It was while he was in jail that Aurobindo Ghosh turned towards spirituality. Once out of jail, he quit politics and began to move along the spiritual way. He thought that the real freedom of the country was not possible without the development of spiritual force within. He started practicing yoga. Though he quit politics, his writing on political topics in journals continued and his sharp and blistering criticism of the government was not taken kindly by the authorities. “The most dangerous man in India” was how the then viceroy described Sri Aurobindo.
Sensing the move to arrest him, he left Calcutta and reached Pondicherry via Chandernagore, a colony of the French. And Pondicherry was his home for the rest of his life. He practiced his yoga and sadhanas, and spent the rest of his time thinking and writing. Aurobindo’s image as a guru attracted a lot of people to Pondicherry from far and near. Among them were the French thinker Paul Richard and his wife Mira Richard (1914). It turned out to be a life long association. They assisted, and Aurobindo’s ashram grew up into a seat of thinking and learning and soon it became a model school, around which a new concept of life, a life of thought, learning and self-reliance, flourished. Under Mira’s guidance and leadership the ashram came to be known as ‘Auroville’.