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At the Feet of The Mother

Sri Aurobindo in Baroda, Part 9

“The hope of national regeneration must absorb our minds as the idea of salvation absorbs the mind of the mumukshu. Our tyaga must be as complete as the tyaga of the nameless ascetic. Our passion to see the face of our free and glorified Mother must be as devouring a madness as the passion of Chaitanya to see the face of Sri Krishna. Our sacrifice for the country must be as enthusiastic and complete as that of Jagai and Madhai who left the rule of a kingdom to follow the Sankirtan of Gauranga. Our offerings on the altar must be as wildly liberal, as remorselessly complete as that of Carthagenian parents who passed their children through the fire to Moloch…”[1]

Sri Aurobindo

Barindra, Sri Aurobindo’s youngest brother, first came to Baroda in 1901. After passing the Entrance Examination in 1900, he studied for six months in the First Year class at Patna College. But his mind was not in his studies. He went to Dacca, where his brother, Manmohan, was a professor, and was admitted to Dacca College, but could not continue there for long. The dream of doing agriculture possessed him, and, extorting a promise from Manmohan for financial help, he went to Calcutta. But the help did not come, and the dream faded away into thin air. His next romantic venture was a tea-shop at Patna, which proved a dismal failure. He had to shut up shop, because he was over head and ears in debt, having blundered away all the money he had wheedled out of his simple mother. Romantic imagination and cold commercial calculation seldom yoke together. He now thought of taking refuge with Sri Aurobindo. He arrived at Baroda one fine morning, and presented to his brother a rather unpresentable figure, unkempt and untidy, and clad in a dirty shirt. At that time Sri Aurobindo’s sister, Sarojini, and his wife, Mrinalini, were staying with him at Baroda.

Comfortable and care-free in the family of his brother, Barindra now turned his romantic mind to Planchette and automatic writing. In those days these spiritualistic séances were almost a universal hobby. We know that the great poet, Yeats, took keen interest in them, and Rabindranath tells us in his autobiography that he tried these experiments for some time. Barrister Chittaranjan Das[2], we learn from a reliable source, received in one such experiment a message from the spirit of Brahmabandhava Upadhyaya[3], urging him to take up the defence of Sri Aurobindo in the famous Alipore Bomb Case. Chittaranjan was a budding barrister at that time, and, encumbered with the burden of his father’s debts and the maintenance of a big family, he was unable to make up his mind as to whether he should take up Sri Aurobindo’s case or not. For, being a very important and difficult case, it was sure to tax much of his time and energy, and, being a labour of love, it would bring him no returns. But the message from the spirit of Brahmabandhava helped him to decide.[4] He took up the case and conducted it with such remarkable brilliance and ability that, not only Bengal, but the whole country rang with his praise. He secured the acquittal of Sri Aurobindo in the teeth of the most stubborn opposition from the Police Raj. Sri Aurobindo’s case was the turning point of Chittaranjan’s life. He shot into the legal firmament as its brightest luminary, and, by his unstinted generosity and sacrifice in the cause of national freedom, became the idol of Bengal.

In view of the importance attached to the question of spirit-communication and general psychical research in the West, we reproduce a few words from Sri Aurobindo which, we hope, the readers will find enlightening:

“Sri Aurobindo totally denies that he used the automatic writing for any kind of moral or other edification of those around him; that would have meant that it was spurious and a sort of a trick, for no writing can be automatic if it is dictated or guided by the writer’s conscious mind. The writing was done as an experiment as well as an amusement and nothing else. I may mention here the circumstances under which it was first taken up. Barin had done some very extraordinary automatic writing at Baroda in a very brilliant and beautiful English style and remarkable for certain predictions which came true… there was notably a symbolic anticipation of Lord Curzon’s subsequent unexpected departure from India[5] and, again, of the first suppression of the national movement and the greatness of Tilak’s attitude amidst the storm; this prediction was given in Tilak’s own presence when he visited Sri Aurobindo at Baroda and happened to enter first when the writing was in progress. Sri Aurobindo was very much struck and interested and he decided to find out by practising this kind of writing what there was behind it[6]…. But the results did not satisfy him and after a few further attempts at Pondicherry he dropped these experiments altogether…. His final conclusion was that though there are sometimes phenomena which point to the intervention of beings of another world, not always or often of a high order, the mass of such writings comes from a dramatising element in the subconscious mind; sometimes a brilliant vein in the subliminal is struck and then predictions of the future and statements of things not known in the present and the past come up, but otherwise these writings have not a great value….”[7]

A few more words on the same subject and we have done with it. Nolini Kanta Gupta, Secretary of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, who had the rare fortune and privilege of living in close association with Sri Aurobindo and serving him, first as a political follower, and next as a disciple of his, relates the following in his reminiscences, published in the Mother India:

“All know what is automatic writing. Sri Aurobindo showed us, rather made us hear specimens not of automatic writing, but of automatic speech. At about eight in the evening, we used to sit around him in a room. The lights would be turned off. A sudden hush would fall, and all of us kept silence for a while. Then slowly a voice would come from Sri Aurobindo. Evidently it was not his own voice. There were many such voices, coming one after the other, and each of a different manner and tone. Each voice would declare its own identity. I distinctly remember a few voices. One day someone came and said many fine things — on education, on literature, and on our country etc. We got eager to know his name. After putting us off for a moment, he finally gave out that he was Bankim Chandra. The talks used to be in English…. Another day someone else appeared and announced in a strident, dreadful voice: ‘I am Danton! Terror! Red Terror!’, and harangued us on the necessity and justification of bloodshed in the French Revolution. Yet another day somebody came and introduced himself thus: “I am Theramenes.’ Theramenes was a political leader in ancient Greece. In a quiet, mellow voice, he gave us a lecture on politics….”

It would interest the readers to learn that the book, Yogic Sadhana (now out of print), though an apparent product of Sri Aurobindo’s pen, was supposed to have been written by Rammohan Roy, who, it seems, used Sri Aurobindo’s hand in a sort of automatic writing. For, when it was being written, Sri Aurobindo saw the spirit of Rammohan Roy in the room.

To return to our subject. During his visits to Bengal, Sri Aurobindo had inspired Barin with the spirit of patriotism, and the latter’s stay at Baroda for sometime served only to kindle it to a blaze. The potential leader of the Bengal revolutionaries was preparing for his meteoric role.

After discontinuing his series of articles in the Induprakash, Sri Aurobindo, so long as he was in the Baroda service, kept studiously aloof from all public political activity. But he was secretly preparing the field for his work in Bengal, which, he knew, was soon to begin. He was sowing broadcast, both by his inner powers and private messages and instructions, the seeds of patriotic fervour and self-sacrificing revolutionary zeal. Without a burning love of the country, the Mother India, and the nation, no political movement, he said, was likely to be effective. He worked from behind the scenes and in silence for a “wide public movement which would create a universal patriotic fervour and popularise the idea of independence as the ideal and aim of Indian politics.”[8] “He made his first political move when he sent a young Bengali soldier of the Baroda army, Jatin Banerji,[9] as his lieutenant to Bengal with a programme of preparation and action which he thought might occupy a period of 30 years before fruition could become possible. As a matter of fact it has taken 50 years for the movement of liberation to arrive at fruition and the beginning of complete success. The idea was to establish secretly or, as far as visible action could be taken, under various pretexts and covers, revolutionary propaganda and recruiting throughout Bengal. This was to be done among the youth of the country while sympathy and support and financial and other assistance were to be obtained from the older men who had advanced views or could be won over to them. Centres were to be established in every town and eventually in every village. Societies of young men were to be established with various ostensible objects, cultural, intellectual or moral and those already existing were to be won over for revolutionary use. Young men were to be trained in activities which might be helpful for ultimate military action, such as riding, physical training, athletics of various kinds, drill and organised movement. As soon as the idea was sown it attained a rapid prosperity; already existing small groups and associations of young men who had not yet the clear idea or any settled programme of revolution began to turn in this direction and a few who had already the revolutionary aim were contracted and soon developed activity on organised lines; the few rapidly became many. Meanwhile Sri Aurobindo had met a member of the Secret Society[10] in Western India, and taken the oath of the Society and had been introduced to the Council in Bombay. His future action was not pursued under any directions by this Council, but he took up on his own responsibility the task of generalising support for its objects in Bengal… and they took the oath of the Society and agreed to carry out its objects on the lines suggested by Sri Aurobindo. The special cover used by Mitter’s[11] group was association for lathi play which had already been popularised to some extent by Sarala Ghosal[12] in Bengal among the young men; but other groups used other ostensible covers. Sri Aurobindo’s attempt at a close organisation of the whole movement did not succeed, but the movement itself did not suffer by that, for the general idea was taken up and activity of many separate groups led to a greater and more widespread diffusion of the revolutionary drive and its action…”[13]

Sri Aurobindo was in contact with Tilak, who was the greatest dynamic nationalist, not only in Maharashtra, but in the whole country, though he was not at that time so well-known. His imprisonment on a false charge of instigation of murder[14] brought him into the limelight overnight. At the Ahmedabad Congress in 1902 “Tilak took him (Sri Aurobindo) out of the pandal and talked to him for an hour in the grounds expressing his contempt for the Reformist movement and explaining his own line of action in Maharashtra.” (Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother)

In 1902 Sri Aurobindo sent Barin to Bengal to help Jatin Banerji, who had been deputed there earlier, in organising the revolutionary group and rousing the youth of Bengal. But Jatin and Barin could not hit it off long together, and they separated, to the great detriment of the revolutionary cause. Sri Aurobindo went to Bengal to patch up their differences, but they did not consent to work together. The revolutionary movement suffered for a time on account of this quarrel[15], but the idea of revolutionary action continued to seep into the mind of young Bengal, and inspire it to a more organised and resolute effort. Barin came back to Baroda when the police launched upon a ruthless persecution of the revolutionaries.

Barin conceived the idea of building a temple somewhere in the solitude of the hills in Western India for training a band of political sannyasins who would dedicate themselves entirely to the service of Mother India. The idea was evidently derived from the book, Anandamath, by Bankim Chandra Chatterji. A pamphlet embodying the basic idea and the lines of its practical application was written by Sri Aurobindo. The Rowlatt Committee report mentions this book, and Lord Ronaldsay reproduces excerpts from it in his book, The Heart of Aryavarta. About the pamphlet, Sri Aurobindo says, “Bhavani Mandir was written by Sri Aurobindo but it was more Barin’s ideal than his. It was not meant to train people for assassination but for revolutionary preparation of the country. The idea was soon dropped as far as Sri Aurobindo was concerned…. The selection of a site and a head of the monastery must have been simply an idea of Barin. He had travelled among the hills trying to find a suitable place but caught hill-fever and had to abandon his search and return to Baroda….”[16] C.C. Dutt of the Indian Civil Service relates in one of his Bengali books that he had been to the Ashram of one Keshavanandaji, a Hathayogi, who was conducting a training centre for young men. Something of the Bhavani Mandir scheme was sought to be realised there. But Sri Aurobindo did not pursue the idea further. It was always his way to inspire everybody, who came into active contact with him, on the line of his bent and aptitude, and not interfere with his individual evolution by imposing his thoughts and ideas upon him. He left everybody free to follow the self-law of his being and develop according to it. This was the chief characteristic of his leadership, and, understandably enough, a constant source of bewilderment to his associates and followers. For, his serene yogic detachment, his perfect unconcern in the midst of various action, and his different ways of dealing with and leading different natures baffled them. Try as they would, they failed to take his measure with their mental yardsticks. Prophet souls are eternal enigmas and paradoxes of history.

We give below a few extracts from the pamphlet, Bhavani Mandir:

“A Temple is to be erected and consecrated to Bhavani, the Mother, among the hills. To all the children of the Mother the call is sent forth to help in the sacred work.
“Who is Bhavani?
“In the unending revolutions of the world, as the wheel of the Eternal turns mightily in its courses, the Infinite Energy, which streams forth from the Eternal and sets the wheel to work, looms up in the vision of man in various aspects and infinite forms. Each aspect creates and marks an age. Sometimes She is Love, sometimes She is Knowledge, sometimes She is Renunciation, sometimes She is Pity. This Infinite Energy is Bhavani, She also is Durga, She is Kali, She is Radha the Beloved, She is Lakshmi, She is our Mother and the Creatress of us all.
“Bhavani is Shakti.
“In the present age the Mother is manifested as the Mother of Strength. She is pure Shakti.
“The whole world is growing full of the Mother as Shakti…
“We in India fail in all things for want of Shakti…
“Our knowledge is a dead thing for want of Shakti…
“Our Bhakti cannot live and work for want of Shakti…
“India therefore needs Shakti alone.
“The deeper we look, the more we shall be convinced that the one thing wanting, which we must strive to acquire before all others, is strength — strength physical, strength mental, strength moral, but above all strength spiritual which is the one inexhaustible and imperishable source of all the others. If we have strength everything else will be added to us easily and naturally…
“India, grown old and decrepit in will, has to be reborn.
“Our race has grown… such an old man with stores of knowledge, with ability to feel and desire, but paralysed by senile sluggishness, senile timidity, senile feebleness. If India is to survive, she must be made young again. Rushing and billowing streams of energy must be poured into her; her soul must become, as it was in the old times, like the surges, vast, puissant, calm or turbulent at will, an ocean of action or of force.
“India must be reborn, because her rebirth is demanded by the future of the world…”

Thus Sri Aurobindo poured forth an unceasing stream of dynamic spiritual force to regenerate and transform, not only India, but the whole of mankind. His nationalism was more than internationalism — it was spiritual universalism, as we have already said before. And at the heart of this spiritual universalism was Mother India, the Divine Mother, Bhavani, the Supreme Shakti, diffusing Her strength, Her fire-Force of creation and destruction for the redemption of the world.[17]

In 1902 Sri Aurobindo went to Midnapur in Bengal during a vacation, Barin and Jatin Banerji accompanying him. The trip was for organising the projected six centres in Bengal. When he returned to Calcutta, he gave the oath of the revolutionary party to P. Mitter. He used to go to Bengal during the vacations for the revolutionary work. He thus visited Khulna, Dacca, Midnapur, etc. Lathi-play, boxing, cycling, riding, target-shooting, etc. were regularly taught in most of these centres. Lives of Mazzini, Garibaldi and other revolutionaries were read with great interest, along with histories of revolutions, and all this training was capped by and derived its creative dynamis from a study of the Gita which inculcates the spirit of selfless work and sacrifice. It must be noted that most of the front-rank leaders were disciples of advanced Yogis, and led a spiritual life of purity and austerity. This spiritual leavening was the distinguising feature of the lives of the Bengal revolutionaries. Patriotism was with them a spiritual duty, a self-denying adoration of the Mother. And it was a common knowledge that the main inspiration and impetus behind this spiritualised patriotic orientation was Sri Aurobindo.[18]

In 1904 Sri Aurobindo met Charu Chandra Dutt I.C.S. who was District Judge at Thana in Bombay Presidency, and converted him to the Bhavani Mandir ideal. It was at Charu Chandra’s house that he first met Subodh Mullick, Charu Chandra’s brother-in-law, who was to become one of his most loyal friends and a great political and financial supporter. Subodh Mullick’s contribution of a lakh of rupees (Rs. 1,00,000) helped the establishment of the Bengal National College at Calcutta. He had stipulated (at the time of the contribution) that Sri Aurobindo should be given a post of professor in the College with a salary of Rs.150 per month; and this gave Sri Aurobindo an opportunity to resign his position in the Baroda Service, go to Bengal, and join the College as its Principal. It was but a prelude to a plunge into the political movement, and a total self-dedication to it. Subodh Mullick also contributed munificently to the running of some of the Secret Societies.

“Sri Aurobindo included in the scope of his revolutionary work one kind of activity which afterwards became an important item in the public programme of the Nationalist Party. He encouraged the young men in the centres of work to propagate the Swadeshi idea which at that time was only in its infancy and hardly more than a fad of the few. One of the ablest men in these revolutionary groups was a Maharatta named Sakharam Ganesh Deuskar who was an able writer in Bengali and who had written a popular life of Shivaji in Bengali in which he first brought in the name of Swaraj, afterwards adopted by the Nationlists as their word for independence…”[19] It is said that Sri Aurobindo sent Barin to Deuskar, requesting him to write an authentic book on the British exploitation of the economic resources of the country, and Deuskar readily acceded to the request. “He published a book entitled Desher Katha describing in exhaustive detail the British commercial and industrial exploitation of India. This book had an immense repercussion in Bengal, captured the mind of young Bengal and assisted more than anything else in the preparation of the Swadeshi movement. Sri Aurobindo himself had always considered the shaking off of this economic yoke and the development of Indian trade and industry as a necessary concomitant of the revolutionary endeavour.”[20]

In 1904 Sri Aurobindo was appointed Vice-Principal of the Baroda College, and in 1905 he officiated as its Principal. Had he continued in the Baroda Service, he would have easily adorned the highest post there, educational or administrative. The Maharaja respected him, and had a high opinion of his intellectual brilliance and his many-sided abilities. In fact, he was not at all willing to leave him. The colleagues and students of Sri Aurobindo loved and adored him for his extraordinary intellectual attainments, his burning love for India and Indian culture, his saintly character, and his gentle, unassuming manners. The general public, even though they had very little chance to come in direct contact with him, simply revered him, and felt a thrill of emotion whenever they referred to him as “Ghose Saheb”. But a greater call tore him away from this cosy atmosphere of quiet service and silent preparation, and plunged him headlong into the heart of an expanding vortex.

Sri Aurobindo attended the Ahmedabad National Congress in 1902, the Bombay Congress in 1904, and the Banaras (Varanasi) Congress in 1905. In all these sessions of the Congress, he tried to prevail upon the leaders to fight for full independence, free from British control, and submit to no compromise. He wrote a manifesto called “No Compromise” and had it circulated in Bengal. In various ways, he inspired the progressive political mind of Bengal to oppose by all means at their command — boycott of all British goods and British institutions, non-cooperation and passive resistance, village reconstruction, founding of national schools and colleges etc. — the Partition of Bengal which Lord Curzon had decided to inflict upon Bengal in order to stifle its fast growing political consciousness and nationalist spirit. We shall dwell upon the Bengal Partition and study how Bengal reacted to it in the next chapter.

It was just after the Partition that Sri Aurobindo’s active political life began, though he had laid its foundation much earlier. He had foreseen the barbarous fury of bureaucratic repression and its vengeful cruelty, and the utter futility of the prayers and petitions of the Moderates; and he was constantly at work inculcating the spirit of nationalism, the will to passive or active revolution, as the developing situation demanded, and the urge to complete freedom. But the days of the Partition were days of storm and stress, of the chaotic hurtle and blur of tangled forces through which the nation was forging its way to its political destiny. It is only if we go behind this surging mass of motley forces that we can discern the specific contribution of each of the supreme pilots of the national movement. And that is not an easy job. History records what is apparent and on the surface, and not what is real and decisive behind appearances. The swirling dust and litter of the foreground obscures our historical perspective and renders our assessments factually false. Our mortal eyes fail to perceive the subtle creative forces that generate revolutions.

A short while after his return from the Banaras Congress, Sri Aurobindo took leave and went to Bengal. He stayed there till June, 1906. From Calcutta he went to attend the Barisal Conference, where he witnessed the electrifying effect of the national cry of Bande Mataram, then resounding through the towns and villages of Bengal, and the callous inhumanity of the British Raj bent upon crushing the renascent spirit of patriotism. The brutal fact confirmed his foresight. It unsealed the fountain of his spiritual powers. The fire of his soul rained equally upon his country and the British bureaucracy, setting ablaze the sluggish heart and galvanising the torpid limbs of the former, and blasting the wits of the latter. His pen shot leaping tongues of flame. It roused and inspirited his countrymen as nothing else had done before, and their awakened ardour and enthusiasm fed and throve upon the desperate errors of the distraught and unnerved bureaucracy.

From Barisal Sri Aurobindo accompanied Bepin Pal on a tour of East Bengal to study the possibilities of his revolutionary plan and the general political situation of the province.

It was now felt that an organ was urgently needed to popularise the idea of violent revolt, and, so, Yugantar, a Bengali paper, was started. It was Barin’s project, approved by Sri Aurobindo. It was “to preach open revolt and the absolute denial of the British rule and include such items as a series of articles containing instructions for guerrilla warfare. Sri Aurobindo himself wrote some of the opening articles in the early numbers and he always exercised a general control…. It had as its chief writers and directors three of the ablest young writers in Bengal, and it at once acquired an immense influence throughout Bengal…. It may be noted that the Secret Society did not include terrorism in its programme, but this element grew up in Bengal as a result of the strong repression and a reaction to it in that Province.”[21] In one of his talks Sri Aurobindo said later: “My idea was an armed revolution in the whole of India. What they did at the time was very childish, killing a magistrate and so on. Later it turned into terrorism and dacoities which were not at all my idea or intention. Bengal is too emotional, wants quick results and can’t prepare through a long course of years.”[22]

In June Sri Aurobindo came back to Baroda. His mind was made up. Bengal, he felt, had need of him. It was to be the field of his political work. His path lay clear before him — the path of the adoration of the Mother through suffering and sacrifice. The expected call came anon from Bengal. He was invited to take charge of the newly-founded Bengal National College in Calcutta. He took leave again, this time for an indefinite period, and left Baroda in July, 1906. The chapter of manifold intensive preparation closed, and a new chapter of profound, dynamic spiritual sadhana and inspired, creative political action opened. And this dual activity, inner and outer, wrought the mosaic of India’s destiny.[23]

[1]The Demand of the Mother” in the Bande Mataram of 12.4.1908.

[2] Better known as C.R. Das.

[3] Patriot, philosopher, theologian, mystic, politician and journalist, Brahmabandhava was held in high esteem and considered one of the outstanding personalities of his time. Through his Bengali paper, Sandhya, he roused Bengal to fight for freedom.

[4] His mother, to whom he was passionately devoted, confirmed him in his decision when she said to him: “Why do you worry? Take up Sri Aurobindo’s defence as the Will of God. He will see you through it.”

[5] Lord Curzon had a quarrel with Lord Kitchener, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India, and had consequently to retire.

[6] This practice was done in Calcutta.

[7] Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother, pp. 108-10.

[8] Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother, p. 31.

[9] Jatin Banerji, a Bengali youth possessing a very strong body, remarkable mental courage and patriotic ardour, had enlisted, “by the help of Sri Aurobindo’s friends in the Baroda army, as trooper in the cavalry regiment”. As the first emissary of Sri Aurobindo to Bengal, he began organising the first group of revolutionaries there.

[10] The leader of this Society, who was “a noble of the Udaipur State with the title of Thakur Saheb, worked principally upon the Indian army of which he had already won over two or three regiments.” Sri Aurobindo later became President of the Bombay Council of the Society.

[11] P.C. Mitter, a well-known barrister, who organised the Anusilan Samiti in Bengal in collaboration with Sarala Devi at the instance of Baron Okakura, a Japanese art-connoisseur. He had “a spiritual life and aspiration and a strong religious feeling.”

[12] Sarala Devi Ghosal, a niece of Rabindranath Tagore. We have already referred to her as the foremost organiser of physical education in Bengal.

[13] Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother, p. 43.

[14] Tilak’s articles in his Marathi paper, Kesari, containing trenchant criticism of the oppressive methods of the British, were construed as having instigated the Chopekar brothers to murder the two plague officers who were enforcing harsh and insulting measures upon the Marathi ladies at Poona in order to check the spread of the epidemic. The charge was not proved, but Tilak was sentenced to 18 months’ rigorous imprisonment in 1897.

[15] Sri Aurobindo formed a Central Council of five persons including P.C. Mitter and Nivedita, and placed the revolutionary organisation under its charge. P.C. Mitter acted as the leader of the revolution in Bengal.

[16] Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother, pp. 85-86.

[17] Dr. K.M. Munshi, Ex-Governor of the Uttar Pradesh, who was a student of Sri Aurobindo at Baroda College, once asked him how nationalism could be developed. Sri Aurobindo “pointed to a wall-map and said something to this effect: ‘Look at that map. Learn to find in it the portrait of Bharatmata. The cities, mountains, rivers and forests are the materials which go to make up Her body. The people inhabiting the country are the cells which go to make up Her living tissues. Our literature is Her memory and speech. The spirit of our Culture is Her soul. The happiness and freedom of Her children is Her salvation. Behold Bharat as a living Mother, meditate upon Her and worship Her in the ninefold way of Bhakti.’” — From Bhavan’s Journal, dated 22.7.62

[18] Our subsequent treatment of the subject will show more abundantly and clearly how the main stream of this inspiration, emanating from Sri Aurobindo, flowed out through Bengal to the rest of India.

[19] Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother, pp. 45-6.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother, p. 44.

[22] Life of Sri Aurobindo — A.B. Purani.

[23] “…the greatest thing done in those years was the creation of a new spirit in the country. In the enthusiasm that swept surging everywhere with the cry of Bande Mataram ringing on all sides men felt it glorious to be alive and dare and act together and hope; the old apathy and timidity was broken and a force created which nothing could destroy and which rose again and again in wave after wave till it carried India to the beginning of a complete victory.” — Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on The Mother, p. 58.

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It is not the personality, the character that is of the first importance in rebirth — it is the psychic being who stands behind the evolution of the nature and evolves with it.