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About The Mother & Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo’s brief life sketch

1872 – 1893 Calcutta to England

  • Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta, on August 15, 1872, at 5:00 am, the hour of dawn.
  • The name given to Sri Aurobindo at birth was quaintly Aurobindo Ackroyd Ghose! His father Dr K. D. Ghose had returned from England with a completely Western outlook. But Dr Ghose was also 'generous to a fault'. Nobody went empty-handed from his door.
  • And Sri Aurobindo’s mother, Swarnalata Devi, was so beautiful and gracious that she was known as the ‘Rose of Rangpur’.
  • Sri Aurobindo was the third among five children. The two elder brothers were Benoy Bhushan and Manmohan, younger sister was Sarojini followed by the youngest brother Barindranath.
  • When Sri Aurobindo was five years old, he was sent to Loretto Convent School in Darjeeling. Two years later, in 1879, Dr Ghose sent his sons, including Aurobindo who was then only seven, to England.
  • Sri Aurobindo lived in Manchester with the Reverend and Mrs Drewett.
  • In 1884, Sri Aurobindo shifted to London for his schooling and was admitted to St. Paul's. It is here that Sri Aurobindo plunged into the literature of the Western world and studied several languages—French, Italian, Spanish, Greek and Latin, and absorbed the best that Western culture had to offer him.
  • In 1890, at the age of eighteen, Sri Aurobindo got admission at Cambridge.
  • It was thus that Sri Aurobindo grew, away from his family, away from his motherland, away from his roots and his culture. He knew seven foreign languages, but could not speak his own mother tongue, Bengali.
  • Dr K. D. Ghose had by now become aware of the atrocities being committed by the British on Indians and began to send paper clippings of these to Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo also felt that a period of great upheaval for his motherland was coming in which he was destined to play a leading role. He began to learn Bengali and joined a secret society, romantically named 'Lotus and Dagger', where the members took an oath to work for India's freedom.
  • Sri Aurobindo now looked for a way to disqualify himself from the ICS. He found his opportunity soon and did not appear for the horse-riding test.
  • The Gaekwad of Baroda happened to be in London and offered him a place in his service. For long after, the Gaekwad boasted to his friends that he had got an ICS man for Rs. 200 per month.

1893 – 1906 England to Baroda

  • Thus Sri Aurobindo sailed back to his country in 1893, at the age of twenty-one, having spent the most important and formative fourteen years of his life in a foreign land. He had grown up in England, but did not feel any attachment to it. India was beckoning.
  • The moment Sri Aurobindo put his foot down on Indian soil, at Apollo Bunder in Bombay, a vast peace and calm descended upon him, never to leave him.
  • But for the moment he was occupied with service at the Baroda State. He started by working in the survey and settlement department, then in the department of revenue and finally in the Secretariat. He also drafted  the speeches of the Maharaja of the state, the Gaekwad.
  • After some time Sri Aurobindo was transferred to the Baroda College, first as a teacher of French, and then as vice-principal, where he was very popular with the students for his unconventional way of teaching.
  • In Baroda, Sri Aurobindo plunged himself into the study of Indian culture. He learnt Hindustani, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Sanskrit.Sri Aurobindo read theMahabharata, theRamayana, Kalidasa, Bhavabhuti, Bankim as well as Homer, Dante, Horace and many others.
  • In 1901, Sri Aurobindo married Mrinalini Devi.
  • In 1903, Sri Aurobindo went to Kashmir with the Maharaja. There on the Hills of Shankaracharya he had a beautiful spiritual experience.

1906 – 1910 Bengal

  • The freedom movement was given a huge impetus by the decision of Lord Curzon to partition Bengal. In June 1906, Sri Aurobindo took one year's leave without pay and went to Bengal to participate in the movement. In 1907, Sri Aurobindo left Baroda College and joined the newly established Bengal National College, as its principal.
  • In 1906, the nationalist leader, Bipin Chandra Pal, started the dailyBande Mataramand Sri Aurobindo soon became its chief editor, though his name was not printed, to avoid prosecution.
  • Sri Aurobindo, who always liked to work from behind the scene, had been pushed into the forefront of the freedom movement. He had become its acknowledged leader. The whole country rang with the cry of ‘Bande Mataram’ and a new spirit swept across the country.
  • In the midst of this turmoil, Sri Aurobindo met a Maharashtrian yogi named Vishnu Bhaskar Lele. Lele asked Sri Aurobindo to remain in seclusion for three days. In three days Sri Aurobindo had achieved the silent mind which deepened into an experience of the Silent Brahman Consciousness.
  • Sri Aurobindo was arrested from his house against an unsuccessful attempt to kill Magistrate Kingsford  by Bengali youths. He was imprisoned  for one year, kept in a small cell in solitary confinement. The case for Sri Aurobindo was taken up by C. R. Das.
  • Sri Aurobindo was found not guilty and acquitted. But this one year was a very important period in Sri Aurobindo's life, as it was a period of intensesadhanawhen he experienced Krishna as the Immanent Divine.
  • Sri Aurobindo also started two weeklies: theKarmayoginin English and theDharmain Bengali.
  • One day, when Sri Aurobindo was sitting in theKarmayoginoffice, news came that the Government intended to arrest him. Immediately, there was an agitated discussion all around. Sri Aurobindo sat calm and unmoving and heard a distinct voice tell him, “Go to Chandernagore.” Sri Aurobindo went straight to the Ganga and boarded a boat for Chandernagore which was then a French settlement. Soon he received another 'adesh' (Divine Command) to go to Pondicherry.
  • Sri Aurobindo's work in the political field had come to an end. The country had awakened to the call of the Mother, and India’s freedom was inevitable. He felt it was now more important to see what India would do with that freedom and what man would do with his future. It was for this work that Sri Aurobindo sailed for Pondicherry to start the most important chapter of his earthly life.

1910 – 1926 Pondicherry

  • Sri Aurobindo reached Pondicherry on April 4, 1910. He was then 38 years old.
  • From 1910, Sri Aurobindo had lived for several years with a few followers.
  • For four years it was a lonely and solitary journey. Sri Aurobindo’s sadhana and work were still waiting for the coming of the one who was to be his true collaborator,the Mother.
  • She came from France in 1914. On March 29, a young French woman, Mirra Richard, arrived in Pondicherry with her husband Paul Richard and met Sri Aurobindo. Mirra was far along on her spiritual path and had already been inwardly in contact with a person whom she called Krishna and who had been guiding her.
  • When Mirra saw Sri Aurobindo she recognized him as the Krishna of her vision and knew that her place and work were with him in India
  • On August l5, 1914, the monthlyAryawas launched.
  • Through theArya, Sri Aurobindo presented to the world his great spiritual vision and the path to attain it. Nearly all the major works of Sri Aurobindo which were published later in book form—The Life Divine,The Synthesis of Yoga,The Human Cycle,The Ideal of Human Unity,On the Veda,The Upanishads,Essays on the Gita,The Foundations of Indian Culture,The Future Poetry—all of them first came out serially in theArya.
  • In 1915, with the outbreak of the First World War, the Richards had to go back to France. Mirra went to Japan in 1916 and returned to Pondicherry in 24 April 1920, never to leave.
  • Mrinalini passed away on December 17, 1918, in Calcutta, before she could come to Pondicherry.

1926 – 1950 Sri Aurobindo Ashram

  • On November 24, 1926, a decisive step was taken when the Overmind, the highest of the inner planes before the Supermind, descended into the earth consciousness.
  • Sri Aurobindo now installed Mirra as the Mother of his spiritual endeavour, his collaborator and equal, and handed over to her the responsibility of the inner and outer life of the small group ofsadhaks (practitioners of Yoga) who had gathered around him. He then withdrew into seclusion, to concentrate on the next step of his Yoga.
  • The Ashram grew and expanded under the Mother's guidance. Though Sri Aurobindo had withdrawn physically, he continued to guide disciples inwardly and through letters.
  • When the Second World War broke out, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother came out openly on the side of the Allies because Hitler represented the forces of darkness. He who had fought the British earlier now put his full support and spiritual help behind them for their victory.
  • Though Sri Aurobindo had retired from the political scene, when the Cripps Mission was sent by the British Government, he broke his silence and sent an emissary to ask the Indian leaden to accept their proposals, regarding the freedom and future political structure of India. But the country was not yet ready.
  • At the stroke of midnight, on August 15, 1947, the world saw the dawn of India's freedom . Sri Aurobindo considered  this as the gift from the God.
  • On December 5, 1950, at the age of 78, Sri Aurobindo left his physical body. His body was kept for darshan for four days and givenSamadhi(entombment) on December 9, 1950.

 

 

The Mother’s brief life sketch

1878 – 1907 France & Algeria

  • The Mother was born in Paris on February 21, 1878.
  • Her father, Maurice Alfassa, was a wealthy Turkish banker from Adrianopolis and her mother, Mathilda Ismalun, came from Cairo.
  • A year before her birth her parents settled in France.
  • The Mother's childhood name was Mirra. From the beginning Mirra was an unusual child. At a very young age she became conscious of her mission upon earth.
  • Mirra went to school in Paris. Even at the age of five, she felt that she must know herself and be master of herself and not a mere plaything in the hands of other forces.
  • With her studies Mirra started playing tennis, a sport she remained fond of throughout her life.
  • Mirra took an interest in everything but was especially fond of music and painting.
  • Mirra was always grave and busy with her work. Her fellow-students called her the Sphinx. They came to her for advice, to settle some quarrel or even to take up their case before the authorities.
  • Although Mirra knew little of Indian philosophy and religion at that time, she called this special Being ‘Krishna’. She was firmly convinced that one day she would meet him on earth.  This Being was none other than Sri Aurobindo.
  • During 1905, Mirra met a Polish Jew, Max Théon, and his wife Alma. Both of them were very advanced in occultism and lived at Tlemcen, near the Sahara in South Algeria. Mirra spent about two years at Tlemcen, practising occultism.

1907 – 1914 Paris

  • When in 1907 Mirra returned to Paris, Théon accompanied her. While at sea they were assailed by a violent storm. The sea became very rough with high waves and the ship was tossed about so badly that the passengers got panicky. Théon looked at Mirra and asked her to stop it and She did it using occult power.
  • After her return from Algeria, Mirra started another study group called ‘Cosmique' with twelve dedicated members. She gave a talk to this group on “What is the aim to be achieved, the work to be done, and the means of achievement.” She spoke of the New Consciousness, which has to be brought down and of founding collectively an ideal society, in a place suited to the flowering of the new race, that of the 'Sons of God'. Mirra was only thirty-four.

1914 – 1915 Paris to Pondy

  • Sri Aurobindo had come to Pondicherry in 1910. The same year Mirra's husband, Paul Richard, also came to Pondicherry for some political work. He met Sri Aurobindo several times and on his return to France told Mirra about him. Mirra now felt irresistibly drawn towards India. At this time, she maintained a spiritual diary where she noted every day her aspirations and experiences. This was published later as the Prayers and Meditations.
  • On March 6, 1914 Mirra and Paul Richard boarded the Japanese ship Kaga Maru and sailed for Colombo. The moment was approaching which was to bring about a momentous change in the Mother's life and the world's history. The Mother was then thirty-six.
  • After disembarking at Colombo, Mirra and Paul Richard reached Pondicherry in the early hours of March 29, 1914. While approaching, the Mother had a vision of a huge column of light in the centre of Pondicherry and there was such a change in the physical quality of the atmosphere that she knew they were entering the aura of Sri Aurobindo. They met Sri Aurobindo on the very same day in the afternoon, and everything changed. The Mother saw in front of her the Krishna of her vision, who had been guiding her all along. She knew immediately that her place and work were at his side, here in India.
  • This was the beginning of a great spiritual collaboration. Its immediate outer expression was the publication of two journals, one in English and the other in French called the Arya. The Mother was the chief executive of the publications and took care of the smallest details. She wrote in her artistic handwriting the list of subscribers and maintained all the accounts. It was in the Arya that Sri Aurobindo poured forth, month after month, all the spiritual knowledge he had gained in the pursuit of yoga, and in which all his major works were published serially for the first time.

1916 – 1920 Japan

  • But then the First World War intervened. In February 1915, Paul Richard had to go back to France to join the French Reserve Army and the Mother returned with him.
  • The Mother was greatly impressed by the beauty of Japan. She learned several typical Japanese customs–the tea ceremony, the flower arrangements and to dress in the Kimono.
  • The Mother had many interesting spiritual experiences in Japan. Once she completely identified herself with the consciousness of a cherry-tree.

1920 – 1973 Pondicherry

  • In 1920 the Mother sailed for Pondicherry. Now the most important chapter in her life was to begin. She had found her chosen and appointed place of spiritual fulfilment.
  • The Mother reached Pondicherry on April 24, 1920. She was forty-two. She was pursuing an intense Yoga and the sadhana was going on in the mental and vital planes.
  • Until the Mother's final arrival, a few of Sri Aurobindo's followers had lived with him as members of the household. With the coming of the Mother, a collective life took shape. The things got better organized and regular collective meditations were started.
  • The aim of their Yoga is to bring down the highest Supramental Consciousness of the Divine and to establish it in the earth consciousness. But before this can take place, the Overmind Consciousness or the Krishna Consciousness, has to be firmly established. This descent took place on November 24, 1926.
  • The next few years saw great changes. The number of disciples increased and many new activities were started. This is a sadhana which tries to bring down the spirit into matter. All fields of human activity are accepted and the Mother took care of the smallest details. From an unknown experiment in a corner of India, the Ashram now grew into a great centre of yoga, attracting devotees and disciples from all over the world.
  • In 1950, Sri Aurobindo left his body in a supreme sacrifice to hasten the descent of the Supramental upon earth.
  • A most decisive step in the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had been taken. The goal was certain. Now it was a question of time and of preparing the earth for the full manifestation of the Supermind. There could be no more failure, no more falling back.
  • In the meantime, the Ashram continued to grow and expand under the Mother's guidance. In 1952, the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education was started. The Mother was busy from morning to night–meeting the disciples, listening to their problems and queries, looking after the large number of departments, taking classes for the children, encouraging them in their sports and cultural activities, leading and guiding them and showing the way in everything.
  • In 1972, the Birth Centenary of Sri Aurobindo was celebrated.
  • In 1973, on 17 November, after a brief illness, the Mother left her physical body. She was ninety-five.

The day when Mirra Alfassa met Sri Aurobindo

It was on this day in Pondicherry, on 29th of March, exactly hundred years ago in 1914, Madame Mirra Alfassa met the person whom she used to see in her inner visions, a dark Asiatic figure who was guiding her spiritual development, whom she used to refer as “Krishna”.

Mirra 29thmarch She had an extraordinary life from her early child hood. Born as a second child to an Egyptian mother and Turkish father of Jewish descend in France, on 21st February 1878, she had many inner experiences from early age. It was the golden period of European domination over the world and Paris was bustling with creative brilliance and that was where many great creative people of the world were drawn to. She was among the intellectual elite, the finest cream of Western culture, growing up to be an accomplished painter and musician. Her inner quest took her to Algeria where she learned occultism with Max Theon and his wife exploring the hidden worlds behind the physical world and mastering many mysteries of existence. Later she would return to Paris to work with many groups of spiritual seekers.
She came to India to meet a yogi about whom she heard from her second husband Paul Richard who had been to Pondicherry earlier. So there she was in his house in Pondicherry, meeting him for the first time.


He was there, waiting for her, exactly as she had seen him in her visions - the same Asiatic figure but this time in the physical reality. It was a meeting that would change her life forever. He was known at that time as Aurobindo Ghosh.
Later on 30th March 1914 she wrote in her diary “It matters not if there are hundreds of beings plunged in densest ignorance. He whom we saw yesterday is on earth; his presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed into light, when Thy reign shall be indeed established upon earth.”
Aravind 29thmarchThe most dangerous man in India, that is how the British saw him, he was the first Indian to declare and demand complete freedom for India. It was he who had set ablaze the nation's Will to freedom long before Gandhi came and the British government was desperately trying to contain him. They had put him in jail, for an year of solitary imprisonment, but it turned out to be an extraordinary period of development of his yogic life culminating in the experience of Krishna, Vasudeva, who was guiding him for a greater mission, not just for the freedom of India but also for the world, for humanity.


Humanity was heading for an evolutionary crisis and he had a role to play in that dangerous passage, it was his main work, India' freedom was only a step on the way. As the British government was plotting again to arrest him he took shelter in Pondicherry which was then a French colony. In his seclusion in Pondicherry Sri Aurobindo was involved in intense sadhana, especially to bring the power of the Divine Mother to earth consciousness, a step necessary to save humanity which was heading for self destruction. He knew that only Her power of Love could save the earth.
So it was the most special meeting when Madame Mirra Alfassa arrived in his house in Pondicherry on that day. There she was, meeting him in the physical world. Later he would name her “The Mother” and give her the charge of his ashram and he would become “Sri Aurobindo”. She surrendered to him completely and so did he, surrendered to her completely without any reserve. It was the beginning of a great saga of evolutionary epic.
***
This is the knot that ties together the stars:
The Two who are one are the secret of all power,
The Two who are one are the might and right in things.
***
Hers is the mystery the Night conceals;
The spirit's alchemist energy is hers;
She is the golden bridge, the wonderful fire.
- Savitri

Written by Manoj on 29 March 2014

courtesy:

http://www.auroville.org/vision/Mirra_meets_Aurobindo.html

About The Mother

the mother brief life skrtch

 Sri Aurobindo's close spiritual collaborator, Mirra Richard, was known as The Mother. She was born in Paris on February 21, 1878.

Sri Aurobindo considered her his spiritual equal and collaborator. After November 24, 1926, when Sri Aurobindo retired into seclusion, he left it to her to plan, run and build the growing Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the community of disciples that had gathered around them.

 Read More about Her brief life sketch

The Auro-Mira Vidya Mandir, Kechla – The journey so far

school-21 Feb-5 160x120

Set amidst numerous pockets of a rugged hilly terrain and an extensive reservoir is Kechla, a conglomeration of several hamlets inhabited primarily by a tribal populace. Nestled within these hillocks is the Auro-Mira Vidya Mandir, a school that is home to nearly a hundred and ten children.Blessed by the beauty and calm of nature around, the pristine surroundings lend a special hue to the school

Read more...

About Sri Aurobindo

SriAuro brief life sketch

Sri Aurobindo (15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950), born Aurobindo Ghosh, was an Indiannationalist, freedom fighter, philosopher, yogiguru and poet. He joined the Indian movement for freedom from British rule, for a while became one of its influential leaders and then turned into a spiritual reformer, introducing his visions on human progress and spiritual evolution...

 

Read more about His brief life sketch

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