Here is an interesting history of how Russians came into contact with Sri Aurobindo during the time of the Soviet Union. This article was originally posted on the website of Varuna Energy & Water Pvt. Ltd., which is a unit based in Auroville.
Xu Fancheng (Chinese: 徐梵澄) was born in Changsha, Hunan province, on 26th October 1909. As a child he studied classical Chinese. In 1929 he went to Germany to study the History of Art at Heidelberg University. He also practiced wood engraving there and became the first Chinese artist of the new style wood engraving. He came back to China in 1932, and encouraged by Luxun (one of the most famous writers of modern China), he started to translate the works of Nietzsche from German into Chinese, and became the first expert of Nietzsche’s philosophy in China.
Dr. D. B. Bisht had a distinguished career in the medical profession. He was the Director-General of Health Services, Govt. of India, and upon retirement joined the World Health Organisation. While Dr. Bisht was posted at JIPMER in Pondicherry, he was called to attend on the Mother and served as her physician. He captured the interactions he had with her in a book titled “Mother and me“. I haven’t read the book but I am reproducing two reviews of this book in this post.
Mahabiplabi Arabindo is a 1971 Bengali film (don’t worry, it has English subtitles) which covers the life of Sri Aurobindo from his return to India in 1892 to his retirement to Pondicherry in 1910. Angel Television has uploaded the movie on youtube in 13 parts. The duration of this movie is about two hours. I have added brief descriptions of the content before each clip below.
Before she became the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Mirra Alfassa was a spiritual seeker like any other, reading books on mysticism, communing with nature, probing the recondite worlds of her dreams, meeting with fellow seekers, and generally assimilating the mysterious intimations of a vaster consciousness that were being disclosed to her from time to time. Along the way, she read Swami Vivekananda’s book on Raja Yoga and found it illuminating. Jnanendranath Chakravarty, who was visiting Paris, gave her a French translation of the Bhagavad Gita and asked her to read it with the understanding that Krishna was the symbol of the immanent God, the inner Godhead .
In 1934, Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian freedom struggle, sought to meet Sri Aurobindo because they had never met in person before. The latter declined the request because he didn’t want to break the seclusion that he had been observing since 1926. Strangely, the Mother who had no such restriction also declined to meet him. By combining the correspondence available in the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi with the records in the Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo, it is possible to build a complete picture of why this important meeting never transpired. One of Mahatma Gandhi’s letters seen below also furnishes us with a second-hand account of daily life in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
This article brings together some predictions and uncanny observations made by Sri Aurobindo that were fulfilled later in time. To preserve chronological fidelity, I will only draw on remarks which predate the actual occurrence of the event. If the modern tech-savvy yogi had to record predictions about the future, he or she could use Trusted timestamping(digital notary), a cryptographic technology which is now available in commercial software products. Such technology was unfortunately not available in Sri Aurobindo’s time nor did he care to impress others with his yogic abilities. Consequently, the neutral observer wishing to verify these predictions has to rely on a combination of trust as well as the fact that the original manuscripts from which these remarks are drawn are preserved in the Archives Department of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry.
Subhas Chandra Bose (1897-unknown) was an Indian revolutionary who rose to prominence during India’s struggle against the British rule. In 1941, he escaped house arrest and traveled to Germany to seek Hitler’s help to raise an Indian army. Disillusioned by Hitler, he then went to Japan where he assumed command of an army of Indian POWs(Indian soldiers captured by Japan while fighting under the Allied flag in Asia). At its height, the army called the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National army) comprised of 80,000 men and saw action against the British in Burma and the north-eastern provinces of India. The circumstances of Subhas’s death remain unknown. His body was never found.
- Some disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
- Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Anandamayi Ma
- The first meeting of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa
- Sri Aurobindo’s interaction with an American soldier during World War II
- Sri Aurobindo’s 1947 meeting with two French visitors
- Silviu Craciunas has a dream of Sri Aurobindo
- Sri Ramakrishna’s occult contact with Sri Aurobindo
- Emma Calvé’s interaction with Swami Vivekananda
- Progress reports of Sri Aurobindo
- Receiving guidance from Masters of a bygone age
- The teachings of Paracelsus
- Obsessive-compulsive spirituality by Dr Ramesh Bijlani
- What Did J.D. Salinger, Leo Tolstoy, and Sarah Bernhardt Have in Common?
- Sri Aurobindo on synchronicity
- How can Sri Aurobindo smoke and drink while practising Yoga?
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“Man is a transitional being” – Sri Aurobindo averred when he envisioned the coming of a new species he called “superman”. It is generally not necessary to practice Yoga after you attain Self-realization but both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother continued to do so in order to attain the next stage, which they called the “supramental transformation” (hence the epigram “Sri Aurobindo’s yoga begins where other Yogas end”). This aspect of their work is often misunderstood by pedantic scholars who have the irksome tendency of rashly equating superficially similar ideas espoused by various thinkers across the globe. These scholars tend to claim that Sri Aurobindo’s idea of the superman must have been influenced by Neitzche’s Ubermensch or by Darwin’s theory of evolution. In this article, I will endeavour to demonstrate the actual origin of the concept of the superman through numerous remarks made by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the subject. As much as possible, I shall present original quotations in order to avoid adding a layer of (mis)interpretation.
Anandamayi Ma(1896-1982) was a spiritual personality from Bengal, India. Her birth name was Nirmala Sundari. She attended the village school for two years. Although her teachers were pleased with her ability, her family thought she was dull-minded because of her indifference and constantly happy demeanor. When her mother once fell seriously ill, relatives remarked with puzzlement about the child remaining apparently unaffected.
About midway down the Coromandel coast of southeastern India stands the quaint little port-town of Pondicherry, which was a French colony from 1673 to 1954. It was here on a nondescript afternoon in March, 1914 that the spiritual collaboration between Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa began. This is an account of that memorable meeting along with some related anecdotes.
One night, holed up in a trench in France during World War II, Sgt. John Kelly of the US Army (Easy Company, 276th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry) began having spectacular visions of two beings of Light whom he called ‘Great Sir’ and ‘Heaven Lady’. Their continuing guidance through visions and voices saved him from enemy fire a few times. After the war, John found a copy of Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine in a library, and then came across a photograph of the Mother Mirra Alfassa. At this point, he realized that the two Beings who had guided him during the war were Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa. He visited the Ashram in Pondicherry in 1966 and met the Mother. In this article, he recounts his experiences from the war. This article first appeared in the Spring/summer 1984 issue of the Collaboration journal.
Towards the end of September 1947, leading Indian newspapers carried reports that Sri Aurobindo, in seclusion since 1926 had received two visitors, the first it was said since his meeting with Rabindranath Tagore 19 years earlier. These two visitors who remained with Sri Aurobindo in his room for three-quarters of an hour were M. Maurice Schumann, leading a cultural mission despatched to newly-independent India by the Government of recently-liberated France, and M. Francois Baron, then Governor of Pondicherry. Three members of Auroville International France were privileged to meet M. Schumann in December 1988 and to interview him about his visit to Sri Aurobindo. The text that follows is an extract translated from the account of this interview published in the Summer 1989 issue of La Revue d’Auroville. It tells us something of what happened in Sri Aurobindo’s room that day. This article was written by Shraddhavan and has also appeared in the 1989 issue of the Mother India magazine and Summer 1990 of the Collaboration magazine
These are life-stories and interviews of some disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Silviu Craciunas was a Romanian who was being tortured in prison by Communists around 1953. He was contemplating suicide when he began having visions of an unknown Indian sage whose name he heard as “Aurobin Dogos” [ homonym for the real name Aurobindo Ghosh 1872-1950].Those visions and the conversations he had with this unknown sage gave him strength and enabled him to survive the ordeal. After his escape from prison, he wrote a book “The Lost Footsteps” [ISBN , published around 1960] where he describes these visions.