marks on the pages of world history.
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On February 6th, , Sri Aurobindo returned to India. He was 21 years old and had been away from the land of his birth for 14 years. The second great transitional point in his life was about to begin.

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He began by immersing himself in every aspect of Indian life — her culture, her traditions, her religions, her languages ancient and modern , the aspirations of her people. He taught English and French at the English College in Baroda besides a variety of other duties in the service of the Maharaja. And all the time he continued to write, not only poetry but letters and articles critical of the Indian National Congress for its lack of firmness in dealing with the imperial government. He became increasingly aware that his true mission in life was to work for the Independence of India from British rule and he threw all his energies into the struggle.

Through political activity and his editorship of two influential newspapers, his fame and influence grew rapidly.

The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo, Part One: The Revolutionary Yogi, with Debashish Banerji

In his public speeches and writings, Sri Aurobindo began to lay stress on the importance of Independence not only for India 's sake but for humanity as a whole. His concept of freedom had widened to embrace the whole world, and he had come to see clearly the importance of harmonising the claims of freedom with those of equality and brotherhood. Concerning the failure of the revolution in France he wrote:. But the time has come for an approximation being attempted. And the first necessity is the discipline of brotherhood, the organisation of brotherhood; for without the spirit and habit of fraternity neither liberty nor equality can be maintained for more than a short season.

The French were ignorant of this practical principle; they made liberty the basis, brotherhood the superstructure, founding the triangle upon its apex Sri Aurobindo was convinced that, once given her freedom, India would develop in herself the means to reverse the triangle. Inevitably, Sri Aurobindo's political activities and those of his associates brought him into conflict with the British in India. He was arrested on charges of sedition in and spent a year in the grim conditions of the jail at Alipore. It was a time of great significance in his life.

He realised more vividly than ever before the one spirit that unites and moves mankind, and it changed his perception of the role that the political struggle had played in his life. It no longer seemed an end in itself, but only the beginning of his work to hasten the advent of a new consciousness in mankind based on the acceptance of human unity as a fact. His experiences while in prison convinced him of the truth long preserved in the ancient spiritual traditions of India. Sri Aurobindo saw that a sense of the infinite pervading all things, even the most material, is native to the Indian soul: that sense is what makes true brotherhood possible.

In the Human Cycle he wrote:. The union of liberty and equality can only be achieved by the power of human brotherhood and it cannot be founded on anything else. But brotherhood exists only in the soul and by the soul: it can exist by nothing else. For this brotherhood is not a matter either of physical kinship or of vital association or of intellectual agreement.

When the soul claims freedom, it is the freedom of its self-development, the self-development of the Divine in man and in all his being. When it claims equality, what it is claiming is that freedom equally for all and the recognition of the same soul, the same godhead, in all human beings. When it strives for brotherhood, it is founding that equal freedom of self -development on a common aim, a common life, a unity of mind and feeling founded upon the recognition of this inner spiritual unity.

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These three things are in fact the nature of the soul; for Freedom, Equality, Unity are the eternal aspects of the Spirit. It is the practical recognition of this truth, it is the awakening of the soul in man and the attempt to get him to live from his soul, and not from his ego, which is the inner meaning of religion, and it is that to which the religion of humanity must also arrive before it can fulfil itself in the life of the race.

After his release from Alipore, Sri Aurobindo returned to the political arena. He started an English language weekly paper, The Karmayogin and a Bengali weekly, he spoke at nationalist meetings and challenged the moderate faction for their lack of firmness. At this time he began to be known in British circles as the most dangerous man in India.

There was a real possibility that he would be arrested again. Sri Aurobindo arrived in Pondicherry on April 4th He would remain there for the rest of his life, working out the vast synthesis of intellectual knowledge and spiritual experience that he called Integral Yoga. All the knowledge he had amassed during his explorations of Western and Indian philosophy, culture and tradition, was poured out into a series of studies published in serial form in a new journal called the Arya. It was an achievement without precedent, more than thirty volumes of philosophy, yoga, history, social and political studies, translations and commentaries on ancient texts, literary criticism, poetry, plays — a complete and integrated system of thought and knowledge that pointed to something beyond itself: the discoveries of the future.

He had already prepared the ground for the independence of India. He had laid the sure foundation, now others would continue to build on it. His own work for human progress would no longer be on the surface for all to see. The last 24 years of Sri Aurobindo's life were spent in seclusion, but that did not mean a withdrawal from life. His final definition of freedom is a vision that transcends rational thought and leaps up towards an almost mystical insight:. It is when freedom works in chains and servitude becomes a law of Force, not of Love, that the true nature of things is distorted and a falsehood governs the soul's dealings with existence.

Nature starts with this distortion and plays with all the combinations to which it can lead before she will allow it to be righted. Afterwards, she gathers up all the essence of these combinations into a new and rich harmony of love and freedom. Audio Video. By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month.

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