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SRI AUROBINDO

A Profile
Sri Aurobindo On Himself
The Mother On Sri Aurobindo
Others On Sri Aurobindo
INTRODUCTION Sri Aurobindo Society
CHRONOLOGY
Related Links
SRI AUROBINDO : A Profile

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SRI AUROBINDO was born on August 15,1872, in Calcutta, India. At the tender age of seven, his father, a country doctor, sent him to England for "serious studies," as was the custom of the day among certain anglicized Indian families. For 13 years Sri Aurobindo would be immersed in Western culture - which would eventually reward his academic prowess with abundant laurels. In 1893, at the age of twenty, his Cambridge degree in his pocket, he returned to India to find a profoundly revolting political and social situation in his country (under British rule). After a few years spent between a teaching post of French and English at the College of Baroda and the private secretariat of the local maharaja, Sri Aurobindo moved to Calcutta and entered the political fray. Simultaneously, he set out on his inner quest not to escape into higher worlds of consciousness, but as a means of sharpening his revolutionary action against the British occupation. As editor of the daily Bande Mataram (Hail to Mother India) and leader of the Extremist Party, he would soon be suspected of participating in a criminal attempt against a British magistrate, and he would spend a year in prison while awaiting trial. That year of forced isolation made him realize that the occupation of his country by a foreign power was but one aspect of a much vaster problem: the transformation of human nature. "It is not just a revolt against the British empire that we must wage, but a revolt against the whole universal Nature!" he exclaimed. Acquitted but still pursued and spied on by the British police, he had to take refuge in French India, in Pondicherry, where he arrived in 1910. This is where he spent the rest of his life until 1950, in the "ashram" that gradually formed around him under the supervision of Mother, who joined him in 1920. His written work, mostly composed between 1914 and 1920, comprises poetry, plays, "philosophy" and an enormous body of letters to try to explain to his disciples what he was doing in the silence of his room.
 

MOTHER, otherwise known as Mirra Alfassa, was born in Paris in 1878, of an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father. She was a year older than Einstein, and a contemporary of Anatole France, with whom she shared a sense of gentle irony. This was the century of "positivism"; her father and mother were "all-out materialists," he a banker and a first-rate mathematician, she a disciple of Marx until the age of eighty-eight.
Yet when she was very young, Mirra had strange experiences involving past history and perhaps the future; she met Sri Aurobindo "in a dream" ten years before going to Pondicherry and took him for "a Hindu God dressed in the garb of a vision." Equally at ease with higher mathematics, in front of an easel, or sitting at a piano, she befriended Gustave Moreau, Rodin and Monet. She married a painter, whom she later divorced to marry a philosopher who took her to Japan and China at the time Mao Tse-Tung was writing his first political essays, and to Pondicherry, where she met Sri Aurobindo, with whom she stayed thereafter. She spent thirty years beside him -- he who, at the turn of the century, was announcing "the new evolution" : "Man is a transitional being." After Sri Aurobindo's death in 1950, left in charge of a huge ashram that seemed to represent all the human resistances of the world, she plunged into the "yoga of the cells" and finally discovered "the great passage" to another species. Isolated, misunderstood, and surrounded by human resistance and ill will, she left her body in 1973 at the age of ninety-five.
"I don't think there was ever anyone more materialistic than I, with all the practical common sense and positivism," she would tell me in the midst of her dangerous experiences in the consciousness of the cells, "and now I understand why I was that way! It gave my body a wonderful sense of balance. All the explanations I sought were always of a material nature; it seemed so obvious to me: no need for mysteries or anything of that sort -- you must explain things in material terms. Therefore, I am sure there is no tendency for mystical dreaming in me! This body had nothing in the least mystical in it, thank God!"

Details : http://www.sriaurobindosociety.org.in/sriauro/aurolife.htm
 

Sri Aurobindo On Himself

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The following quotes are from Volume 26, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, "On Himself"

p. 378

I see that you have persisted in giving a biography -- is it really necessary or useful? The attempt is bound to be a failure, because neither you nor anyone else knows anything at all of my life; it has not been on the surface for men to see.


p.222 (13-11-1936)

Q: How did your intellect become so powerful even before you started Yoga?

A: It was not any such thing before I started the Yoga. I started the Yoga in 1904 and all my work except some poetry was done afterwards. Moreover, my intelligence was inborn and so far as it grew before the Yoga, it was not by training but by a wide haphazard activity developing ideas from all things read, seen or experienced. That is not training, it is natural growth.


p.148-9 (13-2-1935)

I had no urge toward spirituality in me, I developed spirituality. I was incapable of understanding metaphysics, I developed into a philosopher. I had no eye for painting -- I developed it by Yoga. I transformed my nature from what it was to what it was not. I did it by a special manner, not by a miracle and I did it to show what could be done and how it could be done. I did not do it out of any personal necessity of my own or by a miracle without any process. I say that if it is not so, then my Yoga is useless and my life was a mistake -- a mere absurd freak of Nature without meaning or consequence. You all seem to think it a great compliment to me to say that what I have done has no meaning for anybody except myself -- it is the most damaging criticism on my work that could be made. I also did not do it by myself, if you mean by myself the Aurobindo that was. He did it by the help of Krishna and the Divine Shakti. I had help from human sources also.


p.153-4

But what strange ideas again! -- that I was born with a supramental temperament and that I know nothing of hard realities! Good God! My whole life has been a struggle with hard realities, from hardships, starvation in England and constant and fierce difficulties to the far greater difficulties continually cropping up here in Pondicherry, external and internal. My life has been a battle from its early years and is still a battle: the fact that I wage it now from a room upstairs and by spiritual means as well as others that are external makes no difference to its character. But, of course, as we have not been shouting about these things, it is natural, I suppose, for others to think that I am living in an august, glamorous, lotus-eating dreamland where no hard facts of life or Nature present themselves. But what an illusion all the same!


p.154 (8-3-1935)

You think then that in me (I don't bring in the Mother) there was never any doubt or despair, no attacks of that kind. I have borne every attack which human beings have borne, otherwise I would be unable to assure anybody "This too can be conquered." At least I would have no right to say so. Your psychology is terribly rigid. I repeat, the Divine when he takes on the burden of terrestrial nature, takes it fully, sincerely and without any conjuring tricks or pretence. If he has something behind him which emerges always out of the coverings, it is the same thing in essence even if greater in degree, that there is behind others -- and it is to awaken that that he is here.

The psychic being does the same for all who are intended for the spiritual way -- men need not be extraordinary beings to follow it. That is the mistake you are making -- to harp on greatness as if only the great can be spiritual.


p.239

Q: We have been wondering why you should have to write and rewrite your poetry -- for instance, "Savitri" ten or twelve times -- when you have all the inspiration at your command and do not have to receive it with the difficulty that faces budding Yogis like us.

A: That is very simple. I used Savitri as a means of ascension. I began with it on a certain mental level, each time I could reach a higher level I rewrote from that level. Moreover I was particular -- if part seemed to me to come from any lower levels I was not satisfied to leave it because it was good poetry. All had to be as far as possible of the same mint. In fact Savitri has not been regarded by me as a poem to be written and finished, but as a field of experimentation to see how far poetry could be written from one's own Yogic consciousness and how that could be made creative. I did not rewrite Rose of God or the sonnets except for two or three verbal alterations made at the moment.


p.354-5 (23-2-1935)

Q: The Overmind seems so distant from us, and your Himalyan austerity and grandeur takes my breath away, making my heart palpitate!

A: O rubbish! I am austere and grand, grim and stern! every blasted thing I never was! I groan in an un-Aurobindian despair when I hear such things. What has happened to the common sense of all you people? In order to reach the Overmind it is not at all necessary to take leave of this simple but useful quality. Common sense by the way is not logic (which is the least commonsense-like thing in the world), it is simply looking at things as they are without inflation or deflation -- not imagining wild imaginations -- or for that matter despairing "I know not why" despairs.


p.463 (5-5-1932)

You say that this way is too difficult for you or the likes of you and it is only "Avatars" like myself or the Mother that can do it. That is a strange misconception; for it is, on the contrary, the easiest and simplest and most direct way and anyone can do it, if he makes his mind and vital quiet, even those who have a tenth of your capacity can do it. It is the other way of tension and strain and hard endeavour that is difficult and needs a great force of Tapasya. As for the Mother and myself, we have had to try all ways, follow all methods, to surmount mountains of difficulties, a far heavier burden to bear than you or anybody else in the Ashram or outside, far more difficult conditions, battles to fight, wounds to endure, ways to cleave through impenetrable morass and desert and forest, hostile masses to conquer -- a work such as, I am certain, none else had to do before us. For the Leader of the Way in a work like ours has not only to bring down and represent and embody the Divine, but to represent too the ascending element in humanity and to bear the burden of humanity to the full and experience, not in a mere play or Lila but in grim earnest, all the obstruction, difficulty, opposition, baffled and hampered and only slowly victorious labour which are possible on the Path. But it is not necessary nor tolerable that all that should be repeated over again to the full in the experience of others. It is because we have the complete experience that we can show a straighter and easier road to others -- if they will only consent to take it. It is because of our experience won at a tremendous price that we can urge upon you and others, "Take the psychic attitude; follow the straight sunlit path, with the Divine openly or secretly upbearing you - - if secretly, he will yet show himself in good time, -- do not insist on the hard, hampered, roundabout and difficult journey."


p.455 (10-9-1931)

The Mother's consciousness is the divine Consciousness and the Light that comes from it is the light of the divine Truth, the Force that she brings down is the force of the divine Truth. One who receives and accepts and lives in the Mother's light, will begin to see the truth on all the planes, the mental, the vital, the physical. He will reject all that is undivine, -- the undivine is the falsehood, the ignorance, the error of the dark forces; the undivine is all that is obscure and unwilling to accept the divine Truth and its light and force. The undivine, therefore, is all that is unwilling to accept the light and force of the Mother. That is why I am always telling you to keep yourself in contact with the Mother and with her light and Force, because it is only so that you can come out of this confusion and obscurity and receive the Truth that comes from above.

When we speak of the Mother's Light or my Light in a special sense, we are speaking of a special occult action -- we are speaking of certain lights that come from the Supermind. In this action the Mother's is the White Light that purifies, illumines, brings down the whole essence and power of the Truth and makes the transformation possible. But in fact all light that comes from above, from the highest divine Truth is the Mother's.

There is no difference between the Mother's path and mine; we have and have always had the same path, the path that leads to the supramental change and the divine realisation; not only at the end, but from the beginning they have been the same.

The attempt to set up a division and opposition, putting the Mother on one side and myself on another and opposite or quite different side, has always been a trick of the forces of the Falsehood when they want to prevent a Sadhak from reaching the Truth. Dismiss all such falsehoods from your mind.

Know that the Mother's light and force are the light and force of the Truth; remain always in contact with the Mother's light and force, then only can you grow into the divine Truth.
 

The Mother On Sri Aurobindo

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All quotes are from the Collected Works of the Mother.

from Volume 12 On Education, p.116 (24 July 1951)

Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to teach this truth to men. He told them that man is only a transitional being living in a mental consciousness, but with the possibility of acquiring a new consciousness, the Truth-consciousness, and capable of living a life perfectly harmonious, good and beautiful, happy and fully conscious. During the whole of his life upon earth, Sri Aurobindo gave all his time to establish in himself this consciousness he called supramental, and to help those gathered around him to realise it.


from Volume 6, Questions and Answers 1954, p. 14 (3 February 1954)

On the other hand, there was someone (I shall tell you who afterwards) who had in his room hundreds of books, countless sheets of paper, notebooks and all sorts of things, and so you entered the room and saw books and papers everywhere -- a whole pile, it was quite full. But if you were unfortunate enough to shift a single little bit of paper from its place, he knew it immediately and asked you, "Who has touched my things?" You, when you come in, see so many things that you feel quite lost. And yet each thing had its place. And it was so consciously done, I tell you, that if one paper was displaced -- for instance, a paper with notes on it or a letter or something else which was taken away from one place and placed in another with the idea of putting things in order -- he used to say "You have touched my things; you have displaced them and created a disorder in my things." That of course was Sri Aurobindo!


from Volume 8, Questions and Answers 1956, p.275-6 (22 August 1956)

I incidentally could tell you that in all kinds of so-called spiritual literature I had always read marvellous things about this state of trance or samadhi, and it so happened that I had never experienced it. So I did not know whether this was a sign of inferiority. And when I came here, one of my first questions to Sri Aurobindo was: "What do you think of samadhi, that state of trance one does not remember? One enters into a condition which seems blissful, but when one comes out of it, one does not know at all what has happened." Then he looked at me, saw what I meant and told me, "It is unconsciousness." I asked him for an explanation, I said, "What?" He told me, "Yes, you enter into what is called samadhi when you go out of your conscious being and enter a part of your being which is conpletely unconscious, or rather a domain where you have no corresponding consciousness -- you go beyond the field of your consciousness and enter a region where you are no longer conscious. You are in the impersonal state, that is to say, a state in which you are unconscious; and that is why, naturally, you remember nothing, because you were not conscious of anything." So he reassured me and I said, "Well, this has never happened to me." He replied, "Nor to me!" (Laughter)


from Volume 8, Questions and Answers 1956, p.282 (29 August 1956)

I am going to give you two examples to make you understand what true spontaneity is. One -- you all know about it undoubtedly -- is of the time Sri Aurobindo began writing the Arya, in 1914. It was neither a mental knowledge nor even a mental creation which he transcribed: he silenced his mind and sat at the typewriter, and from above, from the higher planes, all that had to be written came down, all ready, and he had only to move his fingers on the typewriter and it was transcribed. It was in this state of mental silence which allows the knowledge -- and even the expression -- from above to pass through that he wrote the whole Arya, with its sixty-four printed pages a month. This is why, besides, he could do it, for if it had been a mental work of construction it would have been quite impossible.


from Volume 4, Questions and Answers 1950-51, p. 223 (17 March 1951)

But to have this precise perception...listen, as I had when I came from Japan: I was on the boat, at sea, not expecting anything (I was of course busy with the inner life, but I was living physically on the boat), when all of a sudden, abruptly, about two nautical miles from Pondicherry, the quality, I may even say the physical quality of the atmosphere, of the air, changed so much that I knew we were entering the aura of Sri Aurobindo. It was a physical experience and I guarantee that whoever has a sufficiently awakened consciousness can feel the same thing.


from Volume 4, Questions and Answers 1950-51, p.275-6

The other story is of the days Sri Aurobindo had the habit of walking up and down in his rooms. He used to walk for several hours like that, it was his way of meditating. Only, he wanted to know the time, so a clock had been put in each room to enable him to see the time at any moment. There were three such clocks. One was in the room where I worked; it was, so to say, his starting-point. One day he came and asked, "What time is it?" He looked and the clock had stopped. He went into the next room, saying, "I shall see the time there" -- the clock had stopped. And it had stopped at the same minute as the other, you understand, with the difference of a few seconds. He went to the third room...the clock had stopped. He continued walking three times like that -- all the clocks had stopped! Then he returned to my room and said, "But this is impossible! This is surely a bad joke!" and all the clocks, one after the other, started working again. I saw it myself, you know, it was a charming incident.


from Volume 3, Questions and Answers, p.155 (1930-31)

You remember the night of the great cyclone, when there was a tremendous noise and splash of rain all about the place. I thought I would go to Sri Aurobindo's room and help him shut the windows. I just opened his door and found him sitting quietly at his desk, writing. There was such a solid peace in the room that nobody would have dreamed that a cyclone was raging outside. All the windows were wide open, not a drop of rain was coming inside.


from Volume 9, Questions and Answers 1957-58, p.254 (8 January 1958)

I have seen Sri Aurobindo doing this in somebody's head, somebody who used to complain of being troubled by thoughts. It was as if his hand reached out and took hold of the little black dancing point and then did this (gesture with the finger-tips), as when one picks up an insect, and he threw it far away. And that was all. All still, quiet, luminous...


from Volume 11, Notes on the Way, p. 328 (20 December 1972)

I had asked myself a question about Sri Aurobindo. I wanted to know at what point he had arrived when he passed away -- at what point of transformation. What difference in the work, for example, is there between what you are doing now and what he was doing at that time?

He had gathered in his body a great amount of supramental force and as soon as he left... You see, he was lying on his bed, I stood by his side, and in a way altogether concrete -- concrete with such a strong sensation as to make one think that it could be seen -- all this supramental force which was in him passed from his body into mine. And I felt the friction of the passage. It was extraordinary -- extraordinary.


the remaining quotes are from Volume 13, Words of the Mother, "Sri Aurobindo" pp.1-35

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.

14 February 1961


Sri Aurobindo has come on earth not to bring a teaching or a creed in competition with previous creeds or teachings, but to show the way to overpass the past and to open concretely the route towards an imminent and inevitable future.

22 February 1967


Sri Aurobindo is constantly in the subtle physical, very active there. I see him almost daily, and last night I spent many hours with him.

If you become conscious in the subtle physical you will surely meet him...

21 December 1969


Today is the first day of Sri Aurobindo's centenary year. Though he has left his body his is still with us, alive and active.

Sri Aurobindo belongs to the future; he is the messenger of the future. He still shows us the way to follow in order to hasten the realisation of a glorious future fashioned by the Divine Will.

All those who want to collaborate for the progress of humanity and for India's luminous destiny must unite in a clairvoyant aspiration and in an illumined work.

15 August 1971


Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to announce the manifestation of the supramental world and not merely did he announce this manifestation but embodied also in part the supramental force and showed by example what one must do to prepare oneself for manifesting it. The best thing we can do is to study all that he has told us and endeavour to follow his example and prepare ourselves for the new manifestation.

This gives life its real sense and will help us to overcome all obstacles.

Let us live for the new creation and we shall grow stronger and stronger by remaining young and progressive.

30 January 1972


When in your heart and thought you make no difference between Sri Aurobindo and me, when to think of Sri Aurobindo will be to think of me and to think of me will mean to think of Sri Aurobindo inevitably, when to see one will mean inevitably to see the other, like one and the same Person, -- then you will know that you begin to be open to the supramental force and consciousness.

4 March 1958

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:

The contents of this document are copyright 1980, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry, India. You may make a digital copy or printout of this text for your personal, non-commercial use under the condition that you copy this document without modifications and in its entirety, including this copyright notice.

 

Others On Sri Aurobindo

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The following is from the last chapter of The Essence of Yoga, by Georg Feuerstein:

"Sri Aurobindo...whose integral philosophy is today recognised and appreciated as a monumental synthesis of the highest cultural values of East and West. ...There is an immense wealth of outstanding psychological and spiritual discoveries embedded in his voluminous writings, which stand at the watershed of a new era of yogic culture."


The following quotes are from The Integral Yoga, Sri Aurobindo's Method and Teaching of Practice (1993):

Michael Murphy, Founder, Esalen Institute, author of The Future of the Body:

"Sri Aurobindo's yoga points the way toward the kind of transformative practice we need to realize our greatest potentials. No philosopher or contemplative of modern times has done more to reveal our possibilities for extraordinary life."

Stephen Phillips, Professor of Philosophy, University of Texas, Austin:

"Sri Aurobindo is not only the most original philosopher of modern India -- he was also an accomplished yogi who based his metaphysical vision on his own inner discoveries."

Robert Johnson, author of He and She:

"Sri Aurobindo is one of the most important and influential spiritual figures of our time, whose work deserves to be better known."

Robert McDermott, President, California Institute of Integral Studies:

"Sri Aurobindo serves humanity as a spiritual master who directs and sustains all seekers whose inner aspiration leads them to a yoga as wide and deep as life itself."


The following quotes are from The Integral Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo (1960)

Charles A. Moore, co-editor, A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, The Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy, and Philosophy -- East and West. :

"Sri Aurobindo has thus arrived at a comprehensive and, to all intents and purposes, all-inclusive view of the universe and life, providing a world philosophy which in effect brings together the East and the West."

Ninian Smart, author of numerous books on religion and philosophy:

"The massive yet intricate beauty of The Life Divine can conceal itself from us how a paragraph, a sentence even, may contain within itself a vast range of thought. It is part of the genius of the work that its doctrines are exhibited not in a dry, and therefore unilluminating, sequence, but in the manner of a painting: each new brush-stroke gives novel significance to the others, and the features emerge not by being mechanically filled in, but by a kind of patterned growth."

"It is Sri Aurobindo's genius that he has provided a framework of thought which, while it grows out of such ancient concepts as Brahman, purusa, prakrti, prana, etc., yet does not have merely a static view of things, but absorbs the sense, gained from both science and history, of the unfolding of man's spirit."

Swami Sivananda, founder of the Life Divine Society, Rishikesh; author of about 200 books, including Raja Yoga; Hatha Yoga; Kundalini Yoga; Yoga Vedanta Dictionary:

"And it needed the supreme cultural genius of a Sri Aurobindo, the like of whom the spirit and the creative vision of India alone can create, to give a yet bolder or rather the boldest manifestation to a synthesization of insights in philosophic, cultural and religious or spiritual wisdom and experience and to an invaluable integral conception of the triple Reality".

Haridas Chaudhuri, Professor of Philosophy, founder of the Cultural Integration Fellowship, San Francisco, author of numerous books on yoga, society, and philosophy:

"When a great idea is born, it shows limitless capacity for transcending fixed moulds of thought, and for reconciling diverse viewpoints. It goes on growing and expanding, refusing to be confined within the stone walls of any rigidly fixed thought structure. As a living spiritual force it goes on fertilizing the spiritual soil of the world, giving rise to varied forms of practically useful self-expression. ...Sri Aurobindo has given to the world such a living spiritual force, a dynamic truth-vision."

 

INTRODUCTION Sri Aurobindo Society

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A dynamic application of spirituality to life and all it's activities is what we are trying to achieve at Sri Aurobindo Society.

Sri Aurobindo Society is a registered society with its chief administrative office at Pondicherry. It has about 300 centres, 50 branches and about 12,000 members in India and outside. The Mother is the founder and the permanent President of the Society.

Sri Aurobindo Society was started by the Mother in 1960. She is its guiding force and its permanent President. She has nurtured the small instrument that was created over 35 years ago and has made it an international organisation working in diverse fields of life. The community of consciousness has kept growing worldwide.

It is necessary for us, from time to time, to remind ourselves of the source and intent that brought the Society into existence, so that we may remain open to that guidance and rededicate ourselves to the work of transformation, taken up by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Through the many ups and downs, the many challenges and the apparently insurmountable obstacles, the Society's history has been a living testimony to the working of the Grace. At each step one has remembered Sri Aurobindo's words:

"The Grace of the Divine Mother is the sanction of the Supreme... Its touch can turn difficulties into opportunities, failure into success and weakness into unfaltering strength."

It is the Mother's love and action which have sustained the Society from the beginning.. The material published in the section on the history and origin shows the Mother's involvement at every level of the Society's work, as also several rare documents containing the Mother's directions and signature as our Executive President. Some of these have been brought together here which we offer to our browsers worldwide.

On 1st January 1972, the Centenary year of Sri Aurobindo, All India Radio had broadcast a message of the Mother :

"Today is the first day of Sri Aurobindo's Centenary year. Though he has left his body he is still with us, alive and active.

Sri Aurobindo belongs to the future; he is the messenger of the future. He still shows us the way to follow in order to hasten the realisation of a glorious future fashioned by the Divine Will.

All those who want to collaborate for the progress of humanity and for India's luminous destiny must unite in a clairvoyant aspiration and in an illumined work.."

The message puts beautifully in a nutshell the purpose and work of the Society.

We invite you to join us in our efforts to work towards an integral perfection of man, both as an individual and a collectivity. It is the Society's aim to bring together all those who want to contribute to the advent of a new world where human unity will blossom in the midst of a harmonious and organised diversity.

HISTORY & ORIGIN

It was the need of the hour. The intense sadhana of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had raised the spiritual destiny of man to uncharted peaks. Their message, full of hope and joy, is an affirmation of the divine possibilities of life on earth. Their Integral Yoga is a striving for the perfection of life itself, not its rejection. A synthesis of the spiritual and the material. A quest to be undertaken individually and collectively.

Sri Aurobindo had delivered the divine message. It was the task of the Mother to give it a concrete shape and to carry this vision of a new awakening to all corners of the world, to people who await the call. In 1960 she founded the Sri Aurobindo Society.

The Mother herself laid the foundation for the Society, a strong base on which it could grow and spread like a banyan tree. It was she who supervised the formulation of the constitution, and the main objective of the Society, as laid down in its memorandum, is :

"To make known to the members and people in general the aims and ideals of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, their system of Integral Yoga and to work for its fulfilment in all possible ways and for the attainment of a spiritualised society as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo."

The Memorandum of Association of the Society is not a mere legal document. It bears the mother's signature, dated 19th September 1960, and is a living embodiment of her ideas, aims and objectives for revealing to the world Sri Aurobindo's message and his agenda for human progress.

Many of the official documents record Madame M. Alfassa, the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, to be the President of the Society. They carry her signature as M. Alfassa, where she combines her surname with the symbol of the soaring bird, so familiar to us.

To our way of thinking today, it may appear that the Mother graced the Society as President in a symbolic sense only. But the Mother was far more. Few amongst us now remember and realise the great personal attention she gave to every aspect of the Society's work, how her divine touch, at once many-sided and all-embracing, reached down to the most material. It was she who executed in the smallest detail, every task in this early foundational period.

It was the Mother who named the new organisation Sri Aurobindo Society. She created a symbol for it taking the existing symbol of Sri Aurobindo and enclosing it in a diamond. She gave a motto which contains a complete programme, both for the individual and the collectivity :

SAS symbol

It is the symbol of Sri Aurobindo, with lines joining the apexes of the two triangles, to form a diamond.

The significance of the diamond, according to Sri Aurobindo, is the Mother's light at its intensest.






SAS motto by The Mother
"To know is good,

to live is better,

to be, that is

perfect."

the mother

 

 

The Society was registered in Calcutta. It could not be registered in Pondicherry because the process of law-making was not yet complete in the former French colony, which had gained independence only six years earlier. Since there was no provision for such legislation in Pondicherry and Calcutta had a large number of devotees, it was convenient to register the Society there.

To carry out her work the Mother chose Navajata, whom she called 'My faithful'. His name appears in various documents both as Keshav Dev Poddar, his earlier name, and as Navajata, a name given to him by the Mother, meaning the 'New Born'. He was the Society's first General Secretary and Treasurer and later, after the Mother left her body in 1973, became its first Chairman.

Along with the Mother, the two other persons who sat on the first Executive Committee of the Society were Navajata and Arunendranath Tagore of Calcutta, an advocate and Notary Public. Significantly, the first few meetings of the Executive committee were held in the Mother's room in the Ashram.

Following the usual procedure, the Minutes noted the names of the persons who were present, including that of the Mother, and she signed the Minutes as the Chairperson of the meetings. Even the Balance Sheets and the Annual Reports of the Society were signed by her - a rare privilege.

A tiny seed holds the blueprint of a mighty tree. It was the divine Mother who planted the seed of the Society's destiny and nurtured it. She provided the force and the inspiration and encouraged each individual and each group to grow in complete freedom, to progress and work in a spirit of service and sadhana. But simultaneously she was always ready to come forward to help and guide, whenever the need or the call was there.

Whether it was a question of purchase of land and building, of starting schools and guest houses, of organising conferences, of opening centres and branches in India and abroad, of enrolling new members, of publishing books and journals, the issues were referred to the Mother for guidance and decision. She gave the names to the journals, chose the editors and sometimes gave directions about the layout.

One of the projects the Mother started through the society was the constructions of her dream city of Auroville. It was a dream the Mother had since the 1930s, of a model city which would reflect the outward reality of the descent of the Supramental and go on to become the centre of a perfect world. She named it after Sri Aurobindo, calling it Auroville, The City of Dawn.


The work expanded in many fields and directions. Nothing escaped the Mother's attention: from business and economics to even films, a wide spectrum of life's endeavours were included in her agenda of social transformation. Auroservice was founded to give a spiritual basis to business and Aurofilms was set up for the production of films.

Sri Aurobindo has revealed the true spirit of sadhana through work, the way of Karmayoga in the Gita :  

"Self-dedication does not depend on the particular work you do, but on the spirit in which all work, of whatever kind it may be, is done. Any work done well and carefully as a sacrifice to the divine, without desire or egoism, with equality of mind and calm tranquility in good or bad fortune, for the sake of the divine and not for the sake of any personal gain, reward or result, with the consciousness that it is the Divine Power to which all work belongs, is a means of self-dedication through Karma".

And this was also the recurring theme in all the directions given by the Mother, running like a continuous thread through every action. What was important was the sincerity. The inner attitude and the consciousness with which a work was done. The results and the outer form of the activity were always secondary.

For the Mother, no work was small, no donation insignificant, no centre or branch too remote. In the midst of her heavy schedule, she approved plans for the work in Pondicherry and outside, went through pages of reports, signed receipts, endorsed cheques, sanctioned expenditure of even sundry repairs. It was a veritable labour of divine love, Mahasaraswati's way of perfection in works. Sri Aurobindo has said of Mahasaraswati, in his book "The Mother" :

"Nothing is too small or apparently trivial for her attention, nothing however impalpable or disguised or latent can escape her. Moulding and remoulding she labours each part till it has attained its true from, is put in its exact place in the whole and fulfils its precise purpose."

Source : http://www.sriaurobindosociety.org.in/onsas.htm
 

CHRONOLOGY

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1878 - 1950

Mother's Family
1830 18 December, birth of Mira Pinto (daughter of Saïd Pinto), in Cairo. Mother's future grandmother.
1843 Marriage of Mira Pinto to Matteo Ismaloun, in Alexandria.
  5 July, birth of Maurice Alfassa, in Adrianople (Turkey) . Mother's future father.
1857 18 December, birth of Mathilde Ismaloun, in Alexandria. Mother's future mother.
1874 Marriage of Mathilde Ismaloun to Maurice Alfassa, in Alexandria.
1876 13 July, birth of Matteo Alfassa, in Alexandria. Mother's brother.
1877 Arrival of the Alfassas in Paris.
1890 28 August, French naturalization of Maurice Alfassa.

Mother and Sri Aurobindo

1872 15 August, birth of Sri Aurobindo, in Calcutta.
1878 21 February, birth of Mother, in Paris, 62 boulevard Haussmann.
1879 Departure of Sri Aurobindo for England.
1886-97 Mother lives at 3 square du Roule.
1890 Sri Aurobindo at King's College, Cambridge.
Mother's first experience: the "Revolution of Atoms."
1893 Sri Aurobindo returns to India.
  First revolutionary article.
1897 13 October, Mother's marriage to Henri Morisset. Atelier, 15 rue Lemercier.
1898 23 August, birth of André Morisset.
1902 Beginning of Sri Aurobindo's revolutionary activities.
1903 Sri Aurobindo has the experience of the Infinite.
1904 Mother has her first vision of Sri Aurobindo.
  Beginning of Sri Aurobindo's yoga.
  Mother's first meeting with Max Theon.
1905-6 Voyages to Tlemcen.
1906 Mother founds her first group: Idea.
1907 First arrest of Sri Aurobindo.
1908 Divorce from H. Morisset.
  Mother moves to 49 rue de Lévis.
  January: Sri Aurobindo meets the tantric yogi V. Lele.
Realization of mental silence and Nirvana.
  2 May, the "Alipore Bomb Case": imprisonment of Sri Aurobindo, for one year.
1910 February, Sri Aurobindo escapes to Chandernagor, in French India.
  4 April, Sri Aurobindo takes refuge in Pondicherry.
  April, Paul Richard's first visit to Pondicherry.
  Marriage of Mirra to Paul Richard, 7-9 rue du Val de Grâce.
1911 Beginning of Prayers and Meditations.
1914 7 March, Mother embarks for India aboard the Kaga Maru.
  29 March, meeting of Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
  1 August, declaration of war.
  15 August, first issue of the Arya.
1915 22 February, Mother leaves Pondicherry for France aboard the Kamo Maru.
1916 13 March, Mother embarks at London aboard the Kamo Maru for Japan.
1920 April, Mother leaves Japan.
  24 April, arrival in Pondicherry
  24 November, Mother comes to live near Sri Aurobindo in the Guest House.
1921 January, end of the Arya.
1922 October, Sri Aurobindo and Mother take up residence at 9 rue de la Marine, the present Ashram building.
1922-26 Period of the "Evening Talks."
1926 24 November, Sri Aurobindo withdraws.
  Official founding of the Ashram.
1927 8 February, Sri Aurobindo moves to a room in the East Wing that he will never again leave.
1935 August, Sri Aurobindo's "Mathematical Formula."
  October, the Supramental "will explain itself."
1938 24 November, Sri Aurobindo fractures his right leg.
1939 Sri Aurobindo revises The Life Divine.
  1 September, declaration of war.
1943 2 December, beginning of the Ashram School.
1947 15 August, Independence of India.
1949 21 February, beginning of the Bulletin of Physical Education.
1950 10 November, end of the revision of Savitri.
  5 December, Sri Aurobindo leaves his body.
  9 December, Sri Aurobindo's body is placed in the Samadhi.
Related Links

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www.sriaurobindosociety.org.in  : The official web site of the Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, India.

www.miraura.org :Web site of information on Integral Yoga, a spiritual path founded by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

www.sriaurobindoashram.org  : the website of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a community in Pondicherry, South India.

www.aurobindobooks.com  :Books by or on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

www.sriaurobindoinstitute.org Sri aurobindo institute of culture is dedicated to the realisation of his ideal.

www.savitribysriaurobindo.com This website contains the complete text of Sri Aurobindo's epic poem, Savitri, along with Sri Aurobindo's brief bio-sketch, his Author's Note at the beginning of Savitri, and his extensive "Letters on Savitri".

www.collaboration.org The Sri Aurobindo Association (SAA) of America is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to assist groups and individuals devoted to the realization of the spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

 

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