Sri Aurobindo Ashram opening and closing timeOpening Time : 8:00, Closing Time : 18:00
Location: Marine St, White Town
Approximate visiting time: 20 min plus traveling time
Sri Aurobindo Ashram is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India, with devotees from India and all over the world flocking towards it for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. It is open to the public daily between 0800-1200hrs and 1400-1800hrs. Children below 3 years of age are not allowed into the Ashram and photography is allowed only with permission of the Ashram authorities. The Ashram was set up in 1926 by aurobindo ghosh, one of India's greatest philosopher-poets, who originally came to Pondy to escape persecution by the British. It was after arriving in Puducherry, that he immersed into the spiritual realm and discovered the power of yoga. His philosophy was deeply rooted in yoga and his writings inspired a number of followers.One of them was a Parisian mystic, painter and musician called mirra alfassa, who was so inspired by his philosophy that she stayed on in Puducherry and was instrumental in establishment of the Ashram. After aurobindo's death in 1950, the running of the ashram was entrusted to his chief disciple and companion, mirra alfassa. The idea of auroville or the 'City of Dawn' was conceived by The Mother. She died in 1973 at the age of 93.The Ashram's influence can be felt in most of Puducherry. The main Ashram building is where the mortal remains of Aurobindo and the Mother are kept. Their 'Samadhi' or mausoleum, which is generally surrounded by supplicating devotees, is in the central courtyard under a frangipani tree and is covered daily with flowers.Some of the Ashram's facilities like the Library and the main building (during collective meditation) can be accessed, only after obtaining a gate pass from the Bureau Central or some of the ashram guest houses.
Sri Aurobindo 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 also joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India. In 1906, soon after the Partition of Bengal, Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he soon became one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement. 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. Prosecuted twice for sedition and once for conspiracy, he was released each time for lack of evidence. Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realisations. In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to puducherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his forty years in puducherry he evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called the Integral Yoga. Its aim is a spiritual realisation that not only liberates man's consciousness but also transforms his nature. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri. Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.
The Mother was born Mirra Alfassa in Paris on 21 February 1878. A pupil at the Academie Julian, she became an accomplished artist, and also excelled as a pianist and writer. Interested in occultism, she visited Tlemcen, Algeria, in 1905 and 1906 to study with the adept Max Theon and his wife. Her primary interest, however, was spiritual development. In Paris she founded a group of spiritual seekers and gave talks to various groups. In 1914 the Mother voyaged to puducherry to meet Sri Aurobindo, whom she at once recognised as the one who for many years had inwardly guided her spiritual development. After a stay of eleven months she was obliged to return to France due to the outbreak of the First World War. A year later she went to Japan for a period of four years. In April 1920 the Mother rejoined Sri Aurobindo in puducherry. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was formed in November 1926, Sri Aurobindo entrusted its full material and spiritual charge to the Mother. Under her guidance, which continued for nearly fifty years, the Ashram grew into a large, many-faceted spiritual community. In 1952 she established Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, and in 1968 an international township, Auroville. The Mother left her body on 17 November 1973.