Rabindranath Tagore’s Tribute to Sri Aurobindo

Dear Friends,

Rabindranath Tagore (1861—1941) had once remarked to Dilip Kumar Roy: “Sri Aurobindo used to sweep us off our feet in those unforgettable days. His articles and exhortations, his visions and aspirations, his flaming speeches and reckless courage did electrify Bengal.” (Pilgrims of the Stars, pp. 79—80)

As the concluding installment of our special series on Sri Aurobindo the complete text of the poem Namaskar (Salutations), which Tagore had penned on Sri Aurobindo when the latter was imprisoned for the first time in August 1907 on charges of sedition, has been uploaded in the online forum of Overman Foundation. Along with the facsimiles of the poem in Tagore’s handwriting and the page of the 5 September 1907 issue of the Bande Mataram journal where the poem had appeared for the first time, the English translation of the poem made by Justice Ksitish Chandra Sen have also been published in the online forum

We take the opportunity to thank Shri Joydeep Banerjee for providing us with the facsimiles of the poem in Tagore’s handwriting.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

Tagore p.1Tagore p.2Tagore p.3Tagore p. 4Archival Notes - 0005-1

Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee!
O friend, my country’s friend, O voice incarnate, free,
Of India’s soul! No soft renown doth crown thy lot;
Nor pelf or careless comfort is for thee; thou’st sought
No petty bounty, petty dole; the beggar’s bowl
Thou ne’er hast held aloft. In watchfulness thy soul
Hast thou e’er held for bondless full perfection’s birth
For which, all night and day, the god in man on earth
Doth strive and strain austerely; which in solemn voice
The poet sings in thund’rous poems; for which rejoice
Stout hearts to march on perilous paths; before whose flame
Refulgent, ease bows down its head in humbled shame
And death forgetteth fear; — that gift supreme
To thee from Heaven’s own hand, that full-orb’d fadeless dream
That’s thine, thou’st asked for as thy country’s own desire
In quenchless hope, in words with truth’s white flame afire,
In infinite faith, hath God in heaven heard at last
This prayer of thine? And so, sounds there, in blast on blast,
His victory-trumpet? And puts he, with love austere,
In thy right hand, today, the fateful lamp and drear
Of sorrow, whose light doth pierce the country’s agelong gloom,
And in the infinite skies doth steadfast shine and loom,
As doth the Northern star? O Victory and Hail!

Where is the coward who will shed tears today, or wail
Or quake in fear? And who’ll belittle truth to seek
His own small safety? Where’s the spineless creature weak
Who will not in thy pain his strength and courage find?
O wipe away those tears, O thou of craven mind!
The fiery messenger that with the lamp of God
Hath come—where is the king who can with chain or rod
Chastise him? Chains that were to bind salute his feet
And prisons greet him as their guest with welcome sweet,
The pall of gloom that wraps the sun in noontide skies
In dim eclipse, within a moment slips and flies
As doth a shadow. Punishment? It ever falls
On him who is no man, and every day hath feared,
Abashed, to gaze on truth’s face with a free man’s eye
And call a wrong a wrong; on him who doth deny
His manhood shamelessly before his own compeers,

And e’er disowns his God-given rights, impelled by fears
And greeds; who on his degradation prides himself,
Who traffics in his country’s shame; whose bread, whose pelf
Are his own mother’s gore; that coward sits and quails
In jail without reprieve, outside all human jails.
When I behold thy face, ’mid bondage, pain and wrong
And black indignities, I hear the soul’s great song
Of rapture unconfined, the chant the pilgrim sings
In which exultant hope’s immortal splendour rings,
Solemn voice and calm, and heart-consoling, grand
Of imperturbable death, the spirit of Bharat-land,
O poet, hath placed upon thy face her eyes afire
With love, and struck vast chords upon her vibrant lyre,—
Wherein there is no note of sorrow, shame or fear,
Or penury or want. And so today I hear
The ocean’s restless roar borne by the stormy wind,
Th’ impetuous fountain’s dance riotous, swift and blind
Bursting its rocky cage, — the voice of thunder deep
Awakening, like a clarion call, the clouds asleep
Amid this song triumphant, vast, that encircles me,
Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee!

And then to Him I bow Who in His sport doth make
New worlds in fiery dissolution’s awful wake,
From death awakes new life; in danger’s bosom rears
Prosperity; and sends his devotee in tears,
’Mid desolation’s thorns, amid his foes to fight
Alone and empty-handed in the gloom of night;
In divers tongues, in divers ages speaketh ever
In mighty deed, in every great endeavour
And true experience: “Sorrow’s naught, howe’er drear,
And pain is naught, and harm is naught, and naught all fear;
The king’s shadow, — punishment is but a breath;
Where is the tyranny of wrong, and where is death?
O fool, O coward, raise thy head that’s bound in fear,
I am, thou art, and everlasting truth is here.

*

Darshan of Sri Aurobindo by Dr. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar

Dear Friends,

As the third installment of our series on Sri Aurobindo, an article by Dr. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar titled Darshan of Sri Aurobindo has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

Dr. Kodaganallur Ramaswami Srinivasa Iyengar (1908—1999), M.A. D.Litt, was a famous writer and former Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University who had gifted the Aurobindonian circle two extraordinary biographies of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother titled Sri Aurobindo: A Biography and a History and On the Mother: The Chronicle of a Manifestation and Ministry respectively. Recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1985, his other books include titles like Indian Writing in English, Education and the New India, Leaves from a Log: Fragments of a Journey, Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Man and the Poet, Sitayana, Saga of Seven Mothers and Krishna-geetam.

This article by Dr. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar was written in August 1943 immediately after his first Darshan of Sri Aurobindo and printed in the November issue of a now-defunct journal named Human Affairs published from Udipi.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

dual darshan

They were coming still, the stream of visitors to the Ashram swelled day by day till it grew into a flood on the day of darshan. Men, women and children, with their packages and their hold-alls, their Sunday Hindu and their umbrellas, crowded near the gate of the Ashram on the morning of the fifteenth of August 1943—and the sadhaks discharging “gate duty” patiently coped with the rush with a quiet assurance, with a ready smile for one and all. From the four ends of India—from obscure nooks and by-paths, from distant cities and inaccessible hamlets—the pilgrims had assembled in Pondicherry in the vicinity of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

They had come braving the hundred and one annoyances minor and major that our imperfect society engenders in its midst; they had come—these princes and paupers, these financiers and politicians, these landlords and merchants, these poets and philosophers, these students and teachers, these sinners and saints, these seeming scoffers and these half-hearted believers—they had all converged towards the sanctum sanctorum, desiring to have darshan of Sri Aurobindo. Did they know—did all of them know—what darshan meant? What precise experience was in store for them, how exactly it was going to grow into their being and shape their future—they cared not, perhaps, to speculate about all this or, if they did, their minds were baffled in an instant and they quickly gave up the struggle.

Maybe, it was only an idle curiosity that brought some of the visitors to Pondicherry; maybe, some had caught the contagion of enthusiasm from their friends and had therefore proceeded to the Ashram on darshan day to put their half-baked aspirations through the acid test of experience, so that the fluidities of enthusiasm may harden into the pure gold of faith or—failing in the test—break into so many drops and atoms of disillusionment; maybe, some had accidentally chanced to read Yoga and Its Objects or Baji Prabhou or Heraclitus or The Mother or an instalment or two of The Future Poetry, had been swept off their feet, the spark thus enkindled had, day by day, hour by hour, blazed into a bonfire of adoration—unreasoned, irrational adoration—and the poor victims had by sheer gravitational pull, been drawn to the Ashram, they had to count the minutes, the seconds, that divided them from the “unhoped-for elusive wonder”… “the illimitable”… “the mighty one”… “the minstrel of infinity”; maybe, again, some had learned by slow degrees to follow and admire the career of Sri Aurobindo as a nationalist, as a poet, as a philosopher, and yet had failed to go further, had in fact nurtured a giant scepticism about the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo, had even—once or twice—dubbed it all mysticism and moonshine, and had accordingly, come to satisfy themselves whether their own views were not, after all, the correct views, whether Sri Aurobindo was not, essentially, a poet and an apostle of nationalism rather than a saint and a mahāyogin. There were men and women of all categories, and children too of all categories, some carrying heaven in their hearts, others merely frolic-some and gay, many suddenly charmed and chastened by the Ashram atmosphere, but a few stubbornly resisting even its invisible currents and persisting in their own unique life-force movements and convolutions.

One heard casual remarks, stray greetings, whispered confidences. The premises of the Ashram were filled with a suppressed excitement. One heard the accents of many Indian languages. One idly wandered hither and thither: one gazed and gazed about oneself and—one felt fairly at home in those seemingly exotic and unusual surroundings. What did it matter if one didn’t know who one’s neighbour was? One knew what he was, or seemed to be,— a co-pilgrim to the shrine of fulfilment. One might speak to one’s neighbour if occasions arose—or if the formal introductions had been made—but it was safer, on the whole to sit or move about quietly. It was better to participate in the luxurious repast of silence; it was more becoming to seek refuge in the wisdom and strength of a chastening and uplifting reticence.

Many of the sādhaks, and many even among the visitors, had a noticeably abstracted air. They sat, by themselves or in little clusters, on the pavements or on the steps of a flight of stairs—and seemed to be lost in thought; of them perhaps it was written

                    wisdom’s self
Oft seeks a sweet retired solitude,
Where with her best nurse contemplation
She plumes her feathers, and
lets grow her wings,
That in the various bustle of
resort
Were all too ruffled and
sometimes impaired.

And there were others too—other groups and clusters—and the men and women were agitatedly conversing in pointed jerks, expressive gesticulations, and impatient exclamations. But the generality belonged, perhaps, to neither of these categories. The majority of those who had come to the Ashram for the first time wore just a puzzled air: they had indeed come to an Ashram, they were on the threshold of a unique experience (if the sadhaks were to be believed), they were suddenly projected into a strange new world—and they just wondered, they wondered in their ignorance, they wondered in their humility and awe, they just wondered whither all that pageantry was leading, what priceless revelation was waiting for them round the corner, and how exactly they were going to embalm it and preserve it during all the savourless tomorrows of their star-crossed lives.

The queue was being formed at last. It was about two in the afternoon. It was a bright day in Pondicherry, and it was a great day for Pondicherry. The queue was forming, and though the endless line of pilgrims hardly seemed to move, it actually did move on; the coil curved upwards towards the library and reading room, and curved downwards, emerging into the garden, followed for a little while a straight course, soon turning sharply towards the meditation hall. It moved on, like an impossibly long centipede, enveloping the pillars, scaling the stairs now in one direction now in another and at last reaching the very hall, the very spot… The queue was long, with its cusps and crests, links and breaks, its ascents and descents, it swayed and moved, it stopped and moved and swayed, and a hushed expectancy filled the pores and cells of the human frame and even the very chambers of the obscure human heart. How patiently they awaited their proper chance—how statuesque many of them stood, their eyes avoiding the midday glare of the sun, their fingers firmly clasping the Tulsi garland or the fair white flower or the bright red rose—they waited and they moved, they moved and they prayed. “I cannot believe… I want to believe… I must believe… I will believe… let me believe”… and thus even the agnostic prayed, and hope and despair warred in his bosom, and he held the garland in a yet firmed grasp.

The last turn was taken. One’s eyes grazed over the intervening pilgrims and rested on the two figures seated together in unblenched majesty and aura serene. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo! The great moment had come… the presence was a flood of Light and Truth… and the mere mind staggered under the blow, the mere human frame lurched forward mechanically, but the eyes were held irretrievably in a hypnotic spell. Thought was impossible then… the mind had abdicated its sovereignty for the nonce… and one (dare one say it?) had become almost a living soul. The crowning moment of all! One faced the Mother, one faced the Master… it was impossible to stand the smile, it was impossible to stand the penetrating scrutiny of those piercing eyes. A second or two, perhaps, no more… but how can one take count of the fleeting units of Time? One rather glimpsed then the splendorous truth—“There shall be no more Time!” Eternity was implicated in a grain of Time… one all but crossed the boundaries of Space and Time… one experienced a sudden upsurge of glory that was nevertheless grounded on a bottomless humility. And—but already one was out of the room!

The pulses of life started beating once again; the wires, the machinery of the mind were resuming their work once more; the feet knew whither they should go. The heart was agog still with the agitations of the hour—and one returned to one’s room to gather, to piece together, the thousand and one fancies, the thousand and one aspirations, that had welled up in prodigious exuberance during that one great moment of timeless Time. One grew quieter, serener, one registered a feeling of singular, inexpressible fulfilment. One was abnormally calm, but one was also radiantly, almost divinely, happy!

The presence that thus flooded my storm-tossed soul and chastened it with the gift of grace bore little resemblance to the published photographs and even less to one’s deliberate mental imaginings. And yet—how can I account for it?—it was a truly familiar face. Where had I seen the Master before? I had seen Him ever so often—yet where? The mind raced through the dizzy corridors of thirty-five years of terrestrial life… where, O where had I seen His face before? Was it the face of Zeus that had once held me enraptured as I chanced upon it in a book of mythology? … Or was it rather the face of Aeschylus?—Perhaps, Vasishta looked even like this when he blessed Dasaratha’s son; and it was thus, perhaps, that Valmiki sat when the whole of Ramayana, even to the minutest particularity, shaped itself before his wise and lustrous eyes! And the vision of the Mother and of the Master—were they in very truth the cosmic Mahashakti and the all-highest Ishwara?—the vision remained, the experience persisted, the memory of the smile eased yet the multitudinous pricks of the work-a-day world, and the memory of the brahmatej, austere yet inconceivably beautiful, that was resplendent on Sri Aurobindo’s face yet gave one the hope and the strength to bear the heavy and the weary weight of all this unintelligible world—nay, gave one even the strength to aspire to change it all and boldly to nurture the incipient hope that even the frailest and the foulest clay can evolve—however long the journey and arduous the path—into the supermanhood of the Gnostic Being and the triune glory of Sachchidananda!

*

An Unpublished Letter of Sri Aurobindo

Dear Friends,

Wish you a Happy Darshan Day!

On the occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s birthday an unpublished letter of his has been uploaded in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

The recipient of this letter—the late Umapada Sen—was an ardent devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother since the early 1930s. Born on 16 August 1891 in the village of Khanjapur (now in Bangladesh), he passed his Entrance examination in 1909 from Krishnanath Collegiate School of Berhampore. After passing his Intermediate Arts examination from Krishnanath Jubilee College he joined the City College of Kolkata from where he obtained his B.A. degree with Honours in Philosophy. Having obtained his M.A. degree from Calcutta University in 1915 he joined the same school where he had received his primary education. It was due to his efforts that the primary school became a high school within a couple of years. He had also joined a law college affiliated to the Calcutta University and after obtaining his degree started his legal practice sometime around 1921. In 1934/35, he joined the Atharbari Estate as the Superintendent and later became the Manager and Dewan of Bhagyakul Estate and Gauripur Estate respectively. In 1946 he joined the newly-formed Mayurbhanj Spinning Mill as the legal adviser. He was associated with a number of projects related to social welfare especially women education and played a pivotal role in the establishment of an Ashram Centre at Rairangpur in 1949. He passed away at the age of seventy-two on 16 December 1963.

We are thankful to Mrs. Arpita Sengupta, youngest daughter of Umapada Sen, for allowing us to publish the letter of Sri Aurobindo which is seeing the light of day for the first time in the online forum of Overman Foundation. For the benefit of the reader Sri Aurobindo’s reply has been italicized.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

Umapada Sen's letter

‘The Ashram’
Pondicherry
19-2-37

Divine Mother,

Kindly accept my pranams to you and Sri Aurobindo.

Mother, you have removed my difficulties and by your Grace, Mother, it has become possible for me to come for a ‘Darshana’ on this occasion.

Mother, I intend to leave on the 22nd inst. by the evening train and I pray for an interview with you on that day.

I am afraid it is impossible. Mother’s whole time is occupied  to overflowing on these days and it is—except for things already arranged—difficult to see anybody who cannot wait for some days after the Darshan day. On the 22nd it is impossible.

Mother, by your Grace, Surama has been keeping well. Though she gets slight pain on pressure over the appendix region, she has been regaining her health. Is it necessary, Mother, that she should undergo an operation for her appendix? She had attacks of “Colic” and amoeba dysentery previous to appendicitis and she has been suffering from leucomhoea [sic] for a long time. She believes that by your Grace , she may recover without operation.

If she can cure without operation, it would certainly be better.

Mother, the vital part in me has not yet been purified and I sometimes feel depressed when my surrounding circumstances become very adverse.

Mother, purify me and bless me that I may become a more fit instrument for Thy Manifestation.

I am your child
Umapada Sen.

*

A Sketch by Sri Aurobindo

Dear Friends,

At Overman Foundation, we try to share with our readers new discoveries related to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Since August is very special for all Aurobindonians as Sri Aurobindo’s birthday falls in the said month, we would be uploading a series of unpublished materials and rare articles as our homage to Sri Aurobindo.

As the first installment of our homage, we are publishing a sketch made by Sri Aurobindo in the online forum of Overman Foundation. This sketch was made by him while answering a query of his disciple.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

IMG10435

*

Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him: A Review by Dr. Larry Seidlitz

cover of sri aurobindo as we saw him

Title: Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him. Author: Anurag Banerjee. Publisher: Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Number of pages: 242. Price: Rs. 325.

Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him presents a series of interviews with 27 disciples about their experiences with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Their names form an impressive list of notable Ashramites, including Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, Prof. Arabinda Basu, Gauri Pinto, Prof. Kittu Reddy, Aster Patel, Jhumur Bhattacharya, Richard Pearson, Vasanti Rao, and Prithwindra Mukherjee. The other participants, some less well-known, are no less interesting. For each interviewee, author Anurag Banerjee first presents a 1-2 page biographical sketch, which is followed by a series of questions that the participants answered. The interviews run about 9 pages on average. At the end there is an Appendix which gives short biosketches of many other disciples who are mentioned in the text. The book is published by the Overman Foundation in a simple A4 size format with a simple white paper cover adorned with Sri Aurobindo’s photo.

The book is a delight to read, especially for those familiar with the Ashram and the contributors. I felt transported back to the early days of the Ashram and got a feel for the atmosphere it had back then. I enjoyed the book as much for the insights it gives into the lives of the interviewees as for the glimpses it provides of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. While some of the author’s questions were individually targeted or probed deeper into particular responses, many were uniformly asked of each respondent. While some of the latter questions provided an open platform for the interviewee to share their recollections, a few seemed too narrowly-focused and yielded few new insights. In general I found the writing and presentation well done, flowing, with very few errors.

Among the book’s interesting perspectives on Sri Aurobindo, some of the interviewees speak of his gaze, his voice, and his smile which were very special in the lives of the devotees. There are a few intimate glimpses of Sri Aurobindo’s meals and diet that provide the kind of personal material that characterizes the book. Many of the participants describe incidents that occurred related to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, of other famous disciples, and of life in the Ashram during the 1940s. Most interviewees tell of their experiences and feelings when standing or doing pranam before Sri Aurobindo and the Mother at the darshans. They were also asked about the final darshan after Sri Aurobindo left his body and lay in state for four days and could be visited repeatedly. Some describe the light they saw that emanated from his body. Some discussed the final laying to rest of the body into the Samadhi in the Ashram courtyard. Most interviewees were asked about the reason and significance of Sri Aurobindo’s passing, and also about his future return in a new supramental body, but I don’t think any new insights were provided here—most had little to say. There are quite a few interesting reminiscences relating to darshans of the Mother after Sri Aurobindo left his body which are also very moving.

There are interesting or enjoyable delights that “come by the way.” For example, some of the disciples mention dreams or visions relating to Sri Aurobindo or the Mother. To one disciple suffering from fever and severe headache, Mother says “One can get well in the blink of an eye,” and so saying, places her hand on the disciple’s head, who then gets cured instantly. We get many examples of the solicitude of Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s love for their disciples. We get some sweet tastes of Sri Aurobindo’s humour, like when a disciple wrote about her desire to have rasogollas (a Bengali sweet), and Sri Aurobindo replied “Swallow your desire.” We get some beautiful images of the Mother: “who would comb her tresses with one hand and distribute flowers as blessings with the other hand,” and sometimes would be “very busy discussing a complex problem of mathematics with Manoj and providing the solutions orally.”

Most of these senior disciples have also given in a few sentences their inspiring views of “the message Sri Aurobindo has brought for humanity.” Among these, perhaps the one which struck me the most was that mentioned by Nirodbaran’s niece, Dolly Mutsuddi: “Whatever Sri Aurobindo has given to this earth, whatever sadhana He has done for us—the Mother has inscribed it on the walls of the Samadhi. Tears do come in the eyes of those who understand the significance of those words inscribed on the Samadhi. Both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother came to rescue this world. They have done Their sadhana to divinize this earth.”

For those who are interested in stories of the former Ashram days when Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were here and interacting with the disciples, this book is a treasure trove. Anurag has brought together many beautiful gems in this delightful work which remind us of the true spirit of the Ashram and its life in its earlier years.

Dr. Larry Seidlitz

*

About the Reviewer: Dr. Larry Seidlitz received his doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. He was an Assistant Professor and researcher in psychiatry and psychology at The University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, U.S.A. He is currently a faculty member of Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research (Pondicherry). He is also the editor of the journal ‘Collaboration’ published by Sri Aurobindo Association of California and author of many articles on Integral Yoga.

*

“Introduction to Sri Aurobindo Studies”

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

It gives me immense pleasure to inform you that Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre, New Alipore, Kolkata, in collaboration with Overman Foundation, is organizing a Certificate Programme titled “Introduction to Sri Aurobindo Studies” to be conducted through a series of lectures and interactive sessions spreading over around 4 months from September to December 2014.

The said Programme is intended to be an introduction to Sri Aurobindo and his thoughts and work for individuals interested in having an easy first glimpse.

The Programme faculty consists of eminent Aurobindonians like Prof. (Dr.) Indrani Sanyal (Department of Philosophy—Jadavpur University), Sri Subrata Sen (Secretary, Sri Aurobindo’s Action West Bengal), Sri Gautam Banerjee and Sri Anurag Banerjee (Founder and Chairman, Overman Foundation) along with eminent Guest Faculties to be invited.

Since seats are limited, registration shall be done on first-come-first-served basis. The total Programme Fees shall be Rs.700/- per participant payable at the time of registration. The last date for registration is 23rd August, 2014.

Classes shall be held on Thursdays from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. and Saturdays from 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. at Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre, 532 Block—M, New Alipore, Kolkata 700053.

Each participant shall be given a Certificate of Participation at the end of the Programme.

Interested persons may kindly contact the Programme Director—Sri Anurag Banerjee @ Mobile: +91 9830244192 for matters concerning the programme content and Sri Partha Sarathi Bose (Programme Co-ordinator and Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre Trust) @ Mobile : +91 9831040853 for matters concerning registration, organization and conducting of the Programme. They may also visit the relevant link in the website http://www.sriaurobindocentre.org for information or email at: admin@ sriaurobindocentre.org

We take the opportunity to request you to ask interested persons to get in touch accordingly.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

The Mother’s Photographs with Indian Political Leaders

Dear Friends,

The Mother had proclaimed on 15 August 1954: “From the first time I came to India—in 1914—I felt that India is my true country, the country of my soul and spirit… I am French by birth and early education, I am Indian by choice and predilection. In my consciousness there is no antagonism between the two, on the contrary, they combine very well and complete one another.”

After India achieved her independence in August 1947, several prominent political leaders of the nation had visited Pondicherry to pay their respects to the Mother.

Some photographs of the Mother with Indian political leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Kumarasami Kamaraj, Indira Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Uchharangrai Navalshankar Dhebar, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Varahagiri Venkata Giri, Surendra Mohan Ghosh and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee have been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

1The Mother with Surendra Mohan Ghosh and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

2The Mother with Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

3The Mother with Uchharangrai Navalshankar Dhebar, former President of Indian National Congress.

4The Mother with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Kumarasami Kamaraj, Indira Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri.

5The Mother with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

6The Mother with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

7The Mother with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his associates.

Rajendra prasadrajendra prasad 1The Mother with Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. Also is seen the message in the Mother’s own handwriting which she had given to Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

13The Mother with Indira Gandhi and Nandini Satpathy, former Chief Minister of Orissa.

14The Mother with Indira Gandhi.

15The Mother with Varahagiri Venkata Giri, former President of India.

16The Mother with Varahagiri Venkata Giri. Also seen in this photograph: Nolini Kanta Gupta, Champaklal and Tara Jauhar.

*

(Photographs courtesy: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)

*

Dr. Ananda Reddy’s “Integral Education”, Anirvan’s “Īśā Upanisad” and Dr. Ratri Ray’s “Francis Thompson and Nishikanto: A Study in Mysticism”.

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

It gives me immense pleasure to announce that the following notable books and MP3 are now available at Overman Foundation.

Integral Education

Dr. Ananda Reddy’s Integral Education contains a talk of one hour and thirty minutes on integral education in the light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Through this talk, the listeners are led to experience the aspects of education in a radically new way and awaken a new attitude towards life. The foundations of integral education, the principles around which it is organized and the various elements involved in it are explained in the said talk.

This MP3 is available at a price of Rs. 200 (Two Hundred) only.

Cover of Isa Upanisad

Shri Anirvan (8 July 1896—31 May 1978) was a great scholar and philosopher who had mastered the Astādhyayi of Pānini at a very early age. After completing his formal education he renounced the world and became Nirvanananda Saraswati. But after a few years he dropped the ochre robes and changed his name to Anirvan by which name he became known to the world at large. He spent a number of years in Lohaghat (Almora) where Madame Lizelle Reymond, a Swiss spiritual seeker, joined him and literally took him to the West through her books. Shri Anirvan later shifted to Shillong in Assam and finally to Kolkata where he spent his last years. His first book was a Bengali translation of Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine which was described as a “living translation” by Sri Aurobindo himself.

Īśā Upanisad is the only Upanisad directly connected with Śukla Yajurveda (its last chapter), unlike other Upanisads which are connected with the Brāhmana portion of the Vedas. It is as if a clarion call of the Truth that all works lead to and end in knowledge. In only 18 mantras, we have an all comprehensive integral and harmonious vision and philosophy of Life Divine. Transformation of greed and lust tainted with black and evil works into unattached but strong white-pure and good works and its culmination into the Universal consciousness of an all-embracing Aupanisadic Purusa is the central theme of this Upanisad. The uniqueness of this commentary of Anirvan lies in his wonderful interpretation of the contradictory terms Vidyā (knowledge) and Avidyā (ignorance, rather the unknowable) and Sambhūti (Becoming Birth-Creation) and Asambhūti (Non-Becoming Non-Birth or Vināsa—Destruction). By giving his mystic and yet analytic interpretation, he has boldly brought about a harmony between the two opposite currents of works-Sacrifice and Knowledge and thus established Life Divine on this Earth on sound footing. In the end we have a wonderful unity of Works, Knowledge and Devotion (Karma, Jñāna and Bhakti) as found later in the Bhagavad Gita.

Comprising 156 pages, Īśā Upanisad is available at a price of Rs. 250 (Two Hundred and Fifty) only.

thompson-nishikantoWhile Francis Thompson is renowned for his mystic poetry across the globe, Nishikanto Roychowdhury—one of the greatest Bengali mystic poets of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, whom Sri Aurobindo had described as the “Brahmaputra of Inspiration”—is a comparatively lesser-known name. Dr. Ratri Ray’s Francis Thompson and Nishikanto: A Study in Mysticism tries to establish the universality of mysticism in a particular manner. Nishikanto and Thompson, together, offer the students a very fine subject for comparative study. Thus, after placing Thompson firmly within the tradition of English mystical poetry, a study of his life and poetry is made. In Nishikanto’s case there is no need to stress the existence of mystical tradition in Bengali poetry, since the tradition is an old and venerable one. After a study of his life and poetry, attention is devoted to a comparative estimate which establishes the universality of mysticism, not only in the lives of mystics, but in their works also.

Recipient of “Nolini Kanta Gupta Smriti Puraskar” for the year 2014, Francis Thompson and Nishikanto: A Study in Mysticism comprises 547 pages and is available at a price of Rs. 400 (Four Hundred) only.

To place an order, please write to the following email address:

overmanfoundation@gmail.com

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

Hirayama Prize of the French Academy Awarded to Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee

Prithwindra_Mukherjee-Zinal_2011

Dear Friends,

During its session of 13 June 2014, members of the French Academy (Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres) have unanimously awarded the prestigious Prix Hirayama to Paris-based Indian scholar Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee for his recent publications in French: (1) Les racines intellectuelles du mouvement d’independance de l’Inde (1893-1918), Codex Publishers, 2010; (2) Le Spontane : reflection on the Sahaja yana cult through Charya and Bâul Songs, Almora Publishers, 2014; (3) A Shade Sharp, a Shade Flat : trilingual anthology with introduction, notes and 108 poems by Rabindranath Tagore, Shahitya Prakash, Dhaka, 2013.

The Report further stresses that the above-mentioned second book “on the freedom movement received the warmest welcome. Next were the Baul songs… But the pre-Gandhian freedom movement in India was altogether new to them [members of the Academy] and probably for that reason that they paid a greater attention.”

In 2012 the Academy awarded this prize to an illustrated French edition of the Indian epic, Ramayana.

We take the opportunity to congratulate Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee for this prestigious award.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

Photographs of André Morisset, the Mother’s Son

Dear Friends,

André Morisset (23.8.1898—29.3.1982) was the Mother’s only son. His father Henri Morisset (6.4.1870—15.11.1956) was a noted French artist. Having received his early education at Lycee Chaptal School, André joined the army in October 1916 as an artillery officer and participated in the First World War. He received, as a reward for his bravery and contribution, several titles of honour which included the Cross of the War 1914-1918 (which he received just after the War), the Cross of the Voluntary Fighters and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (these were received after 1935). In December 1919, he joined École Polytechnique and obtained the title of Ancien éléve de l’ecole polytechnique in August 1921, after which he joined Le Carbone-Lorraine. He was the director of a factory making batteries and other electrical materials for Le Carbone-Lorraine from 1926 to 1939. Later he joined the Industrial Company of Battery Cells and became the honorary President of the company. He was also associated with several foreign and international organizations and established himself very well in the elite society of Paris. On 10 September 1923, he married Wanda and was blessed with two daughters Janine (born on 7 November 1924) and Francoise (19.6.1931—15.3.2008) who was better known as Pournaprema in Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time in 1949 and met the Mother after a gap of thirty-three years. In 1956, André established Sri Aurobindo Study Centre; this organization sent teaching materials, class textbooks and other objects to the Ashram School. In that very year, he established the Franco-Indian Union Association with the view of developing commercial, industrial and technological exchanges between France and India. As the Mother wanted India and France to collaborate with each other and show the rest of the world what they were capable of achieving, André worked to realize her dreams. After the demise of Pavitra in 1969, André became the de facto Director of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education and the Mother gave all Her directions through him. When Auroville was established in 1968, he became a channel of communication between Auroville and the Mother.

A set of photographs of André Morisset has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

1André Morisset with the Mother.

2

3André Morisset with Champaklal.

4André Morisset seated on the Mother’s right at the Playground.

5

Same as above.

6

André Morisset seated on the Mother’s right at the Playground.

7[From left to right] Sisir Kumar Mitra, André Morisset, Sujata Nahar, the Mother, Pavitra and Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.

9[From left to right] Debu Bhattacharya, Udar Pinto, André Morisset, Pavitra, Manoj Das Gupta, Hriday Bhattacharya and Satprem performing “Le Grand Secret”, a play by the Mother, on 1 December 1954.

10Same as above.

Andre, Mona and GauridiAndré Morisset with Mona Pinto and Gauri Pinto.

11André Morisset with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Udar Pinto, Kireet Joshi and Sisir Kumar Mitra at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education on 12 December 1972.

12The Mother with André Morisset and Pavitra.

12.5[From left to right] Kireet Joshi, Kalyan, Prapatti, Udar Pinto, Nolini Kanta Gupta, André Morisset, Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala and Pradyut at the inauguration of Sri Aurobindo’s Action in 1970.

13André Morisset scattering rose petals on the Samadhi on 20 November 1973.

Andre4André Morisset with Nolini Kanta Gupta.

15[From left to right] Wanda (André’s wife), André Morisset, Janine Panier, Pournaprema and Nolini Kanta Gupta.

Photographs Courtesy: the late Pournaprema, Ms. Gauri Pinto and Anurag Banerjee.

*

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 88 other followers