The Sri Aurobindo Ashram was founded by Sri Aurobindo Ghose and Mirra Alfassa as a place for individuals to practice yoga in a community setting. Some observers regard the ashram as the center of a religious movement, but Aurobindo said that any attempt to base a movement on his teachings would end in failure. Nevertheless, some of his followers who view themselves as part of a movement use mass mobilization techniques, litigation and political lobbying to advance their agenda, which includes the dismissal of current ashram trustees and amendment of the ashram’s trust deed. In this article, I examine Aurobindo’s ideas on the relationship between individual and community, and I sketch the history of the ashram with reference to these ideas. As a member of the ashram, I approach this study from a hybrid insider/outsider stance.

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