A selection of Sri Aurobindo's poems for readers aged below 18.
In Sri Aurobindo's view poetry is primarily a medium of illumination, beauty and delight. "Its function", he wrote, "is not to teach truth of any particular kind... but to embody beauty in word and give delight".
Poetry was Sri Aurobindo's own chosen field of artistic expression:
as a youth in England he penned lyrics and sonnets
as a teacher in Baroda he wrote longer narrative poems
as a seer and yogi in Pondicherry he continued writing poetry, mostly mystic and spiritual, during the last thirty years of his life.
Poetry was the outer vehicle through which he expressed the beauty, delight and vision of his vast spiritual experience. His comprehensive range of mystic and spiritual sensibility and experience is expressed in a wide variety of sonnets, lyric, dramatic, narrative and epic poems.
The purpose of these selections is to introduce the young readers to the new metaphysic and new aesthetic revealed in the poetry of Sri Aurobindo and to share with them the beauty and delight and the intellectual thrill which often overwhelms a sensitive reader of Sri Aurobindo's poetry.
Only shorter and simpler poems have been chosen for these selections. For those to whom this is the first introduction to Sri Aurobindo's poems, a Glossary has been included at the end of these books defining the more difficult words in the texts.
INVITATION With wind and the weather beating round me Up to the hill and the moorland I go. Who will come with me? Who will climb with me? Wade through the brook and tramp through the snow? Not in the petty circle of cities Cramped by your doors and your walls I dwell; Over me God is blue in the welkin, Against me the wind and the storm rebel. I sport with solitude here in my regions, Of misadventure have made me a friend. Who would live largely? Who would live freely? Here to the wind-swept uplands ascend. I am the lord of tempest and mountain, I am the Spirit of freedom and pride. Stark must he be and a kinsman to danger Who shares my kingdom and walks at my side.
- Sri Aurobindo
About the Author:
Sri Aurobindo was an Indian/Hindu nationalist, scholar, poet, mystic, evolutionary philosopher, yogi and guru. After a short political career in which he became one of leaders of the early movement for the freedom of India from British rule, Sri Aurobindo turned to the development and practice of a new spiritual path which he called the "integral yoga," the aim of which was to further the evolution of life on earth by establishing a high level of spiritual consciousness which he called the Supermind that would represent a divine life.
Sri Aurobindo wrote prolifically in English on his spiritual philosophy and practice, on social and political development, on Indian culture including extensive commentaries and translations of ancient Indian scriptures, on literature and poetry including the writing of much spiritual poetry.