On this day, exactly 126 years ago, #SriAurobindo made a permanent return to India.
Let us try to follow his journey throughout India, until his final stop in Pondicherry after ~17 years.. pic.twitter.com/tbRc6iGxNK
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 6, 2019
1) Arrival in India (6th Feb.1893):#SriAurobindo's ship arrived at Apollo Bunder, Bombay.
(Carthage, route taken –> London – Gibraltar – Port Said – Aden – Bombay)
After a long absence of ~14 years. Mother India welcomed Him with a vast calm.. pic.twitter.com/X4LkobA1E7
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 6, 2019
2) 1st job at Baroda:#SriAurobindo arrived in Baroda on 8th Feb 1893, & reported to work on 18th
(Land Settlement Dept, Monthly salary of Rs.200)
Impressed with him, the Maharaja later employed him in the Secretariat
A remarkable incident happened during his 1st year of stay: pic.twitter.com/fH4TTSiXl2
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 7, 2019
3) Meeting his family in Ajmer & Deogarh:
After a long absence, #SriAurobindo had to meet his family, & went out ~ Jan.1894, travelling to Ajmer (met Benoybhusan) & Deogharh (met larger family)
Here is how the family members & Sri Aurobindo would later describe their meeting.. pic.twitter.com/Ot437xbeNY
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 8, 2019
4) Travelling to Ooty (26 May,1895):
V.S. Bapat, an officer in the Baroda survey settlement dept., was indicted for corruption in ~1894.
Gaekwar, who was in Ooty, called #SriAurobindo there to prepare a precis of the case.
Bapat had for his help another distinguished gentleman: pic.twitter.com/r61KWKXjI1
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 9, 2019
5) Moved to Baroda College:#SriAurobindo was not interested in admin., so he entered Baroda College , 1st as a part time lecturer in French (1897), then as a regular Prof. of English (1900) & finally appointed Vice-Principal (1904)
Some interesting reminiscences of the period: pic.twitter.com/NHJPIGW7HO
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 10, 2019
6) Vacations in Bengal:
During his teaching period, #SriAurobindo used to pass his vacations in Bengal, generally during the Puja holidays — visiting his relatives and joining the festivities..
"Auro-dada's" wit and humour used to amaze people even then! pic.twitter.com/idvbwAjD2o
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 11, 2019
7) First Political move in Baroda:
Jatin Banerjee came to Baroda for military training in ~1898. Once ready, he was sent to Bengal by #SriAurobindo for revolutionary work
This political decision wasn't sudden, Sri Aurobindo's intimacy with India had been growing over the years: pic.twitter.com/2hlbQOYPel
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 12, 2019
8) Selecting the bride from Shillong:
~1900, #SriAurobindo was turning 28 & wanted to get married. So he advertised in Calcutta papers for a bride. And within a year, he found the match..
Interestingly the name of the Bengali girl he selected & His own name, both mean 'Lotus'! pic.twitter.com/c6wfpb7gjn
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 13, 2019
9) Marriage in Calcutta:#SriAurobindo got married to Mrinalini on 30 Apr,1901 acc. to Hindu rites. The function was attended by famous scientist J.C. Bose, Lord Sinha, barrister Byomkesh Chakravarty etc
Of course Sri Aurobindo's marriage couldn't have been purely conventional: pic.twitter.com/uzF7VPmyAp
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 14, 2019
10) Trip to Nainital:
After his marriage (1901), #SriAurobindo went to Deoghar & from there traveled to Nainital with His wife Mrinalini & His sister Sarojini. They reached their destination ~ 28th May, 1901.
We can have a brief glimpse of His experience there from this letter: pic.twitter.com/qAsNcDwrHg
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 15, 2019
11) Friends in Baroda (i):#SriAurobindo returned to Baroda in Jul-1901 with His wife & sister. He had asked his friend Madhavrao Jadhav to furnish a rented house for their arrival.
Sri Aurobindo had developed a circle of friends in Baroda, let's take a look at the Jadhavs 1st: pic.twitter.com/v5g0JHbTFJ
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 16, 2019
12) Friends in Baroda (ii):
~Late 1898, #SriAurobindo enrolled the services of D.K. Roy to improve his Bengali. They traveled from Deoghar to Baroda via Bankipore (Patna) & Bombay
D.K. Roy would stay with Him for next ~2 years, that'd prove to be a rich source of reminiscences: pic.twitter.com/GDKPeqDAn6
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 17, 2019
13) Friends in Baroda (iii):
Finally, #SriAurobindo had some friends there whom he knew from his early days in England. The two we know of from His conversations are Keshav G. Deshpande & Bapubhai Majumdar
After Madhavrao, Deshpande was probably the most intimate friend of His: pic.twitter.com/GEQ2Wij0By
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 18, 2019
14) Tutoring at Baroda Palace:
As soon as #SriAurobindo had returned from Nainital, the Maharaja had an assignment ready for Him – To tutor his children!
The Gaekwad would keep giving such peculiar jobs to Sri Aurobindo for the next few years: pic.twitter.com/ExfkKYOSGb
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 19, 2019
15) Welcoming Barin in Baroda:
Barindra Kumar, #SriAurobindo's youngest brother, would suddenly turn up in Baroda in 1901, just a few months after Sri Aurobindo's marriage
One with a romantic imagination, he would keep pestering his 'Sejda' for supporting his ever new ventures: pic.twitter.com/smOzPpj8vn
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 20, 2019
16) Guiding secret societies in Udaipur & Midnapur:#SriAurobindo had already sent Jatin to Bengal, but in Apr-1902 He applied for a one month leave to guide the revolutionary work.
In a single year, he would be associated with both western & eastern Indian secret revolutions!: pic.twitter.com/Sk6bBza7jR
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 21, 2019
17) Travelling to Lonavala:
Within few months of #SriAurobindo's marriage, both Sarojini & Mrinalini went back to Calcutta, perhaps due to a plague epidemic in Baroda. He would then be called to Lonavala by the Gaekwad ~ June 1902..
He had a curious nickname for His employer: pic.twitter.com/Yu6UColJX5
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 22, 2019
18) Visiting Ahmedabad & Ajwa for Cricket (i):
With greater responsibilities,#SriAurobindo had to have some time for recreation. & he had his share of fun while watching cricket! Yes, He was a non-playing member of Baroda Cricket Club
Let's listen to Ahmedabad story 1st (1902): pic.twitter.com/EfcDu1ymDk
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 23, 2019
19) Visiting Ahmedabad & Ajwa for Cricket (ii):#SriAurobindo was not a sportsman, he had played cricket only as a young boy in Manchester in Mr Drewett’s (his caretaker's) garden. But He had a spectator's interest in the sport.
Now let's listen to the Ajwa picnic story (1902): pic.twitter.com/0MidzzrzGj
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 24, 2019
21) Meeting revolutionaries in Bombay:
In Dec.1902, #SriAurobindo traveled to Bombay with Barin mainly to meet Govind Madgaokar, an ICS officer & an instrument to spread the revolution in Gujarat..
Also around this time, Sri Aurobindo wrote a remarkable speech for the Gaekwad: pic.twitter.com/75y9w3NgXt
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 26, 2019
22) Meeting Tilak in Ahmedabad:
In Dec.1902, Congress conducted its 1st session in Ahmedabad (18th overall), on the financial backing of the ongoing Industrial exhibition (where Gaekwad read #SriAurobindo's speech)..
It was here that the two 'extremists' met for the first time: pic.twitter.com/VU1MtcgETR
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 27, 2019
23) Sending Barin to Calcutta:
During his Baroda stay, Barin was much influenced by Sri Aurobindo's revolutionary ideas. So ~1902-03, #SriAurobindo initiated him into the secret society & sent him to Calcutta to work with Jatin & others..
The revolution was now picking up pace: pic.twitter.com/095XYO3HnC
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) February 28, 2019
24) Resolving disputes in Calcutta:
In 1903, #SriAurobindo took one month's leave from 22nd Feb. onward. The reason for the leave was to patch up the differences that had arisen b/w Jatin & Barin at Calcutta.
Barin & others were not too happy with Jatin's disciplinarian nature: pic.twitter.com/JOyx4mztKY
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 1, 2019
25) On a Tour of Kashmir (i):
In 1903, #SriAurobindo resumed his part-time services in Baroda college. But the teaching was interrupted b/c of the leave He took in Feb. as we discussed..
And then there was a long tour of Kashmir (May-Sep.) as a Private Secretary of the Gaekwad: pic.twitter.com/cqEQwQLCvV
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 2, 2019
26) On a Tour of Kashmir (ii):
The royal party reached Srinagar in late May, & was there at least three times: ~28 May to ~7th June, for a few days around 23 June, & again for ~10 days after 5 September.
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 3, 2019
27) On a Tour of Kashmir (iii):
During his tour of Srinagar, #SriAurobindo got the 'Adwaita' realisation at the Shankaracharya Hill. There is a temple on its top housing a large ShivaLingam & a South Indian Bronze statue of Nataraja..
He described the experience in a sonnet: pic.twitter.com/KD5o7RDU7x
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 4, 2019
28) On a Tour of Kashmir (iv):
Apart from Srinagar, the royal party also visited Achabal, Gulmarg & Ganderbal; and would return to Baroda via Murree & Lahore by October..
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 5, 2019
29) Meeting Bagha Jatin in Bengal:
~1903, #SriAurobindo met Jatin Mukherjee during a trip to Bengal. Jatin decided to collaborate with Him & may have added to His program the clause of winning over Indian soldiers of British regiments..
Sri Aurobindo had a great regard for him: pic.twitter.com/gAM0ijtPET
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 6, 2019
30) The turn towards Yoga in Baroda (i):
It was ~1904 that #SriAurobindo started Yoga w/o a Guru. He had spiritual experiences before, but He still thought of Yoga as life-denying, not suited for revolutionaries..
The story of His initial turn towards Yoga is quite interesting: pic.twitter.com/92EDNhwTvj
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 7, 2019
31) The turn towards Yoga in Baroda (ii):
On the path of yoga, #SriAurobindo first started to practise Pranayama at Khaserao Jadhav's place, after receiving some guidance from A.B. Deodhar (a Baroda engineer)..
He got some very remarkable results from this practice: pic.twitter.com/vcgobf4sE5
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 8, 2019
32) Meeting Brahmananda at Chandod:
Deodhar was a disciple of Brahmananda of Chandod, as were the Gaekwads. #SriAurobindo had momentary contacts with the Yogi..
As the legend goes, the Swami used to keep his eyes closed, but when SA visited, he observed Him with a full gaze!: pic.twitter.com/EPqJZJIC36
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 9, 2019
33) Experiencing the presence of Kali at Karnali:
Adjacent to Chandod is Karnali with a temple of Mahakali on the bank of Narmada. It was here that #SriAurobindo had the experience of a 'living presence' of the World Mother (~1905)..
He later wrote a sonnet describing the same: pic.twitter.com/qMekZ4C1XJ
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 10, 2019
34) Resuming to teach in Baroda:
~ Early 1905, Gaekwad had plans to leave for Europe, & he allowed #SriAurobindo to devote more of His time to Baroda College, as vice principal & a professor..
His revolutionary passion would reflect in His students also, incl. one K. M. Munshi: pic.twitter.com/HEwESsoLkh
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 11, 2019
35) The voracious reading & writing in Baroda:
On Mar. 3, 1905 #SriAurobindo was made the acting principal of Baroda College, with an increase in salary (now ~Rs 710/month) but also with an increase in admin. duties.
During the mid-year break, He would get time to read & write: pic.twitter.com/eNu6fJWdOi
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 12, 2019
36) Coming to the Front—Partition of Bengal (i):#SriAurobindo had been working from behind the veil for the revolution. But with Curzon's decision to partition Bengal (1905) a threshold was reached & He would decide to come to the front..
He had identified the danger early on: pic.twitter.com/gOTpwdfxBC
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 13, 2019
37) Coming to the Front—Partition of Bengal (ii):
During the upheaval, #SriAurobindo made one his first public appearances at a political meeting (in Baroda, 24 Sep. 1905).
Also ~Aug 1905, He wrote his famous pamphlet 'Bhawani Mandir', perhaps inspired by Bankim's 'Anandamath': pic.twitter.com/mIw1YI1lLH
— Mohit Bansal (@Auro_Mere) March 14, 2019