Sri Aurobindo Ghose

Ghose, Aurobindo

Aurobindo Ghose (ôrōbĬn´dō gōsh), 1872–1950, Indian nationalist leader and mystic philosopher. Born in Bengal, he was sent to England and lived there for 14 years, completing his education at Cambridge. Returning to India in 1893, he plunged into the study of Indian languages and culture. The agitation against the partition (1905) of Bengal drew him into the nationalist movement, and for several years he acted as leader of a secret revolutionary organization, becoming well known through his eloquent patriotic writings. He was eventually jailed for subverting British rule and while in prison experienced visions that completely altered his outlook. On release from prison he announced his withdrawal from active political life and retired to Pondicherry (now Puducherry) in S India where he devoted himself to the practice of yoga and to writing. In his major works, all written in English, he formulates the metaphysics and system of spiritual discipline that he called Integral Yoga (Purna Yoga). Rejecting the traditional ideal of world-renunciation and negation of physical existence, he based his philosophy on the principle of the descent of divine force and consciousness into both the individual and the universal processes of nature and history. He described evolution as the effect of progressively higher forces, of which the highest is the "supramental" force that initiates man's final transformation into a state of perfection. In 1926, Sri Aurobindo, as he came to be called, retired into seclusion. He put in charge of his disciples his spiritual consort (Shakti), Mira Richard (1878–1973), a French-born woman of Egyptian descent who had joined him in Pondicherry in 1914. His seclusion marked the official establishment of his spiritual community, or ashram. The ashram, the largest in India, remains active. In 1968 construction was begun for a utopian city called Auroville to function on the principles of Aurobindo's philosophy. His writings include The Life Divine (1949), The Synthesis of Yoga (1948), and Essays on the Gita (1921–28, repr. 1950).

See S. Mitra, The Liberator Sri Aurobindo, India, and the World (1970); B. Bruteau, Worthy is the World (1971); K. Gandhi, ed., Contemporary Relevance of Sri Aurobindo (1973); R. A. McDermott, ed., The Essential Aurobindo (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Sri Aurobindo Ghose: Selected full-text books and articles

The Integral Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo: A Commemorative Symposium By Haridas Chaudhuri; Frederic Spiegelberg George Allen & Unwin, 1960
Empire Writing: An Anthology of Colonial Literature, 1870-1918 By Elleke Boehmer Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "The Object of Passive Resistance" by Sri Aurobindo Ghose begins on p. 321
105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry By Whit Burnett Dial Press, 1950
Librarian’s tip: "The Life Divine: The Present Evolutionary Crisis" by Sri Aurobindo Ghose begins on p. 1093
Philosophers and Religious Leaders By Christian D. Von Dehsen Oryx Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Aurobindo Ghose (Sri Aurobindo): Founder of Integral Yoga, 1872-1950" begins on p. 17
Through a Glass Darkly: Essays in the Religious Imagination By John C. Hawley Fordham University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "The Social and Political Vision of Sri Aurobindo"
Religion and Creation By Keith Ward Clarendon Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "The Thought of Aurobindo" begins on p. 90
Tantra: Sex, Secrecy Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion By Hugh B. Urban University of California Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Sri Aurobindo Ghose begins on p. 88
Fifty Eastern Thinkers By Diané Collinson; Kathryn Plant; Robert Wilkinson Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Sri Aurobindo 1872-1950 CE" begins on p. 158
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