THE SOURCES OF POETRY- SRI AUROBINDO
Updated: Mar 18, 2021
Sri Aurobindo (born Aurobindo Ghose) born on 15 August 1872 in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, India. He was an Indian Philosopher, yogi, guru, poet and nationalist, also best known for his philosophy on human evolution and integral Yoga. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education, he returned to India at the age of twenty-one. 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 newspaper Bande Mataram, the idea of complete independence for the country. He had acquired mastery over Bengali, Sanskirit, and Gujarati as he had done with English, French, and Italian earlier.
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 in 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.
Sri Aurobindo’s concept of poetry, like philosophy, polity and social thought, have emerged out of his own experience. He wrote, interpreted and commented on poetry from an inner vision. This vision facilitate him to see the past, present and future of poetry. Future Poetry, a serious book of literary criticism of highly experimental kind of poetry. The Sources of Poetry was written by him when he was barely twenty five, when he had not yet turned as mystic. The Future Poetry was a silent revolution between 1917 and 1920 amidst the noise of loudly publicized modern poetic theories in favour of intellectual poetry. He attained moksha on 5 December 1950.
The Indian aestheticians, critics and poets defined poetry in terms of its soul and body. There are certain elements which are present in poetry like the emotion, the figures of speech, the style and the different level of meanings. Different aestheticians like Bharata, Bhamaha, Dandin, Anandavardhana, Kuntaka, Abinavgupta, Jagannath have chosen only one of them to be supreme importance and defined that element to be the soul of poetry. Indian poetics were formed of various Rasa (emphasis on primary emotions), Alankara (figures of speech), Riti (style), Vakroti (deviant meaning), Dhvani (suggestion), Auchitya (propriety), Anumiti (inference), Tatparya (intended meaning) and Chamatkara (surprise or magic). Poetry is comprised of all these elements. But it is difficult to define poetry because it is still evolving. Sri Aurobindo wrote in The Future Poetry.
“Poetry like everything else in man evolves”
THE SOURCE OF POETRY:
‘The voice of poetry comes from a region above us, a plane of our being above and beyond our personal intelligence, a super mind which sees things in their innermost and largest truth by a spiritual identity and with a lustrous effulgency and rapture and its native language is a revelatory, inspired, intuitive word limpid or subtly vibrant or densely packed with the glory of this ecstasy and lustre”
-Sri Aurobindo: The Future Poetry, pp.392-93
A mystic, a yogi, a God-lover, a ‘born’ poet as Sri Aurobindo was; it is not surprising at all if he put all along an implicit and complete faith in the power of inspiration and in all his writings entrusted himself entirely to its direction. Mind was always laboring at the stuff of an unshaped formation. He said, “His poem come a stream, beginning at the first line and ending at the last”.