SRI AUROBINDOS LIFE
"Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the manthe biography of the man himself cannot be written."
Mark Twain, Autobiography (1924)
Although Sri Aurobindos first biography in English was published, obviously without his knowledge in 1910, the year Sri Aurobindo came over to Pondicherry in his late thirties. Later when a scholar proposed to write a biography with his knowledge, Sri Aurobindo discouraged him, saying that no one could write about his life because it had not been on the surface for man to see.
Sri Aurobindos reluctance would surprise many, for his life, even the first thirtyseven years of it, which, he mostly spent in England, Baroda (Vadodara) and Calcutta, had been marked by tumultuous events and most significant ones in relation to the recent history of the nation. How does he belittle them ?
The fact is, Sri Aurobindo considered his most worthwhile actions as those which were not on the surface, but deep in the ocean of consciousnessactions which were too profound for any factual narration. Whatever we know of them, we know through the persistent queries of his disciples and, of course, much can be surmised from his writings.
However, so many have violated his suggestions against writing his biography and we too, following the academic traditions, give below a chronological account of his lifea bare outline of it.
Sri Aurobindos father, Dr. K. D. Ghose, who had received a post-graduate medical degree from the West, was totally Westernized in his life-style and sense of values. On the other hand Sri Aurobindos mother, Swarnalata Devi was the daughter of Rajnarayan Bose, known as "the grandfather of Indian Nationalism", a great patriot and visionary.
Sri Aurobindo, the third son in the family, was born on August 15, 1872.
Neither the mother nor the grandfather had much opportunity to mould Sri Aurobindos outlook, for Dr. Ghose left all his three sons, the elder two being Benoy Bhushan and Man Mohan respectively, at Loretto Convent, Darjeeling, in the company of European children. Sri Aurobindo was then aged five.
Two years later, in 1875, Dr. Ghose and Swarnalata Devi led their children to England and left them at Manchester, under the care of Latin scholar, Mr. Drewett.
In 1884 the three boys shifted to London, with Mrs. Drewett, a devout Christian, as their guardian. Sri Aurobindo was admitted to St. Pauls School, where he continued for five years, shining as a brilliant student, securing all the top prizes for literature and history. His elder brother, Man Mohan, grew into a poet and as a friend of Oscar Wilde and Lawrence Binyon.
Sri Aurobindos poetic genius began to bloom at this stage though very little of his writing of this period has survived the vicissitudes of time. Mrs. Drewett left them before long and the boys had to live through great hardship because Dr. Ghose, a legendary philanthrope at home, neglected to send his sons even the minimum amount of money they needed. Recollects Sri Aurobindo : "During a whole year a slice or two of sandwich, bread and butter and a cup of tea in the morning and in the evening a penny saveloy formed the only food."
A scholarship from St. Pauls enabled Sri Aurobindo to go to Kings College, Cambridge, in 1889. He practically bagged all the prizes in Greek and Latin. He passed the first part of the classical Tripos in the first class in 1892. The same year he successfully passed his I.C.S. examination. But he did not report for the riding test and thereby got himself disqualified for the Civil Services.
His well-wishers, who did not know that Sri Aurobindo had secured his disqualification deliberately, tried to persuade the authorities to admit Sri Aurobindo into the Service ignoring the technical lacuna in his performance. G.W. Prothero, a Senior Fellow of Kings College, wrote to James Cotton, Sir Henry Cottons brother :
"He performed his part of the bargain as regards the college most
honourably and took a high place in the first class of the classical Tripos, part one, at
the end of the second year of his residence. He also obtained certain college prizes,
showing command of English and literary ability. That a man should have been able to do
this (which alone is quite enough for most under-graduates) and at the same time to keep
up his I.C.S. work, proves very unusual industry and capacity. Besides his classical
scholarship, he possessed knowledge
of English literature far beyond the average of under-graduates, and wrote much better English than most young Englishmen."
The authorities would have probably considered the submission made on Sri Aurobindos behalf (though without his consent) sympathetically, but by then they had received the intelligence that Sri Aurobindo was a member of a secret Society called the "Lotus and Dagger", dedicated to fighting for Indias freedom. His speeches at the Indian Majlis at Cambridge, attacking the British rule in India, had been reported too.
It was a relief to Sri Aurobindo that the I.C.S. mercifully left him unclaimed. He had, needless to say, no call for that kind of a career.
Just then, Maharaja Sayaji Rao, the Gaekwad of Baroda was on a visit to London. James Cotton arranged a meeting between him and Sri Aurobindo and the Maharaja recruited Sri Aurobindo to his government. After an absence of fourteen years, Sri Aurobindo returned to India in February 1893. It was a quiet homecoming, preceded by a tragedy unknown to him. The ship by which he was to reach Mumbai sank off the coast of Lisbonand the shocking news reached Dr. K. D. Ghosh who had no knowledge of his son having changed his plan at the last moment and of having boarded another ship. Dr. Ghosh died of a heart-attack.
Sri Aurobindo was overwhelmed by a vast peace that descended on him the moment he set foot on the soil of India at Apollo Bunder, Mumbai. That seems to be the way the soul of India received him. Years later he wrote to a disciple :
"My own life and my yoga have always been, since my coming to India, both this-worldly and other-worldly without any exclusiveness on either side ....Since I set foot on the Indian soil on the Apollo Bunder in Bombay, I began to have spiritual experiences, but these were not divorced from this world but had an inner and infinite bearing on it, such as a feeling of the Infinite pervading material space and the Immanent inhabiting material objects and bodies. At the same time I found myself entering supraphysical worlds and planes with influences and an effect from them upon the material plane, so I could make no sharp divorce or irreconcilable opposition between what I have called the two ends of existence and all that lies between them."
We do not know who informed him of his fathers demise. He proceeded straight to Vadodara and joined the Gaekwads administration as Professor of English and French at the Maharajas College. During his thirteen years of stay there, he also worked in several departments of the Maharajas Secretariat at different times, apart from working as the Vice-Principal and Acting Principal of the College.
Simultaneously, he delved deep into the ancient Indian lore, mastering Sanskrit, Bengali and several other Indian languages. He translated parts of the epics and works of Kalidasa and Bhartrihari into English, wrote original poetry and plays and began practising Yoga.
All those who were in contact with him knew about these activities of his, but very few people knew that he had become the source of inspiration for groups of dedicated youths, scattered in different parts of India, ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause of the motherlands freedom. Through some of his trusted lieutenants including his younger brother Barindra, he channelised their spirit along a certain line of preparatory action.
The Indian National Congress, formed in 1885, was pursuing a policy that was nowhere nearer the goal of freedom for the country. In a periodical named the Indu Prakash published at Mumbai and edited by his Cambridge friend K. G. Despande, Sri Aurobindo wrote a series of articles under the title "New Lamps for Old" which created a stir in the political circle of the time.
Interesting glimpses of Sri Aurobindos Vadodara days are left by Direndra Kumar Roy, a well-known Bengali writer, who lived with Sri Aurobindo for a while to help him learn Bengali. Roy was amazed at the fact that Sri Aurobindo would at times refuse an invitation from the Maharaja himself for joining him for breakfast or dinner, under the pretext that he had no time, while so many Europeans and members of the Indian nobility waited for days together for an appointment with the Maharaja!
Sri Aurobindo did not care for status or money and he lived the life of an ascetic. There was no change in this even after his marriage to Mrinalini Devi in 1901, at Calcutta. Roy sums up his impression of him with these words : "Sri Aurobindo was not a man of this earth; he was a god descended from heavens, probably under a curse."
One of his private letters to Mrinalini Devi, written from Vadodara which became famous because the prosecution produced it in the Court in the course of the historic Alipore Conspiracy Case, gives an intimate picture of his mind (translated from Bengali by an early biographer) :
"I have three madnesses. Firstly, it is my firm faith that whatever virtue, talent, higher education and knowledge and wealth, which God has given me, belongs to Him. I have the right to spend only as much as is needed for the maintenance of the family and on what is absolutely necessary. Whatever remains should be returned to the Divine. If I spend all of it on myself, for personal comfort, for enjoyment, then I am a thief. According to Hindu Scriptures one who accepts money from the Divine and does not return it to Him is a thief. Till now I have been giving only a small fraction of my money to God and have been spending nine-tenths of it for my personal happinessthus have I settled the account and have remained immersed in worldly happiness. Half of the life has already been wasted; even an animal feels gratified in feeding itself and its family.....
"I have no regrets for the money that I gave to Sarojini or to Usha, because assisting others is Dharma, to protect those who depend on you is a great Dharma, but the account is not settled if one gives only to ones brothers and sisters. In these hard days, the whole country is like a dependent at our doors. I have thirty crores of brothers and sisters in this countrymany of them die of starvation, most of them are weakened by suffering and troubles and are somehow dragging on their existence. They must be helped. What do you say, will you be my wife sharing this Dharma with me ? We will eat and dress like ordinary people and buy what is really essential, and give the rest to the Divine. That is what I would do. If you agree to it, and accept the principle of sacrifice then my resolution can be fulfilled. You were complaining that you have made no progress. This is a path to progress that I point out to you. Would you like to take that path ?
"The second folly has recently taken hold of me. It is this : by whatever means, I must get the direct realisation of the Lord. The religion of today consists in repeating the name of God every now and then, in praying to Him in the presence of everybody and in showing to people how religious one is; I do not want it. If the Divine is there, then there must be a way of experiencing His existence, of realising His presence; however hard the path, I have taken a firm irresolution to follow it. Hindu Dharma asserts that the path is to be found in ones own self, in ones mind. The rule that enables one to follow the path is also given to me; I have begun to observe all the rules and within a month I have been able to ascertain that the words of the Hindu Dharma are not false, I have had the experience of all the signs that have been mentioned by it. I would like to take you also along that path; you would not be able to keep up with me as you have not yet had the knowledge, but there is nothing to prevent your following me. Anybody can reach perfection by following the path. But it depends upon ones choice to enter the path. Nobody can force you to enter it. If you are willing, I will write more about this subject.
"The third folly is this : whereas others regard the country as an inert object, and know it as the plains, the fields, the forests, the mountains and rivers, I look upon my country as the mother, I worship her and adore her as the mother. What would a son do when a demon sitting on the breast of his mother is drinking her blood? Would he sit down content to take his meals, and go on enjoying himself in the company of his wife and children, or would he, rather, run to the rescue of his mother? I know I have the strength to uplift this fallen race; it is not physical strength, I am not going to fight with the sword or with the gun, but with the power of knowledge. The power of warrior is not the only kind of force, there is also the power of the Brahman which is founded on knowledge. This is not a new feeling with me, it is not of a recent origin, I was born with it, it is in my very marrow, God sent me to the earth to accomplish this great mission. At the age of fourteen the seed of it had begun to sprout and at eighteen it had been firmly rooted and become unshakable."
That was the time when Curzons move to partition Bengal inspired a determined protest from all nationalists. "Never had India seen such popular demonstration", wrote Valentine Chirol, the correspondent of The Times of London.
At the request of friends who founded the National Council of Education in Calcutta, Sri Aurobindo came over to Calcutta in 1906 to head a college that would be a bold alternative to the system of clerk-making education imposed on India by its colonial masters.
Sri Aurobindo had already developed a distinct educational vision by then. In his article entitled A system of National Education published in 1907, he wrote :
"Every one has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere which God offers him to take or refuse. The task is to find it, develop it and use it. The chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul to draw out that in itself which is best and make it perfect for a noble use."
In 1910 was published the article containing the line which has by now become famous as an epigram : "The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught."
Almost simultaneously Bipin Chandra Pal, a leading public figure of the
time, launched a newspaper, the Bande Mataram, and invited Sri Aurobindo to edit
it. Sri Aurobindo acceded to the request and in no time the newspaper, "full of
leading and special articles written in English with brilliance and pungency not hitherto
attained in the Indian Press", as
S. K. Ratcliffe, the then editor of The Statesman, recollected later, became "the most effective voice of what was then called nationalist extremism."
The enthusiasm with which Sri Aurobindo and the Bande Mataram were greeted, can be imagined from a comment in Sandhya edited by the veteran, Brahmabandhav Upadhyay : "Have you ever seen the spotless all-white Aurobindo (lotus), the hundred-petalled Aurobindo in full bloom in Indias Manasarovara?... Our Aurobindo is a rare phenomenon in the world. In him can be marked the splendour of the Sattvik, snow-white and resplendent. Great and vastvast in his heart, great in his personal gloryhis Swadharma... Pure and complete a man, a fire-charged thunder yet tender and delicate as the lotus-petal.... The words of Bande Mataram will drive out your fear; steel your arms with the might of thunder; fire will course through your veins; death will put on a face of a spring-time joy... True, Aurobindo has had his education in England, but he has not succumbed to its bewitching spell. An efflorescence of the glory of his countrys Swadharma and culture, Aurobindo is now at the feet of the Motherland, as a fresh-blown lotus of the autumn, luminous with the spirit of his self-offering... There, bow down to the Mother, with the Mantra of Bande Mataram. Freedom is not far." (Translated from Bengali).
M. R. Jayakar, a young delegate to the Calcutta Session of the Congress (1906), records in his autobiography, The Story of My Life (Vol. 1) :
"I then had any first opportunity of observing from close quarters the Congress leaders of those times with some of whom my contact increased later. I then saw Aurobindo Ghose and his associates. What struck me were his great earnestness and dignified appearance. He had not then developed, so far as outside appearance could show, into a complete Yogi, but I got, from a distance, an indication that his political philosophy was different from that of those who surrounded him."
In 1907 the Government prosecuted the Bande Mataram and Sri Aurobindo as its editor for spreading sedition. It was a nationwide sensation. Tagore wrote his famous poem, "Aurobindo, Accept the Salutations of Rabindra", during this period.
The governments case failed in the court. Towards the end of the same year the historic Surat Congress took place where the nationalists and moderates clashed and the former assembled in a separate conference. As author and journalist Henry Nevinson who was present as a correspondent of The Daily News of London records in his New Spirit in India : "Grave and silent, I think without saying a single word, Mr. Aurobindo Ghose took the chair and sat unmoved, with far-off eyes, as one who gazes at futurity. In clear, short sentences, without eloquence or passion, Mr. Tilak spoke till the stars shone out and someone kindled a lantern at his side."
This was a turning in the history of Indias fight for freedom. Swaraj, complete freedom, became the specific target to be achieved and Sri Aurobindo had spelt out the methods: Boycott of British goods, national education, organisation of a volunteer force to fight for the cause, etc.
Sri Aurobindo toured several parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra and received ovations the like of which were not known till then. Prosecution Counsel North complained during the Alipore trial : "Aurobindo was treated with the reverence due to a king wherever he went. As a matter of fact, he was regarded as the leader not merely of Bengal but of the whole country."
On May 2, 1908, Sri Aurobindo was arrested, implicated in several militant activities conducted under the leadership of his younger brother, Barindra. From May 5, 1908 till the May 6 of the next year, he was lodged in the Alipore Central Jail, Calcutta.
In his solitary cell, he turned his ordeal into a unique opportunity, realising what he had already knownthe Cosmic Consciousness and the Divine in every being and thing. He said in his speech upon his acquittal :
"I looked at the jail that secluded me from men and it was not longer by its high walls that I was imprisoned; no, it was Vasudeva, who surrounded me. I walked under the branches of the tree in front of my cell but it was not the tree, I knew it was Vasudeva, it was Sri Krishna whom I saw standing there and holding over me His shade.... I looked and it was not the Magistrate whom I saw, it was Vasudeva, it was Narayana who was sitting there on the bench. I looked at the Prosecuting Counsel and it was not the counsel for the prosecution that I saw; it was Sri Krishna who sat there... and smiled."
The exciting trial continued for a full year, Sri Aurobindo refusing to say or do anything to protect himself. But the young legal genius who stepped forward to defend himlater famous as Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Dasproved prophetic when he concluded his final submission with these words :
"My appeal to you therefore is that a man like this who is being charged with the offences imputed to him stands not only before the bar in this Court but stands before the bar of the High Court of History and my appeal to you is this : 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. Therefore I say that the man in his position is not only standing before the bar of this Court but before the bar of the High Court of History."
Sri Aurobindo was acquitted. The Bande Mataram had ceased publication. He launched an English weekly, the Karmayogin, followed by a Bengali weekly, the Dharma. The government, however, could never rest in peace with Sri Aurobindo at large. They drew up several strategies to justify his deportation. Lord Minto, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, would have liked this action very much, but Lord Morley, the Secretary of State for India, was inclined to weigh the question on the scales of pragmatism and not exigencies. "As for deportation, I will not listen to it", he asserted.
As the news of a warrant being issued against Sri Aurobindo for a so-called seditious article by him in the Karmayogin, flashed in The Times, London, Sir Ramsay MacDonald, leader of the newly formed Labour Party, demanded that the article be produced in the House. When the Secretary of State for India could not oblige him, Sir Ramsay himself produced the magazine and read out passages from it and said, "Surely, to any man who reads this article as it was meant to be read the meaning of that sentence is perfectly clear, and Mr. Aurobindo Ghose, as is perfectly well known by those who have followed his actions and his writings, sincerely believes that the nationalist movement of which he is the head for the time being at any rate, or was still quite recently, is the one guarantee that there shall be no violence done in India and he blames the officials who have suppressed the free expression of Nationalist sentiment for the unfortunate circumstances which have led to murder and death and executions which everyone deplores."
It may be of interest here to refer to a brief dialogue. A Member of the House, Mr. J. King, asked in a friendly way "whether this article is published in Bengali and whether Mr. Aurobindo Ghose is not a Bengali !"
Replied Sir Ramsay : "The article is in the most excellent English. There is not a line of Bengali in the whole of it except the date of this Issue and its own title. Mr. Aurobindo Ghose could no more write an article in Bengali than I could."
While they were confidently debating on the issue, Sri Aurobindo, obeying an inner inspiration, suddenly left Calcutta for the French pocket Chandernagore and later sailed for Pondicherry where he arrived in April, 1910. Even then, in his last but one letter concerning Sri Aurobindo, Minto wrote to Morley (May 26, 1910) : "As to the celebrated Aurobindo, ... I can only repeat what I said to you in my letter of April 14th that he is the most dangerous man we now have to reckon with... and has an unfortunate influence on the student class and Indians who know him quite well have told me he is quite beyond redemption."
But, for Sri Aurobindo, now the issue was the redemption of humanity from its present ignorant state and at Pondicherry he plunged into an exploration of the realms of consciousness, determined to unravel the destiny of man. He saw :
"The earliest preoccupation of man in his awakened thoughts and, as it seems, his inevitable and ultimate preoccupation, for it survives the longest periods of scepticism and returns after every banishment, is also the highest which his thought can envisage. It manifests itself in the divination of Godhead, the impulse towards perfection, the search after pure Truth and unmixed Bliss, the sense of a secret Immortality. The ancient dawns of human knowledge have left us their witness to this constant aspiration; today we see a humanity satiated but not satisfied by victorious analysis of the externalities of Nature preparing to return to its primeval longings. The earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be the last,God, Light, Freedom, Immortality."(The Life Divine)
Can this primeval quest of man find fulfilment ? For ages, seekers have continued to escape from the so-called mundane life so that they could dwell in an isolated bliss. Was the world then doomed to remain only a field of travails or an illusion as any number of wise mystics would look upon itwithout any spiritual culmination?
Sri Aurobindo saw :
"If a spiritual unfolding on earth is the hidden truth of our birth into Matter, if it is fundamentally an evolution of consciousness that has been taking place in Nature, then man as he is cannot be the last term of that evolution: he is too imperfect an expression of the spirit, Mind itself is a too limited form and instrumentation; Mind is only a middle term of consciousness, the mental being can only be a transitional being. If, then, man is incapable of exceeding mentality, he must be surpassed and Supermind and Superman must manifest and take the lead of the creation. But if his mind is capable of opening to what exceeds it, then there is no reason why man himself should not arrive at Supermind and Supermanhood or at least lend his mentality, life and body to an evolution of that greater term of the spirit manifesting in Nature."
According to Sri Aurobindo, "At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis in which is concealed a choice of its destiny; for a stage has been reached in which the human mind has achieved in certain directions an enormous development while in others it stands arrested and bewildered and can no longer find its way."
Sri Aurobindo visualised the next stage of human evolution possible with the descent of a gnostic power, the Supramental, capable of transforming the present man.
The Mother, French by birth, though of Middle-Eastern ancestry, first met Sri Aurobindo in 1914. The Arya, a monthly, was launched under her initiative. Many of Sri Aurobindos major works were first serialised in this magazine. The Mother had to leave for France about a year later, but the magazine continued to be published. The Mother returned to Pondicherry in 1920 and the Ashram took shape under her loving care. Sri Aurobindos works now began to be published in an organised way, first by the Arya Publishing House, Calcutta and later by the Ashram.
Sri Aurobindo, who had started writing at an early age, even during his stay at Manchester (1879-1884), had continued with his creativity through all the turbulent phases of his life, even during his incarceration.
His first book, a collection of poems, entitled Songs to Myrtilla, was published in 1895. Between that and the last work to be published during his lifetime, Savitri (1950), he had written extensively on Yoga, culture, sociology, in addition to his poetry and plays. He also answered numerous letters from seekers most of which are compiled as books. His major works are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on the Gita, The Foundations of Indian Culture, The Future Poetry, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity, Collected Poems and Plays and the epic Savitri. All this and his translations, letters and minor works were compiled and published in a systematic manner, after his passing away on the December 5, 1950, and a new edition of them, in 30 volumes, was brought out on the occasion of his first birth centenary in 1972.
It is not possible to say in brief about the Mother. Her spiritual vision, her conviction about the destiny of man, were the same as those of Sri Aurobindo, from her childhood. She was the collaborator in Sri Aurobindos Yoga of Tansformation. She affirmed that what Sri Aurobindo represents in earths history is not a teaching, not even a revelation, but a decisive action direct from the Supreme.
On January 6, 1952, the Mother inaugurated the Sri Aurobindo International University Centrelater to be known as Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.
Writes Dr. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar :
"The key to knowledge is within, for it is the awakened soul within that observes, records, sorts out, omits, unites, transmutes, and turns facts and information into knowledge, knowledge into wisdom, and wisdom into the dynamo of right aspiration and action. The spark is indeed within, albeit often obscured by the thick fog of the egoistic prison-house. It is the true task of education to provide the atmosphere, the friendly help or guidance, the leverage that will release the spark and make it flame forth into a blaze of consciousness characterised by an ever increasing intensity and wideness. The physical, the vital, the mental, all will be drafted into this adventure of consciousness, but still the soul will be the rider of the chariot that is the body, with the vital and the mind as the twin horses of the race. Sri Aurobindo has defined Yoga as a methodised effort towards self-perfection by the expression of the potentialities latent in the being, and a union of the human individual with the universal and transcendent Existence. In its far aims as also in its essential processes, education coalesces with Yoga, and it is thus no mystery at all that the Centre of Education is an inseparable part of the Yogashram at Pondicherry.
"Since education is viewed essentially as a field conducive to soul-awakening and soul-growth, the Centre has no use for the artificial distinction between education for boys and education for girls. The Centre of Education accordingly provides the same programmeincluding physical educationfor boys and girls. There is still room for plenty of choice, but the options are made by the inner preference and not by the fact of sex and the compulsion of traditional taboos.
Again, what brings pupils and teachers together in the general run of educational institutions is a system of market-place attitudes and monetary objectives. At the Centre of Education, on the contrary, pupils pay no feesonce admitted, the education is free. As for the teachers, although fully qualified for the work they have to do, they are only maintained by the Ashram like the other sadhaks and receive no salaries or other monetary awards. This elimination of the rancour of the market-place and the lure of mere monetary incentive makes for better pupils and better teachers who are brought together, not as buyers or sellers of knowledge, but as fellow-seekers and pilgrims on the march owing an unswerving allegiance to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as the embodiments of Truth and Love. Academic and hierarchic differentiations have a functional use only, and are not meant to invade the deeper unity that derives from the common spirit of dedication and self-consecration. The Centre of Education is a community, almost a single consciousness, that is trying to realise to the full its evolutionary possibility."
Through her continuous guidance in every matter, the Mother had seen to it that the Centre of Education had found firm roots by the time she left her body on November 17, 1973. But the institution has never believed that it had as though arrived at its destination. It continues to experiment with ideas emerging from Sri Aurobindos vision, applying them to the process of learning and teaching to the best of its ability.
The Mother, in 1968, also launched Auroville, an epochmaking experiment in collective living, residents of the township trying to rise above their religious, communal and racial limitations and aspiring to look for a greater future. "Auroville wants to be a new creation expressing a new Consciousness in a new way and according to new methods", said the Mother.
In a wider sense the Auroville experiment is an educational experiment. It is an assertion of faith in the future of man and an effort to evolve a new pattern of living, keeping in mind Sri Aurobindos vision of a new humanity.