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Sri Aurobindo: The Poet and a Prophet of Indian Nationalism
” Let me tell you in confidence that I never, never, never was a philosopher. I was a poet and a politician, not a philosopher.” – Sri Aurobindo: the poet and a prophet
We, most of the time, notice in history that a renowned person got fame in a special quality of his talent, but other merits of his talent didn’t come to light. If we give an example, then it would be easy to understand.
Rabindranath Tagore was an eminent poet and author, but his other merits as a singer, a painter or a world traveller might have been less regarded in the public domain. It’s the same in the case of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. We know him as a famous novel writer of Bengali literature. Of course, he was the pioneer in this field but we never think of him as a seer and nation-builder. Sir Aurobindo rightly said: The earlier Bankim was a poet and stylist – the later Bankim was a seer and nation-builder.
Independence Day and Birthday of Sri Aurobindo: the Poet and Prophet
Today, we are going to celebrate our Independence Day, undoubtedly it’s a red letter day, but we must not forget that today is a birthday of a great son of India.
Sri Aurobindo was born on August 15, 1872, in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and died in Pondicherry (now Puducherry) where his historic ‘ashram’, considered a pilgrimage place by his followers, is located.
Initially, Sri Aurobindo was a poet and a prophet. But his love for mother India transformed him into a freedom fighter, journalist, revolutionary and much more. He was one of the first nationalist leaders to put forth in his newspaper, Bande Mataram, the idea of complete independence of India and developed a radical approach to achieving that goal that included non-cooperation, passive resistance, and the use of swadeshi.
Despite being an important person in India’s political life and philosophical and spiritual traditions, and producing some cutting-edge work in literature, drama, poetry, analysis of world affairs, psychology, yoga and much more, he has remained largely undiscovered.
There is nothing about him or his contribution to India’s freedom struggle, and philosophical and spiritual traditions in our school curricula
Why Sri Aurobindo is called the Poet and Prophet?
He was born as Aurobindo Ghose in Kolkata on 15 August 1872. His father, Dr. Janaki Nath Ghosh sent him in his childhood to study in England. Eventually, he prepared for the Indian Civil Service examinations at King’s College in Cambridge, but almost successfully completed his courses, he couldn’t continue it. He didn’t work under the British Government. So he refused to attempt the last horse-riding examination. As a result, he gave up a brilliant carrier as a civil servant. He didn’t like to bend his head under the British rulers.
Returning to India, Sri Aurobindo started working in the estate of the Maharaja of Baroda. Even he was given highest opportunity to join as a head of the department of English in Boroda College. But he denied. His intention was another. He came to Calcutta and jumped into nationalist politics.
Sri Arobindo: the poet and a prophet was a true lover of his mother country. He decided to spread his opinions in newspaper. So he introduced Bande Matram and other magazines. Sister Nivedita stood beside him and helped in writing and editing. Owing to these activities he became target of British rulers.
Alipore Conspiracy Case : Sri Aurubindo: the poet and a prophet
Radical Revolutionary and heroic son of India, Sri Aurobindo was arrested in May, 1908. The alligation against him was on a suspicion of preparing bombs and he faced charges of treason in the Alipore Conspiracy Case.
Deshbandhu Chittaranjan was the counselor on behalf of Sri Aurobindo. He was then a famous Barrister in Calcutta High Court. He brilliantly counselled in the court. Ultimately, Aurobindo was acquitted on 6 May 1909 after a brilliant defence by his counsel Deshbandu Chittaranjan Das. That day Barrister Das prophetically argued: “That long after this controversy is hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, this agitation ceases, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone, his words will be echoed and re-echoed not only in India but across distant seas and lands.”
Aurobindo was confined in the Alipore jail almost one-year. It was solitary confinement in Alipore Jail . Most of the times he spent in reading books and was in deep meditation. His life was changed radically there . Even Sri Aurobindo’s views were entirely changed. He felt that his task goes far beyond the service and liberation of his country. He invisioned that India’s independence was decreed.
Sri Aurobindo gradually turned into a seer and divine man. Mostly he used to absorb in deep meditation. And experienced lot of spiritual matters. One of his spiritual experiences was the ‘visit’ of Swami Vivekananda. He wrote all that momentum in his diary: “It is a fact that I was hearing constantly the voice of Vivekananda speaking to me for a fortnight in the jail in my solitary meditation and felt his presence”.started working in the estate of the Maharaja of Baroda. Even he was given highest opportunity to join as a head of the department of English in Boroda College. But he denied. His intention was another. He came to Calcutta and jumped into nationalist politics.
Arobindo was a true lover of his mother country. He decided to spread his opinions in newspaper. So he introduced Bande Matram and other magazines. Sister Nivedita stood beside him and helped in writing and editing. Owing to these activities he became target of British rulers.
Sri Aurobindo gradually turned into a seer and divine man. Mostly he used to absorb in deep meditation. And experienced lot of spiritual matters. One of his spiritual experiences was the ‘visit’ of Swami Vivekananda. He wrote all that momentum in his diary: “It is a fact that I was hearing constantly the voice of Vivekananda speaking to me for a fortnight in the jail in my solitary meditation and felt his presence.
Spiritual revolution and Sri Aurobindo
We hardly know about the second phase of the rishi’s spiritual journey. It is very difficult to understand Sri Aurobindo’s strength and his genius. His disciple and collaborator, Mother felt divinely about Sri Aurobindo and told “What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme. ”
Sri Aurobindo reached in Pandichery on 1910. His companions were an orthodox Tamil Brahmin, Srinivasachari, and Suresh Chakravarti, an 18-year-old Bengali revolutionary. They reached to Le Dupleix in a small boat. Next they came from Calcutta in a steamer and just arrived there carrying the ‘most dangerous man on board.
Why had Aurobindo come to Pondicherry? The answer is to start a new life and fulfill a new mission . What it is ? It is nothing but to change human nature. He spent there long four decades and his motto was “All life is yoga”. Even everything, including matter, can be spiritually transformed and reach in divinity.
Aurobindo felt : “At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis in which is concealed a choice of its destiny… Man has created a system of civilisation which has become too big for his limited mental capacity and understanding and his still more limited spiritual and moral capacity to utilise and manage, a too dangerous servant of his blundering ego and its appetites. ”
He believed that “the burden which is being laid on mankind is too great for the present littleness of the human personality and its petty mind and small life instincts” and therefore “it cannot operate the needed change” without a change in consciousness.
Our country was get free from the chains of British rule in August 15, 1947. Sri Aurobindo at that time was 75. This year, we are celebrating 75 years of Independence day and Sri Aurobindo’s 150 birthday celebration. There is a coincidence between the two incidents. Our great son was a true lover of his mother country. So we can respect and regard this as God’s play.
Before departure to Pondicherry, Arobindo made a speech in All India Redio. In this talk, he expressed some of his dreams. One of the foremost desire that he told , was that, our country will again reach out to its supreme position. Society will be able to free from superstition and caste barriers .
His second dream was to see the resurgence and liberation of the peoples of Asia. He was against of any kind of fascism and social and political barriers. Any kind of barriers can slow the advancement of progress and upliftment.
Aurobindo’s third dream was the concept of one world. He expected a world where there’s fraternity, brotherhood and unity. His dream was to see a deep unity and integrity amongst the people of various countries. He deserved to notice the overall development on the basis of brotherhood and fraternity .
Unlike Vivekananda, he dreamt that India will teach spirituality to the world. India , to him was a godgifted country. Obviously, he thought of India’s superiority in spiritual world. India will her gift to the world.
The last, not the least, it was his dream that every person would have been reached in the spiritual perfection. Man is potentially divine and through evolution of consciousness oneday he will gain perfection and spiritual enlightenment. To him, it’s a journey to reach one stage of consciousness to another stage of higher consciousness.
But Sri Aurobindo knew that the journey would not be easy; “dark forces” would, again and again, try to derail the progress of humanity towards her destiny.
Celebrating Sri Aurobindo on its 150th birth anniversary
What’s the Aim of this Programme? Sri Aurobindo: the poet and a prophet
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said there is a need for transformation of the lives of inmates in jails through self-thinking and realisation, and prisons all across the country should organise programmes on the life of Maharishi Aurobindo to enable the prisoners to embark upon a new journey of life. Aurobindo was in jail and transformed his life. It is said that he had a divine transformation and God Vasudev appeared before him.
I think it will be a good attempt to convey our respect to Sri Aurobindo.
Sri Aurobindo: the poet and prophet was an important figure in India’s political history, philosophical traditions and spiritual wisdom, his teachings are still relevant.
We know that he was the first proponent of ‘Purna Swaraj’ more than 20 years before the Indian National Congress’ declaration in 1930. He felt that without a regular basis of communication and inspiration, the awakening of feelings of independence is not possible. So he introduced a newspaper and gave its name ” Vande Matram”. There he expressed his radical strategies.
Moreover, It included non-cooperation, passive resistance, and the use of swadeshi…. But it is a matter of regret that he remains brutally cancelled by Indian academics, Indian education and Indian mainstream media.
There is nothing about him or his contribution to India’s freedom struggle, and philosophical and spiritual traditions in our school books or curricula. We are happy to know that Central Government is going to facilitate Sri Aurobindo’s birth anniversary with some special programs. The government last year formed a 53-member committee to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary.
In the true sense of the term, Aurobindo was a great teacher. He had the deepest vision for his mother country and its people. He deeply envisioned our spiritual and educational culture. India could be able to revive its honour and prestige through religious and cultural upliftment. India never dies. He emphasised the revival of our spiritual and religious heritage.
He is a multifaceted personality who can be read as a yogi, philosopher, freedom fighter, and spiritual guide. If we calculate his life journey, we see two phases- One. From 1872 to 1919, and 1910 to 1950.
Sri Aurobindo Ghosh was a brilliant student, scholar, writer and editor of Vande Matram, freedom fighter and statesman. He was an efficient leader of the revolutionary movement in India. All these works he had accomplished during the first phase of his life. In and from 1910, his life journey was different. His journey of becoming Rishi was fully started from then.
Generally, his literary works are very creative and it has a deep sense of higher consciousness. So sometimes it’s very hard to realise. As a student of literature, what draws me is his literary output — poems, short stories, plays and, certainly his immortal epic poem Savitri. As an epic, Savitri is fabulous. It’s a classic epic, though it’s not avoided from literary essence and epic grandeurs. that’s we can compare Aurobindo’s Savitri to Homer’s Illiad and Oddisi or with the Paradise Lost of Milton.
On the occasions of the 150th birth anniversary of Maharshi Aurobindo and the 75 of Independence, the government of India is commemorating the life and philosophy of Sri Aurobindo by undertaking some activities and programmes. They scheduled to implement some spiritual activities in jails so that the prisoners’ mental and spiritual lives be pacific and normal. Undoubtedly, it is good news.