August 15, 2023

151st Birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo was born on 15th August 1872 in Calcutta

Aurobindo Ghosh, the freedom-fighter, who became Sri Aurobindo, went to England for education and joined St. Paul's School in London in 1884 and later studied for 2 years at King's College, Cambridge, from 1890. He also passed in the Indian Civil Service in 1890 and voluntarily got himself disqualified by not appearing for the riding examination.

While in England, he also learnt Greek, Latin, French, German and Italian languages.

Sri Aurobindo took an appointment for Baroda service from Gaekwar of Baroda in London. He returned to India and worked for 13 years in Baroda Service from 1893 to 1906 in various capacities viz. Revenue Dept., secretariat work for Maharaja, Professor of English and Vice-Principal in the Baroda College.

Due to agitation in Bengal, he left Baroda in 1906 and became active in politics and freedom struggle till the year 1910 in Bengal. He was arrested in 1908 in Alipore Conspiracy Case and was released in 1909, after spending one year in solitary confinement, due to lack of evidence.

Sri Aurobindo's five dreams in his message on 15th August 1947

Sri Aurobindo's three madnesses

In January 1908, Sri Aurobindo learnt the art of silencing the mind from the Maharashtrian Yogi, Vishnu Bhaskar Lele, and within three days Sri Aurobindo was able to achieve this state.

He used his entire one year in Alipore Jail for reading the Bhagwat Gita, Upanishads, meditating and practising Yoga and had the constant vision of the omnipresent, Vasudeva or Lord Krishna, in the jail. In February 1910 he went to Chandernagore secretly and later sailed to the French occupied Pondicherry on the 4th of April 1910.

At Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo developed a spiritual practice he called Integral Yoga . The central theme of his vision was the evolution of human life into a divine life in divine body. Sri Aurobindo's concept of the Integral Yoga system is described in his books, The Synthesis of Yoga and The Life Divine. The Life Divine which deals with the philosophical aspect of Integral Yoga is a compilation of essays published serially in Arya. The book, Synthesis of Yoga, deals with the principles and methods of Integral Yoga and his epic poem, Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, runs to approximately 24,000 lines and presents the drama of integral self-realizaiton which is its spiritual message.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram was founded in the year 1926 with the help of his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (referred to as "The Mother") who had a series of psychic and spiritual experiences during her childhood. She had come from France with her husband, Paul Richard, and Sri Aurobindo handed over the Ashram's material and spiritual responsibilities to The Mother, before he went on seclusion for doing the Sadhana.

Some of the Major Literary works by Sri Aurobindo

Let us not only celebrate Sri Aurobindo's Birthday and Independence day but also imbibe his tenets as much as possible.

Sri Aurobindo’s Gayatri Mantra

Sri Aurobindo’s Durga Stotra

(written in Bengali (1909) and translated to English by Nolini Kanta Gupta)


Mother Durga! Rider on the lion, giver of all strength, Mother, beloved of Shiva! We, born from thy parts of Power, we the youth of India, are seated here in thy temple. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest in this land of India.

Mother Durga! From age to age, in life after life, we come down into the human body, do thy work and return to the Home of Delight. Now too we are born, dedicated to thy work. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, come to our help.

Mother Durga! Rider on the lion, trident in hand, thy body of beauty armour-clad, Mother, giver of victory. India awaits thee, eager to see the gracious form of thine. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest in this land of India.

Mother Durga! Giver of force and love and knowledge, terrible art thou in thy own self of might, Mother beautiful and fierce. In the battle of life, in India’s battle, we are warriors commissioned by thee; Mother, give to our heart and mind a titan’s strength, a titan’s energy, to our soul and intelligence a god’s character and knowledge.

Mother Durga! India, world’s noblest race, lay whelmed in darkness. Mother, thou risest on the eastern horizon, the dawn comes with the glow of thy divine limbs scattering the darkness. Spread thy light, Mother, destroy the darkness.

Mother Durga! We are thy children, through thy grace, by thy influence may we become fit for the great work, for the great Ideal. Mother, destroy our smallness, our selfishness, our fear.

Mother Durga! Thou art Kali, naked, garlanded with human heads, sword in hand, thou slayest the Asura. Goddess, do thou slay with thy pitiless cry the enemies who dwell within us, may none remain alive there, not one. May we become pure and spotless, this is our prayer. O Mother, make thyself manifest.

Mother Durga! India lies now in selfishness and fearfulness and littleness. Make us great, make our efforts great, our hearts vast, make us true to our resolve. May we no longer desire the small, void of energy, given to laziness, stricken with fear.

Mother Durga! Extend wide the power of Yoga. We are thy Aryan children, develop in us again the lost teaching, character, strength of intelligence, faith and devotion, force of austerity, power of chastity and true knowledge, bestow all that upon the world. To help mankind, appear, O Mother of the world, dispel all ills.

Mother Durga! Slay the enemy within, then root out all obstacles outside. May the noble heroic mighty Indian race, supreme in love and unity, truth and strength, arts and letters, force and knowledge ever dwell in its holy woodlands, its fertile fields under its sky-scraping hills, along the banks of its pure-streaming rivers. This is our prayer at the feet of the Mother. Make thyself manifest.

Mother Durga! Enter our bodies in thy Yogic strength. We shall become thy instruments, thy sword slaying all evil, thy lamp dispelling all ignorance. Fulfil this yearning of thy young children, O Mother. Be the master and drive the instrument, wield thy sword and slay the evil, hold up the lamp and spread the light of knowledge. Make thyself manifest.

Mother Durga! When we possess thee, we shall no longer cast thee away; we shall bind thee to us with the tie of love and devotion. Come, Mother, manifest in our mind and life and body.

Come, Revealer of the hero-path. We shall no longer cast thee away. May our entire life become a ceaseless worship of the Mother, all our acts a continuous service to the Mother, full of love, full of energy. This is our prayer, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest in this land of India.

Sri Aurobindo's Symbol

The descending triangle represents Sat-Chit-Ananda.
The ascending triangle represents the aspiring answer from matter under the form of life, light and love.
The junciton of both - the central square - is the perfect manifestation having at its centre the Avatar of the Supreme - the lotus.
The water - inside the square - represents the multiplicity, the creation.

The Mother's Symbol

The Central Circle represents the Divine Consciousness.
The four petals represent the four powers of the Mother.
The twelve petals represent the twelve powers of the Mother manifested for Her work.

Celebrations on 15 August 2023

in Delhi Ashram

August 15th is a significant day for Sri Aurobindo’s followers worldwide as not only it marks the birthday of free India and the beginning of a new age but also celebrates the birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo. The day started with the ashramites at Sri Aurobindo Delhi Ashram celebrating this auspicious day with their annual ritual (Prabhat Pheri) at dawn to mark His 151st birth anniversary followed by a musical invocation by Srila didi.

Everyone gathered for flag hoisting by Tara di. Dr Ramesh Bijlani narrated some inspiring and illuminating anecdotes from Sri Aurobindo’s life and soulful music offering by Dr. Mithu Pal delighted everyone. The Ashram was filled with the visitors and devotees who turned up in large numbers to pay their tribute to Sri Aurobindo.

As the day unfolded, we immersed ourselves in exhibitions that showcased Sri Aurobindo’s life journey and reflected his philosophy - All Life is Yoga and the remarkable life of Sri Aurobindo. The afternoon celebration started with an enchanting musical offering by the students of Matri Kala Mandir and a beautiful dance performance, "Bharat Varsham - The Soul Incarnate", by students of the Mother’s International School . Superbly choreographed musical drama, displaying the unity in diversity made everyone’s heart swell with pride.

The evening celebration started with our annual march past by the ashramites and the vocational trainees accompanied with patriotic songs by the Matri Kala Mandir students followed by an offering of light of aspiration in the shrine area.

Tara di’s commanding reading of Sri Aurobindo’s freedom speech made our spirits soar and the soothing notes of musical offering by our Ashram choir brought the day to an end.