Biography of Sri Aurobindo to hit stands on 151st birth anniversary on August 15

Drawing from over three decades of research, historian Roshen Dalal’s new book, “SRI AUROBINDO: The Life and Teachings of a Revolutionary Philosopher”, claims to present the most accessible, lucid, and insightful portrait of the freedom fighter and philosopher to date.

From Aurobindo’s early years and education in England to his consequential return to India during its embryonic freedom movement and subsequent spiritual awakening and ascetic life at his ashram in Pondicherry (now Puducherry), Dalal unravels the intricate events and relationships that shaped his thinking — particularly his collaborations with his spiritual partner, the Mother.

In 1914, Mirra Alfassa, who later came to be known as the Mother, first set foot in Puducherry and met Sri Aurobindo. Six years later in 1920 the Mother moved permanently to Puducherry to continue her work with Sri Aurobindo at the Ashram.

She established Auroville near Puducherry after Aurobindo’s death in 1950.

“The book provides a brief overview of Aurobindo’s external life for which his own autobiographical notes have been referenced. The Mother, given her pivotal role during his lifetime, holds a prominent place in the book.

“It delves into Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy as revealed through his writings to serve as an essential guide to understanding his philosophical concepts and his vision of the future,” writes Dalal in the book.

Born in 1872 in Kolkata, the poet- yogi propounded a philosophy of divine life on earth through spiritual evolution. From 1902 to 1910 Aurobindo partook in the struggle to free India from the British Raj (rule). As a result of his political activities, he was imprisoned in 1908.

Two years later he fled British India and found refuge in the then French colony of Puducherry, where he devoted himself for the rest of his life to the development of his ‘integral yoga’.

In Puducherry he founded a community of spiritual seekers, which took shape as the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926. The ashram eventually attracted seekers from many countries throughout the world.

Specializing in Indian History, the author also deciphers Aurobindo’s writings on Hindu sacred texts, and his philosophical writings — “The Life Divine”, “The Synthesis of Yoga” — and his 24,000-line epic poem, “Savitri”.

Dalal’s previous books include the two-volume “Puffin History of India” and “Puffin History of the World”, and most recently, “J Krishnamurti: A Life of Compassion beyond Boundaries”. PTI MG SHD SHD

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