“No one can write about my life because it has not been on the surface for man to see.”
Maharishi Arvind Ghosh, popularly known as Aurobindo Ghosh was a multifaceted man who is known for his excellence in poetry, freedom struggle, philosophy, yoga and spirituality. Born on 15th August 1852 in Kolkata Aurobindo was provided the best education from Loreto Convent School, Darjeeling and graduated from King’s College, Cambridge. While studying at Cambridge he also prepared for the Civil Services and qualified ICS with high rank. But he could not stand the mandatory horse riding test and thus could not join the service.
By this time Aurobindo was already learned in Greek, French, Italian, German, Latin and Spanish. He had also mastered the classics and English poetry. In 1893, he returned back to India and became highly interested in teaching at Baroda State College. It was during the partition of Bengal in 1906 when Aurobindo entered the revolutionary movement and became an active part of the freedom struggle. He led the group of Indian nationalists and published the nationalist Bengali newspaper- Vande Mataram, awakening the masses about the atrocities inflicted by British and need for freedom from foreign rulers.
During the freedom struggle, Aurobindo developed his interest in yoga and meditation. He also came across the spiritual guru Vishnu Bhasker Lele, who further guided him on the path of deep meditation and spirituality. His spiritual journey took a turn in British jail. Being secluded from the material world he got a chance to concentrate and learn more about higher realms of consciousness. In one of his speeches Shree Aurobindo himself said,
“I looked at the jail that secluded me from men and it was no longer by its high walls that I was imprisoned; no, it was Vasudeva who surrounded me. I walked under the branches of the tree in front of my cell but it was not the tree, I knew it was Vasudeva, it was Sri Krishna whom I saw standing there and holding over me his shade. I looked at the bars of my cell, the very grating that did duty for a door and again I saw Vasudeva. It was Narayana who was guarding and standing sentry over me. Or I lay on the coarse blankets that were given me for a couch and felt the arms of Sri Krishna around me, the arms of my Friend and Lover. This was the first use of the deeper vision He gave me. I looked at the prisoners in the jail, the thieves, the murderers, the swindlers, and as I looked at them I saw Vasudeva, it was Narayana whom I found in these darkened souls and misused bodies. Amongst these thieves and dacoits there were many who put me to shame by their sympathy, their kindness, the humanity triumphant over such adverse circumstances.”
It was in the prison only when he was visited by the powerful soul of Swami Vivekananda, who enlightened him about the divine state of super-consciousness. After his release from the jail, Maharishi Aurobindo went into deeper state of meditation for 4 years In Pondicherry. Then by association with the French lady, named Mira Richards, he was able to set up an ashram in Pondicherry near sea which was named as Auroville. Sri Aurobindo Asram began with a mere companionship of 4 people and 124 disciples but later became a hub of spiritual learning for thousands of people.
Sri Aurobindo taught the concept of ‘Being and Consciousness’ by realizing the real truth living in the cosmic Universe. His main motive was to enlighten people about their true self- soul and divinity inside them. He wanted people to move from world consciousness to divine consciousness and to learn the art of merging oneself with the Supreme Lord. His teachings on ‘integral yoga’ are clearly explained in ‘The Life Divine’ including the detailed explanation with live examples. Devoting his entire life for spiritual awakening, his soul merged with the formless on 5th December, 1950 but his vision and mission is still spreading message of peace, love and universal brotherhood.