About the Book
Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was
taken to England for his education. 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 the state's college.
1906 Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he
became one of the leaders of the Indian nationalist movement. As editor of the
newspaper Bande Mataram, he
put forward the idea of complete independence from
Britain. Arrested three times for sedition or treason, he was released each
time for lack of evidence.
Aurobindo began the practice of Yoga in 1905. Within a few years he achieved
several fundamental spiritual realisations. In 1910 he withdrew from politics
and went to Pondicherry in French India in order to concentrate on his inner
life and work. Over the next forty years, he developed a new spiritual path,
the Integral Yoga, whose ultimate aim is the transformation of life by the
power of a supramental consciousness. In 1926, with
the help of his spiritual collaborator the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo
Ashram. His vision of life is presented in numerous works of prose and poetry,
among the best known of which are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga,
Essays on the Gita and Savitri. Sri Aurobindo passed away on 5 December 1950.
of the essays that make up this volume have appeared until now under the title
The Foundations of Indian Culture. That title was not Sri Aurobindo's.
It was first used when those essays were published as a book in New York in
present volume consists of three series of essays and one single essay,
published in the monthly review Arya as follows:
Renaissance in India, August - November 1918.
Culture and External Influence, March 1919.
India Civilised?", December 1918 - February 1919.
Defence of Indian Culture, February 1919- January 1921.
Aurobindo revised the four essays making up The Renaissance in India and
published them as a booklet in 1920. He later revised "Is India
Civilised?" and the first eight and a half chapters of A Defence of Indian
Culture. These revised chapters were not published during his lifetime. In 1947
some of the later chapters of A Defence of Indian Culture, lightly revised,
were published in two booklets. The four essays on Indian art appeared as The
Significance of Indian Art and the four essays on Indian polity as The Spirit
and Form of Indian Polity. The rest of the series was only sporadically
revised. When its publication was proposed to him in 1949, Sri Aurobindo
Defence of Indian Culture is an unfinished book and also I had intended to
alter much of it and to omit all but brief references to William Archer's
criticisms. That was why its publication has been so long delayed. Even if it
is reprinted as it is considerable alterations will have to be made and there
must be some completion and an end to the book which does not at present exist.
desired alterations were never made.
present edition was first published in 1997 as The Renaissance in India with A
Defence of Indian Culture. The text was checked against the Arya and the
edition includes several photographic reproductions of Indian architecture,
sculpture and painting to illustrate references in the text.
The Renaissance in India
Indian Culture and External
"Is India Civilised?"
A Defence of Indian Culture
A Rationalistic Critic on
Indian Spirituality and Life
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