Audio CDs of Manoj Dasgupta’s Talks on “Centenary of Mother’s Arrival at Pondicherry” and “Centenary of the Launching of Arya”.

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

It gives me immense pleasure to announce that two audio CDs containing talks of Shri Manoj Dasgupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and Registrar of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (Pondicherry), on “Centenary of Mother’s Arrival at Pondicherry” and “Centenary of the Launching of Arya” in English are available at Overman Foundation. The CDs of “Centenary of Mother’s Arrival at Pondicherry” and “Centenary of the Launching of Arya” are priced at Rs. 100 (One Hundred) and Rs. 120 (One Hundred and Twenty) respectively.

cover of mother's arrival

cover of arya

To place an order for the aforesaid CDs, please contact us at overmanfoundation@gmail.com and (0) 9830244192/ (0) 9804205059. Payment can be made through cheques, demand-drafts, money-order and online remittance.

Please note that these CDs are not available at SABDA.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

Dyuman’s Correspondence with the Mother: Second Installment

Dyuman 1

Dear Friends,

Chunibhai Patel (19.6.1903—19.8.1992) was a Gujarati sadhak who was renamed ‘Dyuman’ (“the luminous one”) by Sri Aurobindo on 24 November 1928. He visited Pondicherry for the first time on 11 July 1924 and surrendered himself to Sri Aurobindo. He became an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in May 1927. He was in charge of the Dining Room and looked after the Granary. A dedicated worker to the core, the Mother made him one of the Founder-Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust on 1 May 1955. He became the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust in 1991.

We are happy to announce that Overman Foundation has received permission from Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to publish Dyuman’s Correspondence with the Mother in its online forum. We are extremely grateful to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, for giving us the said permission. We are also thankful to Shri S. Ravi, co-editor of Mother India journal and teacher at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education for providing these letters to us.

The first installment of Dyuman’s Correspondence with the Mother—consisting of letters written between 12 June 1929 and 21 March 1934—was published in the online forum of Overman Foundation on 23 June 2015. The second installment of the said correspondence—consisting of letters written between 26 March 1934 and 10 July 1934 has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation. Please note that these letters are not included in the Collected Works of the Mother.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

200 f - 0048-1The Mother with Dyuman and Champaklal

*

Mother,

When I started turning myself towards God 22 years ago or so, I never imagined that this could happen to me, not even when Sri Aurobindo openly questioned me: “Who has given you this Yoga?”

Now it has happened: that unfailing confidence and courage got shaken, and I had a breakdown. Yet in all this nervousness, my love for You, my faith in You and our relation is just the same, or rather, we have become closer. You have treated me like a sick baby—Your baby—and it is Your love that is curing me.

Yes, you have only to keep your faith unshaken and to be patient—everything will be all right.

We are not speaking of work just now, because we want you to rest quietly without any worry—but we have no intention of changing your work. It is waiting for you and you will take it back as soon as you are quite all right.

26 March 1934

*

Mother,

I feel that the persons who were connected with me in a personal relation are definitely wishing for my recovery. What will be my relation with them when I shall be out? Mother, You will settle it, and I shall obey You.

The most important thing will be not to allow them to eat you up as they used to do before.

Mother, I am quite at rest and the days are passing so quickly.

Yes, rest, rest, rest—be quiet and gather strength and force, not only to do work but also, chiefly, to achieve the Transformation.

With love and blessings.

30 March 1934

*

Mother,

I have no confidence in the body; it is too sensitive. I cannot be rash. I still fear to drink cold water from the kuja, I go to the filter each time for water. I cover myself before going to sleep.

A fear and a feeling of weakness have entered the body, but this fear and this feeling are not true. They are falsehoods that are to be shaken away and replaced by the contrary conviction and feeling—the conviction that the body will get stronger than before and the feeling that the physical strength, like the rest, belongs to the Divine and that there is no reason why the body should not receive it in plenty.

8 April 1934

*

Mother,

Now I realise that if I could love You with all my being and keep Your Presence in every single cell and atom, it would not be an inferior work to any outer work or activity.

My dear Mother, do with me as You want. I remain completely quiet, obedient, surrendered and cheerful.

Yes, keep quiet and gather peace and strength. When the time has come I shall ask you to start work again and you will see that it will be done quite smoothly.

With love and blessings always.

8 April 1934

*

Mother,

Today the head is strained—by what I do not know. I feel a great heaviness on the head, as if the whole sky has come down. The body does not want to move, it asks only for rest. When I sit down my eyes close by themselves; at once I feel still, quiet, as if frozen, yet full of life within.

Be very, very quiet, do not think about what the work will be. This week take complete rest, and sleep as much as you feel inclined to sleep. It is perfectly strong and rested, with the head free, that you must take up the work again. It is very important that the head should be neither heavy nor strained.

14 April 1934

*

Mother,

This auspicious Darshan day has given me a new life, a new consciousness and a new aspiration. I feel that a force of transformation has gathered and it will transform me. I bow down to Thee, dear Mother, and with Your Love and Blessings I begin the new life.

Yes, a special protection accompanies my blessings today and a certitude of Victory is included in my love.

24 April 1934

*

Mother,

I am happy to be working again. All Your Love, Grace and Protection are with me, Your Presence is in me, and, Mother, surely the Divine Grace shall manifest.

Keep this quietness and this faith, let nothing disturb them. If there are things to be changed, do it slowly, not in a hurry—time is a great helper when we know how to make use of it—and change only what is quite indispensable. Rules must not be too rigid—the Divine’s working needs suppleness and plasticity—and for the workers, a too rigid rule is a big strain for the nerves. It is only when the liberties taken are dangerous and harmful that they must be checked.

And be sure that all will be all right.

With love and blessings.

24 April 1934

*

O my beloved Mother,

Surely You are giving me a bath in Your Love.

Whatever people may say of me—good or bad—I have my dear Mother in my heart, holding me close to Her bosom. I know also that when dangers are outside, when there is bad will, my Mother keeps me under Her wings and then nothing can touch me, nothing can affect me.

Yes, my child.

You are always in my arms, bathed in my love which must be the strongest protection against all attacks of any kind. Keep your entire faith and confidence: we shall cross victoriously through all difficulties.

13 May 1934

*

Mother,

X asked for less curds, but Y served her the ordinary cup. She began to return the cup, but he would not take it, so she left it on the table. Then he asked her to get Mother’s sanction if only half a cup of curds was required. X complained to me about all this. I said: “I shall see tomorrow.”

Truly we cannot interfere in such petty things. Those who constantly forget that they are not here to lead the most silly ordinary life cannot expect us to deal with their stupid quarrels.

27 May 1934

*

O Lord Buddha, the forces of Mara attacked You, but You were unshaken, concentrated, calm, quiet, peaceful; then the Light descended, the hostile forces disappeared and there was peace on earth.

O Mother, let us all remain consecrated to the Truth, always peaceful, calm, quiet and unshaken, unmoved by any circumstances, and the hostile forces shall vanish.

Yes, this is excellent. It is by a quiet, strong and persistent peace that the true victories can be won.

With love.

28 May 1934

*

Dear Mother,

Let my entire being remain turned only towards You.

Be very careful to remain always calm and peaceful and let an integral equanimity establish itself more and more completely in your being. Do not allow your mind to be too active and to live in turmoil, do not jump to conclusions from a superficial view of things; always take your time, concentrate and decide only in quietness.

My love and blessings are always with you.

30 May 1934

*

Mother,

I am tired of my nature. I must rise above it if I want to fulfil the work. Again and again it knocks me down and tries to drag me into an unquiet state full of doubt, lack of confidence, and ego.

Mother, life me once more out of this turmoil in my nature and let me breathe in the free and vast air of Your infinite Love.

It is not in one day that one can overcome one’s own nature. But with patience and enduring will the Victory is sure to come.

1 June 1934

*

Dear Mother,

I actually see the waves of hostility against me, yet I am quiet; my being remains firm, poised and concentrated in Your Love and Presence.

Yes, be quiet. We have only to work patiently without being disturbed by anything and keep unshaken the faith in the inevitable Victory.

With love and blessings

6 June 1934

*

Mother,

Z and I have a nick-name now: Pagal, which means madcap.

Do not mind the stupidity of others.

8 June 1934

*

Dear Mother,

The Divine Consciousness descends, fills the earth and penetrates deeply. It is sure to bring about the complete recovery of the earth.

You have worked out many things in me within these few days. You have given me Your patience, quietness and peace, an energy that works and works and a firm faith in the infinity of time.

Yes, the certitude of the Victory gives an infinite patience with the maximum of energy.

Always with you.

9 June 1934

*

Dear Mother,

I do not find it difficult to deal with X. I believe that I can exert a good influence upon her and bring her back to You. Arrange that we may come in contact with each other under the pretext of work or anything You like. I know that if I go, I am surrounded with Your love and protection. I dare to do so because You have kept me in the protection of Your love.

It is true that the Divine Protection is always around us, but it works completely only when we are faced by dangers which were unavoidable; that is to say, when doing some work for the Divine if dangers suddenly rise on the way then the protection works at its best. But to take up some work that is, after all, not at all indispensable and not even surely useful and which is extremely dangerous, counting on the divine protection to save us from all possible consequences, this is a movement which is like a challenge to the Divine, and the Divine will never agree to it.

I will explain myself—if it were indispensable that you should learn her work (which is, in fact, not only not indispensable but absolutely useless) and if X was the only person who could teach you (which is not the case, because Y knows almost as well as she does) then we could overlook the very real dangers that await you by meeting X regularly, and this meeting could perhaps, with the Divine’s help and protection, have some good results for X.

But to pretend to learn the work only with the purpose of acting on X’s character, is putting a worm of insincerity in the very seed of the action and we can only have disastrous results.

With love and blessings.

10 June 1934

*

Dear Mother,

The work at the Dining Room is being done and it will always be done; the cupboards, floor and cloths there are cleaner than at any other place. But something else must be done now: we must rise above falsehood and our false nature.

Yes, this is the important thing. Once falsehood is conquered, all these difficulties will go.

22 June 1934

*

Mother,

Today I was threatened with clouds, dark clouds; but now all that has passed away quietly. Mother, forgetfulness of Your Loving Presence, even for a few minutes, brought such a death-like condition—it was quite unbearable. I felt so relieved when it passed away.

I do not understand how clouds can come to you now and am quite sure that they cannot remain at all. You must have caught it from somebody. Be careful to always keep the living Presence and Protection around you when you speak to people.

With all love always.

26 June 1934

*

Mother,

I worked with Z or rather I replaced him for a few minutes. I felt so happy to see him. You have joined us as friends for Your work and taken us to such a state of conscious understanding, knowledge and love that misunderstanding, disharmony, intolerance and anger have no place.

What you say is quite true. There is a deep and true Consciousness in which all can meet in love and harmony.

28 June 1934

*

My dear and beloved Mother,

Today I was very badly disturbed—the disturbance of all those ladies was rushing upon me. I refused to listen to anything; I said to myself: “The Divine is the Truth; the same Divine element is in all. See that, live that. Harmony, love, peace and happiness is the life of the Ashram.”

I am happy to see that you have kept the right attitude and remained unshaken by these superficial and silly storms.

Always with you in the love and the protection.

6 July 1934

*

Mother,

The serving room has become a place to read the newspapers. Can it be allowed? Had there been the works of Sri Aurobindo or Your “Prayers”, it would be all right. But novels, monthlies and dailies—how can they be read there?

I suppose it is difficult to interfere in this matter. If the readers don’t feel we cannot impose it upon them.

7 July 1934

*

Dear Mother,

It has always seemed to me that I do not know the meaning of Bhakti. But like a river, my entire being flows and flows towards You. This is all that I know, Mother, and I wish that it may flow more and more, rise in floods, break all limits and disappear once and for all into Your Love.

This is bhakti and nothing else.

10 July1934

*

Dyuman’s Correspondence with the Mother: First Installment

Dyuman 1

Dear Friends,

Chunibhai Patel (19.6.1903—19.8.1992) was a Gujarati sadhak who was renamed ‘Dyuman’ (“the luminous one”) by Sri Aurobindo on 24 November 1928. He visited Pondicherry for the first time on 11 July 1924 and surrendered himself to Sri Aurobindo. He became an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in May 1927. He was in charge of the Dining Room and looked after the Granary. A dedicated worker to the core, the Mother made him one of the Founder-Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust on 1 May 1955. He became the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust in 1991.

We are happy to announce that Overman Foundation has received permission from Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to publish Dyuman’s Correspondence with the Mother in its online forum. We are extremely grateful to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, for giving us the said permission. We are also thankful to Shri S. Ravi, co-editor of Mother India journal and teacher at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education for providing these letters to us.

The first installment of Dyuman’s Correspondence with the Mother—containing letters written between 12 June 1929 and 21 March 1934—has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation. Please note that these letters are not included in the Collected Works of the Mother.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

200 f - 0048-1The Mother with Dyuman and Champaklal

*

Mother,

I had no intention of violating Your orders. The wiping was already finished by the time I received Your last order at 5 p.m. or so. Mother, I am at Your feet for any punishment for violating Your orders even unconsciously.

Why punishment, my child?

I never thought of such a thing! I never thought even that you had violated any rules. The whole thing is a misunderstanding.

You must know that I trust you and have full confidence in your earnestness and your good will. It is on that ground that we are working together and also that I let you know whenever there is something that has to be corrected.

Never doubt my love.

12 June 1929

*

Mother,

When X handed the monthly Prosperity things to me I thought: “What will Mother do if the stock of toothbrushes is exhausted? Mother must have this one—it goes to Mother.”

I have taken already my precautions. Since more than four months I am using my finger as a toothbrush and find it quite convenient. So I am sending back your toothbrush. If you have no use for it, you can return it to the stores.

2 February 1932

*

Mother,

This bowl has been put on the fire by somebody and is now spoiled. Who this somebody is, is not known.

It is a great pity, because the best punishment would be to serve his or her meal in the bowl!

7 June 1932

*

My child,

I have an impression that the visitors are arriving with a big appetite and that they may find our dishes somewhat small. Consequently I have increased the quantity on the “menu”.

14 February 1933

*

My child,

Why were you so serious at pranam?

Don’t let anything from outside approach and disturb you. What people think, do or say is of little importance. The only thing that counts is your relation with the Divine—and from that point of view you have nothing to worry about, all is all right.

And never forget that we love and trust you.

30 April 1933

*

My dear Mother,

Y and I went to Aroumé today. We find the existing kitchen an impossibility. To change it we will have to spend time and money. We can put the kitchen somewhere else, as I am showing here in the plan.

The room which has an opening towards the Governor’s house can be turned into a kitchen. It has tiles on the roof and glass ventilators for light. We can put the ovens there. As for the smoke from the ovens, we can put a chimney. The food we can carry to the serving room. The kitchen vessels we can wash in the kitchen itself.

Unfortunately the latrines are next to the kitchen and also a new gutter. We can close the gutter and cut off the view of the latrines by planting a creeper.

I do not think this idea is at all practicable.

First, the greatest objection is the neighbourhood of the latrines; to hide them or to shut a gutter does not prevent the flies from going freely from the latrines to the food in the kitchen.

Second, Xavier was very particular that we should not misuse these rooms. I do not think he would agree to turn them into a kitchen.

Third, to put a kitchen just under the windows of the Government House, sending them directly all the smoke of our cooking, is just the best way to get us into trouble.

Fourth, it is a long way to carry the food to the serving place.

Fifth, there are many other minor inconveniences.

Sixth, you cannot judge the existing kitchen so long as it is not thoroughly cleaned and repaired. If it is not sufficiently ventilated and if there is not enough light, we can put in a new window. I am ready to do it any my own expense if necessary.

4 December 1933

*

My Mother,

Bless me with Thy Love. I now go out of this compound for the Divine Work, protected and surrounded by Your Love and the Love of my beloved Sri Aurobindo.

My Mother, though I shall be working outside, I am ever Thine, ever at Thy Feet.

Why do you speak of working outside? Do you think that any house of the Ashram is outside our atmosphere, even the most material? Here or there it is just the same: I am always close to you, helping you, supporting you, working through you, and it is not a few yards more or less which can make any difference for that.

4 January 1934

*

Mother,

Z wanted to spend 20 minutes with me. That is not possible—not even 10 minutes regularly at a fixed hour. It is nothing but a vital demand on me; I cannot satisfy that. I can give her 2 or 3 minutes and not more.

It is not at all advisable to let her encroach like that upon you. The more she will get, the more she will want and finally, if she could, she would swallow you up.

Mother, I do not think that I should go to call her; if she comes to me I shall receive her. What do You say?

Keep quiet. You must not go to call her. She wants to annex you; this cannot be tolerated.

c. 25 January 1934

*

Mother,

I do not understand this Yoga. I know only this: To be one with the Mother and to live and work for her; this is all.

Why are the Ashram inmates hankering after food? Why this big fuss over eating? Why are we breaking our heads due to vital desire, ego, pride, self-will, mental ideas and preferences? I do not follow all this and am unable to understand.

Mother, my heart was filled with such feelings; it was restless and unquiet again. But now I am quiet and happy. All these feelings have passed away.

This is very good. Indeed, if you want to do your work with a clear mind and discrimination, you must never get upset—whatever happens. This is a very important point.

26 January 1934

*

Mother,

Seeing the work of the Building Department at Aroumé, I found so many faulty repairs. [The disciple noted several defects in the carpentry, painting and masonry work.] Mother, we spend plenty of money, but get a very bad result. We do some work, we find faults in it, we break it, we redo it and it comes out as something else. Labour, time, money and energy are wasted, yet we do not get what we require.

For all that, the change can come only from within, when the consciousness of each and everyone will be changed.

28 January 1934

*

Mother,

X, the new visitor, came for work today. She cut the vegetables, then did not even wait to clean the knife she used. At noon she is expected to stay up to the finishing of the cutting, that is, to put aside the peelings for the bullocks, to put away the knives etc. in the cupboard and do other such works.

I think we cannot ask that from her in the beginning, at least. If she truly wants to do work she will ask you what to do and how to do it and then things can be explained to her, leaving her the choice to do or not to do. She is only a visitor and cannot be treated as the permanent members are.

4 February 1934

*

Mother,

Newcomers staying in the Ashram houses come to the Dining Room for food. But what about people staying outside the Ashram, in hotels and private houses?

Is it not easier to let them eat in the Dining Room as food cannot be sent to the hotel? That is why I said that they could come to the Dining Room. But it may be better to give them food in the late-comers’ room to prevent their mixing too much with the inmates and … their bad habits!

7 February 1934

*

Mother,

Often I get colds and fevers and am obliged to remain in bed for some time. During and after each illness my body becomes weak and faints.

How is that I often have illnesses and my body becomes so weak? I feel that it is not as strong as it ought to be for your work. I had high hopes and expected much from the body, but it has failed.

Your body is all right, but you are not giving it enough rest and food. I will have to ask you to be more careful on these two points because I want to make it strong and healthy, but regular rest and nourishing food are indispensable for that. I would like to give you one orange for orange juice every day. The best time would be when you rise. For that, if you give me a flask, I could fill it in the evening and send it to you before you go to bed and you would take it in the morning when you wake up.

9 February 1934

*

Mother,

The cartman could not get a coolie to help him transport the kerosene. Not minding the load, he dragged the cart to Aroumé. While going up the slope at the gate, he was thrown back with the cart. I was there just in time to help. He gave me back the two annas I had given him for a coolie. Seeing the work he did, I gave one anna to him, as he deserved it. I would have paid two annas to a coolie.

You could have given him the two annas.

10 February 1934

*

My Mother,

I hope that You will not hesitate to tell me anything required to be done during our crucial Darshan days.

Be quiet and confident, it is all that is required.

Blessings.

19 February 1934

*

Dear Mother,

All kinds of bad suggestions about myself come and pass away; I have no time at present to pay attention to them, but every possible thing tries to enter: (1) I am bad; (2) I am fallen; (3) The body is a failure; I would like to give it up; (4) I have received nothing, progressed nowhere; and many more such things.

All this is mere nonsense and falsehood and nothing more. You do well to pay no attention to it.

22 February 1934

*

Dear Mother,

The fever is over. I am quite all right. Tonight I will drink the decoction again and I am sure I will get up 100 percent cured. My Mother, You are with me and our relation is now more close, more compact and more loving.

Certainly our relation is bound to become more and more close and strong and intimate.

Only your insistence is on the work—and my insistence is on your health first.

I have just heard somebody coughing. Is it you? It seems to me that, until you are quite free from this cough, it would be better not to rise before the sun rises; because these early morning hours are very cold and that helps in prolonging the illness.

My love and blessing are constantly with you, whatever are the circumstances.

3 March 1934

*

My child,

Why are you not taking honey and butter? They are both good for your health and will give you strength. It is light and wholesome food. For cough it is recommended to drink very hot milk sugared with honey (2 tea-spoons in a cup of milk). Or the drink that X prepares for you can also be sweetened with honey.

What you say about my trust in you is quite true—and that in itself should give you the strength and the courage to do what is needed to get completely cured.

With love.

5 March 1934

*

[Regarding the disciple’s physical condition. He had a headache, sore throat and fever, and suffered from general nervous strain and weakness.]

To get over this attack soon, one thing is needed: remain quiet, calm, peaceful. Do not get upset, do not fear, do not get restless or impatient. A quiet, firm trust in the Divine’s Grace is the one thing needed.

The anxiety of the mind, the restlessness of the vital delay the cure more than anything else.

Our love and protection are always with you.

21 March 1934

*

Invitation to the inaugural “Shrimat Anirvan Memorial Oration”

anirvan

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

We are happy to announce that the inaugural “Shrimat Anirvan Memorial Oration” organized by Overman Foundation in collaboration with Sri Aurobindo Sakti Centre Trust will be held on Wednesday, 8 July 2015, at 6.30 p.m. at the premises of Sri Aurobindo Bal Mandir situated at 532 Block “M”, New Alipore, Kolkata 700053 to commemorate the 119th Birth Anniversary of the great scholar and philosopher Shrimat Anirvan.

Shrimat Anirvan (8 July 1896—31 May 1978) 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. He 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 and was published in two volumes between 1948 and 1951. Another sister-publication, Yoga-Samanvaya-Prasanga, based on Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, was published in 1961. According to Ram Swarup: “In translating Sri Aurobindo’s works, he was paying his debt to an elder brother and old friend from another life, as Shri Anirvan once said.” But the centre of his studies was the Vedas on which he acquired a rare mastery over the years. His other published works include his magnum opus, Veda Mimāmsā, (published in three volumes), Upanisad-Prasanga (three volumes on Īsa, Aitareya and the Kena), Gitānuvacana (three volumes), Vedānta Jijñāsā, Pravacana (four volumes) and several others.

The theme of the memorial oration is Shrimat Anirvan on Education and the lecture would be delivered by Prof. Supriyo Bhattacharya.

Prof. Supriyo Bhattacharya is presently Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Kalyani. He has been on its teaching faculty since 1984. He was a former Guest-Lecturer in the Department of Post Graduation Business Studies in the Department of Commerce of the University of Calcutta for over two decades since 1981. He also served as a Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Belur Vidyamandir, Howrah. He is engaged in studies on Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore and Shrimat Anirvan and has been connected with research work in various projects associated with Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy in Kolkata and at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, gives talks and writes on different aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s vision. A recipient of the prestigious “Sri Aurobindo Puraskar” from Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in June 2007. He has been the Editor of Srinvantu (a Bengali and English magazine devoted to the cause of propagation of the ideas of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother).

Recent books by Shrimat Anirvan published in English and Bengali would also be available for sale in the said ceremony.

The route details to Sri Aurobindo Bal Mandir are as follows:

If one wishes to come via Rabindra Sadan or Tollygunge side, he may turn towards New Alipore from Tollygunge Phari and get down at Hindusthan Sweets, thereafter enter the road bang opposite the Hindusthan Sweets sweet shop. If one wishes to come via Durgapur Bridge, he has to turn left immediately on getting down from the bridge, go past Suruchi Sangha Club and Super Snack Bar. One may get down at New Alipore Railway Station in the Sealdah Budge Budge route. The Centre is a 3-4 minute walk from the station.

The route chart is also given beneath:

mapofsakticente

All are welcome to attend the Memorial Oration.

For further information please contact us at overmanfoundation@gmail.com and (0) 98302 44192 and (0) 98042 05059.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

Dyuman “The Luminous” Karmayogi by Krishna Chakravarti

Dyuman 1

Dear Friends,

Chunibhai Patel (19.6.1903—19.8.1992) was a Gujarati sadhak who was renamed ‘Dyuman’ (“the luminous one”) by Sri Aurobindo on 24 November 1928. He visited Pondicherry for the first time on 11 July 1924 and surrendered himself to Sri Aurobindo. He became an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in May 1927. He was in charge of the Dining Room and looked after the Granary. A dedicated worker to the core, the Mother made him one of the Founder-Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust on 1 May 1955. He became the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust in 1991.

19 June 2015 marks the 112nd Birth Anniversary of Dyuman. As our humble homage to him, an article on him authored by Ms. Krishna Chakravarti has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

Born in December 1943 to Justice Santosh Kumar Chakravarti and Bokul Rani, Krishna Chakravarti joined the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education as a student in 1956. After completing her education in 1966, she joined the Central Office of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. A dedicated worker and prolific writer, her published books include Sri Aurobindo Laho Pronam (2006), A Garland of Adoration (2007) and Judge Saheb O Maharanir One-Third Dozen er Kahini (2009).

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation

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Dyuman “The Luminous” — Karma yogi

Krishna Chakravarti

“The strength of Dyuman’s character is his essential straightness of aim, fidelity to the highest he sees and intensity of will to receive the Light and serve the Truth.”
10-4-1934                                                                             Sri Aurobindo

Occasionally, late at night, one would observe an interesting and amusing sight inside the Ashram main building. The Mother would call from Her room on the first floor, “Dyuman!” Instantly, a man in his early thirties would rush out of his room below with a ladder in his hands, place it near the open terrace of his room, climb it and announce, “Yes, Mother. I am here.” He did this so he would not lose time using the staircase (which was further away from his room) and then cross the corridor to reach the Mother. Should one keep the Divine waiting! The Mother would ask him some questions or give him some instructions and he would climb down the ladder, go back to his room, and carry out Her wishes. Thus was the magnitude of his devotion, dedication and urge to serve.

Chunibhai Desaibhai Patel was known as Dyuman — the luminous one — the name given to him by Sri Aurobindo. The Mother found him to be a wonderful worker when She met him for the first time. He joined the Ashram at the age of twenty-four (in 1927) and till his passing at the age of eighty-nine, he assisted, managed, and laboured for its growth and prosperity. This devotion was reflected clearly in a letter written by Sri Aurobindo in 1936 when replying to an inmate of the Ashram: “If Dyuman and a few others had not made themselves the instruments of the Mother and helped her to reorganize the whole material side of the Ashram, the Ashram would have collapsed long ago under the weight of mismanagement, waste, self-indulgence, disorder, chaotic self-will and disobedience. He and they faced unpopularity and hatred in order to help her to save it.”

He came from Gujarat, the land where the Narmada, one of the seven holy rivers flows and meets the sea. During the formative years of the Ashram, many sadhaks including Champaklalji, Puraniji and Pujalalji flocked around Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to further their tapasya for attainment to Supramental yoga and also laid the foundation of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s vast and daring work. Dyuman, the karmayogi, was one of the pillars on whose selfless work and faithfulness the Ashram grew to its present stature.

Born on 19th June 1903 in Napada village near Anand, Gujarat, at the age of eight he was called away from school and married to Kashi-ba, also eight. When he was eleven, he realized that his life was not to be an ordinary one, but was meant for something higher. Since then, an unknown force guided his life. He was restless and kept searching for something without knowing what it was or where to find it. He travelled all over the country, went to Shantiniketan and Belurmath and when he came back home, he also met Gandhiji. He also came to know Lele, but his thirst was not quenched. Little did he know then that his destiny lay south, beyond the Vindhyas, on the eastern shore of India, in a small town under French rule, lulled by the chant of the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Bhakti-ba, a relative of Kamalaben, was aware of Chunibhai’s restlessness. When she returned after visiting Pondicherry, she told him, “Your place is not here with us, but at the feet of Aravinda Babu in Pondicherry.” Chunibhai forgot everything else — even Ramakrishna and Vivekananda, whom he revered — only one name filled his whole being: Pondicherry. He had heard of Sri Aurobindo in 1920 and had already started reading the Arya, and The Secret of the Veda. In his school, his boy-scout troop was called “Aravinda troop.” Finally, Bhakti-ba got permission from Sri Aurobindo and arranged for his journey to Pondicherry. Chunibhai and his wife Kashi-ba reached Pondicherry on 11th July 1924.

They both had the Darshan of Sri Aurobindo in the Library House. Chunibhai told Him that he had come here for Yoga and Sri Aurobindo talked to him about it for about an hour. His ears heard every word and in his heart Chunibhai replied, “You are my all. This is my life, this is my home.” Kashi-ba offered her gold bangles at the feet of Sri Aurobindo. One offered his life and the other her precious possession. That was the end of Chunibhai’s search. At last he had found his home — his Guru — his life’s fulfillment.

They went back to Gujarat after two months. Chunibhai wrote to Sri Aurobindo every week seeking the Guru’s permission to stay permanently in the Ashram. The long wait finally ended when he came to the Ashram permanently in May 1927. He left behind his parents, his wife, and the non-cooperation movement of Gandhiji. He even left his fight for the freedom of India. The moment he joined the Ashram, he no longer felt the pull of all his old connections.

He met the Mother for the first time in 1927. Her remark to Sri Aurobindo was, “He will go very far.” She asked him to help Satyen in serving rice in the Dining Room in the main building of the Ashram — that was 22 May 1927, and till his passing on 19 August 1992, his close connection with the Dining Room remained uninterrupted. It grew deeper and closer as he treated the workers there as his close family members. The Mother accepted him as Her close attendant — a faithful, dependable worker. On his part, he had already accepted Her in 1924 as the Mother, even though he had not even met Her!

This was the beginning of a close association between the Mother and Her child, Dyuman. Sri Aurobindo had given him that name on 24 November 1928 based on his request earlier that year. His only aim in life became to serve Her. Yoga was far away, but through his work, he started understanding the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. That is why one day the Mother told him, “You do my work and I will do yours” — meaning his sadhana. In those early years, the emphasis was on discipline and work. No sadhak could talk to another without informing Her. So when Kashi-ba came in 1930, the Mother asked him not to talk to her. He obeyed and met her only once in the presence of the Mother when she went to Her for pranam before leaving Pondicherry.

The Mother asked him to keep two notebooks. One was to note down his daily inner movements and the other was about the details of daily work. One was given to Her at noon and the other at night. One day the Mother asked him if it was necessary to keep these diaries. He replied, “Not necessary, Mother.” She instructed him to inform Her whenever any difficulty arose. That was the end of his writing the diaries. The external need was over. Henceforth, his inner guide would guide him. She gave him a picture of Her taken in Japan and told him to meditate in front of it before opening the Dining Room door in the morning and before closing the door at night.

His passion for gardening began when along with others he participated in a flower exhibition at the Pondicherry Botanical Garden in 1930. The people of Pondicherry were surprised to see the size of the carnations and discovered that these men of the Ashram were not making bombs but were engaged in growing flowers! It was at that time that the Mother asked them to get a sapling of a Service tree from the Botanical Garden. Manibhai, Ambubhai and Dyuman-da planted it at the place indicated by the Mother. They watered it and took care of it. Planted in 1930, the tree still stands high and mighty in all its majesty over the Samadhi — proud, protective and undaunted. From then on, he started his double work of Dining Room and gardening and this was soon followed by numerous errands as the Mother slowly started putting more confidential work into his trustworthy hands.

In the Dining Room, which was then located in the Ashram main building, the cooking was done by servants under the guidance of an inmate. When Tara-di and Lila-di joined the Ashram, they proposed to the Mother that they would cook for the inmates. Later they took charge of Datta’s kitchen, which came to be known as Sri Aurobindo and Mother’s kitchen and was managed by Dyuman-da. He would carry Their food upstairs — a service that could only be done by a punyatma. When the fruit room had a cold chamber, he arranged to get fruits from various parts of the country to have an uninterrupted supply for Them. The Dining Room was shifted to its present building on 4 January 1934. Life went on smoothly in Their service but the strain started with World War II. More and more people joined the Ashram and the money was not enough. Dyuman-da was worried. How to feed so many! One day, as he was walking down Gandhi Road and thinking about the funds, he was taken in his subtle body to visit Kubera’s treasures and realized that everything was there — he need not worry. Somehow or the other, the funds would come and the needs of the Ashram would be provided for.

Once in 1937-38, the Mother gave him a piece of Her jewellery and asked him to sell it as an inmate was in dire need of some money. That was the first time, but it was not to be the last! Soon, selling Her jewellery became one source of income for the Ashram to maintain the numerous devotees who had started pouring in. The Mother gave Her ornaments — the timepiece given by Her grandmother, the Durga crown, which She did not want to sell but had to because of adverse circumstances, and even her pearl necklace, which She was in the habit of wearing on Darshan days. However, She wanted to know whom these were given to as they carried a special aura and power and any mishandling would be disastrous for those who had bought them. She warned them against misuse. Dyuman-da became Her instrument for such work. Soon Her jewellery coffer became empty.

Her next step was to sell Her saris. That disturbed Dyuman-da a lot and he protested as Her children embroidered most of them for their loving Mother. But She insisted on selling them in one lot to a single person. The saris were brought out and Vasudhaben wept on seeing them. But who could imagine the play of Dyuman- da! He collected the amount that the Mother wanted from a disciple who was close to him, took away the saris and kept them in his room! The generous disciple did not want the saris even though they were paid for. However, he requested Dyuman-da to sell them piece-by-piece and offer the proceeds to the Mother.

The Mother also used to distribute saris to inmates and devotees who were present before each Darshan. Once She wished to give Her own saris to Her children but alas, the remaining saris were not enough. When Dyuman-da heard about this, he told Her that Her wish would be fulfilled and brought nearly 500 saris from his room from the lot that was supposed to have been sold! What joy, what inner fulfillment he must have felt to be an instrument to execute Her wish! Not only this, but no one really knows how many of Her wishes he fulfilled. For example, She once saw a blue Ford V8 car and wished to have a similar one. Dyuman-da collected the required amount from a friend and bought an exact replica of the car She wanted. But was he satisfied with this? No! She must have something better; so he again collected money from some friends and bought a Humber for Her. The Mother used that car till 1952. Imagine how closely he was connected with those devotees staying far away from Pondicherry that they immediately gave — in cash or in kind — whatever he wanted for the Mother, without a question or a doubt crossing their mind. The trust they had in him only reflected the trust the Divine Mother had in him. If Hanuman was the Dasa of Rama, then truly, Dyuman-da was no less a Dasa of the Mother.

The work to clean Sri Aurobindo’s room was given to Dyuman-da, as Pavitra-da was unable to do it because of his knee problem. Dyuman-da cleaned Sri Aurobindo’s room for five years and never even glanced at Him as that was the Mother’s instruction and he obeyed it. Once he had to repair the beams of Sri Aurobindo’s room as some bees had made holes in them. He had to climb a ladder, clean the beams with a vacuum cleaner, and seal them without dropping anything on Sri Aurobindo, who was lying on the bed directly below the beams. Surely that must have been the toughest work in his life-long service! And he was aware that the Mother had put him to test; he did his work to Her satisfaction.

The Ashram started growing rapidly with the School, Playground and many other departments. Dyuman-da’s activities also increased; other than his regular work, he now also had the additional responsibilities of a trustee. The Mother created the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust on 1st May 1955 and She made Dyuman-da one of the Founder Trustees. She gave each of the four trustees the flower “Divine’s Love” on the first day and the next day, She gave each of them the flower “Faithfulness.” It was a duty he discharged till the end even though the other Founder Trustees had long since passed away. He had to stay, for that was the Mother’s wish and She wrote it on his Birthday card in 1972:

To Dyuman
Bonne Fete
And a long, long, long life of happy and remarkably useful life.
With love and blessings.

For February 29, 1960, the first recurrence of the leap year after the Supramental Manifestation, Dyuman-da decided that the entire celebrations would be in golden colour. We were given golden-coloured dresses, the saris had a golden border, the Meditation Hall was decorated with golden satin curtains and the lights glowed golden. Her room was spread with golden satin. On the first floor corridor, he spread golden satin so She could walk on it to the Balcony Darshan. Her dress had gold buttons, and the cutlery She used was of a golden hue. She distributed gold-coated symbols to the Ashramites. The whole Ashram vibrated with a golden aura; truly a dreamland on earth! In the evening, the Service Tree was decorated with coloured lamps; in the quietness of the night, they glowed golden — a fairyland — a wonderland in the universe! She asked him, “Why do you want to do all this?” His reply was that even if the vibration touched one soul, he would be happy and fulfilled. Then the Mother asked, “And if I ask you to sell all these things off later?” His immediate reply without any hesitation was, “Yes, Mother I will do it.” A detached, unsentimental, disinterested worker.

One day when he saw that the Mother wanted to lie down after coming back from the Playground in the evening, he was worried. She must have a room of Her own. The Mother hesitated. Finally, She agreed to have one constructed on the second floor with money he would collect from his friends. She shifted to Her new room on 9 December 1953, but slowly, even that room turned into Her working place when She retired there in 1962.

That was not the end of his untiring endeavour. He found out that a parcel of land near the Lake was up for sale. Once again he collected funds from his friends so that the Ashram could purchase the land. Here his normal life pattern changed again. Until now his responsibilities included looking after the Mother, the Dining Room, the Granary, going to the market to buy vegetables for Dining Room, the store, etc. Now he had to look after a farm. His dream was to grow vegetables and fruits without chemical fertilizers because the Mother was against its use. So how could he give Her food that was grown with chemical fertilizers? His life was simple because he had a single, one-pointed aim — to serve Them in whatever way he could.

He was a visionary and never stepped back for fear of overwork or paucity of funds to give shape to his vision. It was his idea to make the documentary film “Sri Aurobindo Ashram — Four Chapters.” It was filmed by Ajit Bose and was displayed in many centres of the Ashram. Where the money came from, no one knew, and neither did anyone need to know. The immense archival value of the documentary can never be measured. It is a treasure for future generations as it shows some of the activities of the Mother in real life. His preparation for the centenary of Sri Aurobindo in 1972 started many years in advance and he got a steam boiler in 1967 for the Dining Room, which was well geared to cater to innumerable visitors who came for the celebration. For the second time in the history of the Ashram, the Service Tree glowed with coloured lamps in the evening:

There showered upon the floating atmosphere
Colours and lights and evanescent gleams
That called to follow into a magic heaven,…

He personally arranged the celebrations of the Mother’s centenary in 1978 and saw to it that the Dining Room met its requirements. The distribution process went on till the evening. Among other things, the most prized possession was a folder containing the pieces of cloth worn by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He single-handedly managed the distributions and did not require any support or help from others. It was his work and he must perform it — the body must serve. The body obeyed his spirit in harmony and bliss.

Once when Indira Gandhi, then the Prime Minister of India, spent one night in the Ashram main building, she stayed on the first floor in Pavitra-da’s room. A sentry was posted there on guard duty, but Dyuman-da sent him away and did the duty himself all through the night, all-watchful and guarding the Prime Minister.

4 April 1985 was approaching — the 75th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo’s coming to Pondicherry. Dyuman-da thought it would be a good idea if we could visit the room in Sankar Chetty house where Sri Aurobindo was staying at the time. However, the house belonged to someone not connected with the Ashram. This did not daunt Dyuman-da. He approached the owner who gladly agreed to his suggestion. The Ashramites and devotees had the opportunity to pay their respects to the Lord in His room where He stayed on 4 April 1910.

Dyuman-da could do all this and many other things because he had the conviction, the courage, and the indomitable spirit and trust in the Divine as his assistants. Service, only to serve, was his motto. No going to the Playground for him — no cinema; no cultural activity of any kind. From early morning till late at night, he was occupied with various kinds of work. They too had such confidence and trust in him! Once when the Ashram was passing through a critical financial crisis Sri Aurobindo was asked what He would do if He had to feed five hundred people. He simply replied, “Why, I will send them to Dyuman!”

The Mother tested him but also played with him! In 1934 She asked him to go to Her kitchen and tell Lila-di and others that it was his birthday. That day they cooked eleven dishes and since then something special is always served in the Dining Room on his birthday. For a person who never joined Group (physical activities), the Mother called him to the Playground on one of his birthdays. She made him sit on the hands of two men and they carried him around the ground and She stood in front of the map of undivided India and Pranab-da greeted him by saying, “Bonne Fete to Dyuman!” This continued till 1958 when the Mother retired from Playground activities.

Dyuman-da was so selfless in his service to Her! She used to give books or other items to people on their birthdays but he never got anything. During the napkin or message distribution, he used to stand by Her side and hand over the items to Her one by one. But he never got any! He never asked for these nor did he feel any resentment for not receiving them. She would often say, “You don’t care to have these things.” And Dyuman-da’s answer always was, “Yes, Mother, as long as you are there I don’t care.” Yes, She gave him things. Once She gave him a picture of Ganesh and wrote behind it, “Let him become your generous friend.” Another time, She took his right hand in Hers and said, “Lakshmi is your friend.” And truly, how he assisted, managed, and laboured for the growth and prosperity of the Ashram. He never wasted money and tried to put a stop to wasteful spending, and naturally, faced criticism and opposition. A letter written by Sri Aurobindo on 6 March 1932 proves how priceless his actions were: “Your spirit of economy is very precious and extremely helpful to us, the more so as it is rare in the Ashram where the push conscious or subconscious is towards the other extreme.”

Years passed by in the service of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. As a trustee, he continued his usual work. He would bring food to the Mother three times a day, visit the granary and the Dining Room early in the morning, go to the market to buy vegetables for the Dining Room, visit the gardens, look after the Mother’s store, vacuum the 1st floor, look after Her kitchen, etc. When Amrita-da left his body in 1969, the added responsibility of the Central Office also fell on him. When the Mother retired completely in 1973, the monetary affairs of the Ashram fell on him. He worked relentlessly. When She left Her body, he saw to it that things continued without a break and remained as they had been during Her time. A disruption anywhere would damage the core of the Ashram.

Work increased with the passing away of Nolini-da and Pradyut-da. The devotees who were associated with them found in him their loving, caring, elder brother. Each additional work got adjusted to his already busy daily schedule as if time stretched itself out to accommodate his spirit. His gait, his look, his talk never showed any sign of stress or strain, or hurry — his body adjusted that much. He had had a nervous breakdown in 1934. When he recovered, the Mother asked him to put on Pavitra-da’s hat and walk in the midday sun every day. Sometime back I came across some of his letters of earlier years written to the Mother about his failing health. I wonder by what method or in what manner he changed that failing physical body to acquire tenacity and stature of uninterrupted service. It must be the physical aspiration of a Karmayogi to change the capacity of the body by selfless work in Their service.

The Ashram was growing at a fast rate. More and more devotees started coming. He kept in touch with some of them through letters. Often, just a few lines, but that was sufficient to keep their contact with the Ashram. On the eve of Darshan, or on Darshan Day, after distribution late at night one would find him sitting with just a dhoti on, his upper body bare, deeply engrossed in writing letters. The Karmayogi at work. We would often complain about his late night work. He would be up very early in the morning, go throughout the day without even a short break, meet visitors and not neglect his daily routine, and go on past midnight. This was too much for us. But not for him. Devotees in India and abroad would be waiting eagerly for Darshan messages and blessings packets. How could he while away time in sleep or rest! That was the magnitude of his consideration.

Once on his early morning rounds, his all-watchful eyes picked up a cycle without a seat cover near the Ashram. He watched for a few days and then concluded that the person might be coming early in the morning to serve Nolini-da or to work at the Samadhi. It did not matter if he did not even know the name of the person. He got a seat cover and had it put on the cycle. On enquiry, the bewildered person found out that it was Dyuman-da’s idea. At the Theatre, participants used to have their dinner in aluminium dishes. He happened to see this just once. The next time, they had dinner in stainless steel dishes. He moved fast, without wasting time in pondering and dillydallying. The entire Ashram was his family. He would drop in at homes unannounced or uninvited, but not unexpectedly — especially on birthdays. Does anyone invite a family member?! Never. So it was with him. He was so informal and very close to one and all.

As Pondicherry was becoming over-populated, the rent of houses was also shooting up considerably. He moved at once. “We must have our own houses. We can’t be at the mercy of the house owners.” By that time the financial position of the Ashram had improved. Funds were available for buildings. Thus the projects of New Creation, Park Guest House and others began. In the afternoon after finishing the cash work and signing of money orders, clad in dhoti and a white coat on his fatua, sunglasses on and a hat on his head, he would stride to the car waiting for him and drive off to the new construction sites before pushing off to Gloria — his dream farm. He would be back in the evening, sign the receipts of donations received, take his meagre dinner lovingly served by Swarno-di, and then would help inmates with their problems, or talk to devotees wanting to hear some words. In the dead of night, he would read or write letters not only in reply to the ones he had received, but would drop two lines to someone he remembered in the day and enclose a Blessings packet. And it often happened that the person was remembering him or had some difficulty and was in dire need of Blessings from the Mother! He had so much joy in giving; perhaps as much as the person who was receiving!

But that was not to be in his relationship with Kashi-ba. She settled down in Pondicherry in the eighties. Dyuman-da made it clear to her that she should not expect any special consideration from him. She stayed in a room given by Ambapremiji and was looked after by Ashokbhai. There was hardly any communication between them.

Dyuman-da was a poet at heart. He would not express his feelings in writing but would share the joy with others by calling them up to the first floor of the Ashram main building, and from the corridor window would show them the palm tree with fresh new green leaves sprouting. The beauty of it could not be seen from the courtyard. When the Service tree would be in full bloom, he would say the scenery was ethereal from Ravindraji’s terrace on a full moon night! Or so often, he would describe the beauty of the Kadamba tree covered with golden “Supramental Sun” at the Gloria land.

When the Managing Trustee Counoumaji’s health began deteriorating in the 1980s, Dyuman-da got more involved in the day-to-day running of the Ashram. He consulted his colleagues and took decisions — always unassumingly, with no show of power or position — with the same attitude of serving Them by serving the Ashramites and devotees. He became the Managing Trustee after Counoumaji left his body in 1991. A huge responsibility indeed. For one who had served Them from the age of twenty-four, it was a culmination of Their faith and trust in him.

Now, devotees began demanding or requesting him to visit their place. He visited Orissa and Bengal to be with them, be a part of their celebrations. His health was failing. However, he had a wonderful way of curing too. Give the body a rest and he would be up serving. Even when he would be admitted to the Nursing Home, he would sit up and sign the receipts or discuss the work. Work was his food and not his daily meal.

His next big assignment was to celebrate the golden jubilee of the School in 1993. He met Paru-di and Pranab-da to discuss the celebrations. It was his brainchild. He moved quickly to collect the addresses of ex-students. We did have the celebrations. But alas, without him. He left his body the year before.

Did nothing upset him or ever disturb him? Yes, occasionally. I have seen him pass through these phases. He had a wonderful method of coming out of these spells. He would sleep not only at night, but also throughout the day. I have seen him sleeping more than twenty-four hours and when he would get up, he would be his own self—the hurt or the disturbance vanishing as if it did not exist at all.

Though he looked very strict and stoic, in his heart he was like a child. He had a child-like trust in people. His room was never locked. It could be used by anyone to keep their mats or cushions for sitting in the Ashram or their books before going to the Group, anything at all. They would just walk in — even if he was sitting or sleeping — keep or take their things and go out. There was no need to ask or take his permission. At nights he would sleep on the first floor with just a mat and a pillow, as was his habit since the Mother’s time.

Once on the eve of his birthday in 1992, he was presented with a new pair of dhotis. He was overjoyed. “Two new dhotis! I will wear them both!” He did so. After a few days he told me it was the first time in his life he had changed clothes during the day. Till the end he washed his own clothes. His life-style was so simple — in his entire life he had very little need of material things. But his inner gains who could measure? That happened to be his last birthday.

The most striking and admirable aspect of his personality was his attitude of clinging to the Mother, come what may. Often he would say that whatever happens or whatever one does follow one thing — never leave the Mother, cling to Her. He would give a very beautiful and touching image: a toddler clings to the sari of his mother, never letting her go — following her wherever she goes — even if the mother had scolded him for doing something wrong. The toddler would cling to her sari crying his heart out, but would never let her be away from him. That was the way one should cling to the Divine Mother. It was the most important lesson I learnt from him. He was a workaholic. He would say, “When I die and am put in the funeral pyre, you will burn my body but my soul would jump out of the flame and take birth immediately to be able to serve the Mother.” That was the karmayogi from the Narmada Valley.

He was a Siddha Purusha too. Did he have a premonition of his death? In a diary in his office, Dyuman-da used to note down the daily amount received for Dining Room expenses. As he would be very busy before Darshan, he used to note the amount in advance for the next few days, as the sum given was a fixed one. In August 1992, a few days before Darshan, he told me he had filled up the amount in advance in the diary. On the evening of 14 August, his talk was broadcast by All India Radio Pondicherry. His voice was resonant and young — not the voice of an eighty-nine-year-old man at all. The speech stirred everyone who heard it. The Darshan on 15th August went on till late afternoon. Dyuman-da distributed Darshan messages all day. The next day he had fever, but he refused to go to the Nursing Home. There were many devotees who had come from out-of-town and wanted to see him. He attended the funeral of Ichcha-di. The next morning, he was persuaded to go to the Nursing Home. He walked to the car by himself. The next day, we went to him with some work. He attended to that. He also did office work on the 19th, and then suddenly left his body in the evening. At the end of the month, I took out the daily diary to work on the accounts. To my disbelief, it was filled up to 19 August! Was it a premonition or a coincidence? Or was it Ichchamrityu? I remember vividly my last meeting with him on 19 August. He was sitting on his bed, we discussed office work, and then I left. But before closing the door of his room, I looked back. He was sitting on his bed looking in my direction, and with both his hands, he was doing namaste. I was surprised and thought I had seen wrong. But that night when the news of his passing reached me, I realized it was not a hallucination — he was bidding me adieu.

He must have heard the Mother call “Dyuman” from the other world and must have immediately rushed up that invisible ladder that connects this world with Hers and said “Yes Mother, I am here.” All ready to be at Her service there.

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Source: Krishna Chakravarti’s A Garland of Adoration.

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Dyuman 3The author with Dyuman

Photographs of houses where Sri Aurobindo had stayed in Kolkata between 1906 and 1910.

Dear Friends,

During his stay in Bengal (1906—1910), Sri Aurobindo had stayed in a number of houses at various locations. Some of these buildings still exist while some have been demolished. We have been able to collect the photographs of the houses where Sri Aurobindo had lived and have published them in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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1

12 Wellington Square, the residence of Raja Subodh Chandra Mallik, where Sri Aurobindo stayed for a considerable period between 1906 and 1907 after shifting to Bengal from Baroda. Rabindranath Tagore had paid him a visit in this very mansion after his acquittal in the Bande Mataram Sedition Trial in September 1907.

2

In this house at Serpentine Lane—belonging to his father-in-law Bhupal Chandra Bose—Sri Aurobindo stayed for two months during his illness (November-December 1906).

3

19/3 Choku Khansama Lane was rented by Sri Aurobindo for a temporary stay in October 1907. He stayed here with his wife Mrinalini, sister Sarojini, brother Barindra Kumar Ghose and a young revolutionary named Abinash Chandra Bhattacharya.

Scot's lane

Sri Aurobindo stayed in this house at 23 Scott’s Lane with his wife and sister from February 1908 to April 1908. It was in this house that Bal Gangadhar Tilak came to meet Sri Aurobindo.

Grey Street

Sri Aurobindo shifted to this house at 48 Grey Street on 28 April 1908 with his wife and sister. Five days later he was arrested from this very place in connection with the Muzaffarpur bomb outrage.

College Square

After his release from prison on 6 May 1909 Sri Aurobindo lived in this house at 6 College Square till February 1910. This house belonged to Krishna Kumar Mitra, the editor of “Sanjeevani” magazine and the husband of Sri Aurobindo’s mother’s sister. On 15 August 1909, Sri Aurobindo’s birthday was celebrated here.

Shyampukur

4 Shyampukur Lane which housed the offices of the “Karmayogin” and “Dharma” the journals edited by Sri Aurobindo. It was in this house that in February 1910 Sri Aurobindo had received the inner command to go to Chandernagore after he was informed of the British Government’s intention to search the office and arrest him.

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Publication of Volume I and Volume II of Sri Aurobindo and His Essential Thoughts

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

There are thousands of books, booklets and articles written on Sri Aurobindo and his works and teachings which are steadily becoming rare and getting lost in the ocean of oblivion. To make such publications of the bygone era easily available to one and all, Overman Foundation has undertaken the task of collecting such forgotten works which have not lost their relevance and republishing them.

Volume IIn the first volume of Sri Aurobindo and His Essential Thoughts, ten articles — providing a wonderful introduction to Sri Aurobindo’s major works and his philosophy — published in various magazines and booklets between 1940 and 1980 have been included. The said articles include Sri Aurobindo and the Veda and Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine: A Study by Vellury Chandrasekharam, Sri Aurobindo’s Interpretation of the Gita and Sri Aurobindo and Man’s Socio-Political Development by Charu Chandra Dutt, The Poetry of Sri Aurobindo: A Survey by Lotika Ghose, The Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo by Morwenna Donnelly, Sri Aurobindo and the Poetry of the Future by Sree Krishna Prasad, Sri Aurobindo and the Indian Tradition by Sanat K. Banerji, The Teachings of Sri Aurobindo by Arabinda Basu and The Message of Sri Aurobindo by Dr. Karan Singh.

Volume IIIn the second volume of Sri Aurobindo and His Essential Thoughts, ten articles — which had seen the light of day in various magazines between 1945 and 1991 — have been selected with the view of providing to the reader a comprehensive overview of the various aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts. The said articles include Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of Supermanhood by Haridas Chaudhury, Sri Aurobindo and Art by Charu Chandra Dutt, Sri Aurobindo and Aesthetics by V. K. Gokak, Sri Aurobindo and the Upanishads by M. P. Pandit, Sri Aurobindo and the Crisis of Modern Man by Jugal Kishore Mukherji, Sri Aurobindo’s Interpretation of History by A. B. Purani, Sri Aurobindo’s Concept of Human Unity by Rajni Chhabra, Sri Aurobindo on Education by Ranjit Kumar Acharjee, Yoga and Human Evolution by Arabinda Basu, etc.

The first volume of Sri Aurobindo and His Essential Thoughts consists of 260 pages and is priced at Rs. 325 (Three Hundred and Twenty Five) only. The second volume of Sri Aurobindo and His Essential Thoughts consists of 150 pages and is priced at Rs. 200 (Two Hundred) only.

It is hoped that Aurobindonian scholars, researchers as well as the general reader would be benefitted by these volumes.

To place an order for the aforesaid books, kindly contact at overmanfoundation@gmail.com or (0) 9830244192. Payment can be made through money-order, cheques, demand drafts and online remittance as well.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

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King’s College, Cambridge, on Sri Aurobindo

Dear Friends,

Sri Aurobindo was a student of King’s College, Cambridge, from 1890 to 1892. After his physical withdrawal in December 1950, a spontaneous appreciative tribute was paid to him by King’s College in their Annual Report of 1951. In spite of its few inaccuracies, this complimentary document is valuable because of its independent British source.

The said tribute has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

Aurobindo (then Aravind Acroyd) Ghose came up from St Paul’s in 1890. His father, Dr. Krishnadhan Ghose of Khulna in East Bengal, and an M.D. of Edinburgh, wishing him to be brought up in the best English tradition, had sent him to this country at the early age of seven, and put him in the care of a family at Manchester. At King’s he was a Scholar, and Prizeman, and in 1892 was placed in the 1st Class of the Classical Tripos. While at Cambridge he also published some poems, Songs of [1] Myrtilla, and passed the examination into the Indian Civil Service with record marks in classics. Apparently disliking horses, however, he omitted to take the riding test that was necessary, and this debarred him from joining. He then entered the service of the Maharajah Sayaji Rao III of Baroda, a very enlightened and progressive Prince, and at the Baroda College he became Lecturer in French, Professor of English, and Vice-Principal. In September 1903 he wrote to us in King’s, giving his address—this reads curiously now—as Racecourse Road, Baroda, or the Baroda Officers’ Club, Baroda Gymkhana. That so quick and sensitive a young Indian mind should have felt drawn at that time to politics, however, was natural, for Bengal was in a ferment over the controversies with which Curzon’s Viceroyalty had ended; and in 1906 Aurobindo moved to Calcutta. There, as Principal of the Bengal National College and as Editor of Bande Arataram [2], he advanced rapidly to the spearhead of the nationalist agitation, and was widely believed—though this was not proved—to be implicated in the cult of Terrorism. Twice arrested for sedition, the second time in connection with the Alipore Bomb Conspiracy, he was twice acquitted; and, while for many months in prison during trial on the latter occasion, he underwent the extraordinary change which converted India’s foremost young political ‘activist’, the patriot-hero of those days, into the famous sage and recluse. Soon after leaving jail, to avert fresh attentions from the police, he disappeared quietly during 1910 into French Territory at Pondicherry, where he remained until his death on December 5, 1950, the centre of a cult totally, startlingly, removed from that of the bomb and the revolver with which, as late as 1935, the Government of India’s Intelligence officials still half-believed him to be associated. Of the eminence that he attained during those decades, not only as contemplative or mystic, but as academic philosopher, critic and literary craftsman there can be no question. Books and articles flowed steadily from his pen—most of them insufficiently known to Western readers because they were published in India—and his Essays on the Gita (1916-1918) and his monumental The Life Divine, in particular, are works of very high distinction. His ashram at Pondicherry became a place of pilgrimage; yet during his later period he lived there almost completely withdrawn, permitting himself to be seen even by his own followers only twice a year in formal darshan, and on very rare occasions making oracular pronouncements on politics which must somewhat have perplexed or displeased his conventional nationalist admirers. Early in World War II, for example, he declared himself wholly in sympathy with Britain, and he commended the Cripps Mission in 1942. At his death on December 5, 1950, aged 78, the Press throughout India was filled with columns in his praise, to the exclusion of much ordinary news; President Prasad, Prime Minister Nehru, the Governors of States, and many leading public men wrote copiously in eulogy and reminiscence; and within a few hours, at Pondicherry, 60,000 people had filed past his bier. His gifts of spirit and of intellect had plainly been of the loftiest quality, and to this was added the romance of a unique career. Some would say that his position, among the great men produced by the new India of this century, is equaled only by that of Gandhi and Tagore.

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[1] to
[2] Mataram

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Dyuman’s Talk on the Service Tree

Dear Friends,

Chunibhai Patel (19.6.1903—19.8.1992) was a Gujarati sadhak who was renamed ‘Dyuman’ (“the luminous one”) by Sri Aurobindo on 24 November 1928. He visited Pondicherry for the first time on 11 July 1924 and surrendered himself to Sri Aurobindo. He became an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in May 1927. He was in charge of the Dining Room and looked after the Granary. A dedicated worker to the core, the Mother made him one of the Founder-Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust on 1 May 1955. He became the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust in 1991.

On 2 February 1988 Dyuman had given a talk on the Service Tree to some of the youngsters of Sri Aurobindo Ashram outside his room in the Ashram main building. The slightly abridged version of the said talk—which was originally published in the January 1989 issue of Mother India (the monthly magazine published from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry)—has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

Dyuman 1

Uptil now we know that Hanuman was the greatest servant, dāsa. Today I will tell you how Sri Aurobindo used to serve the Mother, how he waited for the Mother when she was late.

We usually had the night-meditation at 12 o’clock, 1 o’clock or 1.40 a.m. One night after 11, seeing the people waiting, the Mother said, “I am coming.” Then she rested. She went into a trance. Now it was 1.40 a.m. People were waiting downstairs. Sri Aurobindo was waiting in his room. The Mother was not to be found. Where is the Mother? I went to Sri Aurobindo. I found him sitting on his bed waiting for the Mother from 11 o’clock… I said, “She is in a trance.” He replied, “Wait 3 minutes, wait 5 minutes. If she doesn’t get up, tell the people to go home.” I waited, no response from the Mother. I went again to Sri Aurobindo and told him, “She is still in a trance.” “Tell the people to go home.” At 1.45 a.m. I went to the small window half-way down the Meditation Hall staircase and announced, “Sri Aurobindo says, ‘Go home’.” Then the Mother woke up and actually started running. “Ah! they are all waiting!” “No, Mother, Sri Aurobindo asked them to go home.” “But food for Sri Aurobindo?” Sri Aurobindo, like a dāsa, had been waiting for her all the time.

She gave him food after 1.45 a.m. He had waited for nearly three hours, just sitting and waiting. That is why Sri Aurobindo is the greatest dāsa, servitor of the Mother. Equally, the Mother was a servitor to Sri Aurobindo. Till now nobody has been born greater than the Mother as a servitor to Sri Aurobindo, to the Lord, nor greater than Sri Aurobindo to the Mother Divine, Adishakti. He worshipped Her. He served Her. It’s in this context that the name “Service” was given to the tree. None of us had any idea.

The Ashram consisted of four different houses. One by one they were hired or purchased and joined together. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo were staying in the Library House—what is now the entrance to the Ashram. They came to this house on 8 February 1927. Subsequently new building-work started. To wash the bricks for this work and for the cement, three tanks were built in 1930. From Prosperity Hall to Ravindra’s fruit-room all was newly built.

There was a mango tree where the Service Tree now stands. The mango tree was to be cut down, the Mother asked us to get a Service Tree (plant) from the Botanical garden. As Parichand is now the Ashram gardener, Manubhai was then the gardener—his helpers were Ambu and Dyuman. Manubhai is gone, Ambu is here still, Dyuman also is here. The tree was planted on a Tuesday. Why this was done we couldn’t make out. In 1930 it was planted.

Did the Mother plant it herself?

No, the Mother asked us to plant it. The place those days was full of cats—would go on the roof, drop the tiles, because they would always fight; and there was always a lot of noise. They were everywhere. So we asked the Mother, “Why not remove this? why not remove that?” “No, no! If you want, you may fill up these three tanks with sand or something and put ferns on top.” We did that when Sri Aurobindo left his body. She said (now listen carefully), “I want to keep him in the centre of the Ashram. There are three tanks—keep the western side tank as it is, the other two you can make one. Go deep down 10 feet. Put Sri Aurobindo at the bottom. At 5 feet put a slab.” Then she uttered a prophecy for herself—“If something happens to me, put me there.” So, accordingly, He is below, then comes the Mother, and at the top you go and surrender yourselves to Her and to Sri Aurobindo. And this Sri Aurobindo and this Mother we are all serving. That is the gist of the beginning of the Service Tree.

Whom does it serve? I told you, “The Mother and Sri Aurobindo.” How each of them served each other I have told you. Why the place was kept there from 1930, that she knew, though she was telling us, though Sri Aurobindo was telling us from 1920 that he would remain for ever and 24th November 1926 was declared the Day of Victory, and two days later was the Immortality Day. The Mother brought down the Force of Immortality. But the Divine Grace has other ways. He left his body and the Mother decided to keep him in this Ashram at the centre, not outside, so that this becomes the centre of the universe and the universe comes to the Lord for the new life and She merges into Him. This is called Sri Aurobindo’s Samadhi. She merged into him. No separation between the two.

The tanks were here, and we have heard that there was a kitchen somewhere.

That was on the southern side. When the Ashram started, the Ashram meant formerly Sri Aurobindo and around him some of his people—not relatives but those who followed him. They were here. Then when the Overmind’s descent took place on the 24th November the Mother and Sri Aurobindo thought, “What we have received is a surety for the next thing—the Supramental Descent, why not give facilities to aspiring souls?” Remember these words: “Let’s give them facilities so that they may aspire more and something more may come down upon earth.” For this reason they called this establishment the Ashram. There was no other suitable name. So we had the kitchen and the dining room here, not there, from 1927—1934. On January 4, 1934 we shifted from here to the present dining room building.

Where was the mango tree?

When we purchased this house the mango tree was in the centre of the courtyard, where there is the coconut tree now.

Was it cut down?

The tree died and we had to remove it…

Were there any mangoes?

No, we never received any mangoes, never. But under that tree were all our departments: lime, bricks, tin-making, workshops, were here in this small place. Nowadays we have so many departments separately.

When did you come here?

I came in 1924. I met Sri Aurobindo. In those days there was no staying arrangement. He asked me to go back. I told him, “As you are asking me to go, I am going but I shall come back, for this is the home for me.” Home, I made a difference between a home and the Ashram, because I belong to a home. And I came back in 1927 when the Ashram began and I am still here.

Did you water the Service Tree every day?

Yes, Ambu and I. You know Ambu? He stays at Nanteuil. He came in 1928 as a young boy. We were a gang of workers. These are the stories of 60 years ago.

Were there tanks where the Samadhi is now?

There were three tanks. Here the wall was removed. Where you take tulsi leaves from the Samadhi, that was the third tank. The wall in between was removed. On the morning of December 5, Sri Aurobindo left his body at 1.26 a.m., and the work began. On the morning of the 6th when the Mother went to his room, she found that his body was changing its colour and becoming golden. Usually bodies become black after death. On the morning of the 7th, it became more luminous and on the 8th even more so. But according to the law we couldn’t keep the body for long. So the doctor of the General Hospital had to be called to certify that the body was intact, in perfect condition. On the morning of the 9th, it showed some signs of discoloration and it was decided to bring it down. By the middle staircase it was brought down from his room.

At one time, the Mother had the idea: “Here there are too many people, too much noise. I wish I could give Sri Aurobindo solitude.” She thought of purchasing the Trésor House where Dr. Satyavrata has his Nursing Home now. Then Sri Aurobindo said, “No, if I move, the whole world will tumble down. I won’t move at all.” And he remained here, so much so that no rain, no cyclone could disturb him. He was engrossed deeply in his work.

Once there was a big cyclone. The Mother rushed to his room to close the windows. He had no idea that there was a cyclone raging outside. He was writing, that’s all. So that was Sri Aurobindo.

When you planted the Service Tree, didn’t the cats disturb it?

No, the cats did not disturb it and everything—the cats, etc.—remained unchanged till 1945. When the Second World War was going on, there was the threat that the Japanese might come and drop bombs here, then we built a new house where two old houses had stood.

When was the concrete structure built to hold the branches of the Service Tree?

The Service tree began to grown, the branches began to go on the roof of the old house. We had to remove the old house. What to do with the branches? So this scaffolding was built—what we call the Sanchi railings were created. They were done by Sammer the architect from Czechoslovakia who had come here with Raymond and Nakashima and together the three of them built Golconde. So this whole creation in the Ashram courtyard was by Sammer and at the foot of each pillar you’ll find a square place. You see, the Mother used to come in the evening on the terrace and give meditation. Her idea was to have grass in each square but that could not be done, so pebbles were put.

When was this built?

The whole thing started from 1930-32. When the first-floor room was ready, then the Mother came there on 24th April 1932. She used to be in the small corner room where Champaklal now stays.

Did the Service Tree grow very fast?

Yes, because of all-round protection and then water, and thirdly because the Mother was always looking at it. The Mother is responsible for its growth. So often in cyclonic weather the branches were broken. If you look carefully, you’ll see that many have been cut. As they were broken we had to cut them off.

Didn’t the roots disturb the place where Sri Aurobindo’s body has been kept?

Well, I haven’t gone down where the body has been kept, so I can’t say.

But when the pit was being prepared?

No, at that time nothing. Then the tree was very young. Now it’s very big—a giant tree. But 38 years back, it was only 20 years old. Now the roots are moving everywhere. They have even crossed the wall and gone on the other side.

Is the tree still young?

I’ll give you the picture of the Service Tree filled with flowers. When it was 50 years old, the picture was distributed to everybody…

What was your age when you came here?

I was 21. I wandered about everywhere. I wanted to be an Himalayan monk, I went to the Belur Math of Ramakrishna, I went to Shantiniketan. I wandered. I was destined to be here…

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Sri Aurobindo’s Rare Interview published in “The Hindu” in 1915

Dear Friends,

Not many are aware of the fact that Sri Aurobindo had granted an interview to a correspondent of The Hindu in early 1915. This interview was quoted in full by Lala Lajpat Rai in his book Young India along with an introduction titled Arabinda Ghosh—Vedantist and Swarajist.

The text of the interview has been uploaded in the online forum of Overman Foundation along with Lala Lajpat Rai’s introduction.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Founder,
Overman Foundation.

*

photo

Arabinda Ghosh—Vedantist and Swarajist

It is difficult to say to which of these classes, if to either at all, Arabinda Ghosh belonged to or still belongs. At one time it was believed that he belonged to the first class, to which most of the other Bengalee extremists belonged, but whether that belief was right and whether he still thinks on the same lines, it is difficult to say. One thing is certain, that he was and is quite unlike Har Dayal in his line of thought. In intellectual acumen and in scholastic accomplishments he is perhaps superior to Har Dayal, but above all he is deeply religious and spiritual. He is a worshipper of Krishna and is a high-souled Vedantist. Even simpler and more ascetic in his life and habits than Har Dayal, he is for an all-round development of Indian Nationalism. His notions of life and morality are pre-eminently Hindu and he believes in the spiritual mission of his people. His views may better be gathered from an interview, which he recently gave to a correspondent of The Hindu, of Madras. We quote the interview almost bodily and in the words of the interviewer.

“But what do you think of the 1914 Congress and Conferences?” I insisted.

He spoke almost with reluctance but in clear and firm accents. “I do not find the proceedings of the Christmas Conferences very interesting and inspiring. They seem to me to be mere repetitions of the petty and lifeless formulas of the past and hardly show any sense of the great breath of the future that is blowing upon us. I make an exception of the speech of the Congress President which struck me as far above the ordinary level. Some people, apparently, found it visionary and unpractical. It seems to me to be the one practical and vital thing that has been said in India for some time past.

“The old, petty forms and little narrow, make-believe activities are getting out of date. The world is changing rapidly around us and preparing for more colossal changes in the future. We must rise to the greatness of thought and action which it will demand upon the nations who hope to live. No, it is not in any of the old formal activities, but deeper down that I find signs of progress and hope. The last few years have been a period of silence and compression in which the awakened Virya [1] and Tejas of the nation have been concentrating for a great outburst of a better direct energy in the future.

“We are a nation of three hundred millions inhabiting a great country in which many civilisations have met, full of rich material and unused capacities. We must cease to think and act like the inhabitants of an obscure and petty village.”

“If you don’t like our political methods, what would you advise us to do for the realisation of our destiny?” was the next question.

He quickly replied: “Only by a general intellectual and spiritual awakening can this nation fulfil its destiny. Our limited information, our second-hand intellectual activities, our bounded interests, our narrow life of little family aims and small money-getting have prevented us from entering into the broad life of the world. Fortunately, there are ever-increasing signs of a widened outlook, a richer intellectual output and numerous sparks of liberal genius which show that the necessary change is coming. No nation in modern times can grow great by politics alone. A rich and varied life, energetic in all its parts, is the condition of a sound, vigorous national existence. From this point of view, also the last five years have been a great benefit to the country.”

I then asked what he thought of the vastly improved relations that now exist between the Briton and the Indian in our own country and elsewhere.

“It is a very good thing”, he said and he explained himself in the following manner: “The realisation of our nationhood separate from the rest of humanity was the governing idea of our activities from 1905 to 1910. That movement has served its purpose. It has laid a good foundation for the future. Whatever excesses and errors of speech and action were then disclosed came because our energy, though admirably inspired, lacked practical experience and knowledge.

“The idea of Indian nationhood is now not only rooted in the public mind, as all recent utterances go to show, but accepted in Europe and acknowledged by the Government and the governing race. The new idea that should now lead us is the realisation of our nationhood not separate from, but in the future scheme of humanity. When it has realised its own national life and unity, India will still have a part to play in helping to bring about the unity of the nations.”

I naturally put in a remark about the Under-Secretary’s ‘Angle of Vision.’

“It is well indeed,” observed Ghosh, “that British statesmen should be thinking of India’s proper place in the Councils of the Empire, and it is obviously a thought which, if put into effect must automatically alter the attitude of even the greatest extremists towards the Government and change for the better all existing political reasons.

“But it is equally necessary that we Indians should begin to think seriously what part Indian thought, Indian intellect, Indian nationhood, Indian spirituality, Indian culture have to fulfil in the general life of humanity. The humanity is bound to grow increasingly on. We must necessarily be in it and of it. Not a spirit of aloofness or of jealous self-defence, but of generous emulation and brotherhood with all men and all nations, justified by a sense of conscious strength, a great destiny, a large place in the human future—this should be the Indian spirit.”

The oneness of humanity is a topic dear to the heart of Babu Arabinda Ghosh and when I (i.e., the interviewer) suggested to him that Vedantic ideas would be a good basis for unity, his reply was full of enthusiasm:

“Oh, yes”, he said, “I am convinced and have long been convinced that a spiritual awakening, a re-awakening of the true self of the nation is the most important condition of our national greatness. The supreme Indian idea of the oneness of all men in God and its realisation inwardly and outwardly, increasingly even in social relations and the structure of society is destined, I believe, to govern the progress of the human race. India, if it chooses, can guide the world.”

And here I said something about our “four thousand” castes, our differences in dress and in “caste marks”, our vulgar sectarian antipathies and so on.

“Not so hard, if you please,” said Mr. Ghosh with a smile. “I quite agree with you that our social fabric will have to be considerably altered before long. We shall have, of course, to enlarge our family and social life, not in the petty spirit of present-day Social Reform, hammering at small details and belittling our immediate past, but with a large idea and more generous impulses. Our past with all its faults and defects should be sacred to us. But the claims of our future with its immediate possibilities should be still more sacred.”

His concluding words were spoken in a very solemn mood:

“It is more important that the thought of India should come out of the philosophical school and renew its contact with life, and the spiritual life of India issue out of the cave and the temple and, adapting itself to new forms, lay its hand upon the world. I believe also that humanity is about to enlarge its scope by new knowledge, new powers and capacities, which will create as great a revolution in human life as the physical science of the nineteenth century. Here, too, India holds in her past, a little rusted and put out of use, the key of humanity’s future.

“It is in these directions that I have been for some time impelled to turn my energies rather than to the petty political activities which are alone open to us at the present moment. This is the reason of my continued retirement and detachment from action. I believe in the necessity at such times and for such great objects, of Tapasya [2], in silence for self-training, for self-knowledge and storage of spiritual force. Our forefathers used that means, though in different forms. And it is the best means for becoming an efficient worker in the great days of the world.”

[1] Force, energy and vitality.
[2] Life of meditation and self-denial.

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