–Written By Tanvi Sharma
Have you ever heard of a person who transfigured from a hardliner revolutionary to a spiritual leader?
Did you ever thought how a great personality like Aurobindo turned from a revolutionary to a spiritual leader?
What would have been the reasons which led to a great change in the life of a great personality?
AUROBINDO GHOSE — an Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet and nationalist – was born on 15 of August, 1872 in Kolkata. He was one of the greatest political leader, spiritual guru and the founder of ‘Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.’
Early Life and Education:
Despite being an Indian, his father Krishna Dhun Ghose who was then assistant surgeon of Rangpur in Bengal was very much impressed by the British culture. So, Aurobindo for his initial education was sent to an English medium school named Loretto Convent in Darjeeling. After that, he was sent to England to complete his education at the age of 7. He qualified Civil Services Examination and joined the state services in 1893 in Baroda, working for the Maharaja of Gaekwad.
Interest in Politics:
Till then he was unaware of the suffering of the people of India and humiliation by the British government. During his work at Barodra, he came to know about the conditions of Indians under the British rule and wanted to throw away the British rule from India. He started taking an active interest in the politics of India’s Independence struggle against British rule and came in touch with many revolutionaries of Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
A Revolutionary :
He moved to Calcutta in 1906 after the announcement of the partition of Bengal. He attended the 1906 meeting headed by Dadabhai Naroji and participated as a councillor in forming the four fold objective of ‘Swaraj, Swadesh, Boycott and National Education’. He was arrested in May, 1908 in connection with the Alipore bomb case. The trial of the Alipore Bomb Case lasted for a year but eventually he was acquitted on 6 May, 1909. His defence counsel was Chittaranjan Das.
Life Changing Period :
During his period in jail, his view of life was changed due to spiritual experiences and realisations.
To quote Aurobindo, ‘It is a fact that I was hearing constantly the voice of Vivekananda speaking to me for a fortnight in the jail in my solitary meditation and felt his presence. It was the spirit of Vivekananda who first gave me a clue in the direction of the super mind. This clue led me to see how the truth – consciousness works in everything’.
The period spent in jail can be considered as the life changing period of the life of Aurobindo. The spiritual experiences and realisations turned him into a spiritual leader from a revolutionary.
Stay in Pondicherry:
Once out of prison, he moved to Pondicherry leaving politics for spiritual work. There he developed a method of spiritual practice called ‘Integral Yoga’. The central theme of his vision was the education of human life into a divine life. At the beginning of his stay at Pondicherry, there were few followers but with time, their numbers grew resulting in the formation of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926. From 1926, he started to sign himself as Sri Aurobindo, ‘Sri’ – meaning hply in Sanskrit-being commonly used as an honorific.
Aurobindo left the world on 5 December, 1950 in Pondicherry. Around 60, 000 people attended to see his body resting peacefully.
Famous Works And Achievements.
The famous works of SRI AUROBINDO are:’The Life Divine’, ‘The Synthesis of Yoga’, ‘Savitri-a legend and a symbol’, an epic poem. His works also include philosophy, poetry, translations and commentaries on the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita . He was nominated for the Nobile Prize in Literature in 1943 and for the Noble Peace Prize in 1950.
What an irony! the man who once got arrested for Alipore bomb case later got nominated for Noble Peace Prize. Such a great transformation!