Publication of ‘Sujata Nahar: Loving Homage.’

 

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

It gives me immense pleasure to announce that on 12 December 2011 Overman Foundation has published its fifth book, Sujata Nahar: Loving Homage. Edited by Nirmal Nahar and Anurag Banerjee with a foreword by Samir Kanta Gupta, this tri-lingual book is a collection of tributes paid to Sujata Nahar, the noted authoress and sadhika of the Integral Yoga, in English, Bengali and French. The book also includes several unpublished letters of Sujata Nahar and an occult vision narrated by her.

This 150-page book is available for Rs. 120 (One Hundred and Twenty) only.

Those who would like to place an order may write to us at the following email addresses:

                                     overmanfoundation@gmail.com

                                     overmanfoundation@yahoo.com

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder-Chairman,

Overman Foundation.

Advertisements

Sri Aurobindo on Ethics and Sri Aurobindo: His Political Life and Activities: A Review by Dr. Prema Nandakumar

Sri Aurobindo on Ethics: compiled and edited by Anurag Banerjee. Published by Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Price— E-copy: Rs. 20. (Hard-copy: Rs. 60).

Sri Aurobindo: His Political Life and Activities: compiled and edited by Anurag Banerjee with a preface by Prof. Kittu Reddy. Published by Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Price—E-copy: Rs. 200. (Hard-copy: Rs. 450).

Anurag Banerjee rightly refers to “the ocean of his (Sri Aurobindo’s) writings” when introducing Sri Aurobindo on Ethics.  One of the reasons I have found people avoiding Sri Aurobindo’s great works like The Life Divine and Savitri is that they find them too long to be sure of themselves in reading them through!  Fortunately, there have been compilers during the last half a century who have given us choice passages with which we feel comfortable.  With Sri Aurobindo’s writings, the centre is everywhere, the circumference nowhere.  Thus we gain much by reading the excerpts.  Quite often we are caught in the net of  Sri Aurobindo’s sublime style and proceed to take up whole  books for study.  Thus a compiler of Anurag Banerjee’s type is most welcome as a help for one’s Aurobindonian shelf.

Sri Aurobindo never called himself a philosopher.  Certainly he never thought of himself as a Socrates.  Yet Dharma is the base of all his writings.  Dharma is a unique word ad ethics is but a part of it.  What constitutes morality?  What are the ethical imperatives that govern our life?   Does dry morality help us make a truly dharmic statement?  What place has religion in ethics?  Does a fear of God help man keep to the right path? Does the moral order depend upon the nature of the individual man?  Has ethics something to do in helping us achieve self-transformation?  Sri Aurobindo feels that it does have a part to play, though with limitations.

“The ethical impulse and attitude, so all-important to humanity, is a means by which it struggles out of the lower harmony and universality based uponinconscience and broken up by Life into individual discords towards a higher harmony and universality based upon conscient oneness with all existences.  Arriving at that goal, this means will no longer be necessary or even possible, since the qualities and oppositions on which it depends will naturally dissolve and disappear in the final reconciliation.”

Anurag has culled almost all the passages in Sri Aurobindo’s writings that present an explanation of the term. The book gives us a global view of the ethical ideal, since the Mahayogi was also deeply read in western literature on the subject.  Like all else in man’s experience the ethical ideal also helps man advance towards the Divine.  Truth and Justice are demanded by humanity; but compassion too.  Ethics cannot be mechanical. 

“An act of justice, truth, love, compassion, purity, sacrifice becomes then the faultless expression, the natural outflowering of our soul of justice, our soul of truth, our soul of love and compassion, our soul of purity or sacrifice.  And before the greatness of its imperative mandate to the outer nature the vital being and the practical reason and surface seeking intelligence must and do bow down as before something greater than themselves, something that belongs directly to the divine and the infinite.”

One never tires of reading about the pre-Pondicherry days in Sri Aurobindo’s life.  There was the decade of political activism and today the Alipore Bomb Case remains an unparalleled court-fight in which Deshbandhu Chitta Ranjan Das argued on behalf of Sri Aurobindo. The biographers of Sri Aurobindo like A.B. Purani, K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar and Manoj Das have given us important insights into the trial but one is always eager to read how exactly the case had proceeded.  It is so with Sri Aurobindo’s closeness to the Bande Mataram Movement itself.  A compilation of the literature of those days is most welcome for the common reader, and we have one now in Sri Aurobindo:  His Political Life and Activities.  It is good to have many of the original documents (with the original spellings too!) in this sumptuous volume.           

Sri Aurobindo’s political life may be said to have begun with his return toIndiain 1893 for he had begun to contribute powerful articles to Indu Prakash even then.  But the activist-period may have begun only with the new year.  What follows is what watchers of the Aurobindonian skies know.  However, there are those small things which one is grateful to have at the arm’s reach.  The names of the members of the National Council of Education.  Good to know that the list is led by seven Maharajas.  There are Nawabs, leading lawyers, educationists and Kavirajs.  We have read Sri Aurobindo’s address to the Bengal National College Union. But I did not know he was entertained “to a sumptuous lunch in the Hindu style”!

Plenty of matter about the Barisal Conference including the full text of the address by the President A. Rasul (read out on his behalf as he was unwell).  That was our heroic age when the Bengalees refused to recognize the Partition of Bengal and the President gave a clear message, relevant for all time.  He wanted his Mohammedan countrymen to join the Hindus and work for the motherland and not fall a prey to the “divide and rule’ tricks of the British, unless they wished to go away from their motherland to Aravia, Persia or Turkey.

The Bande Mataram days, the Congress Sessions, the Alipore Bomb Trial … each page in this work is inspiring.  The precious document of Beachcroft’s judgement, a masterly, almost Sherlock Holmesian analysis.  Sri Aurobindo’s speeches after his release, including the famous speech delivered at Uttarpara, official documents where he is discussed, the National Fund, Bepin Chandra Pal’s article on Sri Aurobindo … You keep opening a page and stumbling upon a treasure that immediately opens the floodgates of memory about the heroic age in the twentieth century. Sri Aurobindo:  His Political Life and Activities is indeed wonderful gift from a lover of Sri Aurobindo to the lovers of Sri Aurobindo. 

                                                                                     Prema Nandakumar

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

This review was originally published in the November 2011 issue of the well-known bilingual magazine ‘The Oriya Aurovilian’.

Sri Aurobindo on Ethics, The Alipore Bomb Trial Judgment and Sri Aurobindo: His Political Life and Activities: A Review by Surendra Singh Chouhan

Sri Aurobindo on Ethics: Compiled and edited by Anurag Banerjee. Published by Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Price— E-copy: Rs. 20. (Hard-copy: Rs. 60).

The Alipore Bomb Trial Judgment: Compiled and edited by Anurag Banerjee. Published by Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Price—E-copy: Rs. 50. (Hard-copy: Rs. 150).

Sri Aurobindo: His Political Life and Activities: Compiled and edited by Anurag Banerjee with a preface by Prof. Kittu Reddy. Published by Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Price—E-copy: Rs. 200. (Hard-copy: Rs. 450).

                                           (I)

                   An unexamined life is not worth living—Socrates.

 When   first  man’s  heart  dared death and suffered life, the seed of   luminous conscience—the savior Grace—was sown  for  ever in heart of the struggling  humanity at this defining moment.  It   was  rightly so—as it was—primarily instrumental in pushing  up the humanity from  the primordial  struggle of  barbarism  to  the present  refining  poise  of   decent instincts.  Our unstinted  bouquet of  appreciation are due to  the compiler  and editor Anurag  Banerjee for offering  us  the rare treasure  about Sri Aurobindo’s  views on  Ethics. Unearthing the vast  trove from  the  works  of Sri  Aurobindo’s  writings  on Ethics was no easy  task. But, a judicious  and thoughtful   selection  by the  compiler  has made this work  under review an  eminently readable  one.

Ethics is the mother of all holistic sciences as it lays the foundation of the culture and character. Only we, the homo sapiens, are given the privilege to be able to distinguish between Right and Wrong. Western views on Ethics are undoubtedly an admirable mix of moral rectitude fortified by rational cover but not adequate and strong enough  to bring about  much needed qualitative  transformation of human Nature. The spiritual ambience is still missing there in the ethical thoughts and mooring of the western thinkers. It needed the Seer Vision of Sri Aurobindo to express and resolve the complex issues of Ethics in the proper perspectives. We see in this wonderful series of compilation the sublime touch and  the power  of the Master which  place  Ethics on a deserving high pedestal.  Innumerable  episodes in the Mahabharata, the Ramayan  and the  teachings of the Gita along with  the Upanishads  bear testimony  to  the  inestimable  value of  the ethical  principles—the art and craft of shaping  human Nature  to become the fit vehicle for  spiritual change. 

The dimensions of aphoristic ethical thoughts of Sri Aurobindo are path breaking and alters radically our narrow vision/views and understanding of the ethical principles as we have known and read so far.

Words are inadequate to compliment the compiler and the astute editor Anurag Banerjee for  stringing  together with meticulous precision  the invaluable  perceptions of Sri Aurobindo  in  a  format  and with judicious  division of the contents  which  make for the readers  an easy access.

Our editor—so it seems—is gifted with Seeing Intelligence—which reaches with felicity  to the core of  wisdom and offers us the privilege to  savor the rich treasure.

This admirable and  significant effort has  fulfilled  a long  felt  lacunae.  Thankfully, now , we may not   have to   cry and aspire  at the same time  like St. Augustine  “ O Lord  make me pure, but not yet , not yet…”  the acme of  the  ethical dilemma.    

                                                   (II)

              The Alipore Bomb Case—A symbol  for the struggle for Freedom

The trial of the Century has at last seen the light of the day. What an achievement on the part of its  editor Anurag Banerjee as it  required a very  high  sense of  critical  perceptive  editorial skills  invested with  an ability to present endless web of historical investigations and  conclusions in acceptable format. It is a unique compilation as it unfolds step by step the secret mystique and the mystery of the day to day activities  of  the freedom fighters and the firebrand revolutionaries.

Anurag Banerjee  blessed with  incredible patience and  research  skills/strategies has come up  successfully with  another  gem  of work which would  prove an invaluable source of  research for the posterity.  The entire drama and the trial of the case presided over by the Judge is a  glowing page  of the Indian struggle for Freedom revolving and evolving around the fiery Sun /son  of Mother  India, Sri Aurobindo. The rays emanating from Him echoed and reechoed from the white radiance of the Himvant to all the corners of Mother India the chant ‘Bande  Mataram,   Bande Mataram’. The Alipore Bomb Case is a saga of the heroic struggle of the children of Mother India who were prepared to lay their lives at the altar of Freedom cheerfully. The trial was a symbol and it awakened the sleeping masses to a new vision  and a call  and an invitation   to join the freedom  struggle .

The editor has accomplished  an astonishing  task by unraveling the  plethora  of  historical  documents and arranging/ordering  them  in  proper  structure. The  final result  is an excellently  well structured record of  the  memorable  Trial  where  the Sage—so to speak—was  born and baptized with fire and  the Zeal for GOD where inside the jail Sri Aurobindo was granted  the universal  vision  of the  all -pervading Divinity.

The Alipore Bomb case  is  not  a story  of the  trials  of  a few  freedom fighters but stories with in  story like a galaxy where  million stars twinkle as the reverberations of the trial crossed beyond the  boundaries of Bengal and impacted  million lives by its Message—Arise, Awake and stop not till the Goal is achieved.

Each page of the book—so painstakingly  produced and collated—shines  by its authenticity  and  immense  historical significance and relevance. The characters become vibrantly alive by the gripping narrative and the responses of the involved personages keep the readers attention completely focused.

Sri Aurobindo  like  a luminous star  remains aloof  and  watches  the entire drama unfolding. He is a guide, friend and philosopher to all the imprisoned hero-warriors. He is also an advocate fighting for the Divine cause where none other than the great C. R. Das   does  not hesitate to take His  counsel  at the critical moments of the Trial.

The  Alipore Bomb  Case  is  at once  a  glowing chronicle and a faithful  record  just  not  of a legal wrangling  but of the  of tale of the supreme sacrifice of the countless martyrs. This work should be read in the light of the earliest dawn of freedom struggle  and its crucial historicity in inspiring the ongoing freedom struggle in the first decade of the  last century.

The editor Anurag  Banerjee  deserves our   generous  appreciations  for  producing this  work of  sublime  excellence  infused with  the touch   of immaculate research and eye  for  perfection in all the minutest  details.

                                                 (III)

                Sri Aurobindo—His Political Life and Activities

               ‘He drew energies which transmute an Age’—Savitri

 This work of pristine beauty and perfection describing Sri Aurobindo’s  political life and activities  is filled with  incomparable  series  of  hitherto unknown  facts  and  figures  which  are wondrous  by the range  of   vast sweep and grandeur. The  editor has not left anything to chance and  by the  dint  of  unsparing efforts  has been able  to choreograph  the astonishing story  of  Sri  Aurobindo’s life and activities in a masterly fashion.  Life  of  a  Grand  figure is not to be measured by the  number of breaths that he takes but by the  intensity of breath which takes  our  breath  away. This is precisely what happened  in the crucial years , however  small span of time , during the period of  Sri Aurobindo’s  political life during those fateful years.  It was breathtaking in its sweep and the revolutionary changes it wrought in the national psyche. Like a mighty passive Brahman, Sri Aurobindo  guided  the destiny of the  Nation  and moulded the sleeping multitude into an inspirational and aspirational entity. But He was a Leader with a difference. He did not believe in short measures but kept the Vision of the Vast behind and every stroke coming from Him was a stroke of a Divine Genius and  had the maximum impact  on the masses  in galvanizing them into a new Force.

Prof. Kittu Reddy, in his brilliantly carved preface, has neatly summed up the many splendoured political activities of Sri Aurobindo which were in every sense—so to speak—apolitical. For Him the art of politics was a means to an end which would usher in the spirit of true  Nationalism and free Mother India from an alien rule. There are interesting similarities between the efforts of Lord Sri Krishna and Sri Aurobindo when we draw parallel between their political activities.  Both engaged themselves in bringing the rule of justice among the national groups based on the principles of Dharma and discharging Kartavya Karma in the highest sense without attachment and personal motives. Sri Aurobindo’s political life and activities were entirely in consonance with   the highest ideals as enshrined in the highest gospel of Dharma – the Gita.

The sense and essence of this marvellous compilation is bound to touch the hearts and minds of the countless fortunate readers in a luminous manner and we are sure it will work as a transforming force in their lives.

Anurag  Banerjee  has once again proved  that  what  a wonderful  editor he is  and does full justice  to the greatness of the theme—for  he himself—is  for ever in search  of Greatness  and  ready always to share its fragrance  with us all. It has whetted our appetite million fold, indeed.  

                                                                         Surendra Singh Chouhan

About the author: Shri Surendra Singh Chouhan is an ex-student of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE); after finishing his Higher Course he taught for a year in SAICE. He is an international educator and presently teaching Philosophy to the Chinese students in Shanghai under the auspices of Shanghai Normal University. This review was originally published in the August 2011 issue of the well-known magazine ‘Srinvantu’ (English).

 

 

Huta-di, the Offered One—In Memoriam

Dear Friends,

We are publishing a second tribute written by Shri Surendra Singh Chouhan to our much revered Huta-ben who left her physical body on 17 November 2011.

Shri Surendra Singh Chouhan is an ex-student of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE); after finishing his Higher Course he taught for a year in SAICE. He is an international educator and presently teaching Philosophy to the Chinese students in Shanghai under the auspices of Shanghai Normal University.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

                                                        *

Huta-di, the Offered One—In Memoriam

Surendra Singh Chouhan

It is difficult , if not impossible , to  write   about  Huta-di  who  left  us on 17th  November as her  life in Ashram  in all  appearance was a secluded one . She opened herself only to a selected group of friends and fellow sadhaks. It was  my privilege to know her and did have have interactions with her during my stay in Ashram and afterwards with my wife Kiran.  What was remarkable during these meetings was her serene poise and inner strength.. Although outwardly she was not easily accessible but was very much visible through her correspondence with the Divine Mother in numerable letters. There we see her not only as a struggling sadhika with her candid confessions to the Supreme but also an embodiment of unshakable Faith in the Divine dispensation. This brings us close to her very very special relationship with Sweet Mother which is something to contemplate about. This mutual Love and  trust transcended all the boundaries where the Divine Mother leaned down again and again to  sustain the morale of her beloved Child. Close to all this is Huta-di’s complete immersion in the life long work and mission of Drawings/paintings in different hues and colours on and about Savitri under the direct Guidance of the Divine Mother. It was a mystical art and craft at once long drawn and spiritually subtle under the watchful Eye of the Supreme Mother. It was, as if Huta-di came down to accomplish this mission and vision of Savitiri through the splash of colours—and—what a magnificent work she has done! A frail figure with a life besieged by inner turbulence, she still carried on heroically the work of immortalising Savitri  further through her Paintings.

Life of Huta-di was like a white flame of Light which burnt brightly in silence  during her  earthly sojourn to collaborate with the Divine Mother in her Divine work. She was a Rishika of Savitri  in the truest sense of the word .

                                                  *

“Huta, ‘The Offered One’ – a very special child of the Mother” by Shraddhavan

On November 17th 2011 – the anniversary of the Mother’s passing – at 1.30pm, a very special child of the Mother, born Savita D. Hindocha, quietly left her body in the Ashram Nursing Home. She had been there for about a month with her condition gradually deteriorating, after ailing for several months. When she joined the Ashram permanently on February 10th 1955 in her late teens the Mother gave her the name ‘Huta’ meaning ‘The Offered One’. Although she had no artistic training, the Mother perceived in her a potential artist and a soul belonging to a world of beauty. She trained her in painting, and worked with her from 1961 to 1966 to create the series of oil paintings illustrating passages from the whole of Savitri called Meditations on Savitri. During this time Huta recorded the Mother’s readings of the passages corresponding to the paintings, which are now familiar to many accompanied by the compositions of Mother’s musician Sunil.

Huta had a very special connection with Auroville – a letter of hers to the Mother in 1965  inspired the creation of Matrimandir, the Mother’s Shrine; and it was to Huta that the Mother first explained, with sketches, her concept for the town-plan of Auroville. In 1966 Huta produced the painting which the Mother named ‘The Spirit of Auroville.’ All this is told in her books Matrimandir – the Mother’s Truth and Love and The Spirit of Auroville. In 2001 Huta entrusted the care of the Meditations on Savitri paintings and a lot of other related art works and materials to Savitri Bhavan.

She has also become well-known for her many books, beautifully designed by Huta herself, all inspired by her contacts with the Mother, such as White Roses (translated into Tamil, French and Russian by Aurovilians), The Story of a Soul, About Savitri, and most recently ‘You said So …’ a record of some of the Mother’s talks with her. In fact she was still working on her latest project, My Savitri Work with the Mother, when she became too weak to continue. She was extremely happy to learn, some six weeks before her passing, of the completion of a series of 18 DVDs made by Italian Aurovilian Manohar of her Meditations on Savitri paintings, and even more recently of another film made by him of her Paintings Inspired by Sri Aurobindo’s Poems. This film will be premiered at Savitri Bhavan on December 5th.

Huta had no fear of death. During the time when she was working with the Mother on the Savitri paintings the Mother had guided her through all the subtle worlds, even the darkest subconscient, and assured her that when the time came she would be immediately carried up by Sri Aurobindo to her true home. She chose a significant day on which to leave, indicative of her identification with the Mother.

She has been a true friend of Savitri Bhavan and all of us here remember her with deep gratitude and affection.

Shraddhavan