Shobha Mitra to receive the “Auro-Ratna Award” for 2014.

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Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

Since its inception in March 2010 Overman Foundation has aimed to recognize the invaluable contribution of scholars, writers, researchers and workers of the Aurobindonian movement in various fields. For this purpose, the “Auro-Ratna Award” was initiated to felicitate the ‘true children’ of the Divine, who, as defined by the Mother, are those few who have consecrated all of themselves and all they have — soul, life, work and wealth. In 2010, the recipients of the first “Auro-Ratna Award” were K. D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran, Prof. Arabinda Basu and Jugal Kishore Mukherjee; in 2011 the award was given to Robi Gupta, Dr. Kireet Joshi and Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee; in 2012 the award was given to Dr. Prema Nandakumar and Shraddhavan of Auroville while in 2013 Dr. Ananda Reddy was the recipient of the award.

Today, on behalf of Overman Foundation, I take the opportunity to announce that the “Auro-Ratna Award” for the year 2014 would be awarded to Shobha Mitra of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.

Born on 14 December 1933 to Amarendranath and Ashalata Mitra, Shobha Mitra visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time in August 1942. At the age of seventeen, on Wednesday 15 June 1951 she joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram with her mother. The Mother had arranged for their accommodation at Red House which was located near the Ashram Library. She was given work in the Publication Department under Prithwi Singh Nahar. A year later she was made a permanent inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. She joined the Ashram School when its new session began in December 1952. Following the instruction of the Mother, she opted to study English, French, Philosophy and the works of Sri Aurobindo. She also began to learn music from Dilip Kumar Roy and Sahana Devi. From 1957 she started teaching French in the Ashram School. She was an accomplished dancer and had given several dance-recitals before the Mother. She had also given dance-form to Sri Aurobindo’s The Hour of God in 1964. She also composed the dance-drama The Rhythm Eternal which was staged thrice in May 1967. She has also played a pivotal role in organizing musical programmes of artists like Birendra Kishore Ray Choudhury, Tara Ghoshal, Jyotsna Bole, Chandralekha and Pankaj Kumar Mullick to name a few who visited the Ashram. On 14 December 1965—on Shobha’s birthday—the Mother asked her to start a Music Section in Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education which she built up from scratch. Inspired by the Mother, she also began to compose music. In 1972, on the occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Centenary, she conceptualized a special programme titled Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on India and Her Future. In that very year, a long-playing record of her musical compositions titled Loving Homage was brought out by Sri Aurobindo Society. For quite some time she had conducted singing classes in Auroville. Her memorable compositions include titles like Adoration, All We Owe to Thee, Aspiration, Century’s Salutations, Durga Stotra, Esho Gahi Gaan, Invocation to Mother India, Laha Pronam, Our Gratitude, Om Namo Bhagawate, Salutations, Towards a Luminous Future, Vandanam and Vers un avenir lumineux (the last being a musical presentation on the occasion of the unveiling of Sri Aurobindo’s statue at UNESCO, Paris, on 16 September 2009) to name a few.

In 2012 Shobha Mitra’s first book in Bengali Sri Mayer Dibya Sannidhye was published. The English translation of the aforesaid book, Living in the Presence, was published in 2013. In that very year she received the prestigious “Sri Aurobindo Puraskar” from Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata.

Shobha Mitra’s world revolves around two names: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Some time ago she has started working on a project called “MA”, that is, “Musical Archives” which would house songs composed on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in various regional and foreign languages.

It will be our privilege to felicitate Shobha Mitra whom the late M.P. Pandit had called “a worthy child of the Mother” with the “Auro-Ratna Award”, named after Sri Aurobindo, for her contribution in the field of music.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee,
Founder and Chairman,
Overman Foundation.

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Publication of “The Descent of the Blue” by Sri Chinmoy

cover of descent of the blueDear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

I am happy to announce that Overman Foundation has published the new edition of Sri Chinmoy’s The Descent of the Blue, a drama in thirteen acts based on Sri Aurobindo’s life.

Born as Chinmoy Kumar Ghose, Sri Chinmoy (1931—2007) moved to Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry in 1944 where he spent twenty years of his life. Having worked as the secretary to Nolini Kanta Gupta, the General-Secretary of the Ashram, Sri Chinmoy went to New York in 1964 to be of service to aspiring seekers in the West. Initially he worked at the Indian Consulate. He also began to offer lectures on spiritual themes and soon he was able to devote himself full-time to spiritual activities. From 1970, following the invitation of the third U.N. Secretary-General U. Thant, he began offering peace meditations for delegates and staff at the U.N. Headquarters. In 1993 he opened the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago with a formal silent meditation. His Excellency, Siddhartha Shankar Ray, who was India’s Ambassador to the United States of America at the time, said of Sri Chinmoy: “He is an embodiment of Rabindranath Tagore’s immortal concept of the universal man.”

Dr. Vidagdha Bennett writes about The Descent of the Blue:

‘Who can write a biography of the Infinite? The story of Sri Aurobindo’s life has been faithfully told by a number of spiritual luminaries, each in their own way. In 1958, a young Ashramite began to dramatise the panorama of the Master’s life. His name was Chinmoy Kumar Ghose and he was just twenty-six years old.

‘He based some of the scenes on conversations recorded by actual witnesses and some on Sri Aurobindo’s own speeches and reflections. There are also scenes that he drew from his own imaginative recreation of significant inner and outer events in Sri Aurobindo’s life. Chinmoy called his play The Descent of the Blue. It runs to thirteen Acts and concludes with Sri Aurobindo’s passing and the Mother’s immortal message to the disciples.

‘Many years later, Chinmoy explained the significance of the play’s title: “As you know, blue signifies infinite vastness, consciousness infinite. Here, the descent of the blue means Sri Aurobindo. I wrote this book as my most humble offering to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.”

‘Having completed his manuscript, Chinmoy submitted it to the Mother. The entire play was read aloud to her by Champaklal-ji, who said that the Mother enjoyed hearing it. Subsequently, with the Mother’s permission, the play was published serially in the Mother India, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Monthly Review of Culture, between 1958 and 1962. The editor, K.D. Sethna, wrote in a review of Chinmoy’s writing, “Chinmoy succeeds time and again in transmuting his facts into revealing truths with the help of an alert imagination.”

‘In 1972, to honour Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Centenary, the play was published in New York. This present edition is the first time the entire play has been published in one volume in India.

The Descent of the Blue is a transparent glimpse into the vast consciousness that lies behind the momentous events of Sri Aurobindo’s life. It is alive with the resonance of the Master’s own utterances, with the blessingful presence of the Mother and the intense devotion of the early sadhaks.’

Comprising 140 pages, The Descent of the Blue is available at a price of Rs. 220 (Two Hundred and Twenty) only.

To place an order, please write to: overmanfoundation@gmail.com or call at: (0) 98302 44192. Payment can be made online as well as through money-orders, cheques and demand-drafts.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him”: A Review by Surendra Singh Chouhan

sri-aurobindo-as-we-saw-him-coverTitle: Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him. Author: Anurag Banerjee. Publisher: Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Number of pages: 242. Price: Rs. 325.

“He drew the energies that transmute an age”—

Savitri, Book I, Canto III, p. 45

This is, indeed, another priceless gift to the readers from Anurag Banerjee, a timely and thoughtful presentation in the form of interviews of all the fortunate ones who had the lifetime of a privilege to have Darshan of Sri Aurobindo. There is very interesting and profound epistemological proposition which states “What do I see and how do I see”. This is all about the mystery of “Perception”, a subtle process by which the perceived object is cognized at first and then in a millionth of a second internally recognized instantly so to speak.

Now when the disciples stood before Sri Aurobindo in the adorable silence, the perception of the mighty Supramental Godhead, apart from their devotional fervour, was exactly according to the spiritual poise and status of each individual’s consciousness, according to the degree of their Shraddha. The Divinity manifests Itself according to one’s receptivity and faith. It was no ordinary darshan. When you stand before effulgent Glory like the pristine splendour of the Himalayas, one is simply swept off one’s feet and dazzled. However, the disciples recorded that their feeling on seeing Sri Aurobindo was simply ineffable, beyond human language to describe. This is how it should have been just as Arjuna was overawed after seeing the awesome “Vishwaroop”.

Our galaxy of disciples also responded with awe and serenity and was touched to the core of their heart. The gushing forth of their feelings to the crisp and pointed queries by the editor brought out diverse responses. Each response was like a fragrant flower and the editor had to simply strewn together all the flowering devotional raptures in the form of a very beautiful dignified volume for us to have Darshan as well as through the grateful memoirs of the children of Sri Aurobindo and Sweet Mother. Each darshanarthi offered narration in a warm and intimate manner.

When Gurudev Rabindranath had a meeting with Sri Aurobindo in the sactum sanctorum, Gurudev exclaimed with amazement seeing the Golden Purusha—the glowing divine body of Sri Aurobindo—“where is my young Aurobindo”, recalling the first meeting in the first decade of 19th century in Kolkata. This was another record of Seeing, so, in a profounder level all the dialogues and interactions of the disciples with our ever-alert editor is a record of Seeing at different levels of each being’s consciousness. The response of Sri Aurobindo was also equally compassionate according to the inner preparedness of the seekers.

Words are too poor and inadequate to further add anything on these astonishing sacred and memorable expressions, enthralling exclamations, certitudes and feeling of gratitude bordering on instant Katharsis. And, finally, to rounding off, if ever yours truly had the rarest of Grace to have Darshan of Sri Aurobindo, he would have simply remained speechless and numb with infinite Gratitude that in this very life he had seen the Lord in the Supramental form. Oh! What a treasured and liberating privilege to us the mortal beings it has been.

Thank you, Anurag, for offering us this wonderful compilation. And what about a sequel to this book, The Divine Mother As We Saw Her?

Surendra Singh Chouhan

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About the Reviewer: Surendra Singh Chouhan is an ex-student of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE); after finishing his Higher Course he taught for a year in SAICE. He is an international educator and a frequent visiting trainer and faculty in the world of academia who had taught Philosophy to the Chinese students in Shanghai under the auspices of Shanghai Normal University. Presently he is hired by a multinational Chinese company to oversee its corporate interests in Sri Lanka, Nepal and India.

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“Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him”: A Review by Dr. Alok Pandey

sri-aurobindo-as-we-saw-him-coverTitle: Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him. Author: Anurag Banerjee. Publisher: Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Number of pages: 242. Price: Rs. 325.

When Arjuna asked Sri Krishna as to the signs with which one could recognize a man in a state of Samadhi, Sri Krishna replied in no uncertain terms that the marks of such a man are within and they cannot be recognized by any mere external signs:

The sign of the man in Samadhi is not that he loses consciousness of objects and surroundings and of his mental and physical self and cannot be recalled to it even by burning or torture of the body,—the ordinary idea of the matter; trance is a particular intensity, not the essential sign. The test is the expulsion of all desires, their inability to get at the mind, and it is the inner state from which this freedom arises, the delight of the soul gathered within itself with the mind equal and still and high poised above the attractions and repulsions, the alternations of sunshine and storm and stress of the external life. It is drawn inward even when acting outwardly; it is concentrated in self even when gazing out upon things; it is directed wholly to the Divine even when to the outward vision of others busy and preoccupied with the affairs of the world. Arjuna, voicing the average human mind, asks for some outward, physical, practically discernible sign of this great Samadhi; how does such a man speak, how sit, how walk? No such signs can be given, nor does the Teacher attempt to supply them; for the only possible test of its possession is inward and that there are plenty of hostile psychological forces to apply. Equality is the great stamp of the liberated soul and of that equality even the most discernible signs are still subjective. “A man with mind untroubled by sorrows, who has done with desire for pleasures, from whom liking and wrath and fear have passed away, such is the sage whose understanding has become founded in stability.” He is “without the triple action of the qualities of Prakriti, without the dualities, ever based in his true being, without getting or having, possessed of his self.” For what gettings and havings has the free soul? Once we are possessed of the Self, we are in possession of all things.’ Sri Aurobindo: Essays on the Gita. Page 102

Still, the question has its validity. First, because man’s physical mind seeks to get some glimpse of the Divine through his very outer being and senses so that these too can share something of the Bliss that has made the world and our body and senses too thrill to the Touch that redeems and saves. Secondly, and perhaps in response to this requirement, we have in the India the interesting tradition of Darshan. Of course the full value of Darshan is derived only when we are able to combine the outer seeing with the inner one, when not only our outer eyes but also our inner seeing, nay, our entire being, heart, mind, will, soul engage in the beauty and bliss of the vision Wonderful. Sri Aurobindo reveals the truth behind Darshan thus:

Physical means [like Darshan and touch in the Pranam] can be and are used in the approach to divine love and worship; they have not been allowed merely as a concession to human weakness, nor is it the fact that in the psychic way there is no place for such things. On the contrary, they are one means of approaching the Divine and receiving the Light and materialising the psychic contact, and so long as it is done in the right spirit and they are used for the true purpose they have their place. It is only if they are misused or the approach is not right because tainted by indifference and inertia, or revolt or hostility, or some gross desire, that they are out of place and can have a contrary effect — as the Mother has always warned people and has assigned it as the reason why she does not like lightly to open them to everyone.

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No one should look upon the Pranam either as a formal routine or an obligatory ceremony or think himself under any compulsion to come there. The object of the Pranam is not that Sadhaks should offer a formal or ritual daily homage to the Mother, but that the Sadhaks may receive along with the Mother’s blessings whatever spiritual help or influence they are in a condition to receive or assimilate. It is important to maintain a quiet and collected atmosphere for that purpose.

24-7-1933

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SABCL: Letters on the Mother: Page – 286-287

Seen against this background, two things stand out. First, which is the eternal truth of the Gita, that it is not possible to know a person’s spiritual attainments and the degree of Divine disclosure in him by looking for some external signs. But on the other hand we have this equally important complimentary truth that the Divine’s physical embodiment and His earthly play is a great help to humanity, a chance for our external material existence to be touched and transformed by the Glory and Bliss that resides in the deepest depths of creation. A glimpse of the embodied Divine is enough to make us cover the journey of many births and to put His definitive seal and stamp upon our life. Whatever may happen after that we are bound to get back to Him, led by Him towards Himself through all the twists and turns of Fate. His Glance is His signature upon our souls that we belong to Him alone. Herein lies the immense value of physical contact with the embodied Divine.

But what about those who were not so fortunate? How can their thirst be satisfied, their senses and heart appeased, even if for a while. Indeed the fullest fulfillment can only come when one has the grand vision of That Glory in the inner chambers of one’s soul, Param Drastva, as the Gita puts it. But one needs some water on the way, some food for the soul, some glimpse however indirect to nourish and support the adventurer soul in its long journey full of steep ascents. Books such as these fill that gap and provide the much essential nutrition for the soul in its journey out of darkness towards the Light.

Further Indian thought recognizes two types of spiritual literature. One kind deals with the path and the processes. It is more impersonal and has a universal appeal. But in the process it becomes dry and appeals only to a certain portion of our being. Further it turns a living movement into an artificial and mechanical technique which is very far from the truth of things. Patanjali’s yoga sutras come into this category, a specialized codified process, marking each step of the journey but in the bargain losing the charm and grace of the unexpected that often walks close by with the sadhaka. The second type deals with the life and works, adventures and exploits, the joy of the Divine Being and His earthly lila. Mere reading of such a spiritual literature is uplifting. It lends wings to the soul, opens the shortest possible route to the Divine Contact through the secret heart, aligns our thoughts and will with the central aspiration, provides the much needed food for our spiritual parts. The Bhagavata, and the Ramayan belong to this class of literature. Some of course like the Gita combine the two approaches in a sublime synthesis. The book under review, Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him, belongs primarily to this latter class of spiritual literature. However in the process it still provides us some glimpse of the path and the process. But even if it did not, its value will be immense and its gift priceless since mere reading of this book can uplift and illumine us and provide us with a glimpse of the embodied divinity, however indirect and mist-laden it may be because of a second person narrative.

Of course there is no dearth of accounts, even detailed accounts of the Darshan of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and reminiscences and anecdotes of Their life. These are mostly accounts of first generation disciples who came in contact with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the first quarter of the previous century. Anurag’s book covers mostly the second generation disciples who came with their parents or else on their own but during the second half of the previous century. Some of these disciples came as children and grew up under the luminous wings of their Light and Love. In the consciousness of these disciples the human and the divine parents fused into one making a beautiful relation that was at once intimate as it was awesome. It is hard to say who was more fortunate, – the early disciples who came seeking for Yoga and saw in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as the supreme Guide and Master, or those who came simply because some secret breath of Grace that took them as Their children.

Let us see some of these interesting narratives brought out through the process of question and answers. We have some beautiful accounts of intense and deep soul moments and soul engagements with the embodied Divine during the special Darshan days:

Kusum Nagda recounts:

“How different was Sri Aurobindo’s gaze from the Mother’s?

His gaze was as if He was looking far, far into the infinite. He would look at you and at the same time He would probably go through you. Mother’s gaze was of love and full of smile.”

Dhanavanti Nagda adds intensity and depth to this in her account:

Can you describe Sri Aurobindo’s gaze?

You know, Sri Aurobindo has a poem, The Blue Bird, where He says: “I measure the worlds with my ruby eyes”. I think He measured us always with those “ruby eyes”, loving, compassionate eyes. His compassion was such that it transformed your little self. I told you when I stood in front of Them I felt myself transformed. He looked at you in such a way as if to tell you: “We are the same.” Something that He told us always; what they have done—we all can do—something like that, I think, He used to tell Nirod-da often, again and again. Nirod-da would argue “Oh! You are an Avatar, you can always do whatever you want to, but we can’t.” Sri Aurobindo assured, “What I can do you too can.” Invariably He gave us this certitude, a promise. How far are we going to do it is our individual reach. I can’t judge anyone and I won’t judge anybody. I can see only for myself, how far I’ve gone and how far I still have to. So that was the gaze—the gaze that told you and poured into your eyes all the strength and the perseverance you will be needing to become something more than man. But then when you stood in front of Them you did feel transformed and for those few moments you were. It is now for us to find and feel Them the way we did then and it is our sacred task to make of those moments become the whole life. May we take the resolve in all sincerity. THEY ARE THERE, seated on the sofa of our heart. Pranams.”

Such is Their Compassion and Love which extended not only to humans but also to crows and cats and the animal, vegetal and the plant world. Suprabha Nahar recalls:

“We were always on the lookout for a glimpse of the Mother. Wherever and whenever She could be seen, we would be there to fill our eyes and hearts. Our days started with the Balcony Darshan of the Mother early in the morning. During those morning Darshans there reigned a complete hush with eager expectancy for the appearance of the Mother at the Balcony. After the Darshan was over and the Mother withdrew, every one dispersed, mostly to go to the Dining Room for breakfast and then each one to his place of work.

Later in the morning the Mother would take a stroll on the terrace. But before going to the terrace She would open a window of the room through which She passed and to have a glimpse of Her we waited below. Choosing an umbrella, kept near the window, matching the colour of Her dress, She would go to the terrace over Dyuman-bhai’s room. While going to the terrace, She would open another window and take a biscuit kept beside it. A crow, called ‘Blackie’ (he was black all over) would come on the parapet, take the biscuit from the Mother’s hand and fly away. Then the Mother would go to the terrace and we children gathered below would move from place to place in the courtyard in order to be able to see Her for the maximum length of time. When the elders gathered to have ‘Window Darshan’, they would greet each other with: “Victoire à la Douce Mère” and the response was: “Au Divin Victoire.”

We also have interesting accounts and anecdotes some of which would be quite new and revelatory to many, like an unexpected encounter or visitation from some great god:

Prof. Arabinda Basu recounts such a story:

“There lived an astrologer in our neighbourhood. He worked in the Railways and was a perfect gentleman and a good human being. He used to practise astrology in a scientific way. He had a passion to prepare horoscopes of saints and study them though it was not his business. On my aunt’s request I went to him to seek his guidance. He knew me because my elder uncle and my cousins also worked in the Railways. I was carrying with myself Essays on the Gita. When he saw the book, he made his obeisance. I asked: “What happened? Why did you make obeisance?” His reply was straight: “This is the book of Bhagwan [God].” I asked: “God’s book? What was that?” Then what he said was strange. “I collect and make horoscopes of great and successful persons for my study and I have published some of them as well. I had written to Sri Aurobindo requesting Him to kindly provide me with His time of birth. Not only did He send me the time but also His horoscope drawn in His own hands.” I asked: “So what did you see?” Do you know what he said? “In 1947, His philosophy will be the basis of a new world culture.” I am quoting him verbatim.

Let me tell you another story related to Sri Aurobindo. I had one friend who was older than me. He was an astrologer-cum-tantrik. He was a very amiable person and looked upon me as his younger brother. One day I had gone to meet him. The book The Mother was with me. Seeing the book, he said: “Namaskar [Salutations].” “What happened, brother?” I asked, “What is the news?” He offered his obeisance and said: “It is the book of God.” “God’s book?” “Yes,” he replied. There was no hesitation in his voice. “Do you know,” he said to me, “I’ve His horoscope.” “God’s horoscope?” I asked. “Don’t joke. I do have it.” “What did you read in it?” “1947. Sovereign ruler of the entire world.” “Is it so?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied. When Sri Aurobindo left His body, I went to meet him. I asked him: “What happened? He has left us.” He replied: “How does His arrival or departure matter? He can come and go whenever He pleases. This is child’s play to Him.”

Have you met Sri Aurobindo in the subtle physical?

I had once visited the place in the subtle physical where Sri Aurobindo now stays and works. I saw Him sitting there with the entire world in His fist. He was majestic yet delicate. It was a combination of both aspects. It appeared as if He would just melt if one touched Him but He was holding the entire world. The ground in the subtle physical had no formation. I had asked the Mother about it. She said: “What you’ve seen was true, you indeed went to the subtle physical.” I asked: “Why was the ground like that?” She said that the formation was in the making. Sri Aurobindo is now residing in the subtle physical and working from there. I had seen a crown on His head—a very strange crown—it probably implied sovereign rule. I had gone there only once.”

There are also stories of more intimate encounters, stories that not only reveal immense Love, Patience and Compassion inspiring us to follow Their divinely-human example but also show us the deep care and concern that They have for those who have the rarest of privileges to be near Them:

Jhumur Bhattacharya also shares some of her treasures:

I have heard that young children were not allowed to enter the Ashram main building.

We could never step inside the Ashram. But the Mother would always inquire whether there were sufficient fruits for the children. She used to send milk separately. She used to send Amrita-da to inspect whether everything was in order. She was precisely like a human mother. So kind was Her behaviour! But we never went inside the Ashram. I remember when the Mother used to give Balcony Darshan, my mother would go to have Her Darshan with me on her lap—there were some more children—and she would stand at the spot where now the Jhunjhun Boarding is situated. It was quite far. My mother could never go near the Ashram with me. The Mother has said that She used to bring down a Force which was unbearable for children. Gradually we kids used to go near the Ashram. I was then aged three. We would hear that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo resided in the Ashram main building but no one allowed us to enter it. After a considerable period of time we began to enter the Ashram very silently and secretly. Then someone reported to the Mother that these children were very keen to enter the Ashram. She replied that if they wanted to come let them come. That was the beginning. On the 15th of every month we—there were five or six of us—would visit the Ashram main building. The Mother used to play with us games like “Ringa Ringa Roses” or She would teach us something. But we were allowed to go to the Darshans. Jiji [KiranKumari] was our guide, we children were taken separately for the Darshan of Sri Aurobindo. The Darshans were occasions of bliss for us.

Though we used to disturb the sadhana and meditation of the other members of the Ashram community we received infinite love from everyone of them. We would go to the residence of Kobi [Nishikanto Roychowdhury] and disturb him when he was busy writing. We would ask Kobi: “Are we disturbing you?” And he would answer: “Not at all.” Everybody was affectionate towards us. We children used to play and make noise in the Meditation Hall in the afternoon but the Mother never told us even once that we were disturbing Sri Aurobindo. When we grew up a bit and our voices rose to a considerable extent, She asked us to make less noise between 1 and 1.30 p.m. because that was the time for Pavitra’s siesta. So She told us not to disturb him. But She never said that do not disturb me or Sri Aurobindo. We used to play Kho-kho in the Ashram. The Samadhi was not there at that time; there was a tank at its place with some pots above it. We used to touch it during the course of the game. There was another game which we played all over the Ashram, it was called Thappa-thappa in Hindi. While others meditated we would play our games. Then one day the Mother called us upstairs. She created games for us. There were cards with flowers which She asked us to read and remember. She announced that those who would win the games were eligible for a prize. Gradually She started a different education with six of us. Our education was no longer restricted to the school. At 12 noon after having our lunch in our residence we would go to the Mother and play when She was free. And She was never free. Everyone awaited Her, the Heads of the Departments would wait to get Her signature on some paper or inform Her about something. So we had to wait. There was a game which She had seen at Japan and arranged it for us. At times She would come and inquire whether we were able to do it.”

Her account of the last Darshan of Sri Aurobindo is equally interesting:

“Everyone was going for the Darshan. I went to His room and saw—many must have seen as well—a profound golden-orange light. A huge body was lying on the bed. There was a strange glow around. I did not realize that the light was coming out of His body. The light had illuminated the entire room. Initially I thought that many lights had been put up in the room. Then I observed that the room had only one dim light. Then I thought that probably the curtains were golden in colour but the room had no curtain. The glass windows were all painted red. The entire room was lit up by that golden-orange light and I have not forgotten it till date. To see that light I would visit Sri Aurobindo’s room whenever I got a chance. That light remained for four days. Many had seen that light. The Mother had said that Sri Aurobindo had brought down the Supramental on earth, that is, in His body. That’s why He had to leave His body. The Mother had declared that as long as the light remained no one should touch Sri Aurobindo. There was no ice in the room. Apart from a small table-fan there were no fans in His room. Yet there was no deterioration. In the evening of 8th December a blue spot was observed on His face and the orange-golden light had faded and become yellowish. Then the Mother announced that Sri Aurobindo’s body would be put to rest in the Samadhi on the following day.”

But what comes as an icing on the cake of this most delicious dish of divine encounters is an account of Pranab-da’s interview by the author, Anurag:

Some letters of the Mother to Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya

‘My beloved child,
Your consecration to the divine work is so total that you have given your life to save mine. With all the mighty ardour that I have, I pray that this offering may not be in vain. My will to overcome all obstacles and to triumph is complete and unshakeable. You can depend on it, it will not weaken.’

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‘To thee whom my love selected when the time had come to start my work on the most material level—
I did not see in thee the man, but the human being capable of supramentalisation, the aspiration for physical perfection, the effort towards total transformation, the will to divinise the body and a natural and spontaneous capacity to do so, a physical harmony already partly realised and a growing possibility of expressing materially the psychic consciousness. With the certitude of a final Victory.’

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‘To my beloved child and faithful companion in the building up of the New World.
With my love, my trust and blessings for ever.’

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What follows are some very beautiful revelations and helpful suggestions on the path, To quote just a couple of them:

“Some of the questions I had asked Dada about Sri Aurobindo and His yoga on various occasions:

How can we feel the Presence of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother?

This can be done by Their Grace only. From our side there has to be aspiration and from Their side Grace. Only with the union of these two factors can we feel Their Presence.

The Mother used to say: ‘I will do your sadhana: you live happily and confidently.’ Dada, we haven’t had the Darshan of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Will They take up our sadhana as well?

Yes. Self-surrender is the path of our yoga. If one walks on that path, They’ll definitely take up the sadhana.”

These are some of the priceless pearls of Wisdom and Sacred treasure troves of invaluable gems of Love that the book contains. Critics will say that it is difficult to remain fully objective when we recount such experiences and there is always the possibility of some mixture. Well, may be, but then where can we find an absence of mixture anywhere in the world. And yet even if there is one golden grain of Truth in such accounts it is worth it. This book surely contains many such golden moments etched in the memory of the sadhakas. What is beautiful is that while reading through the accounts one clearly gets a feel that what is being stated is not more but less. The experiences are being understated rather than overstated. Where the memory is hazy or the experience unclear, the sadhakas are unwilling to narrate it, making this work unlike many other similar accounts. It will be an interesting document for posterity, not just for God-lovers who will always be delighted hear and read the accounts of disciples and the Lord’s dealings with them but also for scholars and spiritual historians who will find in the book firsthand accounts of some truly marvelous and interesting experiences.

Indeed the book is yet another jewel from Anurag’s pen and we wish that many more jewels follow.

Dr. Alok Pandey

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About the Reviewer: A practising psychiatrist in Sri Aurobindo Ashram Dispensary and an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram (Pondicherry), Dr. Alok Pandey, M.B.B.S., M.D. in Psychiatry from AFMC, Pune, is a former Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the Institute of Space and Aviation Medicine, Bangalore. He is the author of the famous book Death, Dying and Beyond and is also a member of Sri Aurobindo International Institute for Integral Health and Research and an Editor of the journal, NAMAH.

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R.Y. Deshpande’s new books “Running Through Savitri”, “Sanatana Dharma: An Aurobindonian Perspective” and “An Atrocious Biography”.

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

On the auspicious day of Gandhi Jayanti and Durga Asthami, I am happy to announce that three new books authored by Shri R. Y. Deshpande are now available at Overman Foundation.

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Savitri is the Yoga of Transformation—that is the entire significance and content, the strength of yogic Savitri. Savitri is the veritable Yoga of Transformation even as it embodies in it experiences of the Master Yogi. Intensely also these are the experiences of the Mother. The Mother has said: “Savitri is an exact description—not literature, not poetry (although the form is very poetical)—an exact description, step by step, paragraph by paragraph, page by page. … The realism of it is astounding.” Running Through Savitri is a compilation of all eight-line sentences in Savitri along with extensive commentaries on the prophetic possibilities that open out for the very Soul of the Divine in the context of the soul of the earth and of the soul of the mortal.

Comprising 740 pages, Running Through Savitri is available at a price of Rs. 800 (Eight Hundred) only.

cover of sanatana dharmaIf we have to look into the merit of Sanatana Dharma it is this which must be the main focus—a new birth taking place in leaping flames of the new fire. There has to be the luminous spiritual perspective and it is that in its trueness which can help us reorganise ourselves, our social structure, it based on the values that derive their strength and their power from the manifesting spirit itself, their beauty and their joy and the bright rushing force of life. Such could be the envisioned Aurobindonian formulation of the fourfold quality of the soul of man, of the soul of the earth, of the soul of the universe, of the soul of heaven. Wisdom and Strength and Beauty and Perfection are its great personalities to which should add also Love and the Joy of the Divine.

Sanatana Dharma: An Aurobindonian Perspective is a collection of essays on the glory of Sanatana Dharma. The themes discussed in this book are The Central Truth of the Hindu Religion, Swaraj and the Musulmans, The Renaissance in India, The Mission of the Vedanta by Swami Vivekananda, The Social Foundations for India, The Fourfold Order of Society, Beyond Chaturvarna—the Mother Explains, Chaturvana in the Karmayogin, The Brahmin—The Mother, The Fourfold Order of Cosmic Manifestation, Yajna in Savitri’s House of Meditation, Prithvi Sukta: Hymn to Goddess Earth, Avatar and Grace, The Gita on Avatarhood, Yoga-Skill-Works, Towards Integral Transformation, Four Luminous Powers and the Story of Creation, Doctrine of the Mystics, The Mother on the Dhammapada, The Significance of Rebirth, Chaturvarna or the Fourfold Personality, The Essence of Gita’s Teaching, The Supramental Sense, Towards the Supramental Time Vision and The Yoga of the Cells to name a few.

Comprising 740 pages, Sanatana Dharma: An Aurobindonian Perspective is available at a price of Rs. 800 (Eight Hundred) only.

an atrocious biography

An Atrocious Biography “critiques systematically and with incisive scientific thoroughness” Peter Heehs’ controversial biography of Sri Aurobindo, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. It also includes thought-provoking essays dealing with themes like Sevenfold Yoga in the Life of Sri Aurobindo, A Set of Rules described by the Mother, The Future of Humanity, Instruments of Higher Knowledge, The Avataric Work: Towards the Intermediate Race, Centennial Celebration of the Theme of Evolution, A Key Statement about the Integral Yoga and Ideas that have a Destiny to name a few.

Comprising 700 pages, An Atrocious Biography is available at a price of Rs. 750 (Seven Hundred and Fifty) only.

To place an order for the aforesaid titles, kindly write to overmanfoundation@gmail.com or call at (0) 98302 44192.

Payment can be made online as well as through money-orders, cheques and demand-drafts.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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Nolini Kanto Sarkar: A Pictorial Homage

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Dear Friends,

Nolini Kanto Sarkar (28.9.1889—18.5.1984) was a reputed writer, journalist and singer of humourous songs in Bengali who was closely associated with the magazine Bijoli, edited by Barindra Kumar Ghose (Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother). A lifelong follower and devotee of Sri Aurobindo, he visited Pondicherry with Hrishikesh Kanjilal (noted revolutionary who had spent a year with Sri Aurobindo in Alipore Jail) in 1921 to meet Sri Aurobindo. Recalling the memories of his first meeting with Sri Aurobindo and the subsequent events Nolini Kanto writes:

‘The first impression I had of Sri Aurobindo was of a very simple man, a little dark, of medium build, with long hair, beard and moustache. He had a very calm, soothing expression on his face and his great, bright eyes always seemed to look into the beyond. He was simply dressed in a clean, white dhoti and wore a pair of chappals [slippers]… Soon it was time for the midday meal. The dishes were both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. We sat down in two rows with the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and had our lunch. Only, the Mother and Miss Hodgson sat a little apart because they were vegetarian. Naturally I was a little surprised because I thought that in Europe everybody ate meat. But then I learnt that even when she was in France, the Mother did not touch meat or fish. After lunch I rested for a while. But all the time I felt the presence of Sri Aurobindo in my heart like an indwelling god. It was a most wonderful experience… Every afternoon tea was served at four o’clock. Sri Aurobindo then met the disciples on the first floor verandah and talked to them for some time. He sat on a chair on one side of a table and the disciples sat facing him, also on chairs. Only the Mother sat on the floor at his feet. On that very first day, he asked me a few questions about ordinary, personal matters, but I felt as though he had accepted me.’ (Between The Arrival and The Departure, Mother India, November 2004; translated by Aniruddha Sircar from the original book Asa Jawar Majkhane).

Nolini Kanto had expressed to Barindra Kumar Ghose his desire to be initiated by Sri Aurobindo. A few days later, Nolini Kanto was informed by Barindra that Sri Aurobindo had asked him to stay in his room in the evening. Accordingly Nolini Kanto stayed back in his room and as he was pondering over the possibilities of Sri Aurobindo’s coming to his room for initiation, he had a strange but unique experience. His mind had become tranquil and he was absolutely lost to himself. He realized that Sri Aurobindo had initiated him by transmitting His spiritual force to Nolini Kanto and accepted him as a disciple.

In 1927 Nolini Kanto joined the Indian Broadcasting Company as a singer. This company was taken over by the Government of India in April 1930 and renamed Indian State Broadcasting Service. A year later when it decided to launch a fortnightly journal named Betar Jagat, Nolini Kanto was made its editor. In 1944 he expressed to Nolini Kanta Gupta his desire to join Sri Aurobindo Ashram as an inmate. When his request was conveyed to the Mother, she asked Sri Aurobindo: “Who is this Nalini Sarkar?” Sri Aurobindo replied: “He is my old disciple.” Nolini Kanto finally settled in the Ashram as a permanent inmate in 1948 with his wife Shanti and two daughters, Gitika and Bakul. He worked in the Ashram Press where he corrected the proofs of books published in Bengali. Later he taught Bengali to the students of ‘Knowledge’. Known for his extraordinary sense of humour, he was also the author of well-known books like Dada Thakur, Shraddhaspodeshu, Hashir Antarale, Asa Jawar Majkhane and Kanchantalar Cup.

28 September 2014 marks the 125th Birth Anniversary of Nolini Kanto Sarkar. As our humble homage to him, some of his photographs have been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation. We are extremely thankful and grateful to Smt. Bakul Sarkar, youngest daughter of Nolini Kanta Sarkar, for gifting the said photographs and the birthday card Nolini Kanta had received from the Mother on his 80th birthday to Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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2Nolini Kanto [seated at the back with his youngest daughter Bakul], Nazrul Islam, Barada Charan Mazumdar, Upendranath Banerjee and Dilip Kumar Roy.

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4Nolini Kanto with “Dada Thakur” Sarat Chandra Pandit.

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6Nolini Kanto with Sahana Devi; seated in front his daughters Gitika and Bakul.

7Nolini Kanto with his daughters Gitika and Bakul.

8Nolini Kanto with noted Bengali authoress Nabanita Devsen.

9Nolini Kanto with his daughters Gitika and Bakul.

10Nolini Kanto with Gopal Das Mazumdar, proprietor of D.M. Library.

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11.5Nolini Kanto with Nishikanto Roychowdhury.

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14Nolini Kanto with his eldest daughter Gitika and a relative.

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Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him: A Review by Dr. Prema Nandakumar

sri aurobindo as we saw him coverTitle: Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him. Author: Anurag Banerjee. Publisher: Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Number of pages: 242. Price: Rs. 325.

When you take up a many-faceted diamond, it becomes very difficult to describe the features. All we can say is, it is brilliant. So it has been with Sri Aurobindo. In sheer desperation, Amal Kiran had opened his book on The Poetic Genius of Sri Aurobindo thus:

“How shall we crown Sri Aurobindo? Is he greater as a Yogi than as a philosopher? Does the literary critic in him outtop the sociological thinker? Does he shine brighter as a politician or as a poet? It is difficult to decide. Everywhere Mount Everest seems to face Mount Everest.”

Being a poet himself , K.D. Sethna prioritises Sri Aurobindo the poet. And that is exactly what happens with each of the authors in this very welcome anthology. Anurag began his interviews in 2007 and it was not a minute too soon! Going through this fascinating collection, it is interesting how the disciple’s personality is reflected in his/her approach to Sri Aurobindo. Even more fascinating are the brief biographical notes on the interviewees. They come from varied background situations, some because of their parents, others because of a chance meeting with a devotee or an article.

The pride of place in this collection has gone to Noren Singh and Suprabha Nahar. Their father, Prithwi Singh Nahar who started the Ashram’s Publication department is a legend. Indeed, the entire Nahar family dedicated itself to the Mother and the work of Sri Aurobindo. Other names that we have known for a long time who speak to Anurag here include Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, Arabinda Basu, Aster Patel and Prithwindra Mukherjee. Going through the pages carefully we realize why Sri Aurobindo assured us that all life is yoga. From Kiran Kumari we learn that her sadhana obviously included repairing stoves and typewriters. We also learn that Sri Aurobindo’s voice was ‘soft and sweet’.

Was it all absolutely heavenly in the Ashram, as for instance, we find in the House of New Creation in Savitri? Obviously not. There were arrivals and departures, short-sighted statements, deliberate misrepresentations, the injudicious dance of human ego. This is what makes the Ashram life natural; after all, this was a laboratory of the future in the making!

Expectedly, there is more of “Mother as we saw Her” than of Sri Aurobindo. This too is understandable for he was in seclusion, busy with his yoga and communing with his disciples through letters. Yet, there are many here who give us a fine picture of the Master to draw us closer to Sri Aurobindo’s personality.Though it was the Mother whom they saw often, Sri Aurobindo’s presence was inescapable, says Aster Patel:

“And the essence of Sri Aurobindo’s presence was very strong…His presence was there. One was not – I must say – overawed; one was completely at ease. That’s like – this is home.”

If almost all those speaking here come from traditional and not unoften idealistic households, Prithwindra’s legacy is certainly enviable. For he is a grandson of Bagha Jatin and himself a great achiever. The poet in him overflows his answers to Anurag’s pointed questions. The Ashram of those days?

“Spontaneous simplicity and beauty reigned everywhere like an aura from the Mother. She seemed to stand there to cure men and women from a long ugliness prevailing in colonized India externally and morally. People were happy in that healthy atmosphere of freedom, to serve Her, to love Her, to receive Her blessings.”

Can you describe the happiness of Brindavan days when the Lord came down to be one among the cowherds? We see Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as a brilliant haze watched through the shimmering veils of memory in the hearts of devotees, always a delightful experience. Anurag does bravely try to get some solid material, by his questions but they keep their distance like the Supermind!

Anurag: Do you know when would They return?
Jhumur: There is no deadline as such.

Anurag: Do you meet the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in the subtle physical?
Aniruddha Sircar: Not to my knowledge.

There lies the charm of this book. No two answers are alike. This experience of living in the presence of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo was certainly an extraordinary one and contained continents. For the interviewees in this book, it is a continuing experience. Perhaps Anurag’s persistence to know when Sri Aurobindo and the Mother would return gets answered silently. Where is the question of a return? They are already here! Strong, heroic souls all, these twenty-seven stars shed the Aurobindonian light for us as a clear statement of faith.

How can we have anything of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother without a touch of humour? That is provided by Lata when she describes her father’s argument with the airlines officials when he was coming to Pondicherry. No, I am not going to recount it. You will understand the real strength of the Aurobindonain movement in page 169!

Prema Nandakumar

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About the Reviewer: Dr. Prema Nandakumar (b: 1939) is a famous independent researcher, translator, critic and authoress who writes in Tamil and English. She was the first to submit the thesis of doctoral degree in Savitri (Sri Aurobindo’e epic poem) in Andhra University. It was published as A Study of Savitri in 1962. Her post-doctoral work has been published as Dante and Sri Aurobindo in 1981. She has authored about twenty-five books in English and Tamil. She is a recipient of several awards which include the ‘Sri Aurobindo Puraskar’ and ‘Panditha Ratna’. She has been a member of the Academic Council, Central Institute of Higha Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi (1988-91); Member, Board of Studies in English, Andhra University, Waltair; Manba, National Executive of The Indian P.E.N., Senate member of Bharathidasan University and Visiting Professor, Swami Vivekananda Chair, Mahatma Gandhi University. Her published works include titles like A Study of Savitri, The Glory and the Good, Dante and Sri Aurobindo, Subramania Bharati, Sri Aurobindo: A Critical Introduction, The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, etc.

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The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame: A Review by Dr. Prema Nandakumar

the-mother-cover

Title: The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame. Author: Anurag Banerjee. Publisher: Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Number of pages: 362. Price: Rs. 475.

Dr.Ananda Reddy’s foreword says it all. Anurag Banerjee has been blessed with a lambent faith in the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The rest comes easy. It is true there can be no ‘biography’ of spiritual braziers like the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. And yet biographies do get written. Some assume the critical god and affect the nod to make their pronouncements by holding on to trivialities in the lives of the great. But trivial minds wear their trivial glasses and observe as relevant as the human beings described by the King of Brobdingnag: “The most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.” They are but a handful: let us forget them and take up the work of sincere biographers who want to do the right thing in projecting great personalities as inspirations for the future.

The Mother’s life may not have been lived on the surface, but what others saw and noted of the surface life itself is an amazing experience, as observed by Anurag when he read books on and by the Mother. The title itself is appropriately from Savitri. It is fascinating to know that she was “scolded all the time” as most of us are, as the parents and other elders try to sculpt girls fit into the stereo-type of an organized, conforming, genteel lady. For instance, Mirra was ill-at-ease with religion, and this is usually frowned upon by a family. For her, all this did not matter because she could experience the god within, the antaryami:

“..it is a marvelous, marvellous grace to have had this experience so constantly, so powerfully, like something holding out against everything, everything: this Presence. And in my outward consciousness, a total negation of it all.”

Based heavily on Mother’s Agenda and Mother’s Chronicles, The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame opens gradually like a flower from Mirra Alfassa to Mirra Morriset and Mirra Richard. With Paul Richard leaving Pondicherry, a new age began for Mira (the spelling was changed by Mrinalini Chattopadhyaya) as the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. There is a seamless flow in all this, with each page replete with information that would be new to many of the readers. Anurag makes it a point to mention why and how Paul Richard broke away from Mirra. The major upset seems to have been due to the Mother’s brief article in Prabartak edited by Motilal Roy where she says:

“As soon as I saw Sri Aurobindo I recognized him the well known being whom I used to call Krishna … And this is enough to explain why I am fully convinced that my place and my work are near him, in India.”

The Motilal Roy episode focuses on the many problems and inner rebellions that clouded the minds of many disciples in the ‘twenties. Acceptance of Mira as the Mother was not easy for them. Time alone could reveal the continuous re-configurations of Prakriti. Should there be a revelation? There is an Indian proverb which asks us not to go in search of the origins of a rishi and a river. In religion and spirituality faith ought to remain supreme, for unbelief will destroy the foundations of human sanity. Not “I think, therefore I am” but “I believe, therefore I am” is the best answer. Three hundred and thirty-four pages after, still Anurag has no answer for “who was the Mother after all?” Wisely, he turns to Savitri: “The magnet of our difficult ascent!”

It is good for ageing bodies like mine to know that the younger generation is taking such serious and quality-strong interest in Indian heritage in general and in Sri Aurobindo in particular. Asking the right questions at the right time and desisting from wilful dissection are marks of a good disciple. Anurag has them which makes me happy.

Have I nothing to carp upon? Ah yes. I wish he published books in a format that would make them easy to handle and carry around in these days when books have become our inevitable companions in travel.

Prema Nandakumar

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About the Reviewer: Dr. Prema Nandakumar (b: 1939) is a famous independent researcher, translator, critic and authoress who writes in Tamil and English. She was the first to submit the thesis of doctoral degree in Savitri (Sri Aurobindo’e epic poem) in Andhra University. It was published as A Study of Savitri in 1962. Her post-doctoral work has been published as Dante and Sri Aurobindo in 1981. She has authored about twenty-five books in English and Tamil. She is a recipient of several awards which include the ‘Sri Aurobindo Puraskar’ and ‘Panditha Ratna’. She has been a member of the Academic Council, Central Institute of Higha Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi (1988-91); Member, Board of Studies in English, Andhra University, Waltair; Manba, National Executive of The Indian P.E.N., Senate member of Bharathidasan University and Visiting Professor, Swami Vivekananda Chair, Mahatma Gandhi University. Her published works include titles like A Study of Savitri, The Glory and the Good, Dante and Sri Aurobindo, Subramania Bharati, Sri Aurobindo: A Critical Introduction, The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, etc.

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The Passing of Dr. Kireet Joshi

kireet joshi

Dear Friends,

With the demise of Dr. Kireet Joshi on Sunday, 14 September 2014, at 5 a.m. the Aurobindonian firmament has lost one of its brightest stars. Born on 10 August 1931, he studied philosophy and law at the Elphinstone College under the University of Bombay. In 1952 at the suggestion of Prof. Chubb he met K.D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran at Bombay at the latter’s residence. The interview with Amal Kiran which lasted for more than an hour made young Kireet Joshi feel ‘greatly widened’ and ‘deeply happy’ (to quote his own words) and he began to regard Amal Kiran as his first teacher in regards to the teaching of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

In 1953 Kireet Joshi was awarded a gold medal and the Vedanta Prize for topping the Master of Arts examination. In 1955 he was selected for the I.A.S. and in the following year he was posted as Assistant Collector of Surat. However, in November 1956 he resigned from his services to join Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry as an inmate. In 1958 he was made the first Registrar of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education where he taught philosophy and psychology to the students of the Higher Course. Under the guidance of the Mother, he took part in several educational experiments which included the Free Progress System. He authored educational materials based on Sri Aurobindo’s The Ideal of Human Unity and The Human Cycle and conducted studies on The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga as well. To share the results of his extensive research on a larger scale, he had organized numerous seminars and symposiums. It was also due to his efforts that Sri Aurobindo Ashram was recognized as a Research Institution by the Government of India and exemptions under Sections 35 (i) and (ii) were provided to it.

1976 was a significant year in the life of Kireet Joshi. A greater Call came to him from the outside world in the form of an invitation from Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, who, being well-aware of his competence in the field of education, made him the Educational Adviser in the Ministry of Education. In that very year, he was appointed Member-Secretary of the National Committee on Viswa Bharati under the Chairmanship of Dr. K.L. Shrimali. He not only redesigned and redrafted the Bill for Viswa Bharati University but also developed the ideas as well as the Bills of Pondicherry University and Indira Gandhi National Open University. Also in 1976 he was made a Member of the Central Advisory Board of Education, a post which he occupied till 1988. In 1976 he was elected as Vice-President of International Commission on Education at Geneva for a period of two years.

In 1981 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Secretary of Auroville International Advisory Council. He also played a pivotal role in the establishment of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Educational Research at Auroville. In 1999 he was appointed as the Chairman of Auroville Foundation, a post he occupied till 2004.

Also in 1981 Kireet Joshi was made a Member of the University Grants Commission, a post he adorned till 1990. During the tenure of his membership, he rendered outstanding contributions towards the development of new methodologies of education in the tertiary system. He conceptualized autonomous colleges and proposed several innovations with the view of providing cultural understanding and spiritual values through aesthetic studies and also promoted the concept of value-based system of management.

In 1982 Kireet Joshi was made the Member-Secretary of National Commission for Teachers (for school education) and National Commission for Teachers (for higher education). He played a significant role in the creation of Indian Council of Philosophical Research which was established to promote Indian philosophical traditions. For a number of years he served the organization as the Member-Secretary and from 2000 to 2006 he functioned as the Chairman of the said organization. He also developed Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratisthan and served as its Founder-Member and Secretary. From 1983 to 1989 he was a Member of the Executive Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Shimla. He represented India as a delegate in the conferences of UNESCO organized in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1985 and 1988, chaired the UNESCO Committee on International Education from 1983 to 1987 and was also the Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO Institute of Education (Hamburg) from 1986 to 1990.

In 1983 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Special Secretary to the Indian Government in the capacity of which he organized several programmes related to the various aspects of higher education, youth services, language development and UNESCO affairs. In 1987 he conceptualized the International Hindi University at Wardha to develop and promote studies in Hindi both at the national and international levels. As the Vice-Chairman of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan he guided the activities of the organization in the field of Sanskrit and also developed schemes for the promotion of Sanskrit studies in various Indian universities. Not only did he frame the constitutions of Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha at New Delhi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha at Tirupathi but also worked to provide the status of deemed universities to both the institutions. From 2006 to 2008 he was the Editorial Fellow of the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture.

In 2008 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Educational Advisor to the Chief Minister of Gujarat and he adorned the post for two years. In 2009 he was appointed as the first Executive Chairman of the Gujarat Educational Innovations Commission.

Kireet Joshi was associated with The Mother’s Institute of Research from 1977 to 2001 as the Managing Trustee and had undertaken the task of translating the thirteen volumes of Mother’s Agenda into various regional Indian languages. He was also quite close to Satprem and Sujata Nahar. It was to Kireet Joshi that Satprem had sent a note in 2006 in which the latter had written: ‘Je suis arrivé au bout’ (‘I have reached the goal’).

As a pioneer in the field of value-based education, recognitions and awards poured on Kireet Joshi. In 1989 he received an award from the Indian Council for Child Education for his invaluable contribution in the field of child education. In that very year he received the National Citizen’s Award. In 1996 Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha conferred upon him the degree of D.Litt. In the following year he received the Sewa Ratna Award.

Kireet Joshi was also a prolific writer whose published works cover a vast variety of themes including education, Indian culture, philosophy, spirituality and integral yoga. His notable works include titles like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Sri Aurobindo and the Integral Yoga, The New Synthesis of Yoga, Varieties of Yogic Experience and Integral Realisation, Significance of Indian Yoga, Synthesis of Yoga in the Veda, Synthesis of Yoga in the Upanishads, The Gita and its Synthesis of Yoga, Integral Yoga: An Outline of Major Aims, Processes, Methods and Results, Integral Yoga of Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, Supermind in Integral Yoga, Integral Yoga and Evolutionary Mutation, Integral Yoga, Evolution and the Next Species, Bhagavadagita and Contemporary Crisis, A Philosophy of the Role of the Contemporary Teacher, A Philosophy of the Education for the Contemporary Youth, A Philosophy of the Evolution for the Contemporary Man, Philosophy and Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and Other Essays, Philosophy of Value Oriented Education: Theory and Practice, Philosophy of Supermind and Contemporary Crisis, Philosophy of Indian Art, On Materialism, Towards A New Social Order, The Veda and Indian Culture, Glimpses of Vedic Literature, Landmarks of Hinduism, The Portals of Vedic Knowledge, Indian Identity and Cultural Continuity, Education at Crossroads, A National Agenda for Education, Education for Tomorrow, Education for Character Development, Innovations in Education, Indian Pedagogy and Towards A New Curriculum to name a few.

A few years ago Kireet Joshi returned to Pondicherry where he stayed at ‘Care Nursing Home’. This home-coming did not imply that he retired; on the contrary, he continued to guide scholars on themes related to ‘Science and Spirituality’ and ‘Spiritual Education’. He was the living example of the Sanskrit shloka: vidya dadati vinayam. He was always approachable and he encouraged youngsters to work on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. The present author fondly recalls how he had taken an avid interest in the former’s booklet Sri Aurobindo on Ethics and had asked him to work on a monograph on Sri Aurobindo’s political life. Our organization Overman Foundation was privileged to honour Kireet Joshi with the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ in August 2011.

Towards the end of his life, Kireet Joshi was diagnosed with throat cancer. A few days ago he was brought to the Ashram Nursing Home where he passed away on Sunday, 14 September 2014, at 5 a.m.

In his tribute to Kireet Joshi, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has written: “Saddened by demise of Kireet Joshi. He will be remembered as a fine scholar and educationist, devoted to the principles of Sri Aurobindo. As advisor to Gujarat CM, Kireet Bhai played a key role in setting up of Children’s University and Institute of Teacher Education.”

With the demise of Kireet Joshi the Aurobindonian community has lost the last among the Greats. The emptiness created by his death is irreparable.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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1Kireet Joshi with Nolini Kanta Gupta, Udar Pinto, Sisir Kumar Mitra at “Knowledge”, the Higher Course of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.

2Kireet Joshi with André Morisset (the Mother’s son), Udar Pinto, Sisir Kumar Mitra and Indira Gandhi on 12 December 1972.

3Kireet Joshi with Kalyan Chaudhuri, Prapatti, Udar Pinto, Nolini Kanta Gupta, André Morisset and Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala at the inauguration of “Sri Aurobindo’s Action” in July 1970.

4Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto.

5Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto, Prapatti and Babaji at the Orissa Centenary Conference.

6Kireet Joshi with Dr. Karan Singh and his wife, Udar Pinto, Charupada Bhattacharya, Nolini Kanta Gupta, Sisir Kumar Mitra and Arabinda Basu.

7Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto and Indira Gandhi at the Dining Room of Sri Aurobindo Ashram on 17 February 1974.

8Kireet Joshi and Udar Pinto with Madam Jivkova, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Bulgaria.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Ratna Chakravarti at the second “Auro-Ratna Award” ceremony in August 2011.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi receiving the trophy of “Auro-Ratna Award” from Krishna Chakravarti and Prof. Kittu Reddy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi receiving the certificate of “Auro-Ratna Award” from Suprabha Nahar and Dr. Ananda Reddy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Jhumur Bhattacharya, the in-charge of “Knowledge”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Dr. Ananda Reddy and Raman Reddy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Anurag Banerjee.

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A Review of Japasūtram

Japasutram

Author: Swami Pratyagatmanda Saraswati (translated into English by Prof. S.N. Roy). Number of pages: 300. Price: Rs. 350. Distributor: Overman Foundation, Kolkata.

Dear Friends,

The book Japasūtram: The Science of Creative Sound (authored by Swami Pratyagatmanda Saraswati (translated into English by Prof. S.N. Roy) begins in a discursive and dramatic way, and in a manner which seems to be inclined to metaphorical and pictorial thinking. The present small book tells especially of vak and prana, of varnamala or the Creative Exponents, of nada, bindu, kala and ardhamatra, in very general terms. This may stimulate an interest for a closer and deeper study as amplified and illustrated in Japasūtram.

To enable the reader to understand better the theme of Japasūtram, a review of the original work in Bengali has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation. This review was published in the November 1953 issue of The Advent, the quarterly journal published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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Japa or recitation of words or sounds which have special potency has been regarded as a great aid to spiritual sadhana in all countries and all ages, but nowhere has it been turned to such a scientific and efficient means as in the Tantric system of India. But though it is practised widely, its mystery is not generally known and it is more often than not practised blindly and mechanically with no result. The book under review has gone a long way in removing this veil and showing the true nature of japa and the secret of its efficiency. The former name of the author was Professor Pramathanath Mukherjee and he was a co-worker of Sri Aurobindo in the field of education. In research work in the great system of Tantric sadhana his co-operation with the late Sir John Woodroffe is well-known. He wrote many articles and books on Veda and Tantra and philosophy, but he has poured all his knowledge and spiritual experience into this work, his magnum opus. The main book is written in Sanskrit verses; like the famous Vedanta Sutras it has four chapters, and each chapter has four sections. The book is vast and only the first two parts have been published which however enable the readers to understand the main principles of Tantric sadhana and realise that behind all the symbols and rites of the Hindu religion there are deep spiritual truths. Sri Aurobindo said about the Hindu religion in his famous Uttarpara Speech, “This is the one religion that can triumph over materialism by including and anticipating the discoveries of science and the speculations of philosophy.” The truth of this great saying has been proved in this book in detail. The author himself has prepared a Sanskrit commentary on his Sutras and translated it into Bengali. In all there are more than five hundred Sutras and the elucidating verses are about two thousand in number. Most of the technical terms we find in Indian spiritual books have been explained here, and in this way the book has greatly enriched the Bengali language by providing apt words for scientific and philosophical concepts. This is possible only for a man of his vast erudition and life-long spiritual sadhana.

In the beginning there was the Word, says the Bible. Thus sound is the beginning of all creation, and it follows that a proper manipulation of sound values can be utilised for all creative activities. Their efficiency in music and poetry is well-known. Not only the significance of the words, but the sound vibrations contribute to the rasa or ananda as well as the illumination which these arts bring to us. When properly used, sound vibrations help us to rise to a higher state of being and consciousness; thus the Upanishad defines japa as abhyāroha or a means of ascent. The Gita says that of all yajnas or sacrifices the Divine is most manifest in japa, yajñānām japa-yajño’smi.

Materialism in its modern form, which arose with the phenomenal advance of Natural Science in the nineteenth century, is on the wane. People everywhere are realising more and more that there is no other solution of the persisting ills of human life than the spiritual. Still there are two great obstacles to the advent of the true spiritual age. On the one hand, the scientific attitude has made men sceptic, and though it is useful in uprooting prejudices and superstitions, it engenders a general habit of doubting spiritual values, specially among the Intelligentsia. On the other hand, those who have faith in spirituality regard mechanical performance of rites and ceremonies and the following of some mental and moral rules and dogmas as the whole of spirituality. Swamiji’s book, it is expected, will help largely in removing both these obstacles. People will understand the inner meaning and significance of symbols and images and profit by using them more intelligently. Also the sceptics will see that the tenets of Hinduism are not mere dogmas or blind beliefs, they are at least as much tested truths as the findings of Science. Not only that, when properly understood they even throw light on problems which are baffling modern scientists.

Everything in the world, says the author, can be considered in three aspects—Kriyā (Action), ākriti (Pattern), daivata (Power). For example, I am seeing an object. The seeing is an action. The special organ by which I am seeing in a definite way is the Pattern. And the power of consciousness which is presiding over the whole action is the daivata (in this case, Aditya, the presiding deity of vision). It is the latter of which material science does not take any account—it has no means of seeing that behind everything and every action in the world there is a presiding deity. The animism of the primitive people has an underlying truth which they saw darkly. Take the case of Radium, its atoms burst spontaneously, this is Action. The arrangement inside and outside the atom an account of which this bursting takes place giving rise to alpha, beeta and gama rays constitute the Pattern. But how this bursting takes place without any external cause such as pressure or heat, science is unable to explain. The Tantric system will attribute it to the third element, the Power or daivata, the presiding deity. By practising japa in the proper manner one can come into direct contact with this deity—it is in this manner that Tantrics can exercise a control over external things and events which is beyond the scope of science. Here is a field of experiment, and those who sincerely seek to know the truth should follow the Tantric discipline and test for themselves its claims which, if established, will widen the power of man over Nature far beyond what has yet been accomplished by Science. “But here also,” says Sri Aurobindo, “the latest trend is highly significant of a freer future. As the outposts of Scientific Knowledge come more and more to be set on the borders that divide the material from the immaterial, so also the highest achievements of practical Science are those which tend to simplify and reduce to the vanishing point the machinery by which the greatest effects are produced. Wireless telegraphy is Nature’s exterior sign and pretext for a new orientation. The sensible physical means for the intermediate transmission of the physical force is removed. It is only preserved at the points of impulsion and reception. Eventually even these must disappear; for when the laws and forces of the supraphysical are studied with the right starting point, the means will infallibly be found for Mind directly to seize on the physical energy and speed it accurately upon its errand. There, once we bring ourselves to recognise it, lie the gates that open upon the enormous vistas of the future.” (The Life Divine, Vol. I, ch. II)

That it is not a mere fancy to expect distant transmission of sounds and messages without the aid of transmitting or receiving sets appears from a consideration of the very nature of Sound. As this deep and subtle knowledge lies at the basis of the practice of japa, we shall give here an abridged translation of what Swamiji has said about it in an introductory essay given at the beginning of the book.

“The Science of japa is essentially a spiritual Science. It has been said that there are three accessories for japa—vak (speech), prana (vital), mana (mind). The action of japa is not performed disregarding the material body. Thus what we regard as gross is the first standing ground for japa. The laws of this material body are therefore not irrelevant to this first stepping place of japa. Japa also requires a special function of the vital force, and in that function there must be symmetry and harmony, just as this is indispensable in music. Unless there is the harmony, the action of japa will not be effective. Take the word Krisna; if it be pronounced as Krisna, as many people do, the dental s and the dental n will not be symmetrical with the guttural ka and also with s and n, and thus instead of harmonic function there will be discordant function.

Japa and for that matter any other action requires these three things for its efficacy—(1) Vidya (correct technique), (2) Sraddha (starting from working belief and interest) and (3) upanisat (grasp of basic principles). For correct technique or vidya we must take the help of Science, and in this respect we cannot ignore the expert knowledge of physical, biological and mental Science. As a matter of fact, science is science whether it be physical or spiritual, and it is wrong to erect an insurmountable wall between the two. Of course only spiritual science can claim to be perfect, but it has to reach this perfection by taking up the knowledge given by the other sciences and integrating them. Japa, taken, as here, in the wider science no doubt belongs to spiritual science, but in many respects it has to obey the laws discovered by the physical sciences. For that the sadhaka of japa need not go to a physical laboratory just as a violinist need not do so—but they have to depend on the knowledge discovered in such laboratories. Of course in spiritual matters the main thing is the deeper flow of power from the spirit or soul, but the surface and external things also cannot be ignored—the entire being of the jiva has to be taken into account.

We find in the Veda that this creation comes from sound, that sound is the origin of this universe. What sort of sound is this? Is it the same sound as we hear by our ear? The sound we hear by our ear depends on several things. First, there must be some disturbance somewhere in the atmosphere. It is something like the ripples created in water when a stone is thrown into it. That disturbance extending like waves has to strike our ear, our auditory nerves and some parts of the brain before our consciousness responds to it and we hear the sound. Again, if the disturbance is too strong or too weak we do not hear any sound. There is a lower limit and an upper limit to the rate of vibration, and unless the vibrations of the air are within these two limits we generally do not hear any sound. Yet as the existence of ultra-violet and infra-red rays outside the range of our vision is proved by science, so the existence also of vibrations beyond audible sounds is proved, and supersonics and ultrasonics are making research in those phenomena. In the formation and dissolution of chemical compounds, in the breaking of atoms, in the control of the subtle activities of the body and the mind, the influence of these subtle vibrations is being increasingly admitted. We cannot hear a sound unless a vibration is carried by the medium of air and strikes our auditory organs and reaches the brain cells. Beside this there is the factor of attention—we do not hear a sound unless our mind is turned towards it.

This rough account of the phenomena of sound shows that the ordinary sound cannot be regarded as the origin of creation. For such sound requires a vibration in air, but where is air before creation? Such sound requires auditory organs and the brain which are non-existent before creation. There is also no mind to pay attention. What we experience as sound came after creation, not before it. What is at the beginning of creation can be called a “primordial causal movement”. From that primal source issue various “lines or streams of effectual manifestation” in various directions. All the forms we see, the sounds we hear, the taste, smell and touch we experience, all the joy and sorrow we feel—are different streams of such manifestation. What was before this primal vibration, whether or how it arose in an infinite silence and immobility, we need not discuss here. It is sufficient to understand that at the source of all our experience is a vibration, spanda, cāñcalya, stressing. The resultant manifestation of this stressing in my consciousness constitutes my knowledge of things. This applies equally to all such manifestations as light, heat, sound. The atoms of some object are vibrating restlessly; ether or some such subtle medium carries that and excites my sense-organs; the response of my consciousness to that stimulus constitutes my experience of heat. We need not have any doubt that at the source of all sense-experience, there is a stir, an agitation.

But apart from the way how we know or feel an object, what is the object in itself? Take this watch, it looks like a solid and stable thing, but at this moment I can break it to pieces, those pieces can be still further divided. So far as chemistry is concerned we stop at the atom which is regarded as indivisible. But that also is not really indivisible, science says that an atom is made up of electrical particles, such as electrons; an atom has a very complicated structure, it is a solar system in miniature. So there is no rest anywhere, movements are going on inside the atom as in the bigger world outside. Where is the end of this activity? What is there inside an electron? Science, even some time ago, dared not conceive anything about it, but wave mechanics has shown that electron is not the last word in the formation of matter. Indeed in explaining the structure of matter, science is using mathematical concepts which are nothing more than symbols or a convenient or conventional way of describing the phenomena observed. This much is certain that at the beginning of creation we arrive at a spanda, a vibration or stressing. Let us designate this spanda as paraśabda, whether we hear that as sound or not; what we hear can be called aparaśabda or dhvani. There is difference in the capacity of hearing among individuals; certain animals can hear sounds inaudible to human beings. With the help of instruments like megaphone, microphone we can perhaps hear the movements of an ant’s feet. If there be any truth in the spiritual science of the Hindus, a person by practising samyama can hear the subtlest of the subtle sounds, even the movements of electrons may not be altogether inaudible. Thus the capacity of hearing is relative, variable and conditional. The sound we ordinarily hear may be called sthūla śabda, gross sound. The sound that can be heard with the help of instruments or by the development of yogic powers may be called sūksma śabda, subtle sounds. But instruments are not perfect, yogic powers may have defects—so the question arises, is there any condition in which hearing is absolute and perfect? Following the analogy of mathematics we can assert that there is such a condition where the soul can hear a spanda or vibration without the help of any instrument or organ. Such a capacity of hearing may be termed Absolute ear. Not only hearing, we can conceive also Absolute eye, Absolute tongue and so forth. These may not be gross things like the eye, tongue etc., they signify limits of a particular capacity. By the Absolute Ear we get sound as it is which is known in Indian philosophy as śabda tanmātra.

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“All things in the world are centres of a play of forces, everything has at its basis a causal stress. The vibration of this basic stress of a thing as heard by the Absolute ear is its natural name or Vījamantra. Such a vījamantra has the power to create the object of which it is the natural name. This is the principle underlying all practice of japa. Take for example fire, we have no absolute ear to hear its original vibration, but by the yogic ear it is heard as ram. Our recitation of these mantras is not pure, therefore their power is dormant. By puraścaran and other Tantric processes, this power can be awakened, and then actual fire can be produced by the recitation of ram. This is not a matter of blind belief, we point here to a field of experiment, like any other field of scientific experiment. Science has gained much control over forces of Nature, but that control has not reached its highest limit. Indian Yoga is an attempt in that direction. If one can attain the Absolute Ear or very near it, it will not be impossible to dispense with transmitting and receiving sets for hearing or seeing sounds and sights from any distance.”

We have already said that there is hardly any symbol or image in Hindu religion for the true significance of which the author has not given a clue; he has, for instance, interpreted the rat of Ganapati and even the crow sitting on the chariot of Dhūmāvatī. A question arises why the ancient Rishis and sadhakas clothed deep spiritual truths in such enigmatical symbols which sometimes appear to be grotesque and even obscene. The answer is that these truths are not at once obvious because they were the result of long psychological experiment and profound internal experience. “Therefore without a long inner experience, without intimate self-observation and intuitive perception of the Nature-forces it is difficult to grasp accurately or firmly utilise them.” The symbols would be easily understood by persons who follow the spiritual path and undergo some discipline. Modern Science also is following the same path, it is using symbols (mathematical in this case) to express its highest truths such as the spherical Universe, space-Time Continuum, etc. which are absolutely unintelligible to the man in the street, but are of engrossing interest to a Science student.

It is often said that the Vedic sadhana was replaced by the Tantric as being more suitable to the people of Kaliyuga. Our author says that this does not mean any diminution or dilution to suit weaker people. It only means that humanity is progressing and as it is nearing the goal, the prospect becomes more clear and the steps can be more quickened. Following the same argument we can say that we of the modern age have outgrown even the Tantra and require a newer synthesis to arrive at the final achievement for which humanity has been preparing through ages with various means and methods. In this connection we can quote here what Sri Aurobindo said in the first chapter of his Essays on the Gita:

“There is yet another, the Tantric, which though less subtle and spiritually profound, is even more bold and forceful than the synthesis of the Gita,—for it seizes even upon the obstacles to the spiritual life and compels them to become the means for a richer spiritual conquest and enables us to embrace the whole of Life in our divine scope as the Lila of the Divine; and in some directions it is more immediately rich and fruitful, for it brings forward into the foreground along with divine knowledge, divine works and an enriched devotion of divine Love, the secrets also of the Hatha and Raja Yogas, the use of the body and of mental askesis for the opening up of the divine life on all its planes, to which the Gita gives only a passing and perfunctory attention. Moreover it grasps at the idea of the divine perfectibility of man, possessed by the Vedic Rishis but thrown into the background by the intermediate ages, which is destined to fill so large a place in any future synthesis of human thought, experience and aspiration.

We of the coming day stand at the head of a new age of development which must lead to such a new and larger synthesis. We are not called upon to be orthodox Vedantins of any of the three schools or Tantrics or to adhere to one of the theistic religious of the past or to entrench ourselves within the four corners of the teaching of the Gita. That would be to limit ourselves and to attempt to create out spiritual life out of the being, knowledge and nature of others, of the men of the past, instead of building it out of our own being and potentialities. We do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of the future. A mass of new material is flowing into us; we have not only to assimilate the influences of the great theistic religions of India and of the world and a recovered sense of the meaning of Buddhism, but to take full account of the potent though limited revelations of modern knowledge and seeking; and, beyond that, the remote and dateless past which seemed to be dead is returning upon us with an effulgence of many luminous secrets long lost to the consciousness of mankind but now breaking out again from behind the evil. All this points to a new, a very rich, a very vast synthesis; a fresh and widely embracing harmonisation of our gains is both an intellectual and a spiritual necessity of the future.”

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