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At the Feet of The Mother

Forty Years Ago – by Sahana Devi (V)

I am quoting from my earlier writing “On the way to Pondicherry”, some portions about my coming here:

I started from Madras for Pondicherry on the 21st November 1928. Leaving Egmore station at 9 p.m. arrived at 5 a.m. next morning, that is on the 22nd November. The whole night in the train was passed in a self-gathered state of consciousness. Thus I came here in the end, a sort of one journey’s end to start afresh on a new journey.

With the first hint of daylight, accompanied by two sadhaks who had come to meet the train, my steps were directed towards the Ashram.

The sadhaks, after depositing me at the room allotted to me, left after informing me that Nolini would be coming to meet me there. My room was in the “Ladies’ House”, now used for sewing and embroidering work for the Mother. Just across the street is the Ashram main building. I was delightfully surprised to be lodged in such a beautiful room, never having expected anything more than a thatched room at best.

Nolini came along with another gentleman wearing his hair long and his face covered with a beard and moustache. Soon it became apparent from a few words that he uttered that he was a very witty person and given to bantering a lot. It would have been impossible to guess that he was a Tamil brahmin from the way he spoke Bengali faultlessly. Nolini introduced him to me as Amrita. Of Nolini I had heard much before as an eminent writer although I was quite wrong about his figure — having imagined him to be a man of grave demeanour, thick set and reserved, whereas I found him to be quite lean having a broad forehead and the look in his eyes was deeply indrawn and extraordinary. He was a man of few words and informed me that the Mother would meet me at 9.30 a.m. and I should be at the gate a few minutes earlier and he would himself take me to her. I was beside myself to feel that the Mother would see me so soon and so I shut the door of my room trying to be more within myself. As I opened the door to a knock at about 8.30 a.m. I saw a maid-servant with my breakfast on a tray — the sumptuousness of the meal surprised me no less. All arrangements were perfect even to a pitcher of drinking water and a glass. The maid-servant quietly did the routine cleaning of the room, and left as quietly no sooner that the work was done. Normally everything seemed commonplace to an external point of view but one could feel something above the ordinary pressing from behind the veil. The Ashramites seemed to be all very satisfied with something not quite mundane, their affairs were otherworldly.

What was a dream seemed to have taken on the garb of a sacred reality — my day of days to meet the Mother!

A little before 9.30 a.m. Nolini met me at the gate and asked me to follow him. We came to the house where the Mother and Sri Aurobindo lived and mounted the stairs to the first floor where in a small room at the eastern side the Mother was seated on a couch with her feet tucked in and holding on to one end of the sari covering her head. At the very first glance, although hers was a human material body, yet it became quite clear to me that hers was rather an incarnated divine form. I gazed at her spell-bound and remained standing with joined hands. As she bestowed her heavenly smile and looked at me I bent to place my head on her feet. The touch of her hand on my head seemed to melt the whole of my being in an inner ecstasy. As she removed her hand, I sat near her feet. She again put her hand on my head and my eyes closed by themselves, my consciousness seemed to ascend rapidly and a force came down to spread itself over the nerves and the entire body filling them completely. I could hardly open my eyes till the Mother touched a spot on my forehead between the eyes when I saw the Mother looking deeply into me, into the remotest recesses of my being. She then asked me if I had anything to say. She listened attentively to all I had to tell her — about myself and my life. When I had finished she drew me into her arms and kissed my forehead. It is impossible for me to translate that touch into words. Then she raised my face tilting it with her hand gazing into my eyes with an expression of compassionate consolation. Thus she accepted me. My eyes became full with tears of joy.

I returned to my room and when there I felt the Mother’s presence all the time and cried and cried — whence did they come, all those ceaseless tears! But they were tears of happiness never before tasted.

Next day the Mother came to my room at five in the evening. After sitting down on a chair I had specially arranged for her she asked me to sing. I sang to her the well-known Bhajan of Mirabai, “Keep me as your servitor”, after which she asked me to sing some more. Thus I sang four or five songs to her. Afterwards as she was leaving she said in great affection. “Don’t hesitate to let me know if you need anything or feel inconvenienced in any way” — a fascinating embodiment of compassion.

The next day was the Darshan of Sri Aurobindo: 24th November. My first Darshan. From early childhood days he had been enshrined in our heart and mind as the greatest among the great as the tales, truths, were dinned into our ears by the elders, of his nobleness, his scholarship, his love for humanity and his great sacrifice. We were told if there were any worthy of worship it was he. Much later he came into my life as my Guru.

Darshan day. The very atmosphere of the Ashram was charged. Many visitors had arrived from outside replete with eagerness to come to him. The countenances of the Ashramites were suffused with an inner light of ecstasy quietly yet expectantly waiting to receive the blessings from him to whom their lives were dedicated.

The Darshan was arranged in the room where the Mother gave interviews. It began at 7 a.m. There was a list of names of all those who had come for Darshan with the time given to each, hung at the foot of the stairs leading to the upper storey. In the Meditation Hall below were spread carpets where people were seated awaiting their turn. The entire building presented a sanctified air as the perfume of incense filled it — a solemn atmosphere. As his turn came, each one mounted the stairs to enter the holy precincts, the next one waiting on the last step. A profound silence reigned everywhere; even the slightest whisper was absent. As my turn came to wait on the last step, I saw Sri Aurobindo seated on a sofa leaning back, still and majestic like the Himalayas, a perfect image of a glorious sublimity. As I came before him I was enchanted by his amazing handsomeness. The Mother was seated on his right in a dazzling splendour. As I bowed down and touched her feet with my head, the Mother placing both her hands on my head, blessed me, then on raising my head she poured into me the nectar of her incomparable smile. Then my gaze came upon the fascinating feet of Sri Aurobindo. My head as it lowered itself on those feet was quite reluctant to leave them as the whole of my being was brimful of all that came into it and in particular a feeling of supreme reliance pervaded me. The touch of his hand was soft and reassuring. What I received from that touch cannot be described but it was certain never before had anything similar been received. As I looked into his eyes an unfathomable profundity was there — I could not take my gaze away till he himself shifted his. Slowly I came away to my room. I remembered not at all how the day was spent as my entire awareness was all the time surcharged with what I had seen.

Thus I had my first Darshan of Sri Aurobindo. Him I saw to whom all my life was dedicated even from before. Whenever I had thought of God it was his image that used to come before my mind’s eye.

Did I get him as my Guru? The soul answered — not only as the Guru. Then was it as the wisest of sages or a great Yogi? not even that. As the Seer of the Integral Yoga? No, not that either, but as Sri Aurobindo himself, the one and only Sri Aurobindo, the supreme Beloved.

The first time that I was nervous to sing was when I sang in Sri Aurobindo’s presence on the 15th August 1929. It was four in the afternoon when the Mother was distributing the blessing flowers to all. Both Dilip and myself were to sing. This was on the first floor Meditation Hall; Sri Aurobindo was in the next room, his own, and only a curtain separated us from him. First I began to sing a famous song of D.L. Roy, “How can I worship Thee in any single image, when the entire universe is Thy image”. My throat seemed to dry up, the voice had lost its flexibility. The song was very plain and I was disappointed. Often have I sung before large audiences, with Rabindranath on many occasions, but never had such a thing happened to me. Dilip sang after me but he too did not fare very well. After his song we sang a duet, the famous Bhajan of Mirabai, “O Lord, keep me as Thy servitor”. Later I asked the Mother the cause of my nervousness. She said: “You are forgetting in whose presence you were singing. It was your vital being that was nervous in his presence.”

Nearly once every month or at times once in two months there used to be some sittings of musical performances mainly by Dilip and myself. Occasionally some other ashramites who could sing were taken in hand by Dilip and joined us. They were held in front of Amrita’s room in the Mother’s presence. It was all a sort of votive offering to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo through music. The presence of the Mother was instrumental in infusing a special spirit other than what usually these sittings did manifest. The Mother was very fond of listening to Dilip’s European songs. There was also Lalita who used to play the piano as also an English lady who was named Nandini by Sri Aurobindo who used to be a remarkable performer on the Cello. The Mother was very fond of her playing. Sri Aurobindo said of her that she was a born musician. Once in 1932 we arranged for a special musical performance on the 24th April. The Mother gave the following message written in her own hand:

“To all those who took part in today’s singing and music: Sri Aurobindo and myself have felt that there was a great progress this time. It was not only from the external point of view of execution, but in the greater aim of the concentration behind and in the inner attitude. May the day bring its benediction to all.” (24.4.32)

The first part of Dilip’s “Geetashri” was coming out containing many songs with their notations. I agreed to his proposal to help him with the notations of a few songs.

I am not well conversant with the technique of Indian classical music, so I sat down with some recognised books on classical music by Krishnadhan Bando-padhyay and Pandit Bhatkhande. But, how much can books help when the training was lacking? So I appealed to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in my helplessness. The result was that unbeknownst to me theretofore I was yet able to do the work that later seemed to be not mine at all, yet the notations were done. Even when I tried to sing them later I had to do exactly as one trying a completely new thing. So on my appeal to Sri Aurobindo to clarify it, he wrote:

“As you have opened yourself to the Force and made yourself a channel for the energy to work, it is quite natural that when you want to do this musical work the Force should flow and act in the way that is wanted or the way that is needed and for the effect that is needed. When one has made oneself a channel, the Force is not necessarily bound by the limitations or disabilities of the instrument; it can disregard them and act in its own power. In doing so it may use the instrument simply as a medium and leave him as soon as the work is finished just what he was before, incapable in his ordinary movements of doing such good work; but also it may by its action set the instrument right, accustom it to the necessary intuitive knowledge and movement so that it can at will command the action of the Force. As for the technique, there are two different things, the intellectual knowledge which one applies and the intuitive cognition which acts in its own right, even if it is not actually possessed by the worker. Many poets for instance have little knowledge of metrical or linguistic technique and cannot explain how they write or what are the qualities and elements of their success, but they write all the same things that are perfect in rhythm and language. Intellectual knowledge of technique helps of course, provided one does not make of it a mere device or a rigid fetter. There are some arts that cannot be done well without some technical knowledge, e.g., painting, sculpture.

“What you write is your own in the sense that you have been the instrument of its manifestation — that is so with every artist or worker. You need have no scruple about putting your name, though of course for sadhana, it is necessary to recognise that the real power was not yourself and you were simply the instrument on which it played its tune.

“The Ananda of creation is not the pleasure of the ego in having personally done well and being somebody, that is something extraneous which attaches itself to the joy of work and creation. The Ananda comes from the inrush of a greater power, the thrill of being possessed and used by it, the avesa, the exultation of the uplifting of the consciousness, its illumination and its greatened and heightened action and also the joy of the beauty, power and perfection that is being created. However, one feels it depends on the condition of the consciousness at the time, the temperament, the activity of the vital. The yogi of course (or even certain strong and calm minds) is not carried away by the Ananda, he holds and watches it and there is no mere excitement mixed with the flow of it through the mind, vital or body. Naturally the Ananda of samarpana or spiritual realisation or divine love is something far greater, but the Ananda of creation has its place.”

Another letter from Sri Aurobindo:

“If you wish to be free from people’s expectations and the sense of obligation, it is indeed best not to take from anybody; for the sense of claim will otherwise be there. Not that it will be entirely absent even if you take nothing, but you will not be bound any longer.

“What you write about the singing is perfectly correct. You sing your best only when you forget yourself and let it come out from within without thinking of the need of excellence or the impression it may make. The (great singer) should indeed disappear into the past, it is only so that the inner singer can take her place.” (22.8.37)

There was a wish in my mind: why should I not dance before the Mother? Not that I knew anything of dancing but why should the Mother not see the little that I could do? When I came I had thought that perhaps I would have to renounce singing and dancing altogether for sadhana. But Sri Aurobindo assured me in a letter:

“The development of capacities is not only permissible but right when it can be made a part of the yoga; one can give not only one’s soul, but all one’s powers to the Divine.”

Then I took courage and wrote to the Mother of my wish. She agreed to see me dancing. With a happy heart I prepared a dance, which she did witness. Thus was my wish fulfilled. I have loved dancing since my childhood, as much as singing.

On the first day I prepared a dance on Rabindranath’s song “In the steps of the dance” and the dance was accompanied by the song, sung by Dilip. This was sometime in 1932. The Mother then gave us the idea of a dance on Radha. Dilip was entrusted to compose the song for the dance and I was to translate it into a dance. There were four movements — first, a vast emptiness had enveloped Radha, within as well as outside — she was groping in the dark; the second — longing without finding what she was seeking; the third — the revelation of Krishna; the last — the surrender of Radha. Dilip composed a marvellous song for the dance much praised by both the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I can hardly check myself from mentioning here two humorous remarks of Sri Aurobindo. When the idea of showing the dance to the Mother was first mooted, we asked her to allot a particular room for practising, but in the room below resided a sadhak. Sri Aurobindo wrote in answer to our request:

“He is too serious to be danced over”

– while later when asked where could one practice the ‘Radha dance’, he indicated that very room. Much astonished I wrote mentioning about the sadhak:

“You had written to say, ‘He is too serious to be danced over’.”

He replied at once:

“Perhaps before long he will cease to be too serious.”

The practising of the dance was on, when something happened. It was this: Dilip had composed another song entitled: “The Dawn-dance”. This one too I was preparing along with the Radha-dance but in my own room. This one, the Dawn-dance, soon got ready and easily. From this dance I had a novel experience and I wrote about it to the Mother. I am quoting here portions of that letter:

“It seems to me I have at once understood something new while preparing the dance. When I began the Radha-dance I started with the idea of expressing the inner mood of the song through the movements of my dancing; the mood expressed in the song I have tried first to feel and then tried to give it a form, but when I began the Dawn-dance then there did not arise in me any definite form of the mood of the dance. What has actually taken form is from a feeling that came before I could even realise the language of the mood the song had in it, as if the mood, the movement of vibration of the song were spontaneously expressing themselves through the movements of my dance; I was paying no attention to the words of the song rather, it seemed, I was following only the inner movement. Thus it appears to be a new experience of mine, and there is some truth in it. Perhaps these words of mine are too big, but what I am trying to say is this that the song for the Radha-dance from the point of view of the composition is much more easily understood than the Dawn-dance. Whereas the mood that the Dawn-dance has expressed, we are not very familiar with it. It is no doubt a new creation from the point of view of the inner expression, the form, expression all are unfamiliar to us and the composition too is quite intricate, at least it is so to me. This is just what I am trying to tell: I did not try to grasp a definite form at the outset, spontaneously the vibration of the inner movement came to me and the movements of the dance followed. That is why I wrote to tell you that the Dawn-dance is fairly easy, but I have not grasped why it is easy. As I dance, the inner vibration is becoming clear, as it were, I understand well an inner movement. I am writing to you to find out if there is any truth in it.”

Sri Aurobindo replied:

“To feel the vibration and develop from it the rhythm of the dance is the right way to create something true; the other way, to understand with the mind and work it out with the mind only or mainly is the mental way; it is laborious and difficult and has not got the same spontaneous movement.”

In spite of my efforts with the Radha-dance the result was not up to my expectations, it seemed the real thing was eluding me. I realised that I was following the second way of which Sri Aurobindo told me, that is, my mind was more at work. Although I met the Mother often who watched my dance with a lot of care and affection and eagerness too, encouraging me a good deal, yet I seemed to be in the same dark alley and was not able to open myself in the manner I wanted to and consequently what I wanted remained unexpressed. In the end I veered off towards the Dawn-dance leaving the Radha-dance in abeyance.

All of us living here a life of slow awakening of consciousness, we begin to see why we are not able to do certain things and where we go astray in spite of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo helping with their force to crown every one of our resolutions with success, in spite of their sentinel-like vigilance watching over all our efforts. Be that as it may, when I was trying to shape the last movement of the Radha-dance I got a priceless letter from the Mother, written in her own hand. A letter like this one will show the manner of their help and explain how daily they are trying to raise us up, where and in what way. This episode on dancing will end with the quoting of the Mother’s letter. This is what she wrote:

“Sahana,

To complete what I told you yesterday about Radha’s dance I have noted down as an indication of the thought and feeling Radha must have within her when she stands finally in front of Krishna: ‘Every thought of my mind, each emotion of my heart, every movement of my being, every feeling and sensation, each cell of my body, each drop of my blood, all, all is yours, yours without reserve. You can decide my life or my death, my happiness or my sorrow, my pleasure or my pain; whatever you do with me, whatever comes to me from you will lead me to Divine Rapture.”

I had noted when I arrived that there were no separate arrangements for cooking the meals of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo nor any separate kitchen. Some sadhaks and sadhikas with their sanction cooked something or other and offered it to them. A few cooked daily for them, some once or twice a week, again there were some who occasionally did some cooking for them. This is how things were going on, there were no regular cooking of meals for the Mother or Sri Aurobindo nor was anyone given any direction as to what should be cooked and in what way. Whatever was offered with devotion by whosoever they accepted that. They, however, were very small eaters. I, too, did cook for them twice a week. We all knew where the tray of our cooked offering had to be placed and at what hour of the day or it was given into Champaklal’s hand; what a fine taste of joy we had in doing that! In the evening again we used to bring back our trays containing their ‘prasad’, which some of us shared. There lived in the Ashram an English lady, who was given the name Datta by Sri Aurobindo, she too often took in the tray from us and kept it in its appointed place. We have heard it said that even when she was in Europe she was a companion to the Mother for quite some time and also travelled with her to many countries. The very sight of this lady was indeed a pleasure, she seemed to us a pure white flower consecrated to the Divine.

In those days every sadhaka or sadhika was allotted a separate room. Their rooms had the following furniture — a bedstead, a table, a chair and a clothes horse. A domestic servant too was allotted to one for about an hour or an hour and a half according to the minimum need. No one did any cooking in his or her room except those used to drinking tea, who made it themselves in their rooms over a stove. All our regular meals were partaken at the dining hall.

It is only after coming to the Ashram that I realised how small are our real needs, elsewhere we are apt to make much of them. It should, however, be noted that in our Ashram the path of sadhana followed is not that of austerities. The Mother has therefore provided for all that is really necessary so that we could devote all our mind and energy to the seeking after the Divine.

At the beginning the stress in me was for meditation, not so much for work. There was felt no great impetus to work or to realise the true value of work. The necessity for work grew in me slowly by degrees, gradually the joy of work too was born. Still after taking up some work I used to feel the need for meditating in the pause of work, at those periods I used to forget the work and become merged within. Soon a doubt arose, if it were desirable to meditate at the hours of work, as naturally while meditating the attention on the work was not there. I wrote to the Mother about it and she herself replied:

“… when you are at work it is always better to remain fully aware of your body and its action. With my love and blessings.”

Bit by bit I came to realise that unless one went through work it would not be possible to arrive at what the Mother and Sri Aurobindo were aiming at — the entire transmutation of our nature and consciousness.

I feel like quoting here a few letters of the Mother to clarify the point. The Mother wrote:

“It is very good to have recovered the calm. It is in the calm that the body can increase its receptivity and gain the power to contain. With love and blessings.”

“Sadhana is always difficult and everybody has conflicting elements in his nature and it is difficult to make the vital give up its ingrained habits.

“That is no reason for giving up sadhana. One has to keep up the central aspiration, which is always sincere and go on steadily in spite of temporary failures, and it is then inevitable that the change will come.”

“Our help is always with you. With my love and blessings.”

“Sahana,

“I am very glad to hear of this new opening and fine experience. Always when one faces difficulties and overcomes them it brings a new spiritual opening and victory. Our love and blessings are with you.”

And yet another:

“Sahana, my dear child,

“You have indeed passed from one life to another, but it is in your body that this new birth took place, and now the road is wide open before you for a new progress. With my love and blessings.” (19.4.1960)

It was here in the Ashram that a new world opened in front of me at the touch of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo — in that light I saw a vast unknown world bringing in the possibility of being born into a new consciousness. It is not the method of the Mother or Sri Aurobindo to lead forward as one leads a blind. Thus inspired by their marvellous teaching my journey began in the inner regions, in the very depths of consciousness through a variety of experiences. Gradually things began to clear where they were vague. The feeling was that in those regions there were no end of steps.

The hour struck when the Mother and Sri Aurobindo gave me the direction to tell them all without reserve, even the tiniest movement of my mind.

I had asked Sri Aurobindo to explain in clear and understandable terms about consciousness and transformation. This was the letter he wrote:

“As for your question about consciousness and transformation, the answer is that consciousness is made up of two elements, awareness of self and things and forces and conscious power. Awareness is the first thing necessary, you have to be aware of things in the right consciousness, in the right way, seeing them in their truth, but awareness by itself is not enough. There must be a will and a force that makes the consciousness effective. Somebody may have the full consciousness of what has to be changed, what has to go and what has to come in its place but may be helpless to make the change. Another may have the will-force but for want of the right awareness may be unable to apply it in the right way at the right place. The advantage of being in the psychic consciousness is that you have the right consciousness and its will being in harmony with the Mother’s will, you can call in the Mother’s force to make the change. Those who live in the mind and the vital are not so well able to do this; they are obliged to use mostly their personal effort and as the awareness and will and force of mind and vital are divided and imperfect, the work done is imperfect and not definitive. It is only in the supermind that awareness, will and force are always one movement and automatically effective.”

If one could place oneself in tune with the force of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo constantly at work on us, amazing things are apt to happen. One can discern one’s life moving in another rhythm, one gets a state of entering into a world quite different. Once one can enter into the current one can see that one has nothing else to do. Whatsoever there is to be done, accepted or rejected, is done automatically. There is no effort, no questions, no feeling of pain in rejecting anything nor even any vain pleasure to become someone. One feels oneself to be someone quite different living in another world, watching all from another level. One can feel an endless ardour, a love for all, that comes from elsewhere. All this is the natural movement of the consciousness that grows in one and leads towards its own particular goal. The most remarkable thing felt is that one hardly comes across the ‘I’ that before used to be so much in the front. When a trial comes in life one is rarely able to keep the right attitude, it is this failure that is the cause of much trouble, — this truth is clearly projected. One becomes aware that in truth we are reft from the inner contact of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and are plunged in turbulent waters. The intensity and wakefulness required are no longer there and one flounders in that region where the ego is master, where the vision is blurred, from where sprouts all pain and sorrow. All these observations I have made known to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo as I was directed to do. Sri Aurobindo sent me a letter in reply:

“The automatic tendency is a good sign as it shows that it is the inner being opening to the Truth which is pressing forward the necessary change.

“The attitude you describe is quite the right one.

“As you say, it is the failure of the right attitude that comes in the way of passing through the ordeals to a change of nature. The pressure is becoming greater now for this change of character even more than for decisive yoga experience — for if the experience comes, it fails to be decisive because of the want of the requisite change of nature. The mind, for instance, gets the experience of the One in all, but the vital cannot follow because it is dominated by the ego-reaction and ego-nature or the habits of the outer nature keep up a way of thinking, feeling, acting, living, which is quite out of harmony with these experiences. For the psychic and part of the mind and emotional being feel frequently the closeness of the Mother, but the rest of the nature is unoffered and goes its own way prolonging division from her nearness creating distance. It is because the sadhaks have never even tried to have the yogic attitude in all things — they have been contented with the common ideas, common view of things, common motives of life — only varied by inner experience and transferred to the frame-work of the Ashram instead of that of the world outside. It is not enough and there is great need that it should change.” (9.9.1936)

I was keen to see what Sri Aurobindo had to say about “intellect” and “intellectuals” although I had heard from others his point of view, as I was not quite clear about them. Sri Aurobindo’s answer:

“D asked me the question and I answered it on the basis of the current meaning of ‘intellect’ and ‘intellectual’. People in ordinary speech do not make any distinction between intellect and intelligence, though of course it is quite true that a man may have a good or even a fine intelligence without being an intellectual. But ordinarily all thinking is attributed to the intellect; an intellectual therefore is a man whose main business or activity is to think about things — a philosopher, a poet, a scientist, a critic of art and literature or of life, are all classed together as intellectuals. A theorist on economy and politics is an intellectual, a politician or a financier is not, unless he theorises on his own subject or is a thinker on another.

“N’s distinction is based on those I have made here, but these distinctions are not current in ordinary speech, except one or two and those even in a very imperfect way. If I go by these distinctions then the intellectuals will no longer be called intellectuals but thinkers and creators — or an intellectual thinker will then be one who is a thinker by his reason or mainly by his reason — e.g. Bertrand Russell, Bernard Shaw, Wells etc. Tagore thinks by vision, imagination, feeling or by intuition, not by the reason — at least that is true of his writings. C.R. Das himself would not be an intellectual — in politics, literature and everything else he was an ‘intuitive’ and ‘emotive’ man. But, as I say, these would be distinctions not ordinarily current. In ordinary parlance Tagore, Das and everybody else of the kind would all be called intellectuals also. The general mind does not make these subtle distinctions, it takes things in the mass roughly and it is right in doing so, for otherwise it would lose itself altogether.

“As for barristers etc. a man to succeed as barrister must have legal knowledge, and the power to apply it. It is not necessary that he should be a thinker, even on his own subject, or an intellectual. It is the same with all professional men — doctors, engineers, etc. etc.; they may be intellectuals as well as successful in their professions, but they need not be.

“P.S. Argument properly speaking needs some power of logical intellect; but it can be specialised in a certain line. The power of argument does not by itself make a man an intellectual.”

*

to be continued…

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