India is celebrating 75 years of independence under the banner of Azadi ki Mohotsav. We are enjoying ourselves, we are celebrating in a joyous mood but we did not get this Azadi / Independence easily. Many people sacrificed their lives, many were physically tortured and crippled, and also many women were assaulted. There are numerous cases of heinous crimes inflicted upon to Indians by the British Raj. Indians salute all of them and will continue generations after generations. It is also sad that in the school textbooks a few names and their family members’ names are highlighted as if for their sacrifice we have got independence. Here, I am presenting a case of a great freedom fighter who later on became a spiritual leader but was not widely known to many Indians (my observations). He is Sri Aurobindo earlier known as Aurobindo Ghosh.
Sri Aurobindo, the original name was Aurobindo Ghose, (Aurobindo also spelled Aravinda) was born on 15 August 1872, in Calcutta /Kolkata. “ Although his family was Bengali, his father believed British culture to be superior. He and his two elder siblings were sent to the English-speaking Loreto House boarding school in Darjeeling, in part to improve their language skills. Darjeeling was a center of Anglo-Indians in India and the school was run by Irish nuns” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Aurobindo). Later on, “he was sent to England for further schooling. He entered the University of Cambridge, where he became proficient in two classical and several modern European languages. After returning to India in 1892, he held various administrative and professorial posts in Baroda (Vadodara) and Calcutta (Kolkata). Turning to his native culture, he began the serious study of Yoga and Indian languages, including classical Sanskrit” (britannica.com/biography/Sri-Aurobindo). After that slowly he became a revolutionary. The Partition of Bengal in 1905 led to a general outburst which helped the rise of the extremist party and the great nationalist movement. The British Government dealt with severe repressive measures against the ‘Swadeshi Agitation’. “In 1908, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki attempted to kill Magistrate Kingsford, a judge known for handing down severe sentences against nationalists. However, the bomb thrown at his horse carriage missed its target and instead landed in another carriage and killed two British women, the wife, and daughter of barrister Pringle Kennedy. Aurobindo was also arrested for planning and overseeing the attack and imprisoned in solitary confinement in Alipore Jail. The trial of the Alipore Bomb Case lasted for a year, but eventually, he was acquitted on 6 May 1909. His defense counsel was Chittaranjan Das” (wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Aurobindo). Anyway, the British administration was after him for silly issues they were after him. In view of this, he finally decided to go to Pondicherry, now Puducherry, a French colony (until 1954). In Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo dedicated himself to his spiritual and philosophical activities. During this period, one French lady Mirra Alfassa popularly known as The Mother greatly supported him. “When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was formed in November 1926, Sri Aurobindo entrusted its full material and spiritual charge to the Mother. Under her guidance, which continued for nearly fifty years, the Ashram grew into a large, many-faceted spiritual community” (sriaurobindoashram.org/mother). Before conclusion, a few paragraphs written by Sri Aurobindo himself, in 1934 are presented here.
“All beings are united in that One Self and Spirit but divided by a certain separability of consciousness, an ignorance of their true Self and Reality in the mind, life, and body. It is possible by a certain psychological discipline to remove this veil of separative consciousness and become aware of the true Self, the Divinity within us and all. Evolution is the method by which it liberates itself; consciousness appears in what seems to be inconscient, and once having appeared is self-impelled to grow higher and higher and at the same time to enlarge and develop towards greater and greater perfection. Life is the first step of this release of consciousness; the mind is the second; but the evolution does not finish with the mind, it awaits a release into something greater, a consciousness that is spiritual and supramental. The next step of the evolution must be towards the development of the Supermind and Spirit as the dominant power in the conscious being. Only then will the involved Divinity in things release itself entirely and it become possible for life to manifest perfection” (auroville.org/page/sri-aurobindos-teaching-and-spiritual-method).
On his (Sri Aurobindo) birthday on 15 August 2022, Pronam to yogi, seer, philosopher, poet, and Indian nationalist who propounded a philosophy of divine life on earth through spiritual evolution.