The Mother
In this exploration of the hitherto uncharted destiny of man, Sri Aurobindo’s collaborator was the Mother. Born Mirra Alfassa on 21 February 1878 in Paris, she studied at the Academie Julian and became an accomplished artist. Conscious of her spiritual mission on earth even as a child, the Mother was guided in her visions by one whom she called Krishna. When she met Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry in 1914, she at once recognised him as the Krishna of her visions. After a sojourn in Japan, she returned to Pondicherry in 1920. When Sri Aurobindo went into seclusion in 1926 to fulfil the demand of his Yoga, she took charge of his disciples. In fact, the Ashram grew around her and was entirely shaped by her. After the Master’s passing away, she continued to nurture with unfathomable love the numerous souls who came to her thirsting for light.

In 1952 she started the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, a seat of experiment in developing a system of integral education. In 1968 she founded the international township of Auroville, dedicated to the ideal of a living human unity. The Mother left her body on 17 November 1973.

Of her life and work , the Mother once said: “I came to India to meet Sri Aurobindo. I remained in India to live with Sri Aurobindo. When he left his body I continued to live here in order to do this work which is, by serving the Truth and enlightening mankind, to hasten the rule of the Divine’s Love upon earth.”

Copyright © Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust Puducherry

Sri Aurobindo
Born on 15 August 1872 in Kolkata , Sri Aurobindo , after studying in the Loretto Convent School , Darjeeling , was taken by his parents to England at the age of seven. He spent the next fourteen years in Manchester , London and Cambridge , shining as a scholar , passing high in the 1st Tripos at Cambridge and ICS examination , but got himself disqualified from the Civil Service by deliberately absenting himself from the horse-riding test.

He returned to India in 1893 and worked as a professor at the Maharaja’s college in Vadodora. In 1901 he married Mrinalini Devi , in Kolkata.

During his thirteen-year stay in Vadodora his life flowed quietly but intensely in several streams. On the one hand he delved deep into the mystic heritage of India and took up the practice of Yoga; on the other he began to give a bold new direction to the politics of the time, writing a series of newspaper articles and, with the help of some trusted lieutenants, inspiring secret revolutionary societies at several places across the country.

In 1906 Sri Aurobindo moved to Kolkata. After briefly serving as the first Principal of the newly founded National College, he took over the editorship of the newspaper Bande Mataram , the herald of Indian Nationalism. It was he who, along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak , gave a radical turn to the policies of the Indian National Congress at its Surat session in 1907. He was the first political leader to publicly demand complete independence for India.

Failing to prove two charges of sedition against his paper, the colonial authorities arrested him in May 1908 in connection with the now famous Alipore Conspiracy Case. The celebrated Deshbandhu C.R. Das defended him, making his historic prophecy: “ Long after he is dead and gone he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism , as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity.” Acquitted in 1909, Sri Aurobindo emerged from his year-long confinement enriched by momentous spiritual experiences. He continued his political work for one year more. Then, in compliance with an inner command, he sailed for Pondicherry, a French enclave in South India, which he reached in April 1910. It was time for him to explore the way for mankind’s liberation from its bondage to ignorance through spiritual means.

During his forty years in Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo devoted himself to the practice of Yoga. He worked out a new system of spiritual development, which he called the Integral Yoga, and revealed what he deemed to be the next step in evolution - the emergence of a supramental being out of the present mental man, to be effected through a transformation of consciousness. Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.

Copyright © Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust Puducherry