Freedom fighter, philosopher, and ascetic yogi. He is perceived as a modern example of the concern for ultimate truth that always runs beneath the surface of Hindu life.
Until he was twenty, Aurobindo lived much of his life in England, to fulfill his father's desire to see his son get a 'proper' English education.
Upon his return to India, Aurobindo was more interested in politics than in working, and after a few years quit his job to take part in political struggle against the British government. His political intellect and energy soon made him a leader in the Bengali language and national politics.
His life was transformed again by a stay in prison, during which he remembered the advice of an ascetic who had told him to focus on his inner self. Aurobindo later had a vision of Swami Vivekanada, who guided his yoga practice, and after he was released from prison, Aurobindo withdrew from political life.
In 1910 he moved to the French enclave of Pondicherry in southern India, where he lived until death in 1950. Aurobindo spent these years developing his spiritual life, and in his later years he was knwn as Shri Aurobindo.
His teachings focus on the insights found in the Upanishads, and stress the development of true knowledge, which leads to self-realization.