Sri Aurobindo Ashram
cnr rue de la Marine & Manakula Vinayagar Koil Street, Pondicherry, India
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Pondicherry Reviews
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Apr 22, 2010
Sri Aurobindo Ashram is located in Pondicherry, a small coastal town 160 km south of Chennai, in South India. Visitors wanting to travel to Pondicherry will most likely have to pass through Chennai, whether they arrive there by air, train or road, and thereafter cover the remaining distance to Pondicherry by road, a journey which generally takes about 3 hours.
Several private and government-owned buses leave Chennai for Pondicherry every half-hour. However, visitors arriving at the Chennai Airport, or even those with a lot of luggage, might find it more convenient to hire a taxi for this leg of their journey.
A limited number of rooms are available in Ashram guest houses for visitors coming for a short visit to Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Since accommodation is limited and is often fully booked, it is advisable to make reservations in advance. A list of guest houses that accept advance bookings is provided here, along with a brief description of the facilities they provide. In case visitors come to the Ashram without a confirmed booking, they may approach the Bureau Central, which allots rooms according to requirements, provided accommodation is available.
While it is possible to enter the main Ashram building freely during visiting hours, some sections of the Ashram require that you obtain a pass before you can be allowed to enter. If you get accommodation in any of the Ashram Guest Houses, you will be given the appropriate passes. However, for those not staying at an Ashram guest house, the Bureau Central can help by providing information and the pass you might need.
The Bureau Central office, designed as an exhibition hall, also provides an introduction to the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and their method of spiritual practice, through permanent exhibits of photographs, captions, text, videos and books.
There are daily conducted tours for those interested in visiting the various units of the Ashram, the Pondicherry town, as well as the Auroville township.
Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education and in 1890 went up to King's College, Cambridge. Here he stood in the first class in the Classical Tripos and also passed the final examination for the Indian Civil Service. 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.
After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, 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 journal Bande Mataram, the ideal 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 Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his forty years in Pondicherry 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 195
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 l906 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 Pondicherry 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 Pondicherry. 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 l7 November 1973.
SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM
Founded in 1926, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram has grown, under the Mother's guidance, from a small group of two dozen disciples into a large diversified community with almost 1200 members. Counting the 400 students of the Centre of Education and the hundreds of devotees who live nearby, the larger ashram community consists of more than 2000 people.
Situated in a busy city of over 700,000 people, the Ashram is not a quiet place of retreat but a vibrant centre of life in a modern urban setting. The dynamic character of the community reflects the life-affirming aim of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga. Work as an offering to the Divine is an essential aspect of the Yoga, and all Ashramites do a certain amount of productive work each day in one or another of the Ashram's departments.
In the sadhana or spiritual discipline at the Ashram, there are no obligatory practices, no rituals, no compulsory meditations or systematic instructions in Yoga. Sadhaks are left free to determine the course and pace of their sadhana in accordance with their own natures. But the general principle of the sadhana is the same for all: there must be a surrender to the Divine and an opening to the Divine Force so that it may work to transform one's being.
The Ashram is located in the eastern part of Pondicherry. Ashramites live and work in a large number of buildings spread throughout the area. The focus of community life is the Ashram main building, usually called simply "the Ashram", which consists of an interconnected block of houses, including those in which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother lived for most of their lives. At its centre, in a tree-shaded courtyard, lies the Samadhi, a white-marble shrine where their bodies are laid to rest.
The Ashram provides its members with all they need for a decent and healthy life. Various departments have been organised to look after the basic requirements of food, clothing and shelter, as well as medical care. There are also libraries for study and facilities for a variety of cultural pursuits. The Ashram is administered by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.
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Not that interesting Sep 14, 2008
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is the most important sight in Ponducherry, but unless you’re particularly interested in ashrams, there’s not that much to see here.
Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950), the original leader of the ashram developed a special method of Yoga, but if you’re interested in this, you can only enter for a course. There’s nothing of this yoga to be seen in the ashram.
The ashram is a large institution providing many charitable benefits to area, such as free medical facilities. In the ashram that’s accessible by the main public, you can only see altars for Sri Aurobindo and his wife, a library and a garden. That’s it.
Part of the Southern India 2008 travel blog
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