Thinker, spiritual leader, mystic poet and nationalist, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) was perhaps modern India's most fascinating and enigmatic leader. Educated in Cambridge where he was a brilliant Classics scholar, he refused a career in the civil service and returned home to become a fiery nationalist. In jail, where he was imprisoned for suspected revolutionary activities, Sri Aurobindo turned to meditation and, finding refuge in the French enclave of Pondicherry, perfected there the practice of yoga. His ashram in Pondicherry continues today with a huge international following.
Sri Aurobindo's life and writings (which range over spiritual discourse, philosophy, cultural history, poetry, linguistics and literary criticism), have hitherto been mainly written about by devotees. The present short biography, while sympathetic, attempts a detached look at Aurobindo's career and thought.
It shows, in its first part, Aurobindo the nationalist; in its second it grapples with Aurobindo's spiritualism and his life as a seer. It thus offers to general readers an informed and accessible biography of one of modern India's most important spiritual figures.
About the Author :
Peter Heehs is currently an archivist at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives and Research Library, Pondicherry. He has edited The Essential Writings of Sri Aurobindo (OUP, 1998), and is the author of Nationalism, Terrorism and Communism (OUP, 1998), The Bomb in Bengal: The Rise of Revolutionary Terrorism in India 1900-1910 (OUP, 1993), and India's Freedom Struggle 1857-1947 (OUP, 1988).
Excerpts From Reviews:
'This is the first biography of Sri Aurobindo to be based entirely on primary documents. To discovery the extraordinary personality that Sri Autobindo was - nationalist, poet, philosopher, yogi, and prophet of the New Age - you must read this biography by Peter Heehs.' - Francois Gautier in France Ouest.
'This small but most absorbing biography of Sri Aurobindo is meant for the uninitiated....Gripping in its narration, it omits no significant detail...but simultaneously all events are so arranged to fall in place.' - R. Srinivasan in The Economic Times.
'Peter Heehs weaves the various strands that have gone to make up the personality of [Aurobindo]...he is able to elaborate upon the diverse concerns of a man who was ultimately a seer of the highest order.' - Badri Narayan in The Independent.
'The narrative is scientific....It is gripping throughout and provides a broader approach to the entire subject....Unlike many biographers Heehs does not present Aurobindo either as a one hundred per cent yogi and philosopher, or as merely a political and revolutionary leader but as a multifaceted personality...[The Book] needs to be studied both for its contents and style.' - Satish K. Kapoor in The Tribune.
'...Well written, critical and non-devotional' - Sisir Kumar Ghose in The Times of India.
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