Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Sri Aurobindo was very emphatic in stating that only he could write truly about himself; but he never wrote any comprehensive or systematic account of his life. Only in his correspondence with his disciples and others he sometimes explained points by incidentally referring to some event in his own life or some experience in his own Yogic development. Also on a few occasions he corrected misleading statements concerning him published in some journals and books and gave notes about some points in his life to three of his biographers who had submitted their manuscripts to him for verification. All this material has been compiled and presented in a systematic arrangement in Part One of this volume. This has been done with the specific intention of providing authentic information about Sri Aurobindo's life so as to leave no room for anyone to make doubtful or misleading statements about him. This has become particularly necessary in view of the fact that many of the books and articles that have been published about him are, even when written by well-intentioned persons, often inaccurate in their facts and misguiding in their interpretations.
In some of the letters Sri Aurobindo has written jointly about himself and the Mother after she came to India and joined him in his spiritual work. These have been separately compiled and placed in Part Two of this volume.
Some of the letters included in this volume are taken from the other volumes of Sri Aurobindo's letters on Yoga and on Poetry, Literature and Art published in the Centenary Edition, as these are also related to Sri Aurobindo himself or to the Mother. The others are being published for the first time. In some cases where the whole letter dealt with many topics, only the portion dealing with him or the Mother has been extracted for inclusion in this volume. Sometimes, in order to avoid a direct personal reference, Sri Aurobindo used to write about himself in the third person. This is the reason why at a few places in the book the reference to Sri Aurobindo is in the third person.


It would be only myself who could speak of things in my past giving them their true form and significance.

I see that you have persisted in giving a biography — is it really necessary or useful? The attempt is bound to be a failure, because neither you nor anyone else knows anything at all of my life; it has not been on the surface for men to see.

But why write my biography at all ? Is it really necessary? In my view, a man's value does not depend on what he learns, or his position or fame, or what he does, but on what he is and inwardly becomes.

PART ONE - SRI AUROBINDO ON HIMSELF - Notes and Letters on His Life



This section, relating to the earlier part of Sri Aurobindo's life prior to his arrival at Pondicherry in 1910, is com¬piled from notes given by him during 1943-46 while reading the manuscripts of his three biographers submitted to him for correction or verification and approval. The notes were intended either to elucidate their statements by supplying the relevant facts or to correct and modify them wherever necessary.
In most cases brief references to the points in the original uncorrected manuscripts or to incomplete or erro¬neous statements in them are given in italics preceding Sri Aurobindo's comments on them. In some cases only small headings are given.
Some marginal notes written by Sri Aurobindo on another biography of his by a Maharashtrian author are also included here. Also notes and letters dictated by him to correct misleading or fabricated statements concerning him published in some journals and in a book are placed in this section.
A few letters written to disciples in answer to their inquiries concerning some facts of his early life are placed along with the notes on the same points.