Eminent People on Sri Aurobindo

Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet and philosopher, awarded Nobel
Prize for his collection of Poems "Gitanjali", in 1901, Founder of Shantiniketan.

"At the very first sight I could realise he [Sri Aurobindo] had been seeking for the Soul and had gained it, and through this long process of realisation had accumulated within him a silent power of inspiration. His face was radiant with an inner light...

I felt the utterance of the ancient Hindu Rishis spoke from him of that equanimity which gives the human Soul its freedom of entrance into the All. I said to him, 'You have the word and we are waiting to accept it from you. India will speak through your voice to the world, Hearken to me...

O Aurobindo, accept the salutations from Rabindranath.'"

Subash Chandra Bose, well-known leader of the Indian freedom struggle, for sometime President of the Indian National Congress, founder of the Indian National Army, popularly known as INA, which played a significant role in and fought for India's independence.

"In my undergraduate days Aurobindo Ghose was easily the most popular leader in Bengal, despite his voluntary exile and absence since 1910. His was a name to conjure with. He had sacrificed a lucrative career in order to devote himself to politics. On the Congress platform he had stood up as a champion of left-wing thought and fearless advocate of independence at a time when most of the leaders, would talk... only of colonial self-government. He had undergone incarceration with perfect equanimity...

When I came to Calcutta, in 1913, Aurobindo was already a legendary figure. Rarely have I seen people speak of a leader with such rapturous enthusiasm and many were the anecdotes of this great man, some of them probably true, which travelled from mouth to mouth.

[Aurobindo's] letters would pass rapidly from hand to hand, specially in circles interested in spirituality-cum-politics. In our circle usually somebody would read the letter aloud and the rest of us would enthuse over it... We felt convinced that spiritual enlightenment was necessary for effective national service".

C.R. Das, an eminent leader who played a dominant part in the Indian freedom struggle in the second and third decade of the 20th century. He gained his reputation in 1908, as a counsel for defence in Sri Aurobindo's trial.

"...long after this controversy will be hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, this agitation will have ceased, long after he [Sri Aurobindo] 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."

Romain Rolland, an eminent French savant, thinker and writer, awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1915.

"Sri Aurobindo is one of the greatest thinkers of Modern India...[He is] the most complete synthesis achieved upto the present between the genius of the West and the East...

The last of the great Rishis holds in his outstretched hands, the bow of Creative Inspiration."

Gabriela Mistral, Chilean educationist, diplomat and writer, awarded Nobel Prize for literature in 1945.

"While Tagore awakened the latent music in me, another Indian Sri Aurobindo, brought me to religion. He opened the way to my religious consecration. Indeed my debt to India is very great and is due in part to Tagore and in part to Sri Aurobindo.

Sri Aurobindo, the Master, the highest of mystics, happily presents the rare phenomenon an exposition clear as a beautiful diamond, without the danger of confounding the layman. This is possible because Sri Aurobindo is a unique synthesis of a scholar, theologian and one who is enlightened..."

Tan Yun-Shan, Chinese scholar and director of Chinese studies at Visva-Bharati University, China's cultural Ambassador to India in 1939.

"...As in the past China was spiritually conquered by a great Indian, so in the future too she would be conquered by another great Indian, Sri Aurobindo, the Maha-Yogi who, 'is the bringer of that light which will chase away the darkness that envelops the world to-day.' "

Times Literary Supplement, London.

"Of all modern Indian writers Aurobindo - successively poet, critic, scholar, thinker, nationalist, humanist - is the most significant and perhaps the most interesting... In fact, he is a new type of thinker, one who combines in his vision the alacrity of the West with the illumination of the East. To study his writings is to enlarge the boundaries of one's knowledge... He is a yogi who writes as though he were standing among the stars, with the constellations for his companions.

Sri Aurobindo is no visionary. He has always acted his dreams... So from individual self-discipline he has gone to the life of humanity. `The Psychology of Social Development,' `Ideals and Progress' and `The Ideal of Human Unity' should be carefully considered by all those who are busy preparing blue-prints for the future".

Pithrim Sorokin, an eminent Russian Sociologist, Professor of Sociology at the University of Leningrad, and later at Minnesota and Harvard.

"From a scientific and philosophical standpoint the works of Sri Aurobindo are a sound antidote to the pseudo-scientific psychology and psychiatry and educational art of the West. Sri Aurobindo's 'The Life Divine' and Yoga treatises are among the most important works of our times in philosophy, ethics and humanities. Sri Aurobindo himself is one of the greatest living sages of our time, the most eminent moral leader."

Dr. Raymond Piper, Prof. of Philosophy in Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. USA.

"Sri Aurobindo's epic 'Savitri' has already inaugurated the New Age of Illumination and is probably the greatest epic in the English language... The most comprehensive, integrated, beautiful and perfect cosmic poem ever composed. It is perhaps the most powerful artistic work in the world for expanding man's mind towards the Absolute."

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Indian freedom fighter, teacher

"None is equal to Aravinda in self-sacrifice, knowledge and sincerity.... If one sees him, one won't think it was Aravinda... so weak of body and so simple in dress and bearing.... It is a dispensation of benign Providence that persons like Aravinda have been drawn to the national work.... His failure in the Indian Civil Service examination was a blessing in disguise.... His erudition, sattwic temperament, religious mind, and self- sacrifice.... He writes from divine inspiration, sattwic intelligence, and unshakable determination.... "

Henry W. Nevinson, World War I – British War correspondent

"Nationalism to him was far more than a political object or a means of material improvement. To him it was surrounded by a mist of glory.... Grave with intensity, careless of fate or opinion, and one of the silent men I have known, he was of the stuff that dreamers are made of, but dreamers who will act their dreams, indifferent to the means."

Dr. K.M. Munshi, Ex-Governor of Uttar Pradesh

Dr. K.M. Munshi who was a student of Sri Aurobindo at Baroda College, once asked him how nationalism could be developed. Sri Aurobindo "pointed to a wall-map and said something to this effect: 'Look at that map. Learn to find in it the portrait of Bharatmata. The cities, mountains, rivers and forests are the materials which go to make up Her body. The people inhabiting the country are the cells which go to make up Her living tissues. Our literature is Her memory and speech. The spirit of our Culture is Her soul. The happiness and freedom of Her children is Her salvation. Behold Bharat as a living Mother, meditate upon Her and worship Her in the ninefold way of Bhakti.' "

Sister Nivedita, Irish Social Activist and disciple of Swami Vivekananda
 

“Arabindo is only praiseworthy as he is the real protagonist of Indian Nationalism. Arabindo Ghose may be said to be the one Indian mind that has really grasped nationality in a creative sense.” She also called him ‘Bengal’s Mazzani’.

R. C. Majumdar, Historian and Professor of Indian History

R.C. Majumdar saw in Sri Aurobindo, the ‘high-priest of the new cult of [Indian] nationalism.’ He writes:

“While Tilak popularized politics and gave it a force and vitality it had hitherto lacked, Aurobindo spiritualised it and became the high-priest of nationalism…. The (Freedom) Movement was specially or more directly inspired by the teachings of Bankim Chandra, Vivekananda and Aurobindo who placed the country on the altar of God and asked for suffering and self-immolation as the best offering for [India’s] worship … These teachings … inspired the lives of many a martyr who climbed the scaffold with a smile on their lips or suffered torments worse than death without the least flinching.”

Lala Lajpat Rai, Indian author, freedom fighter, and politician

Lala Lajpat Rai speaks of Sri Aurobindo as a nationalist leader in the following words:

“...a quiet unostentatious, young Hindu, who was till then obscure, holding his soul in patience and waiting for opportunities to send currents of the greatest strength into the nation’s system. He was gathering energy....”