Krishnadhan Ghose’s letter to Jogendranath Bose

Dear Friends,

A letter written by Dr. Krishnadhan Ghose (Sri Aurobindo’s father) to his brother-in-law Jogendranath Bose (Rajnarain Bose’s eldest son) has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation. In this letter written on 2 December 1890, Dr. Ghose made important predictions about the sons he had fathered, that is, Benoy Bhushan, Manmohan, Sri Aurobindo and Barindra Kumar.

The last portion of the letter is particularly important for it shows how Dr. K.D. Ghose had planned to get back the custody of his youngest son Barindra Kumar from his wife Swarnalata Devi who had lost her mental balance.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

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KD Ghose

 

Khulna, Dec. 2, 1890

 My Dear Jogen,

I got two letters from you last month and one from father[i] enclosing three scraps from Swarna[ii]. But did not reply to any of them for reasons which require a long explanation. I didn’t write in reply to father as I could not forgive myself if anything that slipped from my pen or tongue offended him. I lost my father when I was first 12 years old and I went to the length of offending a dear mother by marrying, as I did, to get such a father as Rajnarain Bose. It is true, circumstances, over which neither he nor I had a control, made me lose even him. But I would sooner cut my tongue off than offend him by any word. Yet you know I am not a child. I understand the responsibility of my own actions. If I ever knew what it is to procreate children, I am sure, I could not have mustered courage enough to marry. You are no doubt aware that it is said in the old Testament that God said: “Go and Multiply.” Of course, those words are put into the mouth of God by Moses. But that ‘great mind’ intended simply to explain a Natural Law in that manner. As far as my reading goes, I think that Darwin was an addendum to Moses. Moses said that: Go and multiply. Darwin said: “Mind, only the fittest of those you multiply will survive.” Now turn and twist the principles of ethics as you like. Even your devotion to an Almighty God will not justify your procreating beasts or idiots. Look how far-reaching the consequences will be. You will not only be the progenitor of one beast as one idiot, but, by their natural passions, you will multiply their kind to infinity. If brutes by ‘instinctive’ selection improve the breed, should man, who has reached the age of reason so far, forget himself as to procreate a species behind his own? The two maxims I have followed in my life, and they have been my ethics and religions, are: to improve my species by giving to the world children of a better breed of my own, and to improve the children of those who have not the power of doing it themselves. That is what I call devotion, not attained by empty prayers which means inaction and worship of a god of your own creation. A real god is God’s creation, and when I worship that by action I worship Him. It is easy to propound a plausible theory, but it is difficult to act in a world where you are hampered by a stupid public opinion and stereotyped notions of religion and mortality. My life’s mission has been to fight against all these stereotyped notions. God Almighty has strewn thorns in my way, and I am ready to fight against His will. The three sons I have produced I have made giants of them. I may not, but you will, live to be proud of three nephews who will adorn your country and shed lustre to your name. Who knows what the next generation will achieve, and if I can make three products of mine to take the lead in that achievement, what more can I expect in the action of a lifetime. Beno[iii] will be his ‘father’ in every line of action—self-sacrificing but limited in his sphere of action. Mano[iv] will combine the feelings of his father, the grand ambitions of a cosmopolitan spirit that hate and abhor angle and corner feelings with the poetry of his (great) grandfather Rajnarain Bose. Ara[v], I hope, will yet glorify his country by a brilliant administration. I shall not live to see it, but remember this letter, if you do. I tell you what Oscar Browning, the great son of the father, said to him when he was at tea with one of the dons of his college (he is at King’s College, Cambridge now, borne there by his own ability): “I have been examiner for scholarships for 13 years and during that time there was not presented papers like yours, and your essay was excellent.”

This essay was a reckless product—a comparison of Shakespeare and Milton. Here I will give you Arabindo’s own words; it may be tiresome to you, but it may break the monotony of your rural life there:

“Last night I was invited to coffee with one of the dons and in his rooms I met the great O.B. otherwise Oscar Browning who is the feature par excellence of King’s. He was extremely flattering (and) passing from the subject of cotillions to that of scholarship; he said to me, “I suppose you know you passed an extraordinarily high examination. I have examined papers at thirteen examinations and I have never during that time examined such excellent papers as yours (meaning my classical papers at that examination). As for your essay, it was wonderful! (In this essay, a comparison between Shakespeare and Milton) I indulged in my Oriental tastes to the top of their bent; it overflowed with rich and tropical imagery; it abounded in antithesis and epigrams and it expressed my real feelings without restraint or reservation. I thought myself that it was the best thing I had ever done, but at school it would have been condemned as extraordinarily Asiatic and bombastic. The great O.B. afterwards asked me where my rooms were and when I had answered he said, ‘That wretched hole’; (and) then turning to Mahaffy, ‘How rude we are to our scholars! We get great minds to come down here and then shut them up in that box. I suppose it is to keep their pride down.’”

My dear brother, do tell me, shall you not be proud of such a nephew? I have sacrificed my all to produce him and no less ones, and do you not think that you should feel it your duty to produce another ornament to your country? If the future is to be judged by the past, you can depend upon it that you shall have no reason to rue the day that you separated a product of my brain from your sister for your country’s sake. Poor Swarna, decrepit in health as she is, I have recovered from at least an untimely grave. Do, do, do if you can save a boy (Barin[vi]—the youngest) who may yet be the greatest nephew that you could boast of. Why sacrifice the living for the dead? Your sister is dead to the world, to all who have sacrificed anything for her sake. Now shall you sacrifice a boy, who, in your opinion, is brilliant and may be the means of doing good to the world, for the sake of a brother’s feeling towards a sister? I have sisters, and can sympathise with you; but your sister’s son is your own flesh and blood, and what feeling it is that will enable you to sacrifice one whose claim to posterity is greater than that of those who have lost their usefulness?

DEC-4.

Since writing… I got a severe attack of fever. I also got your letter. I have sent my friend Baboo Chintamoney Bhanja. He will hand over a C. note of Rs. 500/- to you to quiet down urgent creditors. This will be my last remittance if Barin is not sent, and I will wash my hands of the matter for you after this. You know very well that I cannot bring Swarna to me, having to work for the livelihood of a horde of people and the education of my sons and daughter. Those whims and mad fits I have satisfied for years and spent no less than Rs. 2600/-, quite a fortune in doing so. I am no longer young and able to undergo all trouble and privations for anything in this world.

Do all you can. I have sent my friend depending on your promise of serving me. He will go well-armed to steal the boy away if that were possible, and in that you must not resist. The father has absolute right over his children, so the police cannot interfere when they are commissioned by me.

Believe me.

Yours affly,

(Sd/-) K.D. Ghose


[i] Rajnarain Bose, Krishnadhan Ghose’s father-in-law.

[ii] Swarnalata Devi, Sri Aurobindo’s mother.

[iii] Benoy Bhushan Ghose (1867-1947), Krishnadhan’s eldest son.

[iv] Manmohan Ghose (1869-1924), Krishnadhan’s second son.

[v] Sri Aurobindo.

[vi] Barindra Kumar Ghose, Krishnadhan’s youngest son.

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‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’: A Review by Surendra Singh Chouhan.

‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’: Author: Anurag Banerjee. Foreword: Dr. Ananda Reddy. Publisher: Overman Foundation. Number of pages: 362. Price: Rs. 475.

“I am, I love, I see, I act, I will.”

Savitri, Canto Two, Book Nine, p. 594.

‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’ is a work of labour of love, incisive scholarship and conscientious research by Anurag Banerjee.

It is, indeed, a fascinating work of many sided views and perspectives. It is a tale of tales anchored around the earthly manifestation of the Supreme Divine Consciousness-Force in the form whom we adore as “Sweet Divine Mother”. It is revelatory in content and masterly in narrative. An episodical “Sri Mad Matri Bhagwatam”, the Book of the Divine Mother, so to speak.

Anurag Banerjee  has  attempted  something  impossible and  seemingly unattainable task to  script  in mere mortal words the embodiment of the Divine Mother  here in the conditions of manifold Ignorance on the whirling planet earth against  the vast cosmic backdrop of the mighty galaxies and  ever expanding Universe.

Has he succeeded or has he met with a brilliant failure?  As a reviewer of the book, my quick word is both “Yes and No”. A climber was queried why do you climb the mountain? He simply answered because it is there. So, Anurag Banerjee has dared to ascend the summit and measure the immeasurable!  In this sense, he has succeeded in chronicling expertly the Divine Life but could not fathom the fathomless as it should have been in spite of all the sincere dedicated efforts.

However, we have to admit that the author has become adept by now in accomplishing incredible feats with prayers on lips and surrendered heart come what may. The result is truly an exhaustive work in the form of the creation “The Birth and Growth of a Flame”. But shall we call it a book or a biography?  It will be a big NO!  It is neither of these. It is—yes it is—as it were, akin to a  volcanic eruption emerging from the deepest depth of ocean  with fire and brimstone; such has been the  energising focus of the author that one can not help marvelling at his  clarity of the project in hand and linking thousand details in  completing the living painting of “Mona Lisa” through selective details and the characters  and the protagonists of diverse colours and hues. It contains a series of truly strange and fascinating  revelations as  yet hitherto unknown. The Lila of the Divine Mother—the Empress of the Universe—cannot be described in words. However, what emerges from the prolific detail, is a satisfying creation in all the contexts.

We see here several confluences and influences in the book as if the Mother Ganga was taking all the tributaries in its compassionate bosom. It is a well researched multi-dimensional  history—an exercise in historiography of what transpired in the long decades  of the Divine Mother’s life.  It is  an engaging  and inspiring  narrative of diverse cultural settings and the  Odyssey of the Divine Mother in exploring every form of occult Vidya measuring the  limit and extent of the mystical practitioners  which are all faithfully recorded here  so much so that ‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’ has become literally a book of reference for the generations to come . One could question the inclusion of the avoidable details but then it was a compulsion to refer to all the incidents to complete the flowing narrative.

Savitri is for sure an unparalleled and most comprehensive inner as well outer  supramental biography of the Divine Mother. However, in this context, the author has also tried bravely to cover a wide spectrum of experience/experiences, encounters and crucial and critical turning point during the course of the Growth of the Flame. The style is earthy, direct and interactions and events are simply told without taking recourse to any embellishment. Apt and contextual lines from Savtiri only help the readers to appreciate and drink deep of the  the grace and grandeur of the object of our adoration.

Having penned all this appreciative remarks, one has to admit and point out the presence of  a just  few  flaws  in the book. We feel as if we are reading just a recorded history—the evocative fire of aspirational afflatus is missing at some points. The author seems to get lost in the quagmire of facts and figures in his enthusiasm to offer information and more informations. However,  dedication and devotion of the author overrule all these  minor errors and  we have the privilege and joy to read through the book—The Book of The Divine Mother.

Incisive foreword with in depth analysis by Dr. Ananda Reddy has not only added further lustre to the value of the book but has vastly enhanced  the overall appreciation and understanding  of the content of  book.

Surendra Singh Chouhan

About the Reviewer: 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.

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Publication of the second and revised edition of ‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’

the-mother-cover

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

Allow me to inform you that Overman Foundation has published the second and revised edition of ‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’ on 25 December 2012.

Written by Anurag Banerjee with a foreword by Dr. Ananda Reddy (Director, Sri Aurobindo Centre of Advanced Research, Pondicherry), the first edition of this book was published in January 2012. But due to several printing mistakes, most of the copies of this edition were withdrawn by us.

‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’ is a detailed account of the Mother’s pre-Ashram years and covers the course of her life in France, Algeria and Japan till her arrival in Pondicherry and taking charge of Sri Aurobindo Ashram after Sri Aurobindo’s retirement into seclusion in 1926.

Divided into five sections, ‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’ comprises of a number of unpublished materials compiled from the writings of Mira Ismalun (the Mother’s grandmother), Max Theon, Barindra Kumar Ghose and Haradhan Bakshi to name a few along with unknown details and facts selected from the rare writings of Paul Richard, Motilal Roy, Alexandra David-Neel, Suresh Chandra Chakravarty, Anilbaran Roy, Rajani Kanta Palit and Jaya Devi.

In his scholarly preface to this book, Dr. Ananda Reddy comments about the book and its author:

‘I suppose the work done by Mr. Banerjee belongs to the “present time itself” in which we see efforts to “return towards inner self-discovery, an inner seeking and thinking, a new attempt at mystic experience, a groping after the inner self, a reawakening to some sense of the truth and power of the spirit…”

‘Mr. Banerjee’s painstaking compilation of the details of the Mother’s life is more a narration of the Mother’s life where you see the birth and growth of a divine flame in a human form. It starts from the Mother’s pre-Mirra days, that is with her previous births as recollected by her, and it goes till the Victory Day, 24th November, 1926, when Sri Aurobindo withdrew for purposes of sadhana putting the Mother in charge of every one of the sadhaks in the Ashram. The reading is captivating and inspiring because Anurag’s mind displays a mental faith which has an “unquestioning acceptance of all the Mother is, says and does.”… And it is this deep faith and sincerity that mark this book. Distinctly, Anurag’s mind seems to be consciously surrendering to the subject of his study in the spirit of a sadhak of integral yoga and does not display the naked audacity of a researcher who wants to measure himself with the divine being who is the subject of his research!’

Comprising of 362 pages ‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’ is available at a price of Rs. 475 (Four Hundred and Seventy Five) only.

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

                             overmanfoundation@gmail.com

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder-Chairman,

Overman Foundation.

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