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Saturday, 12 October 2013

Sri Aurobindo and the coming of winter

Yes I'm afraid that it won't be long before the clocks go back and the weather closes in - this is accompanied by the start of my Open University course so I've got a week of John Donne and then the composer John Adams - so a mixed week. Our last visit to the capital was to witness the wonder of the Duckworth-Lewis Method at what will forever be (at least as I'm concerned) the Shepherds Bush Empire. We actually managed to time it for the annual Open House Day which we combined with a visit to the British Museum. Being just down the road we moseyed down Southampton Row and visited the temple to Art Deco that is the United Grand Lodge of Freemasons and then a trip across the road to Lincoln's Inn Fields to the Royal Society of Surgeons and the Hunterian museum with its collection of anatomical unpleasantnesses - the skulls of the syphilis sufferers in particular causing a fist in mouth moment. We tubed it out to Goldhawk Road and did a quick reconnoitre and found the plaque to Sri Aurobindo - Indian nationalist,philosopher, poet and Cambridge graduate. St Stephens Road is not perhaps where you would expect to find an Indian revolutionary but there his plaque was. It marks his residence from 1884-1887. He had been sent to England to get his Indian Civil Service examination which in turn required an English university education - Sri Aurobindo Ghosh went to King's College Cambridge but deliberated sabotaged his Indian Civil Service exam however he found employment through contacts with the Maharajah of Baroda. It was at this point that he became involved in politics and was imprisoned by the british authorities for his writings which endorsed a Gandhist campaign of non-violence. During his imprisonment he experienced a mystical relevation and developed a new method of spiritual practice of Internal Yoga. He founded an ashram near Pondicherry at Auroville which is still in existence - he died in 1950.

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