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At the Feet of The Mother

Sri Aurobindo in Baroda, Part 1

“These are they who are conscious of the much falsehood in the world; they grow in the house of Truth, they are strong and invincible sons of Infinity.”
Rigveda, VII.60.5

1893 — a memorable year! It was in 1893 that Sri Aurobindo came back from England to fight for the freedom of India and release her imprisoned godhead, and Vivekananda sailed for America carrying with him the light of the Vedanta to the benighted humanity of the West. What was Sri Aurobindo thinking, what were his feelings as he came in sight of his beloved motherland? When he had left India, he was a mere child of seven, perhaps unaware of the heavenly fire smouldering beneath his sweet, angelic exterior. And when he returned, he was a young man of twenty-one, burning to realise his dreams and visions. These fourteen years, the most impressionable and formative part of his life, were spent in the West in the heyday of its scientific civilisation. We have already seen that Sri Aurobindo’s mind was nourished and developed by the classical spirit in Western culture, and his poetic sensibilities were set aglow by the superb creations of the Western Muse. But his soul remained untouched, his heart’s love flowed towards India, and his will flamed to fight and suffer for her freedom.[1] He did not then know much about India, but he felt a mysterious pull towards her, an irresistible attraction which his mind could hardly explain. “It was a natural attraction”, he said later, “to Indian culture and ways of life, and a temperamental feeling and preference for all that was Indian.” So, his thoughts and feelings converging on India, Sri Aurobindo approached the destination of his return voyage.

And how did India receive her beloved child? What gifts, what presents had she kept ready for him? She bestowed upon him, as an unsolicited grace, one of the brightest gems of her immemorial heritage — a high spiritual experience! In the midst of the confused hum and bustle of the strangers swarming up and down the gangways, “a vast calm descended upon him… this calm surrounded him and remained for long months afterwards”. In this connection, he once wrote to a disciple: “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 the 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 infinite 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 Brahman and I find the Divine everywhere.”[2]

That was the characteristic way in which India greeted her son when he returned to her bosom after a long sojourn in a foreign land. This greeting was at once a symbol and a prophecy. It was an index to the glory of his life’s mission.

This sudden and unexpected spiritual experience that invaded and encompassed Sri Aurobindo recalls the somewhat similar — only it was less unexpected — instance of Sri Chaitanya’s conversion in the temple of Vishnu at Gaya. An arrogant young pundit of exceptional intellectual attainments and justifiably proud of his matchless erudition, Sri Chaitanya (he was then known as Nimai Pundit) stood in front of the image of Vishnu’s feet, in the shrine, gazing at the image, and rooted to the spot. A huge wave of devotion surged up within him. It swept his whole being. It overwhelmed him. His body was seized by a violent thrill and trembling, and tears of uncontrollable emotion streamed down his cheeks. It was an experience as sudden and strange in its onslaught as transforming in its result. Nimai Pundit died at that mysterious instant, and out of him rose a new man, a modest and humble lover of Vishnu, a God-drunk apostle of Bhakti.

In Sri Aurobindo’s case, as has been said above, the experience was even more unexpected, for he had no knowledge of the Hindu Shastras. He had neither any desire for yogic experiences nor any knowledge of them. “I had many doubts before. I was brought up in England amongst foreign ideas and an atmosphere entirely foreign….The agnostic was in me, the atheist was in me, the sceptic was in me, and I was not absolutely sure that there was a God at all….”[3] Once, in a letter to a disciple,[4] he referred to a pre-yogic experience in London, but he did not describe its nature. The experience he had at the Apollo Bunder can, therefore, be taken as the first authentic yogic experience that came his way — unbidden but decisive — as a gift of Grace, a bounty of Mother India.

Sri Aurobindo returned alone from England, and his two elder brothers remained there for some time. Then, the eldest brother, Benoy Bhusan, came back to India and obtained an employment under the Maharaja of Coochbehar. He sent some money to Manmohan, and the latter also returned. Manmohan was at first appointed Professor of English at the Dacca College, and subsequently at the Presidency College of Calcutta, which was, at that time, the best college under the greatest University in India. A few words about the brothers and sister of Sri Aurobindo will not be out of place here.

Benoy Bhusan, the eldest, was of a practical but generous nature. In order to relieve the financial strain under which the three brothers had been labouring in England on account of the irregularity and subsequent stoppage of remittances from their father, he had taken a job as an assistant to James Cotton who was secretary of the South Kensington Liberal Club where the three brothers had been staying. Manmohan makes a rather amusingly sarcastic reference to his elder brother in one of his letters to Laurence Binyon: “At last to my joy my brother came to see me, who, as you know, is a very matter-of-fact person, with a commercial mind, a person who looks at everything from a business point of view. And he began comforting me with the reflection that everybody must die some day, remarking how conveniently near the cemetery I was…and hoping that undertakers did not charge very high, as he had come to the end of his last remittance.”[5] The letter reveals the rich vein of wit and humour which ran in all the brothers. Regarding Benoy Bhusan Sri Aurobindo once remarked, “He is a very nice man, and one can easily get on with him. I got on very well with my eldest brother.”

Manmohan was of a different type. He was anything but practical. He was a dreamer and a visionary. A classmate of Laurence Binyon and a friend of Oscar Wilde, he was himself a poet of considerable merit. He, Binyon, Phillips (Stephen Phillips) and Cripps…brought out a book (of poetry)[6] in conjunction, which was well spoken of. “I dare say, my brother stimulated me greatly to poetry.”[7] “Manmohan used to play the poet in England. He had poetical illness and used to moan out his verses in deep tones. (Once) we were passing through Cumberland. We shouted to him but he paid no heed, and came afterwards leisurely at his own pace. His poet-playing dropped after he came to India.”[8] He had decided to make England his home, but circumstances forced him to return. As a professor of English in the Presidency College, Calcutta, he earned a well-deserved reputation. His lectures on poetry used to be a treat. It is said that he created a poetical atmosphere, and that students from other colleges would some times steal into his class to breathe in that rarefied atmosphere of poetic enjoyment. One would often see him going up and down the stairs of the Presidency College, hat in hand, eyes downcast, and wearing an absorbed, unsmiling, and rather pensive look. He would not lift his eyes to see who passed by him. But once at his desk, he was a changed man. Warming up to his subject, he would weave exquisite patterns of romance and beauty, and fill the classroom with the vibrations of a naturally vocal sensibility. Nevinson writes of him in his New Spirit in India: “I found him there (in the Presidency College) teaching the grammar and occasional beauties of Tennyson’s ‘Princess’ with extreme distaste for that sugary stuff.” Some of his poems have been incorporated in a few anthologies of English verse, published in England, and George Sampson, writing about him in his book, The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature, says: “Manmohan (1867-1924) is the most remarkable of Indian poets who write in English. He was educated at Oxford, where he was the contemporary and friend of Laurence Binyon, Stephen Phillips and others who became famous in English letters. So completely did he catch the note of his place and time that a reader of his Love Songs and Elegies and Songs of Love and Death would readily take them as the work of an English poet trained in the classical tradition.”

Sarojini, the only sister, was much younger than Sri Aurobindo, and extremely devoted to him. We shall presently quote a letter from Sri Aurobindo to Sarojini, which shows how dearly he too loved her.

Barindra, the youngest brother, was born, as we have already seen, in England. But he came back with his mother and sister, when he was a mere child, and his boyhood days were passed at Deoghar where their maternal grandfather, Rishi Rajnarayan Bose, was living at that time. After their father’s death, Barindra had to pass through various experiences of struggle and hardship. In fact, his whole life can be said to have been a series of storms and upheavals, for much of which it was his own nature that was responsible. He had ambition and a spirit of adventure, generosity and courage, but he was domineering, recklessly impulsive and emotionally unstable. He played a major role and blazed a trail in the revolutionary movement of Bengal, and has left a name in the history of the movement; but he could never free himself from the tragic fate that dogged his steps up to the end of his days.

To take up the thread of the narrative. Sri Aurobindo visited Bengal in 1894 for the first time after his return from the West. He went to Rohini, which is about four miles from Deoghar. There he met his mother, his sister Sarojini, and Barindra. It was their first meeting after about fifteen years.

From Rohini, Sri Aurobindo went to Deoghar and met his maternal grandfather, Rajnarayan Bose, and other relatives, and stopped with them for a few days.

This high-souled patriarch, Rishi Rajnarayan Bose, a pioneer nationalist and religious and social reformer of Bengal, was then passing his old age in the peaceful retreat of Deoghar. Sri Aurobindo must have felt a great affinity with him. “Rajnarayan Bose”, as Bepin Chandra Pal says, — and no views carry more weight than this political stalwart’s who worked shoulder to shoulder with Sri Aurobindo for the country’s freedom — “was one of the makers of modern Bengal. He started life as a social and religious reformer. In him it was not merely the spirit of Hinduism that rose up in arms against the onslaught of European Christianity, but the whole spirit of Indian culture and manhood stood up to defend and assert itself against every form of undue influence and alien domination. While Keshub[9] was seeking to reconstruct Indian and specially Hindu social life more or less after the modern European model, Rajnarayan’s sturdy patriotism and national self-respect rebelled against the enormity, and came forward to establish the superiority of Hindu social economy to the Christian social institutions and ideals. He saw the onrush of European goods into Indian markets, and tried to stem the tide by quickening what we would now call the Swadeshi spirit, long before any one else had thought of it. It was under his inspiration that a Hindu Mela or National Exhibition was started a full quarter of a century before the Indian National Congress thought of an Indian Industrial Exhibition…. A strong conservatism, based upon a reasoned appreciation of the lofty spirituality of the ancient culture and civilisation of the country; a sensitive patriotism, born of a healthy and dignified pride of race; a deep piety expressing itself through all the varied practical relations of life — these were the characteristics of the life and thought of Rajnarayan Bose…. In his mind and life he was at once a Hindu Maharshi, a Moslem Sufi and a Christian theist of the Unitarian type… He…seemed to have worked out a synthesis in his own spiritual life between the three dominant world cultures that have come face to face in modern times… He was Aravinda’s maternal grandfather; and Aravinda owed not only his rich spiritual nature but even his very superior literary capacity to his inherited endowments from his mother’s line.”[10]

When Sarojini was staying at Bankipore for her education, Sri Aurobindo used to help her with money from time to time. He also sent money to his mother. The following letter written by him to his sister from Baroda not only reveals his tender love for her and his lively humour, but his eager longing to get away from the cramping atmosphere of Baroda to Bengal, which he loved so dearly, and whose call he must have been hearing within him. Something of his love of Bengal is reflected in his poem on Bankim Chandra, from which we reproduce the following three lines:

O plains, О hills, О rivers of sweet Bengal,
O land of love and flowers, the spring-bird’s call
And southern wind are sweet among your trees.

“My dear Saro,
I got your letter the day before yesterday. I have been trying hard to write to you for the last three weeks, but have hitherto failed. Today I am making a huge effort and hope to put the letter in the post before nightfall. As I am invigorated by three days’ leave, I almost think I shall succeed.

It will be, I fear, quite impossible to come to you again so early as the Puja, though if I only could, I should start tomorrow. Neither my affairs, nor my finances will admit of it. Indeed it was a great mistake to go at all, for it has made Baroda quite intolerable to me. There is an old story about Judas Iscariot, which suits me down to the ground. Judas, after betraying Christ, hanged himself and went to Hell where he was honoured with the hottest oven in the whole establishment. Here he must burn for ever and ever; but in his life he had done one kind act and for this they permitted him by special mercy of God to cool himself for an hour every Christmas on an iceberg in the North Pole. Now this has always seemed to me not mercy, but a peculiar refinement of cruelty. For how could Hell fail to be ten times more Hell to the poor wretch after the delicious coolness of his iceberg? I do not know for what enormous crime I have been condemned to Baroda, but my case is just parallel. Since my pleasant sojourn with you at Baidyanath (Deoghar), Baroda seems a hundred times more Baroda….”[11]

Sarojini must have greatly enjoyed such an affectionate and entertaining letter from her brother. Describing her brother, she once said: “…a very delicate face, long hair cut in the English fashion, Sejda was a very shy person.”

Sri Aurobindo used to pass many of his vacations at Baidyanath or Deoghar which, besides being an excellent health resort and a famous place of Hindu pilgrimage, is a lovely little town, half sleepy and half awake, with its delightful gardens, and its hills and rocks overlooking green fields and meadows. Pilgrims from all parts of India go there to worship the symbolic image of Shiva, carrying with them pots of pure Ganges water from long distances to pour upon the Deity.

Basanti Devi, daughter of Krishna Kumar Mitra and a cousin to Sri Aurobindo, says about him: “Auro Dada used to arrive with two or three trunks, and we always thought they must contain costly suits and other articles of luxury like scents etc. When he opened them, I would look into them and wonder. What is this? A few ordinary clothes and all the rest books and nothing but books. Does Auro Dada like to read all these? We all want to chat and enjoy ourselves in vacations; does he want to spend even this time in reading these books? But because he liked reading, it was not that he did not join us in our talks and chats and merry-making. His talk used to be full of wit and humour.”[12] Sri Aurobindo wrote a poem on Basanti on one of her birthdays.

At Baroda Sri Aurobindo “was put first in the Settlement Department, not as an officer, but to learn the work, then in the Stamps and Revenue Departments; he was for some time put to work in the Secretariat for drawing up dispatches etc. Afterwards without joining the College and while doing other work, he was lecturer in French at the College, and finally at his request was appointed there as Professor of English. All through, the Maharaja used to call him whenever something had to be written which needed careful wording; he also employed him to prepare some of his public speeches and in other work of a literary or educational character.” Afterwards Sri Aurobindo became Vice-Principal of the College and was for some time its acting Principal. “Most of the personal work for the Maharaja was done in an unofficial capacity…. There was no appointment as Private Secretary. He was usually invited to breakfast with the Maharaja at the Palace and stayed on to do this work.”

Sri Aurobindo was loved and highly revered by his students[13] at Baroda College, not only for his profound knowledge of English literature and his brilliant and often original interpretations of English poetry, but for his saintly character and gentle and gracious manners. There was a magnetism in his personality, and an impalpable aura of a lofty ideal and a mighty purpose about him, which left a deep impression upon all who came in contact with him, particularly upon young hearts and unsophisticated minds. Calm and reserved, benign and benevolent, he easily became the centre of respectful attention wherever he happened to be. To be close to him was to be quieted and quickened; to listen to him was to be fired and inspired. Indeed, his presence radiated something which was at once enlivening and exalting. His power sprang from his unshakable peace, and the secret of his hold on men lay in his utter self-effacement. His greatness was like the gentle breath of spring — invisible but irresistible, it touched all that was bare and bleak around him to a splendour of renewed life and creative energy.

In regard to his work at the Baroda College, he once remarked to some of his disciples: “He (Manmohan) was very painstaking. Most of the professors don’t work so hard. I was not so conscientious as a professor. I never used to look at the notes, and sometimes my explanations did not agree with them at all…. What was surprising to me was that the students used to take down everything verbatim and mug it up. Such a thing would never have happened in England…. Once I was giving a lecture on Southey’s Life of Nelson. My lecture was not in agreement with the notes. So the students remarked that it was not at all like what was found in the notes. I replied: ‘I have not read the notes — in any case they are all rubbish!’ I could never go to the minute details. I read and left my mind to do what it could. That is why I could never become a scholar.”[14]

The testimony of one of his students, named R.N. Patkar,[15] will be found very interesting inasmuch as it throws some authentic light upon the way he lived at Baroda and did his teaching at the College:

“Sri Aurobindo was very simple in his mode of living. He was not at all fastidious in his tastes. He did not care much for food or dress, because he never attached any importance to them. He never visited the market for his clothes. At home, he dressed in plain white chaddar and dhoti, and outside invariably in white drill suits. He never slept on a soft cotton bed, as most of us do, but on a bed of coir — coconut fibres — on which was spread a Malabar grass mat which served as a bed sheet.

“Once I asked him why he used such a coarse and hard bed, to which he replied with his characteristic smile: ‘Don’t you know, my boy, that I am a Brahmachari? Our shastras enjoin that a Brahmachari should not use a soft bed.’[16]

“Another thing I observed about him was the total absence of love of money. He used to get the lump sum of three months’ pay in a bag which he emptied in a tray lying on his table. He never bothered to keep money in a safe box under lock and key. He did not keep an account of what he spent. One day I casually asked him why he was keeping his money like that. He laughed and then replied: ‘Well, it is a proof that we are living in the midst of honest and good people.’ ‘But you never keep an account which may testify to the honesty of the people around you?’, I asked him. Then with a serene face he said: ‘It is God who keeps account for me. He gives me as much as I want and keeps the rest to Himself. At any rate, He does not keep me in want, then why should I worry?’

“He used to be absorbed in reading to the extent that he was at times oblivious of the things around him. One evening the servant brought his meal and put the dishes on the table and informed him, ‘Sab, khana rakha hai’ — ‘Master, the meal is served’. He simply said, ‘Achchha’ — ‘All right’, without even moving his head. After half an hour the servant returned to remove the dishes and found to his surprise the dishes untouched on the table! He dared not disturb his master, and so quietly came to me and told me about it. I had to go to his room and remind him of the waiting meal. He gave me a smile, went to the table and finished his meal in a short time and resumed his reading.

“I had the good fortune to be his student in the Intermediate class. His method of teaching was a novel one. In the beginning, he used to give a series of introductory lectures in order to initiate the students into the subject matter of the text. After that he used to read the text, stopping where necessary to explain the meaning of difficult words and sentences. He ended by giving general lectures bearing on the various aspects of the subject matter of the text.

“But more than his college lectures, it was a treat to hear him on the platform. He used to preside occasionally over the meetings of the College Debating Society. The large, central hall of the College used to be full when he was to speak. He was not an orator but was a speaker of a very high order, and was listened to with rapt attention. Without any gesture or movements of the limbs he stood, and language flowed like a stream from his lips with natural ease and melody that kept the audience spell-bound…. Though it is more than fifty years since I heard him, I still remember his figure and the metallic ring of his melodious voice.”[17]

At Baroda, Sri Aurobindo stayed at first in a camp near the Bazar, and from there he moved to Khasirao Jadav’s house. Khasirao, who was working as a magistrate under the Baroda State, was at that time living elsewhere with his family. His house was a beautiful, two-storeyed building, situated on a main road of the town. When Khasirao was transferred back to Baroda, Sri Aurobindo had to move to a house in another locality. After some time, when plague broke out there, he had to move again to another house, which was an old bungalow with a tiled roof. It was so old and in such bad repair that it used to be unbearably hot in summer, and, during the months of the monsoon, rain water leaked through its broken tiles. But, as Dinendra Kumar Roy[18] records in his Bengali book, Aurobindo Prasanga, it made no difference to Sri Aurobindo whether he lived in a palace or a hovel. Where he really dwelt, no tiles ever burned, nor did rain water leak. He was, to use an expression of the Gita, aniketah, one who had no separate dwelling of his own in the whole world. But it was different with Dinendra Kumar. What with swarms of fleas by day and pitiless mosquitoes at night, burning tiles in summer and leaking roofs during the rains, the poor man was so disgusted that he damned the poky, ramshackle domicile as being worse than a rich man’s stable.

Among Sri Aurobindo’s friends at Baroda, mention may be made of Khasirao Jadav, Khasirao’s younger brother, Lt. Madhavrao Jadav, who was very intimate with Sri Aurobindo and helped him in many ways in his political work, and Phadke, a young, orthodox Maratha Brahmin, who was a man of letters and had translated a few Bengali novels including Bankim Chandra’s Durgesh Nandini into Marathi. Sri Aurobindo used to read Marathi with him from time to time. Phadke was of a genial temperament, cheerful and witty. Bapubhai Majumdar, a Gujarati Brahmin barrister, stayed with Sri Aurobindo for some time as his guest. He was a handsome man with an inexhaustible fund of comic stories. His laugh was contagious — it was hearty and hilarious. Sometimes his quips and jokes and droll yams would send Sri Aurobindo into bursts of laughter. He was afterwards appointed Chief Justice of a State in Gujarat.

Sri Aurobindo learnt both Marathi and Gujarati at Baroda. He also learnt a dialect of Marathi called Mori from a pundit. He had an aptitude for picking up languages with an amazing ease and rapidity. He learnt Bengali himself, and learnt it so well as to be able to read the poetry of Michael Madhusudan Dutt and the novels of Bankim Chandra Chatterji; and both of these authors are anything but easy. “Bengali was not a subject for the competitive examination for the I.C.S. It was after he had passed the competitive examination that Sri Aurobindo as a probationer who had chosen Bengal as his province began to learn Bengali. The course of study provided was a very poor one; his teacher, a retired English Judge from Bengal, was not very competent….” It is rather amusing to note that one day when Sri Aurobindo asked his teacher to explain to him a passage from Bankim Chandra Chatterji, he looked at the passage and remarked with the comic cocksureness of shallow knowledge: “But this is not Bengali!” Sri Aurobindo learnt Sanskrit himself without any help from anybody. He did not learn Sanskrit through Bengali, but direct in Sanskrit or through English. But the marvel is that he mastered it as thoroughly and entered as deeply into its spirit and genius as he had done in the case of Greek and Latin. He “never studied Hindi, but his acquaintance with Sanskrit and other Indian languages made it easy for him to pick up Hindi without any regular study and to understand it when he read Hindi books or news-papers.”

An exceptional mastery of Sanskrit at once opened to him the immense treasure-house of the Indian heritage. He read the Upanishads, the Gita, the Puranas, the two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the poems of Bhartrihari, the dramas of Kalidasa and Bhavabhuti etc., etc. Ancient India, the ageless India of spiritual culture and unwearied creative vitality, thus revealed herself to his wondering vision, and he discovered the secret of her unparalleled greatness. His soul caught fire. In discovering the greatness of India, he discovered himself — the greatness of his own soul, and the work it had come down to accomplish. It was a pregnant moment, when his soul burst out into a sudden blaze. It was a moment of reminiscence in the Platonic sense. It was a transforming revelation. Ancient India furnished him with the clue to the building of the greater India of the future.

Sri Aurobindo translated some portions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, some dramas of Kalidasa, the Nitishataka of Bhartrihari, some poems of Vidyapati and Chandidas etc. into English. Once, when R. C. Dutt, the well-known civilian, came to Baroda at the invitation of the Maharaja, he somehow came to know about Sri Aurobindo’s translations and expressed his desire to see them. Sri Aurobindo showed them to him (though not without reluctance, for he was by nature shy and reticent about himself), and Dutt was so much struck by their high quality that he said to Sri Aurobindo: “If I had seen your translations of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata before, I would not have published mine.[19] I can now very well see that, by the side of your magnificent translations, mine appear as mere child’s play.”

Sri Aurobindo wrote many English poems during his stay at Baroda, and also began some which he finished later. The earliest draft of his great epic, Savitri, was begun there. His first book of poems, Songs to Myrtilla and Other Poems, was published there for private circulation. It contained many poems written in England in his teens, and five[20] written at Baroda. Urvasi, a long poem, was also written at Baroda and published for private circulation.[21] But we shall not go into any more details here about his poetical work at Baroda, for we propose to devote a whole separate chapter to his poetry, and study its growth and flowering. No biography of Sri Aurobindo can be said to be complete without an earnest attempt at a study of his poetical genius. For, as he has himself said, he was a poet first, and everything else afterwards. But he was a seer-poet, in the Vedic sense of the word, and a singer of the mystery and magnificence, the myriad worlds and wonders of creation — a mystic seer and a melodious singer of the divine Will, the divine Beauty and the divine Joy that flame and dance behind the fretful drift of our blind world.

[1] Sri Aurobindo admired Mazzini and Joan of Arc, and wrote a short poem as a tribute to the Irish patriot, Parnell, in 1891. It is interesting to note that Annie Besant once called Sri Aurobindo the Mazzini of India.
[2] On Yoga by Sri Aurobindo, Tome I, p.129.
[3] Uttarpara Speech by Sri Aurobindo.
[4] Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother.
[5] Life of Sri Aurobindo by A.B. Purani.
[6] Prima Vera.
[7] Nirodbaran’s Notes.
[8] Life of Sri Aurobindo by A.B. Purani.
[9] Keshub Chandra Sen, one of the foremost leaders of the Brahmo Samaj.
[10] Rajnarayan Bose died in 1899. Sri Aurobindo wrote a sonnet on him: “Transiit, Non Periit”.
[11] Life of Sri Aurobindo by A.B. Purani.
[12] Life of Sri Aurobindo by A.B. Purani.
[13] Sri K.M. Munshi, ex-govemor of the Uttar Pradesh, who was one of the students of Sri Aurobindo at the Baroda College, writes: “My own contact with Sri Aurobindo dates back to 1902 when, after passing the Matriculation examination, I joined the Baroda College. Though previously I had, only on occasions, the privilege of being in personal contact with him, the Aurobindonian legend in the College filled me with reverence, and it was with awe that I hung upon his words whenever he came to College as Professor of English.”
[14] Nirodbaran’s Notes.
[15] R.N. Patkar, an advocate.
[16] This simple, child-like faith in the injunctions of the Hindu Shastras, and a whole-hearted fidelity in following them was, indeed, characteristic of Sri Aurobindo in the Baroda period of his life, though the questing and questioning faculty of his mind was strong and alert, and his robust reason never abdicated its office. It was his intuition that guided him in such matters and satisfied his reason.
[17] Life of Sri Aurobindo by A.B. Purani.
[18] We shall soon meet Dinendra Kumar Roy and enjoy his interesting pen-portrait of Sri Aurobindo.
[19] R. C. Dutt’s translations of the two Epics were published in England and highly acclaimed.
[20] These five were: One on Madhusudan Dutt, one on Bankim Chandra Chatterji, a sonnet on his maternal grandfather, Rajnarayana Bose, and two English adaptations from Chandidas, the reputed Bengali mystic poet whom he read along with Vidyapati and others at Baroda.
[21] Love and Death, a long poem, and the drama, Perseus the Deliverer, belong also to Baroda period.

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