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The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

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Overview

Since his death in 1950, Sri Aurobindo Ghose has been known primarily as a yogi and a philosopher of spiritual evolution who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in peace and literature. But the years Aurobindo spent in yogic retirement were preceded by nearly four decades of rich public and intellectual work. Biographers usually focus solely on Aurobindo's life as a politician or sage, but he was also a scholar, a revolutionary, a poet, a philosopher, a social and cultural theorist, and the inspiration for an experiment in communal living.

Peter Heehs, one of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, is the first to relate all the aspects of Aurobindo's life in its entirety. Consulting rare primary sources, Heehs describes the leader's role in the freedom movement and in the framing of modern Indian spirituality. He examines the thinker's literary, cultural, and sociological writings and the Sanskrit, Bengali, English, and French literature that influenced them, and he finds the foundations of Aurobindo's yoga practice in his diaries and unpublished letters. Heehs's biography is a sensitive, honest portrait of a life that also provides surprising insights into twentieth-century Indian history.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

H-Asia - Hanna H. Kim

It is engagingly written and supported by a bounty of historical materials. Students of India with little familiarity of Aurobindo will discover that Heehs offers a multisided portrait of a brilliant and enigmatic man whose lifetime spanned a momentous period in modern Indian history...

Contemporary South Asia - Vijendra Singh

The book's strength is Heehs' deep understanding of modern India, which gives him an edge in perceptively situating Aurobindo within the context of Indian national movement.

AntiMatter

Heehs has succeeded magnificently; The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is quickly becoming the biography for academics.

Sophia - Debashish Banerji

Heehs' work is an epic effort to encompass the outer and inner life of a personality, who seems to defy all definitions and boundaries, written with the intention of making him comprehensible to the scholarly mind of our times. I believe this book to be eminently successful

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society - Antony Copley

A formidable piece of scholarship.

CHOICE

All students and scholars of Sri Aurobindo will find this extraordinary book most rewarding... Essential.

EnlightenNext

A great biography... a doorway into [Sri Aurobindo's] extraordinary spiritual philosophy and vision.

H-Asia
It is engagingly written and supported by a bounty of historical materials. Students of India with little familiarity of Aurobindo will discover that Heehs offers a multisided portrait of a brilliant and enigmatic man whose lifetime spanned a momentous period in modern Indian history...

— Hanna H. Kim

Contemporary South Asia
The book's strength is Heehs' deep understanding of modern India, which gives him an edge in perceptively situating Aurobindo within the context of Indian national movement.

— Vijendra Singh

Choice
All students and scholars of Sri Aurobindo will find this extraordinary book most rewarding... Essential.
Yoga Journal

...meticulously reported and scrupulously footnoted...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231140980
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2008
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Heehs was born and educated in the United States but has lived in India since 1971. One of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, he is currently a member of the editorial board of the Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo, and has published many books and articles.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsPrefaceAcknowledgmentsNote on Proper NamesPart One: Son1. Early Years in India: Bengal, 1872-1879Part Two: Scholar2. Growing up English: England, 1879-18933. Encountering India: Baroda, 1893-1910Part Three: Revolutionary4. Into the Fray: Calcutta, 1906-19085. In Jail and After: Bengal, 1908-1910Part Four: Yogi and Philosopher6. A Laboratory Experiment: Pondicherry, 1910-19157. The Major Works: Pondicherry, 1914-1920Part Five: Guide8. The Ascent to Supermind: Pondicherry, 1915-19269. An Active Retirement: Pondicherry, 1927-1950EpilogueNotesBibliographyIndex

Columbia University Press

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2009

    A great read.

    I recommend this for scholarly and general readers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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