15 October 2008

Anirvan on Sri Aurobindo

Sri Anirvan was a true and great yogi. Even in India –a yogi of his stature was rare. But few Indians knew him and in Bengal he is known mainly only amongst the circle of the devotees of Sri Aurobindo. It is mainly because of his Bengali translation of Sri Aurobindo’s Life Divine. Moreover –his command over a language that could do justice to the mantric language of Life Divine-turned his readers to discover him as an adorable greatness in that circle. Otherwise –in spite of his other great and serious writings including his Veda Mimamsa –he would have long lost in oblivion so far the Bengalis are concerned. He was an immortal yogi but Life Divine made him an immortal writer. Even I know many Bengalis –who knew him as an Ashramite of Sri Aurobindo Ashram as one amongst the disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I myself was a victim of this wrong notion before I met him in 1972 and I got a bit surprised of his not being so. I felt to visit him only as I was a devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Otherwise-perhaps I would not have felt any urge to meet him –even if I had known him as an extraordinary yogi. I was then mad to know more about Sri Aurobindo after the Mother’s touch. I wanted to go to them who knew Sri Aurobindo and the Mother personally. For the same reason I met Promode Kumar Chatterjee-the renowned painter and writer –who later joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram. After my acquaintance with Sri Anirvan –I became overwhelmed with his love and I got related to him personally. I told him all about my experience and my opinion about Sri Aurobindo. I laid bare my mind and heart before him as to what I felt about Sri Aurobindo in those days. There were two persons who had been sources for my life’s inner sustenance. They were Sri Ramakrishna and Rabindranath Tagore. But as I had been growing up I started to feel their limitations –in helping me to find the right justification in living in this modern life. Sri Ramakrishna could not convince me as to why I should go after God and how could I live a worldly life without ‘kamini-kanchan’ (woman and money). He uttered that this world is nonexistent (jagat mithya) and only the Brahman is true. His disciples were sanyasins- a fact which divided the two ways of life-where the non-sanyasins were inferior to the sanyasins in their way of life. I never fell from my reverence for him –and always regarded him a great spiritual person. But I failed to reconcile my situation with his ideals and teachings. So was Rabindranath-a worshipper of beauty who held an idea of universal humanity free from all narrowness. But he could not show any way to achieve it. He was apparently aloof of human destiny and the justification of living in hope and meaning. I told all this of my thoughts to Sri Anirvan. I also told him that it was only after coming in touch with the Mother I find the meaning and justification of life in Sri Aurobindo. He responded with a great pat for every word of mine. I should not take this opportunity to get flattered by mentioning his opinion about me in respect of what I told him about Sri Aurobindo. I need only to mention here that he supported every feeling of mine and encouraged and praised me for my opinion on Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo was the cement between our loving relations. There may be other subtle and hidden reasons in my inner relation with him. But it is beyond my comprehension.

For my reverence and love for this yogi-I was sensitive also about his writing on Sri Aurobindo –the person. I read all the letters he wrote in different times to many bhktas. From all his correspondences I came to form my way of ideas about his not being so vociferous about the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. He was a great yogi and it’s beyond the idea of ordinary persons about the height of his consciousness. If one came under his yogic influence or was personally in loving relation with him –he revealed sometime like a childlike simplicity his scintillating greatness. So he did not like to involve himself in fanciful or for that matter futile intellectual exercises with those Aurobindonians who in their real life had no spiritual experience in such very serious and complicated matters. He loved sincere people with genuine seeking but he kept himself apart from public discussions on Sri Aurobindo. Moreover his was a unique life and a different destination as fixed by his creator. He loved the mind of a Baul in his seeking –his Himalayan erudition notwithstanding. But it’s my presumption that his realisation of the Avatarhood of Sri Aurobindo came in his later life. But he did not like to discuss this aspect with others.

In 1972 on the occasion of Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary he wrote briefly on Sri Aurobindo. I am unable for my inefficiency to translate into English from his own inimitable beautiful Bengali –what he wrote about Sri Aurobindo. Perhaps it was his last written statement on Sri Aurobindo. I only mention below a few lines leaving the whole for my inability to translate. This is also not literary translation. I only keep the idea behind the lines.

“Sri Aurobindo was an Avatar in his human body-manushim tanum aAshritah. He appeared as a Divine Intervention. It’s very significant that India became independent on a day which was the birthday of Sri Aurobindo. It’s also significant that though he had been grown up under Western culture and education –his inner self was completely inspired by the oriental ideas and thoughts. His Divine birth took place in a particular place and time-India and Twentieth Century. So his thoughts and ideas turned into universal dimension”

Though it has been written as quote-but actually I have culled them in my way and not from a single paragraph. Sri Anirvan wrote a bit more on the personality and the significance of Sri Aurobindo’s life there but as I have said above that I have had to leave them for my inability to translate them.

After the withdrawal of the Mother from her physical body in 1973, Sri Anirvan and Nalini Kanta Gupta –made two statements on the occasion-from two different places. The words of their statements were not the same in language but significantly they were same in spirit. They saw it (the physical death) as an explosion of the Mother’s consciousness which radiated everywhere in the world. Unfortunately –I had not with me the statements as I write this. So I’ll be glad if anyone helps me with their verbatim statements. Meanwhile I will continue to search them in my records.