Sri Aurobindo’s Birthday Talk on 15 August 1909

Dear Friends,

Today we have published a talk of Sri Aurobindo which he had delivered at his residence on 15 August 1909, that is, on the occasion of his thirty-seventh birthday. The text of the talk was published in the Bengali journal, “Bharat Mitra”, on 21 August. It was later translated into English and published in a police intelligence report.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

                                                    *

“In my childhood before the full development of my faculties, I became conscious of a strong impulse in me. I did not realise what it was then, but it grew stronger and stronger as I gained in years till all the weakness of my childhood, fear, selfishness, etc., vanished from my mind. From the day of my return to the mother country, the impulse is surging forth in great force, and my set purpose and devotion are becoming more confirmed with the trials and oppressions to which I am subjected. When some divine power by the Grace of God manifests itself in a human being any efforts to develop it give a new force to the national life. You will have to sacrifice yourself at the feet of your Mother. You should, therefore, devote yourself with firm faith and whole heart to her service. Service of our motherland is our highest duty at this moment. This must be our duty in this iron age. It is now the time for us to conserve our energy. Do not be impatient, do not despair. Do not lose faith. The present fatigue and inactivity are natural; you will find instances of them in the history of every nation. Everyone must store up energy. Be prepared with fresh hope and vigour for the worship of the Mother. Divine power has infused this nation with a new power. This power will exalt the nation one day.”

                                                          *

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Arabinda Basu—A Tribute to a Friend and Guide by Narad

 

 

                         He has left and joined the great ones at Their Feet.

Many of you will have read the reverent homage of Shraddhavan which includes some historical facts about Arindam.  This tribute, therefore, contains some of my personal reminiscences of a yogi who for me, stands alongside Nolini, on a high plateau of the Integral Yoga.

More than fifty years have passed since first we met in the U.S. and I, a callow youth, sat spellbound hearing his inspiring and illuminating words.  He usually began his talks with the words, ‘Dear Children of the Mother’ and when he spoke, although he called himself a philosopher, one felt the Presence of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo physically in the room.  In later years the Presence was so concrete that one felt, as Arabinda would say, as if the Peace, came down like a solid block of ice, but warm and all engulfing.

There are some whom Mother assigns to be a guide to bring one closer to Her.  She did this often with people in the Ashram and Arabinda and Nolini were the ones entrusted to bring me nearer to Her Feet.  Through more than fifty years his guidance, inner and outer, and his sharing of the deepest understanding of the Integral Yoga has been a base and support in my sadhana.

I remember a meeting in Sedona, Arizona in the early 1960’s when he shared things so confidential that I have never shared them with anyone.  These were pivotal points for me in the integral yoga and though I was only twenty-three, they were of inestimable help in my inner growth.  There are some other experiences that I can speak of in this homage now that all these years have passed.

When I first came to the Ashram in 1961 and met Mother in my first interview lasting about an hour, Prithwi Singh Nahar and Dayabhai were there to watch over me and see to my overall care, but Arabinda was the first to help steady me on the path pointing out the difficulties of my nature and the need to overcome my vital restlessness. In those initial months of 1961 and 1962 he would come to me night after night in my dream states and would teach me by actually manifesting those closest to me and telling me why I had chosen this particular birth, etc.  One evening he brought my parents to Pondicherry and I remember him placing them on the parapet that was there by the sea in the 1960’s and telling me what they represented.  The experience is still more real today than my present waking state.  When I met Arabinda during the day he refused to speak of any of this.  The experiences continued for weeks and finally after one evening’s experience when he brought a large parrot to me, I became angry and confronted him the next day.  I demanded to know the symbolism of the parrot.  Very quietly and with a smile he said, “You talk too much.”

As the years passed I felt his love for me increasing more and more, if that could be possible.  He spoke to me intimately of the early ‘Church fathers’ and their ‘Prayers of the Heart’ but most especially of Mother and recently of Sri Aurobindo.  One evening he showed me a letter from Mother which I hope will be preserved along with his many letters from Mother and Sri Aurobindo and disciples which will be for all of us rare and sacred treasures.  He had written to Mother saying that when he gave talks it seemed that the words were those of Sri Aurobindo.  Too many years have passed for me to remember the exact reply from Mother but paraphrasing as best I can, She replied that the closer he became to Sri Aurobindo the more He would speak through him.

His journal Gavesana was very dear to him and he honored me by asking if he could publish some of my poems.  Once he said, “You know, the flower on the front is Power Aspiring to Become an Instrument for the Divine Work, Power!”  He occasionally asked me to write to special friends in the U.S., theologians and others who had offered him prestigious positions at Universities and invited him to come to the U.S. to give lectures. From time to time would dictate letters for me to type and send to colleagues abroad.  One such letter was to Donald Goergen OP, with whom I have had the opportunity to correspond..  I think it permissible to quote an exchange of letters from Donald Goergen to Arabinda and his reply regarding Teilhard de Chardin, for the brilliance of their thought.

“Dear Arabinda,

Narad has dropped me a note inquiring about your article on Teilhard, Aurobindo, and Evolution. I apologize for my negligence in responding. I believe the article arrived last April, a busy time at the end of our semester, and for some reason I set it aside after reading it. Your handwriting is not as easy to read, and so I am not sure if there were any specific questions which you may have had, but I certainly appreciated the article and your sending it on to me.

Let me make a few more specific comments, knowing one could go on at much greater length.

1. I don’t have any particular qualms about your interpretation of Teilhard. However, I do not judge him to be so far removed from more traditional interpretations in his understanding of Paul as you suggest. You refer to Bultmann, Schweitzer, and Knox. The first two are Protestant and do have less of a cosmic sense. But I think there are more cosmic readings of Paul, especially among some of the Fathers like Origen and others in the early Church. Certainly Teilhard has an evolutionary reading that one would not find in others, but I do not think there is such a wide divergence as you suggest on p. 24 — perhaps because there can be such a wide divergence within Christianity itself, as among the philosophies of India. So I think Teilhard picks up a sense of something in Paul that many commentators miss, but not all, for in Paul all of creation is groaning (Romans) and God through Christ becomes all in all (1 Cor 15).

2. On p. 25 you queried about “whether Teilhard studied Indian thought with close attention.” Unfortunately he did not. In looking back, we can say unfortunately. At the time I suppose it was not what was of as much interest, even though he spent so much time in China. But he did not delve into Asian religious thought at any depth, so he certainly lacked an appreciation of it as well as knowledge. I believe it was Ursula King who wrote a book on Teilhard and Eastern mysticism and acknowledges such. 

3. Just as there is the tendency in the West to equate Hinduism or Indian thought with Shankara, so there can be the tendency to try to come to a uniform understanding of Christianity in the East. But both are more pluralistic as you know. Most in the West may not know of Ramanuja. Thus Teilhard is working with a limited understanding of the East. Nevertheless, he probably still, as a Christian, at that time, before the Second Vatican Council, with limited freedom, would have said the same about his Christian view of evolution, that Christianity offered something not found in the East — even if he had recognized a transcendent God in Indian thought — but he may have generalized less, or been more appreciative. 

4. I myself would admit and have that Aurobindo develops at much greater depth the reality of spiritual evolution. Although Teilhard extrapolates, and sees all as converging in and through Christ, he does not go into the spiritual dimension to the same degree. But here Indian philosophy is at an advantage since its great strength is its refinement of spirit. Teilhard would see heaven and earth coming together in the Christ event, and probably not see anything comparable in Indian thought to that, the avatar not being an equivalent analogy. Thus Teilhard, even if more knowledgeable than he was about the East, would still have emphasized I believe a supremacy to Christ  — as pre-existent, as evolver and immanent, and as Omega or destiny. 

Here we come not so much to Teilhard and Aurobindo, but simply to the dialogue between Christianity and the East. Christianity would see something unique in the Incarnation and in the mystery of Golgotha that probably would make Indian thought appear more Pelagian, even if Aurobindo would not be due to his emphasis on the descending Supermind as grace. I would agree that Teilhard does not have a counterpart to the Supermind, but the question would be for Christianity what the correlation if any might be between the Holy Spirit and Supermind, realising that they are  not simply exchangeable. 

5. The topic of high morality and spirituality is one that intrigues me since reading before Aurobindo’s own article (which I believe you gave me years ago) on Christianity. And I recall Amal Kiran once saying to me that he thought of Jesus as perhaps an unsurpassed moral teacher but not spiritually so profound. That would merit a wonderful conversation if our paths were to cross again. I do not find it offensive, but there is probably more to the matter than that alone. Aurobindo represents a rather distinct and highly developed spiritual philosophy from India about which many remain still unfamiliar. I frequently refer to him in talks and lectures. But I am not prepared to say that he has superseded Christianity. And thus I would be more of an Aurobindonian Christian than a Christian Aurobindonian, to use words I believe that Amal Kiran used in his correspondence with Bede Griffiths.

6. That may be enough for now. I agree that Teilhard’s noosphere is not yet Aurobindo’s Supermind. The question may be whether there are any resemblances in function between Supermind and Christianity’s Christ and Holy Spirit.

Let me thank you profusely, Arabinda, for being so kind and attentive to send me the copy of the issue, and let me apologize once again for my neglect. If there was something further you wished, I may not have read it correctly from your handwriting, but do feel free to write and inquire further.  I always enjoy hearing from you.

With wishes for abundant blessings upon you,

                                                                                                                  Don

 

Donald Goergen OP

St. Dominic Priory

3601 Lindell Blvd.

St. Louis, MO63108-3393.”

 

                                                                                December 20, 2010.

“Dear Don,

Thank you for your letter of December 20, 2009.  I am replying to it after a whole year, for which I am sorry.  I couldn’t do it earlier because of health reasons.  Nevertheless I am working, writing and giving classes, though at a slower pace.

I don’t want to deal with all the points you have mentioned in your very clearly written letter.  My main problem is not whether Teilhard de Chardin is right or not.  Very clearly he is an evolutionist but I have always read that the biblical theory about eh world is that it come into being by fiat of the will of God.  It is a theory of special creation, “Let there be so and so” and that came into existence.  Can this doctrine of creation be reconciled with an evolutionary view of the world?

I myself believe that Teilhard had a very clear vision and idea of the world and human destiny which I think is splendid and true.  He himself grants that the passages that he has culled from Paul and John do not obviously support an evolutionary view.  You say that Paul had a clear cosmic vision.  Does it necessarily imply that the cosmos is evolutionary?  Since my school days I have been very interested in St. Paul and his career.  The way that he suffered to propagate the message of the Lord whose voice he was fortunate enough to hear, how Saul became Paul.

As regards comparison with Sri Aurobindo’s evolutionary view and that of Teilhard, it seems to me that the latter falls short of the clear supramental view of evolution.  Teilhard stops at the Noosphere and if he had a glimpse of anything beyond the Noosphere is can be granted that where he was or at least used to be from time to time on a high level of the Noosphere because according to Sri Aurobindo each level of consciousness have several levels.  Teilhard’s “Hymn of the Universe” is to me the expression of a very high level of experience of the spiritual kind.  So my problem is not Teilhard so much as the theory of the special creation and the doctrine of evolution.

Is there any chance of your coming to India?  Jadavpur University, one of the better ones in Bengal, has a Centre for Sri Aurobindo’s Studies which is doing good work.  I would very much like that you should give a course of lectures on Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin.  The time of your visit can be arranged according to your convenience.  When you are in Calcutta you would be a guest of the Center.

I hope you are keeping well and reading and writing as usual.  The “Flame of Love” is a wonderful book.  Thank you for it.

Kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Arabinda.”

In an issue of Gavesana Donald Goergen mentions meeting Sri Aurobindo twice in recent years,  once at Park Guest House and once in Madras at the airport.  Arabinda also told me that he went into such a deep trance in Sri Aurobindo’s room that they had to physically take him out after some time.

On another occasion Arabinda told me that he wrote to Sri Aurobindo many years ago and asked him if he could join the Ashram permanently.  Sri Aurobindo replied (and again, I can only paraphrase) ‘I have spoken with Mother and we both feel that you should see a bit more of the world’.  Sixteen years would pass before he could come and settle in the Ashram!

The recent years were those in which I had the most powerful experiences with Arindam but also the sharing of the most warm and human moments.  He would allow me to bring friends from time to time and I know that for them those evenings were filled with light.  One day he said to me, “I want to take some photos with you, but only on one condition, you must wear a Bengali dhoti and I will wear a business suit!”  I include some of these delightful photos at the end of this article. 

One could ask Arabinda anything.  I spoke to him on the current state of the Middle East, on the possibility of a nuclear conflagration with Iran and Israel, and the effect of the Supramental Force on the world today.  His answers were always clear and concise.  He stressed more than once that Mother’s statement that there would be no seventh pralaya was absolutely true although there would continue to be local conflicts around the world. 

                      Another experience with Arabinda

 Arindam came to me before midnight and took me to a house by the sea.  He told me of many places in the world, mentioning cities by name, where one could have the experience of the sea.  He led me into a house (I remember a lady was walking or standing off to the right) in a fairly large room with an enclosed verandah overlooking the ocean.  He then took me down a short flight of stairs to another room.  I somehow remember sitting on a ledge where I was at eye level with him as he stood before me.  Then I saw that he had a ripe green grape between his fingers.  He very softly touched my left eye (at this point I had closed my eyes) with the grape, then my right, and then the centre between my eyes.  At this point I must have opening my eyes for I saw him very gently place the grape between my lips, after which I chewed it and swallowed it.

A very partial explanation has come to me.  The ocean represents the possibility of the expansion of my consciousness, the grape the Divine Ananda which he was giving me.

 In the very early days when we first met, Arindam taught me some songs to Sri Aurobindo.  Although one of the pages on which he wrote a song had been eaten by termites in Auroville, I have preserved it and hope that soon a Sanskrit scholar will help me with the words.  Here is Arindam’s English translation.

                                   Shattering the dense obscure darkness

                                   within with his flaming, luminous

                                    askesis power, effecting the weal of the

                                    universe, Lord Sri Aurobindo glories.

 

When Arabinda asked me to help him write a CV we had a good laugh when I mentioned that he had forgotten to add that he was the Spalding Lecturer at Durham University!

                                Arabinda Basu

 Profile

Arabinda Basu at age 92, is a resident of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry, India where he is Professor of Philosophy and Editor of the Journal Gavesana.

Experience

  • Professor of Philosophy, Benares Hindu University (Lecturer in Indian Philosophy and Religion)
  • Spalding Lecturer in Indian Philosophy and Religion, University of Durham, United Kingdom
  • Visiting professor, Claremont College, Claremont, California
  • Professor of Religion, Dubuque, Iowa
  • Professor of Philosophy, Punjab University, Punjab, India
  • Professor – Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Celigny, Switzerland – A World Council of Churches Organization
  • lecturer – Harvard School of Divinity
  • lecturer – Center for the study of World Religions – Harvard

Education

  • M. A. (Philosophy) 

Publications

  • A Preface to the Study of the Bhagavata Purana
  • Brahman and Ishwara, in the Philosophies of Shankara and Sri Aurobindo
  • Sri Aurobindo- A Garland of Tributes (Editor)
  • The Mother – A Bouquet of Homage  (Editor)
  • Nirodbaran – Sadhak and Poet (Editor)

Numerous publications both abroad and in India

Articles Published

  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • History of Philosophy – Eastern and Western – Edited by S. Radhakrishnan
  • The Cultural Heritage of India – Published by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture – Seven volumes

I conclude with two very recent experiences with Arabinda, one when I was alone with him and one when I brought a friend.

Even though Arabinda’s body was becoming frail and I would have to hold him firmly when we walked to the front door to get an auto rickshaw, his mind was filled with light and this radiance was clearly seen by many.  One evening we were in his study and he began speaking of Sri Aurobindo.  He said that Sri Aurobindo was very close.  When I asked him about Mother, he laughed and said, “I don’t know exactly where She is because She is everywhere!”  As he spoke of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga there came into the room a peace so concrete and palpable that it filled every space and filled me with a great silence.  Then I felt Sri Aurobindo’s Presence and Arabinda said softly to me, “He is here.”  I don’t know how long the darshan continued but the silence was Physical as was the Peace.  I have had the blessing more than once of kneeling before Sri Aurobindo in the subtle physical plane where He resides and I knew without question the moment He entered the room.  The second time, most recently, when I brought my friend, Arabinda spoke for two hours on Sri Aurobindo.  His words were like a golden light entering me and suddenly it happened again.  Everything in the room became still and the Peace and Silence descended.  Arabinda turned to my friend and asked him what he felt.  We were both speechless.  Then Arabinda said, “He is here.”  We all sat and bathed in the glow of His Presence and then Arabinda said, jokingly, “Whenever we speak about Sri Aurobindo and His yoga, he has to come!

And so I close my tribute to this exemplary disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, recognized, sadly, by too few as a great yogi.  I will always remember him with humility and gratitude for all he has done to bring me closer to Them.                                                                                                     

                                                                            Narad

                                                                                         July 9, 2012

                                                           *

                               The late Jyotipriya with Prof.  Arabinda Basu

 

                            Anie Nunnally with Prof. Arabinda Basu 

 

 

 

                                  Prof. Arabinda Basu with Narad

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Poem Written on the Occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s Marriage

Dear Friends,

Today we are publishing the translation of a poem written on the occasion of Sri Aurobindo’s marriage with Mrinalini Devi on 30 April 1901. In those days, the relatives of the bride used to write a poem and distribute it among the invited guests to commemorate the wedding ceremony. The original poem titled Mrinale Aurobindo was written by Nirodemohini Devi, a relative of Mrinalini Devi.

The translation is quoted from the book Smriti-Tirtha written by Anshu Banerjee.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

                                                    * 

                                Mrinale Aurobindo

                            The moon is smiling in the clear sky

                            With her smiling a multitude of stars

                            Flowers smiling in the garden

                            Queen Nature is smiling beside herself.

 

                            Vernal breeze is blowing gently

                            A delighted stream is gurgling merrily

                            All-round everything is fervently smiling

                            What a beautiful night it is.

 

                           Moonlight intoxicating the world

                           Wherever one looks, everything is smiling

                           Gaiety, as if has engulfed the earth

                           What an auspicious moment is today.

                           Today at this auspicious hour

                           Mrinal weds Aurobindo

                           With sweet smelling blossoms and

                           A garland of flowers in hand,

                          Adorned with charming ornaments

                         What a profoundly admirable sight for the eye

                         With cheerful countenance and delightful mind

                          Everyone together blessing them.

                         Grateful Supreme Lord and your prescript

                          In this earthly life you are the treasure-house of love

                          That’s why you have united them as one life

                          Tied them in an eternal knot.

 

                            Now we beg at thy feet

                            Keep the two ever happy

                            From all obstacles of life

                            Protect, O Lord these two lives

                            Adopting Truth’s shelter both

                            Should stay as Thy servants

                            In happiness or in sorrow, both

                            Should never ever forget Thee.

                                                       *

Professor Arabinda Basu: A Tribute by Shraddhavan

 

Many people around the world will be saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Arabinda Basu who, almost 96, left us on Tuesday July 3rd around 7.15 pm, from the Ashram Nursing Home where he had been under treatment for a couple of weeks. Arindam-da – as he was known to many – was named after Sri Aurobindo at his uncle’s request, and came under the influence of the Master as a college student in the early 1930s. During the 1940s he was regularly visiting the Ashram for Darshan, and he received the encouragement of Sri Aurobindo for his academic career. In the 1950s he was invited to become Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Durham in the U.K. There he was in touch with the first small group of Sri Aurobindo’s followers, brought together by A.B. Purani – our friends Joy Calvert, Edith Schnapper, Morwenna Donnelly, Dick Batstone, Stella Littlewood (mother of our Martin Littlewood of AVI UK) and others. After returning from England in 1968 he settled in the Ashram for good. His sweet refined nature and scrupulous scholarship made him one of the best loved sharers of Sri Aurobindo’s vision and teachings, and he was often invited to give lectures around India and abroad. He was a close friend of Nirodbaran, and the two of them used to come to Matrimandir and to Savitri Bhavan together. Arindam-da has given some wonderful talks at Savitri Bhavan, the latest in April 2009 when he shared his memories of Sri Aurobindo. Over the past three years he was becoming increasingly frail. Those who knew him will remember him with gratitude and affection, and his presence as a link with the earlier days of the Ashram will be sadly missed. For more details of his life see https://overmanfoundation.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/the-passing-of-prof-arabinda-basu.

 Shraddhavan.

 

The Passing of Prof. Arabinda Basu

 

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday, 3 July 2012 at 7.10 p.m., Professor Arabinda Basu—better known as ‘Arindam’ in the Aurobindonian community—has left his physical body in the Ashram Nursing Home nineteen days before his ninety-fourth birthday. He is survived by a son. His only daughter Meera had predeceased him on 15 January 2012.

Born on 22 July 1918 Arabinda Basu’s contact with Sri Aurobindo Ashram began through Dilip Kumar Roy in 1938 when he was appearing for his Bachelor of Arts examination. He was undergoing a period of inner crisis at that time so he had written to Dilip Kumar Roy asking him whether Sri Aurobindo could help him to dispel the darkness around him. Dilip Kumar Roy asked him to write to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and, if possible, send a small photograph of his along with the letter. Accordingly, Arabinda Basu typed a letter to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and sent it to Pondicherry. Some days later, an envelope arrived. When he touched it, he could feel something happening to him. When he opened the envelope he found there was a letter written by Dilip Kumar Roy to the Mother about him and the Mother had written some comments on the margin and sent a Blessings Packet. This was his first contact with Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and the Ashram at Pondicherry. He continued to correspond with Dilip Kumar Roy and on 9 April 1941 he arrived at Pondicherry. Dilip Kumar Roy introduced him to Dr. Nirodbaran who later became the channel of communication between Sri Aurobindo and him. Finally on 15 August 1941 he had his first Darshan of Sri Aurobindo. From 1941 to 1950 he visited Pondicherry for the Darshan of Sri Aurobindo with the exception of 1942. In 1943 he wrote to Sri Aurobindo requesting him to allow him to become an inmate of the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo wrote with a pencil on the margin of the letter: “I’ve shown your letter to the Mother. We both agree that you should see a little more of life before settling here.” These three words “before settling here” convinced him that some day he would indeed become an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

Arabinda Basu used to have certain epistolary exchanges with Sri Aurobindo through Nirodbaran. He was the recipient of the following letter of Sri Aurobindo dated 17 August 1941 sent through Nirodbaran in which Sri Aurobindo had declared:

“The Mother is not a disciple of Sri Aurobindo. She has had the same realisation and experience as myself.

“The Mother’s sadhana started when she was very young. When she was twelve or thirteen, every evening many teachers came to her and taught her various spiritual disciplines. Among them was a dark Asiatic figure. When we first met, she immediately recognised me as the dark Asiatic figure whom she used to see a long time age. That she should come here and work with me for a common goal was, as it were, a divine dispensation.

“The Mother was an adept in the Buddhist yoga and the yoga of the Gita even before she came toIndia. Her yoga was moving towards a grand synthesis. After this, it was natural that she should come here. She has helped and is helping to give a concrete form to my yoga. This would not have been possible without her co-operation.” 

After completing his education, Arabinda Basu joined the Benares Hindu University as a professor. In the early 1950s, he joined the Durham University of England as a professor. For the next fifteen years he taught at Durham University. When he returned to India in 1967 and went to meet the Mother, he asked her whether he could now return to India permanently. The Mother expressed her consent. When he asked her when should he return, the Mother replied: “Preferably next year.” Though he had a contract for thirty years with Durham University he requested the authorities to relieve him of his responsibilities. Since his classes had already begun at the University and students were coming in large batches to study under his tutelage, he requested his colleagues to give him their classes so that he may complete his course. He duly completed the course, set the question-papers, appointed the examiner and returned to India. He reached Chennai on 31 December 1967, made an overnight journey and arrived in Pondicherry on 1 January 1968. He became an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and joined Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education as a professor. He served as the Editor of the yearly magazine Gavasena. He was also an eloquent speaker who was invited quite often to speak on the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo. In 2011 an anthology of his articles, mostly delivered as lectures, was published under the title of Sri Aurobindo: The Poet, Yogi and Philosopherby the Centre of Sri Aurobindo Studies (Jadavpur University). When the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ was initiated by Overman Foundation in 2010, Prof. Basu became the first recipient of the said award which was presented to him in August 2010 along with the late K. D. Sethna  alias  Amal Kiran. 

Prof. Arabinda Basu was Knowledge personified. A brief interaction with him enabled the seeker to move from the Darkness of Ignorance to the Light of Wisdom. While his formal talks revealed his profound erudition, the informal chats with him revealed his extraordinary sense of humour. One could never have a dull hour in his company. The memories of the lovely and long evening talks I have had at his residence can never be forgotten. Even when he was past ninety years of age, one could not fail to notice the bright sparkle in his eyes. Age had caused his body to become frail but his brain was as active as ever. He could remember with utmost ease the details of incidents which had occurred several decades ago. And when he spoke about the Mother or his co-inmates of the Ashram, it was a moment to cherish. He had a rich inner life full of profound spiritual experiences but he seldom uttered a word about it.

Old age had compelled Prof. Basu to restrict his movements. In the past few months he had become physically quite weak. His eyesight had dimmed and so had his faculty to hear. Some time in June 2012 he was shifted to the Ashram Nursing Home. He returned to his residence after some days but was soon readmitted to the Ashram Nursing Home from where he was destined never to return. Following a brief spell of illness he passed away in the evening of 3 July 2012.

We are told not to mourn the demise of a practitioner of Integral Yoga. But it would be indeed very difficult for those who knew him and were recipient of his affection not to miss his presence. The emptiness created by his physical withdrawal can never be conquered. 

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

 

[From left to right: Shrimati Suprabha Nahar, Shrimati Dolly Mutsuddi, Prof. Arabinda Basu, Shri Anurag Banerjee and Shrimati Ratna Chakrabarti at the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ ceremony.]

 

Shrimati Ratna Chakrabarti and Shrimati Suprabha Nahar with Prof. Arabinda Basu at the “Auro-Ratna Award” ceremony.

 [From left to right: Shrimati Krishna Chakrabarti, Shrimati Suprabha Nahar, Shrimati Dolly Mutsuddi and Prof. Arabinda Basu at the “Auro-Ratna Award” ceremony.]

 

Prof. Kittu Reddy presenting the “Auro-Ratna Award” certificate to Prof. Arabinda Basu.

 

An Occult Vision of the Mother.

Dear Friends,

Today we are publishing an occult vision of the Mother in the forum of Overman Foundation. The text of this vision—originally published in the French journal Cosmic Review edited by Max Theon some time around 1906—has been reprinted in the book The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame published by Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

                                                  *

 

 

 ‘I was asleep and now this on waking up.

‘I slept on the waters to the West, and now I penetrate the ocean to know its depths. Its surface is green like beryl, silvery with the rays of the moon. Below, the water is blue like sapphire and already a little luminous.

‘I am lying on the undulations which are like the ripples of watered silk and I go down, swung from one undulation to another in a regular and soft movement, carried in a straight line towards the West. As I go down, the water becomes more luminous; big silvery currents run across it.

‘And I go down thus for a long time, swung undulation to undulation, always deeper and deeper.

‘All of a sudden, looking above me, I see a rosy tint, I go near and distinguish a bush which is like coral, as big as a tree, hanging from a blue rock. The inhabitants of the waters are going and coming, they are innumerable and diverse. Now I am standing on the fine shinning sand. I look around me with admiration. There are mountains and valleys, fantastic forests, strange flowers which could well be animals, and fishes which one would take to be flowers—there is no separation, no gap between the stationary and the non-stationary beings. Colours everywhere, soft or living and iridescent, but always refined and in accord. I walk on the sands of gold and contemplate all this beauty that is bathed in a soft and pale blue radiance in which the quite tiny spheres, luminous and red, green or golden, are circling.

‘How marvellous are the depths of the sea! Everywhere one feels the presence of Him in whom reside all the harmonies! I advance always towards the West, without getting tired or slowed down. The scenes succeed each other in an unbelievable variety; here on a rock of lapis-lazuli, see tiny and delicate sea-weeds, like long and blond or violet strands of hair; here big rosy walls, all bordered with silver; here flowers which look as if cut in huge diamonds; here shapes as beautiful as if they were the work of the most skilful sculptor; they contain what looks like drops of emerald with alternating pulsations of light and shade.

‘Now I am moving on a sandy way of silver between two walls of rock as blue as a blue sapphire; the water becomes more pure and luminous.

‘Unexpectedly, at a turn of the way, I find myself before a grotto which looks as if carved in crystal, shining all over with prismatic radiance.

‘Between two rainbow-coloured columns there is a being of big stature; his head, that of quite a young man, is encompassed with small blond ringlets, his eyes are green like the sea; he is dressed in a tunic of light blue and on his shoulders there are two big fins, snow-white and winged-shaped. On seeing me, he stands against a column to make room for me to pass. Hardly do I cross the threshold when an exquisite melody comes and strikes on my ears. Here the water is all a rainbow colour, the ground is sanded with iridescent pearls, the parvis and the vault from which grateful stalactites hang are like opal; delightful perfumes are spread everywhere; there are galleries, openings, corners, on all sides, but straight before me I see a great light and it is towards that that I proceed. There are great rays of gold, of silver, of sapphire, of emerald, of rubies; all these rays take birth at a point too far from me to distinguish what it is and they shoot forth in all directions, I feel myself drawn towards their centre by a powerful attraction.

‘Now I see where the rays are emanating form, I see an oval of white light surrounded by a superb rainbow. The oval is lying flat, and I sense and perceive that he whom the light is hiding from my sight is plunged in deep repose. For a long time I remain at the outer limit of the rainbow, trying to pierce the light and see him who is sleeping surrounded by such splendour. Unable to distinguish anything thus, I penetrate into the rainbow, then into the white luminous oval; and then I see a marvellous being: he is stretched over what looks like a pile of white down, his supple body of incomparable beauty is clad in a long white robe. On his head which was resting on his bent arm, I can see only his long hair the colour of ripe wheat, overflowing his shoulders. At this magnificent spectacle a great and sweet emotion invades me, and also a deep reverence.

‘Did the sleeper feel my presence? See, he wakes up and rises in all his beauty and grace. He turns towards me and his eyes meet mine, his mauve and luminous eyes which have an expression of sweetness and infinite tenderness. Without the noise of words he wishes me a touching welcome, to which my whole being responds joyously; then taking me by the hand, he conducts me to the couch he has just left. I stretch myself on this downy whiteness, and the harmonious face bends over me; a soft current of force penetrates me wholly, vitalizing, revivifying each cell.

‘Then, surrounded by the splendid colours of the rainbow, enveloped by the soothing melodies and exquisite perfumes, under such a powerful and tender look, I go to sleep in a beatific repose. And during my sleep I learn many beautiful and useful things.

‘Of all these marvellous things which I understood without the noise of words, I shall mention only one.

‘Wherever there is beauty, wherever there is radiance, wherever there is progression towards perfection, be it in the Heaven high up or down in the depths, everywhere there is assuredly the being in the form and likeliness of man—man, the supreme terrestrial evolver.’

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