|November 20, 2004 |
Elk Grove Village, IL: Nateshbhai's home
Shri Aurobindo (Aurobindo Ghose: 1872-1950) was born in Bengal, traveled to England at the age of 7, and returned to India at the age of 21, after completing his education in Cambridge University. Upon returning, however, Shri Aurobindo joined the Indian Nationalist Movement which rallied for national consciousness of India within the British Empire. While stirring Indian-pride by way of patriotic writings, he was eventually imprisoned in Calcutta. At that time, however, he experienced the divine vision of Lord Krishna in the presiding magistrate. The time in prison became an important turning point in his life: he later described his one-year imprisonment as living in an aashrama (hermitage) where he found God. Shri Aurobindo's campaign now dealt with the divine nature of mother India. He soon escaped British arrest by traveling to Pondicherry, a French settlement (located in today's southern state of Tamil Nadu). His major works (written in English) from this time period were published as books: The Life Divine, Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on the Gita, etc. The aashrama he founded in Pondicherry was expanded by the help of a French woman, Mirra Richard, later known as 'The Mother.'
With India's independence in 1947, Shri Aurobindo emphasized: (1) the need for national unity amongst free India, (2) true liberation of all of its peoples, (3) an "inter-nationalism" or world-union for all humans, (4) the spread of India's gift of Hindu spirituality to the rest of the world, and (5) a step in evolution toward the "super-man" who is above vices, negativity, etc., thus forming the perfect society.