Sri Aurobindo (born as Aurobindo Ghose) was an Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet, and nationalist. He was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education. There he studied at St. Paul’s School, London, and at King’s College, Cambridge. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College. During this period he joined the Indian movement for independence from British rule, for a while was one of its influential leaders. In this time he joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India. He was the first political leader in India to openly put forward, in his newspaper Bande Mataram, the idea of complete independence for the country. He was arrested in the aftermath of a number of bomb outrages linked to his organisation, but in a highly public trial where he faced charges of treason, Aurobindo could only be convicted and imprisoned for writing articles against British rule in India. He was released when no evidence could be provided.
Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realisations. Also during his stay in the jail he had a series of profound mystical and spiritual experiences. In 1910, after his year in prison, he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his stay in Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo developed a method of spiritual practice he called Integral Yoga. The central theme of his vision was the evolution of human life into a life divine. He believed in a spiritual realisation that not only liberated man but transformed his nature on all levels of his being, finally enabling a divine life on earth. In November 1926 Sri Aurobindo retired from daily contact with his disciples and placed them in the care of his spiritual co-equal and collaborator, the Mother. In her efforts to develop the Ashram and to foster the spiritual growth of the disciples, he steadfastly supported her through his spiritual force and through thousands of letters.
Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.
His main literary works are The Life Divine, which deals with theoretical aspects of Integral Yoga; Synthesis of Yoga, which deals with practical guidance to Integral Yoga; and Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, an epic poem. His works also include philosophy, poetry, translations and commentaries on the Vedas, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1943 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.