A power was in him from the Unknowable.
An archivist of the symbols of the Beyond,
A treasurer of superhuman dreams,
He bore the stamp of mighty memories
And shed their grandiose ray on human life.
His days were a long growth to the Supreme.
A skyward being nourishing its roots
On sustenance from occult spiritual founts
Climbed through white rays to meet an unseen Sun.
His soul lived as eternity’s delegate,
His mind was like a fire assailing heaven,
His will a hunter in the trails of light.
An ocean impulse lifted every breath;
Each action left the footprints of a god,
Each moment was a beat of puissant wings.
The little plot of our mortality
Touched by this tenant from the heights became
A playground of the living Infinite.
The outer life of Sri Aurobindo is no less inspiring. There are four main chapters of his life. The first is of the brilliant student in England from the 1879 to 1893. Studying in England Sri Aurobindo mastered the English language and quite a few others such as Latin, Greek and French. This made him master the language that he would later use as the main medium to release the idea forces of the new creation into the world. It also equipped him to understand the psyche of the British people against whom he was to wage the war of Indian independence. It gave him a first-hand exposure of the Western world, it’s strengths and weaknesses which will help in laying the foundations for a true synthesis of the East and West. But always there could be seen, behind the surfaces of his life, the heart of a budding poet and the soul of a yogi who had as if returned from some higher plane to complete an unfinished agenda of God.
The second period is of the silent preparation in Baroda, his life as an administrator, educator, and a householder that gives us glimpses of his exceptional nobility, kindness and generosity. It is a period when he dived deep into the soul of India again to equip himself fully for his future work of regenerating India and unlocking her deepest potentials. This period from 1893 to 1905 saw the blossoming of the poet and the beginnings of conscious yoga as if picking up threads from the past and opening the doors of his soul and the splendours it had brought into the bodily life.
The third period which saw his meteoric rise into the Indian sky as the prophet of Nationalism and the champion of the Indian independence movement claiming, for the first time, poorna swaraj, or complete self-rule. The methods he advocated primarily were passive boycott, swadeshi and passive resistance which will later become the foundation stones of the freedom movement. Having shaken the roots of the British Empire, instilling the much-needed confidence in the Indian people by igniting their minds and hearts and souls with the fire of nationalism and, awakening and establishing the soul of India, Bhavani Bharati in the ancient Aryabhoomi, Sri Aurobindo withdrew from politics into other and greater fields of action that called him and which was his destiny to accomplish.
But before leaving for the greater work awaiting him, he had already laid down the larger lines along which India would gain her freedom. Assured of India’s independence by his yogic vision and aware of the need for a still greater freedom of mankind as a whole, obeying an inner divine command, Sri Aurobindo left British India of those times to settle down in his cave of tapasya in Pondicherry, then in French India. He arrived on the shores of Pondicherry, the ancient Vedapuri on the 04th April 1910. All that he carried with him was the dream of a new world and the enormous wealth of the Spirit that he had gathered by then. This was no ordinary wealth but an achievement that would fill even the greatest of yogis, past and present with awe and admiration. To name a few of the major experiences and realisations he had before Pondicherry, were the experience of the vacant Infinite, the descent of vast calm and the sense of the unreality of the world, the opening of subtle vision, the awakening of the faculties of inspiration, intuition and revelation, the converse with the gods, the vision of the World Mother, the realisation of Nirvana, the various yogic siddhis, state of the Jivanmukta arrived at through karmayoga and the grand culmination in the vision of the One Divine Immanent in all things everywhere. His consciousness was already expanding to the cosmic dimension. The king yogi was now ready to wear the crown of the Avatar of the coming Age that was preparing to dawn upon earth and mankind.
Sri Aurobindo’s life is a cosmic yagna done by the Incarnate Divine for the earth and mankind. His childhood is the period when the flame has been lit while he is still in England. In Baroda the ground is being prepared, the yagna vedi being purified, the bricks are being laid for the sacrificial altar. In Bengal the ahuti or the oblations begin turning the ancient Arya bhoomi into a yagya shalaa of Krishna and Kali with mother Durga as the presiding deity and Sri Aurobindo himself as the priest of the sacrifice. In Pondicherry the field of the yagna spreads until it progressively becomes the viswa yagna on the 24th Nov 1926 with the Divine Mother as the presiding Deity and gods as helpers and mankind as collaborator. The 05th December 1950 is the day of poornahuti, the complete sacrifice. It is out of the flames of this complete sacrifice that the Supramental Descent took place and the bridge was built for the Supramental Manifestation on the 29th February 1956.
Let us take a little glimpse from the very beginning though the beginning of conscious beings can hardly be spoken in terms of one life. For ages they have laboured under different names and forms, now fighting the battle of the Ages now giving just one little needed turn to the march of mankind, now laying down one small brick in the foundation of a future life. The difference however is that in all these previous lives they came as vibhutis whereas in this life they manifested the Avatar because it was not just about carrying on the march of mankind or keeping the ship of creation afloat, it was about a decisive leap across a narrow gorge by throwing a bridge across the gulfs between the Creator and the Creation by offering their own bodies. The bridge this time was the last and final one, between the physical body and the Supramental Divine. The bridges between the soul and God, between our troubled vexed world and the ultimate Calm have been built but the bridge between the rapture and the calm, between Matter and Spirit, World and God is yet the unfinished agenda of creation. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother came to undertake this most challenging task. That is why it is important to remember that Sri Aurobindo’s yoga is not another creed or cult or sect or religion but a completely new and unprecedented spiritual adventure, the adventure of consciousness and joy.