Aurobindo’s independence message spoke of his five dreams for India

The strength of stillness

Sri Aurobindo: The Life and Teachings of a Revolutionary Philosopher
By Roshen Dalal
Macmillan, 328 pages, Rs 699

August 15 is also the birth anniversary of the great freedom fighter-turned-seer, Sri Aurobindo. Coinciding with his 151st birth anniversary this year, a new biography by historian Roshen Dalal is being published.

From Aurobindo’s early years and education in England to his consequential return to India during its embryonic freedom movement, his arrest in the infamous Alipore Bomb Case, and subsequent spiritual awakening and ascetic life at his ashram in Pondicherry, Dalal unravels the intricate events and relationships that shaped his thinking – particularly his collaborations with his spiritual partner, the Mother. Drawing from over three decades of research, she presents here the most accessible, lucid, and insightful portrait of Sri Aurobindo to date. 

Specializing in Indian history, Dalal also deciphers Sri 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’. The book aims to offer an understanding of his core principles, underlying his universal ideas, and making them better known and accessible. 

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.

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