Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872 . At the age of seven he was sent to England where he attended St. Paul School, London, and then went on a Senior Classical Scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge.
An ardent reader from his school days, his favourite subjects were English and French literature and European history. He was a brilliant scholar in Greek and Latin. Intellectually gifted, he had a rare mastery over the English language. He had learned French from his childhood and had also learned enough German, Italian, and Spanish to study Goethe, Dante and Calderon in their original tongues.
In King’s College, he stood in the first class in the classical tripos. In the year 1890 he also passed the final examination for the Indian Civil Service. Not wishing to serve in the I.C.S. he disqualified himself by not attending the riding test.
Returning to India in 1893, Sri Aurobindo spent thirteen years in the Baroda state service as an administrator and a Professor. These were the years of self culture, of literary activity and of preparation for his future political work. During this period he made a deep study of the prevailing political condition of the country and steeped himself into the rich Indian cultural heritage. He mastered Sanskrit and learned also some other Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi, and later, Tamil.
In 1906 Sri Aurobindo went to Bengal and openly joined India’s freedom movement. His daily newspaper, ‘Bande Mataram‘, quickly became the most powerful voice of Indian national movement.
In 1908 he was arrested in the Alipur conspiracy case and implicated by the doings of the revolutionary group led by his brother Barindra. During his one year under trial detention in jail he spent most his time in the practice of Yoga. This was the time when he had a series of decisive spiritual experiences which changed the course of his life. He carried on his revolutionary work till 1910 when in response to an inner call he retired from active politics and withdrew to Pondicherry for exclusive concentration on his spiritual practice.
In 1914, after four years of intense Yoga he launched a monthly philosophical review, ‘Arya‘, in which most his major works were serialized. These works embodied much of the inner knowledge that had come to him in his practice of yoga. Having gathered all the essential truth of past spiritual experiences, he worked for a more complete method of yoga that would transform human nature and divinise life. To this purpose he devoted the rest of his life.
Sri Aurobindo was a prolific poet in English, his range extending over romantic lyrics, sonnets, long narrative poems, dramatic poems and two epics.
Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.