Sri Aurobindo, born Aurobindo Ghose or Ghose

Aurobindo, born Aurobindo Ghose or Ghose

Indian Nationalist, Freedom Fighter, Philosopher, Yogi, and Poet

Author Quotes

The strangest of the soul's experiences is this that it finds, when it ceases to care for the image and threat of troubles, then the troubles themselves are nowhere to be found in one's neighborhood. It is then that we hear from behind those unreal clouds God laughing at us.

The subliminal mind receives and remembers all those touches that delight the soul. Our soul takes joy in this right touching by the Essence of all experience.

The supreme end is the freedom of the spirit.

The thought of the Gita is not pure Monism although it sees in one unchanging, pure, eternal Self the foundation of all cosmic existence, nor Mayavada although it speaks of the Maya of the three modes of Prakriti omnipresent in the created world; nor is it qualified Monism although it places in the One his eternal supreme Prakriti manifested in the form of the Jiva and lays most stress on dwelling in God rather than dissolution as the supreme state of spiritual consciousness; nor is it Sankhya although it explains the created world by the double principle of Purusha and Prakriti; nor is it Vaishnava Theism although it presents to us Krishna, who is the Avatara of Vishnu according to the Puranas, as the supreme Deity and allows no essential difference nor any actual superiority of the status of the indefinable relationless Brahman over that of this Lord of beings who is the Master of the universe and the Friend of all creatures. Like the earlier spiritual synthesis of the Upanishads this later synthesis at once spiritual and intellectual avoids naturally every such rigid determination as would injure its universal comprehensiveness. Its aim is precisely the opposite to that of the polemist commentators who found this Scripture established as one of the three highest Vedantic authorities and attempted to turn it into a weapon of offence and defense against other schools and systems. The Gita is not a weapon for dialectical warfare; it is a gate opening on the whole world of spiritual truth and experience and the view it gives us embraces all the provinces of that supreme region. It maps out, but it does not cut up or build walls or hedges to confine our vision.

The Person is a bubble on Time's sea.

The Nationalist has been putting the main stress on the necessity of political freedom almost to the exclusion of the other needs of the nation, not because he is not alive to the vital importance of those needs of economic renovation, of education, of social transformation, but because he knows that in order that his ideal of equality may be brought to its fullest fruition, he must first bring about the political freedom and federation of his country.

The old organization of the Indian village was self-sufficient, self-centered, autonomous and exclusive. These little units of life existed to themselves, each a miniature world of its own petty interests and activities; like a system of planets united to each other indeed by an unconscious force but each absorbed in its own life and careless of the other. It was a life beautifully simple, healthy, rounded and perfect, a delight to the poet and the lover of humanity. If perfect simplicity of life, freedom from economic evils, from moral degradation, from the strife, faction and fury of town populations, from revolution and turmoil, from vice and crime on a large scale are the objects of social organization, then the village communities of India were ideal forms of social organization. Many look back to them with regret and even British administrators who were instrumental in destroying them have wished that they could be revived. So valuable indeed were the elements of social welfare which they secured to the nation that they have persisted through all changes and revolutions as they were thousands of years ago when the Aryans first occupied the land. Nor can it be denied that they have kept the nation alive. Whatever social evils or political diseases might corrupt the body politic, these little cells of national life supplied a constant source of soundness and purity which helped to prevent final disintegration. But if we owe national permanence to these village organizations, it cannot be denied that they have stood in the way of national unity.

The Path of Knowledge aims at the realization of the unique and supreme Self. It proceeds by the method of intellectual reflection, vicara, to right discrimination, viveka. It observes and distinguishes the different elements of our apparent or phenomenal being and rejecting identification with each of them arrives at their exclusion and separation in one common term as constituents of Prakriti, of phenomenal Nature, creations of Maya, the phenomenal consciousness. So it is able to arrive at its right identification with the pure and unique Self which is not mutable or perishable, not determinable by any phenomenon or combination of phenomena. From this point the path, as ordinarily followed, leads to the rejection of the phenomenal worlds from the consciousness as an illusion and the final immergence without return of the individual soul in the Supreme. But this exclusive consummation is not the sole or inevitable result of the Path of Knowledge. For, followed more largely and with a less individual aim, the method of Knowledge may lead to an active conquest of the cosmic existence for the Divine no less than to a transcendence. The point of this departure is the realization of the supreme Self not only in one's own being but in all beings and, finally, the realization of even the phenomenal aspects of the world as a play of the divine consciousness and not something entirely alien to its true nature. And on the basis of this realization a yet further enlargement is possible, the conversion of all forms of knowledge, however mundane, into activities of the divine consciousness utilisable for the perception of the one and unique Object of knowledge both in itself and through the play of its forms and symbols. Such a method might well lead to the elevation of the whole range of human intellect and perception to the divine level, to its spiritualization and to the justification of the cosmic travail of knowledge in humanity.

The highest spirituality indeed moves in a free and wide air far above that lower stage of seeking which is governed by religious form and dogma; it does not easily bear their limitations and, even when it admits, it transcends them; it lives in an experience which to the formal religious mind is unintelligible. But man does not arrive immediately at that highest inner elevation and, if it were demanded from him at once, he would never arrive there. At first he needs lower supports and stages of ascent; he asks for some scaffolding of dogma, worship, image, sign, form, symbol, some indulgence and permission of mixed half-natural motive on which he can stand while he builds up in him the temple of the spirit. Only when the temple is completed, can the supports be removed, the scaffolding disappear. The religious culture which now goes by the name of Hinduism not only fulfilled this purpose, but, unlike certain credal religions, it knew its purpose. It gave itself no name, because it set itself no sectarian limits; it claimed no universal adhesion, asserted no sole infallible dogma, set up no single narrow path or gate of salvation; it was less a creed or cult than a continuously enlarging tradition of the Godward endeavor of the human spirit. An immense many-sided many-staged provision for a spiritual self-building and self-finding, it had some right to speak of itself by the only name it knew, the eternal religion, Sanƒtana Dharma. It is only if we have a just and right appreciation of this sense and spirit of Indian religion that we can come to an understanding of the true sense and spirit of Indian culture.

The Hindu religion appears... as a cathedral temple, half in ruins, noble in the mass, often fantastic in detail but always fantastic with a significance - crumbling or badly outworn in places, but a cathedral temple in which service is still done to the Unseen and its real presence can be felt by those who enter with the right spirit... That which we call the Hindu religion is really the Eternal religion because it embraces all others.

The ideal of the Congress is merely to keep the chains of servitude intact, but reduce the proportion of iron in them while increasing the proportions of gold and silver. If our political life could have been developed adequately with a few peace- and-comfort-loving middle-class people, this would have been enough for the purpose. But if a nation is to be restored to life, we have to go beyond this petty and inconsequential ideal. For the sake of such an ideal has anyone ever forgotten himself in the fervor of patriotism and made a real self-sacrifice or, ignoring all threats and temptations, hastened forwards on the path of his duty? On the other hand, when the enchanting image of our Mother was once shown to us, at the sight of her face and the sound of her name we all went wild, joyfully renounced our selfish interests to work for the country, and began going to jail in droves with smiling faces. Is even this not enough to bring our leaders to their senses? Even after this will they not realize in which direction the skies are brightening as the sun of India's new life prepares to rise?

The inequality of feelings towards others, liking and disliking, is ingrained in the nature of the human vital. This is because some harmonize with one?s own vital temperament, others do not; also there is the vital ego which gets displeased when it is hurt or when things do not go or people do not act according to its preferences or its idea of what they should do. In the self above there is a spiritual calm and equality, a goodwill to all or at a certain stage a quiet indifference to all except the Divine; in the psychic there is an equal kindness or love to all fundamentally, but there may be special relations with one ? but the vital is always unequal and full of likes and dislikes. By the sadhana the vital must be quieted down; it must receive from the self above its quiet goodwill and equality to all things and from the psychic its general kindness or love.

The Infinite alone justifies the existence of the finite and the finite by itself has no entirely separate value or independent existence. Life, if it is not an illusion, is a divine Play, a manifestation of the glory of the Infinite. Or it is a means by which the soul growing in Nature through countless forms and many lives can approach, touch, feel and unite itself through love and knowledge and faith and adoration and a Godward will in works with this transcendent Being and this infinite Existence.

The knowledge on which the doer of works in Yoga has to found all his action and development has for the keystone of its structure a more and more concrete perception of unity, the living sense of an all-pervading oneness; he moves in the increasing consciousness of all existence as an indivisible whole: all work too is part of this divine indivisible whole. His personal action and its results can no longer be or seem a separate movement mainly or entirely determined by the egoistic 'free' will of an individual, himself separate in the mass.

The life of the nation must contain within itself the life of the Brahmin, ? spirituality, knowledge, learning, high and pure ethical aspiration and endeavor; the life of the Kshatriya, ? manhood and strength moral and physical, the love of battle, the thirst for glory, the sense of honor, chivalry, self-devotion, generosity, grandeur of soul; the life of the Vaishya, ? trade, industry, thrift, prosperity, benevolence, philanthropy; the life of the Shudra, ? honesty, simplicity, labor, religious and quiet service to the nation even in the humblest position and the most insignificant kind of work.

The meeting of man and God must always mean a penetration and entry of the divine into the human and a self-immergence of man in the Divinity.

The mental life concentrates on the aesthetic, the ethical and the intellectual activities. Essential mentality is idealistic and a seeker after perfection. The subtle self, the brilliant Atman, Footnote: Who dwells in Dream, the inly conscious, the enjoyer of abstractions, the Brilliant. Mandukya Upanishad is ever a dreamer. A dream of perfect beauty, perfect conduct, perfect Truth, whether seeking new forms of the Eternal or revitalizing the old, is the very soul of pure mentality. But it knows not how to deal with the resistance of Matter.

The Gita is the greatest gospel of spiritual works ever yet given to the race.

The great are strongest when they stand alone, a God-given might of being is their force.

The great movement sweeping the country at present from the beginning been called by our British adversaries an outburst of hatred, and some Indians who are fond of imitating the English do not fail to echo this opinion. We are engaged in the propagation of dharma, and it is because the movement of national resurgence is a major part of this dharma that we are pouring our energy into it. Had this been a movement born of hatred, we would never have been so bold as to proclaim it a part of dharma. Conflict, war, even killing can be part of dharma, but hatred and malice lie outside of it. Hatred and malice are things that have to be eliminated in the march of the world's evolution, therefore those who nurture these impulses themselves or try to incite them in a nation fall prey to ignorance and give patronage to evil. We cannot affirm that hatred has never entered this movement. When one side indulges in animosity and hatred, the other side will inevitably react with similar feelings. The responsibility for starting this vicious circle lies with some English newspapers in Bengal and the conduct of certain arrogant, intemperate individuals. After enduring for a long time the contemptuous, spiteful, malicious language that appears every day in the newspapers, after suffering abuse, insults and even beatings on trains, in the street, in the market-place and on the ghats, finally even the patient, long- suffering Indian can tolerate it no more and has started returning abuse for abuse, blow for blow.

The heart's words fall back unheard from Wisdom's throne.

The divinizing of the normal material life of man and of his great secular attempt of mental and moral self-culture in the individual and the race by this integralization of a widely perfect spiritual existence would thus be the crown alike of our individual and of our common effort. Such a consummation being no other than the kingdom of heaven within reproduced in the kingdom of heaven without, would be also the true fulfilment of the great dream cherished in different terms by the world's religions.

The ethical idealist tries to discover this supreme law in his own moral data, in the inferior powers and factors that belong to the mental and ethical formula. And to sustain and organize them he selects a fundamental principle of conduct essentially unsound and constructed by the intellect, utility, hedonism, reason, intuitive conscience or any other generalized standard. All such efforts are foredoomed to failure. Our inner nature is the progressive expression of the eternal Spirit and too complex a power to be tied down by a single dominant mental or moral principle. Only the supra-mental consciousness can reveal to its differing and conflicting forces their spiritual truth and harmonize their divergences.

The existence of a social law external to the individual is at different times a considerable advantage and a disadvantage to the development of the divine in man. It is an advantage at first when man is crude and incapable of self-control and self-finding, because it erects a power other than that of his personal egoism through which that egoism may be induced or compelled to moderate its savage demands, to discipline its irrational and often violent movements and even to lose itself sometimes in a larger and less personal egoism.

The existence of poverty is the proof of an unjust and ill-organized society, and our public charities are but the first tardy awakening in the conscience of a robber.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Aurobindo, born Aurobindo Ghose or Ghose
Birth Date
Death Date

Indian Nationalist, Freedom Fighter, Philosopher, Yogi, and Poet