Of India's great modern teachers, one in
particular embodies the kind of spiritual and cultural renaissance
that India and the world need today. I am speaking of Sri Aurobindo,
one of the greatest yogis, philosophers and poets not only in the
history of India but in the history of mankind.
Sri Aurobindo was a well-rounded personality, who
could function in all spheres of life with spirituality,
intellectual acuity and practicality. He was not only a great yogi,
but also a great politician in his early days and throughout his
life retained a vision of the future of India as the spiritual guide
of the planet, the guru among nations. Aurobindo did not look to the
West for India or the world's true progress or enlightenment. Rather
he saw the need for India to awaken and lead the world.
Aurobindo began as a fiery revolutionary in the
Indian independence movement. He was a close young colleague of B.
G. Tilak, the leader of the movement and the then Congress Party.
However Aurobindo chose to retire from politics and devote himself
entirely to inner yogic practices. He sought to change the human
being, not outwardly by social means but inwardly by a change
consciousness. He became a pioneer of yogic transformation on all
levels from body to soul. Yet he never lost his concern for the
country and his remarks about India up to the time of his death
remain extremely insightful. His views on the direction India that
should take were very different from and frequently highly critical
of the way the country went.