2.1 Sri Aurobindo und Mirra Alfassa
About them – their aims – their teachings
Sri Aurobindo: whether as poet, yogi or as prophet of an evolution yet to come – Sri Aurobindo is regarded by many as the greatest exponent in these fields in modern times. Like The Mother he is an “Avatar” i.e. a person to whom the Divine consciousness spontaneously opened at the highest levels in order that he be informed about forthcoming changes and be encouraged to work for those changes.
Sri Aurobindo commented on his outer life that it revealed nothing about his life as an avatar. He was born on the 15th of August 1872 in Calcutta. His father sent him at the age of seven to a school in England. He completed there his studies at King’s College Cambridge. During his period as a student he learned a number of languages including Latin, Greek, French and German so that he could read all the philosophical works of the West in the original.
At the beginning of 1893 he returned to India and took a job in the Princedom of Baroda. In 1906 he started to edit the journal ‘Bande Mataran’ which called on the people – with great success – to take part in resistance against British rule.
Up till 1904 Sri Aurobindo had not concerned himself with yoga. He commenced a study of Hatha Yoga (five to six hours daily). In the search for further guidance, he met the Guru Vishnu Bhashar Lele from Maharashtra. The latter gave him the task: make your spirit “empty”. Sri Aurobindo later wrote about this in “On himself“:
“Sit down,” I was told, “look and you will see that your
Thoughts come into you from outside. Before they enter, fling them back.” I sat down and looked and saw to my astonishment that it was so; I saw and felt concretely the thought approaching as if to enter through or above the head and was able to push it back concretely before it came inside.
In three days – really in one – my mind became full of an eternal silence – it is still there.
From that moment, in principle, the mental being in me became a free Intelligence, a universal Mind, not limited to the narrow circle of personal thought as a labourer in a thought factory, but a receiver of knowledge from all the hundred realms of being and free to choose what it willed in this vast sight-empire and thought-empire.”
In Muzzafarpur on the 30th of April, 1908 terrorists threw a bomb at the District Magistrate which killed two female bystanders. On the 4th of May Sri Aurobindo was arrested and jailed in Alipar. That ended his political career. In the following year in a remand prison (under inhuman conditions) Sri Aurobindo’s insight into what his genuine task consisted of were transformed fundamentally – also under the impact of visions. On the 6th of May, 1909, he was acquitted.
At the end of March 1910 he received a confidential message that the government intended to imprison him once again. On that he fled, obeying an inner voice and directive, to Pondicherry which at that time was occupied by the French.