AUROBINDO, born in Calcutta in 1872, had a thorough Western education
in England. Soon after he came back to India in 1893, he declared : We
have abandoned Shakti and are therefore abandoned by Shakti.
In 1906, in the columns of the Bande Mataram, he was the
first Indian to publicly call for India's independence from the British
Empire. He thus became the
most dangerous man we have to deal with,
as the then Viceroy called him, and was later jailed on sedition charges.
During his one-year-long imprisonment at Alipore, Sri Aurobindo had major
spiritual realizations. But a
solitary salvation leaving the world to its fate was felt as almost distasteful,
and he decided that a
yoga which requires me to give up the world is not for me.
Sri Aurobindo narrowly escaped the gallows. From a revolutionary fighting
for India's freedom, he became a revolutionary in the spiritual field
; for forty years, from 1910 to 1950, digging to the deepest roots of
our misery, he sought to transform the entire human nature down to the
body, in a divine rehabilitation of Matter. His integral
yoga aims at embodying
the next principle of consciousness beyond mental man : to Sri Aurobindo,
evolution is not over, and the growing chaos we see in the world is not
just the end of a cycle, but the birth throes of a new age :
is a transitional being.