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Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo to Dilip

Volume 4. 1938 – 1950

Editorial

“My appeal to you is this, that long after the Controversy will be hushed in Silence, long after this turmoil and agitation will have ceased... he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and lover of humanity. Long after he is gone, his words will be echoed and re-echoed not only in India but across distant seas and lands. Therefore I say that the man in his position is not only standing before the Bar of this Court, but before the Bar of the High Court of History” – thus said Deshbandhu C.R. Das during his peroration at the famous trial of Sri Aurobindo in Calcutta, in 1908. These prophetic words have been more than fulfilled, far beyond anybody’s ken and the process is further expanding, as we can perceive.

We are glad that we are able to complete our task and present this fourth and final volume of Sri Aurobindo’s letters to Sri Dilip Kumar Roy. It covers the period from 1938 to 1950. Mother’s letters including the ones written after 1950 to Sri Dilip Kumar are also given in this fourth volume.

Sri Dilip Kumar responded to his Guru’s clarion call with all his heart and soul and lived his life dedicated to this ideal till his last breath. In his own words: “To us, who have heard his (Sri Aurobindo’s) clarion, there can be no question of following a lesser call: we must consecrate all we have and are to achieve the goal”

“To raise the world to God in deathless Light... ... To change the earthly life to life divine.”

Savitri, XI.I

These letters from the Master, shine the Divine Light in our earthly life.

Sri Aurobindo had assured his Dilip (16.5.1932), that “you do not belong to yourself – you belong to the Divine and myself and the Mother. I have cherished you like a friend and a son and poured on you my force to develop your powers – to make an equal development in the Yoga....” Through the years this process was more intensified not only for the sake of the disciple, but through him to draw and help countless seekers of spiritual Truth. In fact the Guru had remarked that more people are drawn to him because of Dilip than by himself directly. Further, the Master saw in Sri Dilip Kumar the makings of a Sadguru and when Janak Kumari came to Pondicherry for the first time on Darshan day (21.2.1949), a new dimension was added to the Sadhana of Dilip. Now he had to concentrate not only on his own Sadhana, but also to take on the additional responsibility of a disciple. When Smt. Janak Kumari went into Savikalpa Samadhi soon after the Darshan, Sri Aurobindo wrote in a letter to Dadaji, that Janak Kumari was a highly evolved soul, ripe for yoga and she need not go back: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were willing to accept her as a disciple. But Janak Kumari insisted that being a novice, she needed day to day guidance and Sri Dilip Kumar was her Guru. Sri Aurobindo may have smiled at the thought of Dilip’s dismay but sided with Janak Kumari and wrote to Dilip that she was right, and he was her Guru and he (Sri Aurobindo) will work on her through him. Sri Aurobindo gave her the name ‘Indira Devi’.

Sri Aurobindo kept a close watch on Smt. Indira Devi’s welfare and authenticated her experiences, which Dilip faithfully reported to him. The Ashram published a book (Shrutanjali) of her songs heard in her visions with permission and blessings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. We have included in this volume one of the letters written by Smt. Indira Devi to Sri Aurobindo in 1950 to give a glimpse of her Bhakti and surrender to Gurudev Sri Aurobindo.

In 1953, the Government of India, sent Sri Dilip Kumar Roy and Smt. Indira Devi on a cultural mission around the world. They were also invited by the Stanford University to give lectures on Indian philosophy and music. A litterateur, a musician, a musicologist-composer par excellence, a philosopher and a spiritual personality, Sri Dilip Kumar Roy was the right choice to be the cultural ambassador and propagate the best of India to the western world. The Mother gave her consent and blessed Dilip and Indira for this tour. Dadaji talked about his Master Sri Aurobindo and on Sri Ramakrishna besides music and culture. We see that Sri Aurobindo’s Force continued to work through his beloved disciple, even after 1950, not only in his personal life but round the world in ever-increasing intensity and reach.

The genesis of this publication of the four volumes of letters can be traced to a request of Sri Satprem to Ma Indira Devi in January 1996. Sri Satprem wrote:

16 January 1996

Respected Indira Devi,

It is a grace to write to you personally. I still remember Dilipda in 1946 when I was with Monsieur Baron in the French Government house and I have heard Dilipda singing, his face beaming and entranced – probably you were there also sharing the love of Music and his love. Of all Sri Aurobindo’s letters, those written to Dilipda as to a son very much touched my heart. I wish you would agree to Sujata’s request or prayer... we would love to have these invaluable letters published... and if I can, I could try to translate them into French.

With warm remembrance and regards, and in my heart Dilipda’s smile.

Satprem

While acknowledging our debt of gratitude to those from whom we have received in abundant measure help, support, love and contribution through concrete inputs, we must mention, as well as Sri Satprem, most importantly, Dr. Govinda Gopal Mukhopadhyay, who was the main initiating spirit behind this project. It is a matter of great regret that he is no more. He left his body on the 26th of March, 2009, before he could see this final volume. We also feel deeply the irreparable loss in the passing away of Revered Satpremji and of Sujatadi.

We thank wholeheartedly Ms. Diane who took the responsibility on her able shoulders and ensured the preparation of the manuscript for the press. We also thank the whole team at Mira Aditi who willingly helped in many ways. Our thanks are due to Dr. Karan Singh for writing the preface. We acknowledge his love and respect for our Guru Sri Dilip Kumar Roy and his continued regard for the Hari Krishna Mandir.

I would like to end this note with a blessing of love from Sri Satprem which he personally sent me in February, 2005.

fevrier 2005

To Shankar

In this auspicious month of the Divine Mother it is most touching to read re-read and re-read Your faithfulness in the Truth Divine With my deepest Love and Mother’s Love

Satprem

Shankar Bandyopadhyay
Hari Krishna Mandir, Pune January 22, 2011

Foreword

Sri Aurobindo was surely one of the most remarkable personalities to emerge anywhere in the world in the 20th century. A brilliant scholar in England in his youth, he returned to India after 14 years and immediately became deeply involved in the freedom movement. When Lord Curzon implemented the controversial decision for the partition of Bengal – the Bang Bhang – Sri Aurobindo left his academic assignment in Baroda and moved to Calcutta where for five years he shone like a meteor in the darkening sky. In 1910, after an epiphany in the Alipore Jail he left for Pondicherry where he lived for the next 40 years until he passed away in 1950. During those 40 years he produced his great classics including The Life Divine, The Human Cycle, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on the Gita and the extraordinary epic poem Savitri.

The Mother joined him as his spiritual collaborator in 1920 and the number of disciples grew substantially. In 1926 he ceased meeting with them and withdrew into his private chambers where for 24 years he pursued his extraordinary adventure of consciousness into what he called the Supra-mental plane, his attempt being to bring down this great force and fix it in the real consciousness so that it could help in speeding up the evolutionary destiny of humanity.

Interestingly, there is a common belief that during those 24 years Sri Aurobindo was not in touch with his disciples. In fact as is evident from the 3rd volume published so far of Sri Aurobindo to Dilip, he wrote letters constantly, and in particular was engaged in a massive correspondence with one of his favourite and favoured disciples, the famous Bengali poet and writer Dilip Kumar Roy whom he called “a friend and a son”. In these letters, which are full of humour and humanity, Sri Aurobindo covers a wide range of matters and ideas. For the first time the unabridged letters of Sri Aurobindo to Dilip Kumar are being published jointly by Hari Krishna Mandir and Mira Aditi. This is the fourth volume of the series.

Here I must recount my own close association with Dilipda. It was through his book Among the Great that, in the early 50s, I first learnt of Sri Aurobindo and of Dilipda’s very close personal friend, an English swami Sri Krishnaprem who lived in an Ashram in Mirtola near Almora. In fact I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Dilipda, because it was this book as well as a subsequent one that he sent me entitled Sri Aurobindo Came to Me that aroused my interest in Sri Aurobindo and led me later to do my doctoral thesis on the Political Thought of Sri Aurobindo which as been published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan under the title Prophet of Indian Nationalism. This also led me to visit Pondicherry where I had the privilege of several meetings with the Mother.

Also, the book led me to enter into correspondence with Sri Krishnaprem, visit Mirtola and interact with one of the most remarkable persons that I have ever met. The correspondence between Sri Krishnaprem and Dilipda is most charming and fascinating and has been reproduced extensively in many of Dilipda’s books.

I had occasion to meet with Dilipda and his talented disciple Indira Devi on many occasions right until he passed away, and to hear him singing bhajansin his distinctive style of which Sri Aurobindo was so fond. I would meet both of them whenever an occasion arose, in Delhi, Hardwar and elsewhere. After Dilipda left his body I continued to interact with Indira Devi who herself was a highly spiritually developed person. All in all, therefore, Dilip Kumar Roy has had a major impact on my life and I consider it a privilege to be asked to write a short foreword for the Fourth Volume of these letters. They represent a treasure trove of inspiration and interest for spiritual seekers around the world and will richly repay the reader. I close by paying my deep personal homage to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, as well as to the memory of Dilipda and Indira Devi.

Dr. Karan Singh 29 February 2008

Dadaji, Stationed Beyond Darkness

To know the truth about a man, he must be judged by his dealings and behaviour with his subordinates and not his friends, for no man thinks it necessary to keep up appearances before those who work under him. Unfortunately the same rule does not apply to a spiritual leader vis-a-vis his disciples. A great spiritual personality is so often surrounded by a collective ego-wall of mediocre followers that truth-seekers cannot help but hesitate to approach the Master. I often feel that all these legends grow around a luminary not because the disciples have too much faith but because they lack faith in the human qualities of their master. They only want to vindicate their tepid faith by endowing him with a multitude of divine qualities.

I certainly do not refer to the blessed handful who have realised the Divinity in their Guru – but to the majority who unknowingly do a deep disservice to the cause of spirituality by expressing their confused beliefs.

It is true that those who live in close proximity with a great personality seldom know him well, for human beings take most blessings for granted when they are easily available, but it is also true that the greatness of a man lies not in his few glorious moments but in little things and little daily acts and that only those who have the good fortune to live close to such a person and are able to stand back dispassionately can see and marvel at the progressive flowering of a genius.

I have had that good fortune of living for twenty years at the feet of Dadaji, a truly great man, and of observing him not with the sentimental eye of a disciple, but through the microscopic lens of a truth-seeker. I have not judged him with my biased mind but have weighed him on the scales of a seeing heart and have not found him wanting. I asked myself in 1946 when I first met Dadaji: “What is it that draws me to him? Is it his genius – his many-mooded personality as an artist, a musician, a litterateur, a composer, a wonderful conversationalist, an understanding friend and guide?” The answer was No. It is his transparent sincerity and his regard for Truth, his utter guilelessness and his courage to stake his all at the altar of Truth.

Truth is not an abstract platitude for him? Nor is it a simple granite rock standing eternally in a sea of stormy falsehoods to be washed by the frothy waves of half-truths. It is a way of life. It is his life. It is his God and his goal. I have seen him jubilantly clinging with his heart and soul to what he believed to be true and I have watched him cast away at one sweep all that he held dear for years when he found it necessary. It requires courage to live for Truth but it requires a much greater courage to discard that truth when it starts betraying cracks.

Before I met Dadaji I had often wondered why eminent men, especially spiritual geniuses, were so often surrounded by a crowd of mediocre people. After I had been with Dadaji for some years it dawned on me that it is not true that we are more mediocre than others but that in contrast to his towering personality we look smaller. Our littlenesses show off more glaringly beside his largeness of heart.

Human beings are complex with many strands co-existing in one personality. The difference between an average persona and a luminary is that while the former is a cacophony of many discordant notes the latter is a multi-coloured splendour woven into a harmony of diverse colours, contradictions and paradoxes which add up to make a beautiful whole. It is this harmony of love and light that makes Dadaji such a beloved personality. It is this blending of utter detachment from things earthly and the superhuman power of feeling for his fellow-beings that marks him out as a sadhu.

I have known the sensitive artist and social man in him to suffer intensely at being misunderstood by old friends and dear ones and yet the Yogi in him to break all ties to swim away from the shore of human bondage in search of the Infinite.

A man really lives only as long as he keeps growing, evolving. When evolution stops he ceases to live – he just exists. Which is why after a time distance comes between him and the others whose pace is slower than his. This is much more relevant in the case of a spiritual aspirant. Dadaji’s central being has always been that of a Yogi. His Gurudev Sri Aurobindo once wrote to him: ‘You are a born Yogi.’ He has the soul of a Yogi that wants nothing but to give itself unconditionally to the Lord; the intellect of a scientist which disowns all blind beliefs and wants to accept nothing on trust or hearsay evidence; the tremendous vitality of an activist which compels him to work ceaselessly and the sensitive nature of an artist that thrills to things of beauty, nobility and sacrifice.

But even though it is the Yogi Dilip Kumar that triumphs every time, he has not rejected his soul-stirring music, his literature, poetry and his all-embracing love to become an ascetic. He has used all these gifts his Maker has endowed him with so that he may worship the Lord. All these he converts into a fuel to the fire of his aspiration and thus emerges, an effulgent phenomenon.

What is it that makes a Yogi or an illuminate? Spiritual life is essentially an inner life which is difficult to appraise from the surface. It is not the clothes, the food, the outer detachment, the rituals that really matter. But then I have asked myself how shall one know? I do not talk of the inquisitive mind that questions and does not wait for an answer – that only indulges in window-shopping in the city of knowledge. I have in mind the thirsty heart that needs water and can appease the thirst not by mere information but by drinking at the Fount of Truth.

Shall I judge a sadhu by his power to perform miracles, by the number of followers he has, by the number of times he has crossed the seas to preach? Or shall I judge him by his oratory, his learning, his teachings? All these things can be very misleading, indeed.

How do I claim then that Dadaji is a sadhu? By his superhuman power of loving all those who come near him – rich, poor, good, bad, eminent men and poor peasants, those who love and admire him and those who misunderstand and slander him.

I call him a sadhu for his tolerance of human failings and his understanding of people’s misunderstandings. He never judges a man. “Who am I to judge?” he often says. “None of us are perfect. Let us see our own flaws and not frown on others’ shortcomings.”

I call him an illuminate because of his great humility – not the conventional kind that says: “I am nothing, I am nothing,” but the humility that comes from an inner strength and makes him bow down to holiness and nobility of character wherever he meets them. The humility that makes him perform one of the most difficult feats especially for a spiritual master – to wit, having the courage to say, “I do not know.” It is perhaps because of his love and regard for truth that he never hesitates to say: “I do not know this or that.” It is because of his inner fulfilment that he says to all who come to him for guidance: “I have not achieved the final illumination. I am a seeker, if you follow my guidance, remember I am one of you (which he is not), only a few steps ahead of you.”

I revere him as a Yogi because there is no “holier than thou” pretension about him – he is so utterly natural and so human that one can’t help feeling that he is with us yet not one of us.

I love him as a sadhu for I see his greatness in acknowledging greatness wherever he sees it even when the person he extols runs him down behind his back. Time and again I have heard him say: “Just because X does not like my music or my writings it does not mean I shall not appreciate his poetry.”

Gratitude is his spiritual quality rather a rare one. Last year when someone misbehaved with him he said to me: “Today he is not behaving well but let us remember all that we have received from him in the past. Let us be grateful to him for his love and his service.”

I admire him as a sadhu for his infinite capacity of giving joy to all who come to him. He scatters joy and laughter wherever he goes and how much the world needs that with all the strain and struggle of existence.

Above all I adore him as a sadhu and a Guru for he teaches not by words but by his deeds, by example rather than precept. His work is his worship and what infinite pains he takes to make that offering as perfect as possible! I have seen him get up in the middle of the night to change one word, one little punctuation in a poem that he had composed before going to bed.

I have been overawed again and again to see with what care he corrects his proofs or writes his letters – always striving for perfection even in the smallest acts.

On our way to America, a few years back, we had halted at Hongkong for a night. I had probably forgotten some bag in his room and went to retrieve it in the middle of the night. What was my amazement to see Dadaji sitting on the floor with a little stool in front of him, writing. I knew he had planned to write a travelogue. “Why don’t you wait till we reach Tokyo tomorrow, Dadaji?” I asked. “No, my child,” he answered, “Tomorrow I may not remember all the detail. To be truthful I must record my impressions today and not put off everything like you till tomorrow.”

Above all, I worship him for I have not seen the like of him in my life.

“Do not tell me anything you want to keep secret” he told me in 1949, Mother Anandamayi said a few years back: “He is transparent like a glass almirah.”

An eminent writer and thinker said to me in Los Angeles: “When I read Sri Ramakrishna’s life I wondered how a man so childlike and so guileless could talk of the highest wisdom. After meeting Sri Roy I know it is possible.”

Indira Devi 1994-95
Written on the occasion of Dilipda’s 80th birthday

*

Correspondence 1938

August 21, 1938

Congratulations on the song and blessings for the offering.

You will have to endorse as indicated by the paper accompanying the cheque at the place where the pencil line is put on the back of the cheque and return, otherwise the Indo-Chine [bank] will jib.

*

August 28, 1938

I have a gold watch – my father’s – keeps fine time and all that kind of thing. But if Mother wants to sell it off she can do so. It was a costly thing of yore – might fetch Rs. 150 or thereabouts. Will Mother keep for you or her to use it? It keeps good time. But, I repeat, if you want to sell it off I have no objection. I wish to offer it to you – that is all. Will you take it as a humble present of one who does not know what to offer you really. In addition I will offer at your feet and hers Rs. 3501 wrote about last week – my Gramophone royalty that is from 1st July last year till 31st December.

[?] Mother accepts the watch – she will keep it with her, she does not want to sell it.

Here is a little more present: a bank note of Rs. 10 which my cousin (my mother’s youngest sister’s son of eight) has unexpectedly sent. Note his childish handwriting. It is unaccountably touching this little boy suddenly sending pranami like this to Mother, what? There may be something in the fellow – I have asked Kalyan1 to enquire.

Must trouble you yet for the other letter from Hiren – the young novelist-friend of mine. You may remember him. He has had several dreams of you. His father was a play-wright sufficiently known – who died a fortnight or so ago. Hiren has been changing of late and had been pressing me to place his case before you. He has written me two more letters which if you care to read I may send you. The third I enclose. He wants to come to Ashram and take Yoga and stay at least two months to start with. If you like to see him, he may come first in November for darshan.

He was very vain formerly. But of late he has undoubtedly changed and has a distaste for ordinary life. He speaks very emotionally of you and says he has accepted you for his guru. He is sincere I think and fairly intelligent with a literary bent – writes good prose – his novel is not bad – I had corrected it two years back: commercially it has not been a failure. He is receptive I think – but I can’t know about these things. Should you care to I may write to him to come say for November darshan – but he would implore to be allowed to stay in the Ashram, judging from his letter. Qu’en dites-vous?

I am feeling better and better – more and more peace and I hope more and more vairagya too. Last night I sang much moved my last song of Krishna I had sent you a few days ago.

Tomorrow I will send you and Mother a song or two of Hashi (my gifted little pupil) and a recitation of mine on Himalayas, the poem you had liked so much. Will you be gracious enough to hear them. I will sing to Mother if possible? Please say amen if you are agreeable, what?

All right. As for the song it depends on whether it reaches my ear or... [incomplete]

*

August 30, 1938

Charu told me last night that Prithwi Singh and Venkataram have been indulging in innuendoes to the effect that I had made a fool of him with regard to his wife Bina. I am a little pained that Prithwi Singh who calls himself my friend should discuss such unlovely and malicious scandals with Venkataram. You know very well that I have long given up all that kind of thing and that I have been tested enough in Calcutta last year as well as this year without succumbing (through your grace and Mother’s) – beautiful women kept besieging me almost all the time but I have never behaved flirtatiously with them with the result that all of them have a deep reverence for you whose strength and grace have enabled me to behave as I did. But I will try to pass it calmly by – yogically – thinking that since such allegations are not true what does it matter? Still I say this as I thought I ought to bring such things to your notice.

It is impossible to prevent people from gossiping or from drawing the worst conclusions when man and woman are seen to associate together. The one thing important is that the imputations made shall be untrue and for the rest one need not care.

Vidya has written asking for darshan for her mother and also for a farther supply of petals like those you sent her. Will you write telling her that her mother has permission for November and sending her the petals?

*

August 1938

Yes, you can sell the house for Rs. 1000 – the Mother gives her permission.

Esha can come here for the November darshan with you; Hashi also. They will, I presume, live with you in the Tresor – in fact we have at present no other place. Other things will be settled hereafter when things are ready. Esha would, I suppose, like to stay permanently, but that needs some arrangement before it can be decided and in any case it could be only when her mother comes here in February.

We take note of the case you speak of – the claim by a supposed secret message on behalf of an unknown and unacknowledged son. But how would that make any difference, even if the son were declared legitimate? Surendranath’s2 property was surely self-acquired and that kind of property can, I think, be freely disposed of by will and thus existence of a son could not invalidate the will – it being only in case of ancestral ... [incomplete]

*

September 4, 1938

Herewith Kalyan’s (my cousin who came if you know whom I mean ?) letter. A little long – forgive – but you have to read it. No go. The fellow means business. That is why. He is very anxious for your reply.

A few words about him. I’ll be brief.

Last year he had a turn in this direction. Had suffered I understand in life. Is a hydraulic engineer but was recalled by his father (who thought he wouldn’t live long) and so didn’t pass his final exam in Italy. Earned money on contracts but no fixed income – no service thanks to want of diploma. His father (who married my mother’s fifth sister) was very rich once – but spent most of his money in fashion and fallals. They have one of the loveliest palaces – for it is a palace, so to speak – in Calcutta. Kalyan, eldest son, has one brother and two sisters. Now they are not very well-off – have to let their upper storey for Rs. 250 a month. Kalyan and his mother and sister live in the ground floor. As he says his personal income would come now to about Rs. 50 a month or thereabouts. So far about his finances. I am sure however that he will give all that he has at his command. The fellow is earnest.

His character: very intelligent, not lazy, fairly well-read, very fond of reading, idealistic, talked once on subjects he didn’t know, improving with years, conscious of his defects, very popular, affectionate, not a little sad due to the fact that his professional life has not been a success, has been well over four years in Europe – Italy.

For the rest you know better than me – I mean re his capacity for yoga etc. His coming here will do some good I think as he belongs to our Ballygunj aristocracy where Cod has no chance – his coming may cause some stir causing far-reaching ripples.

One thing is well-known: he is courageous, energetic, of very robust health, intelligent, sincere and warmhearted.

So he may do well if your grace falls on him. A reply – somewhat decisive – is expected by him and urgently – please [note].

The main question is whether he is ready or feels himself ready for the Ashram life. He is coming next November; does he want to settle the question before. When he saw the Mother, he seemed not to her sure that he was ready.

As for the money, there is no compulsion. Those who have nothing, are received without giving anything. Still it is expected that those who have will give. The Ashram has heavy expenses to bear excluding the maintenance of 200 persons. The other questions you can yourself, I think, answer.

*

(On 24th November Sri Aurobindo had an accident and stopped writing letters for several years, that is why the following letters up to December 1941 are from Mother.)

*

(From the Mother)

December 1, 1938

I have communicated your letter to Sri Aurobindo. He asks me to say that he is afraid it is not possible; until the doctors declare the knee cured only those who are necessary for tendance and service are admitted. If this rule were not kept there would be many demands on Him and likelihood of pressure and fatigue. So for the present at least it is not possible to say yes.

He sends you his blessings and along with them are mine.

*

(From the Mother)

December 3, 1938

I am very sorry but in the present circumstances it is impossible for me to see anybody as I must be always free to go to Sri Aurobindo if at any time my presence is required.

As for Maya I have no objection to her staying alone with you. But it is quite impossible to give a room to Saurin in the Ashram. In view of what happened to him last time it should be clear that for himself also it would be most risky and undesirable.

Blessings

*

(From the Mother)

December 3, 1938

I don’t know what has been reported to you – I simply meant that if Maya sees that you are supporting Esha in her resolution to remain here she is likely to yield more easily. I certainly do not want you to quarrel with Maya, only to use your influence to persuade her.

I read your letter privately to Sri Aurobindo.

Blessings

*

(From the Mother)

December 5, 1938

Cher Dilip,

Lorsque vous êtes venu sur l’escalier après la méditation, je n’ai rien pu vous dire parce qu’il y avait la trop de monde. Mais j’aurais voulu pouvoir vous exprimer notre profonde et chaude sympathie et aussi notre appréciation de votre attitude en cette pénible affaire3.

Nos bénédictions sont toujours avec vous ainsi que toute notre affection.

[When you came on the staircase after meditation, I could not say anything to you because there were too many people. But I would have liked to be able to express our deep and warm sympathy and also our appreciation of your attitude in this painful matter.

Our blessings are always with you along with all our affection.]

*

(From the Mother)

December 15, 1938

You say that I don’t love you, this is not at all true – but it is inevitable in the present circumstances that my time and attention should be concentrated on Sri Aurobindo and this is a thing which all those who reverence him must surely find quite natural. Neither you nor others should allow yourselves to think or even feel unconsciously that this preoccupation is due to want of love.

Sri Aurobindo asks me to add that it is not at all a fact that we feel your presence a burden or that you are unable to do this sadhana. You should not allow any temporary difficulty to affect you with this feeling or lead you to a hasty decision of this kind. You have already made much inner progress and you have only to stand firm for a greater progress in the future.

Sri Aurobindo sends you his love and blessings to which I join mine.

P.S. I read your letters to Sri Aurobindo alone and never show them to anybody.

*

(From the Mother)

December 16, 1938

You may be sure that we shall not dismiss you rudely or otherwise. I am sorry you still feel the push to go, but I think you will not find it in you either to leave us permanently or to leave the Yoga.

Our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

January 20, 1939

Of course it was only an untrue dream. I never thought for a moment of asking you more money after all you have given with a generosity and loyalty I fully appreciate.

As for the departure, it is difficult for me to say anything. It goes without saying that we will be very sorry if you go. But how to stop you if you are so unhappy here?

About the suicide, you are aware that we do not approve of it because we know that it is no solution for the difficulties, on the contrary it is bound to increase them and to throw the departed being in a very miserable condition.

I would so much like that instead of thinking of death you would pray for the removal of the last obstacles and the descent of an all illuminating peace and joy.

Sri Aurobindo asks me to express his great regret at your decision and the necessity you feel to go. He asks you not to make it as a final decision but to keep the door open in yourself for return and happy emergence from your difficulty.

In all circumstances his love and affection will remain with you. You know that it is the same with me.

*

(From the Mother)

January 20, 1939

Nobody sees Sri Aurobindo except the doctors and those who come for personal work and attendance. If you have heard to the contrary it is quite false. So you must put away from your mind the idea you build on it that Sri Aurobindo has no longer any love for you, nor allow these things or any sense of isolation from us created by them make you go.

Your dream also is part of the same unreal building.

If you decide to go to Ali’s place to get some relief, we have no objection.

We shall certainly welcome you back whenever you wish to come – the sooner the better. Love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

January 22, 1939

À Dilip

Avec mes meilleurs voeux de bonne fête, et mes affectueuses bénédictions.

[To Dilip With my best wishes for a happy birthday and my affectionate blessings.]

Love and blessings from Sri Aurobindo.

*

(From the Mother)

January 23, 1939

I have just read your three letters to Sri Aurobindo. He is glad to see that you are beginning to recover from this attack. He is very glad that you have seen how unfounded is the doubt of our love for you and that the ideas of death and suicide are not at all called for. We hope you will never allow this doubt and these ideas to take hold of your mind again.

As to the advice you ask for regarding the best course for you to take, the perception expressed in your third letter seems to us the best. To keep yourself occupied with music and writing is always good; for your nature finds there its inborn occupation and that helps to maintain the vital energy and keep the balance.

About sadhana I should like to ask you why not do sadhana through your music? Surely meditation is not the only way of doing sadhana. Through your music bhakti and aspiration can grow and prepare the nature for realisation. If moments of meditation and concentration come of themselves then it is all right; but there is no need to force it.

I hope you will soon recover your full energy and poise and the clouds pass from you.

Be always sure of our love and help and blessings present with you.

*

(From the Mother)

January 24, 1939

We quite agree to your going to Ali for a short time and you can go with our free consent and blessings.

*

(From the Mother)

February 9, 1939

I read your letter to Sri Aurobindo and he has seen your poems. The translation of “The Soul” especially is fine. We give our blessings to the poet and to Anilkumar’s wife and to Subhash.

For Maya blessings are only possible when she has undergone a sincere repentance. Love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

February 22, 1939

I was glad to read Baron’s letter; it is beautiful as all his letters are. I have also received one letter from him today.

Certainly you can sing tomorrow and my love and blessings will be with you.

*

(From the Mother)

February 24, 1939

Sri Aurobindo thinks that it is not possible for us to intervene by a wire in a political matter of this kind. At most you might write to him (Subhash) your private opinion about the best course for him to take in these painful and difficult circumstances.

With love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

March 12, 1939

It is only tomorrow (Monday) that I can read your letter to Sri Aurobindo and then we shall answer.

This is only to tell you that we will surely not ask you to go.

Our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

March 13, 1939

We were very glad indeed to read your letter. We shall certainly give you all the help possible to carry out your resolution and the aspiration behind it. I feel sure that with an earnest and sustained effort you will conquer and effect the opening for which you have been striving and preparing so long.

Our blessings are with you in your aspiration and endeavour. With our love

*

(From the Mother)

March 18, 1939

Here is Aly’s letter. Once more we assure you that we shall have no objection to your going to Hyderabad for a short time if you decide to do so.

Our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

April 2, 1939

The Rs. 10 are quite welcomed... Glad that your work is going on nicely. Our love and blessings are with you.

*

(From the Mother)

April 27, 1939

The translation of Mirabai’s song is good. The “with” is possible but perhaps “for” would be better.

Blessings are given for the two objects for which you ask them.

“It is strange” will do very well for the title. You can, of course, come tomorrow after the meditation, for blessings. With our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

November 10, 1939

I have only this to say about the matter. From the point of view of the sadhana it is much more dangerous to go to Tiruvannamalai than to go to Sylhet for giving evidence.... Our love and blessings Mother

P.S. You can show this answer to Baron.

*

Correspondence 1940

(From the Mother)

January 22, 1940

Our help and force are with you for the new year of your life.

I am sure that with persevering and sincere aspiration the barrier you feel and the internal difficulties will melt away. With our love and blessings

P.S. Ci-joint quelques bonbons de France. [Here are a few candies from France.]

*

(From the Mother)

February 6, 1940

What is this strange rumour about our stopping darshan? There is no truth at all in it. We have no intention of “vanishing” as we do not believe that it can bring in “peace and light”....

As for your sadhana you had developed a true bhakti and an opening of psychic perception. Keep that and it will bring you what is necessary. Meditation is difficult for you still because there is not yet a sufficient quietude in the mind substance. But that too can come in time.

Don’t let these opposite things come in; keep your mental state bright and clear which is the best condition for experience.

Our love and blessings

P.S. Sending back the papers with our force.

*

(From the Mother)

February 16, 1940

I am quite ready to shower my grace on this Ajit, but I do not consider it advisable for him that he should come here. I don’t believe half a minute “darshan” can change these habits. We have had bitter experience about them already, that they resist even a psychic opening... He must first have the sincere will to change.

I intend to give an interview to Charu Dutt if he remains sufficiently long after the “Darshan”.

Our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

April 22, 1940

Our love and special blessings will be with you for the singing tonight and the “darshan” on the 24th.

*

(From the Mother)

May 27, 1940

I am not aware of being “better pleased” if you did not go to Madras for the records. I quite approve of your going.

For this Shanti the difficulty is always the same, accommodation; if she can stay in the same room as [?] she can come.

For Kunju Ghosh there is no difficulty as he is going to stay in a hotel. The poem is very good.

Don’t worry about Hitler; no asuric force can stand eternally against the divine force and the hour of his defeat is bound to come.

With our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

June 18, 1940

Yes, you can come this afternoon on the staircase at 5.45 for pranam and to sign the cheque. I shall give you then some flowers for Hashi and Usha.

I have felt all this time your loyalty and faithfulness and have deeply appreciated your feelings and your attitude.

Our love and blessings are always with you.

*

(From the Mother)

August 20, 1940

You are sure to get back the poise, for the progress you have made remains and will come uppermost again.

In these days when lots of people come from outside, there is always some restlessness and disturbance brought into the atmosphere and some disturbance of the poise may easily take place – but it will come back.

Our force will be with you and our help and protection.

With our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

October 8, 1940

Of course you can come up after meditation tonight for pranam and signing the cheque.

It is certainly not at all true that I don’t care for the sadhaks and their sadhana. Why should the world conditions being bad make me cease to care! It would be rather a reason for insisting more on a quick spiritual realisation as the only way out of the impasse. You should not believe in what you hear from people; so constantly nasty and disturbing things are being said which are quite untrue. You are not so empty of the inner surrender as you now think. Cast away your doubts; you had a very long period without them which gives a certainty that you can get rid of them altogether.

All our help and force will be with you.

And our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

November 10, 1940

I will speak to Bula about the repair of the cane chairs. There will be no difficulty.

Don’t let yourself be worried by people and their ways. You may be sure that our love, blessings and help are always with you.

*

Correspondence 1941

(From the Mother)

January 3, 1941

We were very glad to read your letter of this morning and to hear of this fine experience – for there can be no finer experience than this state of true bhakti. It is a real and great progress that you have made.

As for Colonel Pandalal and his wife I gather that they have not as yet asked to come. It might be better to let the wish to come rise in them of itself.

*

(From the Mother)

January 1941?

Your programme is all right. We will remember your prayer on your birthday.

When you are informed of the time of your broadcast do not forget to let us know, we wish to listen to it here.

With our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

January 22, 1941

À Dilip

Avec mes voeux de bonne fête et mes bénédictions

[To Dilip with my wishes for a happy birthday and my blessings]

*

(From the Mother)

February 1941?

Yes, you can go after the “darshan” and we approve your programme and our blessings will go with you.

You can send our blessings to Hashi. Love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

April 2, 1941

We read your letter only today as yesterday there was too much hurry of the first.

I am sending the three flowers with blessings.

Glad to hear of your good experience in the dream as also of the experience of descent you had the other day. The inner being is evidently awake.

With our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

April 8, 1941

Certainly you can come tonight after meditation. I am sending a flower for Usha with the enclosed written blessings.

As for the dream she must not rely upon that, as it is likely to be a mental formation. My force and help are with her but these wordings cannot be from me.

Who is this Latika4? If it is Barin’s wife I can not send her a flower as it is sure to be misinterpreted. If it is the niece then also it is not prudent to send a flower as I don’t want her to come here.

With our love and blessings

A ce soir! [See you this evening!]

Sri Aurobindo is keeping Usha’s letter to read it.

*

(From the Mother)

May 6, 1941

You are quite right. It has become necessary to state emphatically and clearly that all who by their thoughts and wishes are supporting and calling for the victory of the Nazis are by that very fact collaborating with the Asura against the Divine and helping to bring about the victory of the Asura. The Asuric power that is acting with Hitler as instrument and seeking through him domination of the world is the same power that has been opposing Sri Aurobindo’s work and trying to destroy it and to frustrate the Divine fulfilment.

Those therefore who wish for the victory of the Nazis should now understand that it is a wish for the destruction of our work and an act of treachery against Sri Aurobindo.

*

(From the Mother)

May 8, 1941

Evidently this world is a bad one but change is its law and as it can hardly be worse than it is now, we may hope that it will soon become better. Old movements obstinately recur and make the sadhana difficult but you have made more progress than you allow yourself to believe and the attainment may be nearer than you think.

Our help is with you and our love and blessings.

P.S. I am sending four flowers with blessings.

*

(From the Mother)

May 18, 1941

Yes, it was altogether right. This experience and the result it brought are a great step towards spiritual freedom. Every rejection of desire and attachment brings one nearer to the Divine.

With our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

May 25, 1941

I am sending herewith the four flowers with blessings for Sachin5 and his daughter, for Hironmoy Sen and for Mani.

Music follows the rule of all things of earth – unless they are turned to the divine they cannot be divine.

With our love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

December 2, 1941

We do not think it is necessary for you to go to Calcutta for these records; it is much trouble and effort for what is now a very small return. If at any time you felt like going then you can certainly go with our full blessings.

Don’t worry about the difficulty in the meditation. In the end you will come out of it with the consciousness of a spiritual progress made.

With our love and blessings

*

(Sri Aurobindo takes his pen from here)

December 7, 1941

We do not agree that the course you propose is the right one or with the reasons you give. If we thought it was the right or only course, we would consent and give you our blessings, though not even then with the idea of a permanent departure. But we do not think that it is either necessary or advisable.

What you were told of the incompatibility of love and adoration of Krishna with this Yoga, is not true. There is not and cannot be any such incompatibility. Otherwise we would not have encouraged you in your aspiration. You can seek for him quite as well here as in Brindaban.

It is not at all a fact that your nature is incapable of love and bhakti: on the contrary that is the right way for you. Meditation is all right, but it will be most profitable for you if it is directed towards the increase of love and devotion; the rest will come of itself afterwards.

Also, it is not true that your nature is incapable of surrender; you made a great progress in that direction. But the complete surrender of all parts, especially of the whole vital, is certainly difficult. It can only come with the development of the consciousness. Meanwhile, that it has not fully come, is no reason for despair or giving up.

You are taking too black a view of things, the usual result of your giving way to depression. You used to have this before and you got over it by persistence. Now also by persistence it will go. To make radical decisions under the influence of depression is not good. To brace yourself up and, however persistent the difficulties are, to stick it out, is always the best.

Be faithful and persevering, then however long the way, you cannot fail to reach the goal. Our love and blessings.

P.S. By the way, it would not be at all correct to think of Tajdar6 as an ideal sadhak and her present upset as the result of an effort at surrender. A sincere endeavour to surrender cannot bring such a result. In fact her illness has nothing to do with Yoga. It is the result of a constitutional or hereditary predisposition to hysteria, a malady which she had long before she came here. She had three or four severe attacks of the same kind already, but as they did not affect her bodily health Mother dealt with them herself. This time she became physically ill, so the doctor was called in. He does not regard it as insanity, but as the result of nervous disorder and hysteria (auprès du coeur [close to the heart], he says) of which the symptoms are quite recognisable. He expects the attack to pass off before long.

*

(From the Mother)

December 17, 1941

You should make it a rule never to listen to this voice or accept the suggestions that come with it. It is clear from where it comes; it is a voice of untruth, the voice of the adversary which comes to almost everybody who follows the way of Yoga suggesting doubt and denial and incapacity and defeat. You must meet it always as you did this time. You should also reject such suggestions as those about your being a hindrance and going away for that reason; it comes from the same source and has no truth and indeed no substantial meaning that we can discover. Also you should not attach much value to what you hear – as that “we want people to stand on their own legs” and therefore cannot help. Certainly we want people to have strength and courage to go through, but we know that they need our support.

The special help you asked for in your other letter will be with you.

Our love and blessings

*

December 20, 1941

I spoke of strange ideas in connection with what you said about peace and cheerfulness being obstacles in the Yoga because they are incompatible with an ardent longing for realisation. Peace was the very first thing that the Yogins and seekers of old asked for and it was a quiet and silent mind – and that always brings peace – that they declared to be the best condition for realising the Divine. A cheerful and sunlit heart is the fit vessel for the Ananda and who shall say that Ananda or what prepares it is an obstacle to the divine union? As for despondency, it is surely a terrible burden to carry on the way. One has to pass through it sometimes, like Christian of the Pilgrim’s Progress through the Slough of Despond, but its constant reiteration cannot be anything but an obstacle. The Gita especially says, “Practise the Yoga with an undespondent heart, anirvinnacetasa.”

I know perfectly well that pain and suffering and struggle and despair are natural – though not inevitable – on the way – not because they are helps, but because they are imposed on us by the darkness of this human nature out of which we have to struggle into the Light. I do not suppose Ramakrishna or Vivekananda would have recommended the incidents you allude to as an example for others to follow – they would surely have said that faith, fortitude, perseverance were the better way. That after all was what they stuck to in the end in spite of these bad moments and they would never have dreamed of giving up the Yoga or the aspiration for the Divine on the ground that they were unfit and not meant for the realisation.

At any rate Ramakrishna told the story of Narada and the ascetic Yogi and the Vaishnava bhakta with approval of its moral. I put it in my own language but keep the substance. Narada on his way to Vaikuntha met a Yogi practising hard tapasya on the hills. “O Narada,” cried the Yogi, “you are going to Vaikuntha and will see Vishnu. I have been practising terrific austerities all my life and yet I have not even now attained to Him. Ask him at least for me when I shall reach Him?” Then Narada met a Vaishnava, a bhakta who was singing songs to Hari and dancing to his own singing, and he cried also, “O Narada, you will see my Lord, Hari. Ask my Lord when I shall reach Him and see His face.” On his way back Narada came first to the Yogi. “I have asked Vishnu; you will realise Him after six more lives.” The Yogi raised a cry of loud lamentation, “What, so many austerities! Such gigantic endeavours! And my reward is realisation after six long lives! O how hard to me is the Lord Vishnu.” Next Narada met again the Bhakta and said to him, “I have no good news for you. You will see the Lord, but only after a lakh of lives.” But the bhakta leapt up with a great cry of rapture, “Oh, I shall see my Lord Hari! After a lakh of lives I shall see my Lord Hari! How great is the grace of the Lord!” And he began dancing and singing in a renewed ecstasy. Then Narad said, “Thou hast attained. Today thou shalt see the Lord!” Well, you may say, “What an extravagant story and how contrary to human nature!” Not so contrary as all that and in any case hardly more extravagant than the stories of Harischandra and Shivi. Still I do not hold up the bhakta as an example for I myself insist on the realisation in this life and not after six or a lakh of births more. But the point of these stories is in the moral and surely when Ramakrishna told it, he was not ignorant that there was a sunlit path of Yoga! He even seems to say that it is the quicker way as well as the better! You are quite mistaken in thinking that the possibility of the sunlit path is a discovery or original invention of mine. The very first books on Yoga I read more than thirty years ago spoke of the dark and the sunlit way and emphasized the superiority of the second over the other.

It is not either because I have myself trod the sunlit way or flinched from difficulty and suffering and danger. I have had my full share of these things and the Mother has had ten times her full share. But that was because the finders of the Way had to face these things in order to conquer. No difficulty that can come on the sadhak but has faced us on the path; against many we have had to struggle hundreds of times (in fact that is an understatement) before we could overcome; many still remain protesting that they have a right until the perfect perfection is there. But we have never consented to admit their inevitable necessity for others. It is in fact to ensure an easier path to others hereafter that we have borne that burden. It was with that object that the Mother once prayed to the Divine that whatever difficulties, dangers, sufferings were necessary for the path might be laid on her rather than on others. It has been so far heard that as a result of daily and terrible struggles for years those who put an entire and sincere confidence in her are able to follow the sunlit path and even those who cannot, yet when they do put the trust, find their path suddenly easy and, if it becomes difficult again, it is only when distrust, revolt, abhiman or other darknesses come upon them. The sunlit path is not altogether a fable.

But you will ask what of those who cannot? Well, it is for them I am putting forth all my efforts to bring down the supramental Force within a reasonable time. I know that it will descend but I am seeking its near descent and, with whatever dark obstruction of the earth-nature or furious inroads of the Asuric forces seeking to prevent it, it is approaching the terrestrial soil. The supramental is not, as you imagine, something cold, hard and rock-like. It bears with it the presence of the Divine Love as well as the Divine Truth and its reign here means for those who accept it the straight and thornless path in which there is no wall or obstacle of which the ancient Rishis saw the far-off promise.

The dark path is there and there are many who make like the Christians a gospel of spiritual suffering; many hold it to be the unavoidable price of victory. It may be so under certain circumstances, as it has been in so many lives, at least at the beginning or one may choose to make it so. But then the price has to be paid with resignation, fortitude or a tenacious resilience. I admit that if borne in that way the attacks of the Dark Forces or the ordeals they impose have a meaning. After each victory gained over them, there is then a sensible advance; often they seem to show us the difficulties in ourselves which we have to overcome and to say, “Here you must conquer us and here.” But all the same it is a too dark and difficult way which nobody should follow on whom the necessity does not lie.

In any case one thing can never help and that is to despond always and say, “I am unfit; I am not meant for the Yoga”. And worse still are these perilous mental formations such as you are always accepting that you must fare like Barin (one whose difficulty of exaggerated ambition was quite different from yours) and that you have only six years, etc. These are clear formations of the Dark Forces seeking not only to sterilise your aspiration but to lead you away and so prevent your sharing in the fruit of the victory hereafter. I do not know what Krishnaprem has said but his injunction, if you have rightly understood it, is one that cannot stand as valid, since so many have done Yoga relying on tapasya or anything else but not confident of any divine grace. It is not that, but the soul’s demand for a higher truth or a higher life that is indispensable. Where that is, the Divine Grace whether believed in or not, will intervene. If you believe, that hastens and facilitates things; if you cannot yet believe, still the soul’s aspiration will justify itself with whatever difficulty and struggle.

As for Mother’s not seeing you, your first letter was not at all explicit, it conveyed the idea – I have seen it – that it was only a trouble of not being able to concentrate that made you sad and brought suggestions. There was nothing more. Mother would be glad to satisfy the demands of you and all, but she has only one body and there are days when it is physically impossible to do more than she is doing. This was one of them, She offered you a longer period tomorrow as long as you liked at 12 instead, even though tomorrow too is a hard day for her. She could not do more and I cannot see why you took this as a refusal of help.

*

Correspondence 1942

(From the Mother)

January 22, 1942

To Dilip

With love and special blessings on the occasion of his birthday.

“A few consecrate all of themselves and all they have – soul, life, work, wealth; these are the true children of God.” To one of them. Mother

*

February 17, 1942

(Gist of Dilipda’s letter to Sri Aurobindo of 8.2.42)

1 enclose a letter of my friend Gnan Ghosh7 dated 5.2.42 where he describes the sufferings of Hashi8 during her last days. I was much moved by this dark tragedy especially as I had hoped against hope that she would eventually recover. I am often reminded now-a-days of her deep ineradicable pessimism. She refused of late to expect anything from this world cut out essentially for suffering and falsehood and heartless greed which is so native to human pettiness and selfishness. Only a few good people still exist here, unaccountable, she used to say, laughing, and even these were better out of this unhappy planet, she had decided. She did not want to live, she told me again and again. I sometimes think that if she had a real spiritual opening (though strangely, her music was profoundly moving in its spiritual appeal, her Bengali songs of bhakti, I mean) she might have been saved. But still I often catch myself asking, forgive me, whether she was not substantially right after all? When all is said, is not the case of Mayavadis a very powerful one when they hold (with Gita which says that this world is “anitya” and “asukha” [transient and unhappy]) that this world is doomed to falsehood and suffering because true knowledge or bliss cannot flower in such a barren soil under the condition terrestrial life had formulated? So why not pronounce a swift exit out of it as “a consummation devoutly to be wished?”

This trend of thought now-a-days has for me a greater appeal than heretofore because I knew Hashi very intimately. She was not only a musical genius whose rival I have not met with, so far, among women, but she was also one of the purest personalities I ran across in our generation. Why did she suffer so, for months, mentally as well as physically? And why was such a lovely born at all if she was to fade away like this, casting a gloom on all who knew her and prized her for her music as well as character? And then add to it all the deepening darkness all over the world. I believe in Grace, but it acts, I take it, only under certain conditions? Perhaps this world will never consent to them? So why hug it – where the divine guidance seems so accidental, almost out of place – to all intents and purposes?

The question you have put raises one of the most difficult and complicated of all problems and to deal with it at all adequately would need an answer as long as the longest chapter of The Life Divine. I can only state my own knowledge founded not on reasoning but on experience that there is such a guidance and that nothing is in vain in this universe.

If we look only at outward facts in their surface appearance or if we regard what we see happening around us as definitive, not as processes of a moment in a developing whole, the guidance is not apparent; at most we may see interventions occasional or sometimes frequent. The guidance can become evident only if we go behind appearances and begin to understand the forces at work and the way of their working and their secret significance. After all, real knowledge – even scientific knowledge – comes by going behind the surface phenomena to their hidden process and causes. It is quite obvious that this world is full of suffering, and afflicted with transience to a degree that seems to justify the Gita’s description of it as “this unhappy and transient world”, anityam asukham. The question is whether it is a mere creation of Chance or governed by a mechanical inconscient Law or whether there is a meaning in it and something beyond its present appearance towards which we move. If there is a meaning and if there is something towards which things are evolving, then inevitably there must be a guidance – and that means that a supporting Consciousness and Will is there with which we can come into inner contact. If there is such a Consciousness and Will, it is not likely that it would stultify itself by annulling the world’s meaning or turning it into a perpetual or eventual failure.

This world has a double aspect. It seems to be based on a material Inconscience and an ignorant mind and life full of that Inconscience; error and sorrow, death and suffering are the necessary consequence. But there is evidently too a partially successful endeavour and an imperfect growth towards Light, Knowledge, Truth, Good, Happiness, Harmony, Beauty – at least a partial flowering of these things. The meaning of this world must evidently lie in this opposition; it must be an evolution which is leading or struggling towards higher things out of a first darker appearance. Whatever guidance there is must be given under these conditions of opposition and struggle and must be leading towards that higher state of things. It is leading the individual, certainly, and the world, presumably, towards the higher state, but through the double terms of knowledge and ignorance, light and darkness, death and life, pain and pleasure, happiness and suffering; none of the terms can be excluded until the higher status is reached and established. It is not and cannot be, ordinarily, a guidance which at once rejects the darker terms, still less a guidance which brings us solely and always nothing but happiness, success and good fortune. Its main concern is with the growth of our being and consciousness, the growth towards a higher self, towards the Divine, eventually towards a higher Light, Truth and Bliss; the rest is secondary, sometimes a means, sometimes a result, not a primary purpose.

The true sense of the guidance becomes clearer when we can go deep within and see from there more intimately the play of the forces and receive intimations of the Will behind them. The surface mind can get only an imperfect glimpse. When we are in contact with the Divine or in contact with an inner knowledge and vision, we begin to see all the circumstances of our life in a new light and can observe how they all tended, without our knowing it, towards the growth of our being and consciousness, towards the work we had to do, towards some development that had to be made – not only what seemed good, fortunate or successful but also the struggles, failures, difficulties, upheavals. But with each person the guidance works differently according to his nature, the conditions of his life, his cast of consciousness, his stage of development, his need of further experience. We are not automata but conscious beings and our mentality, our will and its decisions, our attitude to life and demand on it, our motives and movements help to determine our course; they may lead to much suffering and evil, but through it all, the guidance makes use of them for our growth in experience and consequently the development of our being and consciousness. All advance, by however devious ways, even in spite of what seems a going backwards or going astray, gathering whatever experience is necessary for the soul’s destiny. When we are in close contact with the Divine, a protection can come which helps or directly guides or moves us: it does not throw aside all difficulties, sufferings or dangers, but it carries us through them and out of them – except where for a special purpose there is need of the opposite.

It is the same thing though on a larger scale and in a more complex way with the guidance of the world-movement.

That seems to move according to the conditions and laws or forces of the moment through constant vicissitudes, but still there is something in it that drives towards the evolutionary purpose, although it is more difficult to see, understand and follow than in the smaller and more intimate field of the individual consciousness and life. What happens at a particular juncture of the world-action or the life of humanity, however catastrophic, is not ultimately determinative. Here, too, one has to see not only the outward play of forces in a particular case or at a particular time but also the inner and secret play, the far-off outcome, the event that lies beyond and the Will at work behind it all. Falsehood and Darkness are strong everywhere on the earth, and have always been so and at times they seem to dominate; but there have also been not only gleams but outbursts of the Light. In the mass of things and the long course of Time, whatever may be the appearance of this or that epoch or movement, the growth of Light is there and the struggle towards better things does not cease. At the present time Falsehood and Darkness have gathered their forces and are extremely powerful; but even if we reject the assertion of the mystics and prophets since early times that such a condition of things must precede the Manifestation and is even a sign of its approach, yet it does not necessarily indicate the decisive victory – even temporary – of the Falsehood. It merely means that the struggle between the Forces is at its acme. The result may very well be the stronger emergence of the best that can be; for the world-movement often works in that way. I leave it at that and say nothing more.

Hashi had reached a stage of her development marked by a predominance of the sattwic nature, but not a strong vital (which works towards a successful or fortunate life) or the opening to a higher light – her mental upbringing and surroundings stood against that and she herself was not ready. The early death and much suffering may have been the result of past (prenatal) influences or they may have been chosen by her own psychic being as a passage towards a higher state for which she was not yet prepared but towards which she was moving. This and the non-fulfilment of her capacities would be a final tragedy if there were this life alone. As it is she has passed towards the psychic sleep to prepare for her life to come.

*

May 29, 1942

I am certainly not going to give you strength to go away, since that is a solution which is no solution at all. The solution is to get rid of or at least to reject all these suggestions from a wrong quarter and the state of mind which they create in you and to revert to the firm attitude and right state of consciousness which for so long a time you had maintained; at that time you were not allowing wrong suggestions, adverse happenings, temporary depressions to upset the attitude. You had made great progress – for progress in Yoga is not to be measured by occult experiences only, but by change in the nature. You have seen for yourself that people can have such experiences and yet remain where they were, with the same vital egoism and reactions. You had realised the necessity of getting rid of the ego and its reactions. When we asked you not to allow yourself to be upset or worried by imputations made against you or other disagreeables in the recent incident, we were only speaking in the spirit of your own effort and attitude, asking you to keep it up and not let yourself be shaken from it. It was certainly not a proof of indifference or non-understanding – it would certainly be a strange thing if at this stage I were unable to understand these things – it was rather from solicitude for your peace and inner progress that we spoke.

My retirement is nothing new, even the cessation of contact by correspondence is nothing new – it has been there now for a long time. I had to establish the rule not out of personal preference or likes or dislikes, but because I found that the correspondence occupied the greater part of my time and my energies and there was a danger of my real work remaining neglected and undone if I did not change my course and devote myself to it, while the actual results of this outer activity were very small – it cannot be said that it resulted in the Ashram making a great spiritual progress. Now in these times of world-crisis when I have had to be on guard and concentrated all the time to prevent irremediable catastrophes and have still to be so, and when, besides, the major movement of the inner spiritual work needs an equal concentration and persistence, it is not possible for me to abandon my rule. (Moreover, even for the individual sadhak it is in his interest that this major spiritual work should be done, for its success would create conditions under which his difficulties could be much more easily overcome.) All the same I have broken my rule, and broken it for you alone; I do not see how that can be interpreted as a want of love and a hard granite indifference. However, my main point is that for a very long time you had entered into a consciousness and right attitude in which you accepted this necessity and showed a clear understanding of it and even felt and wrote that it was done for the best good of the sadhaks also. It would be a misfortune now to return to the old vital reactions, suggestions, despondencies and despairs and obscuration of the consciousness. I know that it is not easy to maintain the true consciousness and attitude even when one has found it; but it has to be done, for it is the only way which will lead to anything.

If the tension is too great and relief is needed, we have no objection to your getting it at Almora or elsewhere, but to go away and throw up the sponge is not a thing to do. To get back to the right attitude you had developed and resume the inner endeavour is the right course.

*

(From the Mother)

March 30, 1942

I am not responsible for anything that may have been said by any sadhak in the Ashram. I have not said that Subhas was my enemy, and that anybody sympathising with him ought to leave the Ashram. If this statement was made, it certainly did not have my authority. There is absolutely no reason why you should say anything contrary to your feelings or to what you believe to be the truth, or feel that in not doing so you were going contrary to what was expected of you and think of leaving the Ashram. The question you put me as to what you should do, does not really come, for I will never make any such demand on anybody. I hope that will clear your mind and restore your peace.

By the way, none sees me daily and talks with me except the Mother and those who have been in attendance on me since the accident. Anything to the contrary you may have heard is incorrect.

The report of Subhas’ death has not yet been definitely [ascertained]. The Japanese official radio mentioned the crash and Indian deaths but no names. The news comes from Vichy, which is not always or often reliable.

*

(From the Mother)

May 30, 1942

You can always be confident of our love and sympathy through everything and in all circumstances. Be sure that we understand fully your difficulties and your will to overcome.

Your sincere effort is bound to prevail and, I hope, soon. Believe that when trouble does come our reaction will be sympathy and support and nothing else. Our love and blessings

*

October 19, 1942

These ideas are only suggestions that always come up when you allow this sadness to grow in you; instead of indulging them, they should be immediately thrown from you. There is no “why” to your feeling of our far-away-ness and indifference, for these do not exist, and the feeling comes up automatically without any true reason along with this wave of the wrong kind of consciousness. Whenever this comes up, you should be at once sure that it is a wrong turn and stop it and reject all its characteristic suggestions. It is when you have been able to do so for a long time that you have made great progress and developed a right consciousness and right ideas and the true psychic attitude. You are not hampering our work nor standing in the way of others coming here; in clinging to the sadhana in spite of all difficulties you are not deceiving yourself but, on the contrary, doing the right thing and you are certainly not deceiving the Divine, who knows very well both your aspiration and your difficulties. So there is not a shred of a reason for your going away. If you “sincerely want to do Yoga”, and there can be no doubt about that, that is quite a sufficient reason for your being here. It does not matter about not having as yet any occult experiences, like the rising of the Kundalini etc.; these come to some early, to some late; and there are besides different lines of such experiences for different natures. You should not hanker after these or get disappointed and despondent because they do not yet come. These things can be left to come of themselves when the consciousness is ready. What you have to aspire to is bhakti, purification of the nature, right psychic consciousness and surrender. Aspire for bhakti and it will grow in you. It is already there within and it is that which expresses itself in your poetry and music and the feelings that rise up as in the temple of the Mother at the Cape. As the bhakti and purity in the nature grow, the right psychic consciousness will also increase and lead to the full surrender. But keep steady and don’t indulge these ideas of incapacity and frustration and going away; they are stuff of tamas and good only to be flung aside.

*

October 21, 1942

The up and down movement which you speak of is common to all ways of Yoga. It is there in the path of Bhakti, but there are equally alternations of states of light and states of darkness, sometimes sheer and prolonged darkness, when one follows the path of knowledge. Those who have occult experiences come to periods when all experiences cease and even seem finished for ever. Even when there have been many and permanent realisations, these seem to go behind the veil and leave nothing in front except a dull blank, filled, if at all, only with recurrent attacks and difficulties. These alternations are the result of the nature of human consciousness and are not a proof of unfitness or of predestined failure. One has to be prepared for them and pass through. They are the “day and night” of the Vedic mystics.

As for surrender, everyone has his own first way of approach towards it; but if it is due to fear, “form”, or sense of duty, then certainly that is not surrender at all; these things have nothing to do with surrender. Also, complete and total surrender is not so easy as some seem to imagine. There are always many and large reservations; even if one is not conscious of them, they are there. Complete surrender can best come by a complete love and bhakti. Bhakti, on the other hand, can begin without surrender, but it naturally leads, as it forms itself, to surrender.

You are surely mistaken in thinking that the difficulty of giving up intellectual convictions is a special stumbling-block in you more than in others. The attachment to one’s own ideas and convictions, the insistence on them is a common characteristic [and here it seems to manifest itself with an especial vehemence]9. It can be removed by a light of knowledge from above which gives one the direct touch of Truth or the luminous experience of it and takes away all value from mere intellectual opinion, ideas or conviction and removes the necessity for it, or by a right consciousness which brings with it right ideas, right feeling, right action and right everything else. Or else it must come by a spiritual and mental humility which is rare in human nature – especially the mental, for the mind is always apt to think its own ideas, true or false, are the right ideas. Eventually, it is the psychic growth that makes this surrender too possible and that again comes most easily by bhakti. In any case, the existence of this difficulty is not in itself a good cause for forecasting failure in yoga.

*

October 21, 1942

Please forgive me for having to ask something about your philosophy. It is because I have been of late discussing a lot with Haridas about different aspects of your vision of our cosmic life and your new clues. I told him that I have the impression that you have either written to somebody or somewhere in the Synthesis that those who want like the Moksha-lovers, to be merged for ever in the Absolute, (the Non-being or the Transcendental) may do so with the result that they will achieve it, but that Nirvana is but a stage (I read this in a book on Tibetan

Buddhism too, fancy that!) and those who achieve it have to be reborn again to re-undertake the work of liberation postponed for a time. I mean that I somehow feel that you have written that even Moksha can be but a temporary sojourn of the soul, the ultimate aim and end of cosmos must be to attain bliss of the Divine through the attainment of Supermind or rather bringing it down as a leaven at first, finally to transform our terrestrial life. I have tried to picture it thus a little poetically maybe as my poem “Dream to Dream” today may show, but since I take it that I have your support in this view I would like to know how much truth there is in my interpretation. But, I repeat, I have a feeling that I have read it somewhere in your writings. Since, however, I can’t just now locate it, would it be too much to ask you to write just a few lines, especially as Haridas has been asking me to show him where you have said this. Or am I really mistaken in thinking that you have said this? Or is it partly true but partly wrong, the incorrectness deriving from wishful thinking?

I don’t think I have written, but I said once that souls which have passed into Nirvana may (not “must”) return to complete the larger upward curve. I have written somewhere, I think, that for this Yoga (it might also be added, in the natural complete order of the manifestation) the experience of Nirvana can only be a stage or passage to the complete realisation.

I have said also that there are many doors by which one can pass into the realisation of the Absolute (Parabrahman) and Nirvana is one of them, but by no means the only one. You may remember Ramakrishna’s saying that the Jivakoti [a human being who, once immersed in God cannot return] can ascend the stairs, but not return, while the Ishwarakoti [a divine human being] can ascend and descend at will. If that is so the Jivakoti might be those who describe only the curve from Matter through Mind into the silent Brahman and the Ishwarakoti those who get the integral Reality and can therefore combine the Ascent with the Descent and contain the “two ends” of existence in their single being.

*

November 18, 1942

I thought that my letter, however brief, would make clear my reason for not writing more – viz. that Duraiswamy was not leaving the Ashram for good or as a defeatist or a failure. That is evident from his own statements and experiences in his letter and unless I assume these to be falsehoods, how can I treat him as a defeatist and a failure and set out to explain his fall? That would be like explaining the cause of a headache when there was no headache. The only thing I could explain or set out at length was the struggle in himself (a vital not mental struggle), from which he precipitately sought a temporary escape; but that I cannot do since it involves writing about things personal to him and private. He would certainly dislike my writing about them to others than himself. That was the reason for my silence.

As for the other matter, the Mother had taken a decision before you wrote and it was the only one possible. Janaki Prasad’s wife’s coming here would mean the destruction of Mother’s work on him and of his peace and recovered balance. Already she had met and upset him and if she had stayed till the Darshan that would have happened again and again. Her demand for darshan and Pranam (to which she has no claim whatever as she is not a disciple and came without permission) was only a manoeuvre by which she could get in the end of the wedge and figure as a devotee and so hope to put up a claim for entering the Ashram which would have been the end of Janaki Prasad.

I had explained through Nirod that it was impossible to allow her because of Janaki Prasad and why. I did not explain specially about the request for Pranam – that logically hangs on to the rest. She did not come here out of any personal devotion to the Mother; she was quite prepared to go to R in her seeking for the Divine if she could not get in here – that was the best she could do, since we were not prepared to offer up Janaki Prasad as a sacrifice – and so it was arranged. I hope these things are now perfectly clear.

P.S. By the way, why does everybody assume that such and such a sadhak must be above a fit of difficulties and crises. I should [?] that such immunity even among great yogis, must be very rare.

*

November 20, 1942

We think that a telegram or any pressure put on Durai-swamy to return or to change his decision would do more harm than good. He has made his position quite clear in his letter to Anasuya and he does not want anything that would be a questioning of it. His position is that he has made the best decision possible – best both for himself and the Ashram. He has been led to it by a Power which has always led him and whose action has always been for the best. He is not going in a wrong spirit, he will return joyfully when the time comes for that. There is nothing therefore for his family or friends to worry about or feel sad; any excitement or fuss would be ridiculous and uncalled for and they must not take any share in it. He has taken this position very firmly and to be pressed to come back as if he had taken a wrong course is just what he does not want; his precipitation in going away before the Darshan instead of after it, he would like evidently to be ignored or forgotten. All is for the best, he himself is quite happy and cheerful and when he comes back, he will explain his motives (at present he is saying nothing to anybody) and we will all laugh over the affair. I think we must act as if we accepted his attitude. In a man of Duraiswamy’s nature any change of his decision must be allowed to come from within himself not by any outward pressure. Let us leave it to his own psychic being, giving it only a silent and inner assistance.

*

December 24, 1942

Kindly revise once more, especially page 3 where I have inserted a few... [incomplete]

Milford accepts (incidentally, with special regard to the word frosty in Clough’s line about the Cairngorm10), the rule that two consonants after a short vowel make the short vowel long, even if they are outside the word and come in another word following it. To my mind this rule accepted and generally applied would amount in practice to an absurdity; [line illegible] verse where quantity by itself has no metrical value but in any attempt at quantitative metre in eccentricities like the scansions of Bridges. I shall go on pronouncing the y of frosty as short whether it has two consonants after it or only one or none; it remains frosty whether it is a frosty scalp or frosty top or a frosty anything. In no case does the second syllable [assume] a length of sound equivalent to that of two long vowels. My hexameters are intended to be read naturally as one would read any English sentence; stress is given its full metrical value, long syllables also are given their full metrical value and not flattened out so as to [assure] a fictitious metrical [theory]; short vowels [??] two consonants after the one treated as short, because they [?] value in any natural reading. But if you admit a short syllable to be long whenever there are two consonants after it, then Bridges’ scansions are perfectly justified. Milford does not accept that conclusion; he says Bridges’ scansions are an absurdity and I agree with him there. But he bases this on his idea that quantitative length does not count in English verse. It is intonation that makes the metre, he says, high tones or low tones – not longs and shorts, obviously stress is a high tone of the greatest importance and to ignore it is fatal to any metrical theory or natural treatment of the language – and so far I agree. But on that ground he refuses to discuss my idea of weight or dwelling of the voice or admit quantity or anything else but tone as determinative of the metre; he even declares that there can be no such thing as metrical length, the very idea is an [error]. Perhaps also that is the reason why he counts frosty as a spondee before scalp; he thinks that it causes it to be intoned in a different way. I don’t see how it does that. For my part, I intone it just the same before top as before scalp.

The ordinary theory is, I believe, that the sc of scalp acts as a sort of stile (because of the opposition of the two consonants to [rapid metre]) which you take time to cross, so that ty must be considered as long because of this delay of the voice, while the t of top is merely a line across the path which gives no trouble. I don’t see it like that; the delay of metre, such as it is and it is very slight, is not caused by any dwelling on the last syllable of the [preceding] sound, it is in the word scalp itself that the delay is made; one takes longer to pronounce scalp, scalp is a slightly longer sound than top and there is too a slight natural impediment to the voice that is absent in the lighter syllable and this may have some effect for the rhythm of the line but it cannot change the metre; it cannot lengthen the preceding syllable so as to turn a trochee into a spondee. Sanskrit quantitation is irrelevant here (it is the same as Latin or Greek in respect to this rule); but both of us agree that the Classical quantitative conventions are not reproducible in English metre and it is for that reason that we reject Bridges’ eccentric scansions. Where we disagree is that I treat stress as equivalent to length and give quantity as well as stress a metrical and not only a rhythmic value.

This answers also your question as to what Milford means by “fundamental confusion” re. aridity. He refuses to accept the idea of metrical length. But I am concerned with metrical as well as natural vowel quantities. My theory is that natural length in English depends, or can depend, on the dwelling of the voice giving metrical value or weight to the syllable; in quantitative verse one has to take account of all such dwelling or weight of the voice, both by ictus (= stress) and weight by prolongation of the voice (ordinarily syllabic length); the two are different, but for metrical purposes in a quantitative verse can rank as of equal value. I do not say that stress turns a short vowel into a long one!

Milford does not take the trouble to understand my theory – he ignores the importance I give to modulations and treats cretics and antibacchii and molossi as if they were dactyls, whereas they are only substitutes for dactyls; he ignores my objection to stressing short insignificant words like and, with, but, the – and thinks that I do that everywhere, which would be to ignore my theory. In fact I have scrupulously applied my theory in every detail of my practice. Take for instance (Ahana):

“Art thou not heaven-bound even as I with the earth?

Hast thou ended....”

Here art is long by natural quantity though unstressed, which disproves Milford’s criticism that in practice I never put an unstressed long as the first syllable of a dactylic foot or spondee, as I should do by my theory. I don’t do it often because normally in English rhythm stress bears the foot – a fact to which I have given full emphasis in my theory. That is the reason why I condemn the Bridgesean disregard of stress in the rhythm – still I do it occasionally whenever it can come in quite naturally11. My quantitative system, as I have shown at great length, is based on the natural movement of the English tongue, the same in prose and poetry, not on any artificial theory.

*

(Dilipda’s Note)

These instances were given by Sri Aurobindo as modulations in his hexameters, the modulations which Mr. Milford seemed to me to have either ignored or scanned differently. I had written also that Mr. Milford must have missed Sri Aurobindo’s cretics and anti-bacchii in lines such as: (cretic)

Half yet awake in light’s turrets started the scouts of the morning

(or cretic again) Victory offered an empty delight without guerdon or profit

(or again cretic) Universe flung beyond universe, law of the stars and their courses.

I cited some anti-bacchii also: Weary of fruitless toil grows the transient heart of the mortal Earth-shaker who with his trident releases the coils of the Dragon Play-routes of wisdom and vision and struggle and rapture and sorrow

Molossi:

Self-ward, form-bound, mute, motionless, slowly inevitably emerges

Ever can pierce where they dwell and uncover their far-stretching purpose

Or again:

And we go stumbling, maddened and thrilled to his dreadful

embraces

Or in my poem Ilion:

And the first Argive fell slain as he leaped on the Phrygian beaches; There are even opening amphibrachs here and there: Illuminations, trance-seeds of silence, flowers of musing (Ahana)

The point I made here was that Mr. Milford was mistaken in his bold assertion that Sri Aurobindo had nowhere in his hexameters used longs in the second or third syllable. In anti-bacchius the second syllable is long, in cretic the third and in molossus the second as well as the third (in addition to the first long of course, I mean) which surely disproves the above charge.

More instances can be given of tribrach, anapaest, etc. but I hardly think they are needed. Anybody who has taken the trouble to note the variety of modulations in Sri Aurobindo’s poems in the quantative metre will have to agree that he has at least practiced what he has preached. I only regretted in my letter to Sri Aurobindo that Mr. Milford has been demonstrably unfair to the poet. But I am sure that the critic will in the end withdraw his pointed charges as having been disproved to the hilt.

*

Correspondence 1943

February 1, 1943

I find my mind is very tough. It simply will not surrender its right of private judgment. I have been trying for a long time to get some light which will give me the clue to truer judgments. But till I get it I don’t see how I will make myself accept what seems to be impossible of acceptance. Such being the case what shall I do? Shall I leave Yoga (as impossible for such people as I whose mind is so formed) for some other walk of life or shall I stick to this? This continuous self-tussling has become very painful. I don’t know what I shall do for it seems to me that the conditions necessary to success in Yoga can never be fulfilled by some and that I am one of these.

I am unable to see why you should give up Yoga, because you cannot believe in the action of occult laws and forces or in siddhis. The object of Yoga is realisation of the Divine; these other things are side matters which need be no part of spiritual experience, nor is belief in them necessary for realisation. Everyone has the right of private judgment in these matters; so you need not worry.

*

February 4, 1943

(Dilipda’s account of “An hour with Sri Aurobindo on 4.2.43 between 2.30 p.m and 3.30 p.m.”)

What I blurted out was a strange point blank question, apropos of nothing as it were “When are you going to come out?”

He smiled. “I don’t know,” He said.

“How do you mean ? Surely you must be knowing.”

“Not in the way you know” He said, “for I stand no longer on the mental plane. I do not decide from the mind.”

“But still,” I said emboldened, “you can’t really mean to say that a radiant personality like you will be cooped up in this small room always?”

“I told you things are not predetermined with me. Suffice it to say for the present that I can’t do what I have to do if I go on seeing people, etc.”

“For instance,” he added voluntarily, “things that have happened lately in Russia, I can tell you I have had to put my force there daily and concretely enough in all conscience.”

“It is most cheering,” I said brightening, “specially the great Russian victory at Stalingrad.”

“Yes,” he smiled, “but the Mother and I had to put our force there constantly. It took time, being a different operation. But it is beginning to work. The Asuric forces were very strong you see. Yet another reason why I have to concentrate so much....”

I remembered when a few months ago I had written to him that his stopping of all correspondence was a decision we all deeply mourned and his reply [see Sri Aurobindo’s letter dated 29 May 1942]12.

*

February 6, 1943

Please forgive me that I have to write to you so soon asking a few questions again. Had it not been absolutely necessary, I would not have written. I realised in a way I never did before the great work you and Mother have been doing, and believe me that I meant it when I told Mother day before yesterday that I wanted to be worthy of the grace she and you have all along showered on me. I have numerous faults of which I am fully conscious but insincerity, I trust, is not one of them? So when I told you and her that I wanted to dedicate to your cause not only all / have but all I am, I did mean it with all it meant and implied. So I have decided to take no more of your time than I can help, wanting only to make a return (however poor) with my entire being rather than words. This I have expressed in my poem I wrote day before yesterday, the poem I sent up to you yesterday. I will only add that I have written another at 4 a.m. yesterday morning which I will send up to you when you will have read the one I gave Nirod yesterday. I want you to read this too only because it will supplement what I wrote in the first about the nature of the inspiration and fire I have received at your hands, not because I know / have never written better poems in my life. I ask you also to note that this metre is Madhusudan’s with the rich paurush [manliness] which characterised his diction and which Tagore could not follow up because he, with all his greatness, did not have this element in his composition as my father, who had it, often used to say regretting. But I am taking your time. To resume.

The reason, I repeat, why I write to you this letter is that I want to ask you a few questions. I will leave some space below either so that you may write your answer: this, only to save time. I hope it will not take more than a few minutes at most? (Except in the last question for which I am trying to feel contrite.)

I am hard at work recording (please forgive my journalistic failing, but I can’t leave this unrecorded, nigrahah kim karisyati, don’t you know?) I put down all I could remember then and there, but my memory for which I used to congratulate myself so manfully is failing me – getting old, you see! So I have to write you as I find certain rather important things (for us, I mean) I cannot recall.

Do please help me, as I cannot capture it through your letters written to me which I have been rereading to stimulate my memory with. Please note I have taken the liberty to supplement your remarks here and there with certain relevant explanations supplied through your letters. I must, however, apologise for my inability to capture your style, though I have, indeed, tried hard to transcribe as much of your way of speaking which I hope you will allow me to retain. What I mean by this you will understand better when you see my report as to your laughter which (forgive me again) inspired me even more than your talk. Krishnaprem has written in his Katha (God bless him), “Laughter was given by the Gods to man and it was one of their choicest gifts. No animal can laugh, nor does it need to since it lives in the harmony of the purely instinctive life. It is only Man whose possession of an ego introduces stresses and strains which cannot be avoided and for the healing of which, therefore, the Gods gave him this supreme gift. Time and again it will save us when otherwise all would be lost.” I shall be very grateful if you will tell me if you find this correct. Suhrawardy told me once years ago in Berlin commenting on the dense seriousness of the German people (he loved the French and Russians) that people who couldn’t laugh were generally cruel by nature. Is this true also, substantially? I leave a little space below.

Such general statements are seldom altogether true. There are many grave and serious people who are, on the contrary, tender-hearted or compassionate. Krishnaprem’s statement has its truth, though I don’t think that is the only origin or cause of laughter. I am not sure either, that some animals don’t laugh inwardly though they can’t do the outward thing, having no machinery for it! Some certainly have a sense of humour.

Forgive me once more. But such things will not be repeated, I assure you, though my assurance reminds [me] of a villager who wrote to my grandfather on being dunned, “1 solemnly promise to repay you in a month, only, if I can’t, what can I do?”

The debtor knew what humour was, didn’t he? as my grandfather asked me with rollicking laughter. You see I have lived all my life with humorous people and don’t really remember having loved anybody who could not laugh heartily. But Yoga is long and time is fleeting. So to try again to come to the point.

I remember that you said in answer to my question whether the force you “put on me” (as you put it) was concrete.

Concrete? What do you mean by concrete? It has its own concreteness; it can take a form (like a stream for instance) of which one is aware and can send it quite concretely in whatever direction or on whatever object one chooses. (The words in brackets I add now as an illustration; I did not use it at the time.)

I forget something very important you said here. So I was trying to find if your letters could tell me and here is something you wrote (7.12.35): “A Yoga-consciousness or spiritual consciousness which has no power or force in it, may not be dead or unreal but it is, evidently, something inert and without effect or consequence... If Yoga is a reality, if spirituality is anything better than a delusion, there must be such a thing as Yoga force or spiritual force13.”

That is a statement of fact about the power inherent in spiritual consciousness. But there is also such a thing as willed use of any subtle force – it may be spiritual or mental or vital – to secure a particular result at some point in the world. Just as there are waves of unseen physical forces (cosmic waves, etc.) or currents of electricity, so there are mind-waves, thought-currents, waves of emotion, for example, anger, sorrow, etc. which go out and affect others without their knowing whence they come or that they come at all, they only feel the result. One who has the occult or inner senses awake can feel them coming and invading him. Influences good or bad can propagate themselves in that way; that can happen without intention and naturally, but also a deliberate use can be made of them. There can also be a purposeful generation of force, spiritual or other. There can be too the use of the effective will or idea acting directly without the aid of any outward action, speech or other instrumentation which is not concrete in that sense, but is all the same effective.

Can you tell me or rather write me something to this question I put to you? You said something about the force – your force – working concretely enough in all conscience even where the recipient was unconscious of receiving as was obviously the case with me. You wrote also once (I am hunting for it) that times out of number you put a concrete force on me when I was in despair and that made me regain my balance, remember? So could you supplement it in a few words?\

About the occult phenomenon of the house and stone, etc. What was it? The details I have clean forgotten. It was in the beginning, you see, before I had quite regained my balance after the agreeable shock of seeing you talking thus like a friend. So hope to be forgiven for inattention as well as for asking you to take the trouble of writing out what you told me, specially about the disagreeable happenings stopping because Mother put her force to counteract them. You told me about her moving into the house, was it?

I gave this as one instance of actual occult experience and action in accordance with occult law and practice, showing that these things are not imaginations or delusions or humbug, but can be true phenomena.

The stone-throwing began unobtrusively with a few stones thrown at the guest-house kitchen – apparently from the terrace opposite, but there was no one there. The phenomenon began before the fall of dusk and continued at first for half an hour, but daily it increased in frequency, violence and the size of the stones and the duration of the attack till it lasted for several hours until towards the end it became in the hour or half-hour before midnight a regular bombardment. It was no longer at the kitchen only, but thrown too in other places, for example the outer verandah. At first we took it for a human-made affair and sent for the police, but the investigation lasted only for a very short time, when one of the constables in the verandah got a stone whizzing unaccountably between his legs, the police abandoned the case in a panic. We made our own investigations, but the places whence the stones seemed to be or might be coming were void of human stone-throwers. Finally, as if to put us kindly out of doubt, the stones began falling in closed rooms; one huge one (I saw it immediately after it fell) reposed flat and comfortable on a cane table as if that was its proper place. Finally they became murderous. The stones had hitherto been harmless in result except for a daily battering of Bejoy’s door (in the last days) which I watched for half-an-hour the night before the end. They appeared in mid-air a few feet above the ground, not coming from a distance but suddenly manifesting, and from the direction from which they flew, should have been thrown close in from the compound of the guest-house or the verandah itself, but the whole place was in a clear light and I saw that there was no human being there and could not have been. At last the semi-idiot boy-servant who seemed to be the centre of the attack and was sheltered in Bejoy’s room under Bejoy’s protection, began to be severely hit and was bleeding from a wound by the stones thrown from inside the closed room. I went in at Bejoy’s call and saw the last stone fall on the boy; Bejoy and he were sitting side by side and the stone was thrown at them from in front, but there was no one visible to throw it – the two were alone in the room. So unless it was Wells’ invisible man – ! We had been only watching or sometimes scouting around till then, but this was a little too much, it was becoming dangerous and something had to be done. The Mother from her knowledge of the process of these things decided that the process here must depend on a nexus between the boy-servant and the house and if the nexus were broken, the servant and the house separated, the stone-throwing would cease. We sent him away to Hrishikesh’s place and immediately the whole phenomenon ceased; not a single stone was thrown after that; peace reigned. That shows that these occult phenomena are real, have a law or process as definite as that of any scientific operation and a knowledge of the processes can not only bring them about but put an end to or annul or dissolve them.

Then for my last (though by no means the least) question: I read out to you the first part of my last question and you said many things about mental richness, etc. But I am afraid I can’t reproduce it without making a mess of it all. So I will type out the question here and ask you to write out your answer – O please! This I put last as it is I feel extremely interesting as well as intriguing, shall we say? Now for the question: I recognise that one has to transcend the mental questioning moods of doubt, etc. which entail a lot of avoidable pain and suffering. Yet does not this pain often engender a feeling of richness too? I remember a poem of A.E. who wrote in his poem “Man to the Angel”,

“They are but the slaves of light

Who have never known the gloom

And between the dark and bright

Willed in freedom their own doom.”

You also wrote to me that you had passed through doubts such as none had passed before. Were they not necessary then? What I mean is that deep sufferings through mental questions and doubts give one often a sense of gain which I think was what A.E. meant too. Is this sense of gain illusory, after all, – a mere ruse of Prakriti to maintain the hold other movements as against the enlightened movements of the soul? You wrote also of pain in the Life Divine, “Without experience of pain we would not get all the infinite value of the divine delight of which pain is in travail.” One can’t help feeling that such utterances are somehow deep and profound and that chiefly because through deep pain (even physical) one feels a strange sense of fulfilment a fulfilment one might not attain without the deeper light I mean, that comes in the wake of pain and suffering.” There was more but I mustn’t take more of your time. You will understand my drift all right from this much I am sure.

I would only remind you that you said something like this that the mental was the natural leader of the being (or was it man in place of being ?) as also re. enrichment through pain, etc. “It is partly true.” But then you butted it I remember, but how I fail to recall. Will you not help ? I will expect your reply today or tomorrow morning. Please don’t shelve it; I promise once more (not like the debtor though) to trouble you no more with such questions. I enclose an extra sheet since the margin below seems to me insufficient.

I don’t remember saying anything on this subject, except that disappointed vital desire must bring about suffering. Pain and suffering are necessary results of the Ignorance in which we live; men grow by all kinds of experience, pain and suffering as well as their opposites, joy and happiness and ecstasy. One can get strength from them if one meets them in the right way. Many take a joy in pain and suffering when associated with struggle or endeavour or adventure, but that is more because of the exhilaration and excitement of struggle than because of suffering for its own sake. There is, however, something in the vital which takes joy in the whole of life, its dark as well as its bright sides. There is also something perverse in the vital which takes a kind of dramatic pleasure in its own misery and tragedy, even in degradation or in illness. I don’t think mere doubts can bring any gain; mental questioning can bring gains if it is in pursuit of truth, but questioning just for the sake of sceptical questioning or in a pure spirit of contradiction can only bring, when it is directed against the truths of the spirit, either error or a lasting incertitude. If I am always questioning the Light when it comes and refusing its offer of truth, the Light cannot stay in me, cannot settle; eventually, finding no welcome and no foundation in the [mind] it will retire. One has to push forward into the Light, not always falling back into the darkness and hugging the darkness in the delusion that that is the real light. Whatever fulfilment one may feel in pain or in doubt belongs to the Ignorance; the real fulfilment is in the divine joy and the divine Truth and its certitude and it is that for which the Yogin strives. In the struggle he may have to pass through doubt, not by his own choice or will, but because there is still imperfection in his knowledge.

*

February 25, 1943

Mother,

Please excuse me if this letter becomes somewhat long. I know how busy you are – I’ll try to be brief. Please show this to Sri Aurobindo and send me your answer, if possible to-night so that I may write to Madras and Delhi.

1) The Gramophone people want me to record a few songs. Can’t go to Calcutta. Madras recording is not so good but que faire? Calcutta is a far cry. I could offer you Rs. 315 a month or two ago. So the records (mine and Hashi’s) are selling not badly for wartime. So they are pressing me again and again, you see. I have written I can only go to Madras not to Calcutta. So may I go for a week to Madras with your blessings?

*

Yes.

If you permit I will leave on the second proximo after Prosperity. The Radio people also were asking, Jadu told me. That way I may offer at least Rs. 60 at your feet.

2) I intend to stay in some dry place for say a fortnight or three weeks. I am invited by Jnanranjan Sen, Public Prosecutor, Nagpur. I may stay there a week on my way to Delhi where Dr. Indra Sen and Nishikanto Sen – Registrar in the University – are there. The latter loves me and my music. I would prefer to stay with him a week. Dr. Indra Sen was suggesting to me to lecture at the Amphitheatre on “Sri Aurobindo and what he stands for” as I did at Trivandrum with music of course. I may do so if you give me your blessings – not otherwise.

*

Yes.

I told him so. In Delhi I have many other friends also and I will try to see if I can be of some service to you in getting some money contributions. It may happen as was the case with Birla year before last at Calcutta. But for this too your full blessings are necessary.

*

All right.

For I am not so vain now-a-days as I used to be and can’t really believe I can get money, etc. for you. If you will make me a servant of yours then only I can act, I really feel this – some progress anyhow, isn’t it? I suggest this as my vitality makes me often restless and if I can serve you in this way once or twice a year, why not? I hope you will believe me when I say it is not fame that draws me. I feel very tired outside and that quickly. My vairagya is persistent, as I told Sri Aurobindo on the 4th. If you give me some force only then I may (perhaps) shed this vairagya. Otherwise I often feel days are passing, etc. etc. I won’t repeat the doleful song. I am a little tired of my vairagya, really. Why cannot I with my abounding vitality serve you better?

3) In Delhi the India Gramophone may, I think, like to make some records. That way I can fetch some money too – but this is not likely to be much. But the Radio may offer me Rs. 150 (they do often). I will try.

4) From Delhi I want to go for a week or two to Almora to Krishnaprem’s Ashram as he presses me to come once. On the way I will stop a few days with Udayshankar. If he helps I can get some money with his help for the Ashram. 7 will try. That may be [consideration] Rs. 1000 at least.

So I will come back about 22nd of April for darshan.

Qu’en dites-vous?But do give me all your force. If I am overtaken with vairagya there as I was at Trivandrum I will return post-haste from Nagpur maybe – outside the Ashram I feel a great nostalgia for the Ashram after the first week or two at the most. In that case I feel very weak and can’t do strenuous work. I want to do some strenuous kind of work if I am to get rid of this inveterate vairagya as Sri Aurobindo told me again he does not like it.

5) In Delhi I am likely to meet Birla who admires me greatly. But he is too deep a Gandhist now-a-days. So I don’t hope much from him this time. But I will certainly try.

All right.

You know of course that I have a good life outside. My only weakness is for fish now-a-days. I often dream of fish. Que faire? But there’s nothing fishy about my activities outside believe me.

P.S. In Madras I am going to teach two or three Mir a songs to Subbulakshmi14. That will fetch some money. Your blessings are necessary. She and her husband are nice people and she is very religious – her husband says. So – I think her songs in the Gramophone will be a success. They are inviting me as you may remember.

Yes to the whole programme (with reservations about the vairagya, though!) with the Mother’s blessings and mine.

*

February 26, 1943

I could not quite understand – though partly I did – what you meant by “Yes to the whole programme (with reservations about the vairagya, though!) with the Mother’s blessings and mine.”

If possible throw a few lines of radiant light hereanent below. I know vairagya is a protection and in my case a strong armour – being rather prone to attachments and fame, etc. but it causes a loss or waste of energy. Though I can’t very well complain I have felt the lack of it here however much I may have felt the lack of peace. I have written already a library of poems and songs and music, what?

It was a reference, more humorous than anything else, to the possible item in your programme of vairagya overtaking you in the middle and disabling you from carrying it out.

For the rest, I quite acknowledge the utility of a temporary state of vairagya as an antidote to the too strong pull of the vital. But vairagya always tends to a turning away from life and a tamasic element in vairagya, despair, depression, etc. often dilapidates the fire of the being and may even lead in some cases to falling between two stools so that one loses earth and misses heaven. I therefore prefer to replace vairagya by a firm and quiet rejection of what has to be rejected, sex, vanity, ego-centrism, attachment, etc. etc.; but that does not include rejection of the activities and powers that can be made instruments of the sadhana and the divine work, such as art, music, poetry, etc. Yoga can be done without the rejection of life, without killing or impairing the life-joy and the vital force.

I will be praying all the time to you and Mother for the tireless grace you have both shed on me and I really want (believe me) to make some return by personal service. I know I am vain (though I am less now I feel) and full of faults and flaws but if your grace is there I can make some headway as you know too. For instance (this I mention deliberately to help Cohayne), Cohayne’s letter to Mother two days ago imploring her to take him in hand. Here is a man of real intelligence, I have exchanged heaps of letters with him and he was a tireless critic and yet the Mother’s grace and yours has worked through me. My only desire of course was that he should serve you – with all others too I love. That is why I trouble you so about them. Please give Cohayne your force and protection – he is a fine fellow you will find. Can I answer him in the affirmative – you must know he is sincere – but now humble truly.

Well, at present it is better not to write anything too positive. Nowadays, especially, the Mother takes people in such circumstances on probation, she does not give them large immediate assurances, but waits to see how they open. If he justifies his aspiration, all will be well.

I have one last request to make to you before I leave. Read the poem in blank verse a la Madhusudan. This ends the series. I know you have not found time to read the second poem – (it was too long?) – I sentcopied by Rani, but this is about the psychic being – a difficult thing to write about – and your Yoga essentially I feel.

*

I read it, but kept to read again; I return it with this.

So I think you will like it. These three blank verse poems are, I repeat, three of my very best (if not the best) and so I would love you to read this last one. Qu’en dites-vous?

Yes, I shall return it before you leave.

*

March 11, 1943

I am hard at work (filling up the gap and annotating, etc.) with your talk. I find one gap which if you will please fill up, I will be grateful. You told me (remember?), ‘Thaven’t had the experience of levitation itself but the experience I had could not have been true if there was no levitation.” (I distinctly remembered this as I put it down on paper at 4 p.m. on the 4th.) Could you kindly tell me what the experience was if, that is, it is tellable. I remember Purani once told me that it was at Alipur you found your being in equilibrium from a tilted angle. Is that it?

There were other things but not at present tellable! You can put it like this, “I take levitation as an acceptable idea, because I have had myself experience of the natural energies which if developed would bring it about and also physical experiences which would not have been possible if the principle of levitation were untrue.”

*

April 26, 1943

I enclose a letter from Krishnaprem.

About therapy, etc. I am not genuinely interested. But I confess I am rather intrigued about Surya Deva. Inever thought of worshipping him as a Deva. How about it? Does Krishnaprem mean that Surya is a conscient god?

Yes, obviously.

If it is meant god in the sense that sarvam khalvidam brahma [All this is the Brahman. Chhandogyopanishad, 3.14.1] – the point is lost for why then pick out Surya Deva as a God – the little stream flowing there is surely as much a flowing God?

No, every being and thing is not a god. Well, because he is supposed to be one of the great cosmic Powers – the little stream is not.

I have heard of sun-worshippers (I don’t know if there are moon-worshippers) but I could never take them seriously.

There were both. Even now the Sun and Fire [get] reverence, I believe, from the Parsis. The Gayatri, which is a very potent mantra, centres round Surya.

*

I don’t like to be in “a parlous state” – but que faire? The sun has never inspired me as a Godhead in the way that a Krishna or a Kali has. How ought I to look on the sun anyhow? I would like not to look at him irreverently, but how can there be positive reverence for one who, for all we know, doesn’t seem to be conscious in the same sense as for instance an Avatar is conscious?

Well, if not reverently at least amiably, as a nice and friendly being who removes the darkness.

That is just what Krishnaprem is jocosely damning, your parlous state of ignorance about the occult world and what lies behind things here.

If Krishnaprem were asking you to concentrate on Surya instead of Krishna, you could very obviously retort on him with the sloka from the Gita,

devandevayajo yanti madbhakta yanti mamapi. [To the gods go the worshippers of the gods, but my devotees come to Me.

Bhagavad Gita VII. 23

But he is not asking that, he only suggests that you should believe in higher worlds and higher beings, divine beings also who are here behind material phenomena, not in the reality of the outer material world alone, after the Aristotelian fashion – though I am under the impression that Aristotle also worshipped the gods, including the Sun (Apollo). I think that is all he is after. But you needn’t bother your head much about Surya at present; if he manifests himself to you in vision or otherwise, then you can begin to take a more active interest in his deity.

*

April 28, 1943

I have typed what you wrote just now but the last three lines please revise. “I think you need not be eager,” is what you wrote.

I will try to persuade them then to pay more say Rs. 50 for the radio. They will consent I think. I will then write also to the Gramo, as they expected me about the middle of this month. A week out in Madras about the middle of July then ?

Yes.

I will try the scenario then. Please grant it to me that I may try it as a real spirit of offering. Who knows it may bring what to the Ashram ? I will also write another article for Aria.

But please bear with me if I hasten to ask you a question or two. Krishnaprem made me promise I was not to blurt it out to anyone. But as you don’t fall under the category of “anyone” – I must tell you everything – so I have no qualms in asking you.

The sloka I quoted was from the book [Dharmo Pras-angy] of Swami Brahmananda. He says then,

uttamo brahmasadbhavo madhyama dhyanadharana stutirjapodhamo bhavo bahyapujadhamadhama

[The highest is to dwell rightly in the Brahman, meditation and concentration come next. Lowest is prayer and Japa; lower than the lowest is external worship.]

Krishnaprem smiled and said that he could not accept it as true in all cases, as through bahyapuja he has had remarkable objective experiences.

What is meant by bahyapuja? If it is purely external, then of course it is the lowest form; but if done with the true consciousness inside, it can bring the greatest completeness of the adoration by allowing the body and the most external consciousness share in the spirit and act of worship.

The experience which struck me most (and which I would have found it difficult to believe if it came from some other man) was this that time and again when he offered bhoga to Krishna in the temple, Krishna actually ate it – sometimes whole of it, sometimes a part of it. The bhoga is left for a little while when the curtain is drawn and nobody then is about: it is upstairs and no servant is allowed there inside the temple. So one is forced to accept it. He told me that once such a big part of the bhoga disappeared that the servants who had expected part of it were very much disappointed as the amount was considerable. They deliberated which of the sadhaks ate up such a huge amount. Is this possible? Where does the bhoga go? Does Krishna then eat it up sometimes? If it had been only Krishnaprem’s testimony I would have understood but Motirani (his guru’s daughter, who is very truthful) and his guru both have seen the dwindling of the bhoga often enough! Qu’en dites-vous? Hallucination or day-dreaming can’t account for the disappearance of the anna [food], can it?

And three persons saw it repeatedly. So how can this testimony be invalid unless they are solemnly lying. And Krishnaprem does not lie, that everybody knows, and he himself is the pujari – none else does the puja now!

The “scientific” explanation would be that somebody, a servant perhaps, disregarding prohibitions got secretly in and polished off the food of offering when there was nobody to see! That however assumes that occult manifestations are impossible, which is not the case; it is besides only a probable inference or theory. Occultists, or some of them hold that the taking of food offered to unseen beings is, sometimes (but, by not any means always), taken in its subtle elements, leaving the outward body of the food as it was. The natural taking of the food, physically, is rare, but instances are believed to have happened where the bhakti was very strong.

Lastly I would like to ask you about this darshan of Krishna. I have heard many people saw Him. But are there darshans and darshans? You know what I mean? I mean, does Krishna give different kinds of fulfilment to different people according to their need or karma or adhar? Krishnaprem’s guru evidently sees Him with deep devotion and this darshan to her means milan which changes her life completely – necessarily. But say Puranmal, I find his repeated visions of Krishna have not changed much. I give the two instances as I have thought on these lines. In conclusion I would like to know if milan is synonymous with darshan? In our bhaktimarga [path ofbhakti] darshan has been looked upon, very often, as the last grace of the Divine – I mean for the sakar worshippers.

Seeing is of many kinds. There is a superficial seeing which only erects or receives momentarily or for some time an image of the Being seen; that brings no change, unless the inner bhakti makes it a means for change.

There is also the reception of the living image of the Divine in one of his forms into oneself – say, in the heart; that can have an immediate effect or initiate a period of spiritual growth. There is also the seeing outside oneself in a more or less objective and subtle-physical or physical way.

As for milan, the abiding union is within and that can be there at all times; the outer milan or contact is not usually abiding. There are some who often or almost invariably have the contact whenever they worship, the deity may become living to them in the picture or other image they worship, may move and act through it; others may feel him always present, outwardly, subtle-physically, abiding with them where they live or in the very room; but sometimes this is only for a period. Or they may feel the Presence with them, see it frequently in a body (but not materially except sometimes), feel its touch or embrace, converse with it constantly – that is also a kind of milan. The greatest milan is one in which one is constantly aware of the Deity constantly abiding in oneself, in everything in the world, holding all the world in him, identical with existence and yet supremely beyond the world – but in the world too one sees, hears, feels nothing but him, so that the very senses bear witness to him alone – and this does not exclude such specific personal manifestations as those vouchsafed to Krishnaprem and his guru. The more ways there are of the union, the better.

P.S. Please forgive me if I ask you to explain what was the darshan of Krishnaprem’s guru when she saw Krishna with open eyes first in her room and then in the temple. Krishnaprem did not see Him but “I have felt Him,” he said with tears in his eyes. So there was evidently some concrete manifestation which the guru visualised and the other felt.

One can receive the manifestation by any of the senses or by a feeling in the consciousness – in the complete objective manifestation there can be sight, hearing, touch, everything.

*

April 28, 1943

(,..) through service to you – 7 have had enough personal fame and ego-play and all that sort of thing – these change nothing and I feel I can change only through serving you. But how best to do it – ah, that is the question. Here in the concrete what would you have me do? I want to do what you wish me-to do. Please tell me, I ask you very simply and in all sincerity, as you can believe through my tone. I have a feeling of repose and security in me – a new feeling that the inner surrender must be achieved counting no cost as Krishnaprem said and I don’t want to lose it, as it comes of deepening bhakti in me for you and Mother. Please forgive my prolixity. But I need to feel sure of my footsteps. They should not land me in pitfalls. No more ego-play-sanctioning if you please. I leave a little space below.

If you combine records and the radio affair it is perhaps worth doing. I don’t suppose a week out would do any harm. As for the feeling from within, it depends on being able to go inside. Sometimes it comes of itself with the deepening of the consciousness by bhakti or otherwise; sometimes it comes by practice – a sort of referring the matter and listening for the answer – listening is of course a metaphor, but it is difficult to express it otherwise – it doesn’t mean that the answer comes necessarily in the shape of words; spoken or unspoken, though it does sometimes or for some; it can take any shape. The main difficulty for many is to be sure of the right answer. For that it is necessary to be able to contact the consciousness of the Guru inwardly – that comes best by bhakti. Otherwise it may become a delicate and ticklish job. Obstacles; (1) normal habit of relying on outward means for everything; (2) ego, substituting its suggestions for the right answer; (3) mental activity; (4) intruder nuisances. I think you need not be eager for this, but rely on the growth of the inner consciousness. The above is only by way of general explanation.

*

May 10, 1943

I am writing an article on you for “Aria”. They offered at Almora, as you may remember. They pay handsomely too. I have very nearly finished. I will send it to you tomorrow or the next day in all probability.

In the meanwhile I have a question for you as I consider it as important and people seem to cherish very wrong notions hereanent. I will be very grateful if you will throw a little light.

Last night Anilkumar asserted that you said that no matter what guru one has accepted the disciple may realise and then what he realises, under even a humbug guru will be the same thing as what another realises under an Avatar. I find this a little incomprehensible. From what I have gathered from your writings I have an idea that avatars are in a special category and what they achieve can not be achieved through any other intermediary. I don’t know if I am clear but I hope you will understand what my difficulty is. To make it a little more clear: I have felt that though I may have profited by Krishnaprem’s contact I do not need it. I can get all I want from you and what I can get from you he cannot get from his guru – assuming of course that you are what we believe to be. I mean if you were an ordinary guru, Krishnaprem and we would be on a level ground. But since you are not, we are better off spiritually. Is this notion mistaken? I don’t see how it can be. For if I am will not the logical conclusion be that though one can say that there are shishyas and shishyas, one can’t say that there are gurus and gurus? Do you get me? What the blessed use of an avatar is there for a disciple ?

Well, according to this striking and overwhelming theory, the Avatar may have a use for external world changes, but none for internal or spiritual realisation; for, on this principle you can catch anybody in the street or your cook or a butler in the house opposite and make him your guru and go splash into the supreme Brahman – of course leaving behind you the said cook or butler, as his utility is over. I leave to Anilkumar the full responsibility of this invention: I refuse either to patent it or to share in the credit of its discovery. All what I meant was that one can have a guru inferior in spiritual capacity (to oneself or to other gurus) carrying in him many human imperfections, and yet, if you have the faith, the bhakti, the right spiritual stuff, contact the Divine through him, attain to spiritual experiences, to spiritual realisation, even before the Guru himself.

Mark the “if” – for that proviso is necessary; it is not every disciple who can do that with every guru. From a humbug you can acquire nothing but humbuggery. The guru must have something in him which makes the contact with the Divine possible, something which works even if he is not himself in his outer mind quite conscious of its action. If there is nothing at all spiritual in him, he is not a guru – only a pseudo. Undoubtedly, there can be considerable differences of spiritual realisation between one guru and the other; but much depends on the inner relation between guru and shishya. One can go to a very great spiritual man and get nothing or only a little from him; one can go to a man of less spiritual capacity and get all he has to give – and more. The causes of this disparity are various and subtle; I need not expand on them here. It differs with each man. I believe the guru is always ready to give what can be given, if the disciple can receive, or it may be when he is ready to receive. If he refuses to receive or behaves inwardly or outwardly in such a way as to make reception impossible or if he is not sincere or takes up the wrong attitude, then things become difficult. But if one is sincere and faithful and has the right attitude and if the guru is a true guru, then, after whatever time, it will come.

*

May 1943

Don’t trouble about the article if it needs too much considering. Consign it to the waste paper basket. I don’t want to take much of your time. I can ask Nolini to write an article on you for Aria. He is the man who can write a proper article. I knew I was not fit for such a task. It is because I thought I might serve you through such an article – a personal article I mean, the only type I feel free in – that I accepted their invitation. If you approve I can ask Nolini to send them an article on yourself. Perhaps it is worthwhile? If not well, let us forget about it.

Well, what I am considering is just this, whether it would not be wiser, as far as concerns England or America, to start impersonally with the philosophical side and the side of the Yoga, and leave the person a little behind the scene for the present, until people there are ready as individuals for the personal touch; that is the course we have been following up to now. In India it is different, for here there is another kind of general mentality and there is the tradition of the Guru and the Shishya.

I don’t know about Nolini writing for the Aria. I suppose Mrs Gertrude Sen wanted an article from you personally, a personal article and not a general article on the subject.

*

May 31, 1943

I send you Bharati’s post card. Her book The Well of the People have you read it?

Yes.

She writes very good English I thought but I wrote to her declining to say more as I was not a modern. Qu’en dites-vous?(I mean about her book, not about my ancientness)

Very good; her language is excellent. I don’t want to say anything, because when I cannot positively encourage a young and new writer, I prefer to remain mum. It is the symbolic structure of the poem that seems to me rather loose and formless, the poetry lacks grip and bite. But I suppose she will get over these defects in time. Each writer must be left to develop in his own way.

By the way, my drama is getting on fine, really fine, you know! Would you believe it – I believe it is really going o make a hit – unless I am very much mistaken! Did you send force, I mean, consciously? Not that I wish you didn’t so that I could call it my own handiwork.

Certainly.

*

June 3, 1943

Night before last I sang to a few three songs. The first song was my own ekelar pathe bajao tomar banshi [you are playing your flute on my lonely path], the second on Mother, the third on Krishna: Chandidasa’s famous band-hu ki ar baliba ami, marane jibane janame janame, prananath hoyo tumi15.

I felt a very deep sorrow as I sang it (with tears flowing). It seemed to me life was quite impossible without Krishna (I wish this feeling lasted all the time till His relief came!) as I sang the last couplet,

ankhira nimishe jadi nahi dekhi tabe je parane mari. chandidas kahe? – parasha ratan galay bandhiya pari16?

The sorrow I felt was a qualified sorrow: it was full of sweetness of appeal to Krishna to accept me though with the knowledge (there was the sorrow) that I was not yet acceptable to Him. How to make myself so – that was the cry?

And then Pratibha (la cousine des trois soeurs [the three sisters’ cousin]) saw a beautiful vision with open eyes. Just about one cubit from me – behind me – Kishore Krishna was standing with a “wicked expression” she says, eyeing me in a posture of dance with flute, anklets, etc. – “silvery blue” his colour and a face of unsurpassable beauty. “I was bewitched by this sheer beauty,” she says, “for you know, Dilip, I have never loved Krishna or sakar bhagavan [God with form], being a Brahmo.” Then yesterday in the evening she saw this same face on Mother’s head – [twining] her neck with His both hands. Pratibha was then moved and came, almost embraced me on the staircase as I was going to pranam Mother in great sorrow that Krishna never gave his darshan to me, but only to others, since such phenomena have happened on several occasions in the past – Sisir, Puranmal and Narayanprasad having been those among the fortunate ones who have seen Krishna as I sang of Him.

I write to you as I feel a great sorrow since – though I feel a deep bhakti too – no despair a proprement parler [strictly speaking] – only very deep sorrow mingled with sweetness. Sorrow also because I cannot, try ever so hard as I would, get a foothold in sadhana proper. But I won’t enlarge on that. I ask you what was the meaning of this manifestation again? Did Krishna want only to make me more sorrowful or was it an unreal subjective vision ? But how to dub it subjective either – when Pratibha asserts that she never cared for Krishna or the gods? I could understand it happening before Yashoda Ma. But why did Krishna show Himself to one who didn’t care for Him at all and never to me who misses His touch so much and feels life and karma almost like a mockery without Him?

Subjective visions can be as real as objective sight – the only difference is that one is of real things in material space, while the others are of real things belonging to other planes down to the subtle physical; even symbolic visions are real in so far as they are symbols of realities. Even dreams can have a reality in the subtle domain. Visions are unreal only when these are merely imaginative mental formations not representing anything that is true or was true or is going to be true.

In this case the thing seen can be taken as true since it has been seen by many and always in the same relation and still more because it has been confirmed by what was seen by Yashodabai and Krishnaprem. It means obviously that your singing by the power of the bhakti it expresses can and does bring the presence of Krishna there.

It is not that Krishna “shows himself,” but simply that he is there and some who have the power of vision catch sight of him and others who have not the power fail to do so. This power of vision is sometimes inborn and habitual even without any effort of development, sometimes it wakes up of itself and becomes abundant or needs only a little practice to develop; it is not necessarily a sign of spiritual attainment, but usually when by practice of Yoga one begins to go inside or live within, the power of subtle vision awakes to a greater or less extent; but this does not always happen easily, especially if one has been habituated to live much in the intellect or in an outward vital consciousness. The question you put does not, then, arise.

I suppose what you are thinking of is “darshan”, the self-revelation of the Deity to the devotee; but that is different, it is an unveiling of his presence, temporary or permanent, and may come as a vision or may come as a close feeling of his presence which is more intimate than sight and a frequent or constant communication with him; that happens by deepening of the being into its inner self and growth of consciousness or by growth of the intensity of bhakti. When the crust of the external consciousness is sufficiently broken by the pressure of increasing and engrossing bhakti, the contact comes. It is already something (and not usual) that the bhakti in the song is sufficient to bring even the unfelt Presence.

*

June 5, 1943

Prayopavesan [fasting unto death] would be quite the wrong movement, it would be a sort of Satyagraha against the Divine. In essence it is an attempt to force the divine to do what one wants instead of trusting to him to do what is best according to his own divine will and wisdom; it is a culminating act of vital impatience and disappointed desire, while the true movement is a pure aspiration and an ardent surrender.

After all, one has not a right to call on the Divine to manifest himself; it can come only as a response to a spiritual or psychic state of consciousness or to a long course of sadhana rightly done; or, if it comes before that or without any apparent reason, it is a grace; but one cannot demand or compel grace; grace is something spontaneous which wells out from the Divine Consciousness as a free flower of its being.

The bhakta looks for it, but he is ready to wait in perfect reliance – even if need be, all his life – knowing that it will come, never varying in his love and surrender because it does not come now or soon. That is the spirit of so many songs of devotees which you have sung yourself; I heard one such song from you in a record sometime ago and very beautiful it was and beautifully sung – “Even if I have not won Thee, O Lord, still I adore.”

What prevents you from having that is the restless element of vital impatience and ever-recurring and persisting disappointment at not having what you want from the Divine. It is the idea, “I wish so much for it, surely I ought to have it, why is it withheld from me?” But wanting, however strongly, is not a passport to getting; there is something more to it than that. Our experience is that too much vital eagerness and insistence often blocks the way, it makes a sort of obstructing mass or a whirl of restlessness and disturbance which leaves no quiet space for the Divine to get in or for the thing asked for to come. Often it does come, but when the impatience has been definitely renounced and one waits, quietly open, for whatever may be (or, for the time, not be) given. But so often when you are preparing the way for a greater progress in the true devotion, the habit of this vital element starts up and takes hold and interrupts the progress made.

The joylessness also comes from the vital. It is partly due to the disappointment but not solely; for it is a very common phenomenon that when there is a pressure from the mind and soul on the vital, it often gets a rajasic or tamasic vairagya instead of the sattwic kind, refuses to take joy in anything, becomes dry, listless or unhappy, or it says, “Well, why don’t I get the realisation you promised me? I can’t wait.” To get rid of that, it is best, even while observing it, not to identify oneself with it; if the mind or some part of the mind sanctions or justifies, it will persist or recur. If sorrow there must be, the other kind you described in the previous letter is preferable: the sadness that has a sweetness in it – no despair, only the psychic longing for the true thing to come.

That must come by the increase of the pure and true Bhakti. You have been constantly told so by us and lately by Krishnaprem and his Guru; remember that she told you that the presence of Krishna during your singing was a sure sign that it would come – not necessarily today or tomorrow or the day after, but that it would surely come. We can’t be all of us wrong and your vital impatience only in the right. For heaven’s sake, get rid of it and settle down to quiet aspiration and an ever-growing devotion and surrender, leaving it to Krishna to do what he is sure to do, in his own right way and time.

*

June 6, 1943

I am very grateful to you for your patient way of showing me the right way. I quite realise that I have somehow got into the wrong habit of over-eagerness. I should rather, as you say, trust in the Divine and accept gratefully whatever He concedes. I remember a prayer of Mother’s:

«J’aurais tort de me plaindre des circonstances de mon existence, ne sont-elles point conformes a ce que je suis17?» (15.10.1917)

I don’t think I would have continued the prayopavesan. The idea came from a remark ofVivekananda who said to Sri Ma (Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrital “bhagahaner janye prayopabesan korte, teman ichchhe hochchhe koi? (Korbo Master Mahashay ?) Kintu jodi rakhte na pari?” [Shall I start the fast unto death ? (Shall I start Master Mahashay?) Suppose I fail to keep it up ?]

I had an idea that prayopavesan would succeed if taken up with a sincere conviction that life was meaningless without the Divine. I see now I was wrong: you have convinced me of that – though here perhaps my cowardly fear of an eventual failure in prayopavesan may have somewhat paved the way beforehand that led [??] life so that I accept your arguments a wee bit too readily! (The ingrained reluctance complex too!)

Anyhow – I must sigh like a good child and accept the joylessness since there is no other way of traversing the rest of the Way – and since no other Way I can possibly choose on earth now or ever.

Good Heavens, no! I would never recommend to anyone to accept joylessness. On the contrary, I explained that a certain vital movement was the origin of the joylessness, its cause, and what I wanted was the removal of its cause which would necessarily bring about the removal of the effect.

I resolve so often to be a good boy (a little too grownup boy though) and get along with the proper attitude of surrender and trust. But of late the joylessness has been so unrelieved that it has become very difficult. The only reasoning of yours I don’t quite follow is about my vital wanting, choosing complete rajasic or tamasic vairagya! I do so long for joy! Why should I then choose painful vairagya – and of the tamasic kind at that? I have worked hard enough in all conscience. Now, however, I don’t feel any joy at all in any work – not even music which brings only sorrow for which reason I have been seriously thinking of giving up music! Is that because I want to give up music? I don’t know how this conclusion follows. But I won’t argue or question. I accept your judgment as final. If joylessness comes to stay, let it. I will pray for strength to bear it, trusting to Divine Grace to intervene when it will.

No, I didn’t say that you chose the rajasic or tamasic vairagya. I only explained how it came, of itself, as a result of a movement of the vital in place of the sattwic vairagya which is supposed to precede and cause or accompany or result from a turning away from the world to seek the Divine. The tamasic vairagya comes from the recoil of the vital when it feels that it has to give up the joy of life and becomes listless and joyless; the rajasic comes when the vital begins to lose the joy of life but complains that it is getting nothing in its place. Nobody chooses such movements; they come independently of the mind as habitual reactions of the human nature. To refuse these things by detachment, an increasing quiet aspiration, a pure bhakti, an ardent surrender to the Divine, was what I suggested as the true forward movement.

*

June 18, 1943

I naturally do not accept your usual solution of going away – I am glad to see, however, that there is a change for the better, since you do not talk of giving up spiritual effort as impossible for you, but, instead, speak of still continuing to pray to Krishna and seek help from him. There is, however, no reason for so much discouragement. You have had a tumble, all the more distressing for you as you thought you had gained fixed mastery – always a dangerous thing to do prematurely as it invites the lower forces to try to prove the opposite. But you have tumbled before and got up and gone farther on the Way. That is what you must do always. Don’t attach so decisive an importance to this passing failure. Of course you must try not to yield even a little, if or when the thing comes up again. But to give up is not admissible.

I thought I had already told you that your turn towards Krishna was not an obstacle. In any case I affirm that positively in answer to your question. If we consider the large and indeed fundamental part he played in my own sadhana, it would be strange if the part he has in your sadhana could be considered objectionable. Sectarianism is a matter of dogma, ritual, etc., not of spiritual experience; the concentration on Krishna is a self-offering to the ishta-deva. If you reach Krishna you reach the Divine; if you can give yourself to him, you give yourself to me. Your inability to identify may be because you are laying too much stress on the physical aspects, consciously or unconsciously. In any case it does not very much matter; we have accepted your loyalty and the devotion of your offering of work and service. All else that is needed can come of itself afterward. There is nothing wrong with your self-offering in works and in service; it is quite what it should be; you have no reason to feel worried about it.

Don’t be too diffident and don’t be too easily discouraged. More resilience in difficulties and more faith in your spiritual destiny!

*

June 24, 1943

(Written on a letter received by Dilipda from a friend who says, “(...) If I am not yet ready to enter the Ashram, may I not be allowed to live nearby, somewhere in peace and solitude?”)

Why does he want to come to Pondicherry for solitude and peace? The Ashram itself is not a place of solitude and peace, much less the town. In any case, one has to get peace in oneself much more than from one’s surroundings.

And, “Alas, Dilip, last night I fell... Perhaps I was too sex-conscious during the day or afraid to be so. Perhaps it would be best for me to forget about sex altogether. Is it not one of those vices that die by neglect but grow by attention ?”

Quite right; but one must be able to neglect it.

*

June 27, 1943

I am grateful for your answer. I will only ask you one more question, please forgive me, as I feel Krishnaprem is not altogether right about it. I mean about “vivisection.” Is it unjustifiable? Take Pasteur’s anti-hydrophobic serum which effects a cent per cent cure. It has undoubtedly saved the lives of thousands. Can we seriously say such a serum is an evil and has to be “paid for” as Krishnaprem puts it? If not then vivisection is justified. If not please let me know. It seems to me Krishnaprem has erred here. You only know the full truth so to whom shall I appeal when I certainly don’t know? I leave a little space here.

I feel inclined to back out of the arena or take refuge in the usual saving formula, ‘There is much to be said on both sides. Your view is no doubt correct from the commonsense or what might be called the “human” point of view. Krishnaprem takes the standpoint that we must not only consider the temporary good to humanity, but certain inner laws. He thinks the harm, violence or cruelty to other beings is not compensated and cannot be justified by some physical good to a section of humanity or even to humanity as a whole; such methods awake, in his opinion, a sort of Karmic reaction apart from the moral harm to the men who do these things. He is also of the opinion that the cause of disease is psychic, that is to say, subjective and the direction should be towards curing the inner causes much more than patching up by physical means. These are ideas that have their truth also. I fully recognize the psychic law and methods and their prefer-ability, but the ordinary run of humanity is not ready for that rule and, while it is so, doctors and their physical methods will be there. I have also supported justifiable violence on justifiable occasions, e.g., Kurukshetra and the war against Hitler and all he means. The question then, from this middle point of view, about the immediate question is whether this violence is justifiable and the occasion justifiable. I back out.

I enclose Cohayne’s letter, which you will find interesting, I think. I am very glad he is turning in your direction. But tell me has Mother been really sending him force? I ask because I have heard that many indulge fancies, I trust he is not one of them. I found him a very brilliant and honest fellow though he used to be very vain, as he acknowledges now. Do you not think he is changing for the better? If so I would like to convey it to him. I am very contrite about conveying your remarks to Bharati. In future such mistakes will not be repeated. I will first get your permission before I communicate your remarks. One last question: Cohayne alters one line (he suggests, that is) of my war-song. My final version I send today, please tell me which you prefer.

I don’t know whether Mother is sending force in the accepted sense; I haven’t asked her. In any case anyone can receive the force who has faith and sincerity, whose psychic being has begun to wake and who opens himself – whether he knows or not that he is receiving. If Cohayne even imagines that he is receiving, that may open the way to a real reception – if he feels it, why question his feeling. He is certainly trying hard to change and that is the first necessity; if one tries it can always be done, in more or in less time.

*

June 27, 1943

I have worked very hard of late and wrote a beautiful novel (spiritual) of 200 pages in the last ten days. For sometime now I will compose music as my Gramophone and radio is coming (Madras 22nd, 23rd Gramophone and 25th radio).

Bhisma sang beautifully last night. (...) [Incomplete]

*

June 29, 1943

I told so to Nirod – yesterday. People so often imagine – so why should not Cohayne imagine? But he doubted my doubts. Now I know that my doubts are more valid than his.

But it is not to write about this that I take up my pen. Last night I was feeling once more at loose ends after my very hard spell of work for the past two months. I was wondering if whenever! tried a little concentration on the Divine this sort of reaction must come. But I won’t plague you with this recurrent trouble of mine which I find it so hard to shake off.

It so happened that this morning I received a letter from Krishnaprem again. It is his certitude I envy – since I am so full of doubts and questionings. Shall I try his remedy – singing to nobody else?

Well, I don’t know. These methods succeed wonderfully sometimes, but not always. It depends on many things and cannot be automatic.

N.B. I see from Krishnaprem’s letter that he meant something else. He seems to say, you can sing before others, but sing to Krishna only. That is quite all right.

I am prepared to cancel Madras programme if you so wish. Now-a-days I find no joy in any activity really and won’t in the least mind cancelling Madras.

No; you are doing the Mother’s work there. Besides if you sing of the Divine, what more splendid means can there be of spreading devotion in the hearts of others; that too is a work for the Divine.

Lastly Prithwi Singh told Umichand categorically (in spite of his telling P. that it was not true) that Mother didn’t like singing in the Ashram premises and consented because otherwise Dilip made trouble. He argued and Umichand retorted, etc. I won’t repeat all that. I have no grudge against Prithwi Singh or qui que ce soit. I only want to assure you and Mother very humbly and sincerely that it is not for any ostentation of my musical gifts that I take so much pains in training twenty or thirty sadhaks and sadhikas – it is only under the impression that it may please Mother. But Prithwi Singh receives many letters from Mother (private ones, he tells people) and his tone of certitude gives rise to misgivings.

“One or two perhaps of very private nature – otherwise only «love and blessings»” or letters written about herself. In any case it is on the Mother’s own word that you must rely and not on what anybody may think that she thinks, etc. The singing is quite all right; the Mother likes it and she has made no objection to the music or singing. Each time she was very well pleased with it.

So please be a little frank with me and ask Mother to be so. If she tolerates it for the reason Prithwi Singh asserts – if, that is, the music gives her no pleasure and disturbs the peace of the ashram, I will be the last person to insist or feel hurt if Mother would rather that I cancelled the chorus I train for her pleasure. I have been very egoistic in the past and no doubt am so even now. But I don’t think that I have ever been so selfish as to inflict something on Mother for my self-love, least of all disturb the Ashram atmosphere like a spoilt child taking advantage of Mother’s kindness to me which certainly I can’t claim I have ever deserved.

*

July 19, 1943

I am leaving tomorrow for Madras. I can honestly say that I have led a very hard working and pure life and tried all the time to equip myself in my work (in music – the compositions have been astonishingly beautiful) for your service. All I want is that I may do it with self-oblivious bhakti. I run on danger. My compositions have of late been so amazingly beautiful that I often catch myself congratulating my genius. I know it is nothing and all gifts are yours, still the weakness of blind egoism you see. I pray genuinely that I may feel it is all yours as it is and I do feel in my stronger moments of insight. But in my egoistic moments I find (I am very sorry for it) I am felicitating myself (as many are doing today) as India’s greatest composer-musician, etc. I am so ashamed of it, Mother. But I know that since I am conscious of it all you will cure me in due course of all this.

Well, that is an almost universal human weakness, especially with artists, poets, musicians and the whole splendid tribe – I have known even great Yogis suffer from just a touch of it! If one can see mentally the humour of it, it will fall off in the end.

For the rest tell me, am I indeed growing through all this towards bhakti for you?

Yes, surely. [Underlined by Sri Aurobindo]

For genius, etc. are all chimeras and phantoms – that I know. All I want to be assured is that I be accepted as your devoted servant.

Yes. [Underlined]

I leave tomorrow noon.

You go with our love and blessings. [Underlined by Sri Aurobindo]

*

July 31, 1943

(Regarding poems written by Dilipda’s friend Bharati. Re. Bharati’s poem “Left Out”)

This is a fine poem by virtue of its original thought and expression and strongly carved images, and it might have been a great one if there had been the greater poetic cadences. The rhythm here, as in most free verse, though very good in its own kind, is not memorable or inevitable. (Re. the word “furious” in the poem – 12th line). I would suggest that the omission of this epithet would make the line more restrained and powerful.

*

(Re. Bharati’s poem “Raiments of the Rainbow”)

This is original – the French word fits best: joli. I agree that she has the stuff of a fine poet in her and these two poems have style.

*

(Re. Bharati’s poem “Clarity”)

This poem has not much poetical force, though the ideas carry some appeal. It is written in the more obvious modernist style and in the half-conversational free verse language which so many modernists affect and that is seldom successful; even Elliot does not always carry it off. In metre the “conversational-poetic” style comes off more easily as the rhythmic mould brings in a cadence that gives it poetic value.

*

August 2, 1943

(...) me since she was a girl of twelve in frocks and secondly because she is not only a very gifted person but gave me the impression that she was somehow dissatisfied with life and was tending to become “questful” as I put it. She told me very candidly her ambitions etc., but asked my advice. I asked her to get into the habit of prayer. She agreed at once as she sorely misses her loved brother who died in a state of spiritual ecstasy saying to their mother, “I have realised, mother, that the meaning of life is in vSb – and I don’t regret to have to leave this life.” He had become a sort of mystic after his marriage and left business and lived in seclusion. He cast a deep influence on Bharati whose seeking dates from her dear gifted brother’s conversion. She does want to visit Pondicherry next November and I offered to ask her to be my guest in my flat as I have always looked upon her as a little sister of mine.

Please let me know if I can confirm this invitation when she writes as she will soon. For most likely she will come next November or February at the latest – for she is very eager to imbibe your influence.

Well, that is not legally, you know, only psychic. Mother is doubtful about the advisability from the public point of view. If a room is available at the time, Mother will give it, but this is not certain. Permission for darshan is, of course, given.

I can talk well on faith – perhaps you would never have guessed it if I hadn’t told you, what? – and she was much impressed. She is very serious-minded and had depth and firmness of character always – and the whole family has lived a pure abstemious moral life.

But they have stopped at ethicality so far – till the death referred to of an idol of the family. So I want you to guide Bharati a little not only with your silent force but with your directions, etc. – a few lines will do as you wrote about her two poems I sent from Madras. You know I have always wanted to bring people I have genuinely loved or liked to your feet – and that with not a shred of egoistic motives. I simply want because I feel they should want also.

But I won’t write more today as I have to write my serial for the Press for which I have offered the royalty to Mother a month or two ago.

Consulting with Rajani I have written to Arup Singh my Sikh friend to contribute for the purse on your 72nd birthday. I hope something will come out of it. Rahim has promised Rs. 100 and R. contributes Rs. 100. So....

I am not surprised that you could not follow the poem all through – probably nobody could really do that except the poet. Somebody once said of modernist poetry that it could be understood only by the writer himself and appreciated by a few friends who pretended to understand it. That is because the ideas, images, symbols don’t follow the line of the intellect, its logic or its intuitive connections, but are pushed out on the mind from some obscure subliminal depth or mist-hung shallow; they have connections of their own which are not those of the surface intelligence. One has to read them not with the intellect but with the solar plexus, try not to understand but feel the meaning. The surrealist poetry is the extreme in this kind – you remember our surrealist Baron’s question, “Why do you want poetry to have a meaning?” Of course, you can put an intellectual explanation on the thing, but then you destroy its poetical appeal. Very great poetry can be written in that way from the subliminal depths, e.g. Mallarme, but it needs a supreme power of expression, like Blake’s or Mallarme’s, to make it truly powerful, convincing, and there must be sincerity of experience and significant rhythm. In this poem the rhythm is not there throughout and sometimes the writing becomes too mental and falls from the deeper inspiration towards the obvious; some images are rather forced; but these defects are inevitable in a technique like this, for it is the most difficult to maintain if the poem is of some length. I have marked the passages that struck me most, those that reach a certain kind of perfection; there are others that come near it.

*

August 8, 1943

I didn’t really want to trouble you now – knowing how very busy you are, but a question of Bharati I find myself somewhat incompetent to answer and I can’t think of any letter of yours hereanent. [ “Can you tell me where I can find an explanation between ‘vital and nervous emotion’ and ‘purified emotion’?”] I send you her letter as you will find she is growing in her seeking. Also she calls upon me to renew contact with her father who used to love me much years ago. It maybe that she, and through her, her father who dotes on her, may turn, that is why I invite your attention – not for any selfish purpose.

By “vital emotion” is meant emotion generated and supported for the nonce by the vital – is it? But vital does include nervous too, does it not? I talked to her of the necessity through Yoga of purifying the emotions as she is emotional though not of the nervous type. But I told her vital emotions were not helpful if one wanted to touch spiritual depths though spiritual experience needed vital power to find full poetic expression. I hope I didn’t err here. But I am not quite clear about the nervous as I have not lived on the nerves except in rare moments of sudden outbursts of anger. So I ask you to explain. But first read her letter, please.

The nervous part of the being is a portion of the vital – it is the vital-physical, the life-force closely enmeshed in the reactions, desires, needs, sensations of the body. The vital proper is the life-force acting in its own nature, impulses, emotions, feelings, desires, ambitions, etc., having as their highest centre what we may call the outer heart of emotion, while there is an inner heart where are the higher or psychic feelings and sensibilities, the emotions and intuitive yearnings and impulses of the soul. The vital part of us is, of course, necessary to our completeness, but it is a true instrument only when its feelings and tendencies have been purified by the psychic touch and taken up and governed by the spiritual light and power.

*

August 9, 1943

Your answer “no” to Cohayne’s offer to transfer legally his possessions prompts me to ask you again a question or two as I have to reply to him. What shall I write? Have you really accepted him? I ask this as I have to proceed on that basis. Or if you want to see him once shall I ask him to come for few days in this darshan or November so that you may form a judgment of his capacities? Or shall I write to him to send say some monthly contributions (as much as he can conveniently spare) as a spiritual concentrating on Mother and yourself so that things will progress till he can come here profitably for a darshan. I am a little in the dark as to whether you regard him as a would-be disciple – for he, evidently, considers himself a disciple of yours already. Qu’en dites-vous? Sorry to trouble you but you seel am a little bit in a difficulty – can’f assure him of your support, etc. without your express consent.

Up to now he has not been either accepted or rejected; he is being given his chance. Of course Mother doesn’t want to accept his offer of his property; that could happen, if at all, only much later on, that is, if he stood the test and became a real disciple and progressed very much in his Yoga. Also, there is something morbid in his vital (his letters about himself give that impression). Mother did not want him to be here at present, but that does not mean that he is rejected. All this however should not be told to him, as it might interfere with his chance. For instance the will to give his property or by feeling that internally he has offered it, may help his progress, even though externally it cannot be accepted now.

*

August 10, 1943

The Mother was quite as usual and your inference is quite wrong – that she was displeased at your coming to pranam. She is under the impression that she blessed you as usual and, if by accident it was otherwise, it was quite unintentional. You must get a stronger faith in her love and affection and not yield to these ideas. When this cloud comes upon you, it always makes you see things wrongly. Why on earth should you suppose that you are not helping and cannot be of service? It is not in the least true. I hope you will dispel les nuages [the clouds] at once and come quite clear of them to the Darshan with the taste for life recovered and ready to go forward on the path towards the divine Love and Ananda.

*

September 3, 1943

(Krishnaprem’s letter to Dilipda dated 25 August 1943)

Thanks for your booklet of poems...

As regards my remark that violence never pays and the question of “justifiable violence on justifiable occasions” – the point is a subtle one (as indeed are most points if pursued to the end! In fact they are apt to have the Euclidean character of position without magnitude!).

Certainly I agree that the “ordinary run” of humanity is not ready for subtle therapies. But I was not talking of or to the “ordinary run” but to you as a Sadhaka. The ordinary man must and will have his appendix operated on under certain conditions, and even for the sadhaka whether he uses medical violence on certain occasions will have to depend on the degree of his inner attainment. I was putting forward a guiding principle rather than a mere practical rule. ‘Violence never pays’ meant that in some form or other it has to be paid for though on some occasions such paying of the price may be the lesser of the two evils.

To pass from the merely medical to the wider question: Yes, I certainly think Kurukshetra was ‘historical’ as well as adhyamatic (all the acts of a Mahapurusha have that twofold quality and, for that matter so have the acts of all men in a more limited degree – limited because of their inner disharmony). I don’t know just when Kurukshetra occurred but I am quite sure the narrative has a substantial historical basis. I certainly hold that the instructions to Arjuna (in the Gita) have their outer as well as inner application. Does Krishna then support violence on occasions? Undoubtedly and on many occasions. For instance, apart from making use of violence in men. He supports violence by the Gods, e.g. in earthquakes, etc. (I hope you are not so ‘modern’ as to be scandalised by a reference to the Gods who are just as factual as you or I but in a different mode). Even if I were to say that violence is not for the Brahmin I shall still be confronted with Drona and Parashurama. Clearly I could not support the point. Violence is part of the manifestation but perhaps it would be correct to say that it is the last resort and always has to be paid for. Its results are not permanent (because not harmonious). Notice that Krishna makes no attempt to deny Arjuna’s gloomy prognostications about the evil results of the war and that in fact they did take place though of course they were not the only results. Moreover, even if on Kurukshetra’s field Krishna was weaponless, on other occasions he was by no means so.

What can I say in the end but as Brahma said to Krishna in Brindaban, “Let those who know, know: what can I say save that your powers are beyond the range of my body, mind and speech.” All I know is that there is truth in the principle I enunciated and an important truth for you and me. How much truth and what are the limitations (limitations are invariably and inevitably present in all mental formations) I do not know. Hitler as Duryodhana? Again I do not know. He may be or again he may be much less than that. It is too fatally easy to see Krishna’s enemies or even Arjuna’s enemies in those who one may feel to be enemies of one’s own connection. I detest nearly all that I have heard of Hitler (which, incidentally, is not true of Duryodhana) but are the statements that have come my way all true, are they all a decently complete selection of the facts? I do not know. I know that the would-be Fuehrer in myself is evil but is the man Hitler essentially or only accidentally (in the philosophic sense of the term) a manifestation of that inner archetype of the would-be dictator? I do not know. If I felt called to take part in the outer conflict I would certainly fight against him with all my heart. But an outer Arjuna has not yet come within the range of my vision and that makes me suspicious. One there is who is certainly present even to my weak eyes and He is, as ever, in the midst of it, but if I take them off Him even for a little and look around for anyone else, the fog of ego-blindness comes down and blots out everything. ‘Yatra Yogeswara Krishna’ (where Krishna is, there will be victory, prosperity, etc.). Yes, but He is always everywhere. What about Partha-dhanurdhara ? Is the roaring noise of the Anglo-American aeroplanes the pratyancha of the great Gandiva bow? Again I do not know, so I must be silent and watch only the One whom I can see. If I could see Him more clearly I should be able to recognise others too; but at present I cannot and therefore I remained silent when you talked of Hitler. But that certainly does not mean that I have any sort of sympathy for him. If all that we have heard is an adequate selection of the facts about him then he seems to be one who has given himself to the service of evil forces and who is fated to be torn to pieces by the powers he serves.

Perhaps you feel that it is our duty to take a side even if only in thought. Well, if you feel so by all means do so, but, for myself, I feel that if one can keep one’s gaze fixed on Krishna, however feeble our powers, we shall be doing something, however little, towards removing the fog of illusion, the Rakshasi maya, that envelopes the whole field and so will be doing what little we can towards helping others to see more clearly. And that is all I can say about that.

You say that sectarianism sometimes makes you doubt whether even a spiritual sadhana can always help to enlarge the mind and heart. In time, yes, but not always, at once – and we are too impatient. Moreover it must be a truly spiritual sadhana, that is, one performed for the sake of the Spirit alone. Only too often the sadhaka, while invoking the name of the Spirit, is contentedly serving ego-interests and then of course little, if any, true widening takes place. One trouble is that many of the sadhanas that appeal particularly to the modern educated mind are what may be called ‘manipulative’ – that is, they recoil from sheer self-giving to Krishna and seek to attain the goal by self-directed manipulation of the psyche. Many, perhaps most, versions of ashtanga yoga, come under this head, and at least some versions of advaita vedanta. It is doubtless possible but I think very difficult for the modern man to go through to the true goal by such manipulative methods. The curious thing is that it is just these methods that are apt to appeal most to the modern mind. There is a terrible danger of being side-tracked into serving the interests of a merely glorified ego. Another trouble even where self-giving is attempted, is that we sometimes identify Krishna’s lila with our own hopes and desires and then proceed to serve the latter under the name of the former! But why worry about all this? The world is full of illusions and will-o’-the-wisps. The only true light is that which streams out from Krishna’s feet, the akasha-ganga which streams through all the worlds. “See where Christ’s blood flows through the firmament” as Faust cried out, too late and in despair. Forget your problems (they are endless) and your doubts, as your Guru says, settle down to aspiration and devotion, “leaving it to Krishna to do what He is sure to do in His own right way and time.”

Your visit was a joy to us all. Have no doubts of what is quite certain and you will surely find Him at the right time. In our blindness we are naturally impatient but it is on a dark night that He is born.

P.S. I had finished this and was reading the Bhagavat this morning and came across this which is perhaps appropriate after my remarks about manipulative methods:

yamadibhiryogapathaih kamalobhahato muhuh

mukundasevaya yadvattatlratmaddha na samyati

‘The mind, attached constantly by desire and greed does not so certainly attain calm by the practice of ashtanga yoga as by the service of (devotion to) Mukunda.’

*

September 4, 1943

I just received (2.9.43) a letter from Krishnaprem in which he has qualified his objection to violence as his letter enclosed will explain. I have no doubt hereanent specially after your approval of violence against Hitler who has become such a menace to civilisation. Only one point sometimes gives rise to misgivings in me. This I told Nolini when he read out to us his masterly analysis on the values at stake in this War and the real issue: it is his comparing this war to Kurukshetra implying (when he identified Hitler’s cause with the Asura’s) that the Allies were here the Pandavas which is exactly what troubles Krishnaprem. You know I had never, from the very beginning, doubted the wisdom of having all our efforts (the entire humanity’s) directed and all our available forces organised against Hitler; but is it not unwise to compare him with Duryodhana (though I myself have done it), for then do not the Allied Powers become the Pandavas, by a kind of inference as it were? I have received of late from correspondents and friends objections to this our dubbing the Allies as ‘modern Pandavas’.

Those were protagonists of virtue (dharma) and unselfishness which can hardly be said of the Allies who are all exploiters of weaker races and imperialistic. Krishnaprem too has felt doubtful about the Allies being as exemplary as the Pandavas. Could you kindly throw some light on this question? It is, I think, somewhat important, that is why I ask.

What I have said is not that the Allies have never done wrong things, but that they stand on the side of the evolutionary forces. I have not said that at random, but on what to me are clear grounds of fact. What you speak of is the dark side. All nations and governments have shown that side in their dealings with each other – at least all who had the strength and got the chance. I hope you are not expecting me to believe that there are or have been virtuous governments and unselfish and sinless peoples? It is only individuals and not too many of them who can be described in that style. But there is the other side also. Your correspondents are condemning the Allies on grounds that people in the past would have stared at, on the basis of modern ideals of international conduct; but looked at like that, all big nations and many small ones have black records. But who created these ideals or did most to create them (liberty, democracy, equality, international justice and the rest)? Well, America, France, England – the present Allied nations. They have all been imperialistic and still bear the burden of their past, but they have also deliberately spread these ideals and introduced self-governing bodies and parliamentary institutions, where they did not exist; and whatever the relative worth of these things, they have been a stage, even if a still imperfect stage, in a forward evolution. (What about the others? What about the Axis’ new order? Hitler, for example, says it is a crime to educate the coloured peoples, they must be kept as serfs and labourers.) England has helped certain nations to be free without seeking any personal gain; she has conceded independence to Egypt and Eire after a struggle, to Irak without a struggle. On the whole, she has been for some time moving away steadily from imperialism towards a principle of free association and co-operation; the British commonwealth of England and the Dominions is something unique and unprecedented, a beginning of new things in that direction.

She is turning in spirit in the direction of a world-union of some kind after the war; her new generation no longer believes in an “imperial mission”; she has offered India Dominion independence, or even if she prefers it she can choose or press on to isolated independence after the war, on the base of an agreed free constitution to be chosen by Indians themselves; and though, it has been feared, this leaves a loophole for reactionary delay, it is in itself extremely reasonable and it is the Indians themselves with their inveterate habit of disunion who will be responsible if they are imbecile enough to reject the opportunity. All that is what I call evolution in the right direction – however slow and imperfect and hesitating. As for America she has forsworn her past imperialistic policies in regard to Central and South America, in Cuba, the Philippines – everywhere apart from some islands in the Pacific which would go plop into other hands if she withdrew from them. It is perhaps possible, some suggest, that she may be tempted towards a sort of financial imperialism, the rule of the Almighty American dollar, by her new sense of international power, or led into other mistakes, but if so she may find [succour] from her other strong tendencies that she will soon withdraw from it. The greater danger is that she may retire again into a selfish isolationism after the war and so destroy or delay the chance of a possible beginning that they may [lead eventually] to [some] beginning of a free world-union. But still there again is the evolutionary force. Is there a similar trend on the part of the Axis? The answer is plain enough both from their own declarations and their behaviour. Avowedly and open, Nazi Germany today stands for the reversal of this evolutionary tendency, for the destruction of the new international outlook, the new Dharma, for a reversion not only to the past, but to a far back primitive and barbaric ideal. She fully intended to impose it on the whole earth, but would have done so if she had had, as for a time she seemed to have, the strength to conquer. There can be no doubt or hesitation here, if we are for the evolutionary future of mankind, we must recognize that it is only the victory of the Allies that can save it. At the very least, they are at the moment the instruments of the evolutionary forces to save mankind’s failure, and the declaration of their [aims] show that they are conscious of it. Other elements and notions there are, but the main issue is here. One has to look at things on all sides, to see them steadily and whole. Once more, it is the forces working behind that I have to look at, I don’t want to go blind among surface details. The future has first to be safeguarded; only then can present troubles and contradictions have a chance to be solved and eliminated.

For us the question put by you does not arise. The Mother made it plain in a letter which has been made public that we did not consider the war as a fight between nations and governments (still less between good people and bad people) but between two forces, the Divine and the Asuric. What we have to see is on which side men and nations put themselves; if they put themselves on the right side, they at once make themselves instruments of the Divine purpose in spite of all defects, errors, wrong movements and actions (past or present or possible backsliding in the future) which are common to human nature and to all human collectivities. The victory of one side (the Allies) would keep the path open for the evolutionary forces; the victory of the other side would drag back humanity, degrade it horribly and might lead even, at the worst, to its failure as a race, as others in the past evolution failed and perished. That is the whole question and all other considerations are either irrelevant or of a minor importance. The Allies at least stood for human values, though they may often have acted against their own best ideals (human beings always do that); Hitler stands for diabolical values or for human values exaggerated in the wrong way until they become diabolical (e.g. the “virtues” of the Herrenvolk, the master race). That does not make the English or Americans nations of spotless angels nor the Germans a wicked and sinful race, but as an indicator it has a decisive importance.

Nolini, I suppose, gave the Kurukshetra example not as an exact parallel but as a traditional instance of a war between two world-forces in which the side favoured by the Divine triumphed, because its leaders made themselves his instruments. I don’t suppose he envisaged it as a battle between virtue and wickedness or between good and evil men or intended to equate the British with the Pandavas, nations with individuals or even individuals with individuals, or shall we say, Stafford Cripps with Yudhishtir, Churchill with Bhima and General Montgomery with Arjuna? After all, were even the Pandavas virtuous without defect, calm and holy and quite unselfish and without passions? There are many incidents in the Mahabharata which seem to show the contrary, that they had their defects and failings.

And in the Pandava army and its leaders there must have been many who were not paragons of virtue, while there were plenty of good men and true on Duryodhana’s side. Unselfishness? but were not the Pandavas fighting to establish their own claims and interests – just and right, no doubt, but still personal claims and self-interest? Theirs was a righteous battle, dhaima-yuddha, but it was for right and justice in their own case. The Allies have as good or even a better case and reason to call theirs a righteous quarrel, for they are fighting not only for themselves, for their freedom and very existence, but for the existence, freedom, maintenance of natural rights of other nations, Poles, Czechs, Norwegians, Belgians, Dutch, French, Greece, Yugoslavia and a vast number of others not yet directly threatened; they too claim to be fighting for a Dharma, for civilized values, for the preservation of ideals and in view of what Hitler represents and openly professes and what he wishes to destroy, their claim has strong foundations. And if imperialism is under all circumstances a wickedness, then the Pandavas are tinted with that brush, for they used their victory to establish their empire continued after them by Parikshit and Janamejaya. Could not modern humanism and pacifism make it a reproach against the Pandavas that these virtuous men (including Krishna) brought about a huge slaughter (alas for Ahimsa!) that they might establish their sole imperial rule over all the numerous free and independent peoples of India? Such a criticism would be grotesquely out of place, but it would be a natural result of weighing ancient happenings in the scales of modern ideals. As a matter of fact such an empire was a step in the right direction then, just as a world-union of free peoples would be a step in the right direction now – and in both cases the right consequences of a terrific slaughter18. I don’t see why Hitler should

not be compared to Duryodhana, except that Duryodhana, if alive, might complain indignantly that the comparison was a monstrous and scandalous injustice to him and that he never did anything like what Hitler has done. By the way, what about Krishna’s “jahi satmm, bhunjasva rajyaiii sainrddham”? [Overcome the enemy, enjoy the rich kingdom.] An unholy and unethical bribe? Or what on earth did he mean by it? But battle and conquest and imperial rule were then a Dharma and consecrated by a special form of sacrifice. We should remember that conquest and rule over subject peoples were not regarded as wrong either in ancient or mediaeval times and even quite recently but as something great and glorious; men did not see any special wickedness in conquerors or conquering nations. Just government of subject peoples was envisaged, but nothing more – exploitation was not excluded. No doubt, many nations in the past were jealous of their own independence and some like the Greeks and later the English had the ideal of freedom [?] of individual liberty. But the [passion] for individual liberty went along in ancient times with the [institution] of slavery which no Greek democrat ever thought to be wrong; no Greek state [or peoples] thought it an injustice to take away the freedom of other [peoples], still less of foreign peoples, or decried it when found to rule over subject races. The same inconsistency has held sway over ideas [until recent] times and still holds sway over [international] [practice] even now. The modern ideas on the subject, the right of all to liberty, both individuals and nations, the immorality of conquest and empire, or, short of such absolutist compromises as the British idea of training subject races for democratic freedom, are new values, an evolutionary movement, a new Dharma which has only begun slowly and initially to influence practice – an infant Dharma that would be throttled for good if Hitler succeeded in his “Avataric” mission and established his new “religion” over all the earth. Subject nations naturally accept the new Dharma and severely criticise the old imperialisms; it is to be hoped that they will practise what they now preach when they themselves become strong and rich and powerful. But the best will be if a new world-order evolves which will make the old things impossible – a difficult task, but not, with God’s grace, absolutely impracticable.

The Divine takes men as they are and uses them as His instruments even if they are not flawless in character, without stain or sin or fault, exemplary [?], or angelic, holy and pure. If they are of good will, if, to use the Biblical phrase, they are on the Lord’s side, that is enough for the work to be done. Even if I knew that the Allies (I am speaking of the “big” nations, America, Britain, China) would misuse their victory or bungle the peace or partially at least spoil the opportunities open to the human world by that victory, I would still put my force behind them. At any rate things could not be one-hundredth part as bad as they would be under Hitler. The ways of the Lord would still be open – to keep them open is what matters. Let us stick to the real issue and leave for a later time all side-issues and minor issues or hypothetical problems that would cloud the one all-important and tragic issue before us.

P.S. This is in answer to what is implied in your letter and, I suppose, in those of your correspondents, not to anything in Krishnaprem’s letter. His observations are all right, but circumstances alter cases. Ours is a Sadhana which involves not only devotion or union with the Divine or a perception of Him in all things and beings but also action as workers and instruments and a work to be done in the world, a spiritual force to be brought on the world, under difficult conditions; then one has to see one’s way and do what is commanded and support what has to be supported, even if it means war and strife carried on whether through chariots and bows and arrows or tanks and cars and American bombs and planes, in either case a ghoram karma [a dreadful work]: the means and times and persons differ, but it does not seem to me that Nolini is wrong in seeing in it the same problem as in Kurukshetra. As for wars, violence etc. the use of force to maintain freedom for the world, for the highest values of human civilisation, the salvation of humanity from a terrible fate, etc. the old command rings out once again after many ages for those who must fight or support that battle for the right: mayaivaite nihatahpun’ameva nimittamatram bhava savyasacin. [By Me and none other already even are they slain, do thou become the occasion only, O Savyasachin. Gita, 11.33]

*

October 1, 1943

Anilbaran has written an article in Anandabazar (26.9.43) entitled “Anaharey Mrityu”. Hiren came and showed it to me this morning. Anilbaran has offered a solution which to us – we are many – seems impracticable. Besides it sounds unrealistic. Monihas said that he can write a stinging reply to this absurd article but he doesn’t dare to as you would be displeased.

No, sir. There is enough fighting between sadhaks in the Ashram; a public pugilistic encounter would be superfluous and undesirable.

I felt inclined also to write a protest but desist as I learn from Hiren that Anilbaran has told him that not to accept all that he has said in this article means that one refuses to accept your authority – the premiss being that you have sanctioned the article. I understand about a dozen people are quite amused by Anilbaran’s solution. It is not my intention to probe the rationality of the article. All I want to ascertain (though I know Anilbaran is wrong or mistaken if you will in thinking that an article sanctioned by you for publication ought to be accepted by all...

That is obviously nonsense.

...on pain of being dubbed disloyal otherwise) is this:

1) Am I not free to judge any article by any sadhak on its merits and give my opinion on its worth?

Yes.

2) The fact that you have sanctioned an article for publication only means (if anything) that you don’t think it is harmful to your cause. That is all. More is not binding on me to accept. Am I not right?

Yes; it does not mean that I agree with all or anything written in the article. There are only two subjects on which I am often rigid, Yoga and politics. And of course anything that may happen to be undesirable to publish, I reserve the right to ban.

3) Anilbaran categorically says to Hiren, “You should leave the Ashram if you don’t agree with my views in the article.” Upon which Hiren retorted, “Who are you to order me to leave? I won’t.” “Then you will go mad,” said Anilbaran. Hiren is (forgive the humour) a little scared at the prospect and asked me, “Shall I go mad?” “Not more than you are,” I say laughing.

What’s all that rubbish? If Anilbaran really said such things (Hiren’s versions of what people have said, are not always extremely accurate, they tend to take a dramatic turn), he must have been in a singularly Hitleric mood – unless he was ragging Hiren. That is, if he said these things at all, which I shall believe only when I get better evidence.

But jokes apart, is it not something like madness to menace an opponent with madness on a relatively unimportant issue – I mean unimportant to us here in the Ashram?

Please forgive me Guru, and don’t think I encouraged Hiren to sow disharmony. I didn’t even tell him that I would write to you. I only accepted his letter written to you to forward it – not because I regard him (or anybody else) as my protege (1 mix very little with him or others now-a-days – either write or read or do japa of Mother’s name and don’t thank god, suffer from my egoistic impulses as of yore). I only ask this to be sure of what I told him very calmly – to dismiss all Anilbaran said and that there is no chance of his going mad if he disagreed with Anilbaran.

Well, anybody can go mad, I suppose, in this already very mad world where lunatics can be Fuehrers and start world wars, but it won’t be because they disagree with Anilbaran, or anybody else. That would be a new aetiology of madness and not at all valid. But surely Hiren must be romancing or, at the least, “curulating”?

I told him at the same time, mind, that if it were an article on war and Hitler, etc. I would not say it didn’t matter. But that it being a social question one was free. The question remains (I confess I am still a little puzzled) why should Anilbaran make such a foolish assertion. I have never thought him to be a very intelligent man (like Moni e.g., to say nothing of Nolini) but that one could threaten like this of madness, etc. seems to me to be so utterly childish! Please....

His writing has certain qualities, very valuable in my judgment, but of a kind quite different from Nolini’s or Moni’s.

P.S. I won’t write poems for a day or two as I have to write the next serial for a spiritual novel for which they have offered me Rs. 50. (I gave Mother) and will give Rs. 75 more. So.

Also since I have written so much why not put another question? Yesterday Annada Sankar Roy19 (I.C.S. whom you know who has now turned spiritual and has described my Bengali poems in his P.E.N, book on Bengali literature as “poems of a flame-like purity”, etc.) wrote to me not to write English verses. His argument is the old one: you can’t create first-class stuff in a learned language. And then where Tagore too has failed, etc. You know all that.

What was the failure? Tagore’s Gitanjali had an immense success.

I am not troubled as I write in English because 1)1 like to,

2) it puts me in a right attitude. But I often think of this problem. I now-a-days feel if I stick on I may produce in English too some first-class poems. Am I really only deluding myself? It is on this point I want your opinion. Please give it freely I won’t be hurt even if you say as poems my English poems are not worth much. For I know I don’t write from egoistic motives and that I feel very humble when I write (in English or Bengali).

Yet it would be interesting – even if somewhat discouraging – to know your frank opinion about my poems having promise and potentiality or not. You see, lately I have often been something like impelled to write – if not possessed. I am conscious of my defects yet I do feel the inspiration wherever it may come from. Am I wrong here?

No.

It is not true in all cases that one can’t write first-class things in a learned language. Both in French and English people to whom the language was not native have done remarkable work, although that is rare; What about Jawaharlal’s autobiography? Many English critics think it first-class in its own kind; of course he was educated at an English public school, but I suppose he was not born to the language. Some of Toru Dutt’s20 poems, Sarojini’s21, Harin’s have been highly praised by good English critics, and I don’t think we need be more queasy than Englishmen themselves. Of course there were special circumstances, but in your case also there are special circumstances; I don’t find that you handle the English language like a foreigner. If first-class excludes everything inferior to Shakespeare and Milton, that is another matter. I think as time goes on, people will become more and more polyglot and these mental barriers will begin to disappear.

My view of your poetry is different from Annada’s. Some of your poems have seemed to be of a high order and others very good, and if you go on improving your height and power of expression as you have recently done, I don’t see why you should not write first-class things – if you have not done some already. But on that I don’t want to pronounce definitively, as usually I have read your poems and returned them at once, so there was only a first impression and that does not always last; I shall have to keep the best of them by me for some time and let them stand the test of frequent reading. But I have found them increasingly good and some of them, especially recent ones really fine and distinctive in thought and style – I don’t think I could have felt that if they were without true value. In spite of Annada, I would regard it as a sort of psychic calamity, if you stopped in the good way at anybody’s suggestion. If for nothing else they would be worth doing as an expression of bhakti (the Indian kind) which in English poetry has had till now no place.

*

October 4, 1943

I had to wound a fellow-sadhak to the quick with blunt and offensive words. You know it is against my nature to be cruel to people or hurt them with harsh words, (e.g. I told him that I could not believe him even if he protested innocence till he was blue.) But I can’t admit that I was wrong in flaring up as I did when he was lying and insinuating against the fairness of our Guru. I know in the heat of the moment one tells things one really doesn’t really mean. But I have always noticed his deep dissatisfaction against your war-views (he hates the British like poison) and suffers. I pity him for that but I can do no more as I can’t sympathise with his blind hatred of the nation whom you support against Hitler. Please correct me Guru if I need correction. I will accept it all with genuine and willing humility.

I wrote yesterday three hundred and twenty-six lines (blank verse) in English on Pralhad. I think it was inspired by you. But I need your inspiration again as it is all broken and I am in a most unpoetic mood now. I will sit and meditate and take Mother’s name now.

You did nothing wrong certainly, in giving a piece of your mind to Hiren. He needed it badly and it would be good if it made an impression on him, but usually people are too self-satisfied to profit. Rubbish about “advanced sadhaks” – the old old meaningless phrase; there is no such class of sadhaks in the Ashram. Anyhow advanced sadhak or non-advanced or no sadhak, I am not going to believe such incredible statements against anyone or Hiren’s scintillating reports. I note however that in his letter to me he tells a different and more credible story – that Anilbaran was speaking about settled disbelief in the Guru, which is a different affair altogether. The matter may drop, since all is now clear.

*

October 10, 1943

(This letter is addressed to Sri Aurobindo and Mother)

Maya has just written a letter which I enclose. She asks me to preside over Esha’s marriage on the 29th of November, asking my forgiveness.

I have had no occasion to change my view of Maya’s conduct. You may remember my reply to her last overtures for reconciliation. I told her very clearly (in my letter to Esha a couple of years back) that there could be no question of reconciliation between me and Maya unless and until she repented of her conduct in 1938 and that ours was not a Yoga which could accept any compromise on this point. She has insulted my guru and so unless there was a genuine repentance I could not offer my hand of “forgiveness”. I have, personally, never nursed anger against her: it is not with me a question of anger or retaliation. I pray for Maya still that she may repent and turn to you. But I can’t do anything which brings any distance between you and me. It has always been unthinkable for me and today it is impossible, absolutely, when I feel I must belong to you only and to none other. How else can I make you any return for what I owe to you? Your trust in me and confidence in my loyalty is my greatest reward for what little I can offer you, my life. I have little to give. The more reason why I should want to turn towards you so that what I can give might be more worth giving than it is today even though it can never be worthy enough as an offering to your feet. I have been writing a long poem in English on Prahlad and ahaituki bhakti, and the bhakti I speak of is my bhakti to you. (You will see that poem in a day or two – I am typing it.) But I must not only talk of bhakti but live it And to live it I must do only what you wish me to do and approve of in my sadhana. Maya writes she has written to you for your blessing. May I ask you frankly (and you have been frank with me always – another great grace) what she has written? Also if you are satisfied (in case she has asked your forgiveness too as she has asked mine) of her sincerity? If not there is an end of the matter. I will write then to Esha (as tenderly as I can to Esha alonej that I cannot possibly preside. Will you please let me have your views on the matter? I can safely assure you that I have no personal wish in the matter and will do what you wish me to do. You have only to command me and it will be obeyed not only willingly but gladly.

Well, I don’t know that there is much repentance in the affair. She is sorry she had to do what she did; she never had any desire to insult us or any bad motive against us; she asks for forgiveness for all her aparadhas against us. Evidently now that Esha is being married, she wants to make up with you and with us – that much, I suppose, is quite genuine. On our side, though she did much harm, our work cannot really suffer from the acts of any individual, it goes on without being affected by what people think or do against it, so we can very well overlook the past – that does not mean any effusive reconciliation. Mother suggests that you might write to Esha and ask her whether this marriage proceeds from her own will or has her free and full consent or she is marrying under pressure from her mother; if the former, for her sake you will attend the marriage and do the sampradan.

*

October 20, 1943

(Re: Bengal famine)

I have been feeling very sad of late reading newspapers and talking to friends from Calcutta. The misery there is rampant. At such a time should I go to take part in a marriage festivity where Maya and the Rajas family will spend thousands? Is this attitude a mere sentimental attitude? I can only ask you who know? If it were Your work I would go of course. But it is not your work, is it? Out of pity for Esha ? Is that a reason that ought to weigh ? Please tell me and send me a little force to drive away this sentimental sadness. Is it klaibyam ma sma gamah partha [O Partha!

Yield not to unmanliness. Gita 2.3] Please tell me.

The Mother suggests that you can make it a condition for going that a certain percentage, say ten per cent of the amount of the marriage expenses should be given to a canteen or other organisation for feeding the hungry and starving. You could write to Esha expressing your feelings and saying that you could bring nothing but your sadness to the marriage festivities and overshadowing with it her marriage. Only if the marriage brings this help to the starving could you attend it with a free conscience.

*

1943?

Now please tell me frankly I leave it entirely to you – very simply and I have told you why I should go if you favour [and don’t] mind.

Yes, we think it is better if you go. You will have our blessings with you.

*

October 21, 1943

The Mother has never objected to people who “cannot pay” residing or visiting the Ashram without paying; she expects payment only from visitors who can pay. She did object strongly to the action of some rich visitors (on one occasion) who came here, spent money lavishly on purchases, etc. and went off without giving anything to the Ashram or even the smallest offering to the Mother, that is all.

Certainly, Sachin can come and stay for the month as you propose.

The situation is becoming very difficult: more things are being rationed and the authorities have informed us that they will give us rations only for three hundred people, though there are three hundred and fifty here and the number is increasing; we are no longer able to get the full amount of milk from the milkmen; we are threatened with a scarcity of fuel; prices of ordinary things are becoming fantastic. In short, Pondicherry is no longer a land of plenty in the general scarcity and the Ashram may soon cease to be a place of comfort and security. If things continue to get worse, there can be a series of restrictions and deficiencies. In that case, if people don’t get what they want or feel that they need, they must not think that it is bad will on our part; they must understand the situation. This is general and does not apply to Sachin’s stay. Only there is a child and you say they are not in good health. But that is for them to consider. We will always do the best we can.

*

October 22, 1943

I am so grateful for your grace and Mother’s deep consideration. The fact is I owe to Sachin a great lot. When all turned against me re. Esha – my uncles, aunts and even Sachin’s elder brother who came this time believed Maya – Sachin was one of the few who stuck to you and believed me against Maya. Also he has more than once collected money for the Ashram Rs. 300 once from the film and sends his pranam offerings whenever he can spare. And he never asked my monetary help. Now you see he lost his little saving Rs. 500 as the bank failed and then he is in debt. Also they all want to come for darshan very eagerly. That is why I made an exception for him only.

All others who came here have paid, I think. I can’t place the rich man you speak of. I remember only one rich man staying with me who forgot to pay, that was K.N. Mitra. But he sent a cheque from the Cape within a fortnight apologising. Perhaps this cheque which I gave to Mother was not reckoned as part payment? Could you tell me who this rich man was? Only other rich man I remember was Abani Chatterji, I.C.S. but he did pay. Who then can it be – this defaulting rich absconder?

Mother doesn’t remember the name; it was long ago; nothing recent; since then things have been all right in that respect. My own impression is that it was a zamindar, perhaps from Assam side, but I may be mistaken.

I am very grateful for your kind letter. If the rationing, etc. becomes too stringent I will put Sachin off. W. Dutt (and his wife) has written. They sent Rs. 16 for [hotel]. But I will put them off now. I hope you will agree?

Yes.

But what about the poem on Prahlad, Guru ? I am eager to see your corrections. I am working at music now and reading your masterly Psychology of Social Development. Also doing meditation, japa, etc. of Mother’s name. May the inner surrender grow.

I have read the poem once but I am now going through it line by line slowly and carefully – it can’t be done quickly. I have finished about twelve pages. The corrections are only of details of language and rhythm, but such details are very important in a poem of this kind.

*

October 28, 1943

Venkataram yesterday asked me if I could help him in this: he concentrates often on Life Divine, translating, etc. Doesn’t go out much said, “1 am really trying Dilip and I think with some success. But Sisir paces up and down just before my room and that disturbs me. Can you speak to him about it?” I asked him why he didn’t appeal to you. But he feels some qualms about it, he said – it looks like a personal complaint. I did sympathise with him and felt like speaking to Sisir about it. But on second thoughts I decided it would be best to let you know as this might hurt Sisir – though I hope he won’t mind if you tell him to walk elsewhere. It is true, I thought, when one concentrates, it is a little difficult this up and down pacing with a regular thud, before one’s door and that for one whole hour. I tell you this thing simply and briefly. The rest is for you to decide.

Mother does not feel inclined to intervene. Why can’t the sadhaks settle these things amicably between themselves? They ought not to have such porcupine natures as to bristle over small things like these.

*

October 29, 1943

I have wired to Esha, “Can’t refuse you, coming positively.” Mother graciously gave her a flower which I sent with Sotuda22. So I am going to Calcutta for a month or so. I will be glad if you will give me some force which will enable me to be of some service to you. Dakshina was telling me of one Soshibhushan: he has told Mother about it. He will invite him to a musical party there. Some force from you, what? Soshibhushan is a very rich man.

Captain S.N. Chaudhuri (the brother of the barrister who was my guest this week) has invited me to stay with him a few days atTambaram on the way to Madras. My barrister friend assured me it is a lovely house with a swimming pool and what not and his brother a big Railway Official – all comforts, etc. So I wonder if I may go and spend a week with him early next month say from the 2nd till 8th. Tambaram is a very healthy place and dry and open, etc. I have been of late feeling a little out of sorts as you know – bad appetite, bad sleep and a general feeling of weakness and lethargy without any cause (yesterday, I felt particularly weak, today I am better).

Am reading five to six hours your Psychology of Social Development and Chandi, etc. (religious books only) but can’t sit down to music or poetry. I don’t know why. For quite a long time I have been working fairly hard and steadily. If I have to go to Calcutta I must improve my health and energy. So what do you think of the invitation of Chaudhuri? Why not try a little swimming for a week and dry air? They have been very eager to have me there it seems. Captain Chaudhuri has written twice to me. Shall I go then for a week – just for a change, let us say?

Yes, certainly. I hope it will make you O.K.

*

November 17, 1943

(Answered by Sri Aurobindo)

Mother, I know I should not go daily to pranam you now as the number of visitors is increasing daily.

That is all right. There is no reason why you should not come daily.

But as I leave on the 25th of this month, I want to have as much of your blessing for my trying times in Calcutta – also because I want to see if I can get a few thousand rupees for the Synthesis of Yoga (Sisir told me the sum often thousand rupees is needed for it) and for this your force is necessary as by myself I can’t do much. Since I have to go to Calcutta I should try to be of some service to you. I will try but your blessing is specially necessary, you see.

I suppose he means for the whole of the Synthesis of Yoga; but that is still immensely far from being ready. It is only the Yoga of Works that is nearly ready for publication.

Dr. Sisir Maitra is changing, I think. Shower on him your special force, Mother, as he is a really good man though a little limited because of his intellectual dogmatism. I don’t argue with him as that rubs him the wrong way. But you know all about him. He is very fond of me and I want to help him to move towards you if I can.

About my last interview with Sri Aurobindo I have not yet received his final answer. Can he (omitting the portions he doesn’t like to sanction for publication) permit me to translate into Bengali for the second edition of my book Tirthankar which has sold very well – though Tara-pada23 has not sent me a farthing to be offered to your feet. My other books are selling and I have offered the sale proceeds to you but Tarapada is a very strange fellow. I sent him three hundred rupees for two other books (the cost) yet he sends me nothing to be offered to you. Shall I speak to Nolini about it?

You can speak to Nolini.

As for the interview, I am afraid I may mention the answer sent through Nirod. Most of it is unpublishable at the present time and for a fairly long time to come; very little would escape from the [damner’s] pencil. There are many subjects on which I have carefully avoided publicity up to now and the taboo continues; when it is lifted it will mean that the supramental is beginning to wave its tail very vigorously over the earth’s surface.

*

November 22, 1943

(...) should be still ten years. Fifty six! Good god! However, perhaps before that age I will have some authentic spiritual experience that will make the spiritual voyage more heartening.

Rather latish, but if it is the goal you reach and if it is “sure”! Obviously many things ought to happen before you reach the final goal.

But no – I am tending to be gripped by my arch-enemy – the melancholic vairagya. I will end on a cheerful note. I wrote such a lovely song night before last and taught it to Minnie24 and Millie25. They are singing extremely well and Minnie may, in future, fill the void of Hashi in my region of deep regret. She hasn’t got Hashi’s depth yet nor her sense of rhythm but her voice is marvellously sweet and she is almost as quick to grasp. If she works hard she may sing for the Gramophone and fetch a considerable sum to the Ashram, I am sure. But there is time for that.

Biren told me this morning in Calcutta the orthodox musicians are now willing to give me a real reception in the stately way. I feel a vengeful gladness, forgive me, for they have always decried me and now they are bound to admit that I am somebody (forgive this uncontrollable spirit of glad revengefulness for once, Guru!).

But to be more serious, grant that such eulogy, etc. may not feed my gross ego. May I always be conscious that whatever success I achieve in any field is due to your grace and for your work – not for my petty self-satisfaction.

Today happens to be 22nd November the day I came here fifteen years ago in 1928.1 have gained so much at your feet and through Mother’s unspeakable sweetness. May I grow more and more conscious of her divinity and yours!

*

Correspondence 1944

February 1944

(...) do accept this time, you and Mother, as he has changed a lot – even in eating.

I thought so, but I am glad to be confirmed by you.

I will have more money to offer Mother but I am keeping some money in hand as they threatened me a few days ago for income tax as a French citizen.

Who? French administration or English? And when did you become a French citizen?

Sotuda saved me here in the past and he may do so again. But in case he faiis I may have to pay a iot. Your force is necessary. I have written to Sotuda.

I enclose also a letter of Ambalal26. I have replied to him. I am very busy with my books. My novels too are selling well now and poems also (especially AnamiJ. So I can say I work at these also to serve you somewhat, what?

While we are about money-matters, what’s to be done about Bansidhar’s27 Rs. 1000? He made a cheque in Nolini’s name, but Bansidhar’s bank refuses to pay to anyone so unknown and without position in the financial and commercial world as Nolini Kanto Gupta, unless his signature is attested by impossible persons. Nolini has no account anywhere in the world; the Banque d’Indochine knows my signature but not Nolini’s.

So we could do nothing but send back the cheque with the Bank’s reasons for its refusal to Bansidhar and asked to send by insured letter. We have heard nothing; I suppose, being a busy business man, he has forgotten. But Rs. 1000 is too big a sum to lose in these days of high prices and large expenses. Would it be at all possible for you to drop a line to Bansidhar casually mentioning the facts infer alia and asking him whether he had received the cheque and Nolini’s letter?

I am keeping Sayani’s article to read at leisure.

What about the letter on “Grace”. Have you verified by comparison with the original as regards the defective sentence? If the original is also defective, you could send the typescript back to me and I will try to rewrite the sentence so as to make it more intelligible.

*

February 21, 1944

I can’t write at length today, as it is the Darshan day and the Mother will be occupied every minute from early morning to midnight, so there will be no time to read your letter to her or my answer, I can only just tell her of it.

But is there really any reason why you should attach so much importance to the comments or pronouncements of Anilbaran (or for that matter of anyone else in the Ashram), especially on matters which lie solely between yourself and us, or allow yourself to be upset by them? Anilbaran is neither an oracle nor authorised by us to pass judgment nor has he any information from us as to the motives of our actions. It is only the Mother and myself, who have authority here and not Anilbaran. It is with our full authority and approval that you went to Esha’s marriage in spite of your not being willing to go; your stay in Calcutta and your visits to Bombay and Ahmedabad had our sanction; we wished you to go. You have done good service to us by going and collecting such large contributions – not for the first time. I would ask you to go on cheerfully in your path, sure of our support and unmoved by ill-considered judgments from others.

Our love and blessings

*

March 2, 1944

Please look at the Upadhi Patra – do – guru by Rasik Vidyabhushan. He is now the head of the Vaishnav Samaj of Bengal and is reputed to be one of the most learned men among savants. He is 105 now and he gave his blessings etc. of his own accord. I saw him at his residence in Calcutta. He looks still radiant and is very charming. Has written a number of books on Krishna and Govranga of which two he gave me. In the preface of a book of his on Govranga I read he has been suffering from insomnia for years...

(...) published in a few months.

What about Synthesis? They are all asking me. I collected the money as needed for Synthesis you know, as they would have refused to contribute had it been asked in the name of Analysis of which all are tired, what?

I hope you are not referring to the whole colossal mass of the Synthesis – though that too may be ready for publication before the next world war (?) or after the beginning of the Satya Yuga (new World Order?). If you mean the Yoga of Works, I am writing or trying to write four or five additional chapters for it. I hope they will be ready in a reasonable time; but my daily time is short and chapters are long. In the absence of exact prophetic power, that is all I can say.

(...)

*

March 11, 1944

Pratibha (la cousine des quatre sceurs [the four sisters’ cousin]) told me of two experiences as she is very eager to know what they mean. I add my eagerness thereto as such experiences are rare. I will tell you briefly as I understand you are too busy now-a-days.

A) The first remarkable experience was on 24th November last – a darshan day. She was feeling rather sad when she saw, as she was sitting near the staircase (at about 2 p.m.):

(1) Yourself in a lovely moonlight with a self-luminous blue scarf. You looked the essence of magic, she says.

Blue is the normal colour of the spiritual plane; moonlight indicates the spiritual mind and its light.

(2) Mother in a powerful sunlight on a lion – her jagaddhatrT aspect, I infer. She looked so puissant, etc.

It was probably the Durga aspect.

(3) Near you both Krishna on a galloping horse with a flute.

Please write a few words below as to what these mean especially (3). One never pictures Krishna on a horse, does one, and playing flute too on a horse! What an anticlimax!

Well, why should not Krishna ride a horse if he so wants? His actions or habits cannot be fixed by the human mind or by an immutable tradition. Especially Krishna is a law to himself. Perhaps he was in a hurry to get to the place where he wanted to flute.

These visions are not rare or unusual; they are of the usual kind seen commonly by those who have developed the gift of vision. Mostly they take place on the vital plane, though sometimes on the mental and psychic – the vital is freest in its play and it does not at all follow the preconceptions of the physical mind. As for meanings, they vary infinitely; much depends on the character of the vision.

B) The next experience: on the 21st February, as she gazed at you at darshan she saw through you and visioned Kishore Krishna – round about your heart.

Why does she see Krishna in you when she is more partial to Shiva? Now-a-days she is sort of won over by Krishna, she says, but why should Krishna come so repeatedly as she equates you, spontaneously, to Shiva and not to Krishna.

I have said that visions of this kind do not necessarily spring from the physical consciousness or the mind and its preconceptions or preferences. If they did they would have no independent reality.

C) Last Sunday I was singing Raihana’s song on Krishna on moonlight chandini rat [moonlit night] (whose translation I sent you the other day). I felt a deep bhakti and lo, Pratibha saw again Krishna dancing about and playing flute – a lovely youth this time not Kishore Krishna but adult Krishna. Why is it that nobody else saw it?

Why should they? The vision may have been personal to her, but even otherwise for all or many to see is somewhat rare, one might say very rare.

She was in deep ecstasy but still regrets what do these visions import. She has been told that visions are not experiences and as such was telling me, regretfully (fancy, regretting after visioning Krishna and in you too! these things really meant very little in spiritual life. But do tell me. How can these things mean so little? Seeing Krishna and in one’s Guru too. How I have longed for such a darshan!

Visions come from all planes and are of all kinds and different values. Some are of very great value and importance, others are a play of the mind or vital and are good only for their own special purpose, others are formations of the mind and vital plane some of which may have truth, while others are false and misleading, or they may be a sort of artistry of that plane. They can have considerable importance in the development of the first Yogic consciousness, that of the inner mind, inner vital, inner physical or for an occult understanding of the universe. Visions which are real can help the spiritual progress, I mean, those which show us inner realities: one can, for instance, meet Krishna, speak with him and hear his voice in an inner “real” vision, quite as real as anything on the outer plane. Merely seeing his image is not the same thing, any more than seeing his picture on the wall is the same thing as meeting him in person. But the picture on the wall need not be useless for the spiritual life. All one can say is that one must not attach oneself too much to this gift and what it shows us, but neither is it necessary to belittle it. It has its value and sometimes a considerable spiritual utility. But, naturally, it is not supreme – the supreme thing is the realisation, the contact, the union with the Divine, bhakti, change of nature, etc.

I have been working hard. Last night till nearly 2 a.m. I am working at a spiritual novel (voicing my spiritual experience, etc.). I want to do sadhana more consciously through service and as my books are selling progressively better and better I want to offer it all as a concrete sacrifice to you and Mother. Work I am fond of but I want to do it more and more in the right spirit. Do help me here, Guru.

*

March 13, 1944

Yes, the use to which you have turned your vital capacities in Bengal and Bombay – to turn them into instruments of service and the Divine Work, is certainly the best possible.

Through such action and such use of the vital power, one can certainly progress in Yoga. Vital power is necessary for work and you have an exceptional amount of it. Of course, to make a full Yogic use of it and of its force for action, the ego must gradually fade out and vital attachments and impulses be replaced by the spiritual motive. Bhakti, devotion to the Divine, and the spirit of service to the Divine are among the most powerful means for this change.

Certainly, my force is not limited to the Ashram and its conditions. As you know it is being largely used for helping the right development of the war and of change in the human world. It is also used for individual purposes outside the scope of the Ashram and the practice of Yoga; but that of course is silently done and mainly by spiritual action. The Ashram however remains at the centre of the work and without the practice of Yoga the work would not exist and could not have any meaning or fruition. But in the Yoga itself there are different ways of proceeding for different natures, even though the general path is the same, surrender to the Divine and change of nature. But surrender to the Divine in the complete sense cannot be achieved in a short time, nor can the change of the nature. On the whole, one has to go as quickly as one can and as slowly as is necessary – which seems contradictory but is not.

*

April 2, 1944

My Tirthankar first edition is exhausted, writes Tara-pada – promising to send me what he owes me (to be offered to Mother of course). En attendant, I have been hard at work revising this and adding new things – to make it sell even better in the second edition. I have written Tagore’s death-scene day before yesterday and am going to add a letter or two of Holland – one on yourself.

1 have chosen two letters to be added to the second edition. Here they are. Please revise them and approve – which I hope you will as these are not personal letters but of general interest. May I also publish the letter you allowed Nolini to publish in the last issue of The Advent, on war, I mean ? That is surely “addable” in the Tirthankar now that it is published. It will certainly make the book sell more (being on war) so that I may in future offer more to Mother! But Tarapada has failed me hopelessly, Guru. Not a pice yet, fancy! For a book which has made me all but famous in Bengal and Gujarat – for it has been translated into Gujarat! as you must know! I wonder how much he will send me though! Am I getting too commercial after Bombay and Ahmedabad?

If you give the money to the Mother that can’t be commercial; commerce implies personal profit, and here your profit is only spiritual.

You can publish the two letters; as to the one in the Advent, I have no objection, as far as I am concerned – I don’t know whether the Advent has any.

*

April 4, 1944

You came here on this day! I feel so joyful. Also because yesterday the Gurudas Library28 sent me the account book. I will be able to offer Mother a very good amount out of the sale of my own books which I wrote here in Pondicherry. I mean, I do not include the sale of my father’s books which is dwindling now. But just because of it I want you to permit me to keep Rs. 1000 for a new edition Sajani Das undertook to publish (as I informed you). This is but an investment as they will push well and I am sure I will be able to offer Rs. 1500 in about a year.

So I hope you and Mother will permit. I make this proposal to increase the Ashram income not for any personal motive – though of course I would like my father to be recognised as a great poet as Sajani Das29 and others are beginning to admit now he was. I would like you to read Sajani’s tribute to him which I enclose herewith. You know the Tagorites cut him for a long time because he (my father) called Tagore effeminate and an “actor”. JVow many say he had to protest as he (my father) stood for virility in literature, as Sajani too says. He will issue a royal edition of his poems and songs only. The plays will be with Gurudas. I hope I am clear?

*

Yes, you can use the Rs. 1000 as you propose.

1 am writing to my Calcutta bank to send me Rs. 900 for the sale ending in half year last year. The sale of my books was Rs. 1200 but they deduct 25% that is Rs. 300. So I will offer to Mother’s feet Rs. 900, in about a fortnight. Of this Rs. 100 will be offered to Nishikanta today on the 4th. So that I will offer Rs. 800. This Rs. 100 is due to a book of songs whose profits they sent Rs. 213-12 annas. Half of this is his for this book was written by both of us – a number of his songs etc. So please remember-.-

I offer Rs. 800 in about two weeks

Nishikanta offers Rs. 100 today as he wants to offer Mother something.

Please allow me to say that I have offered Mother for Gitasri more than Rs. 500 already of which Rs. 250 is really Nishikanta’s. As he however wanted to offer [the amount]....

*

April 8, 1944

I enclose Nolini’s typescript of your letter on Grace as it is important and as I don’t quite understand the “somewhat”. Is it all right?

I find from the “Who’s Who” that Murray30 (who spoke “with diffidence” about your likelihood of rising high as an original thinker and metaphysician) is a scholar. But what does First Class Hum. mean? But I want to make him more confident. Will you permit that I send him your Collected Poems? / think we should be agog (a little at least) to get them confer on you the Nobel Prize this year. Why, I think we should send your poems by next mail to Professor Gilbert Murray also. Qu’en dites-vous?

You can send the Poems to the two Murrays.

Romain Rolland said before the last war, “I will not rest” – till the final recognition of Humanity. Let ours be a modester vow, “We will not rest till the Nobel committee crowns you.” It will be a good restlessness, don’t you think?

I am afraid it would be premature to be agog about the Nobel Prize. Even if the Russians go banging into Berlin shortly there would still be so much to clean up that the Prize might have to wait another year or two before being available and by that time all my published works capable of getting it would be old and Nobelly out of date.

One last thing: my host and hostess at Tambaram were going to come yesterday. I receive a letter he is down with fever. She has been inviting me to spend a week with them before they leave for Calcutta this month. I have worked rather hard during the last month (three books in the Press, you see) and I finished only last night. What would you say to a flying visit of mine for four or five days to their delightful and secluded garden house with a swimming pool? I want to swim for a few days – getting too fat sitting writing all day.

Lastly, Nishikanto expressed a desire he would like to come too for five or six days. I can take him with me as they surely accommodate him willingly if I ask them. What would you say to that? It might be a change for N. (I hope not for the worse?).

All right. You can of course take the outing and the “defat” of the swimming course. Nishikanto also can go. Does he intend to live [like] the gorilla there in its native jungle?

But don’t forget about my resolution about being agog re. your Nobel Prize. I want to take the tide (in the affairs of big gurus) at the flood, what?

*

April 11, 1944

As I found that I was slowly doing well in meditation in the evening I thought it would be unwise to go now even for a week. Besides I should try more for the inner surrender and any going out for private pleasure however innocent it was, I thought likely to increase my inner difficulty. Of late I find the inner resistance melting and feel I should work harder to serve you – for the present in writing. Here is my plan of work:

1) A publisher of Bengal wants to publish a book of my published articles at their own expense. I have begun to work on it, revising my articles selected. This will take a fortnight or so.

2) Gurudas has undertaken my novel on Hashi (a spiritual one, really) and I have to revise the second part; first part I revised working eight to nine hours a day after my return here this time.

3) Now Jayantilai31 asks me about the English of Tirthankar which is ready but I have to revise. Please let me know what to do. In view of the income tax collection I suggest I ask this publisher to make over all the money to you – that is to Mother. I mean I simply give him the MS. and do the revising work but the work is yours – I have nothing to do with the money part. What do you think of it? I don’t like them to get twenty-seven per cent from the money I want to offer to you – that is why I suggest this. Please let me know. I think I will give Jayantilal’s friend the book and have Rs. 500 down. Hein?

That is all right. But the publisher should be careful to send the money as an offering, and not mention or hint of your royalty, otherwise the fat might get into the fire.

*

April 12, 1944

Here is the letter to Jayantilai. Please show it to Mother as she will have to deal with the publisher henceforth. I felt a great joy to be able to make over the right also of handling money. Because Guru, I sincerely do not like money – from my youth I conceived a deep aversion to it. That is why I did not go to America in 1927 when I was invited by Edison Co. to record. I would have earned a lot.

But to give you and Mother is a joy. But still to have to worry about tax etc. I don’t like. I would work hard to increase your income with great joy but take over the charge of money.

Apropos, I was thinking yesterday why not make just such an arrangement with Gurudas. I think the income will be more than Rs. 150 a month from them alone – net. For I am going to publish more books. (I will offer Mother some Rs. 800 in a week’s time – sale of my books.) But what about the tax, etc. ? I thought over it and came to the conclusion that I will write to Gurudas too – through Sotuda – to make just such a legal document – money goes straight to Mother from them as offering. I hope the Gurudas people will accommodate me hereanent.

I have to confess one bad point of my character I discovered in this connection. I found myself worrying a little of what will happen to my personal expenses – pocket expenses. Now I can’t manage with less than Rs. 50 or Rs. 60. I keep a little money in the Calcutta Bank as you know to spend from it. I give presents also to people – buy books, etc. So it is about Rs. 2 a day, Rs. 60 a month. I can manage with that. But if all goes to Mother how shall I manage? Ask her? But if she doesn’t give? I felt hurt in imagination even. “Very funny surrender this,” I thought, “if she doesn’t give I should accept it as gladly as if she did give. That is the spirit. Why do I make a reservation here ? I must throw myself unconditionally on her mercy.” But you see little things like this still bind – how can I have real bhakti till I surrender my little self-will too? There is a lurking self-indulgence, I detected yesterday and thought I must make a clean breast of it to Mother. And that is why I want to be quite surrendered here, too, to her will. If she gives me Rs. 50 or Rs. 60, good. If not, I must manage with whatever she gives. Please show her this, I am very much ashamed of myself.

I am afraid the proposed arrangements will not serve the purpose you have in mind. For the publisher to deal direct with the Mother and send his accounts to her would turn the offering into a business transaction or at least a business arrangement. If the income tax officers poke their astute noses into the matter, they will at once smell a trick and pounce upon a tempting prey. If they did so, they might insist in regarding the Mother as a foreigner taking profits from a British India business and tax her, in which case the tax could be, I believe, higher even than your twenty-seven and a half percent. A fortiori this would apply to a documentary arrangement with a publisher such as you propose with Gurudas. We have had to consider such difficulties before and the Mother decided not to have any direct dealings with publishers who are not our own people.

The whole difficulty lies in the fact that the British Income tax office are keen to get more out of profits that go out of the domain than those that stay in it, charging exorbitant rates. If you received your profit in British India you would be charged only ten or twelve percent (I am told) and you would be able to do what you liked with it afterwards. I hear that this is Sotuda’s idea, that you should give a power of attorney which will enable Sachin or someone else to draw your money for you from the publishers which can be sent by hand or otherwise to the Ashram. We have to wait his promised letters and till then it is not much use imagining what to do. That is for the latter. As for the Bombay affair, it must have the character of an offering pure and simple from the publisher, any business dealing with the Mother coming in would not do.

It is not that Mother is not prepared to accept what you offer. Also, of course the pocket money question should not count on either side. But there is the necessity to avoid direct business dealing by the Mother with outsiders apart from the advisability of everybody being clear of the whirlpool of excess profits for the Income Tax Office.

*

April 23, 1944

Anil Bhattacharya is an ignoramus in Yoga; his dictum only means that he is finding that he can’t succeed in Yoga; but has he tried sincerely to throw away his worn self? As for the reaction about L., that is an old one which happened to him at one time whenever somebody fell or slipped, especially somebody deemed in the Ashram to be a big sadhak or one in favour with the Mother. If L. has gone the way of others, it was not because she was the Mother’s favourite and could not bear the grace (that is absurd), nor was she a “favourite”, but rather the opposite, that she wanted to be the favourite, first, alone and unique, got disappointed and decided Yoga was no good or not possible and it was better to be a great one or at least somebody in the social world. It is not, however, certain that she will not come back some day. (By the way, all this about L. is rather confidential – unlike the rest of the letter; it should not be generally known, as, if she came back, that might stand against her.)

Yes, attacks of this kind come often at Darshan time, not only to you but to many others, and in a way generally, e.g. against the work or physical health. The hostile forces get furious at the very fact of the Darshan and go all out to make a black mark on the brightness. All the more reason to reject the mischief and spoil their game.

*

April 25, 1944

But in reality these things are not sufficient reasons for getting sad and depressed. It is quite normal for difficulties to come back like that and it is not a proof that no progress has been made. The recurrence (after one has thought one has conquered) is not unaccountable. I have explained in my writings what happens. When a movement in the nature is cast out, it takes refuge in some less enlightened part of the nature, and when cast out of the rest of the nature, it takes refuge in the subconscient and from there surges up when you least expect it or comes up in dreams or sudden inconscient movements or it goes out and remains in wait in the environmental being through which the universal Nature works and attacks from there as a force from outside trying to recover its kingdom by a suggestion or repetition of old movements. One has to stand fast till the power of return fades away. These returns or attacks must be regarded not as parts of oneself, but as invasions – and rejected without allowing any depression or discouragement. If the mind does not sanction them, if the vital refuses to welcome them, if the physical remains steady and refuses to obey the physical urge, then the recurrence of the thought, the vital impulse, the physical feeling will begin to lose its last holds and finally they will be too feeble to cause any trouble.

*

April 26, 1944

(Sri Aurobindo had said to Nirod, “Dilip is immensely changed.” Dilipda asked in what way.)

What I meant by the change was the great improvement in your mental and vital attitude and reactions to outward things and to life which was very evident in your letters and account of happenings and gave them quite a new atmosphere warm and clear and psychic. Naturally the change is not yet absolute and integral, but it does seem to be fundamental. Moreover, it is certainly due to a growing bhakti within, especially an acceptance of bhakti as your path and of the implications of that acceptance. The mind has taken a new poise less intellectual and more psychic. What prevents you from seeing the growth of bhakti (sometimes you have seen it and written about it) is a continuance of the physical mind which sets going with a constant repetitionary whirl of its fixed ideas whenever there is any touch of depression. One of these ideas is that you don’t progress, will not progress and can never progress, the old thing that used to say “Yoga is not for the likes of me” etc. The activity of the physical mind (next to the wrong activity of the vital) is what most keeps one’s consciousness on the surface and prevents it from being conscious within and of what goes on within; it can see something of what happens on the surface of the nature, the results of the inner movement but not the cause of the happenings, which is the inner movement itself. That is one reason why I like to see the physical mind occupied in poetry and music etc. and other salubrious activities which help the inner growth and in which the bhakti can express itself, for that keeps the physical mind busy, unoccupied with the mechanical rotatory movement and allows and helps the inner growth. The rotatory movement is less than it was before and I expect it one of these days to get tired of itself and give up altogether.

*

April 27, 1944

There is a confusion here. The Mother’s grace is one thing, and the call to change another, the pressure of nearness to her is yet another. Those who are physically near to her are not so by any special grace or favour, but by the necessity of their work – that is what everybody here refuses to understand or believe, but it is the fact: that nearness acts automatically as a pressure if for nothing else, to adapt their consciousness to hers which means change, but it is difficult for them because the difference between the two consciousnesses is enormous especially on the physical level and it is on the physical level that they are meeting her in the work.

There is another cause of the general inability to change which at present afflicts the sadhak. It is because the sadhana, as a general fact, has now and for a long time past come down to the Inconscient; the pressure, the call is to change in that part of the nature which depends directly on the Inconscient, the fixed habits, the automatic movements, the mechanical repetitions of the nature, the involuntary reactions to life, all that seems to belong to the fixed character of a man. This has to be done if there is to be any chance of a total spiritual change. The Force (generally and not individually) is working to make that possible, its pressure is for that – for, on the other levels, the. change has already been made possible (not, mind you, assured to everybody). But to open the Inconscient to light is a herculean task; change on the other levels is much easier. As yet this work has only begun and it is not surprising that there seems to be no change in things or people. It will come in time, but not in a hurry.

As for experiences, they are all right but the trouble is that they do not seem to change the nature, they only enrich the consciousness – even the realisation, on the mind level, of the Brahman seems to leave the nature almost where it was, except for a few. That is why we insist on the psychic transformation as the first necessity – for that does change the nature – and its chief instrument is bhakti, surrender, etc.

*

May 20, 1944

I send you Khitish Sen’s translation side by side with what I hope to be improvements. I will be glad if you will advise me and correct. I have tried this as I want to include it in my forthcoming book (Tirthankar in English) to be published shortly by the Bombay publisher. I have been working hard at this and am now revising the last part. This will be included in the book if you approve: for Khitish Sen will not mind my corrections, I am sure (provided of course I improve his version).

Khitish Sen’s style and yours are very different and they don’t always mix very well. His own is a good style direct and forceful and I think that should be kept as the basic tone. Yours tends towards a certain amount of diction and sometimes to the rich and ornate. I have not seen the Bengali song while deciding, so I have made only a few suggestions of my own.

I send you the two records just received: one on Mother, the other on yourself. They say my voice has come out very well but I am not satisfied with this rendering, because (and they also agree) the boys and girls have not sung as well as they might have. They got nervous. They have invited me to sing these in Madras which I will do (subject to your approval) next July with Manju32, Sahana’s brother’s little daughter of seventeen. She has a very fine voice and I may train her up at Madras in a week as she is very anxious to learn. I miss Hashi – Manju cannot rival her of course but she may turn out very fine indeed (who knows?), if you approve of my project.

Yes, I suppose that is all right.

*

June 10, 1944

Mother, I want you to help me as I am somewhat weak in a certain social direction. Briefly, Hiren comes daily in the morning when I take tea with Nishikanto and AniT kumar, just for half-an-hour. I find his attitude one of simple gossip and I want now-a-days to avoid gossip.

Both Nishikanto and Anilkumar take interest in things of Yoga about which I like to talk, if talk I have to, but Hiren comes and shouts about what is going on in the Ashram about his wanting to beat Prithwi Singh, etc. It is very disagreeable. Also he has a curious habit of reporting talks to others which creates unnecessary complications. In a word, I don’t want his presence at my tea-table and less his admiration of me which is certainly not good for my egoistic self. I really want to feel humble, believe me, as without humility your Grace cannot act on me properly. But though I resolved many times to request him not to come, I can’t succeed in asking him not to come. It so happens that he is free from 8 to 9 in the morning. Can you kindly give him some work for this hour as after nine I start to concentrate, etc. ? Mother, do be kind, you are kind to me always, but I want you to be kinder still, and think of some work for Hiren between 8 and 9, please! You see, I want to do the sadhana properly and Hiren (whom I did succeed in warding off) is such a hindrance. I am ashamed to tell you this, but I must tell you candidly all my weaknesses. I have found myself fairly strong in most matters of attitude and right action but this habit of politeness is still very strong in me so that I can’t forbid Hiren to come. He insists on coming and I don’t like his talk nor attitude. I am glad to tell you that Nishikanto and Anilkumar are both growing loyal to what I feel to be important, e.g. war, bhakti, aspiration for humility, etc. But Hiren does not listen. He is simply mad and his sympathies are still wrong, I have felt. Nirod agrees with me and wants me to tell him straight not to come but as I find it very difficult I make an appeal to you as a child should to his mother, confessing his weakness.

Mother will consult with Nolini and see if any work can be given to him at that time. But he was given work formerly and he did not do his work so it was taken from him. If he does that again, then the measure taken will not be effective. So?

*

June 10, 1944

I was hesitating. But I have decided to write. For I think it is important. The other day Venkataram33 said Hitler had arranged that they would not be able to make any headway in Italy. Also that in Russia he has shortened his front so that Russians will not move any further.

Well, they seem to be making some headway in spite of Hitler’s arrangement. I seem to remember Hitler made arrangements for taking Stalingrad: the result was that he has been kicked out almost entirely from old Russia.

And in China, he said, Japan was going to crush China in three months, etc., etc.

It doesn’t look like it; but perhaps they have confidential information?

Of course I argued abortively and got annoyed in the end. I thought then that it was his views and analysis of the situation so I had to be tolerant. Then day before yesterday I heard about Narayan Reddi’s remark about the Allied para-troops having been wiped out. Venkataram categorically declared N. had said absolutely nothing. I wondered and asked and ascertained that he did say something. Did he? What? Can you tell me? (I am telling things briefly to save your time.)

People say that he did – on the authority of the men to whom he said it. Does N. R. deny his saying it?

I told this to V. and said that why should N. have uttered what even the German Radio had not claimed? To that he sharply retorted that how was I sure about this? I had to admit defeat there, but incidentally I found to my deep chagrin how he still sympathised with the Axis.

There is now strained feeling again between him and me as I know he lied again to shield N. and that was because he liked the remark about para-troops. It is very strange, but I cannot be possibly mistaken here. The reason why I tell you this is that I want to be more loyal to you than ever and this impels me to be cold to V. I find such contact harms me. I was tolerating his company in spite of everything because I was thinking all the time (mistakenly, I now realise) that Yogis should be tolerant and charitable. But I find it difficult now to tolerate such views in the Ashram under your aegis seeing that you are trying to make the Allies win. And then today a thought came to me which I feel to be right. It is that you and Mother want to deal blows even to ventilators of such views because such views may lead one easily to take side with the Asuras and as such, logically, against the Divine. Otherwise you would be more tolerant than all of us put together. Am I right or wrong here? You don’t reply now-a-days to my questions and I have succeeded in persuading myself that it is because you do not think it necessary. But as I have learned most of what has helped me yogically from your letters I have to encroach a little on your time specially when I am somewhat worried about it and the atmosphere here is becoming rather irksome, to say the least, because of the vicious views which V. refuses to discard. I feel it is an extremely obnoxious thing. I was perhaps wrong to have been friendly to him but I did hope he was changing slowly. This Reddi affair has been an eye-opener.

I write to you also to convey to you my unspoken prayer that I may be completely devoted to you and to all that you stand for. The rest I need not speak about my wanting to serve you with all I am and have and can earn. I am writing books which will, I am sure, increase my income which I will offer at your feet and Mother’s in due course. Please do not think I am lazy. On the contrary I have never worked harder in my life, for the first time doing music and literature simultaneously.

A propos music, I will offer Rs. 566 in a few days (keeping Rs. 200 for income tax) from the Gramophone. I wrote to you about going to Madras for a week or two at most in July to have a few new songs recorded. I want to take Anilkumar with me as he can play well on the drum-accompaniment: they will pay his fare

I am glad to tell you that his attitude is becoming more and more correct. Both he and Nishikanto’s contact I find pleasant (unlike V.’s) and we take tea every morning now-a-days. This I will give up (taking tea together in the morning) as it is beginning to interfere with my morning concentration. But I tell you this to assure you that I am conscious I ought to get rid of this tea-ing together. But we talk of loyal things, if that is any compensation. But let me know whether I can take Anilkumar to Madras.

Yes, you can.

Also write to me if you can find a little time whether I am right in feeling that even speculating intellectually about the Allied reverses is not a right movement as it may easily lead us, unawares, into sympathy with the hostile hordes who are against your work.

All these things are silly utterances in which the wishes of the mind are presented as truth and fact. That is a common habit in this very imperfect humanity and ordinarily it would be of no importance, except that such inventions and falsehoods are most improper in the mouth of a sadhak and the habit must be a great obstacle to any progress. But here there is doubt behind, whether they are conscious of it or not, in that the Asura shall prevail against the Divine. That means a most dangerous giving of oneself to the Falsehood that is seeking to prolong its hold on the world and establish definitely the reign of Evil over the whole world. That is what the victory of Hitler would have meant – it would have meant also the destruction of my work. You are quite right therefore in resenting this kind of attitude (also there is the fact that it establishes a centre of support for the Falsehood and Evil in the Ashram). The propagation of this falsehood, false ideas, false feelings, false [notions] and persuading people that they are right is the chief instrument of the Asura and its prevalence and success a sign of the growth of darkness on the earth. Fortunately the intensity of the peril is over, however long the struggle may still last. Other perils and manoeuvres of the Asura may follow afterwards; so it is good to discourage firmly the tendency so that it may not do harm hereafter.

*

June 19, 1944

(The question was why even so many fine, sincere people and estimable people were finding this sadhana growing more and more difficult and coming as a result to doubt the existence and reality of a “sunlitpath”. D.K.R.)

The sunlit path can only be followed if the psychic is constantly or usually in front or if one has a natural spirit of faith and surrender or a face turned habitually towards the sun or psychic predisposition (e.g. a faith in one’s spiritual destiny) or acquired the psychic turn. That does not mean that the sunlit man has no difficulties; he may have many, but he regards them cheerfully as “all in the day’s work”. If he gets a bad beating, he is capable of saying, “Well, that was a gueer go but the Divine is evidently in a queer mood and if that is his way of doing things, it must be the right one; I am surely a still queerer fellow myself and that, I suppose, was the only means of putting me right.” But everybody can’t be of that turn, and surrender which would put everything right is, as you say, difficult to do completely. That is why we do not insist on total surrender at once, but are satisfied with a little to begin with, the rest to grow as it can.

I have explained to you why so many people (not by any means all) are in this gloomy condition, dull and despondent. It is the tamas, the inertia of the Inconscient, that has got hold of them. But also it is the small physical vital which takes only an interest in the small and trivial things of the ordinary daily and social life and nothing else. When formerly the sadhana was going on on the higher levels (mind, higher vital, etc.), there was plenty of vigour and verve and interest in the details of the Ashram work and life as well as in an inner life; this physical vital was carried in the stream. But for many this has dropped; they live in the unsatisfied vital physical and find everything desperately dull, gloomy and without interest or issue.

In their inner life the tamas from the Inconscient has created a block or a bottle-neck and they do not find any way out. If one can keep the right condition and attitude, a strong interest in work or a strong interest in sadhana, then this becomes quiescent. That is the malady. Its remedy is to keep the right condition and to bring gradually or, if one can, swiftly, the light of the higher aspiration into this part of the being also, so that whatever the conditions of the environment, it may keep, it also, the right poise. Then the sunlit path would seem less impossible.

*

June 20, 1944

We have no objection to your doing this for a week, as you propose; I understand that it is not a retirement, but a cessation of social visits. My objection to retirement is that so many have “gone morbid” by it or gone astray into zones of false vital experiences; secondly, that absolute retirement is not necessary for the spiritual life. It is different however for people like Radhananda who are to the manner born or at least perfectly trained. A “restriction of publicity” is quite another matter. Also to be capable of solitude and to have the Ananda of solitude can always be helpful to sadhana, and a power of inner solitude is natural to the Yogi.

We will give our help and hope you will succeed – at least, you will have established a precedent for withdrawing whenever you want in the future.

*

August 30, 1944

We have heard the records. The duet was very good (shya-mala charana yugale namo) [We bow to the dark feet]. Mother still finds Manju’s voice a little undeveloped but the second song was a great improvement (biraher pate ankibo chhabi) [I shall paint the picture on the canvas of separation] on the first. In time she can develop into an excellent singer not perhaps as good as Hashi but even that may happen.

*

September 10, 1944

Apart from the total rejection of sex-thoughts and imaginations and actions, which ends by acting in the subconscient also, I don’t know any remedy for sex-dreams except the putting of a force as concrete as possible on the sex-centre and organ prohibiting this urge and its result, put when about to sleep and renewed each time one wakes and goes to sleep again. But this everybody cannot manage to use, for they employ a mental will instead of a concrete force (the mental will can be effective, but is not always so). This method, besides, only acts for the time, it inhibits but does not permanently cure; it does not get rid of the kamajata [sex-impressions] in the subconscient, and of course it means thinking of the sex-affair though only negatively.

I have heard it said that even very advanced yogis get the dreams at least once in six months – I don’t know how far it is true or what the yogis themselves say about it. But the kamajata in the heart can be got rid of long before the end of life and even the seed state in the subconscient which comes up in dreams, though sticky enough, is not quite so irremovable as all that.

Anyway, the dream-kind is not so much to trouble about, unless it is frequent – it is the waking state that must be rigorously cleared out. Sometimes, if that is done, there is automatic extension of the habit of rejection to the subconscient, so that when the dream is coming there is an automatic prohibition that stops it. Under a regime like that I think the kamajata would become, if not non-existent, yet permanently quiescent in its seed state and so practically non est.

*

September 16, 1944

As regards Krishna and devotion, I think I have already answered more than once. I have no objection at all to the worship of Krishna or the Vaishnava form of devotion, nor is there any incompatibility between Vaishnava bhakti and my supramental Yoga. There is in fact no special and exclusive form of supramental Yoga: all ways can lead to the Super-mind, just as all ways can lead to the Divine.

Certainly, I will help you and am helping and will always help you; the idea that I can stop doing it or will send you away has no sense in it. If you persevere, you cannot fail to get the permanent bhakti you want and the realisation you want, but you should learn to put an entire reliance on Krishna to give it when he finds all ready and the time come.

If he wants you to clear out imperfections and impurities first, that is, after all, understandable. I don’t see why you should not succeed in doing it, now that your attention is being so constantly turned on it. To see them clearly and acknowledge them is the first step, to have the firm will to reject them is the next, to separate yourself from them entirely so that if they enter at all it will be as foreign elements, no longer parts of your normal nature but suggestions from outside, brings their last state; even, once seen and rejected, they may automatically fall away and disappear; but for most the process takes time. These things are not peculiar to you; they are parts of universal human nature; but they can, do and will disappear.

About X’s music lessons, you can certainly stop them if you find that by doing so you can help your concentration or your inner purification. But you know my view about music itself, that it can help greatly in your sadhana and the development of bhakti; after all, your music, your song-writing and singing here helped you considerably and they may still have that use.

*

September 17, 1944

I think you have done well in deciding not to take up X. again. The only thing of value in her is her musical possibility, but without seriousness, discipline or any depth of feeling this is not likely to develop; she has too much self-will, waywardness and flightiness which tends towards hysteria.

Certainly Krishna is credited with much caprice, difficult dealing and a playfulness (lila!) which the played-with do not always immediately appreciate. But there is a reasoning as well as a hidden method in his caprices, and when he does come out of it and takes a fancy to be nice to you, he has a supreme attractiveness, charm and allurement which compensates and more than compensates for all you have suffered.

Of course, your decision to continue the solitude has our full approval.

*

September 22, 1944

We cannot give you our approval for going away with this decision of not returning as we think it a wrong movement, vehement, hasty and unnecessary. We would not have refused permission to your going elsewhere for a time if you needed to do so for some good reason as has happened before. But we cannot accept this decision of yours as a final decision for the future.

It is nonsense talking about giving you another chance if you want to come back. There can be no question of another “chance”: if you go, you will always be welcome back as one coming home. That does not depend upon your success or failure in the sadhana. We know the difficulties of the sadhana and it is from the beginning a permanent chance that we have given you. Our relation is always there and our readiness to help is always there.

Whatever you decide, my love and blessings and the Mother’s will be always with you.

*

September 26, 1944

I was very glad to read your letter. The clarification of the mind of which it is evidence is indeed welcome and likely to get rid of many persistent difficulties. What you express in the letter is the right way of thinking and seeing. The self-will of the mind wanting things in its own way and not in the Divine’s way was a great obstacle. With that gone, the way should become much less rough and hard to follow. I am very glad that you have got rid of the wrong ideas about the Mother in the pranam: for that was coming very much across any possibility of right reception.

I approve of the modifications you have made in your solitude programme, but I certainly would not like you to discontinue the solitude. It was becoming too absolute and certain features were coming in, like the shrinking from all contact with people, that were too exaggerated and might grow into something morbid. But the solitude itself I expected to be beneficial, and I was counting on it to prepare you for living within in the inner being more than in the outer consciousness. The outer can grow in faith, fidelity to the Divine, reverence, love, worship and adoration, great things in themselves – though in fact these things too come from within – but realisation can only take place when the inner being is awake with its vision and feeling of things unseen. Till then, one can feel the results of the divine help and, if one has faith, know that they are the work of the Divine; but it is only then that one can feel clearly the Force at work, the divine Presence, the direct communion.

*

October 2, 1944

What is there to comment on foolishness? It is a universal human failing. Your remark about Krishna was not so much foolish as desperately illogical. If Krishna was always and by nature cold and distant (Lord, what a discovery – Krishna of all people!), how could human devotion and aspiration come near him – and it would soon be like the North and South Pole, growing icier and icier, always facing each other but never seeing because of the earth’s bulge. Also, if Krishna did not want the human bhakta as well as the bhakta wanting him, who could get at him? He would be always sitting on the snows of the Himalayas like Shiva. History describes him otherwise and he is usually charged with being too warm and sportive.

Nirod told the Mother about K. in my presence, but I did not catch everything. I understood that he wanted a one-storied house and would bring a doctor (or was that my subconscient’s imagination), etc. Mother was speaking of a house of the kind, but doubted whether it would not be more than Rs. 30 rent, the sum named by K. That is all I know about it. I suppose something will emerge. I will ask Mother about it tomorrow – if I remember.

P.S. It appears Amrita is to give information about the house.

*

December 10, 1944

(A disciple of Sri Aurobindo wrote to Dilipda that if he stuck to Krishna, the Supermind would not be included in his realisation, whereas if he stuck to Sri Aurobindo, Krishna would be included in his realisation. The disciple disapproved of Krishna as Krishna only brought down the Overmind and not the Supermind.)

I am puzzled and perplexed by this affair of Krishna and the Supermind. A.B.C.D.E.F. of Bombay, Nagpur and Delhi and P.Q.R. up to X.Y.Z. of Calcutta and Pondicherry will all be able to catch hold of the Supermind by the hair of the head or the end of the tail and “include” it in themselves, only poor Krishna can’t do it! He can only be himself “included” in it! Hard lines on Bhagavan Vasudev! What I said was that Krishna in his incarnation brought down the Overmind into human possibility, because that was his business at the time and all that could be then done; he did not bring down the Supermind, because that was not possible or at least not intended at that stage of the human evolution. I did not mean that he could not have brought down the Supermind if that had been willed at the time. You listen too easily to anybody, G.H. or Q. let us say, and treat their ingenious hair-splitting or unduly authoritative ideas as if they were gospel truths; that creates mental confusion. I believe Krishna’s intentions are to remain with us and he won’t run away when the Supermind comes down; so why should Mother send you away on his account? It would be a most illogical procedure. So that is that.

*

December 1944?

I trust you did not take my yesterday’s letter amiss since it was prompted out of sincere reverence for you and not questioning. What I meant was perhaps not clear. So I enclose a letter of Krishnaprem I received two or three days ago. Read at least the red-lined sentence. It is this sort of recent views of his about everything-external-a-projection-of-the-internal and all-men-striving-so-none-is-to-blame sort of idea that repels me. I could never regard the world as so simple nor such a clear-cut precise view an all-round view – and so not essentially prompted by wisdom.

Is this view of things so simple and precise as that? It seems to me to involve a great complexity with no solution to it. But is it not the usual view from a phase of consciousness which goes beyond the ordinary human view and tries to see things from the impartial view-point of the equal Brahman, samam brahma and look with compassion and understanding on all beings struggling in the Ignorance to find their way in it or out of it. It is a phase through which one passes on the way to the highest Truth – I think most Yogis look at things or endeavour to look at them from this impartial consciousness. But for pragmatic world action it offers no solution except either to escape from the whole thing as Maya or doing one’s own work in one’s own circle of action and leaving the rest, Hitler included, to the mysterious unaccountable workings of the cosmic Ishwara.

And of this sum of all-round wisdom of which only dim rays are received by minds like ours I have had a glimpse only through contact with you and your writings. Why is it Krishnaprem is not influenced by such writings? Because, I feel, his guru teaches him such platitudes of all men being innocent and divine and everybody should be [?].

I suppose because he has worked out his own view of things and finds it sufficiently profound and satisfactory. He seems to appreciate the thought of the Life Divine, but he has his own line of thinking and experience which he has followed pretty far going through one phase after another and he wants to follow it out to the end. I don’t think it can be said that he has a platitudinous mind – on the contrary if there is danger, it might be in the opposite side.

That is why Krishnaprem doesn’t condemn even the monster Hitler vehemently though he (for self preservation, I think) protests against Hitler’s campaign against all intellectuals whom H. regards as vermin. Krishnaprem is in a hopeless quandary now, I too noticed. So I thought that his guru was at least partly responsible as these are her views too – goody-goody platitudes that have little application to Life in its weird vast mysterious aspects. Life that cannot be tackled with such simple formulas but has to be approached with infinite pain and aspiration for Light to be even partially comprehended. I write in a hurry so may be I fail to convey my precise meaning but you will easily imagine what my drift is. I have seen Gopinath Kaviraj revelling in much greater absurdities. My mayavadi class friend who came here last year told me year before last G. was asserting before him that G/s guru (the humbug Vishuddhananda who made heaps of money because he could make sugar from sand) could create not only sugar but the brahmanda [universe] like Vishwamitra – because G.’s guru has always asserted this. I saw him once asserting like this and got disgusted at Puri in 1927.

This Visuddhananda affair does not seem to me clear on the facts presented to me. The facts might admit of being explained by jugglery or legerdemain, but the circumstances as stated to me make that a little difficult; they admit equally of being explained by the possession of certain occult powers, e.g. power to materialise subtle objects (sukshmagandha, rupa), power to communicate one’s own subtle sensings or [?] temporarily to others, occult power of transmutation (e.g. Ramakrishna’s turning of wine into D. Gupta’s fever mixture or Christ’s turning of water into wine) – but here a spiritual force was at work.

I am told there is no record or evidence of V. having any spiritual realisation. If so his powers, if any, would be occult alone, probably on the vital plane. Such powers do not presuppose any spirituality, some who had them were very clearly unspiritual. Such men are often proud and egoistic and many boast extravagantly of their power and need not be averse to making money by them. Still if his powers were genuine, the Kabiraj’s faith in him becomes understandable, though his acceptation of “miracles” alone as sufficient is not so intelligible. I am told that V. claimed to do his phenomena by the power of solar light and had established at great risk an institute for experiments with glass instruments in that direction, but died before the instruments came from Europe. That looks like a sort of straddling over the line between occult science and a hypothetical and experimental physical science. If genuine, such an experimentation would be sufficiently interesting, but these things have nothing to do with spiritual realisation. There is a spiritual occultism, but that is a different matter.

And this sort of thing is happening always – the mountebank Gurus hoodwinking credulous disciples who would believe anything of such gurus. That was why I had sworn never to accept a guru unless he was of the eminence of Sri Ramakrishna. That is why I came to you, only to learn however, from you and Mother that any guru will do if the disciple is sincere because through the guru the latter opened to the Divine. I was very sorry to hear this as you spoke from knowledge yet the “my guru” did havoc in India in all conscience. K.’s recent deterioration I attribute to this my-guru-loyalty.

Not “any guru,” surely but one’s own accepted guru. However, I will try to deal with that separately.

I don’t know whether there has been any “deterioration”, I hear now that they have always been occultising over there; the Chakrabartis34 were theosophists. So their indulgence in occultist theories (a slippery ground where there is much room for intellectual ingenuity) may not be new. I have not read K.’s book, I only heard certain things from it from Purani which surprised me. I shall read the book when I have time. One can be intuitive in spiritual matters and yet not so sure of foot when one is occultising.

He says that with fanaticism. Only my guru – the rest matters not. That is why he tries his best to keep you at arm’s length because he does not want to be influenced by Truth for which you stand but for his guru. This attitude of his I deeply deplored but I stood routed at every turn when I wanted to hold to this deep conviction that it is dangerous for spiritual guidance to go to a guru who is not already a god-realised person. You may say how is K. to know whether his guru was god-realised. Well she doesn’t claim she is, she only claims she has bhakti. Why then K. thinks – he told me himself nearly eighteen years ago – that his guru was a “jibanmukta”? And I feel (may be here I am irrational) that his fall ...

? That is rather a big term. Fall from what?

... is due to his guru’s inability to guide him into the deepest truth.

But if a guru can’t do this how can he be a fit guru! I feel if Krishnaprem had you for his guru he would have got just this guidance to say nothing of the utterly deluded Gopinath. But both [?] I respect as admirable men. That is the tragedy and that [?] “my guru” doctrine.

*

Correspondence 1945

January 2, 1945

There is no change with regard to sex whatever. Babies may be allowed in the Ashram but the manufacture of babies – there is an industry which has no sanction or license. Married people (that is not new) or families may be living here, but on the old condition of the complete cessation of marital activities. The ban on sex here stands, unchanged by an iota.

Asit and Manju are not sadhaks. Asit is a very good boy, but that is not enough to make a sadhak. There is needed a call, a strong predisposition or a clear and decided will; he has none of these things. Mother found that he was not fit as yet for sadhana and there is nothing sure to build on for the future. So why forbid the marriage? Manju was the better of two alternatives, the other being quite unsuitable from the psychological standpoint. That is all about it.

Naturally, Mother had nothing to do with the other things you speak of. It is hardly possible that anyone could really believe in a change of this kind on such flimsy grounds. But the motives of the human mind are incalculable.

P.S. I think I have forgotten to say that the boy evidently wanted and was even eager to marry – leaving aside any inclination towards Yoga he may have had at one time. This case therefore is quite different from that of someone who wants to do Yoga and yet thinks of marriage – so!

*

February 17, 1945

You certainly misheard what the Mother said to you. She asks me to write that what she actually said was that she gave your letters to me to read for her and to tell her what you wrote and if I did not tell her, it could only be an accident or because I had not found time. She could not have said that I never told her anything you wrote – that would have been a rather colossal misstatement and she did not say it.

What she said was exact about the Madras journey. You wrote asking for an immediate answer, so I wrote at once with our approval and blessings as I knew beforehand what the Mother would answer. I saw her in the evening and told her then and she confirmed my answer. So it is not a fact that I told her nothing about your going to Madras. I think you were told that I would be seeing the Mother only in the evening. That was the only time when I would see her alone, so it was then that we spoke about most matters. Now her work has become so heavy that we have even less time only a few minutes or a few seconds, so this has to change; but I acted according to the then arrangement of things of which I thought you knew, by long experience.

As to the Gramophone affair that was an accident. I had your letter read to me by Nirod – it would have been physically impossible for me to go through it myself, my eyes were too bad – and I somehow missed the question about Indu Ray35 and got the impression that you had received money which you were to give to Mother. Under this misapprehension imposed on me by the Inconscient in me, I omitted to speak of it to the Mother when I was telling her the contents of the letter. There was no intentional omission.

As to the rest, my not writing myself in answer to your letters, I have been suffering for some time from defective eyesight due to overstrain and chronic attacks on the eyes – especially in sleep. I had to get newspapers, articles, etc. read to me by Nirod and could no longer write as before. I found that by giving rest and avoiding all strain, there was a slight improvement every evening, so I thought I would give rest and avoid all strain so as to get a quicker improvement and full recovery. I understand that Nirod had said something to you about my difficulty, so it did not occur to me that you would misunderstand. However, I will now try to write answers on your letters as before whenever possible, as I can write though I can’t easily read what I have written and cannot revise. And as soon as there is some solid improvement, I will start reading letters myself again – with the help of the magnifying glass if necessary. If I can’t do it as soon as I hope, you will just have to be as patient as you can with me till I can. It is not my will but physical necessity that disables me.

In any case I hope that with these explanations you will understand that there has been no intentional neglect or indifference either on my part or the Mother’s and will see that there is no reason for your going away.

P.S. I hope this letter is not a jumble of mistakes or even more illegible than usual. I have tried to write as large and fair as was possible for me.

I understand from Mother that she has answered your question about Indu Ray so it is no use sending the money to him as you have already signed for it yourself – you will have to confirm the company that you can’t take it directly again and all such money should be sent to Indu Ray.

*

(Letter dictated to Nirodbaran.)

February 25, 1945

I don’t think I could approve of your departure to Brinda-van in this way – if you were going on a visit or temporary stay to see if you could get there some spiritual experience or for relief from pressure, it would be different; for however I would wish to have you here, your spiritual needs must take first place. The reasons you put forward in your letter seem to me very slight and outward: a dispute with Purani, the tragedy of the Professor’s handbag, certain difficulties about visitors’ cards and the Mother’s insistence on method and order in her work (what really good work is done without them?) are not sufficient reasons for abandoning the Ashram.

You can’t expect me to argue about my own spiritual greatness in comparison with Krishna. The question itself would be relevant only if there were two sectarian religions in opposition, Aurobindo-ism and Vaishnavism, each insisting on its own God’s greatness. That is not the case.

And then what Krishna must I challenge – the Krishna of the Gita who is the transcendent godhead, Paramatma, Para-brahma, Purushottama, the cosmic Deity, master of the universe, Vasudeva who is all, the immanent in the heart of all creatures, or the Godhead who was incarnate at Brindavan and Dwarka and Kurukshetra and who was the guide of my Yoga and with whom I realised identity? All that is not to me something philosophical or mental but a matter of daily and hourly realisation and intimate to the stuff of my consciousness. Then from what position can I adjudicate this dispute? Purani thinks I am superior in greatness, you think there can be nothing greater than Krishna: each is entitled to have his own view of feeling whether it is itself right or not. It can be left there; it can be no reason for your leaving the Ashram.

But the argument you put forward seems to me rather queer. By that logic one could deny greatness or divinity to Krishna because he was driven by superior armaments from Mathura to the farthest end of India or because he was wounded by an arrow in the heel and died of it, or to Ramakrishna because he suffered and died from cancer. You wrote the other day blaming somebody for losing faith in the Mother for exterior reasons such as her inability to save Tyagesan – even Krishna could not stave off fated death from the son of his beloved friend and beloved sister – but in this letter you seem to argue on that side.

I may say that I see no reason for alarm or apprehension about my eyesight; it has happened before and I was able to recover, even getting a better reading eyesight than before. These things are for me a question of the working of the Yogic force. Many customary illnesses have passed away from me permanently after an intimation that they would occur no more. In my last days in Calcutta that happened with regard to colds in the head, and when I was in the Rue des Missions Etrangeres with regard to fever. I had no cold or fever after that. So also with regard to things like the bad cough I had for many years: it was intimated some time ago that these things would fade out, and it has been so happening – only vestiges remain. So it will happen with what ailments remain, I expect.

The institution of visitors’ cards was not made for love of discipline or rule-making, but out of practical necessity. People from the town were coming in pretending to be visitors and taking their meals in the dining room and unpermitted visitors were passing themselves in for the Darshan; it was not possible for the dining room workers or the gate-keepers to know all the visitors of who were or were not genuine. I don’t see myself why anybody should object or resent this necessary precaution. The alternative would be to let everybody who wanted enter for the Darshan and to let anybody who wanted to take his meal in the dining room. That would soon make things impossible.

As for Doctor Syed’s handbag that is part of the special rules for Golconde. These rules, which do not obtain for the rest of the Ashram houses, are read out to everybody who is to stay in Golconde and if he does not want he can be given accommodation elsewhere. Doctor Syed seemed to be very happy about his stay here; if he was not really so and felt badly about these rules, why on earth did he refuse to stay in your place?

I may mention that he told Purani that there were two things he specially admired in the Ashram, first the fact that everybody here, rich or poor or of whatever caste were on the same level, and secondly the discipline of the Ashram. He said, according to Purani, that the absence of discipline was the great bane in India, neither individuals nor groups had any discipline. Then why did he weep merely because he was not allowed to put his handbag in a place not intended for it? I do not agree myself with him in the idea that there is perfect discipline in the Ashram. On the contrary, there is a great lack of it, much indiscipline, quarrelling and self assertion. What there is, is organisation and order which the Mother has been able to establish and maintain in spite of all that. That organisation and order is necessary for all collective work; it has been an object of admiration and surprise for all from outside who have observed the Ashram; it is the reason why the Ashram has been able to survive and outlive the malignant attacks [of the Catholic priests and]36 of many people in Pondicherry who would otherwise have got it dissolved long ago. The Mother knew very well what she was doing and what was necessary for the work she had to do.

Discipline itself is not something especially Western; in Oriental countries like Japan, China and India, it was at one time all regulating and supported by severe sanctions in a way that Westerners would not tolerate. Socially whatever objections we may make to it, it is a fact that it preserved Hindu religion and Hindu society through the ages and through all vicissitudes.

In the political field there was on the contrary indiscipline, individualism and strife; that is one reason why India collapsed and entered into servitude. Organisation and order were attempted but failed to endure. Even in the spiritual life India has had not only the free wandering ascetic, a law to himself, but has felt impelled to create orders of Sannyasins with their rules and governing bodies and there have also been monastic institutions with a strict discipline. Since no work can be done successfully without these things – even the individual worker, the artist for instance has to go through a severe discipline in order to become efficient – why should the Mother be held to blame if she insists on discipline in the exceedingly difficult work she has had put in her charge.

I don’t see on what ground you expect order and organisation to be carried on without rules and without discipline. You seem to say that people should be allowed complete freedom with only such discipline as they choose to impose upon themselves; that might do if the only thing to be done were for each individual to get some inner realisation and life did not matter or if there were no collective life or work or none that had any importance. But this is not the case here: we have undertaken a work which includes life and action and the physical world. In what I am trying to do, the spiritual realisation is the first necessity but it cannot be complete without an outer realisation also in life, in man, in this world. Spiritual consciousness within but also spiritual life without. The Ashram as it is now is not that ideal, for that all its members would have to live in a spiritual consciousness and not in the ordinary egoistic mind and mainly rajasic vital nature. But all the same the Ashram is a first form which our effort has taken, a field in which the preparatory work has to be done. The Mother has to maintain it and for that all this order and organisation has to be there and it cannot be done without rules and discipline. Discipline is even necessary for the overcoming of the ego and the mental preferences and the rajasic vital nature, as a help to it at any rate. If these were overcome outward rules, etc. would be less necessary, spontaneous agreement, unity, harmony and spontaneous right action might take its place. But while the present state of things exists, the abandonment or leaving out of discipline except such as people might choose or not choose upon themselves the result would be failure and disaster. [One has only to think what would have been the result if there had been no rules and no disciplines prohibiting sex-indulgence; even with them things have not been so very good37!] On that principle the work also would have gone to pot, there would have been nothing but strife, assertion by each worker of his own idea and self-will and constant clashes; even as it is that has abounded and it is only the Mother’s authority, the frame of work she has given and her skill in getting incompatibles to act together that has kept things going.

I do not find that Mother is a rigid disciplinarian. On the contrary, I have seen with what a constant leniency, tolerant patience and kindness she has met the huge mass of indiscipline, disobedience, self-assertion, revolt that has surrounded her even to abuse to her very face and violent letters overwhelming her with the worst kind of vituperation. A rigid disciplinarian would not have treated these things like that.

I do not know what ill-treatment visitors have received apart from the insistence on rules of which you complain, but it cannot be a general complaint, otherwise the number of visitors would not be constantly increasing nor would so many people want to come back again or even come every time or so many want to stay on if the Mother allowed them. After all they do not come here on the basis of a social occasion but for Darshan of those whom they regard to be spiritually great or in the case of constant visitors for a share in the life of the Ashram and for spiritual advantage and for both of these motives one would expect them to submit willingly to the conditions imposed and not to mind a little inconvenience.

As regards Golconde and its rules – they are not imposed elsewhere – there is a reason for them and they are not imposed for nothing. In Golconde Mother has worked out her own idea through Raymond38, Sammer and others. First Mother believes in beauty as a part of spirituality and divine living; secondly she believes that physical things have the Divine Consciousness underlying them as much as living things, and thirdly, that they have an individuality of their own and ought to be properly treated, used in the right way, not misused or improperly handled or hurt or neglected so that they perish soon or lose their full beauty or value; she feels the consciousness in them and is so much in sympathy with them that what in other hands may be spoilt or wasted in a short time last with her for years or decades. It is on this basis that She planned the Golconde.

First, she wanted a high architectural beauty, and in this she succeeded – architects and people with architectural knowledge have admired it with enthusiasm as a remarkable achievement; one spoke of it as the finest building of its kind he had seen with no egual in all Europe or America and a French architect, pupil of a great master said it executed superbly the idea which his master had been seeking for but failed to realise – but also she wanted all the objects in it, the rooms, the fittings, the furniture to be individually artistic and to form a harmonious whole. This too was done with great care. Moreover, each thing was arranged to have its own use, for each thing there was a place, and there should be no mixing up, or confused and wrong use. But all this had to be kept up and carried out in practice; for it was easy for people living there to create a complete confusion and misuse and to bring everything to disorder and ruination in a short time. That was why the rules were made and for no other purpose. The Mother hoped that if right people were accommodated there or others trained to a less rough and ready living than is common, her idea could be preserved and the wasting of all the labour and expenses avoided.

Unfortunately the crisis of accommodation came and we were forced to house people in Golconde who could not be accommodated elsewhere and a careful choice could not be made. So, often there was damage and misuse and the Mother had to spend some time two or three hundred rupees after darshan to repair things and restore what had been realised. Mona39 has taken the responsibility of the house and of keeping things right as much as possible. That was why she interfered in the handbag affair – it was as much a tragedy for the table as for the doctor, for it got scratched and spoiled by the handbag – and tried to keep both the bag and shaving utensils in the places that had been assigned for them. If I had been in the doctor’s place, I would have been grateful to her for her care and solicitude instead of being upset by what ought to have been for him trifles, although, because of her responsibility, they had for her their importance. Anyhow, this is the rationale for the rules and they do not seem to me to be meaningless regulation and discipline.

Finally, about financial arrangements. It has been an arduous and trying work for the Mother and myself to keep up this Ashram with its ever increasing numbers, to make both ends meet and at times to prevent deficit budgets, and their results, specially in this war time when the expenses have climbed to a dizzy and fantastic height. Only one accustomed to these things or who had similar responsibilities can understand what we have gone through. Carrying on anything of this magnitude without any settled income could not have been done if there had not been the working of a Divine Force. Works of charity are not part of our work, there are other people who can see to that. We have to spend all on the work we have taken in hand and what we get is nothing compared to what is needed. We cannot undertake things that would bring in money in the ordinary ways. We have to use whatever means are possible. There is no general rule that spiritual men must do works of charity or they should receive and care for whatever visitors come or house and feed them. If we do it, it is because it has become part of our work. The Mother charges visitors for accommodation and food because she has expenses to meet and cannot make money out of air; she charges in fact less than her expense. It is quite natural that she should not like people to take advantage of her and allow those who try to take meals in the dining room under false pretences; even if they are a few at first, yet if this were allowed a few would soon become a legion. As for people being allowed to come in freely for Darshan without permission, which would soon convert me into a thing for show and an object of curiosity, often critical or hostile curiosity, it is I who would be the first to cry “stop.”

I have tried to explain our standpoint and have gone to some length to do it. Whether it is agreed with or not, at any rate it is a standpoint and I think a rational one. I am writing only on the surface and I do not speak of what is behind or from the Yogic standpoint, the standpoint of the Yogic consciousness from which we act; that would be more difficult to express. This is merely for intellectual satisfaction, and there, there is always room for dispute.

I hope you will soon be able to shake off the dryness and depression and the upset that can always come in that state if one is not on guard. These attacks used always to come to you as to others at the time of the Darshan. Recently you had got into a state of consciousness in which they did not come or were merely thrown off, but this time you allowed something to pass through your defence, owing to the prolongation of the dull condition. There are still habits of the mind and vital which lay you open, but when you have recognised such things as things to be overcome you have shown in the recent past that you can overcome them even if after some time and struggle. Perhaps, after all, Krishna is only waiting for that to be complete to give you the state of psychic grace in which He allows people to get His direct touch.

*

March 9, 1945

(Signed by both Sri Aurobindo and Mother.)

Your visit to Malabar for raising funds and a brief stay there has our entire approval. Our love and blessings.

*

(Letter dictated to Nirodbaran)

May 13, 1945

I think the best will be for him [Shibnarayan Sen, Director of Archaeology, Nepal] to come for Darshan once again when he can come to pranam the Mother and I also can see him at the Darshan time.

Meanwhile he can continue his endeavour and let us know if there is any result. The difficulties that have arisen in him are quite normal and natural reaction to the effort he is making. It is usual for these resistances to rise up for they have to manifest themselves in order that they may be dealt with and thrown out. If he perseveres that should happen sooner or later. But it is best not to struggle with the resistances but to stand back from them, observe as a witness, reject these movements and call on the Divine Power to remove them.

Surrender of the nature is not an easy thing and may take a long time; surrender of the self, if one can do it, is easier and once that is done that of the nature will come about sooner or later. But for that it is necessary to detach oneself from the action of the Prakriti and see oneself as separate. That is why I asked whether he had any (major) realisation from his previous sadhana. To observe the movements as a witness without being discouraged or disturbed is the best way to effect the necessary detachment and separation. This also would help to increase the receptivity to any aid that may be given to him and to bring about the reliance, nirbhar.

If he turns to us, we will of course give him whatever help he can just now consciously or subconsciously receive.

I quite approve of the course you wish to take with regard to your own sadhana. I have always thought that your natural path was bhakti, work and service.

*

May 18, 1945

(Dilipda’s note re. Context)

Sir Chunilal Mehta40 wrote to me in a letter dated 8.5.45 that he has been having some misgivings about the Guru’s force which Sri Aurobindo so often speaks and writes about. Iftapasya has to be done and hard tapasya at that where does the Guru’s force come in? Gurus can rely solely on his own strength and effort. Raman Maharshi says that the sadhaka has to work his way through to his own salvation himself.

And yet we see numerous disciples writing ecstatically about the Guru’s Grace: but didn’t even Vivekananda have to do a lot of uphill climbing even though he did have an experience of Samadhi at his Guru’s touch? But then when one came down from the realm of Samadhi one re-became the ordinary humdrum person he had been before the Samadhi. Such was Sir Chunilal’s line of argument or rather of questioning and doubt. In the end he suggested that he should do personal service to Sri Aurobindo and there gain admission say for three months, into his personal atmosphere. Such propinquity might help him materially in realising how far the Guru’s force might help a seeker in his great quest.

Yes, you can send the letter to Chunilal.

Perhaps you might point out to him also that there are misconceptions in his letter about the Force. The action of the Force does not exclude tapasya, concentration and the need of sadhana. Its action rather comes as an answer or a help to these things. It is true that it sometimes acts without them; it very often wakes a response in those who have not prepared themselves and do not seem to be ready. But it does not always or usually act like that, nor is it a sort of magic that acts in the void or without any process. Nor is it a machine which acts in the same way on everybody or in all conditions and circumstances; it is not a physical but a spiritual Force and its action cannot be reduced to rules.

What he quotes about the limitation of the power of the Guru to that of a teacher who shows the way but cannot help or guide is the conception of certain paths of Yoga such as the pure Adwaitin and the Buddhist which say that you must rely upon yourself and no one can help you; but even the pure Adwaitin does in fact rely upon the Guru and the chief mantra of Buddhism insists on saranam to Buddha. For other paths of sadhana, especially those which, like the Gita, accept the reality of the individual soul as an “eternal portion” of the Divine or which believe that Bhagavan and the bhakta are both real, the help of the Guru has always been relied upon as an indispensable aid. I don’t understand the objection to the validity of Vivekananda’s experience: it was exactly the realisation which is described in the Upanishads as a supreme experience of the Self. It is not a fact that an experience gained in samadhi cannot be prolonged into the waking state.

It is not possible to accept his suggestion about joining with those who are in personal attendance upon me. They were not admitted as a help to their sadhana but for practical reasons. In fact here also there is some misconception. Continual personal contact does not necessarily bring out the action of the Force.

Hriday had that personal contact with Ramakrishna and the opportunity of personal service to him, but he received nothing except on one occasion and then he could not contain the Force and the realisation which the Master put into him. The feeling of losing himself which Chunilal had was on the special occasions of the Darshan and the pranam to the Mother. That he had this response shows that he can answer to the Force, that he has the receptivity, as we say, and that is a great thing; all don’t have it and those who have it are not always conscious of its cause but only of its result. But he should reason less and rather try to keep himself open as he was in those moments. The Force is not a matter for reasoning or theory but of experience. If I have written about force, it is because both the Mother and myself have had many thousand experiences in which it acted and produced results of every kind. This idea of the Force has nothing to do with theory or reasoning but is felt constantly by every Yogin; it is a part of his yogic consciousness and his constant spiritual activity.

*

August 13, 1945

I never said anything of this kind and never mentioned Krishna in connection with the Mikado. All that I said about the Mikado was that he (or it is rather his position as the divine descendant of the Sun-goddess, Mother of Nippon) was the centre of the whole social system, culture and religion of patriotism of the Japanese nation and if that broke down, all the rest would sink down with it. That is a historical and actual fact as anybody who knows anything of that country at first hand will tell. I fail to see how in saying that obvious thing I did anything wrong. Whether the Japanese were right or wrong or their faith justified was not the question; and Krishna has nothing to do with the Mikado.

It is a pity that you still allow yourself to be emotionally upset by anything said by anybody, whether as a report or an opinion or a dictum about Yoga, etc. This you have done so many times and I have pointed out the mistake. You must get rid of this altogether. If you hear anything attributed to me you should merely ask me first as to what I actually said or did. Apart from inventions, people often misreport owing to misunderstanding or inaccurate memory. Anyhow now that you know that your reaction was groundless, you will I hope get over it at once and recover the peace that came to you before this happened. Keep to that and don’t allow anything to interfere with it.

My love and blessings.

*

August 14, 1945

I understand from your letter that the alleged equalisation of the Mikado and Krishna was only an occasion and that the real cause of the upset was the old thing, the upsurge of vital discontent because of the lack of physical contact with me and my supposed indifference, contempt or neglect, and also the interference with your liberty of opinion, not certainly by me but by others trying to force my opinion real or alleged on you as exclusive.

About the last point, what is difficult to understand is why you should allow yourself to be [?] in that way especially when you know how continually the name of the Mother and myself or our alleged sayings are being used à tort et à travers [here, there and everywhere] whenever possible – “Mother said” or “Sri Aurobindo has said” – and as often as not it is twisted [?]; the Mother did not say and Sri Aurobindo has not said anything of the kind or they said something different. How do you expect me to stop a habit which is almost universal and seems to have become a sort of second nature? You might just as well try to stop the Mississipi from flowing. It will stop only when the sadhaks get out of the imperfections of their vital [mind]. Or it can stop having any effect on you if you meet it with refusal to take these things at second hand and reply, “Well, I will ask Sri Aurobindo himself and then find out if my opinion is wrong till then [?] support you. I would of course tell people not to report my remarks in conversation outside but how many would really observe that rule?”

As to the other point, you seem to me to be generalising from two lonely instances, the Hafiz letter and another about which I know nothing.

Nirod gave the letter to Nolini to get the Mother’s answer as it was She who must decide and this was a shorter route [?][?] over the Himalayas that is [?]. But as the matter did not seem urgent and the Mother during those days has no time for anything, Nolini postponed it till after the darshan. Therefore I am “not guilty.” For the same reason I was postponing the Hafiz affair as I had no time to speak to the Mother and this rather eccentric gentleman and his case did not seem to me to call for haste; he did not seem to be asking for darshan but only for opportunity to see you which he could do at any time. I have however spoken to the Mother of him in connection with your letter and will tell you what she says. I do not remember to have failed to answer either directly or through Nirod any other letter of yours that called for an answer [?] difference. It is true that I am not writing letters to you – it was only to you that I was writing which is not a proof of personal indifference – as I used to do, but I thought you knew the reason for that. I did not read as that tires my eyes and that, I found, threw back the slow recovery of my reading sight – that one might consider selfish, but I think natural and necessary for the fullness of my work in future. Henceforward, however, when I can, I will write.

I have no intention, I can assure you, of cutting off connection in the future. What restrictions there have been, were due to unavoidable causes. My retirement itself was indispensable; otherwise I would not now be where I am, that is passibly near the goal. When the goal is reached, it will be different. But as far as you are concerned, I have given to you what I have not given to others; what you have stated about my connection with you was perfectly true41, if it were false, why should I have persistently pressed you to remain with me always? Inwardly, I have been constant in my desire and I meant, even before I met you for the first time, I knew of you and felt at once the contact of one with whom I had that relation which declares itself constantly through many lives and followed your career (all that I could hear about it) with a close sympathy and interest. It is a feeling which is never mistaken and gives the impression of not only close to one but part of one’s existence. The Mother had not heard of you before you came here for the first time, but even on that occasion, on seeing you (though without any actual meeting) she had a sympathetic contact. The relation that is so indicated always turns out to be that of those who have been together in the past and were predestined to join again (though the past circumstances may not be known) drawn together by old ties. It was the same inward recognition (apart even from the deepest spiritual connection) that brought you here. If the outer consciousness does not yet fully realise, it is the crust always created by a new physical birth that prevents it. But the soul knows all the while. my effort to help you, not only from time to time, but daily and always. If you had an unprecedented peace for so long a time, it was due to my persistent inner pressure; I refuse to give up all the credit to my double, Krishna.

I expect you to give up again this consistently recurring decision to go away and arrive at a complete [silence]. To go for a temporary relief from pressure, is a different matter, but the Darshan is not the time for that, and I don’t think it is necessary now. You have only to get back your poise and the peace will return; that it has gone for ever is not true, or would only be true, if you were determined and made every effort not to let it come back. These things, once they have come, always come back unless one parts company with one’s own soul.

*

September 2, 1945

Yesterday Nirod told me you wanted me to add something about H. in my letter. I could not quite grasp what he meant. So I ask you. About C. I have written to him that if he still had a soft corner for Hitler he might be sure the Ashram was no place for him. So you see I am traveling away from friends you have decided not to smile on.

I have failed, unrepentantly, when it came to a question of faith and optimism which I find no way whatsoever of reconciling to this anityam asukharh lokam, but I stick to the way out also as equally real: loyalty to Krishna which alone can rescue those who feel that He is the one Reality and Remedy and Rest. Nothing else matters. I write this as yesterday I was left rather uneasy by our charming Sotuda, the optimist who told me with a face glowing with faith: 1) Since you are at the Helm of affairs and have worked a miracle anent Hitler, it is rational to expect that you will be going on doing so till doomsday. 2) The atomic bomb is going to chasten men ail into sanity as its consequences are too gruesome by half. 3) Since you are doing a wonderful tapasya, the result will be equally wonderful: look at the Japs talking ecstatically of cooperation – this was one of his premises. I agreed with him only on count three and there too I can’t persuade myself that this tapasya must work people into sanity in the way we, little humans, expect – the wonderful result may also bear fruit through further tragedies. But I disagree roundly with him on counts two and one... Personally I would like to serve you because you are you, that is all, not because I have any faith in humanity or its future. (As you hinted in a letter re. Hitler, that man may be bypassed by God and another type sponsored better able to evolve on the lines He wishes him to – the procedure He adopted re. Mammoths.) Guru is Krishna, that is enough for me and Krishna’s Lila is inscrutable, to say the least. So I find myself unable to hold with dear Sotuda in his sattwic optimism specially after Mother’s thought-provoking letter to Prithwi Singh that she cannot promise anybody that “the Divine’s will is to preserve the present human civilisation.” This she said a propos of the atomic bomb and this must mean, if it means anything, that our idea of human salvation may not square at all with the Divine’s plan.

Sotuda left, beaming and happy, but I dozed off at about 3, lack-lustre and worried because I could not persuade myself that faith, however robust, was necessarily justified and optimism also can put up but a very poor show in this world where human agonies bid fair to deepen more and more. Then I had a dream when I talked with you and questioned you, actually shedding tears, “Why must I advocate Faith against Reason when I find both equally liable to error and how can I grow blind as a bat to the samsrtim ghoram (horrible world – a la Bhagavat) and believe that it will be saved as we desire it ought to be?” To which you replied, “How could Truth be displeased with you if you sincerely repudiated a faith or optimism which you believed to be false?” And much more to the same effect. But I wonder – when I feel not a little comforted by this – whether my comfort is not as illusory as Sotuda’s optimism. I won’t be at all agonised if you tell me it is all moonshine; only, incidentally, can you possibly see your way to confide in the likes of us as to whether there is any chance of our sick humanity recovering at all?

As regards Chamanlal, I think the Mother did not intend the reminder of his rodomontade about Hitler and God to be very serious; Nirod said that she suggested that you should write about it more as a joke and see what he would say. I understand she was inclined to give permission for him to come. However, if he is in sound earnest about the spiritual life and coming here, I suppose he will answer your letter in the right way.

Hafiz is a different matter. The Mother was not enthusiastic about his coming here again; she did not take his apology and vehement denials at their face value and could not after what had happened in Golconde. But since he had apologised and wanted to disclaim any critical or hostile feeling she thought she need not put a complete bar against his coming as she had at first done; that was what she meant by “not insisting.” It was your liking for him and his evidently sincere desire to keep up friendship that made her feel she need not come in the way of his coming to see you; but since you feel as you say that reason disappears. It is of no great importance. He was not coming here as a candidate for discipleship; he had his own guru, and a very good one, Krishnaprem’s, and I understand he is now under the protection of Raman Maharshi. We can very well leave him there.

Your dream was certainly not moonshine: it was an inner experience and can be given its full value. As for the other questions, they are full of complications and I do not feel armed to cut the Gordian knot with a sentence. Certainly, you are right to follow directly the truth for yourself and need not accept Sotuda’s or anybody else’s proposition or solution. Man needs both faith and reason so long as he has not reached a surer insight and greater knowledge. Without faith he cannot walk certainly on any road, and without reason he might very well be walking, even with the staff of faith to support him, in the darkness. Sotuda himself founds his faith, if not on Reason yet on reasons; and the rationalist, the rationaliser or the reasoner must have some faith even if it be faith only in Reason itself as sufficient and authoritative, just as the believer has faith in his faith as sufficient and authoritative. Yet both are capable of error, as they must be since both are instruments of the human mind whose nature is to err, and they share that mind’s limitations. Each must walk by the light he has even though there are dark spots in which he stumbles.

All that is, however, another matter than the question about the present human civilisation. It is not this which has to be saved; it is the world that has to be saved and that will surely be done, though it may not be so easily or so soon as some wish or imagine, or in the way that they imagine. The present civilisation must surely change, but whether by a destruction or a new construction on the basis of a greater Truth, is the issue. The Mother has left the question hanging and I can only do the same. After all, the wise man, unless he is a prophet or a Director of the Madras Astrological Bureau, must often be content to take the Asquithian position. Neither optimism nor pessimism is the truth: they are only modes of the mind or modes of the temperament. Let us then, without either excessive optimism or excessive pessimism, “wait and see”.

I don’t know that I can help you very much with an answer to Ambalal’s questions. I can only state my own position with regard to these matters.

1. Shankara’s Explanation of the Universe

It is rather difficult to say nowadays what really was Shankara’s philosophy: there are numberless exponents and none of them agrees with any of the others. I have read accounts given by some scores of his exegetes and each followed his own line. We are even told by some that he was no Mayava-din at all, although he has always been famed as the greatest exponent of the theory of Maya, but rather, the greatest Realist in philosophical history. One eminent follower of Shankara even declared that my philosophy and Shankara’s were identical, a statement which rather took my breath away. One used to think that Shankara’s philosophy was this that the Supreme Reality is a spaceless and timeless Absolute (Parabrahman) which is beyond all feature or quality, beyond all action or creation, and that the world is a creation of Maya, not absolutely unreal, but real only in time and while one lives in time; once we get into a knowledge of the Reality, we perceive that Maya and the world and all in it have no abiding or true existence. It is, if not non-existent, yet false, jaganmithya; it is a mistake of the consciousness, it is and it is not; it is an irrational and inexplicable mystery in its origin, though we can see its process or at least how it keeps itself imposed on the consciousness. Brahman is seen in Maya as Ishwara upholding the works of Maya and the apparently individual soul is really nothing but Brahman itself. In the end, however, all this seems to be a myth of Maya, mithya, and not anything really true. If that is Shankara’s philosophy, it is to me unacceptable and incredible, however brilliantly ingenious it may be and however boldly and incisively reasoned; it does not satisfy my reason and it does not agree with my experience.

I don’t know exactly what is meant by this yuktivada. If it is meant that it is merely for the sake of arguing clown opponents, then this part of the philosophy has no fundamental validity; Shankara’s theory destroys itself. Either he meant it as a sufficient explanation of the universe or he did not. If he did, it is no use dismissing it as yuktivada. I can understand that thorough-going Mayavadin’s declaration that the whole question is illegitimate, because Maya and the world do not really exist; in fact, the problem how the world came into existence is only a part of Maya, is like Maya unreal and does not truly arise; but if an explanation is to be given, it must be a real, valid and satisfying explanation. If there are two planes and in putting the question we are confusing the two planes, that argument can only be of value if both planes have some kind of existence and the reasoning and explanation are true in the lower plane but cease to have any meaning for a consciousness which has passed out of it.

2.Adwaita

People are apt to speak of the Adwaita as if it were identical with Mayavada monism, just as they speak of Vedanta as if it were identical with Adwaita only; that is not the case. There are several forms of Indian philosophy which base themselves upon the One Reality, but they admit also the reality of the world, the reality of the Many, the reality of the differences of the Many as well as the sameness of the One (bhedabheda). But the Many exist in the One and by the One, the differences are variations in manifestation of that which is fundamentally ever the same. This we actually see as the universal law of existence where oneness is always the basis with an endless multiplicity and difference in the oneness; as, for instance, there is one mankind but many kinds of men, one thing called leaf or flower but many forms, patterns, colours of leaf and flower. Through this we can look back into one of the fundamental secrets of existence, the secret which is contained in the one Reality itself. The oneness of the Infinite is not something limited, fettered to its unity; it is capable of an infinite multiplicity. The Supreme Reality is an Absolute not limited by either oneness or multiplicity but simultaneously capable of both; for both are its aspects, although the oneness is fundamental and the multiplicity depends upon the oneness.

There is possible a realistic as well as an illusionist Adwaita. The philosophy of the Life Divine is such a realistic Adwaita. The world is a manifestation of the Real and therefore is self-real. The reality is the infinite and eternal Divine, infinite and eternal Being, Consciousness-Force and Bliss. This Divine by his power has created the world or rather manifested it in his own infinite Being. But here in the material world or at its basis he has hidden himself in what seem to be his opposites, Non-Being, Inconscience and Insentience.

This is what we now-a-days call the Inconscient which seems to have created the material universe by its inconscient Energy; but this is only an appearance, for we find in the end that all the dispositions of the world can only have been arranged by the working of a supreme secret Intelligence. The Being which is hidden in what seems to be an inconscient void emerges in the world first in Matter, then in Life, then in Mind and finally as the Spirit. The apparently inconscient Energy which creates is in fact the Consciousness-Force of the Divine and its aspect of consciousness, secret in Matter, begins to emerge in Life, finds something more of itself in Mind and finds its true self in a Spiritual Consciousness and finally a Supramental Consciousness through which we become aware of the Reality, enter into it and unite ourselves with it. This is what we call evolution which is an evolution of Consciousness and an evolution of the Spirit in things and only outwardly an evolution of species. Thus also, the delight of existence emerges from the original insentience, first in the contrary forms of pleasure and pain, and then has to find itself in the bliss of the Spirit or, as it is called in the Upanishads, the bliss of the Brahman. That is the central idea in the explanation of the universe put forward in the Life Divine.

3. Nirguna and Saguna

In a realistic Adwaita there is no need to regard the Saguna as a creation from the Nirguna or even secondary or subordinate to it; both are equal aspects of the one Reality, its position of silent status and rest and its position of action and dynamic force; a silence of eternal rest and peace supports an eternal action and movement. The one Reality, the Divine Being, is bound by neither, since it is in no way limited; it possesses both. There is no incompatibility between the two, as there is none between the Many and the One, the sameness and the difference. They are all eternal aspects of the universe which could not exist if either of them were eliminated, and it is reasonable to suppose that they both came from the Reality which has manifested the universe and are both real. We can only get rid of the apparent contradiction – which is not really a contradiction but only a natural concomitance – by treating one or the other as an illusion. But it is hardly reasonable to suppose that the eternal Reality allows the existence of an eternal illusion with which it has nothing to do or that it supports and enforces on beings a vain cosmic illusion and has no power for any other and real action. The force of the Divine is always there in silence as in action, inactive in silence, active in the manifestation. It is hardly possible to suppose that the Divine Reality has no power or force or that its only power is to create a universal falsehood, a cosmic lie – mithya.

4. Compounds and Disintegration

No doubt, all compounds, being not integral things in themselves but integrations, can disintegrate. Also it is true of life, though not a physical compound, that it has a curve of birth or integration and, after it reaches a certain point, of disintegration, decay and death. But these ideas or this rule of existence cannot be safely applied to things in themselves. The soul is not a compound but an integer, a thing in itself; it does not disintegrate, but at most enters into manifestation and goes out of manifestation. That is true even of forms other than constructed physical or constructed life-forms; they do not disintegrate but appear and disappear or at most fade out of manifestation. Mind itself as opposed to particular thoughts is something essential and permanent; it is a power of the

Divine Consciousness. So is life, as opposed to constructed living bodies; so I think is what we call material energy which is really the force of essential substance in motion, a power of the Spirit. Thoughts, lives, material objects are formations of these energies, constructed or simply manifested according to the habit of the play of the particular energy. As for the elements, what is the pure natural condition of an element? According to modern Science, what used to be called elements turn out to be compounds and the pure natural condition, if any, must be a condition of pure energy; it is that pure condition into which compounds including what we call elements must go when they pass by disintegration into Nirvana.

5. Nirvana

What then is Nirvana? In orthodox Buddhism it does mean a disintegration, not of the soul – for that does not exist – but of a mental compound or stream of associations or samskaras which we mistake for ourself. In illusionist Vedanta it means, not a disintegration but a disappearance of a false and unreal individual self into the one real Self or Brahman; it is the idea and experience of individuality that so disappears and ceases – we may say a false light that is extinguished (nirvana) in the true Light. In spiritual experience it is sometimes the loss of all sense of individuality in a boundless cosmic consciousness; what was the individual remains only as a centre or a channel for the flow of a cosmic consciousness and a cosmic force and action. Or it may be the experience of the loss of individuality in a transcendent being and consciousness in which the sense of cosmos as well as the individual disappears. Or again, it may be in a transcendence which is aware of and supports the cosmic action. But what do we mean by the individual? What we usually call by that name is a natural ego, a device of Nature which holds together her action in the mind and body. This ego has to be extinguished, otherwise there is no complete liberation possible; but the individual self or soul is not this ego. The individual soul is the spiritual being which is sometimes described as an eternal portion of the Divine, but can also be described as the Divine himself supporting his manifestation as the Many. This is the true spiritual individual which appears in its complete truth when we get rid of the ego and our false separative sense of individuality, realise our oneness with the transcendent and cosmic Divine and with all beings. It is this which makes possible the Divine Life. Nirvana is a step towards it; the disappearance of the false separative individuality is a necessary condition for our realising and living in our true eternal being, living divinely in the Divine. But this we can do in the world and in life.

6. Rebirth

If evolution is a truth and is not only a physical evolution of species, but an evolution of consciousness, it must be a spiritual and not only a physical fact. In that case, it is the individual who evolves and grows into a more and more developed and perfect consciousness and obviously that cannot be done in the course of a brief single human life. If there is the evolution of a conscious individual, then there must be rebirth. Rebirth is a logical necessity and a spiritual fact of which we can have the experience. Proofs of rebirth, sometimes of an overwhelmingly convincing nature, are not lacking, but as yet they have not been carefully registered and brought together.

7. Evolution

In my explanation of the universe I have put forward this cardinal fact of a spiritual evolution as the meaning of our existence here. It is a series of ascents from the physical being and consciousness to the vital, the being dominated by the life-self, thence to the mental being realised in the fully developed man and thence into the perfect consciousness which is beyond the mental, into the Supramental Consciousness and the Supramental Being, the Truth-Consciousness which is the integral consciousness of the spiritual being. Mind cannot be our last conscious expression because mind is fundamentally an ignorance seeking for knowledge; it is only the supramental Truth-Consciousness that can bring us the true and whole Self-Knowledge and world-Knowledge; it is through that only that we can get to our true being and the fulfilment of our spiritual evolution.

*

October 8, 1945

All true Gurus are the same, the one Guru, because all are the one Divine. That is a fundamental and universal truth which justifies Krishnaprem’s statement. But there is also a truth of difference; the Divine dwells in different personalities with different minds, teachings, influences so that He may lead different disciples with their special need, character, destiny by different ways to the realisation: that justifies Krishnaprem’s action. Because all Gurus are the same Divine, it does not follow that the disciple does well if he leaves the one meant for him to follow another. Fidelity to the Guru is demanded of every disciple, according to the Indian tradition. Krishnaprem has that fidelity; he feels the spiritual tie holding him to his guru in life and after her departure, that is why he cannot think of going to someone else. “All are the same” is a spiritual truth, but you cannot convert it indiscriminately into action; you cannot deal with all persons in the same way because they are the one Brahman: if one did, the result pragmatically would be an awful mess. You yourself have always in your heart laid stress on the principle of fidelity, Krishnaprem does the same; so you ought to find it easy to understand his standpoint. It is a rigid mental logic that makes the difficulty but in spiritual matters mental logic easily blunders; intuition, faith, a plastic spiritual reason are here the only guides.

As for faith, his meaning is clear enough. Faith in the spiritual sense is not a mental belief which can waver and change. It can wear that form in the mind, but that belief is not the faith itself, it is only its external form. Just as the body, the external form, can change but the spirit remains the same, so is it here. Faith is a certitude in the soul which does not depend on reasoning, on this or that mental idea, on circumstances, on this or that passing condition of the mind or the vital or the body. It may be hidden, eclipsed, may even seem to be quenched, but it reappears again after the storm or the eclipse; it is seen burning still in the soul when one has thought that it was extinguished for ever. The mind may be a shifting sea of doubts and yet that faith may be there within and, if so, it will keep even the doubt-racked mind in the way so that it goes on in spite of itself towards its destined goal. Faith is a spiritual certitude of the spiritual, the divine, the soul’s ideal, something that clings to that even when it is not fulfilled in life, even when the immediate facts or the persistent circumstances seem to deny it. This is a common experience in the life of the human being; if it were not so, man would be the plaything of a changing mind or a sport of circumstance. I have, I think, more than once, written the same thing as Krishnaprem though in different language.

If you understand this and keep it in mind, Krishnaprem’s experience and the image in which he saw it should be sufficiently clear. The needle is this power in the soul and the card with its directions the guiding indications given by it to the mind and life. The ship is the psychological structure of ideas, beliefs, spiritual and psychic experiences, the whole building of the inner life in which one moves onward in the voyage towards the goal.

When the storm comes, a storm of doubts, failures, disappointments, adverse circumstances and what not, the crew – let us say, the powers of the mind and vital and the physical consciousness, begin to disbelieve, despond, stand aghast at the contradiction between our hopes and beliefs and the present facts, and they even turn in their rage of disbelief and despair to deny and destroy the structure of their inner thought and life which was bearing them on, tear up even the compass which was their help and guide, even to reject the needle, the great constant in their spirit. But when they have come to the point of drowning, that power acts on them, they turn to it instinctively for refuge and then suddenly they find all cleared, all the destruction was their own illusory action and the ship reappears as strong as before. This is an experience which most seekers have had many times especially in the earlier or middle course of their sadhana. All that has been done seems to be undone, then suddenly or slowly the storm passes, the constant needle reappears; it may even be that the ship which was a small sloop or at most a schooner or a frigate becomes an armed cruiser and finally a great battleship unsinkable and indestructible. That is a parable, but its meaning should be quite intelligible, and it is a pragmatic fact of common spiritual experience. I may add that this inmost faith or fixed needle of spiritual aspiration may be there without one’s clearly knowing it; one may think that one has only beliefs, propensities, a yearning in the heart or a vital preference which can be smashed or put out of action; but even if these things are or seem to be temporarily destroyed or suspended the hidden constant remains, resumes its action, keeps us on the way and carries us through. It can be said of it in the words of the Gita that even a little of this delivers us from great danger, carries us to the other side of all difficulties, sarva durgani.

*

October 25, 1945

Mother was not thinking at all about Chamanlal and Golconde, as a matter of fact she did not know (I myself did not know till this morning) that you were seriously upset about the matter, so there was no possibility of her being hard to you on that account. As usual on these occasions, you have been putting into her mind things which were not there, but which you thought were or must be there.

Mother did not take the initiative in putting Chamanlal into Golconde. As soon as she heard about his complaints, she tried to arrange for him the Gala House with orders that he should be given the electric fan, free access for his friends and everything else he asked for. She found the room was already engaged, and while she was wondering what could be done, he decided to go away. I fail to see how, in view of that, she can be [said] to have insulted your friend.

As for Golconde, it is in that [house] [?] of all the [eight or nine] houses in the Ashram that she has been trying to carry out her idea [?] physical things, their harmony and order and proper treatment, she has not been imposing it elsewhere except in the matter of cleanliness and hygiene, which are surely not objectionable. I may say that you are mistaken in thinking that everybody who stays in Golconde is in a state of misery or revolt. On the contrary there are many who have asked for it and are put there at their own request every time they come. And they are not Europeans. Mother highly appreciated and praised the old Indian way of living, its simplicity, harmony and order when she saw it exemplified by Chandrashekhar Aiyar and his brother in the Ashram but that is not the way of living of most [people] [nowadays] which is a mixture. Chairs, tables, electric fans, etc. are European introductions, but I don’t suppose those who have got accustomed to them would like to give them up or return to the true simplicity of Indian life. That however, is by the way. But I fail to see why you should treat this external trifle as of so stupendous importance. Mother should be free to carry out her idea in this corner of her kingdom all that is to be seen is that those who evidently do not like it should not stay in Golconde.

All I want to impress on you is that your idea about the Mother being displeased or hard [or] [?] is quite unfounded. Also, your idea you are always harping on that I shall eventually cast you away or abandon you is entirely gratuitous, I shall not do so, now or hereafter.

For heaven’s sake, throw away all that and try to get back to the peace you had and can have again if you will to have it.

*

Correspondence 1946

April 15, 1946

I am ready to help Munshi42 in his inner development, his sadhana if he undertakes one, in whatever way may be possible. But you know what nature of help I usually give. I can give counsel or guidance when it is necessary – through you, of course, for I cannot write personally – but usually it is through silent communication and influence, if he is receptive. From what he writes, it is apparent that he has a capacity, and it is probable that he would have made more progress if he had not shut the door that was opening.

Evidently, he made a mistake when he stopped the visions that were coming. Vision and hallucination are not the same thing. The inner vision is an open door on higher planes of consciousness beyond the physical mind which gives room for a wider truth and experience to enter and act upon the mind. It is not the only or the most important door, but it is one which comes readiest to very many if not most and can be a very powerful help. It does not come as easily to intellectuals as it does to men with a strong life-power or the emotional and the imaginative. It is true that the field of vision, like every other field of activity of the human mind, is a mixed world and there is in it not only truth but much half-truth and error. It is also true that for the rash and unwary to enter into it may bring confusion and misleading inspirations and false voices, and it is safer to have some sure guidance from those who know and have spiritual and psychic experience. One must look at this field calmly and with discrimination, but to shut the gates and reject this or other supraphysical experiences is to limit oneself and arrest the inner development.

Even as it is, the memory even of a fleeting vision seems to have given the help which one can get from these things and the influence he describes and the development attending it are quite the normal results well-known in Sadhana. Whoever it was he saw must have come and touched him in response to his own inner demand for spiritual assistance and to have maintained the contact in spite of the obstacle which he himself had erected. This shows that what came was someone or something real and not an imagination; what he describes as the radio are the communications or inspirations which usually come to the inner mind in one way or another in Yoga.

The line that seems to be natural to him is the Karmayoga and he is therefore right in trying to live according to the teaching of the Gita; for the Gita is the great guide on this path. Purification from egoistic movements and from personal desire and the faithful following of the best light one has are a preliminary training for this path, and so far as he has followed these things, he has been on the right way, but to ask for strength and light in one’s action must not be regarded as an egoistic movement, for they are necessary in one’s inner development. Obviously, a more systematic and intensive sadhana is desirable or, in any case, a steady aspiration and a more constant preoccupation with the central aim could bring an established detachment even in the midst of outer things and outer activity and a continuous guidance. The completeness, the Siddhi of this way of yoga – I speak of the separate path of Karma or spiritual action – begins when one is luminously aware of the Guide and the guidance and when one feels the Power working with oneself as the instrument and the participator in the divine work.

*

June 2, 1946

Well, the Mother did not expect that you would take so seriously the vagaries of this mad cap, still less infer that he had her high authority for his behaviour towards everybody with whom he comes into contact. His mental condition is well known or ought to be by this time and the only thing to do is to turn away and take no notice of him. I suppose, however, that this matter has now been set right. But, certainly, this excessive sensitiveness of yours has to be got over; for so long as it is there, even when you get peace, it will be difficult for you to keep it. Since you have been able to get over the ticklishness about fame it ought to be possible for you to get over this more unpleasant kind of ticklishness also.

I know that this is a time of trouble for you and everybody. It is so for the whole world. Confusion, trouble, disorder and upset everywhere is the general state of things. The better things that are to come are preparing or growing under a veil and the worse are prominent everywhere. The one thing is to hold on and hold out till the hour of light has come.

Love and blessings.

*

June 7, 1946

I gather from Munshi’s letter to you that he has been following a very sound method in his practice and has attained some good results. The first step in Karmayoga of this kind is to diminish and finally get rid of the ego-centric position in works, the lower vital reactions and the principle of desire. He must certainly go on on this road until he reaches something like its end. I would not wish to deflect him from that in any way.

What I had in view when I spoke of a systematic sadhana was the adoption of a method which would generalise the whole attitude of the consciousness so as to embrace all its movements at a time instead of working only upon details – although that working is always necessary. I may cite as an example the practice of the separation of the Prakriti and the Purusha, the conscious Being standing back detached from all the movements of Nature and observing them as witness and knower and finally as the giver (or refuser) of the sanction and at the highest stage of the development, the Ishwara, the pure will, master of the whole Nature.

By intensive sadhana I meant the endeavour to arrive at one of the great positive realisations which would be a firm base for the whole movement. I observe that he speaks of sometimes getting a glimpse of some wide calm when he feels the leading of Vyasa. A descent of this wide calm permanently into the consciousness is one of the realisations of which I was thinking. That he feels it at such times seems to indicate that he may have the capacity of receiving and retaining it. If that happened or if the Prakriti-Purusha realisation came, the whole sadhana would proceed on a strong permanent base with a new and entirely yogic consciousness instead of the purely mental endeavour which is always difficult and slow. I do not however want to press these things upon him; they come in their own time and to press towards them prematurely does not always hasten their coming. Let him continue with his primary task of self-purification and self-preparation; I shall always be ready to give him what silent help I can.

*

July 25, 1946

After receiving your account of your present condition which I understand perfectly well, my advice to you remains the same, to stick on and still stick on persistently until the dawn comes, which it surely will if you resist the temptation to run away into some outer darkness which it would have much more difficulty in reaching. The details you give do not at all convince me that X. was right in thinking that your sadhana was not at all in the line of my Yoga or that you are right in concluding that you are not meant for this line. On the contrary, these are things which come almost inevitably in one degree or another at a certain critical stage through which almost everyone has to pass and which usually lasts for an uncomfortably long time but which need not be at all conclusive or definitive. Usually, if one persists it is the period of darkest night before the dawn which comes to every or almost every spiritual aspirant. It is due to a plunge one has to take into the sheer physical consciousness unsupported by any true mental light or by any vital joy in life, for these usually withdraw behind the veil, though they are not, as they seem to be, permanently lost. It is a period when doubt, denial, dryness, greyness and all kindred things come up with a great force and often reign completely for a time. It is after this stage has been successfully crossed that the true light begins to come, the light which is not of the mind but of the spirit. The spiritual light no doubt comes to a certain extent and to a few to a considerable extent in the earlier stages, though that is not the case with all – for some have to wait till they can clear out the obstructing stuff in the mind, vital and physical consciousness, and until then they get only a touch now and then. But even at the best, this earlier spiritual light is never complete, until the darkness of the physical consciousness has been faced and overcome. It is not by one’s own fault that one falls into this state, it can come when one is trying one’s best to advance. It does not really indicate any radical disability in the nature but certainly it is a hard ordeal and one has to stick very firmly to pass through it. It is difficult to explain these things because the psychological necessity is difficult for the ordinary human reason to understand or to accept. I will try to have a shot at it, but it may take some days. Meanwhile, as you have asked what is my advice, I send you this brief answer.

*

September 28, 1946

The decision made in a vital turmoil and disturbance cannot be the right decision or help towards the right orientation of the life. I must ask you therefore to reconsider your hasty decision and wait until you can see things more lucidly and clearly. It is not true that I have decided not to help you any longer; that can never happen. My close connection with you, both the spiritual and the outward, has not been a connection casually formed or to be casually terminated, but is deep-rooted, at least on my side, and cannot change. Even if you left me for good, I could not possibly disinterest myself in you or abandon my hopes for your life and spiritual future. I do not accept your renunciation of Yoga and the effort towards the spiritual life and I still consider that your persistent orientation towards it and the beginnings you have made have been sufficient to warrant the belief that something deep in your being turned you towards it and will in the end prevail. Even if you gave it up now you would still have to return to it. I recognise the extreme difficulties under which you are labouring – it is indeed a time of the worse difficulties for the world and almost everybody in it and for myself and my work – and I would have no objection to your seeking relief for a time, even as I have had no objection to it in the past. A relief of that kind from extreme tension is sometimes the right course; but permanent renunciation is quite another matter and unacceptable. Even if you renounced the Yoga and renounced me, I could not renounce you. You cannot escape from God like that; whether you like his ways or not, you will have to seek after Him till you find Him. As for the difficulties, I shall overcome mine; the world also will overcome its difficulties, as it cannot fail to do if I overcome mine: you also must overcome yours and not succumb to them however hard to bear at present they may be.

I had to shelve the letter I was writing because I was not satisfied with the form it had taken and did not find a right one. It is shelved but not abandoned. I have certainly not abandoned nor even shelved my will and my effort to help you. I have always continued it in whatever circumstances and shall always continue. I have no time to write anymore than this brief letter since you speak of going at 12 and this has to reach you before then. I have written only what is essential, but I hope it will be sufficient to turn you from your wrong resolve. To follow it would, I believe, be as unhappy for yourself as for me. Persevere, fight on and be faithful to your soul. My love and blessings

*

October 20, 1946

Krishnaprem’s letter is admirable from start to finish and every sentence hits the truth with great point and force. He has evidently an accurate knowledge both of the psychological and the occult forces that act in Yoga; all he says is in agreement with my own experience and I concur. His account of the rationale of your present difficulties is quite correct and no other explanation is needed – except what I was writing in my unfinished letter about the descent of the Sadhana into the plane of the physical consciousness and that does not disaccord with but only completes what he says. He is quite right in saying that the heaviness of these attacks was due to the fact that you had taken up the Sadhana in earnest and were approaching, as one might say, the gates of the kingdom of Light. That always makes these forces rage and they strain every nerve and use or create every opportunity to turn the sadhak back or, if possible, drive him out of the path altogether by their suggestions, their violent influences and their exploitation of all kinds of incidents that always crop up more and more when these conditions prevail, so that he may not reach the gates. I have written to you more than once alluding to these forces, but I did not press the point because I saw that like most people whose minds have been rationalised by a modern European education you were not inclined to believe in or at least to attach any importance to this knowledge.

People nowadays seek the explanation for everything in their ignorant reason, their surface experience and in outside happenings. They do not see the hidden forces and inner causes which were well-known and visualised in the traditional Indian and yogic knowledge. Of course, these forces find their point d’appui in the sadhak himself, in the ignorant parts of his consciousness and its assent to their suggestions and influences; otherwise they could not act or at least could not act with any success. In your case the chief points d’appui have been the extreme sensitiveness of the lower vital ego and now also the physical consciousness with all its fixed or standing opinions, prejudices, prejudgments, habitual reactions, personal preferences, clinging to old ideas and associations, its obstinate doubts and its maintaining these things as a wall of obstruction and opposition to the larger light. This activity of the physical mind is what people call intellect and reason, although it is only the turning of a machine in a circle of mental habits and is very different from the true and free reason, the higher Buddhi, which is capable of enlightenment and still more from the higher spiritual light or that insight and tact of the psychic consciousness which sees at once what is true and right and distinguishes it from what is wrong and false. This insight you had very constantly whenever you were in a good condition and especially whenever Bhakti became strong in you. When the sadhak comes down into the physical consciousness, leaving the mental and higher vital ranges on which he had first turned towards the Divine, these opposite things become very strong and sticky and, as one’s more helpful states and experiences draw back behind the veil and one can hardly realise that one ever had them, it becomes difficult to get out of this condition. The only thing then, as Krishnaprem has told you and I also have insisted, is to stick it out. If once one can get and keep the resolution to refuse to accept the suggestions of these forces, however plausible they may seem, then either quickly or gradually this condition can diminish and will be overpassed and cease. To give up Yoga is no solution; you could not successfully do it as both Krishnaprem and I have told you and as your own mind tells you when it is clear. A temporary absence from the Ashram for relief from the struggle is a different matter. I do not think, however, that residence in the Ramana Ashram would be eventually helpful except for bringing back some peace of mind; Ramana Maharshi is a great Yogi and his realisation very high on its own line; but it does not seem to me that it is a line which you could successfully follow as you certainly can follow the path of Bhakti if you stick to it, and there might then be the danger of your falling between two stools, losing your own path and not being able to follow the path of another nature.

As regards Bengal, things are certainly very bad; the condition of the Hindus there is terrible and they may even get worse in spite of the interim marriage de convenance at Delhi. But we must not let our reaction to it become excessive or suggest despair. There must be at least 20 million Hindus in Bengal and they are not going to be exterminated – even Hitler with his scientific methods of massacre could not exterminate the Jews who are still showing themselves very much alive and, as for the Hindu culture, it is not such a weak and fluffy thing as to be easily stamped out; it has lasted through something like five millenniums at least and is going to carry on much longer and has accumulated quite enough power to survive. What is happening did not come to me as a surprise. I foresaw it when I was in Bengal and warned people that it was probable and almost inevitable and that they should be prepared for it. At that time no one attached any value to what I said although some afterwards remembered and admitted, when the trouble first began, that I had been right; only C. R. Das had grave apprehensions and he even told me, when he came to Pondicherry, that he would not like the British to go out until this dangerous problem had been settled. But I have not been discouraged by what is happening, because I know and have experienced hundreds of times that beyond the blackest darkness there lies for one who is a divine instrument the light of God’s victory. I have never had a strong and persistent will for anything to happen in the world – I am not speaking of personal things – which did not eventually happen even after delay, defeat or even disaster. There was a time when Hitler was victorious everywhere and it seemed certain that a black yoke of the Asura would be imposed on the whole world; but where is Hitler now and where is his rule? Berlin and Nuremberg have marked the end of that dreadful chapter in human history. Other blacknesses threaten to overshadow or even engulf mankind, but they too will end as that nightmare has ended. I cannot write fully in this letter of all things which justify my confidence – some day perhaps I shall be able to do it.

*

November 6, 1946

(This is the last letter in Sri Aurobindo’s own handwriting.)

That is all – not your pessimism with which I don’t agree, but with regard to the service and the attempt to raise the money. I will give you all the force I can; my love and blessings will be always with you.

*

December 2, 1946

(In response to a letter received by Dilipda from Sanjiva Rao who wrote, “It is with no desire to break idols that I place my problem before you: I have had so many idols of mine broken and have suffered so much in consequence that I feel it to be utterly wrong to seek to destroy the temporary mental constructions which our mind formulates for its own security and well-being until life itself creates more permanent forms into which it can pour itself. I am anxious to have a certain clarification in my own mind. I will put it to you briefly.

“Is Sri Krishna’s conventional form the creation of a poet-bhakta made permanent and stable by the acceptance of subsequent bhaktas? I will take the case of Rama and Sita. It is not certain that the story is entirely historical. What is certain is that both these have a very real existence in the national consciousness of the nation. By a process of continual meditation the national consciousness has formulated in these figures certain great ideals, ethical and spiritual. One may very well accept the validity and the beauty of these ideals without necessarily accepting the Ramayana as authentic history.

“I accept the Krishna consciousness as a fact of human experience. There are many aspects of that consciousness expressed in an integral unity in the life of Sri Krishna. I know it to be a reality. But the problem which I would have elucidated for myself is whether the Krishna ofBrin-davan and the details of His lila are to be accepted as literally true or merely as beautiful symbols of deep spiritual realities. Are these symbols creations of the individual human genius or are they creations of the Cosmic Mind, perceived by the bhakta or the sage.

“The question extends itself to the forms of the great Powers of the Ishwara: is the Goddess Athena the expression of the Greek national thought form or was there a form of a great Devi who moulded the Greek mind and body in her own image? Does the Goddess Isis similarly represent the soul of ancient Egypt? Is Mother India merely a poetic symbol or an Entity? Long ago when I came into spiritual contact with Sri Aurobindo I was almost swept off my feet spiritually by the power of his paper, the Karmayogin. / almost believed that Mother India was more than a symbol, that there was an Entity as real as my own being. I feel tempted to ask: are these Devas or Devis creations of the Cosmic Mind, having an otherwise independent existence of their own (dependent only on the Cosmic Mind) with a definite form of their own, or does the Supreme pour itself into any form which the individual or a nation may create for his or its use?

“The question may appear to be purely academic, but I would be glad if you can help to clarify my mind?”)

The answer to the question depends on what value one attaches to spiritual experience and to mystic and occult experience, that is to say, to the data of other planes of consciousness than the physical, as also on the nature of the relations between the cosmic consciousness and the individual and collective consciousness of man. From the point of view of spiritual and occult Truth, what takes shape in the consciousness of man is a reflection and particular kind of formation, in a difficult medium, of things much greater in their light, power and beauty or in their force and range which came to it from the cosmic consciousness of which man is a limited and, in his present state of evolution, a still ignorant part. All this explanation about the genius of the race, of the consciousness of a nation creating the Gods and their forms is a very partial, somewhat superficial and in itself a misleading truth. Man’s mind is not an original creator, it is an intermediary; to start creating it must receive an initiating “inspiration”, a transmission or a suggestion from the cosmic consciousness and with that it does what it can. God is, but man’s conceptions of God are reflections in his own mentality, sometimes of the Divine, sometimes of other Beings and Powers and they are what his mentality can make of the suggestions that come to him, generally very partial and imperfect so long as they are still mental, so long as he has not arrived at a higher and truer, a spiritual or mystic knowledge. The Gods already exist, they are not created by man, even though he does seem to conceive them in his own image; fundamentally, he formulates as best he can what truth about them he receives from the cosmic Reality. An artist or a bhakta may have a vision of the God and it may get stabilised and generalised in the consciousness of the race and in that sense it may be true that man gives their forms to the Gods; but he does not invent these forms, he records what he sees; the forms that he gives are given to him. In the“conventional” form of Krishna men have embodied what they could see of his eternal beauty and what they have seen may be true as well as beautiful, it conveys something of the form, but it is fairly certain that if there is an eternal form of that eternal beauty, it is a thousand times more beautiful than what man had as yet been able to see of it. Mother India is not a piece of earth; she is a Power, a Godhead, for all nations have such a Devi supporting their separate existence and keeping it in being. Such Beings are as real and more permanently real than the men they influence, but they belong to a higher plane, are part of the cosmic consciousness and being and act here on earth by shaping the human consciousness on which they exercise their influence.

It is natural for man who sees only his own consciousness individual, national or racial at work and does not see what works upon it and shapes it, to think that all is created by him and there is nothing cosmic and greater behind it. The Krishna consciousness is a reality, but if there were no Krishna, there could be no Krishna consciousness; except in arbitrary metaphysical abstractions there can be no consciousness without a Being who is conscious. It is the person who gives value and reality to the personality, he expresses himself in it and is not constituted by it. Krishna is a being, a person and it is as the Divine Person that we meet him, hear his voice, speak with him and feel his presence. To speak of the consciousness of Krishna as something separate from Krishna is an error of the mind, which is always separating the inseparable and which also tends to regard the impersonal, because it is abstract, as greater, more real and more enduring than the person. Such divisions may be useful to the mind for its own purposes, but it is not the real truth; in the real truth the being or person and its impersonality or state of being are one reality. The historicity of Krishna is of less spiritual importance and is not essential, but it has still a considerable value. It does not seem to me that there can be any reasonable doubt that Krishna the man was not a legend or a poetic invention but actually existed upon earth and played a part in the Indian past. Two facts emerge clearly, that he was regarded as an important spiritual figure, one whose spiritual illumination was recorded in one of the Upanishads, and that he was traditionally regarded as a divine man, one worshipped after his death as a deity; this is apart from the story in the Mahabharata and the Puranas. There is no reason to suppose that the connection of his name with the development of the Bhagavata religion, an important current in the stream of Indian spirituality, was founded on a mere legend or poetic invention. The Mahabharata is a poem and not history, but it is clearly a poem founded on a great historical event, traditionally preserved in memory; some of the figures connected with it, Dhritarashtra, Parikshit, for instance, certainly existed and the story of the part played by Krishna as leader, warrior and statesman can be accepted as probable in itself and to all appearance founded on a tradition which can be given a historical value and has not the air of a myth or a sheer poetical invention. That is as much as can be positively said from the point of view of the theoretical reason as to the historic figure of the man Krishna; but in my view there is much more than that in it and I have always regarded the incarnation as a fact and accepted the historicity of Krishna as I accept the historicity of Christ.

The story of Brindavan is another matter; it does not enter into the main story of the Mahabharata and has a Puranic origin and it could be maintained that it was intended all along to have a symbolic character. At one time I accepted that explanation, but I had to abandon it afterwards; there is nothing in the Puranas that betrays any such intention. It seems to me that it is related as something that actually occurred or occurs somewhere; the Gopis are to them realities and not symbols. It was for them at the least an occult truth, and occult and symbolic are not the same thing; the symbol may be only a significant mental construction or only a fanciful invention, but the occult is a reality which is actual somewhere, behind the material scene as it were and can have its truth for the terrestrial life and its influence upon it may even embody itself there. The lila of the Gopis seems to be conceived as something which is always going on in a divine Gokul and which projected itself in an earthly Brindavan and can always be realised and its meaning made actual in the soul. It is to be presumed that the writers of the Puranas took it as having been actually projected on earth in the life of the incarnate Krishna and it has been always so accepted by the religious mind of India.

These questions and the speculations to which they have given rise have no indispensable connection with the spiritual life. There what matters is the contact with Krishna and the growth towards the Krishna consciousness, the presence, the spiritual relation, the union in the soul and till that is reached, the aspiration, the growth in bhakti and whatever illumination one can get on the way. To one who has had these things, lived in the presence, heard the voice, known Krishna as Friend or Lover, Guide, Teacher, Master or, still more, has had his whole consciousness changed by the contact, or felt the presence within him, all such questions have only an outer and superficial interest.

So also, to one who has had contact with the inner Brindavan and the lila of the Gopis, made the surrender and undergone the spell of the joy and the beauty or even only turned to the sound of the flute, the rest hardly matters. But from another point of view, if one can accept the historical reality of the incarnation, there is this great spiritual gain that one has a point d’appui for a more concrete realisation in the conviction that once at least the Divine has visibly touched the earth, made the complete manifestation possible, made it possible for the divine super-nature to descend into this evolving but still very imperfect terrestrial nature.

*

Correspondence 1947

1947

As usual you seem to have received some very fantastic and sensational reports about what you call the mill business. There was no “mill” in question, only Subrata’s small foundry and Colombani’s equally small oil factory. Subrata was in difficulties about her affair and came to the Mother for advice and offered to sell; the Mother was prepared to buy on reasonable or even on generous terms, on certain conditions and use it, not on capitalistic lines or for any profit, but for certain work necessary to the Ashram, just as she uses the Atelier or the Bakery or the Building Department. The Ashram badly needs a foundry and the idea was to use Colombani’s machinery for making the soap necessary for the Ashram. The Mother told Subrata that she was sending for Ranjit43 and if he consented to run these two affairs, she might buy but not otherwise as the Mother herself had no time to look after these things. Ranjit came but found the whole thing too small and not sufficient for the prospect or for some larger work he wanted to do; so Subrata had to be told that nothing could be done. That is the whole affair. Where do you find anything here of capitalism and huge profits and sums and all the rest?

I may say, however, that I do not regard business as something evil or tainted, any more than it is so regarded in ancient spiritual India. If I did, I would not be able to receive money from Ambalal or from those of our disciples who in Bombay trade with East Africa; nor could we then encourage them to go on with their work but would have to tell them to throw it up and attend to their spiritual progress alone. How are we to reconcile Ambalal’s seeking after spiritual light and his mill? Ought I not to tell him to leave his mill to itself and to the devil and go into some Ashram to meditate? Even if I myself had had the command to do business as I had the command to do politics I would have done it without the least spiritual or moral compunction. All depends on the spirit in which a thing is done, the principles on which it is built and the use to which it is turned.

I have done politics and the most violent kind of revolutionary politics, ghoram karma, and I have supported war and sent men to it, even though politics is not always or often a very clean occupation nor can war be called a spiritual line of action. But Krishna calls upon Arjuna to carry on war of the most terrible kind and by his example encourage men to do every kind of human work, sarva karmani. Do you contend that Krishna was an unspiritual man and that his advice to Arjuna was mistaken or wrong in principle? Krishna goes further and declares that a man by doing in the right way and in the right spirit the work dictated to him by his fundamental nature, temperament and capacity and according to his and its dharma can move towards the Divine. He validates the function and dharma of the Vaishya as well as of the Brahmin and Kshatriya. It is in his view quite possible for a man to do business and make money and earn profits and yet be a spiritual man, practise yoga, have an inner life. The Gita is constantly justifying works as a means of spiritual salvation and enjoining a Yoga of Works as well as of Bhakti and Knowledge. Krishna, however, superimposes a higher law also that work must be done without desire, without attachment to any fruit or reward, without any egoistic attitude or motive, as an offering or sacrifice to the Divine. This is the traditional Indian attitude towards these things, that all work can be done if it is done according to the dharma and, if it is rightly done, it does not prevent the approach to the Divine or the access to spiritual knowledge and the spiritual life.

There is, of course, also the ascetic ideal which is necessary for many and has its place in the spiritual order. I would myself say that no man can be spiritually complete if he cannot live ascetically or follow a life as bare as the barest anchorite’s. Obviously, greed for wealth and money-making has to be absent from his nature as much as greed for food or any other greed and all attachment to these things must be renounced from his consciousness. But I do not regard the ascetic way of living as indispensable to spiritual perfection or as identical with it. There is the way of spiritual self-mastery and the way of spiritual self-giving and surrender to the Divine, abandoning ego and desire even in the midst of action or of any kind of work or all kinds of work demanded from us by the Divine. If it were not so, there would not have been great spiritual men like Janaka or Vidura in India and even there would have been no Krishna or else Krishna would have been not the Lord of Brindavan and Mathura and Dwarka or a prince and warrior or the charioteer of Kurukshetra, but only one more great anchorite. The Indian scriptures and Indian tradition, in the Mahabharata and elsewhere, make room both for the spirituality of the renunciation of life and for the spiritual life of action. One cannot say that one only is the Indian tradition and that the acceptance of life and works of all kinds, sarva karmani, is un-Indian, European or western and unspiritual.

There is no contradiction between my former statements about the sunlit path and what I have said about the difficult and unpleasant passages which the yoga has to pass through in its normal development in the way of human nature. The sunlit path can be followed by those who are able to practise surrender, first a central surrender and afterwards a more complete self-giving in all the parts of the being. If they can achieve and preserve the attitude of the central surrender, if they can rely wholly on the Divine and accept cheerfully whatever comes to them from the Divine, then their path becomes sunlit and may even be straightforward and easy. They will not escape all difficulties, no seeker can, but they will be able to meet them without pain and despondency – as indeed the Gita recommends that yoga should be practised, anirviimacetasa – trusting in the inner guidance and perceiving it more and more or else in the outer guidance of the Guru. It can also be followed even when one feels no light and no guidance, if there is or if one can acquire a bright settled faith and happy bhakti or has the nature of the spiritual optimist and the firm belief or feeling that all that is done by the Divine is done for the best even when we cannot understand his action. But all have not this nature, most are very far from it, and the complete or even the central surrender is not easy to get, and to keep it always is hard enough for our human nature. When these things are not there, the liberty of the soul is not attained and we have instead to undergo the law or fulfil a hard and difficult discipline.

That law is imposed on us by the Ignorance which is the nature of all our parts; our physical being is obviously a mass of ignorance, the vital is full of ignorant desires and passions, the mind is also an instrument of Ignorance struggling towards some kind of imperfect and mostly inferior and external knowledge. The path of the seeker proceeds through this ignorance; for a long time he can find no light of solid experience or realisation, only the hopes and ideas and beliefs of the mind which do not give the true spiritual seeing; or he gets glimpses of light or periods of light but the light often goes out and the luminous periods are followed by frequent or long periods of darkness.

There are constant fluctuations, persistent disappointments, innumerable falls and failures. No path of yoga is really easy or free from these difficulties or fluctuations; the way of bhakti is supposed to be the easiest, but still we find constant complaints that one is always seeking but never finding and even at the best there is a constant ebb and tide, milan and viraba, joy and weeping, ecstasy and despair. If one has the faith or in the absence of faith the will to go through, one passes on and enters into the joy and light of the divine realisation. If one gets some habit of true surrender, then all this is not necessary; one can enter into the sunlit way. Or if one can get some touch of what is called pure bhakti, shuddha bhakti, then whatever happens that is enough; the way becomes easy or, if it does not, still this is a sufficient start to support us to the end without the sufferings and falls that happen so often to the ignorant seeker.

In all yoga there are three essential objects to be attained by the seeker: union or abiding contact with the Divine, liberation of the soul or the self, the spirit, and a certain change of the consciousness, the spiritual change. It is this change, which is necessary for reaching the other two objects, necessary at least to a certain degree, that is the cause of most of the struggles and difficulties; for it is not easy to accomplish it; a change of the mind, a change of the heart, a change of the habits of the will is called for and is obstinately resisted by our ignorant nature. In this Yoga a complete transformation of the nature is aimed at because that is necessary for the complete union and the complete liberation not only of the soul and the spirit but of the nature itself. It is also a Yoga of works and of the integral divine life; for that the integral transformation of nature is evidently necessary; the union with the Divine has to carry with it a full entrance into the divine consciousness and the divine nature; there must be not only sayujya [the absolute union of the Divine with the human spirit] or salokya [dwelling of the soul in the Divine] but sadrsya [likeness to the Divine] or, as it is called in the Gita, sadharmya [becoming of one law of being and nature with the Supreme]. The full yoga, Purna Yoga, means a fourfold path, a Yoga of Knowledge for the mind, a Yoga of Bhakti for the heart, a Yoga of Works for the will and a Yoga of Perfection for the whole nature. But ordinarily, if one can follow whole-heartedly any one of these lines, one arrives at the result of all the four. For instance, by bhakti one becomes close to the Divine, becomes intensely aware of Him and arrives at knowledge, for the Divine is the Truth and the Reality; by knowing Him, says the Upanishads, one comes to know all. By bhakti also the will is led into the road of the works of love and the service of the Divine and the government of the nature and its acts by the Divine and that is Karmayoga. By bhakti also comes spiritual change of the consciousness and the action of the nature which is the first step towards its transformation. So it is with all the other lines of the fourfold path. But it may be that there are many obstacles in the being to the domination of the mind and heart and will by bhakti and the consequent contact with the

Divine. The too great activity of the intellectual mind and its attachment to its own pride of ideas, its prejudices, its fixed notions and its ignorant reason may shut the doors to the inner light and prevent the full tide of bhakti from flooding everything; it may also cling to a surface mental activity and refuse to go inside and allow the psychic vision and the feelings of the inner heart to become its guides, though it is by this vision and this feeling that bhakti grows and conquers. So too the passions and desires of the vital being and its ego may block the way and prevent the self-giving of the mind and heart to the Divine. The inertia, ignorance and incon-science of one’s physical consciousness, its attachment to fixed habits of thought and feeling and action, its persistence in the old grooves may come badly in the way of the needed change. In such circumstances the Divine may have to bide his time; but if there is real hunger in the heart, all that cannot prevent the final realisation; still, it may have to wait till the obstructions are removed or at least so much cleared out as to admit an unimpeded working of the Divine Power on the surface nature. Till then, there may be periods of inner ease and some light in the mind, periods also of the feeling of bhakti or of peace, periods of the joy of self-consecration in works and service; for these will take long to stay permanently and there will be much struggle and unrest and suffering. In the end the Divine’s working will appear and one will be able to live in his presence.

I have described the difficulties of Yoga at their worst, as they may hamper and afflict even those predestined to the realisation but as often there is an alternation or a mixture of the light and the darkness, initial attainment perhaps and heavy subsequent difficulties, progress and attacks and retardations, strong movements forward and a floundering in the bogs of the Ignorance. Even great realisations may come and high splendours of light and spiritual experience and yet the goal is not attained; for in the phrase of the Rig Veda, “As one climbs from peak to peak there is made clear the much that is still to be done.” But there is always something that either carries us on or forces us on. This may take the shape of something conscious in front, the shape of a mastering spiritual idea, indestructible aspiration or fixed faith which may seem sometimes entirely veiled or even destroyed in periods of darkness or violent upheaval, but always they reappear when the storm has passed or the blackness of night has thinned, and reassert their influence. But also it may be something in the very essence of the being deeper than any idea or will in the mind, deeper and more permanent than the heart’s aspiration but hidden from one’s own observation. One who is moved to yoga by some curiosity of the mind or even by its desire for knowledge can turn aside from the path from disappointment or any other cause; still more can those who take it up from some inner ambition or vital desire turn away through revolt or frustration or the despondency of frequent check and failure. But if this deeper thing is there, then one cannot permanently leave the path of spiritual endeavour: one may decide to leave the path but is not allowed from within to do it or one may leave but is obliged to return to it by the secret spiritual need within him.

All these things are common to every path of yoga; they are the normal difficulties, fluctuations and struggles which come across the path of spiritual effort. But in this Yoga there is an order or succession of the workings of the secret Force which may vary greatly in its circumstances in each sadhak, but still maintains its general line. Our evolution has brought the being up out of inconscient Matter into the Ignorance of mind, life and body tempered by an imperfect knowledge and is trying to lead us into the Light of the Spirit, to lift us into that light and to bring the light down into us, into body and life as well as mind and heart and to fill with it all that we are. This and its consequences, of which the greatest is the union with the Divine and life in the divine consciousness, is the meaning of the integral transformation.

Mind is our present topmost faculty; it is through the thinking mind and the heart with the soul, the psychic being behind them that we have to grow into the Spirit, for what the Force first tries to bring about is to fix the mind in the right central idea, faith or mental attitude and the right aspiration and poise of the heart and to make these sufficiently strong and firm to last in spite of other things in the mind and heart which are other than or in conflict with them. Along with this it brings whatever experiences, realisations or descent or growth of knowledge the mind of the individual is ready for at the time or as much of it, however small, as is necessary for its further progress: sometimes these realisations and experiences are very great and abundant, sometimes few and small or negligible; in some there seems to be in this first stage nothing much of these things or nothing decisive – the Force seems to concentrate on a preparation of the mind only. In many cases the sadhana seems to begin and proceed with experiences in the vital; but in reality this can hardly take place without some mental preparation, even if it is nothing more than a turning of the mind or some kind of opening which makes the vital experiences possible. In any case, to begin with the vital is a hazardous affair; the difficulties in there are more numerous and more violent than on the mental plane and the pitfalls are innumerable. The access to the soul, the psychic being is less easy because it is covered up with a thick veil of ego, passion and desire. One is apt to be swallowed up in a maze of vital experiences, not always reliable, the temptation of small siddhis, the appeal of the powers of darkness to the ego. One has to struggle through these densities to the psychic being behind and bring it forward; then only can the sadhana on the vital plane be safe.

However that may be, the descent of the sadhana, of the action of the Force into the vital plane of our being becomes after some time necessary. The Force does not make a wholesale change of the mental being and nature, still less an integral transformation before it takes this step: if that could be done, the rest of the sadhana would be comparatively secure and easy.

But the vital is there and always pressing on the mind and heart, disturbing and endangering the sadhana and it cannot be left to itself for too long. The ego and desires of the vital, its disturbances and upheavals have to be dealt with and if not at once expelled, at least dominated and prepared for a gradual if not a rapid modification, change, illumination. This can only be done on the vital plane itself by descending to that level. The vital ego itself must become conscious of its own defects and willing to get rid of them; it must decide to throw away its vanities, ambitions, lusts and longings, its rancours and revolts and all the rest of the impure stuff and unclean movements within it. This is the time of the greatest difficulties, revolts and dangers. The vital ego hates being opposed in its desires, resents disappointment, is furious against wounds to its pride and vanity; it does not like the process of purification and it may very well declare Satyagraha against it, refuse to co-operate, justify its own demands and inclinations, offer passive resistance of many kinds, withdraw the vital support which is necessary both to the life and the sadhana and try to withdraw the being from the path of spiritual endeavour. All this has to be faced and overcome, for the temple of the being has to be swept clean if the Lord of our being is to take his place and receive our worship there.

*

April 5, 1947

In all this imbroglio about the book on Subhash, one thing is positive that I never gave any such order and it ought to have been evident to everybody that I could not have done it since I permitted the publication of your book and the prohibition of it would have been too outrageous a self-contradiction to be even thinkable. About another thing the Mother is equally positive that she never gave or intended to give such an order. When I told her that you wanted to go away and that it was on account of the affair about the book on Subhash she was evidently bewildered and asked what connection there could be between the two things; when I told her the story of the alleged prohibition she was equally astonished and broke out, “T! I never gave such an order!” Another thing is clear that the story about your book and Hitler’s Mein Kampf being coupled together by the Mother is a myth.

Premananda44 misunderstood something said by Prithwi Singh and so the story got about; Prithwi Singh says he never said that the Mother had spoken about Mein Kampf; it was he himself who mentioned about Mein Kampf and that not coupling it with your book but merely as an instance of a book being kept aside and not issued; so that is that. Nobody received any order direct from the Mother, except that Nolini misunderstood her as having told him not to issue the book. He said he asked her about issuing it and she said, “No.” But the Mother has no recollection even of being told of your book having already come to the library, much less being consulted about it; she certainly never said anything intended as an order about it. If she had wished to do that, she certainly would not have made such an order without consulting me, never even telling me about it; that is impossible. So there must have been a lack of understanding on the one side of the nature of the question put and on the other side of the meaning and relevance of the answer: when both were pressed for time, that has happened often enough in other matters.

Behind all that there is an old story which may account for everything. You will remember that both the Mother and I were very angry against Subhash for having brought the Japanese into India and reproached him with it as a treason and crime against the Motherland. For if they had got in, it would have been almost impossible to get them out. The Mother knows the Japanese nation well and was positive about that. Okawa, the leader of the Black Dragon (the one who shammed mad and got off at the Tokyo trial) told her that if India revolted against the British, Japan would send her Navy to help, but he said that he would not like the Japanese to land because if they once got hold of Indian soil they would never leave it, and it was true enough. If the Japanese had overrun India, and they would have done it if a powerful Divine intervention had not prevented it and turned the tables on them, they would have joined the Germans in Mesopotamia and the Caucasus and nothing could have saved Europe and Asia from being overrun. This would have meant the destruction of our work and a horrible fate for this country and for the world. You can understand therefore the bitterness of our feelings at that time against Subhash and his association with the Axis and the disaster to his country for which he would have been responsible.

Incidentally, instead of being liberated in 1948, India would have had to spend a century or several centuries in a renewed servitude. When therefore the Mother heard that you were writing a book eulogising Subhash, she disapproved strongly of any such thing issuing out of the Ashram and she wanted that you should be asked not to publish it. Our views about Subhash were known all over the Ashram and the Mother’s disapproval of the book must also have got known to many. About that time Baron came, you told him of your book and he was very much alarmed at any eulogy of Subhash coming from the Ashram and was afraid that the British Government would be in a fury and would do something about it: he spoke of this to the Mother and said that he was inviting you to dinner and would take the opportunity to discuss the whole thing with you. It must have dropped out of his memory almost immediately or perhaps he felt that his apprehension was exaggerated, for he said nothing more afterwards about it. Mother says it is possible that at that time she told Nolini that it might be better if the book was not issued or sold from the Ashram but she spoke to me about the whole affair and I told her that I did not think any harm would result under the changed circumstances and for that reason it would be better to let you follow your feelings and not ask you to refrain from publication. Mother accepted this though she still did not like the idea of the book. Subsequently she met one of the chief lieutenants of Subhash, a man from Hyderabad who had been his secretary and companion in the submarine by which he came from Germany to Japan, and he recounted his daily talks in the submarine and strongly defended his action. From what he said it was evident, although we still regarded Subhash’s action as a reckless and dangerous folly, that the aspect of a crime against the country disappeared from it. Since then Mother modified her attitude towards Subhash; moreover, the war was receding into the past and there was no longer any room for the poignancy of the feeling it had raised and it was better that all that should be forgotten. But although almost a year had passed, the impressions made at that time have remained in the minds of many and account for the attitude of Nolini and Prithwi Singh to your book and must also be the psychological source of Nolini’s misunderstanding about the supposed order.

We regret that a blow should have fallen on you and the pain accompanying it when no blow was really given or intended. Anyhow, the matter has been rectified; the library has been informed that there has been a misunderstanding, no prohibition was actually made and the book must be issued to sadhaks.

*

April 9, 1947

(To Mother)

I saw a dream towards the small hours of the morning about yourself. You were very sweet and I told you in French (as I was bringing to you a present somebody had left unowned): “Vos mots sont tres doux. Mere!” I felt a great devotion an emotion I never felt for months perhaps years and I got up a little heartened after all these months of futile questionings. I won’t take your time uselessly by a recital of my sorrows only I would like to tell you that in case I do find it impossible to go on here, which seems more and more probable as days pass, please don’t think me to be an ungrateful fellow: for if I have travelled away from you today (I can’t account for the straying but the straying is an undeniable fact and must be in some way due to my ego even though I have worked so hard to get rid of its movements) and am seriously thinking whether I had better go away somewhere for a year to practice even prayopabeshana if necessary – since the ashram-life as well as the world life is becoming gradually almost equally unbearable to me and I think I had better clear away to let other people come in here who are more open to you (the house-problem too is acute and you will be able to accommodate so many here when I go away): but even if I am forced by my recalcitrant nature to go away please do not consider me ungrateful and sans bonne volonte and I assure you there had never been the least insincerity in my genuine desire to serve you progressively through my self-giving. However, it was not to be, I don’t know why, and the result is that I have only progressively entrenched myself from self-giving as a result of which life anywhere has been made almost impossible. I am writing to Sir CP. if he can fix me up in some bungalow in some forest or other and I hope you will from the distance fortify my resolve to carry through my prayopabeshana for which I may not have the strength ultimately without your or Sri Aurobindo’s support.

My dear child, I see no good reason why you should leave this place which after all, has been your home for such a long time... You speak of “house-problem” but as I have no intention of giving your house to anybody else, I do not see how your departure can ease the problem.... As for helping you in all circumstances, of that you can be sure and it is only your more or less receptivity that can put a limit to this help. With my love and blessings

*

April 9, 1947

The difficulties that remain, although not identical, are similar in their cause and their fundamental nature to those you have either largely or completely overcome and they can be conquered in the same way; it is a question of time and of acquiescence within yourself in the pressure from the Divine which makes man change.

Human nature and the character of the individual are a formation that has arisen in and out of the inconscience of the material world and can never get entirely free from the pressure of that Inconscience. As consciousness grows in the being born into this material world, it takes the form of an Ignorance slowly admitting or striving with difficulty after knowledge and human nature is made of that Ignorance and the character of the individual is made from the elements of the Ignorance. It is largely mechanistic like everything else in the material Nature and there is almost invariably a resistance and, more often than not, a strong and stubborn resistance to any change demanded from it. The character is made up of habits and it clings to them, is disposed to think them the very law of its being and it is a hard job to get it to change at all except under a strong pressure of circumstances.

Especially in the physical parts, the body, the physical mind, the physical life movements, there is this resistance; the tamasic element in Nature is powerful there, what the Gita describes as aprakasa, absence of light, and apravrtti, a tendency to inertia, inactivity, unwillingness to make an effort and, as a result, even when the effort is made, a constant readiness to doubt, to despond and despair, to give up, renounce the aim and the endeavour, collapse. Fortunately, there is also in human nature a sattwic element which turns towards light and a rajasic or kinetic element which desires and needs to act and can be made to desire not only change but constant progress. But these too, owing to the limitations of human ignorance and the obstructions of the fundamental inconscience, suffer from pettiness and division and can resist as well as assist the spiritual endeavour. The spiritual change which Yoga demands from human nature and individual character is, therefore, full of difficulties, one may almost say that it is the most difficult of all human aspirations and efforts. In so far as it can get the sattwic and the rajasic (kinetic) elements to assist it, its path is made easier but even the sattwic element can resist by attachment to old ideas, to preconceived notions, to mental preferences and partial judgments, to opinions and reasonings which come in the way of higher truth and to which it is attached: the kinetic element resists by its egoism, its passions, desires and strong attachments, its vanity and self-esteem, its constant habit of demand and many other obstacles. The resistance of the vital has a more violent character than the others and it brings to the aid of the others its own violence and passion and that is a source of all the acute difficulty, revolt, upheavals and disorders which mar the course of the yoga. The Divine is there, but He does not ignore the conditions, the laws, the circumstances of Nature; it is under these conditions that He does all His work, His work in the world and in man and consequently also in the sadhak, the aspirant, even in the God-knower and God-lover; even the saint and the sage continue to have difficulties and to be limited by their human nature. A complete liberation and a complete perfection or the complete possession of the Divine and possession by the Divine is possible, but it does not usually happen by an easy miracle or a series of miracles. The miracle can and does happen but only when there is the full call and complete self-giving of the soul and the entire widest opening of the nature.

Still, if the call of the soul is there, although not yet full, however great and obstinate the difficulties, there can be no final and irretrievable failure; even when the thread is broken, it is taken up again and reunited and carried to its end. There is a working in the nature itself in response to the inner need which, however slowly, brings about the result. But a certain inner consent is needed; the progress that you have marked in yourself is due to the fact that there was this consent in the soul and also in part of the nature; the change was insisted on by the mind and desired by part of the vital; the resistance in part of the mind and part of the vital made it slow and difficult but could not prevent it. The strong development you have observed in your powers with its proof in the response of others is due to the same reason; part of your being consented to it, wanted and needed it as a self-fulfillment of the nature and the soul wanted it as a means of service to the Divine; the rest was due to the pressure of the Divine force and my pressure. As for the distaste, the lack of interest, etc. all this is temporary and belongs only to a part of you. In so far as it comes from a kind of vairagya, it may have helped you in overcoming some of your attachments, but it is defective in so far as the element of tamas and apravrtti is there; it is not so fundamental as to resist the victorious drive of the pressure of the Divine Force.

You ask what I want you to do. What I want is that you should persist and give more and more that assent in you which brought about the progress you have made so that here too the resistance may diminish and eventually disappear.

And you must now get rid of an exaggerated insistence on the use of reason and the correctness of your individual reasoning and its right to decide in all matters. The reason has its place especially with regard to certain physical things and general worldly questions – though even there it is a very fallible judge – or in the formation of metaphysical conclusions and generalisations; but its claim to be the decisive authority in matters of Yoga or in spiritual things is untenable. The activities of the outward intellect there lead only to the formation of personal opinions, not to the discovery of Truth. It has always been understood in India that the reason and its logic or its judgment cannot give you the realisation of spiritual truths but can only assist in an intellectual presentation of ideas; realisation comes by intuition and inner experience.

Reason and intellectuality cannot make you see the Divine, it is the soul that sees. Mind and the other instruments can only share in the vision when it is imparted to them by the soul and welcome and rejoice in it. But also the mind may prevent it or at least stand long in the way of the realisation or the vision. For its prepossessions, preconceived opinions and mental preferences may build a wall of arguments against the spiritual truth that has to be realised and refuse to accept it if it presents itself in a form which does not conform to its own previous ideas: so also it may prevent one from recognising the Divine if the Divine presents himself in a form for which the intellect is not prepared or which in any detail runs counter to its prejudgments and prejudices. One can depend on one’s reason in other matters provided the mind tries to be open and impartial and free from undue passion and is prepared to concede that it is not always right and may err; but it is not safe to depend on it alone in matters which escape its jurisdiction, especially in spiritual realisation and in matters of yoga which belong to a different order of knowledge.

The extreme acuteness of your difficulties is due to the yoga having come down against the bed-rock of Inconscience which is the fundamental basis of all resistance in the individual and in the world to the victory of the Spirit and the Divine Work that is leading toward that victory. The difficulties themselves are general in the Ashram as well as in the outside world. Doubt, discouragement, diminution or loss of faith, waning of the vital enthusiasm for the ideal, perplexity and a baffling of the hope for the future are the common features of the difficulty. In the world outside there are much worse symptoms such as the general increase of cynicism, a refusal to believe in anything at all, a decrease of honesty, an immense corruption, a preoccupation with food, money, comfort, pleasure, to the exclusion of higher things, and a general expectation of worse and worse things awaiting the world. All that, however acute, is a temporary phenomenon for which those who know anything about the workings of the world-energy and the workings of the Spirit were prepared. I myself foresaw that this worst would come, the darkness of night before the dawn; therefore I am not discouraged. I know what is preparing behind the darkness and can see and feel the first signs of its coming. Those who seek for the Divine have to stand firm and persist in their seeking; after a time, the darkness will fade and begin to disappear and the Light will come.

*

July 24, 1947

It is no longer necessary to answer Mrs. Montgomery’s45original question about the occasion for her experience and the circumstances under which it came, since she has received a complete answer from the passage in the Words of the Mother and has understood its meaning. But I may say that the opening upwards, the ascent into the Light and the subsequent descent into the ordinary consciousness and normal human life is very common as the first decisive experience in the practice of Yoga and may very well happen even without the practice of Yoga in those who are destined for the spiritual change, especially if there is a preparation, a dissatisfaction somewhere with the ordinary life and a seeking for something more, greater or better. It comes often exactly in the way that she describes and the cessation of the experience and the descent also come in the same way. This first experience may be followed by a very long time during which there is no repetition of it or any subsequent experience. If there is a constant practice of Yoga, the interval need not be so long; but even so it is often long enough. The descent is inevitable because it is not the whole being that has risen up but only something within and all the rest of the nature is unprepared, absorbed in or attached to the ordinary life and governed by movements that are not in consonance with the Light. Still the something within is something central in the being and therefore the experience is in a way definitive and decisive. For it comes as a decisive intimation of the spiritual destiny and an indication of what must be reached some time in the life. Once it has been there, something is bound to happen which will open the way, determine the right knowledge and the right attitude enabling one to proceed on the way and bring a helping influence.

After that the work of clearing away the obstacles that prevent the return to the Light and the ascension of the whole being and, what is equally important, the descent of the Light into the whole being can be begun and progress towards completion. It may take long or be rapid, that depends on the inner push and also on outer circumstances but the inner aspiration and endeavour count more than the circumstances which can accommodate themselves to the inner need if that is very strong. The moment has come for her and the necessary aspiration and knowledge and the influence that can help her. It is not absolutely necessary to abandon the ordinary life in order to seek after the Light or to practice Yoga. This is usually done by those who want to make a clean cut, to live a purely religious or exclusively inner and spiritual life, to renounce the world entirely and to depart from the cosmic existence by cessation of the human birth and a passing away into some higher state or into the transcendental Reality. Otherwise it is only necessary when the pressure of the inner urge becomes so great that the pursuit of the ordinary life is no longer compatible with the pursuit of the dominant spiritual objective. Till then what is necessary is a power to practice an inner isolation, to be able to retire within oneself and concentrate at any time on the necessary spiritual purpose. There must also be a power to deal with the ordinary outer life from a new inner attitude and one can then make the happenings of that life itself a means for the inner change of nature and the growth in spiritual experience. This was what was recommended to Miss Wilson when she first wanted to join the Ashram; she had already acquired the habit of inward concentration and it was suggested to her to proceed further in this way, opening herself towards the spiritual and psychic aid she could get from here, until she had made further progress; later on we acceded to her request to join the Ashram. The Ashram itself has been created with another object than that ordinarily common to such institutions, not for the renunciation of the world but as a centre and a field of practice for the evolution of another kind and form of life which would in the final end be moved by a higher spiritual consciousness and embody a greater life of the spirit. There is no general rule as to the stage at which one may leave the ordinary life and enter here; in each case it depends on the personal need and impulsion and the possibility or the advisability for one to take the step, the decision resting with the Mother. The objection of the difficult times ahead and the idea that it is unsafe for an American woman to travel alone in India seem to be based on an erroneous impression; as a matter of fact, American and European women do very ordinarily travel alone in India without any fear of mishap. The difficulties in this country have been recently between Indians and Indians and not between Indians and Europeans; in these disturbances no Europeans have been the object of attack or suffered any trouble.

*

December 23, 1947

I am sorry you got hurt over this incident, I certainly never intended anything of the kind; I did not understand that what you suggested was for Subbulakshmi to sing to us in my room. I suppose I unconsciously took it for granted that some such arrangement as I proposed was in your mind. There was certainly no idea of a personal rebuff to you.

I am glad you have got over the reaction created by what happened. I trust it will never come and I do not think it can really come to any true or irresistible necessity for you to leave the Ashram and the Yoga. The constant recurrence of ego movements is not a sufficient reason for that; for that happens to everybody until the true inner release comes. Moreover, all Yoga necessarily demands renouncement of ego and its replacement by the discovery of one’s true spiritual self. I am unable to share your idea that all Yoga is impossible for you. There is something in you that truly needs and wants it, and where that exists, the impossibility cannot be.

My love and blessings – that will always be there with you, independently of all circumstances and happenings. As regards your letter to the Mother, she has long known and understood your difficulties, they need not prevent the light from coming: her feelings towards you remain the same and when the light does come all misunderstandings must disappear.

*

Correspondence 1948

July 10, 1948

I was very much astonished by your letter and the Mother also. There was nothing for her to be angry about with you and she had no such feeling; there was nothing to offend her in such an utterly trifling matter as your not taking salad prepared with olive oil. Mother merely understood from it that you wanted uncooked vegetables and as she could not give salad in that form she ordered Ravindra to give you uncooked vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots. That was all that happened and her conduct would have been utterly absurd if she had become violently offended over it or wanted to punish you for it or for that reason to be cold to you. At any rate I hope that you will accept Mother’s explanation and realise that your idea of her being cold to you at the Pranam was a misinterpretation of her look upon you such as has previously happened and can always happen when the feelings are for any reason perturbed or on edge.

As for the other reason which you have suggested for her supposed displeasure with you, the fact that you don’t join in sports, that is equally untenable. Certainly Mother does not want only sportsmen in the Ashram; that would make it not an Ashram, but a playground. The sports and physical exercises are primarily for the children of the school and they also do not play only but have to attend to their studies: incidentally, they have improved immensely in health and in discipline and conduct as one very valuable result. Secondarily, the younger sadhaks are allowed, not enjoined or even recommended to join in these sports, but certainly they are not supposed to be sportsmen only, they have other and more important things to do; to be a sportsman must necessarily be a voluntary choice and depends on one having the taste and inclination. There are plenty of people around the Mother herself, Amrita for instance, who would never dream of frequenting the playground or engaging in sports and the Mother also would never think of asking him to do it. So equally she could not think of being displeased with you for shunning these delights.

Some, of course, might ask why any sports at all in an Ashram which ought to be concerned only with meditation and inner experiences and the escape from life into the Brahman; but that applies only to the ordinary kind of Ashram to which we have got accustomed and this is not that orthodox kind of Ashram. It includes life in Yoga, and once we admit life, we can include anything that we find useful for life’s ultimate and immediate purpose and not inconsistent with the works of the Spirit. After all the orthodox Ashram came into being only after Brahman began to shun all connection with the world and the shadow of Buddhism stalked over all the land and Ashrams turned into monasteries. The old Ashrams were not entirely like that; the boys and young men who were brought up in them were trained in many things belonging to life; the son of Pururavas and Urvasie practised archery in the Ashram of a Rishi and became an expert bowman and Kama became a disciple of a great sage in order to acquire from him the use of powerful weapons. So there is no a priori ground why sports should be excluded from the life of an Ashram like ours where we are trying to equate life and the Spirit. Even table-tennis or football need not be rigorously excluded. But, putting all persiflage aside, my point is that to play or not to play is a matter of choice and inclination, and it would be absurd for Mother to be displeased with you any more than with Amrita for not caring to be a sportsman. So you need not have any apprehension on this score; that the Mother should be displeased with you for that is quite impossible. So the idea that Mother wanted to punish you for anything done or not done or that she wished to draw far away from you or to be cold and distant was a misinterpretation without any real foundation since you have given no ground for it and there was nothing farther from her mind. She has herself explained that it was just the contrary that has been in her mind for some time past and it was an increasing kindness that was her feeling and intention. The only change she could expect from you was to grow in your psychic and spiritual endeavour and inner progress and in this you have not failed, quite the contrary. Apart from that, the notion that she could be displeased because you did not change according to this or that pattern and that we could ever dream of sending you away on any such account is a wild idea; it would be most arbitrary and unreasonable.

As for my going far away, your feeling is based on my slackness in giving answers to your letters but this slackness had no such cause. My love and affection have remained always the same and it is regrettable if by my slackness in answering your letters I have produced the impression that I was moving farther and farther away from you. I think your recent letters have been mostly about persons recommended for Darshan or applying for it or about accommodation, things which have to be settled by the Mother, and these were naturally most conveniently conveyed to you through Nirod’s oral answer. I suppose I must have unduly extended that method of answer to other matters. I must admit that for many reasons the impulse of letter writing and literary productivity generally have dwindled in me almost to zero and that must have been the real cause of my slackness. The first reason is my inability to write with my own hand, owing to the failure of the sight and other temporary reasons; the sight is improving but the improvement is not so rapid as to make reading and writing likely in the immediate future. Even Savitri is going slow, confined mainly to revision of what has already been written, and I am as yet unable to take up the completion of Parts Two and Three which are not yet finally revised and for which a considerable amount of new matter has to be written. It is no use going into all the thousand and one reasons for this state of things, for that would explain and not justify the slackness. I know very well how much you depend on my writing in answer to your letters as the one physical contact left which helps you and I shall try in future to meet the need by writing as often as possible.

*

July 18, 1948

I am afraid I can hold out but cold comfort – for the present at least – to those of your correspondents who are lamenting the present state of things. Things are bad, are growing worse and may at any time grow worst or worse than the worst if that is possible – and anything, however paradoxical, seems possible in the present perturbed world. The best thing for them is to realise that all this was necessary because certain possibilities had to emerge and be got rid of, if a new and better world was at all to come into being; it would not have done to postpone them for a later time.

It is, as in Yoga, where things active or latent in the being have to be put into action in the light so that they may be grappled with and thrown out or to emerge from latency in the depths for the same purificatory purpose. Also they can remember the adage that night is darkest before dawn and that the coming of dawn is inevitable. But they must remember too that the new world whose coming we envisage is not to be made of the same texture as the old and different only in pattern, and that it must come by other means – from within and not from without – so the best way is not to be too much preoccupied with the lamentable things that are happening outside, but themselves to grow within so that they may be ready for the new world, whatever form it may take.

*

October 17, 1948

The Mother has had read to her your letter of yesterday night and I am now writing to you her answer. She had taken Timirbaran’s arrangement of the Bande Mataram song as something to start from, not because she is perfectly satisfied with it, especially as part of it was unsuitable for the theme of Anu’s dance, but more as a pis alier, since it was the only orchestration then available. She had arranged the theme of Anu’s dance, but she had finally decided nothing else and had kept herself free to arrange things for the best in a concrete way for the success of the dance. But if you take up the theme and orchestrate the Bande Mataram song for it, nothing could be better. The Mother will explain the theme of the dance to you personally in its five parts and you can see for yourself what would be needed and arrange it. Mother has especially noticed the middle, the free and flowing part of the song as especially suitable for the theme; the only difficulty would be the last part which has not the necessary strength; but you yourself could put the needed strength into it and with proper execution everything could be satisfactorily arranged and the dance could be made a great success. The Mother is ready to send Sunil46 and his people to you with the necessary directions to hear your music and follow your directions about it for the execution and if everybody proved amenable and did his part, all could be satisfactorily done.

The difficulty is not there, but it lies in Sunil’s apprehension about his being able to command entire obedience or sufficient obedience from all the members of his company. He has already had apprehensions of the kind for another dance, not being sure of their acceptance of his arrangement of the music. But here he is still more apprehensive of the resistance from some for the reasons of which you yourself have spoken. He himself is perfectly willing and he is always amenable to any direction given to him by the Mother, but he is afraid of meeting with opposition, even a flat refusal from one or two of his orchestra who are not always ready to accept his directions as all should from the head, who should be in the position of a captain, obeyed by all if there is to be any success. We can hope for the best and see if the difficulty can be overcome and the apprehension falsified; though where egoism and prejudice are very much alive, the hope may be disappointed. If it turns out to be so and his directions and the Mother’s are not followed, if the opposing egoism proves too strong, then the only course would be for the Mother to give up the idea of Anu’s dance; she will have to tell Anu that in these circumstances and with so much egoism about, nothing else can be done. It will be a disappointment for us all; but we can do our best and, if it has to be given up, the fault will lie elsewhere.

*

October 30, 1948

The Mother has given for your perusal an account of the theme of Anu’s dance. It runs into three scenes. In the first the curtain rises showing India in slavery and bondage. Then she awakes and tries to throw off the yoke; the spirit of fight grows. In the second scene liberation has come and its joy and the action of a free people. But she is faced with all sorts of problems such as financial crisis, division, corruption and moral degradation, etc. She looks to every side for a solution, but finds no way out. The confusion grows worse and worse. In the third scene, faced with all these difficulties she aspires and becomes conscious of the soul of the all-pervading Mother and feels a growing union with that soul. She finds out her spiritual mission in the world and by it realises the complete unity of the country. From the moment she becomes conscious of her soul, chorus begins rising into a great force and enthusiasm.

*

November 11, 1948

I must say that Mother was taken aback by your letter, for she had never in these days felt or shown any coldness towards you and had not the least reason for any feeling or action of that kind. On the contrary, she remembered having felt this morning just the opposite and looked at you with a smile full rather of warmth and affection; it is surprising that you should have missed this and got instead an impression of coldness and displeasure – for that there was no ground at all. She had no reason whatever for coldness; she has felt that you are progressing and has been very much satisfied with what she knew of your work for us and, especially, she had been highly pleased by your music. The strangest thing is your notion that she could be displeased by Krishnaprem’s coming; it was on the contrary a source of great satisfaction to her. Anyhow, I hope that you will take my assurance that there was no coldness on the Mother’s part and there was no ground for it and dismiss all feelings of depression due to this cause and go on happily with your work of which we both approve and appreciate its importance.

About Miss Chadwick’s experience – I was perhaps hesitating as to what to write about it because I felt that I had not been able to make clear to myself all that it held in it and was trying to form a more complete idea of its spiritual values and the influence it had on those touched by it. But, apart from that I have had to do for some time past some very urgent work in connection with proofs and manuscripts for the Press. I hope to have finished with that in a few days for the time being at least and I will then write what I have to say about Miss Chadwick. I hope you won’t mind a little more delay.

*

November 15, 1948

I don’t know whether I can throw any positive light on Miss Chadwick’s mystic experiences. The description, at any rate the latter part, is not very easy to follow as it is very allusive in its expressions and not always precise enough to be clear. The first part of the experience indicates a native power of healing of whose action she herself does not know the process. It seems from her account to come from something in herself which should be from the terms she uses a larger and higher and brighter and more powerful consciousness with which she is in occasional communion but in which she does not constantly live. On the other hand another sentence seems to point to a Godhead or Divine Presence and it would be then not so much within as above. The language later on would seem to indicate such a Presence giving commands to her to guide others so that they might grow in consciousness. But she distinctly speaks of it as a greater “me” standing behind a blue diamond force. We must fall back then on the idea of a greater consciousness very high up with a feeling of divinity, a sense of considerable light and spiritual authority – perhaps in one of those higher spiritual mental planes of which I speak in the Life Divine and the Letters. The diamond light could well be native to these planes; it is usually white, but there it might well be blue; it is a light that dispels or drives away all impure things, especially a demoniac possession or the influence of some evil force. Evidently, the use of a power like this should be carefully guarded from the intrusion of any wrong element such as personal love of power, but that need not cause any apprehension as a keen inlook into oneself would be sufficient to reject it or keep it aloof. I think that is all I can say upon the data given in her letter.

As to Tatachari, his proposals will be before the Mother, but we are also in communication with Mrs. Montgomery about the proposal of [Harper]. I don’t think that anything final can be said yet; the Mother will see and decide at the proper time.

*

November 28, 1948

(About Krishnaprem)

I don’t quite know what to write in the few lines you asked from me or how to write it. Perhaps I could only repeat from my side what he has himself said about establishing a contact. But a spiritual contact cannot be easily defined in mental terms, they are usually insufficient to express it. If it is some impressions about himself or his spiritual person or his more outward personality that you are thinking of, there too I find them difficult to put into language; these things in a moment like that are felt rather than thought out and it may not be easy to throw them into mental form at once. Perhaps the only thing I could say is that they have confirmed and deepened and made more living the impressions I had already formed about him from his letters to you and what came through them and from such psychical contact as I had already made from a distance – I mean the physical distance, for the contact itself is not distant. You know very well the value I have always put upon his insight into spiritual things, the brilliance and accuracy of his thought and vision and his expression of them – I think I described it once as pasyanti vak – and on as much as I knew of his spiritual experience and constant acquisition and forward movement and many-sided largeness. A closer perception of the spiritual person behind all that is perhaps the one thing that I could add to it, but that is something more than a mental impression. I think this is all I can write at present and I hope it will be enough for you.

*

December 3, 1948

It seems to me that Krishnaprem has seen very clearly with his usual accuracy and his mind of sight, pasyanti buddhi, the truth about yourself and your sadhana. I think that you could not do better than accept his diagnosis and follow entirely his suggested treatment. Especially you should accept his assurance about the final result and give no room in your mind to any doubt on that point or any disposition to give up your own case as hopeless. To my eyes you seem to have been making very good progress in several directions and I have no doubt about your emerging from your difficulties into the light.

I don’t think there is any real impasse, I mean no inescapable hold-up on the road from which you cannot get out; it only seems to be to you like that because of the difficulties created for you by your intellect. It is because of its preconceptions and fixed judgments that you cannot make the equation he considers needful for you. The intellect is full of things like that and cannot by itself see truly the things that reveal their meaning fully only in the light of psychic or spiritual truth; the equation he speaks of belongs to that order. The intellect is of use for perceiving material facts and their relations but even these it cannot be relied on to see rightly in their total reality; it may see rightly, but as often wrongly and always only partly and imperfectly. Moreover, as the modern psychologists have discovered, it sees them coloured by the hues supplied from its own individual temperament, its own psychological personality and from its own peculiar angle. It thinks it is seeing guite objectively and impersonally but it does not so see and cannot so see; a dog might as well try to escape from its own pursuing tail: the human intellect’s thought and sight cannot escape from its own subjectivity and colouring personality. The deeper and more accurate view of things can be more easily attained by the mind of sight which Krishnaprem has so much developed, pasyanti buddhi. You may say that you have got only your intellect to help you with its judgments and opinions: but mental judgments and opinions, well, they are always personal things and one can never be perfectly sure that one’s own are correct and the judgments and opinions of others which differ widely or even diametrically from one’s own are mistaken. But you need not be always solely dependent on this fallible and limited instrument; for, although you have not developed the mind of sight as Krishnaprem has done, it is certainly there. I have always seen that when you have been in a psychic condition with bhakti or the higher part of the mind and the vital uppermost in you this mind of sight has come out and your ideas, feelings and judgments have become remarkably clear, right and often luminous. This has only to develop, you will then be able to see more clearly what Krishnaprem sees and many of your difficulties will disappear and the equation you want to make may become clear to you.

As for surrender, you already have it initially in your will to serve for the sake of service without claiming reward or success and without attachment to wealth or fame. If you extend that attitude into your whole sadhana, then realisation is sure. In any case, you should throw away all obsession of the sense of failure or the impossibility of success in your sadhana. Krishnaprem is surely right in telling you when the grace is on you and what he names as the Radhashakti is there to give you its unseen help that the success of your sadhana is sure and the realisation will come. The impasse is a temporary block, your trust will become complete and the road to realisation clear.

*

Correspondence 1949

1949

To answer all the questions you raise with any point or adequacy, I should have to take up my unfinished letter and either recast it or finish it as it stands in spite of its deficiencies; for all arises from the condition of things spoken of there and depends upon it. Your own difficulties and those of the sadhaks whom you mention are due to the same cause, the pushing back of the higher mind and the higher vital and the psychic and what they have gained either into the background or behind a curtain and a domination by the difficulties of the ignorant and obstructing physical consciousness with its obscure and mistaken ideas, habitual reactions, irresponsive obstructions, doubts and objections and the small lower vital nature with its ego-centric reactions and revolts and disturbances. This condition is not fundamental either in your case or that of the others and it is not a proof of radical unfitness for the Yoga, but a temporary, even if persistent, condition which would disappear with the removal of its cause.

I may point out that this condition which tries to justify itself by the facts it sees – for the physical mind is always strong on apparent facts and triumphantly appeals to them and its inferences from them as conclusive and irrefutable – almost always sees wrongly or imperfectly and, even when the facts may be partially correct it misinterprets them, attributes the wrong causes and motives, draws the wrong inferences and makes of them an unreal picture. The ego-centric’s small lower vital makes use of that to justify its revolts or its despondencies and despairs and its assertions of a failure final and irrevocable. It is not true, for instance, that I have become more and more aloof and indifferent or that I am too much preoccupied with the state of the world to care about the state of the sadhaks or that I am no longer giving any help to you or to others. My “aloofness” consists in two facts, one the very ancient fact of my physical withdrawal and the less ancient still long-standing fact of my having ceased to write letters. Neither of these facts constitute a withdrawal of help or a lofty self-preoccupied indifference...

*

March 4, 1949

Mother has asked me to write to you on her behalf and to tell you that she had no feeling of coldness or indifference and no intention whatever of showing anything of the kind in her reception of you this morning or at any other time during all these days. Her feelings were just the same as before and she thought she had received you in her usual way towards you with all affection and kindness. If you had an opposite impression, it must have been a mistaken reaction, for she had no feeling or intention of coldness and indifference. I trust you will accept her disclaimer and dismiss any sense of hurt or depression created in you without any intention on her part.

As to your idea about the sports, your idea that the Mother looks on you coldly because you are not capable of taking delight in sports, that is entirely without foundation. I must have told you already more than once that the Mother does not want anybody to take up the sports if he has no inclination or natural bent for them; to join or not to join must be quite voluntary and those who do not join are not cold-shouldered or looked down upon by her for that reason. It would be absurd for her to take that attitude: there are those who do her faithful service which she deeply appreciates and whom she regards with affection and confidence but who never go to the playground either because they have no turn for it or no time – can you imagine that for that reason she will turn away from them and regard them with coldness? The Mother could never intend that sports should be the sole or the chief preoccupation of the inmates of the Ashram; even the children of the school for whose physical development these sports and athletic exercises are important and for whom they were originally instituted, have other things to do, their work, their studies and other occupations and amusements in which they are as interested as in these athletics. The idea that you should “throw up the sponge” because you do not succeed in sports or like them, is surely an extravagant imagination: there are other things more important, there are Yoga, spiritual progress, bhakti, devotion, service.

I don’t know on what you found your idea that we have changed towards you since your return from Bengal and become cold towards you. There has been no such change on our part; on the contrary we have always had a full appreciation of what you have done there for us and for your untiring effort and what you have achieved in collecting much needed contributions for the Ashram funds and still more in turning the minds of people there, previously indifferent, towards us and our work. You should throw away entirely any idea that we are so insensitive as not to have appreciated what you have done for us.

I do not understand what you mean by my giving time to sport; I am not giving any time to it except that I have written at the Mother’s request an article for the first number of the Bulletin and another for the forthcoming number. It is the Mother who is doing all the rest of the work for the organisation of the sports and the Bulletin and that she must do obviously till it is sufficiently organised to go on of itself with only a general supervision from above and her actual presence once in the day. I put out my force to support her as in all the other work of the Ashram, but otherwise I am not giving any time for the sports. As to my silence, this does not arise from any change of feeling towards you or any coldness or indifference. I have not concealed from you the difficulty I feel now that I cannot write my own letters or, generally, do my own writing but I do not think I have neglected anything you have asked for when you have written. There is the question of the interview which you want to publish, but this I have to consider carefully as to what parts can be published as soon as I have been able to go through it. At the moment I have been very much under pressure of work for the Press which needed immediate attention and could not be postponed, mostly correction of manuscripts and proofs; but I hope to make an arrangement which will rid me of most of this tedious and uninteresting work so that I can turn my time to better purposes. I am conscious all the same that my remissness in writing has been excessive and that you have just cause for your complaint; but I hope to remedy this remissness in future as it is not at all due to any indifference but to a visitation of indolence of the creative will which has extended even to the completion of the unfinished parts of Savitri. I hope soon to get rid of this inability, complete Savitri and satisfy your just demand for more alertness in my correspondence with you.

*

March 14, 1949

About Janak Kumari’s47 faculty of receiving the thoughts of others – if this had been of the nature of thought reading, that is to say looking at the minds of others and seeing what is there, the remedy would have been simple; refusal to look would be enough and even the faculty might disappear by atrophy through long discontinuance. But if the thoughts of others come to her of themselves, it may be the psychic opening in her inner mind, which it would be difficult to get rid of. If she could remain indifferent or push away these unwelcome visitors behind her and not think of them again, that would be one remedy; it might even be discouraged from coming after a time by this lack of reception. As for why it comes, it is not something that comes but something that is there, a faculty or a psychic habit of the nature – I use the word psychic in the popular sense, it has nothing to do with what I call the psychic being. If she practices Yoga and is able to make some considerable progress, then it would be possible for her to bar the door to these visitors. At the same time I might say that this power need not be a mere source of trouble; it can be helpful even: for it can give one who has acquired mastery over his own nature the knowledge of the thoughts and feelings around her and she can then help, guide, change what has to be changed in their minds so that they can become more effective for the divine work. I shall await what further you have to tell me about Janak Kumari’s experiences before saying anything further about her entry into the field of Yoga.

About the blue flag, I presume you mean the flag with the white lotus. If so, it is the Mother’s flag, for the white lotus is her symbol as the red lotus is mine. The blue of the flag is meant to be the colour of Krishna and so represents the spiritual or Divine Consciousness which it is her work to establish so that it may reign upon earth. This is the meaning of the flag being used as the Ashram flag, that our work is to bring down this consciousness and make it the leader of the world’s life.

As for the rest, I think I need only repeat emphatically that there is no need for anyone to take up sports as indispensable for Yoga or for enjoying the Mother’s affection and kindness. Yoga is its own object and has its own means and conditions; sport is something quite different as the Mother herself indicated to you through Nirod when she said that the concentration practised on the playground was not meditation and was used for efficacy in the movements of the body and not for any purpose of Yoga.

*

March 21, 1949

All that I need to say is that the Roxy48 performance and all the work you have done for us in Bengal had our full support and approval. I don’t know who can have said that it was a disservice or what that could mean, there was no ground for saying so and it is a wholly unjustifiable aspersion.

*

March 24, 1949

In response to a letter received by Dilipda from Janak Kumari who said, “My dear Dada, I didn’t tell you but I was getting a little heart-trouble at Pondicherry the day I left. When I reached Nagpur yesterday I found the trouble getting worse. Unfortunately my car had gone back and I had to travel by bus. At about 2.30 p.m., sitting in the bus at the bus-stand I had one of the worst heart attacks in my life. It was attended with a violent nausea and I had an excruciating pain in the chest and I found myself losing consciousness. I was cold with perspiration. Just as I was about to slide off the bench I called out to Mother for help. I remember praying, «Please save me!» It could not have been more than five minutes that I had remained unconscious when I suddenly found myself awake as from sleep without the slightest trouble or pain or even a legacy of weakness. Since then I travelled all the way back home fit, strong and reassured as never before! I can’t tell you what a miracle the whole thing was and what a blessing! How can I tell you how grateful I am to Mother for helping me? I felt almost as if I wouldn’t have to worry about anything in future and that I should be taken care of everywhere. Please tell me, Dada, if I can be of any little service to the Ashram. I would love to do any work – anything. I would feel very grateful if Mother can give me something to do for her.”

Nirod has, no doubt, explained to you Mother’s answers to the points that arise in Janak Kumari’s letter and her reasons for them, so I confine this letter to two points, her request to be given some work to do for the Mother and her experience. On the first you must have heard from Nirod what is Mother’s difficulty in deciding and giving any concrete answer. But this does not mean that she would be at all unwilling if she had anything of the kind before her – on the contrary. My own idea is that if the demand in her is persistent, the work will come of itself or she will herself find it. If anything does occur to us we shall let her know at once.

As to the experience, certainly Janak Kumari’s call for help did reach the Mother, even though all the details she relates in her letter might not have been present to the Mother’s physical mind. Always calls of this kind are coming to the Mother, sometimes a hundred close upon each other and always the answer is given. The occasions are of all kinds, but whatever the need that occasions the call, the Force is there to answer it. That is the principle of this action on the occult plane. It is not of the same kind as an ordinary human action and does not need a written or oral communication on the one who calls; an interchange of psychic communication is quite sufficient to set the Force at work. At the same time it is not an impersonal Force and the suggestion of a divine energy that is there ready to answer and satisfy anybody who calls it is not at all relevant here.

It is something personal to the Mother and if she had not this power and this kind of action she would not be able to do her work; but this is quite different from the outside practical working on the material plane where the methods must necessarily be different although the occult working and the material working can and do join and the occult power gives to the material working its utmost efficacy. As for the one who is helped not feeling the force at work, his knowing might help very substantially the effective working, but it need not be indispensable; the effect can be there even if he does not know how the thing is done. For instance, in your work in Calcutta and elsewhere my help has been always with you and I don’t think it can be said that it was ineffective; but it was of the same occult nature and could have had the same effect even if you had not been conscious in some way that my help was with you.

Mother says that you can very well ask Janak Kumari plainly to give financial help to the Ashram if she is in a position to do so. The need of such assistance is very great and, with the financial and economic conditions in the world worsening all the time, it may be long before things right themselves.

*

April 27, 1949

Much less than half the Ashram, the majority of them boys and girls and children, have taken up sports; the rest have not been pressed to do so and there is no earthly reason why any pressure should be put upon you. The Mother has never intended to put any such pressure on you and if anybody has said that, there is no foundation whatever for what they have told you.

It is also not a fact that either the Mother or I are turning away from Yoga and intend to interest ourselves only in sport; we have no intention whatever of altering the fundamental character of the Ashram replacing it by a sportive association. If we did that it would be a most idiotic act and if anybody should have told you anything like that, he must be off his head or in a temporary crisis of delirious enthusiasm or a very upside-down idea. The Mother told you very clearly once through Nirod that what was being done in the playground was not meditation or a concentration for Yoga but only an ordinary concentration for the physical exercises alone.

If she is busy with the organisation of these things – and it is not true that she is busy with that alone – it is in order to get finished with that as soon as possible after which it will go on of itself without her being at all engrossed or especially occupied by it, as is the case with other works of the Ashram. As for myself, it is surely absurd to think that I am neglecting meditation and Yoga and interested only in running, jumping and marching! There seem to have been strange misunderstandings about my second message in the Bulletin. In the first, I wrote about sports and their utility just as I have written on politics or social development or any other matter. In the second, I took up the question incidentally because people were expressing ignorance as to why the Ashram should concern itself with sports at all. I explained why it had been done and dealt with the more general question of how this and other human activities could be part of a search for a total perfection of all parts of the being including the body and more specially what would be the nature of the perfection of the body. I indicated clearly that only by Yoga could there come a supreme and total perfection of all the instruments of the Spirit and the ascent of the whole being to the highest level and a divine life on earth and the assumption of a divine body. I made it clear that by human and physical means such as sports only a limited and precarious human perfection could come. In all this there is nothing to justify the idea that sports could be a means for jumping to the Supermind or that the Supermind was going to descend on the playground and nowhere else and only those who are there will receive it; that would be a bad look-out for me as I would have no chance!\

I write all this in the hope of clearing away all the strange misconceptions with which the air seems to have become thick and by some of which you may have been affected. I wish to assure you that my love and affection and the Mother’s love and affection are constantly with you. We have had nothing for you but love and affection and a full appreciation of all you have done for us, your work, your service, your labour to make people over there appreciate our Ashram and what it stands for and to turn men’s minds favourably towards us and what we are trying to do. As for me, you should realise that the will to help you towards divine realisation is one of the things that has been constantly nearest to my heart and will be always there.

This is not the letter I intended to write which must wait. It is not possible for me to write a whole answer now since it is already one o’clock, and I shall continue it tonight.

*

April 28, 1949

I continue my letter. I hope I have been able to persuade you that all these ideas about sport and the Yoga are misconceptions and that those who suggest them are wholly mistaken; certainly, we are not putting Yoga away or in the background and turning to sport as a substitute, such an idea is absurdly impossible. I hope also that you will accept from me and the Mother our firm asseveration that our love and affection for you are undiminished and that there has been no coldness on the Mother’s part and no least diminution in my constant inner relation with you.

In view of what I have written, you ought to be able to see that your idea of our insistence on you to take up sport or to like it and accept it in any way has no foundation; you can be as averse to it as you choose, we don’t mind that. I myself have never been a sportsman, apart from a spectator’s interest in cricket in England or a non-player member of the Baroda cricket club, or taken up any physical games or athletics except some exercises learnt from Madrasi wrestlers in Baroda such as dand, baithak, and those I took up only to put some strength and vigour into a frail and weak though not unhealthy body, but I never attached any other importance or significance to these things and dropped the exercises when I thought they were no longer necessary.

Certainly, neither the abstinence from athletics and physical games nor the taking up of those physical exercises have for me any relevance to Yoga. Neither your aversion to sport nor the liking of others for it makes either you or them more fit or more unfit for sadhana. So there is absolutely no reason why we should insist on your taking it up or why you should trouble your mind with the supposition that we want you to do it. You are surely quite free, as everybody is quite free, to take your own way in such matters.

One thing I feel I must say in connection with your remark about the soul of India and Doraiswamy’s observation about “this stress on this-worldliness to the exclusion of the other-worldliness.” I do not quite understand in what connection his remark was made or what he meant by this-worldliness, but I feel it necessary to state my own position in the matter.

My own life and my yoga have always been since my coming to India, both this-worldly and other-worldly without any exclusiveness on either side. All human interests are, I suppose, this-worldly and most of them have entered into my mental field and some, like politics, into my life, but at the same time, since I set foot on Indian soil on the Apollo Bunder in Bombay, I began to have spiritual experiences, but these were not divorced from this world but had an inner and intimate bearing on it, such as a feeling of the Infinite pervading material space and the Immanent inhabiting material objects and bodies. At the same time I found myself entering supraphysical worlds and planes with influences and an effect from them upon the material plane, so I could make no sharp divorce or irreconcilable opposition between what I have called the two ends of existence and all that lies between them. For me all is the Brahman and I find the Divine everywhere. Everyone has the right to throw away this-worldliness and choose other-worldliness only, and if he finds peace by that choice he is greatly blessed. I, personally, have not found it necessary to do this in order to have peace. In my Yoga also I found myself moved to include both worlds in my purview, the spiritual and the material, and to try to establish the Divine Consciousness and the Divine Power in men’s hearts and in earthly life, not for a personal salvation only but for a life divine here. This seems to me as spiritual an aim as any and the fact of this life taking up earthly pursuits and earthly things into its scope cannot, I believe, tarnish its spirituality or alter its Indian character. This at least has always been my view and experience of the reality and nature of the world and things and the Divine: it seemed to me as nearly as possible the integral truth about them and I have therefore spoken of the pursuit of it as the integral Yoga. Everyone is, of course, free to reject and disbelieve in this kind of integrality or to believe in the spiritual necessity of an entire other-worldliness excluding any kind of this-worldliness altogether, but that would make the exercise of my Yoga impossible. My Yoga can include indeed a full experience of the other worlds, the plane of the Supreme Spirit and the other planes in between and their possible effects upon our life and material world; but it will be quite possible to insist only on the realisation of the Supreme Being or Ishwara even in one aspect, Shiva, Krishna as Lord of the world and Master of ourselves and our works or else the Universal Sachchidananda, and attain to the essential results of this Yoga and afterwards to proceed from them to the integral results if one accepted the ideal of the divine life and this material world conquered by the Spirit. It is this view and experience of things and of the truth of existence that enabled me to write the Life Divine and Savitri. The realisation of the Supreme, the Ishwara, is certainly the essential thing; but to approach Him with love and devotion and bhakti, to serve Him with one’s works and to know Him, not necessarily by the intellectual cognition, but in a spiritual experience, is also essential in the path of the integral Yoga. If you accept Krishnaprem’s insistence that this and no other must be your path, it is this that you have to attain and realise; any exclusive other-worldliness cannot be your way. I believe that you are quite capable of attaining this and realising the Divine and I have never been able to share your constantly recurring doubts about your capacity or the despair that arises in you so violently when there are these attacks, nor is their persistent recurrence a valid ground for believing that they can never be overcome. Such a persistent recurrence has been a feature in the sadhana of many who have finally emerged and reached the goal; even the sadhana of very great yogis has not been exempt from such violent and constant recurrences, they have sometimes been special objects of such persistent assaults, as I have indeed indicated in Savitri in more places than one, and that was indeed founded on my own experience. In the nature of these recurrences there is usually a constant return of the same adverse experiences, the same adverse resistance, thoughts destructive of all belief and faith and confidence in the future of the sadhana, frustrating doubts of what one has known as the truth, voices of despondency and despair, urgings to abandonment of the yoga or to suicide or else other disastrous counsels of decheance. The course taken by the attacks is not indeed the same for all, but still they have strong family resemblance. One can eventually overcome if one begins to realise the nature and source of these assaults and acquires the faculty of observing them, bearing, without being involved or absorbed into their gulf, finally becoming the witness of their phenomena and understanding them and refusing the mind’s sanction even when the vital is still tossed in the whirl or the most outward physical mind still reflects the adverse suggestions.

In the end, these attacks lose their power and fall away from the nature; the recurrence becomes feeble or has no power to last: even, if the detachment is strong enough, they can be cut out very soon or at once. The strongest attitude to take is to regard these things as what they really are, incursions of dark forces from outside taking advantage of certain openings in the physical mind or the vital part, but not a real part of oneself or spontaneous creation in one’s own nature to create a confusion and darkness in the physical mind and to throw into it or awake in it mistaken ideas, dark thoughts, false impressions is a favourite method of these assailants, and if they can get the support of this mind from over-confidence in its own correctness or the natural Tightness of its impressions and inferences, then they can have a field-day until the true mind reasserts itself and blows the clouds away. Another device of theirs is to awake some hurt or rankling sense of grievance in the lower vital parts and keep them hurt or rankling as long as possible. In that case one has to discover these openings in one’s nature and learn to close them permanently to such attacks or else to throw out the intruders at once or as soon as possible. The recurrence is no proof of a fundamental incapacity; if one takes the right inner attitude, it can and will be overcome. The idea of suicide ought never to be accepted; there is no real ground for it and in any case it cannot be a remedy or a real escape: at most it can only be postponement of difficulties and the necessity for their solution under no better circumstances in another life. One must have faith in the Master of our life and works, even if for a long time He conceals Himself, and then in His own right time He will reveal His Presence.

I have tried to dispel all the misconceptions, explained things as they are and meet all the points at issue. It is not that you really cannot make progress or have not made any progress; on the contrary, you yourself have admitted that you have made a good advance in many directions and there is no reason why, if you persevere, rest should not come. You have always believed in the Guruvada: I would ask you then to put your faith in the Guru and the guidance and rely on the Ishwara for the fulfillment, to have faith in my abiding love and affection, in the affection and divine goodwill and loving kindness of the Mother, stand firm against all attacks and go forward perseveringly towards the spiritual goal and the all-fulfilling and all-satisfying touch of the All-Blissful, the Ishwara.

*

April 29, 1949

The reading of your letter was finished too late for there to be any sufficient time for an answer. Besides there is much in the letter that I have to consider carefully before I reply. I quite understand your difficulty in getting out of these reactions and impressions which come with such a natural strength and force, although I must reaffirm that what I have said about the Mother’s feelings and mine towards you are perfectly sincere and nothing has been written merely to please you. I shall see what I can write further to help you out of these difficulties: our inner help will be always with you.

*

May 1, 1949

I have spoken to Mother about Janak Kumari’s experience. She says that it might be too soon for her to draw back from her family and from ordinary life, she thinks she ought to wait longer for that; but there is no reason why she should not follow this urge of prayer and solitude with its strong experience for some time in the day.

Janak Kumari can certainly come for Darshan as she proposes, if she can arrange it, and stay for the three months.

*

July 11, 1949

It is not really surprising that people should be able to draw help from you and feel themselves helped and this can happen even though you yourself may not consciously have the idea or the feeling of extending any help to them. You have a very strong vital with a great communicative and creative power which is not shut up in itself but expansive and naturally flows out on those around it. Even ordinarily in the world people easily turn to such a strong and expansive vital and draw upon it for strength and assistance. In your case this is enhanced by your psychic being having the habit of using your vital force for communication to the outside world as it has been habitually doing in your creative activities, poetry and other forms of writing or speech, song and music: apart from artistic qualities and appeal these have an appeal and influence which comes from that inner power which has breathed itself into them and formed their substance. It has again been greatly increased by the practice of Yoga and the feeling of bhakti which comes out of you when you write your songs and sing them.

In your work for us you have the knowledge that our force stands behind you; it is always there and can increase your power to help others, not only when you are doing the work but at other times or whenever they turn towards you with the idea or faith that the help they need can come from you.

As for the zamindar he seems to expect some diksba of the traditional kind from me, but this I do not give. He will have to be told that I do not and that my method is different. It may be a little difficult to explain to him or for him to understand what it is. Perhaps he may be told that those who come to have the Yoga are not accepted at once and there is sometimes a long period of trial before they are. We can see how he takes it and decide afterwards if he persists in his desire to come here.

For your going to Calcutta it depends mostly on your own inner movement and whether you feel inclined to undertake this work. This celebration and the force or the tendency which is trying to push it to the front is part of something that is trying to bring about a new turn in the country and its future; its success depends upon the temper and spirit of the people who have taken charge over there and also on the feeling in the country and how far it is ready to break away or prepare[d] to break away from the old moorings. If you feel moved to take the journey and make the venture, we will give you our sanction and our full blessings will be with you.

*

July 15, 1949

Regarding a letter from Raja Dhiren of Lalgola49 who said, “1 see often now-a-days Sri Aurobindo and Mother in vision. I will tell you what I saw yesterday. When I was sitting in meditation suddenly Sri Aurobindo’s figure shimmered just in front of me overlaying the picture of my Ishtadevi: he gave me a look of blessing and then suddenly gave me his own garland by way of benediction. I wonder if it was real or was it merely my imagination which was responsible for what I saw, though, so vividly? Can you ask him and tell me?”

I have been very much pleased by the account received of Raja Dhiren of Lalgola and the zeal and energy which he has put in the work for the August 15th celebration. Please let him know how highly I have appreciated the way in which he has opened to the consciousness and force and all the work he is doing and has done. I find his song a very fine poem, beautiful both in language and in bhava.

I suppose his experience about the garland was symbolic in its nature and my action in it was expressive of my appreciation and indicated that it was my work he had done or was doing and that he had received my power and the credit and crown of the achievement belonged to him.

*

August 11, 1949

It is quite evident that all the suggestions that are coming to Janak Kumari are part of the pressure that is being put on her from a distance by this evil-minded man: the idea of coming away before the Darshan is his idea and so is the thought of going to see him. You must persuade her this and tell her that on no account and for no reason should she yield to the pressure. It is clear what he is after and to allow herself to do what he wants in these matters is not to be thought of, the consequences might be very serious. She must on no account see this man or have anything to do with him. Even if she finds it difficult physically or otherwise to bear this kind of pressure she must remain firm; then eventually he will have to desist or he will get his quietus. If you think it necessary for me to write to her directly, let me know and I will do so.

*

Janak Kumari,

I have already written to Dilip my advice and instructions as to what you should do in the matter of this yogi and his pressure upon you. But I am writing to you both to confirm what I have written to him and to add one or two words which are necessary to complete what I have said.

What is especially important for you is to dismiss fear from your mind. In these occult workings fear is a great drawback and handicap; it gives strength to the attack and weakens your resistance. Have faith in the help of the Divine and your ultimate deliverance and throw away fear whenever it tries to come. If you do that you will become stronger and be more able to endure till there is victory.

The physical pain and suffering inflicted by him is hard to bear, but you must try to remain firm in spite of it until his power to touch you diminishes and comes to nothing. Be courageous and push the obsession of him away from you; it is through the nervous being and some pressure of his force upon it which he has been able to establish that he makes you suffer. Try to be calm and steady there; then it will be easier to remain firm and overcome.

Be sure that the Mother’s help and mine will be always with you. Call for it whenever you need it.

*

December 5, 1949

Mother got your letter and wanted to write an answer to you but she could not do so because it was the moment when she had to go out for the outside work and she was already late. You may be quite sure that she entirely forgives you if there is anything to forgive; she was very much pleased with the frankness with which you have confessed all your feelings and where there is that sincerity there is nothing that does not draw its own forgiveness. But throughout she has had nothing but a feeling of kindness and affection for you. She did not dream of asking you to join the drill, for it is quite unnecessary and in view of what you have written about your state of health she does not consider it advisable.

P.S. My own letter to you will, I hope, be completed tomorrow; it will explain to you Mother’s real attitude about this sport business and I hope it will make you feel quite at ease about it in future.

What Sri Aurobindo has written is exactly what I wanted to say. I shall add only my love and blessings. Mother

*

December 7, 1949

First about Janak: I expressed no disapproval of your letter to Janak; what I thought and said was that it might be better not to send the letter you have written, the one containing the reference to Krishnaprem, and I said that because I thought it would not have the desired effect and might, if she took it in the wrong way, have a result of some discouragement and painful perplexity upon her. Fortunately, she took it well and your later letter was such, even if it had been otherwise, as to put things right. I do not see any chance for your persuading her not to regard you as her guru. The idea and the feeling about it are evidently rooted in her mind and heart and to pull it out would not only be impossible for her, but too painful for her to accept it at all. She feels that it is you who have brought her to us and helped and guided her; us she looks at as your Gurus and that has been her door of approach to us. It seems to me that it would be dangerous to give too rude a shock to her reliance on you and that it is not really necessary; you have helped her greatly and she needs the continuance of your helping influence. You can, of course, insist on disclaiming the position of a Guru and tell her to turn more to us, but I think the insistence need not be too peremptory and absolute. After all, you can help and have helped her and others and drawn them to the spiritual path and you have made many turn towards us who of their notion would not have thought of doing so. There is a power in you to draw others like that and it seems to me that not only Nature but the Divine has put it in you for his service and it is quite right that you should use it for him as you have done. There can be no harm in using his gifts for him when it is done in the right spirit.

It is good that you have asked her to come here away from that welter of ill-treatment and misfortunes, but this combination of maladies has an alarming appearance especially as there is tendency in her to desire or look forward to death as a release; also the diagnosis of thrombosis by your uncle is disquieting, for we know from the experience of Kshitish how the danger of it can hang around even after a temporary cure. If she goes to Calcutta, it is to be hoped that your uncle will be able to remove the danger.

But the circumstances do not seem to be favourable to her chances of getting away from her undesirable surroundings especially as her husband has taken this attitude and appropriated her money and jewels and seems determined to prevent her from any escape from his hold. There is also her own weakness and her sentimental attachment to him as well as to her children and the sense of obligation to them which she is indulging that are helping him in his purpose. These are old vital samskaras which conflict with her determination to lead the spiritual life or to come here for at least the necessary time; but these contradictions are always cropping up in the sadhak’s endeavour and they can be overcome. I will say nothing here about her spiritual experience, as that is not immediately urgent; I will answer your question about it later on in another letter.

I wrote the above before I quite realised the violence of the attack or depression from which you are suffering, otherwise I would not have written it in so easy and confident a vein; but what I have written there about you and your work for us was the expression of the feeling I have always had about it, so I need change nothing. I still do not understand why you should think that Mother and myself do not appreciate the hard work you have done for us in Bengal and the help you have given us at a moment when we very badly needed it and still need whatever help you can get at this difficult and critical juncture. It helped us to meet to some extent a very serious emergency and though that emergency still remains and is still perilous, it gave a relief in this serious trouble. I still do not understand, apart from what you say about some gesture of the Mother – I shall refer to that afterwards – why you should think that we not only did not appreciate but disregarded and disdained all you have done for us at the expense of your ease and health during your absence. I have never had that attitude towards you and your work for me and could not possibly have it; my personal feeling towards you would forbid it under any circumstances and those feelings, as you ought to know, have always been and will always be the same. As for the Mother, she too has fully appreciated your work and, whatever your depression may persuade you to think for the moment, she is entirely guiltless of any disregard for it or coldness and indifference towards you.

You also seem to have misunderstood something I said to Nirod about pressure and difficulties as indicating some unwillingness on my part to write to you; nothing was farther from my mind, I said that only to explain my remissness in writing to you before. I was not referring to the pressure caused by the necessity of hastening the publication of my yet unpublished books or those that need to be republished – there is much work of that kind pressing to be done and much else not pressing but still needing to be done while there is still time such as the Future Poetry or other works like the first part of Savitri which has to be revised for early publication in book form. All that could have nothing to do with it – I was referring only to personal difficulties of my own and the difficulties concerning the Ashram which I had to face and which owing to their gravity and even danger had too much preoccupied my mind. That I have mentioned as an explanation of my earlier remissness and not as an excuse – there could be no valid excuse. Certainly, that had nothing to do with your present trouble and the letter – the present one – which I had sent word through Nirod that I was starting to write yesterday.

It is a great pity that there should have been, especially at this time, after the good work you have done and the progress made in your consciousness, this return of the old vital upset and nervous depression to a degree which was not, I think, fully justified by the circumstances in which it arose and that it should have been pushed, largely by the wrong suggestions thrown on you by others, to an excessive violence of dejection or despair. I believe Krishnaprem’s estimate of your position in Yoga to be fairly correct: the deficiency of trust is in itself something minor and belongs to a small part of yourself and, in fact, almost wholly to the physical mind and a little part of the lower vital ego. It is no doubt, helped by the inability to feel directly that the Force working on you or in you is mine although your higher mind and vital have more than once admitted it and felt that it could be nothing else. But the response has been there and the effects of the Force, though these are strongly interrupted and may seem to be annulled for a time when these periods of darkness and upheaval take place and may be diminished when much restlessness or nervous troubles occur. It would need only some opening of the physical mind to remedy this defect of the consciousness; for the lower vital ego has lost much of its insistence by the progress of your consciousness and the strong efforts you have made to abate and get rid of its reactions.

If once an experience at that time came, it might be sufficient to remove the obstacle and you will then become able to feel directly and palpably the working of the Consciousness and the Force and recognise it as mine. Most of your difficulties would then disappear and the way would lie open to the fullness of your sadhana and the realisation of the Divine, the presence of Krishna would be possible – I would even say that it would become an early certitude. At the same time a diminution of the hold of the physical mind and its too absolute trust in the infallibility or correctness of its own impressions, reasonings and sensational reactions would diminish and a larger consciousness take its place. The ground would be largely cut away which makes these upsets recur. I understand that the very recurrence caused, I suppose, largely by the failure of your efforts at meditation and concentration to bring the results you want is principally responsible for this kind of upset and the mistaken impression that you cannot do the Yoga. It is not really so; for the growth in bhakti and your power to awake bhakti in others and the earnestness of your works of service and self-dedication to service are sufficient evidence of fitness – not to speak of certain experiences in the past which were clear proof of the capacity for what can be called occult spiritual experience. These things of themselves would in time bring about the necessary growth of the inner consciousness behind the surface which makes for successful concentration and meditation and renders all kinds of inner experience possible.

Before coming to the main point I may as well clear out one matter not unconnected with it, my articles or messages, as they have been called, in the Bulletin; for their appearance there and their contents seem to have caused some trouble, perplexity or misunderstanding in your mind and especially my speculations about the Divine Body. I wrote the first of these articles to explain about how or why sport came to be included in the programme of the Ashram activities and I think I made it clear, as I went on, that sport was not sadhana, that it belonged to what I called the lower end of things, but that it might be used not merely for amusement or recreation or the maintenance of health, but for a greater efficiency of the body and for the development of certain qualities and capacities not of the body only but of morale and discipline and the stimulation of mental energies: but I pointed out also that these could be and were developed by other means and that there were limitations to this utility.

In fact, it is only by sadhana that one could go beyond the limits natural to the lower end means. I think there was little room for misunderstanding here but the Mother had asked me to write on other subjects not connected in any way with sport and had suggested some subjects such as the possibilities of the evolution of a divine body; so I wrote on that subject and went on to speak of the Supermind and Truth-Consciousness which had obviously not even the remotest connection with sport. The object was to bring in something higher and more interesting than a mere record of gymnasium events but which might appeal to some of the readers or even to wider circles. In speaking of the Divine Body I entered into some far off speculations about what might become possible in the future evolution of it by means of a spiritual force, but obviously the possibilities could not be anything near or immediate and I said clearly enough that we shall have to begin at the beginning and not attempt anything out of the way. Perhaps I should have insisted more on present limitations but that I should now make clear. For the immediate object of my endeavours is to establish spiritual life on earth and for that the first necessity must always be to realise the Divine; only then can life be spiritualised or what I have called the Life Divine be made possible. The creation of something that could be called a divine body could be only an ulterior aim undertaken as part of this transformation; as obviously the development of such a divine body as was visioned in these speculations could only come into view as the result of a distant evolution and need not alarm or distract any one. It might even be regarded as a phantasy of some remotely possible future which might one day happen to come true.

I then come to the main point namely that the intention attributed to the Mother of concentrating permanently on sports and withdrawing from other things pertinent to sadhana and our spiritual endeavour is a legend and a myth and has no truth in it. Except for the time given to her own physical exercise and, ordinarily two hours or sometimes three in the evening on the Playground, the Mother’s whole day from early morning and a large part of the night also has always been devoted to her other occupations connected with her work and with the sadhana – not her own but that of the sadhaks, pranam, blessings, meditation and receiving the sadhaks on the staircase or elsewhere sometimes for two hours at a time, and listening to what they have to say, questions about the sadhana, reports of their work or other matters, complaints, disputes, quarrels, all kinds of conferences about this or that to be decided or done, there is no end to the list; for the rest she had to attend to their letters, to reports about the material work of the Ashram and all its many departments, decisions on a hundred matters, correspondence and all sorts of things connected with contacts with the outside world including often serious troubles and difficulties and the settlement of matters of great importance.

All this has certainly nothing to do with sports and she had little occasion to think of it at all apart from the short time in the evening. There was here no ground for the idea that she was neglecting the sadhaks or the sadhana or thinking of turning her mind solely or predominantly to sport and still less for imputing the same preoccupation to me. Only during the period before the first and second December this year the Mother had to give a great deal of time and concentration to the preparation of the events of those two days because she had decided on a big cultural programme, her own play “Vers l’avenir” [ “Towards the Future”], dances, recitation from Savitri and from the Prayers and Meditations for the first December and also a big and ambitious programme for the second of sportive items and events. This meant a good deal more time for these purposes but not any interruption of her other occupations except for one or two of them just at the end of this period. There was surely no sufficient ground here either for drawing the conclusion that this was to be for the future a normal feature of her action or a permanent change in it or in the life of the Ashram ending in a complete withdrawal from spiritual life and an apotheosis of the deity of sport. Those who voiced this idea or declared that sport would henceforth be obligatory on all were indulging in fantasies that have no claim to credibility. As a matter of fact the period of tension is over and after the second December things have returned to normal or even to subnormal in the activities of the Playground and as for the future you may recall the proverb that “once is not for ever.”

But there seems to be still a survival of the groundless idea that sportsmanship is obligatory henceforth on every sadhak and, without it there is no chance of having the Mother’s attention or favour.

It is therefore necessary for me to repeat with the utmost emphasis the statement I made long ago when this fable became current for a time along, I think, with the rumour that the Supermind was to descend on the Playground and the people who happen to be there at the time and nowhere else and on nobody else – which would have meant that I for one would never have it!! I must repeat what I said then, that the Mother has never imposed or has any idea of imposing any such obligation and had no reason for doing so. The Mother does not want you or anybody else to take to sports if there is no inclination or turn towards it. There are any number of people who enjoy her highest favour, among them some of her best and most valued workers, some most near to her and cherished by her who do not even set foot on the Playground. Nobody then could possibly lose her favour or her affection by refusing to take up sport or by a dislike of sport or a strong disinclination towards it: these things are a matter of idiosyncracy and nothing else. The idea, whether advanced or not by someone claiming to have authority to voice the Mother’s intentions, that sport is now the most important thing with her and obligatory for sadhana is absurd in the extreme. Again, how could you ever imagine that the Mother or myself would turn you away or ask you to leave us for any reason, least of all for such a fantastic one as this? All this is indeed a maze of fantasies and you should drive them from your mind altogether. Your place in our hearts is permanent and your place near us must be that also; you should not allow anything to cloud that truth in your mind or lend credence to anything or anyone telling you otherwise.

There remains the incident from which the upset started, the gesture of the Mother putting only the tips of her fingers and then, as you felt it, pushing your head away; such an incident or an identical one has been more than once at the origin of these upsets in the past; but, certainly, this time it could only have happened if the Mother had slipped into a state subconscient or half-conscious in which the body was left to itself and made a mechanical or involuntary movement in which her mind had no share. The Mother has no recollection of having on this occasion passed into such a state, but it is quite sure that she made consciously no such gesture and she had no reason for doing so. There was no indifference or coldness in her mind or feelings after your return from Bengal, but very much the contrary since she had fully appreciated the work you have done. There was also no resentment at your attitude towards sport, for she had never any idea of obliging or putting any pressure on you or anybody else for the purpose of making them join the gymnastic exercises; such an attitude was always quite foreign to her mind and never entered at all into her intention. If there was any such involuntary gesture, you should dismiss it from your mind as something the Mother herself would greatly regret; it could not have happened consciously or deliberately, for that at least you may be sure.

I believe that I have left out nothing of any importance that needed to be written. About Janak, I do not quite gather what we are to understand about her physical condition or whether she got better for a moment but has become worse again; but I will do the best I can to help her out of her difficulties of so many kinds; it is to be hoped she will not feel herself obliged to linger for any reason in the midst of what seems to be a terribly unpleasant and dangerous family atmosphere: if she can get away from it, that would give a better chance of things turning out for the best and I hope she will do it.

I shall answer more fully what you have written in your letter to the Mother, but I will do that tomorrow in the course of the day, as I don’t want to delay sending you this letter of mine in which I have tried to dissipate the mistaken impressions which have caused so much trouble. I hope it will clear the atmosphere to a large extent and put things right or at least more right than they were. But let me say at once that there is no reserve or arriere pensee [ulterior motive] in our emphatic statement about our not pressing sport as an obligation on you or anyone. As we do not press it on you now, so too we shall not press it on you hereafter. I shall write more fully about this tomorrow. Just now I want to give you the assurance that our relation of love and affection with you cannot change for any cause nor our will to help you in your long and persistent endeavour to realise the Divine and achieve the spiritual life. You have made much progress on the way and I feel sure that you will arrive.

*

December 7, 1949

I had thought of writing something more than what I wrote in my letter to you so as to meet any difficulties on your part that I might not have sufficiently cleared up and that might stand in your way, but after reading your two last letters to the Mother I find little more to be said; I feel as if the air was now quite clear. As to your prayer not to give you up, you must now feel sure that that could never happen in any circumstances. You will of course decide for yourself what is the best to do with regard to Calcutta and connected matters. As to Janak, I hope that she will get out of that place and overcome the difficulty created by her still existing attachment; to get out of that place and pernicious atmosphere seems to me the first necessary step, and I hope she will take it as soon as it becomes possible.

Perhaps I might say a word about Ramakrishna’s attitude with regard to the body. He seems always to have regarded it as a misuse of spiritual force to utilise it for preserving the body or curing its ailments or taking care of it. Other Yogis – I do not speak of those who think it justifiable to develop Yogic siddhis, but of those who think that that should be avoided – have not had this complete disregard of the body: they have taken care to maintain it in good health and condition as an instrument or a physical basis for their development in Yoga. I have always been in agreement with this view: moreover, I have never had any hesitation in the use of a spiritual force for all legitimate purposes including the maintenance of health and physical life in myself and in others – that is indeed why the Mother has given flowers, not only as a blessing but as a help in illness. I put a value on the body first as an instrument, dharmasadhana or, more fully as a centre of manifested personality in action, a basis of spiritual life and activity as of all life and activity upon the earth, but also because for me the body as well as the mind and life is a part of the divine whole, a form of the spirit and therefore not to be disregarded or despised as something incurably gross and incapable of spiritual realisation or of spiritual use. Matter itself is secretly a form of the Spirit and has to reveal itself as that, can be made to wake to consciousness and evolve and realise the Spirit, the Divine within it.

In my view the body as well as the mind and life have to be spiritualised or, one may say, divinised so as to be fit instrument and receptacle for the realisation and manifestation of the Divine. It has its part in the divine lila, even, according to the Vaishnava sadhana, in the joy and beauty of Divine Love. That does not mean that the body has to be valued for its own separate sake or that the creation of a divine body in a future evolution of the whole being has to be contemplated as an end and not a means – that would be a serious error which would not be admissible. In any case, my speculations about an extreme form of divinisation are something in a far distance and are no part of the preoccupations of the spiritual life in the near future.

If there is any difficulty left or any question you wish to put, do not hesitate to write to me about it and I shall answer.

*

December 8, 1949

I do not think Janak’s trance has anything to do with her ill-health; I have never known the habit of trances of that kind to have any such result, only the violent breaking of a trance might have a bad result, though it would not necessarily produce a disaster. But there is the possibility that if the conscious being goes out of the body in an absolutely complete trance, the thread which connects it with the body might be broken or else cut by some adverse force and it would not be able to return into the physical frame. Apart from any such fatal possibility there might be a shock which might produce a temporary disorder or even some kind of lesion; as a rule, however, a shock would be the only consequence. The general question is a different matter. There is a sort of traditional belief in many minds that the practice of yoga is inimical to the health of the body and tends to have a bad effect of one kind or another and even finally leads to a premature or an early dropping of the body. Ramakrishna seems to have held the view, if we can judge from his remarks about the connection between Keshav Sen’s50 progress in spirituality and the illness which undermined him, that one was the result and the desirable result of the other, a liberation and release from life in this world, mukti.

That may or may not be, but I find it difficult to believe that illness and deterioration of the body is the natural and general result of the practice of yoga or that that practice is the cause of an inevitable breakdown of health or of the final illnesses which bring about departure from the body. On what ground are we to suppose or how can it be proved that while non-yogis suffer from ill-health and die because of the disorders of Nature, yogis die of their yoga? Unless a direct connection between their death and their practice of yoga can be proved – and this could be proved with certainty only in particular cases and even then not with an absolute certainty – there is no sufficient reason to believe in such a difference. It is more rational to conclude that both yogis and non-yogis fall ill and die from natural causes and by the same dispensation of Nature; one might even advance the view, since they have the Yoga-Shakti at their disposal if they choose to use it, that the yogi falls ill and dies not because of but in spite of his yoga. At any rate, I don’t believe that Ramakrishna (or any other yogi) fell ill because of his trances; there is nothing to show that he ever suffered in that way after a trance. I think it is said somewhere or he himself said that the cancer in his throat of which he died came by his swallowing the sins of his disciples and those who approached him: that again may or may not be, but it will be his own peculiar case. It is no doubt possible to draw the illnesses of others upon oneself and even to do it deliberately, the instance of the Greek king Antigonus51 and his son Dimitrius is a famous historical case in point; yogis also do this sometimes; or else adverse forces may throw illnesses upon the yogi, using those round him as a door or a passage or the ill wishes of people as an instrumental force. But all these are special circumstances connected, no doubt, with his practice of yoga; but they do not establish the general proposition as an absolute rule. A tendency such as Janak’s to desire or welcome or accept death as a release could have a force because of her advanced spiritual consciousness which it would not have in ordinary people. On the other side, there can be an opposite use and result of the yogic consciousness: illness can be repelled from one’s own body or cured, even chronic or deep-seated illnesses and long-established constitutional defects remedied or expelled and even a predestined death delayed for a long period.

Narayan Jyotishi52, a Calcutta astrologer, who predicted, not knowing then who I was, in the days before my name was politically known, my struggle with Mlechchha enemies and afterwards the three cases against me and my three acquittals, predicted also that though death was prefixed for me in my horoscope at the age of sixty-three, I would prolong my life by yogic power for a very long period and arrive at a full old age. In fact, I have got rid by yogic pressure of a number of chronic maladies that had got settled in my body, reduced others to a vanishing minimum, brought about steadily progressing diminution of two that remained and on the last produced a considerable effect. But none of these instances either on the favourable or unfavourable side can be made into a rule; there is no validity in the tendency of human reason to transform the relativity of these things into an absolute. Finally I may say of Janak’s trances that they are the usual savikalpa kind opening to all kinds of experiences, but the large abiding realisations in yoga do not usually come in trance but by a persistent waking sadhana. The same may be said of the removal of attachments; some may be got rid of sometimes by an experience in trance, but more usually it must be done by persistent endeavour in waking sadhana.

You have our full approval for your project about Kanpur and Gwalior, etc.; our blessings will go with you and your success cannot fail to be a great help to us.

With love and blessings

*

December 9, 1949

I don’t think there is much either in this man himself or in his teachings. It does not seem to me that he is a Yogi in the true sense of the word but rather a man with some intellectual ability who is posing as a spiritual teacher. His photograph gives an impression of much pretension and vanity and an impression also of much falsity in the character. As for what he teaches it does not hang together. If all books are worthless, why did he write a book and one of this kind telling people what they should do, what they should not do and if all teachers are unhelpful, why does he take the posture of a teacher since according to his own statement that cannot be helpful to anybody? Krishnamurti53 was before he broke away on his own, certainly the disciple of two gurus, Leadbeater54 and Annie Besant55: if he has denounced Mrs. Besant, Krishnaprem is quite entitled to denounce him as a gurudrohi [betrayer of guru].

*

December 11, 1949

Mother has been told of the opinion of Dr. Satyavrata56 and in view of what he says about the diagnosis and proposed treatment of the alleged osteoarthritis, Janak should certainly drop the whole affair as she has done. In the uncertainty about the rest it is hardly possible to make her any definite recommendation contrary to her resolution to drop all medical treatment. The one definite hope lies in her resolution to come away at the first opportunity; her position is terribly difficult, but a strong will often creates an unexpected opportunity or means for its own fulfilment. You have done well to write to Justice Mullick to help her, but in the present state of things will she be allowed by these people to receive his visit or his help? I do not know if anybody else would have a chance, in view of the strange relations between her husband and her own people.

Of course, recommendation to Jogendra not to take you away but to let you realise the Divine first has no meaning. Must one realise the Divine before one can serve him or is not service of the Divine a step on the way to realisation and a help towards it? In any case, the service and the realisation are both necessary for a complete yoga and one cannot fix an unalterable rule of precedence between the two.

All right for the stotra in March57.

*

December 21, 1949

I have spoken to the Mother and in the circumstances she agrees about your starting for Jubbulpore tonight. But we hope that it is a passing depression created by her misunderstanding of what you wrote to her and that the elasticity of her psychic temperament and aspiration will help her to recover from it rapidly, if not at once. Still, wires and letters may not help her to recover her natural condition immediately and your presence there may be necessary and is certainly advisable, since it will set things right at once. So you can start tonight as you propose and our blessings will go with you. With love and blessings

*

Correspondence 1950

January 13, 1950

I have found it difficult to understand fully from the facts and impressions written and wired by you what we are to think about Janak’s condition and her chances of outlasting the present long-continued crisis. On the one hand, there seems to be little hope and at any moment there may be the collapse and final end; on the other, there have been sometimes an appearance of improvement and a chance that her strong psychic resistance may bring her out of this terrible attack of many combined illnesses and other dangerous conditions surrounding her. But one thing we feel that so long as there is the slightest shadow of a hope we must fight to the end to save her. Her strong psychic resistance, her openness to the spiritual force is the element most in her favour in spite of the damage done by her past tendency to give up and leave the body; now that this has gone there is a greater chance of her coming through if she can survive the present danger created by the complications of asthma and lack of sleep and inability to take sufficient sustenance. But her other main support has been your presence and all that you have been doing for her: we feel that if she has been able to overcome these terrible assaults so long, it has been largely due to that. I can fully appreciate what a tremendous strain it has been on you and how painful to see her suffer with the feeling that has been growing on you of the hopelessness of her case in such circumstances; but without you things might have, I think, certainly would have been much worse and might have come already to the worst. Mother very strongly feels that your presence has been our best help and gives the greatest chance and she wants you to continue some time longer. It is these considerations and one other contingent, one which I will come to at the end of the letter, which made me ask you to stay a little longer. If it turns out that there is really no hope or that your remaining cannot really help and would only be an unnecessary strain on you, then it is different. Of course I will try to the end; for my experience is that even a hopeless effort in the fields of the working of the spiritual force is often better than none and can bring in the intervention of the miracle.

One very serious difficulty has been the entire darkness in which the medical aspects of all this trouble have been wrapped by the inability of the doctors to account for the mortal seriousness of her case. None of the symptoms has been definitely accounted for, neither the osteoarthritis nor the pressure of the extra bone can have any mortal effect. The relapse into asthma is also not of itself a fatal illness and cannot account for the terrible pain in the heart, however serious may be the aggravation to which it has led owing to the sleeplessness and the inability to take sufficient sustenance. The doctors here are agreed that the bleeding from the mouth and nose can have nothing to do with any heart trouble and moreover it has now ceased. As for the heart itself one doctor finds there is no organic illness and the other speaks of dilatation but that by itself gives no clue. Dr. Satyavrata has seen the X-ray plate and noticed a shadow in the chest and suggested certain possibilities which could account for the more serious aspects that have actually developed without the doctors being able to give an elucidating diagnosis. To make certain it would be necessary to take another X-ray plate of the chest and under present conditions that is not possible. As for thrombosis if these formidable pains had been due to that, they would have finished her long ago. If one knew the exact seat and cause of illness that would help in the working of the force, because in spiritual working as well as in any other an exact direction in the light of a sure knowledge is always the most effective.

I come now to the thing from which I started. It is contingent on her coming out in spite of everything and escaping from the apparent hopelessness of the present conditions. It comes from our feeling that her stay in that house is dangerous for her and undesirable because of other considerations than those connected with her present illness. If she can recover sufficiently to make the movement possible and safe, then we think that she ought to be moved at least to another house where she can still be looked after and receive the care and comfort necessary for her. Her husband’s proposal of taking her to the Delhi hospital is of course out of the question since she refuses to submit to medical treatment and is determined to trust to the spiritual force alone; nor is medical treatment likely to be of much benefit in her case.

But I suppose in his present attitude he would give his help and Surindar also and make the necessary arrangements. If she could recover by that time so much as to be able to leave Jubbulpore, that would be much the best; but this much at least we think to be very desirable. I will not enter into the reasons; some of them must be obvious but there are others of an occult order. It would not be necessary for you to wait long enough to carry out this arrangement yourself provided you get the cooperation of Mulkraj and Surindar.

I will write further if it is necessary, but I must send this letter at once if it has to go today.

*

January 21, 1950

I have just finished hearing the Second Act of your drama of Sri Chaitanya; there is much fine poetry in it and the dramatic interest of the dialogue and of the presentation of character seems to me considerable. We have not had time yet to read the last Act; we shall do that tomorrow and then I can write about your drama with more finality, but it is already turning into a fine play. As for the historical question, I do not consider that any objections which might be raised from that standpoint would have much value. Poetry, drama, fiction also are not bound to be historically accurate; they cannot indeed develop themselves successfully unless they deal freely with any historical material they may choose to include or take for their subject. One can be faithful to history if one likes but even then one has to expand and deal creatively with characters and events, otherwise the work will come to nothing or little. In many of his dramas Shakespeare takes names from history or local tradition, but uses them as he chooses; he places his characters in known countries and surroundings, but their stories are either his own inventions, or the idea only is borrowed from facts and the rest is of his own making: or else he indulges in pure fantasy and cares nothing even for geographical accuracy or historical possibility. It is true that sometimes he follows closely the authorities he had at his disposal, such as Holin-shed or another and in plays like Julius Caesar he sticks to the main events and keeps many of the details, but not so as to fetter the play of his imagination. So I don’t think you need worry at all about either historians or biographers, even if “Chaitanya Charitamrita” could be regarded as a biography. That is all, I think, for the present. I shall write again after hearing the Third Act of your drama.

About Janak, I can write nothing today. Yesterday’s developments were a serious blow after there had been so much promise or at least some chance of better things.

*

January 23, 1950

We have finished reading your Chaitanya. The Third Act which is the most remarkable of the three confirms the impression already made by the other two of a very fine and successful play well-written and constructed with many outbursts of high poetry and outstanding in its dramatic interest and its thought substance. The third is original in its design and structure, especially its idea, admirably conceived and worked out, of a whole scene of action with many persons and much movement shown in the vision of a single character sitting alone in her room; it was difficult to work out but it has fitted in extremely well. It has also at the same time a remarkable combination of the three unities of the Greek drama into which this distant scene, though not too distant, manages to dovetail very well – the unity of one place, sometimes one spot in the Greek play or a small restricted area, one time, one developing action completed in that one time and spot, an action rigorously developed and unified in its interest. Indeed, the play as a whole has this unity of action in a high degree.

Advocates of the old style drama might object to the great length of the discussions as detrimental to compactness and vividness of dramatic interest and dramatic action and they might object too that the action – though this does not apply to the Jagai Madhai episode – is more subjective and psychological than the external objective successions of happenings or interchanges represented on a stage would seem to demand; this was the objection made to Shaw’s most characteristic and important play. But where the dramatic interest is itself of a subjective and psychological character involving more elaboration of thought and speech than of rapid or intensive happenings and activities, this kind of objection is obviously invalid; what matters is how the subjective interest, the play or development of ideas, or if high ideals are involved that call to the soul is presented and made effective. Here it is great spiritual ideals and their action on the mind and lives of human beings that are put before us and all that matters is how they are presented and made living in their appeal. Here there is, I think, full success and that entirely justifies the method of the drama.

For the rest I have only heard once rapidly read the play in three acts and it is not possible with that short reading to pass judgment on details of a purely literary character, so on that I can only give my personal impression. A drama has to accommodate itself to different levels and intensities of expression proper to the circumstances and different characters, moods and events: but here too, I think, the handling is quite successful. I believe the verdict must be, from every point of view, an admirable “Chaitanya.”

*

January 24, 1950

An Avatar, roughly speaking, is one who is conscious of the presence and power of the Divine born in him or descended into him and governing from within his will and life and action; he feels identified inwardly with this divine power and presence.

A Vibhuti is supposed to embody some power of the Divine and is enabled by it to act with great force in the world, but that is all that is necessary to make him a Vibhuti: the power may be very great, but the consciousness is not that of an inborn or indwelling Divinity. This is the distinction we can gather from the Gita which is the main authority on this subject. If we follow this distinction, we can confidently say from what is related of them that Rama and Krishna can be accepted as Avatars; Buddha figures as such although with a more impersonal consciousness of the Power within him; Ramakrishna voiced the same consciousness when he spoke of Him who was Rama and who was Krishna being within him. But Chaitanya’s case is peculiar; for according to the accounts he ordinarily felt and declared himself a bhakta of Krishna and nothing more, but in great moments he manifested Krishna, grew luminous in mind and body and was Krishna himself and spoke and acted as the Lord. His contemporaries saw in him an Avatar of Krishna, a manifestation of the Divine Love.

Shankara and Vivekananda were certainly Vibhutis; they cannot be reckoned as more, though as Vibhutis they were very great.

*

February 2, 1950

It was not my intention58 to question in any degree Chait-anya’s position as an Avatar of Krishna and the Divine Love. That character of the manifestation appears very clearly from all the accounts about him and even, if what is related about the appearance of Krishna in him from time to time is accepted, these outbursts of the splendour of the Divine Being are among the most remarkable in the story of the Avatar. As for Sri Ramakrishna, the manifestation in him was not so intense but more many-sided and fortunately there can be no doubt about the authenticity of details of his talk and actions since they have been recorded from day to day by so competent an observer as Mahendranath Gupta. I would not care to enter into any comparison as between these two great spiritual personalities; both exercised an extraordinary influence and did something supreme in their own sphere.

*

February 11, 1950

You will have with you for your work in Delhi my blessing and the Mother’s and all the spiritual support we can give. You can convey our blessings also to Jahar59. As to Janak Kumari’s coming here for the Darshan in this February, we have every sympathy with her desire, but the time is short and the journey a long and trying one and it is very doubtful whether it would be at all advisable or possible for her to make the attempt. It may be better for her to give herself time for full recovery of her health and strength so that she can be safely here in April when the next Darshan comes.

*

April 4, 1950

Certainly I will do all I can to help you to realise Krishna. There is nothing I want for you more than that, for the realisation of the Divine is the one thing needful and the rest is desirable only in so far as it helps or leads towards that or when it is realised, extends and manifests the realisation. Manifestation and organisation of the whole life for the divine work – first, the sadhana personal and collective necessary for the realisation and a common life of God-realised men, secondly for help to the world to move towards that, and to live in the Light – is the whole meaning and purpose of my Yoga. But the realisation is the first need and it is that round which all the rest moves, for apart from it all the rest would have no meaning. Neither the Mother nor myself ever dreamed or could dream of putting anything else in its place or neglecting it for anything else; most of the Mother’s day is in fact given to helping the sadhaks in one way or another towards that end, most of the rest is occupied with work for the Ashram which cannot be neglected or allowed to collapse; for this too is work for the Divine. As for the gymnasium, the playground and the rest of it, the Mother has made it plain from the beginning what place she assigned to these things; she has never done anything so imbecile as to replace essential things by these accessories. But of this I don’t wish to speak just now; I will confine myself to things of more pressing importance.

I may stress one point, however, that there need not be only one way to the realisation of the Divine. If one does not succeed or has not yet succeeded in reaching him, feeling him or seeing him by the established process of meditation or by other processes like japa, yet one may have made progress towards it by the frequent welling up of bhakti in the heart or a constantly greater enlargement of it in the consciousness or by work for the Divine and dedication in service. You have certainly progressed in these two directions, increased in devotion and shown your capacity for service. You have also tried to get rid of obstacles in your vital nature and so effect a purification not without success in several difficult directions. The path of surrender is indeed difficult, but if one perseveres in it with sincerity, there is bound to be some success and a partial overcoming or diminution of the ego which may help greatly a further advance upon the way. I can see no sufficient reason for the discouragement which so often overtakes you and sometimes makes you think that you are not cut out for the path; to indulge such a thought is always a mistake. A too ready proneness to discouragement and a consequent despondency is one of the weaknesses of your vital nature and to get rid of it would be a great help. One must learn to go forward on the path of Yoga, as the Gita insists, with a consciousness free from despondency – anirvinnacetasa. Even if one slips, one must rectify the posture; even if one falls, one has to rise and go undiscouraged on the divine way. The attitude must be, “The Divine has promised Himself to me if I cleave to Him always; that I will never cease to do whatever may come.”

You have expressed in one of your letters your sense of the present darkness in the world round us and this must have been one of the things that contributed to your being so badly upset and unable immediately to repel the attack. For myself, the dark conditions do not discourage me or convince me of the vanity of my will to “help the world”, for I knew they had to come; they were there in the world-nature and had to rise up so that they might be exhausted or expelled so that a better world freed from them might be there. After all, something has been done in the outer field and that may help or prepare for getting something done in the inner field also. For instance, India is free and her freedom was necessary if the divine work was to be done. The difficulties that surround her now and may increase for a time, especially with regard to the Pakistan imbroglio, were also things that had to come and to be cleared out.

Nehru’s efforts to prevent the inevitable clash are not likely to succeed for more than a short time and so it is not necessary to give him the slap you wanted to go to Delhi and administer to him. Here too there is sure to be a full clearance, though unfortunately, a considerable amount of human suffering in the process is inevitable. Afterwards the work for the divine will become more possible and it may well be that the dream, if it is a dream of leading the world towards the spiritual Light, may even become a reality. So I am not disposed even now, in these dark conditions to consider my will to help the world as condemned to failure.

I hope you have been able to recover or have begun to recover from the mass of suggestions that fell upon you with regard to the Mother’s relations with you and her feeling towards you which have not varied from a constant loving kindness, affection and good will. Especially since the time you returned from Bengal her appreciation of the good work you have done for us there has been constant and never varied for a moment. The suggestions that fell upon you were certainly the result of a passing despondency and nervous upset: there was nothing on our side, no coldness, no displeasure, no indifference and, [as] these or any similar feelings were not there, and there never was any reason for her feeling them, she could not have and had no wish to manifest anything of the kind either by gesture or otherwise. These were the suggestions of an adverse force which wanted to push you away from her and create a distance between her and you so that you might be discouraged in your sadhana and, if possible, induced to go away from us. It is impossible that we should ever accept the idea of your leaving us and unthinkable that we should ever admit any sunderance between us. This attack upon you, the depression and nervous upset and all these suggestions were part of a general attack which has been raging against us from adverse forces for some time past, but I hope that the worst of it is over for you and that you will be able to go on untroubled in your sadhana. It is needless then to insist that she never thought of you as excluded from her Light which is also mine; that Light will be with you and will, I hope, help to light you on your path towards the realisation you long for.

*

April 13, 1950

Yes, certainly, you can withdraw into solitude as you propose and it is the best way for you; you can also continue it after the first spell of a week. Also Indira can continue to do the typing work for you and you need not have the least hesitation, nor she either with regard to that work. I was unable to speak to the Mother in private about these matters until late this evening after her return from the playground, but your letter was not available at the time and she will not be free till too late tonight for a reply. She wants to hear your letter tomorrow morning and after that I shall be able to give a full reply. Meanwhile I answer immediately on the two points which call for an immediate decision; there you have the Mother’s full support and approval and mine also.

*

April 14, 1950

I was glad to get your letter and I think it is not necessary for me to write more than a few lines since all that is of practical importance in these matters has been sufficiently settled already – your withdrawal into solitude, Indira’s position and her work and the typing of your play. One thing only remains to say a word about: the Mother told me that she had already spoken to Rani60, not this time but on a former occasion and pointed out to her that the attitude of a sadhika claiming to take possession of a sadhak in this way was untenable and contrary to the spirit of our Yoga. She fully recognised it and promised to take the right course and made an earnest attempt to do it. The Mother thinks her present action is only a temporary relapse and she will take the right course after a time, but she thinks she will take it up herself and that will be better than pressing her at the moment. So don’t say anything to Rani about it; she is fairly sure to come right in the end of her own accord.

My love and blessings

*

April 22, 1950

Mother approved of your proposal about Indira’s departure to her father’s place and her return here after the heat is over. We give her our blessings for both her departure and her return and her stay over there. We hope that while over there her health will be finally reestablished and all physical weakness will disappear.

Our love and blessings

*

May 7, 1950

There would be nothing impossible in Mirabai manifesting in this way through the agency of Indira’s trance, provided she is still sufficiently in touch with this world to accompany Krishna where he manifests and in that case there would be no impossibility, either in her taking the part she did in Indira’s vision of her and her action. If Indira wrote in an old Hindi with which she was not ordinarily familiar or in which she was not used to write and it was under the influence of Mirabai that would be a fairly strong evidence of the reality of Mirabai’s presence and influence on her. If Mirabai was actually present her choosing the song presents no difficulty and Indira’s not knowing about it would not prevent that happening. If Mirabai was merely an image in Indira’s mind of trance, then it will be different; but even if she was not actually present, Indira and her trance might have drawn from Mirabai’s personality which we must still suppose to be existing in Krishna’s world a living figure and power of her which produced these phenomena. This is less probable, but it is just possible.

*

May 7, 1950

I have been writing the continuation of the morning’s letter, but have not been able to finish; it is now midnight and I have not been able as yet to finish. I shall continue tomorrow morning and I hope you will not mind this delay.

*

June 2, 1950

I am afraid I am unable at present to throw any new light on this matter that puzzles you, that is why I was not writing anything about it. It is evident on the fact stated by you that Indira is receiving inspiration for her Hindi songs from the Mira of her vision and that her consciousness and the consciousness of Mira are collaborating on some plane superconscient to the ordinary human mind, an occult plane; also this influence is not an illusion but a reality, otherwise the thing could not happen as it does in actual fact. Such things do happen on the occult plane, they are not new and unprecedented. But more than that it is difficult to say, and that explains nothing – it simply states the facts. It may be that if we wait for further light from the actual development of the phenomenon, it will eventually clear up the riddle. I hope I may be able to throw more light on the subject hereafter.

*

June 11, 1950

I don’t quite know what comment to make on this dream or what it is you want to know about it, especially as, although it has a general sense, the precise import escapes me at many points. The relation she wants us to suppose between herself and Indira especially in this matter of rebirth, baffles me not a little, for she does not speak as Indira or as a part of her personality but throughout as herself as a distinct person intervening in her experiences and speaking to her and inspiring her, also intervening in your action and the experiences of others. Ordinarily I would take it that she is Mirabai, the Rajput queen liberated by a sort of salokya mukti and living with Krishna in Goloka or a divine Brindavan and able to accompany in any manifestation he chose to make of himself through the subtle physical to any of us in the human world.

That, I think, would be a satisfactory occult explanation of all that has been happening recently and would agree with the phenomenon of the inspiration of these songs and poems, with the trance-visions of Indira and the rest of it. But how can she be with Krishna liberated into a divine world and at the same time be born here in a human body as men get reborn under some law of karma?

It is only if she is a shakti of Krishna able to remain with him and at the same time put an emanation of herself in a human body through a physical birth that the dual phenomenon could be partly understood. Otherwise ideas or memories about rebirth and the identifications accompanying them, although quite possible, have ordinarily to be examined with care because unless the memories are precise and indubitable, there is often much room left for imagination and error to enter in. So I have thought it best up to now to avoid any definite conclusion in this matter and to wait for further light.

In any case the poems Mirabai has written through Indira – for that much seems to be clear – are indeed beautiful and the whole phenomenon of Indira’s writing them in a language she does not well know and in a metrical prosody of which she is not the master is truly remarkable and very convincing of the genuineness of the whole thing. The Mother has sanctioned the publication of her poems in our press and so, that would be all right.

*

(From Indira Devi to Sri Aurobindo)

August 12, 1950

I write this not to thank you for the Divine compassion but to express my deep gratitude for making me conscious of the Divine Grace.

I am grateful to you not for your Mercy, for the Divine to be merciful is nothing new, but I thank you, Mother and Dada for the awakening that has come over me – the light you have given me to see and feel how blessed I am and how fortunate to be protected and tenderly guarded by the Divine.

How can I express my gratitude to you for your blessings and help. Your blessings and help are always there for all, but I thank you with all my heart for giving me the power to see how unworthy and undeserving I am of your help and how generously the Divine helps; helping those most who deserve least. Dada has made me see that the evil suggestions come only to harm me – though nothing can harm me now – darkness cannot envelope me when I face the glorious light of my Guru’s grace. It was a folly to even think of leaving before Darshan day. I have brought myself as an offering to be laid at the feet of Gurudev and Dada on Darshan day, and how can an offering how so ever humble be taken back from the temple door.

Gurudev, I pray for the strength to be more and more loyal and sincere in my devotion and worship. Please make me worthy of the love and kindness showered on me by Dada, not to mention yourself and Mother.

Pranams,

*

(All subsequent letters are from Mother)

December 27, 1950

(From the Mother)

Read carefully your letter and understand quite well your point. But I do not see how I can replace you so far as Indira is concerned. She needs you and you alone can give her the help she needs. Of course I am always with you and will still more be with you – of that you can be quite certain.

With my love and blessings for you and for her.

PS. I can add that I am quite sure you will always do the right thing in connection with her.

*

Correspondence 1951

(From the Mother)

February 20, 1951

My dear child,

You must not be depressed or sad. You know that Sri Aurobindo has not left us and that he will be here to-morrow as usual.

With my love and blessings

*

(From the Mother)

March 6, 1951

Let the Divine Grace do the work through you and the work will be thoroughly done. My love

*

(From the Mother)

April 28, 1951

Sri Aurobindo has made our realisation independent from all world circumstances, and He always considered you as part of the realisation; so there is no true ground for depression. I expect you to shake it off with the help of my love and blessings.

*

(From the Mother)

June 27, 1951

Mon cher enfant,

Voila ce que je viens d’entendre de notre Seigneur pour toi:

«Pas de craintes, pas d’anxiété, pas de doutes, je suis la».

Avec mes bénédictions [My dear child, Here is what I just heard from our Lord for you: “Have no fear, no anxiety, no doubts, I am here. With my blessings.”]

*

(From the Mother)

Undated

But after all, without putting forth eighteen visible arms, (perhaps, since it is a symbol, by putting them forth internally) I hope to become one day so divine even on the body consciousness that I shall be able to satisfy everybody! But you can’t hurry a transformation like that. I must ask for time.

Why do you always insist on cherishing the idea that I refuse all human love? I have surely written to you to the contrary. I don’t reject it, neither human nor vital love. But I want that behind the vital there shall be the constant support of the psychic human love if (not all at once the divine), because that alone can prevent the movements which make you restless, obscure and miserable. In asking this I am surely not asking anything excessive or beyond your power.

*

 

1 Kalyan Chowdury (1909-1993) son of Kumud Chowdury, a well-known hunter, studied engineering in Europe. He was a good sportsman who played cricket and tennis remarkably well and also a good shooter. His other kinsmen included General J.N. Chowdury, an ex-Chief of the Indian Army and Pramatha Chowdury, the famous writer. After joining the Ashram he taught Physics and General Science in the Ashram school as well as looking after a paddy field acquired by him for the Ashram. The tiger and leopard skins in Sri Aurobindo’s room were from Kalyan’s or his father’s collections.

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2 Surendranath Bandopadhyay (1848-1925), the great Bengali politician, had left his property to his grand-daughter Esha. He founded the newspaper Bengalee.

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3 Esha was Dilipda’s niece.

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4 Latika Ghose, daughter of Manmohan Ghose, Sri Aurobindo’s second brother.

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5 Sachin, most likely Dilipda’s cousin.

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6 Tajdar Begum was a sadhika of the Ashram who came from the Royal family of Hyderabad. She was the step-mother of Dara and Rene.

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7 Gyanprakash Ghose was a well-known tabla player of Bengal renowned for his extensive knowledge of all the tabla gharanas as well as his own Faroukhabad gharana. He was the Music Director and Station Director of All India Radio, Calcutta.

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8 Hashi left her body on January 22.

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9 This passage within brackets has been omitted from the published letter.

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10 Clough’s line: “Found amid granite dust on the frosty scalp of the Cairngorm....”

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11 E.g. Opening tribrachs are very frequent in my hexameter: Is he the first? was there none then before him? shall none come after? (Ahana)

But Milford thinks I have stressed the first short syllable to make them into dactyls – a thing I abhor. Cf. also Ahana (initial anapaest): In the hard reckoning made by the grey-robed accountant at even or (two anapaests

Yet survives bliss in the rhythm of our heart-beats, yet is there wonder

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12 (Dilipda’s note:) Sri Aurobindo’s closing note went: “I have made a few alterations. As for publication, that too is one of the things that wait for the Supramental Descent. En attendant, even, it should not be shown to many people.”

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13 Sri Aurobindo’s comment here: “This does not come in well here; it refers to a much more general question.”

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14 M. S. Subbulakshmi the well-known singer was born in 1916 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. She and her husband, T. Sadasivan dedicated their lives to her music, not for personal gains but for the good of humanity. She gave innumerable concerts in India and abroad. In the forties she performed in four films, one being “Meera,” based on the life of Mirabai. She learned Hindi bhajans from Dilipda.

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15 Sri Aurobindo’s translation: “O love, what more shall I, shall Radha speak, Since mortal words are weak? In life, in death, in being and in breath, no other lord but thee can Radha seek.”

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16 Sri Aurobindo’s translation: “If one brief moment steal thee from mine eyes, my heart within me dies.”

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17 (Dilipda’s translation:) I have no right to complain of the circumstances of my existence, for are they not in consonance with what I am?

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18 Who are the people who have such a tenderness for Hitler and object to his being compared to Duryodhana? I hope they are not among those (spiritual people among them, I am told) who believe – or perhaps once believed? – Hitler to be the new Avatar and his religion (God help us!) to be the true religion which we must help to establish throughout the wide world? Or among those who regard Hitler as a great and good man, a saint, an ascetic and all that is noble and god-like?

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19 Annadashankar Roy (1904-2002) was a celebrated novelist, poet and essayist of Bengal. He was awarded Padma-bhushan, Rabindra Puraskar and Vidyasagar Puraskar. He was the Founder-President of Paschimbanga Bangla Academy.

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20 Toru Dutt (1856-1877) was one of the earliest poetess of Bengal to write in English and French.

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21 Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949) was born in Hyderabad. She was a poetess and a nationalist. She was the first lady Governor of Uttar Pradesh after India’s independence.

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22 Sotuda, a Royal Chartered Accountant who settled in the Ashram after retirement.

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23 Tarapada Patra was in charge of Arya Publishing House, Calcutta, the publisher of Sri Aurobindo’s books and Ashram books. He later settled in the Ashram.

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24 Minnie, wife of Chittaranjan Ganguly, brother of Manoran-jan, Kanak, Robi and Amiyo Ganguly.

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25 Millie, wife of Anil Bhattacharya, elder brother of Sunil Bhattacharya.

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26 Ambalal Sarabhai, a noted industrialist.

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27 Bansidhar was a Gujarati sadhak of the Ashram, younger brother of Champaklal.

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28 Gurudas Library: Publisher of Dwijendralal Roy and Dilip Kumar Roy’s books.

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29 Sajantikanta Das (1900-1962) was a renowned critic who criticised Nazrul, wrote satiric poems and was associated with Probashi, Dainik Bashumati of which he became the editor and of Bangashree. He joined Sanibarer Chithi while studying for M.Sc. and from the eleventh issue he became the editor and soul of it. Several noted authors joined his group. He established Saniranjan Press and Ranjan Publishing House.

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30 Professor Gilbert Murray (1866-1957) was a British scholar and intellectual with connections in many spheres. He authored numerous books and was an outstanding scholar on Ancient Greece.

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31 Jayantilai Parekh was an artist of Santiniketan who studied under Nandanlal Bose, the famous artist and director of Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan. He was a sadhak of the Ashram associated with the publication of Sri Aurobindo Centenary Volumes and also the Founder-Director of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives.

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32 Manju Gupta, wife of Asit Ranjan Gupta, was a well-known singer.

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33 R.K. Venkataraman Iyer, a sadhak and writer in Tamil who translated some of Sri Aurobindo’s books, a good musician: he was assistant editor of a Tamil daily. He left the Ashram in 1950 to return later.

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34 J.N. Chakravarti, a well-known Theosophist, vice-chancellor of Lucknow University and husband of Yashoda Ma, the Guru of Krishnaprem.

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35 Indu Roy, manager of the Hindustan Co-operative Insurance Company at Madras. He started “Advent”, a guarterly dedicated to Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga and his writings. He later continued its publication from the Ashram where he settled after retirement.

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36 These words within brackets were omitted from the published letter.

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37 The sentence within brackets has been omitted from the published version of the letter.

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38 Raymond and Sammer were the two architects of Golconde, the oldest guest-house of the Ashram.

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39 Mona Pinto (1911-2004), a sadhaka and the caretaker of Golconde, she was the wife of Udar Pinto.

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40 Sir Chunilal Mehta: Dilipda and Indira Devi stayed in his house at Pune (Dunlavin Cottage) for six years after leaving Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

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41 Dilipda had asked Sri Aurobindo if he had really meant it when he wrote in February, 1925 in a very private letter:

“It is a strong and lasting personal relation that I have felt with you ever since we met and even before and it is only that that has been the base of all the outward support, consideration, care and constant helping endeavour which I have always extended towards you and which could not have arisen from any tepid impersonal feeling. On my side that relation is not likely to change ever.”

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42 Dr. K. M. Munshi (1887-1971), eminent novelist, writer, politician and founder of the well-known Institute of Indian culture, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

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43 Ranjit Sen a sadhak and Mechanical Engineer related to Jatin Bal (Building Service of the Ashram). He left the Ashram after 1950 and joined the Government Arms Factory, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu and subsequently Dum Dum Factory, Calcutta.

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44 Premanand: a Gujarati sadhak who was the Librarian of the Ashram Library.

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45 Mrs. Elizabeth Montgomery connected with Harper & Collins publishing house of America. She arranged for the publication of Sri Aurobindo’s books in America and Canada.

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46 Sunil Bhattacharya (1920-1988), came to the Ashram in the 1940’s and taught at the Ashram school. A good instrumentalist, he played the sitar remarkably well and had the charge of the Ashram Orchestra.

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47 Indira Devi.

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48 Roxy – a cinema-cum-Theatre Hall of Calcutta where Dilipda sang. Tagore used to bring his Santiniketan Dance Troupe to perform there, Uday Shankar’s first dance was staged there under Haren Ghosh, an impresario friend of Prithwi Singh and Dilipda.

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49 Raja Dhirendra Narayan Rao of Lalgola, Murshidabad, Bengal, and poet and friend of Dilipda.

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50 Keshav Chandra Sen (1838-1884) joined the Brahmo Samaj in 1857 and launched a dynamic program of social reforms. He was given the title of ‘Acharya’ in 1862 by Devendranath Tagore. He went on to form the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj in 1878.

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51 King Antigonus (382 BCE-301 BCE), son of Philip and founder of the Antigonid dynasty in 306 BCE. He died in the Battle of Ipsus.

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52 Narayan Jyotishi, an early 19th century astrologer of Bengal.

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53 Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), a world famous writer and speaker on psychological revolution, the nature of the mind, human relationships, and bringing about positive change in society. He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasized that such a revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.

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54 Charles Webster Leadbeater (1854-1934), an English clergyman, author, clairvoyant and prominent member of the Theosophical Society.

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55 Annie Besant (1847-1933), a prominent Theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator. She launched the Home Rule movement in 1916 and was also elected the President of the Congress.

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56 Dr. Satyavrata Sen, son of Nolini and Ila Sen, started the Tresor Nursing Home in the Ashram.

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57 Dilipda’s note: “I wanted to sing to him a Sanskrit hymn I had composed – which later I sang to him in his room on my birthday, 22.1.50.”

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58 Dilipda’s note: Sri Aurobindo writes in his Essays on the Gita in the Chapter entitled, “The Process of Avatarhood”

“But also the higher divine consciousness of the Purushottama may itself descend into the humanity and that of the Jiva disappear into it. This is said by his contemporaries to have happened in the occasional transfigurations of Chaitanya when he who in his normal consciousness was only the lover and devotee of the Lord and rejected all deification, became in these abnormal moments the Lord himself and so spoke and acted, with all the outflooding light and love and power of the divine Presence”

Sri Aurobindo wrote to a disciple in a letter dated November 13, 1936:

“He [Ramakrishnal never wrote an autobiography – what he said was in conversation with his disciples and others. He was certainly as much an Avatar as Christ or Chaitanya”

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59 Surendranath Jauhar (1903-1986), a freedom fighter and industrialist who founded the New Delhi branch of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Mother’s International School.

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60 Rani was the wife of Dr. Somnath Maitra.

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