Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sri Aurobindo, utopian visionary

A highly educated political activist, Sri Aurobindo spent 40 years spreading the Integral Yoga philosophy. By Phil Catalfo
Poet, mystic, political activist, and utopian visionary, Sri Aurobindo emphasized the evolution of humankind toward its collective potential. Born in Calcutta in 1872, Aurobindo Ghose was taken at age 7 to be educated in England and spent the next 14 years there (including two at Cambridge), becoming fluent in Greek and Latin and proficient in German and Italian. He returned to India, entered government service, and later became a college educator (while studying Sanskrit and other Indian languages). He soon became engaged in the struggle for self-governance, publishing the influential polemical daily Bande Mataram. A succession of charges kept him jailed for several years, during which time he experienced a spiritual awakening prompted by his practice of "silent yoga."
Emerging from confinement in 1910, he began publishing an English weekly, the Karmayogin, and a Bengali weekly, the Dharma. He spent the remaining 40 years of his life writing, teaching, and propounding his philosophy of "Integral Yoga" in books on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and such works as The Synthesis of Yoga. See The Essential Aurobindo, recently reissued by Lindisfarne Books. September/October:

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