Aurobindo, Sri (1872–1950)
Famous Hindu mystic, philosopher, and poet. Sri Aurobindo
Ghosh (‘‘Sri’’ is an honorific pronounced ‘‘Shree’’) was born
Arvinda Ackroyd Ghose in Calcutta, India, on August 15, 1872,
and educated in Britain, where he spent nearly 15 years. He
studied in London and Cambridge, where he mastered Greek
and Latin literature as well as the French, German, and Italian
languages. He returned to India and worked as a teacher in Baroda,
becoming a scholar in Sanskrit and other Indian languages.
After the partition of Bengal, Aurobindo became a leader of
a newly formed National party with the goal of home rule.
When violence broke out in Bengal, he was arrested for sedition
but was acquitted. He was again arrested and acquitted, but a
third prosecution commenced while he was detained in prison.
During his imprisonment he underwent profound spiritual experiences,
which turned him from politics to mysticism. He developed
his own system of synthesized yoga, which he called
‘‘integral yoga.’’ He retired from public life in 1910 and established
an ashram at Pondicherry, where he lived until his death
in 1950.
After his death the ashram continued under the guidance of
Mira Richards (1878–1973), the wife of a French diplomat who
had met Aurobindo in 1914 and embraced his philosophy.
Aurobindo, Sri Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Richards became known as ‘‘the Mother.’’ The Mother conceived
of the idea of Auroville as an ideal international urban
Aurobindo taught that the material world should be transformed
by making one’s own life divine, and claimed that he
had realized the ‘‘Overmind’’ in 1926 and was thus able to
bring divine consciousness to the task of human evolution. He
had retired into seclusion and from that time forward had spoken
to his disciples only through the Mother. During his lifetime
he wrote 30 volumes relating to the theme of The Life Divine,
including a 23,000 line poem, Savitri dealing with the
struggle to unite divine consciousness with historical processes.
With the approval of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi,
the ashram at Pondicherry inaugurated many ‘‘Sri Aurobindo
Action’’ centers throughout India, and Aurobindo centers were
also established in most major European cities and throughout
the U.S. For information on Sri Aurobindo publications and organizations,
contact the Sri Aurobindo Association at PO Box
163237, Sacramento, CA 95816. They also have a website
Aurobindo, Sri. Sri Aurobindo Centenary Library. 50 vols. Pondicherry,
India Sri Aurobindo Library Press, 1970–72.
Donnelly, Morwinna. Founding the Life Divine. Lower Lake,
Calif. Dawn Horse Press, 1976.
McDermott, Robert, ed. The Essential Aurobindo. New York
Schrocken Books, 1973.
———. Six Pillars. Chambersburg, Pa. Wilson Books, 1974.
Sri Aurobindo Association.
April 25, 2000.