August 17, 2006

Talks had almost a global dimension

Those who have read Talks with Sri Aurobindo or Evening Talks must have realised that Sri Aurobindo was not a world-averse Yogi lost in rapturous silence of the Brahman like the Maharshi, nor talked, when he did, mostly of spiritual matters as did Ramakrishna. In fact our talks covered a vast range of subjects, they had almost a global dimension. We wondered at his enormous knowledge in so many fields. Considering the shortness of the period during which he lived in strenuous contact with the external world, one would be tempted to ask how much of this knowledge was the outcome of his practical worldly experience and how much a result of Yoga?
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Here I shall quote something from my correspondence. He says, "There is a truth in Ahimsa, there is a truth in Destruction also.... Non-violence is better than violence as a rule, and still sometimes violence may be the right thing...."
All the communications were, however, mostly made orally and did not interfere with Sri Aurobindo's personal work. But gradually correspondence of another sort began to demand his attention. I mean writings on various aspects of his work, either by sadhaks, visitors or outsiders, were sent to him for approval, comment or suggestion, such as Prof. Sisir Maitra's series of articles, Prof. Haridas Chowdhury's thesis on his philosophy, Prof. Sisir Mitra's book on history, books by Prof. Langley, Morwenna Donnelly, Prof. Monod-Herzen, Dr. Srinivas lyengar, and Lizelle Raymond on Sister Nivedita, to mention a few.
In the last three books Sri Aurobindo made extensive additions and changes. Even casual articles from young students were read and received encouragement from him. Arabinda Basu was one of these writers. Poems written by sadhaks, for instance, Dilip, Amal Kiran (K. D. Sethna), Nishikanto, Pujalal and Tehmi, or a Goan poet, Prof. Menezies, were also read out. Then came the journals, The Advent and Mother India, the latter particularly, being a semi-political fortnightly, needed his sanction before the matter could be published. Most of the editorial articles of Mother India written by Amal Kiran were found impeccable.

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