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At the Feet of The Mother

Correspondence 1933, July-August

July 15, 1933

The poem is beautiful and the metre is beautiful. As for the rest, there are two golden rules. (1) Never be depressed or upset by difficulties or stumbles. (2) Press always quietly forward, then however long it seems to take, always progress will be made and one day you will be surprised to find yourself near the goal. It is like the curves followed by the train in the ascent of the mountain — they circle round but always nearer and nearer to the goal.

*   *   *

July 17, 1933

I had thought of asking Mother, but somehow didn’t: what was the matter last evening with Purushottam?[1] Champaklal[2] says there was nothing wrong there. Others say it was a possession. I trust my appeal to Krishna hadn’t reached other quarters than that of the Benign Evergreen? It is rather disquieting that’s why I ask.

There was no misdirection of your appeal to Krishna; if there was anybody responsible it was Anilkumar with his tabla. But there was nothing wrong and no “possession” in the evil sense of the word; nothing hostile. The beat-beat of the tabla more than anything else created a vibration which was caught hold of by some rhythmic material Energy and that in its turn caught hold of or was caught hold of by Purushottam’s body which considered itself under a compulsion to “execute” the rhythm by a dance. There is the whole (occult) science of the affair, Purushottam thought he was inspired and in a trance, Ambu[3] thought Purushottam was going to break his head and other people’s legs, a number of others thought Purushottam was going cracked or already cracked, some thought Purushottam was killing Ambu which Ambu contemptuously rejects saying he was able to hold Purushottam all alone, and out of these conflicting mental judgments — if they can be called so — arose the whole row. A greater quietude in people’s minds could perhaps have allowed the “incident” to be “liquidated” in a less uproarious fashion — but the Mother was absorbed in the music and could only intervene later when Champaklal consulted her. That is all.

*   *   *

July 26, 1933

I enclose the book of verse of Buddhadev just out which he has presented to you. I am so glad, as his poetry is immensely superior to his stories, etc. Please read at least the poems marked ✓ thus, particularly the poem tathāpī bānchiyā rabe [still it will live] whose chhanda [metre] is extremely fine and throbbing with life and gāmbhīrjya [gravity or solemnity], also the fine poem Pāpī [“Sinner”] you had read. He is now 25 only and it is surprising to find such a perfection of form and a genuine poetic inspiration, is it not? What I regret is that he should be writing so many bad stories instead of writing more good poems. But he says he has to live on his writings and so —

I agree. I once made a struggle to read a story or two of his but failed.

Could Mother possibly remind Chandulal that the bathroom was to have been ready in ten days — it is more than two weeks — perhaps more and I fear he does not quite realise how inconvenient it is for me etc. etc. If Mother gives him a slight hint he will I know be galvanised into promptness, it is no use my reminding him.

It is not Chandulal’s fault but Fate’s. They had more joints to renew than they expected, so the wood failed in the middle and they had to wait for more to come. However Mother is reminding him.

*   *   *

August 10, 1933

I cannot persuade myself that all the things that are happening — including the triumph of the British policy and deterioration of Gandhi’s intellect are meant for the best. On top of it my noble-hearted friend Sengupta […] is carried off. Bengal is now benighted and there is no sign of light anywhere.

Tagore too has just written an article of despair in which he forebodes gloomily an end of the world pralay-kalpānta as perhaps the quickest and most satisfactory solution to the mess we are in. Add to this my own lack of devotion and faith — as a result of which I thirst for something concrete to feel that the Divine is after all caring for the like of us. I do sometimes even feel that in the end you will give up this wicked world and wish with Tagore for the pralay [universal dissolution] and retire into extra-cosmic samadhi.

I have no intention of doing so — even if all smashed; I would look beyond the smash to the new creation. As for what is happening in the world, it does not upset me because I knew all along that things would happen in that fashion. I never had any illusions about Gandhi’s satyagraha — it has only fulfilled my prediction that it would end in a great confusion or a great fiasco and my only mistake was that I put an “or” where there should have been an “and” — and as for the hopes of the intellectual idealists I have not shared them, so I am not disappointed.

As for yourself, it seems to be a fit of the blues — not the spiritual brilliant, but the dark blue; there is only one thing to do with them, to throw them away and let the true blue shine out on you. Whether the harbour is nearby or further off is not the main thing — the one need is to go on with the eyes fixed on the guiding star — then today or tomorrow or afterwards one arrives at the goal.

P.S. Your metre is a lyric discovery and the poem is very beautiful.

*   *   *

August 13, 1933

Your poetry is not an infliction but a relief. Amid a surging ocean of polyglot letters it is a welcome islet of rhythm and style. So far as I have read is very fine. But I have yet to read the whole.

*   *   *

August 15, 1933

There are artists and artists. A real artist with the spirit of artistry in his very blood will certainly be artistic in everything. But there are artists who have no taste and there are artists who are not born but made. Your example of Tagore is a different matter. A mastery in one department of art does not give mastery on another — though there may be a few who excel equally in many arts. Gandhi’s phrase about asceticism is only a phrase. You might just as well say that politics is an art or that cooking is the greatest of arts or apply that phrase to bridge or boxing or any other human field of effort. As for Tolstoi’s dictum it is that of a polemist, a man who had narrowed himself to one line of ideas — and such people can say anything. There is the same insufficiency about the other quotations. An artist or a poet may be the medium of a great power but in his life he may be a very ordinary man or else a criminal like Villon[4] or Cellini.[5] All hands go to make this rather queer terrestrial creation.

*   *   *

August 16, 1933

Today as usual I lay down and was doing japa of Mother’s name after having read for some time Gita and a novel of Dostoievsky. Suddenly I found myself in the state I used to be long ago. The body was immobile, the currents were passing from head downwards, etc. — all that. I need not therefore go over it all again. Enough to say that I felt very joyous that this experience recurred after a long time. I am trying to keep my consciousness turned towards you and Mother. I suspect I received something yesterday. Anyhow I will try to welcome devoutly more if it comes.

Very glad to hear it. Mother remarked and myself was pleased to see the signs of a marked progress in you on the 15th. Yes, you received something within which has yet fully to come out.

*   *   *

August 17, 1933

I am afraid I don’t see how I can see William Arthur Moore — how can I extend to him so extraordinary a privilege (since I see nobody) which I would not have conceded to Sarat Chatterji? You say Barin certifies him as a bhakta — but Barin’s language is apt to be vivid and exaggerated; he probably means only an admirer. I think he must be answered that certainly he would [have] been allowed a meeting with me if I had been coming out but the entire seclusion has been taken as a rule for Sri Aurobindo’s sadhana and it may not be subjected to exception so long as the rule is in force. If he is really a bhakta that will give him a ray of distant hope and if he isn’t, the impression made does not very much matter. Barin surely exaggerates the power of the publicist — after all he is only the editor of the Statesman — but even otherwise that is not the main consideration. By the way why have you transmogrified Moore into Jones? — there was a Jones there but he has departed and yielded the place to Moore.

As for this Paresh, he wants to be in the Ashram, it would appear (yogāshrame yābār ichchhā[6]), but I don’t see how that can be conceded. If it is merely darshan in November he wants it can be granted. I don’t remember his letter — I suppose Nolini may — and don’t know what he wrote or asked for. You might fish it out from Nolini if he can find it. I probably paid no attention to it as mere Paresh could have conveyed no meaning to my mind.

Very glad of the success of your metres but that was sure.

*   *   *


[1] A Gujarati disciple. He was put in charge of “Prosperity”.

[2] Champaklal Purani (2 February 1903 – 9 May 1992) came from Gujarat and had joined the Ashram in 1923. He was a painter and Sri Aurobindo and Mother’s faithful attendant.

[3] Ambu, a Gujarati young man, expert in Yogic asanas.

[4] François Villon (1431-c. 1463). French lyric poet, author of ballades and rondeaux.

[5] Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), Italian goldsmith and sculptor. His sculpture Perseus is famous.

[6] “He wants to be in the ashram.”

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