Sri Aurobindo, an introduction (1872-1950)

The Mother
Sri Aurobindo Gosh

The year was 1907. The freedom movement in India was gathering momentum. Its leader was detained by the police. The poet Rabindranath Tagore paid him a visit after his acquittal, and wrote the now famous lines:
“Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee! O friend, my country’s friend, O Voice incarnate, free, Of India’s soul! … The fiery messenger that with the lamp of God. Hath come…
Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee.”

In the year 1928, the leader had now left politics and had gone to Pondicherry, where he plunged himself into the practice of Yoga.

The poet Tagore once again paid him a visit and declared: “You have the Word and we are waiting to accept it from you. India will speak through your voice to the world, ‘Hearken to me!’…

Years ago I saw Aurobindo in the atmosphere of his earlier heroic youth and I sang to him: ‘Aurobindo, accept the salutations from Rabindranath’. Today I saw him in a deeper atmosphere of a reticent richness of wisdom and again sang to him in silence: ‘Aurobindo, accept the salutations from Rabindranath!’”

How does one describe or speak about such a personality? Sri Aurobindo has been called a scholar, a literary critic, a philosopher, a revolutionary, a poet, a yogi and a rishi. He was all these and much more. To have even a glimpse of the true Sri Aurobindo, we have to turn to the Mother: “What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world's history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme.”

In fact, Sri Aurobindo declared, in no uncertain terms that nobody could write his biography and added: “Neither you nor anyone else knows anything at all of my life; it has not been on the surface for men to see.

But he was not altogether averse to this effort and even made corrections when some biographers made the attempt. In the process the veil that hid the divine mystery was lifted a little.

The Mother

The Mother
The Mother

The Mother, an introduction (1878-1973)

Today, Sri Aurobindo Ashram is known as a great centre of spiritual endeavour. People from all over the world come to Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry), in South India, to bathe in an atmosphere full of peace, light and joy, to live a life of sadhana and yoga, to imbibe a new spiritual force that can embrace and perfect life.

And the word they hear the most in the Ashram is ‘Mother’. From the beginning, Sri Aurobindo entrusted the Mother with full material and spiritual charge of the Ashram. Everything in the Ashram is her creation; every initiative draws inspiration from her and moves towards her vision.

The Mother beautifully summarizes her mission thus: “…my only aim in life is to give a concrete form to Sri Aurobindo’s great teaching and in his teaching he reveals that all the nations are essentially one and meant to express the Divine Unity upon earth through an organised and harmonious diversity”. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother strove together to embody and manifest upon earth this Divine Consciousness, with the Ashram as the starting point.

It was the Mother who, along with Sri Aurobindo, planted the seeds of a new way of life founded on this higher consciousness. It was her drive, her force, her guidance that made things happen. From the smallest insignificant detail to the overseeing of every aspect of maintaining the Ashram, from interacting with the children of the Centre of Education to the supervising of the athletic competitions in the sports ground—she was there, fully present, to see that everything is raised to its utmost perfection.

Just as Sri Aurobindo once said that his life “has not been on the surface for man to see”, it is indeed equally difficult to describe the Mother’s life as well. And yet, we may mention a few significant dates and features of her extraordinary life.

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