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SRI AUROBINDO SOCIETY

Sri Aurobindo Society is a registered society with its chief administrative office at Puducherry. 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.

The Mother started Sri Aurobindo Society in. 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 organization 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.

 

SRI AUROBINDO

Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education and in 1890 went up to King's College, Cambridge. Here he stood in the first class in the Classical Tripos and also passed the final examination for the Indian Civil Service. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College. During this period he also joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India.

After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he soon became one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement. He was the first political leader in India to openly put forward, in his journal Bande Mataram, the ideal of complete independence for the country. Prosecuted twice for sedition and once for conspiracy, he was released each time for lack of evidence.

Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realisations. In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Puducherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his forty years in Puducherry he evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called the Integral Yoga. Its aim is a spiritual realisation that not only liberates man's consciousness but also transforms his nature. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri. Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.

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MOTHER HISTORY

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 Puducherry 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 Puducherry, 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!"

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