Early Cultural Writings_Vol-1 VOLUME 1 THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO
CWSA PART FIVE: CONVERSATIONS DEAD OF THE (1910)
The first two of these dialogues were published in the Karmayogin, appearing in the last issues known to have been edited by Sri Aurobindo. (Two other dialogues published in later issues of the Karmayogin under the heading "Conversations of the Dead" were written by Sister Nivedita.) Drafts of the last three pieces form part of the Chandernagore Manuscript (see the note to Part Six). There are also typed versions of all five dialogues.
Dinshah, Perizade. Published in the Karmayogin on 12 February 1910.
Turiu, Uriu. Published in the Karmayogin on 19 February 1910.
Mazzini, Cavour, Garibaldi. Chandernagore Manuscript, gathering I, pp. 5 6. The typed copy, which is subsequent to the manuscript, has been used as the text. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 7 November 1920, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue(1972).
Shivaji, Jaysingh. Chandernagore Manuscript, II: 6 7. The typed copy, which is subsequent to the manuscript, has been used as the text. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 26 December 1920, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue (1972).
PART SIX: THE CHANDERNAGORE MANUSCRIPT (1910)
The pieces that make up this section form the bulk of a 51-page handwritten manuscript originally consisting of three gatherings of foolscap paper numbered by Sri Aurobindo I: 1 16, II: 1 17 and III: 1 18. Each of the gatherings appears to be matter for one issue of a journal. Each begins with an essay entitled "Passing Thoughts" and contains an instalment of "Conversations of the Dead", an instalment of "Epistles from Abroad", one or more essays, including those entitled "Historical Impressions", one or more other pieces, including those entitled "In /At the Society's Chambers", and a blank-verse poem. Several facts suggest that the journal these pieces were intended for was the Karmayogin. "Passing Thoughts" was the heading of the Karmayogin's opening column of opinion in the issues of 12 and 19 February 1910. After being warned that he was about to be arrested for sedition, Sri Aurobindo departed from Calcutta for Chandernagore sometime towards the end of February 1910, and remained there incognito for about six weeks before voyaging to Pondicherry. Several sheets of the 51page manuscript bear notations in another hand indicating that it was sent from somewhere to
and then returned. In addition, all of Sri Aurobindo's
signatures on the manuscript were cut out or obliterated, a necessary precaution
if it was in transit at a time when Sri Aurobindo was wanted by the police.
Finally, a number of pieces that had been copied out from the manuscript were
published in The Standard Bearer, a journal brought out
from Chandernagore, in the 1920s. On the basis of this evidence, it would be
natural to assume that Sri Aurobindo wrote the manuscript while in
Chandernagore in February and March 1910 with the intention of having the
pieces published in the Karmayogin, that the manuscript was sent
from Chandernagore to Calcutta but returned without being published, and that
some pieces were copied out from it in Chandernagore at that time and later
published in The Standard Bearer. Against all this, however, stands
a statement made by Sri Aurobindo in 1944 that his "active connection with
the two newspapers [the Karmayogin and the Dharma]
ceased" from the moment of his departure for Chandernagore (On Himself ,
p. 57). Taken by itself, this statement would seem to rule out the possibility
that Sri Aurobindo wrote the manuscript in Chandernagore for use in the Karmayogin.
It is possible that he wrote the manuscript in Calcutta Calcutta
before his departure for Chandernagore, took it with him and sent it back from
there to .
But it is also possible, and perhaps more likely, that he wrote the manuscript
during his stay in Chandernagore and subsequently forgot about it, as he forgot
about several other of his early writings. Calcutta
To enable the reader to visualise the original structure of the 51page Chandernagore Manuscript [CMS], the gathering and pages of the pieces are given.
Passing Thoughts : Religion in Europe; Religion in
; The Real Minimum; The
Maximum. 1910. CMS I: 1 2. A defective version of parts of this piece was
published in The Standard Bearer on 13 March 1922 under the
title "Hints and Clues". India
Passing Thoughts : The Object of Government; The European Jail; European Justice. 1910. CMS II: 1 2. Around 1912 Sri Aurobindo revised and enlarged "European Justice" under the title "The Balance of Justice". That piece is published in Essays Divine and Human, volume 12 of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO. A version of the 1910 text, badly edited and with the matter rearranged, was published under the title "Academic Thoughts" in The Standard Bearer on 2 January 1921, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue (1972).
Passing Thoughts : Achar; Vichar; Vivek; Jnanam. 1910. CMS III: 1 2. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 26 September 1920, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue.
Hathayoga. 1910. CMS II: 3 5. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 12 December 1920, and subsequently inThe Harmony of Virtue.
Rajayoga. 1910. CMS III: 3 5. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 19 December 1920, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue.
Historical Impressions: The French Revolution. 1910. CMS I: 7 10. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 28 November and 5 December 1920, and subsequently in The Hour of God and Other Writings (1972).
Historical Impressions: Napoleon. 1910. CMS III: 8 11. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 21 December 1920, and subsequently in The Hour of God and Other Writings.
In the Society's Chambers. 1910. CMS I: 13 14. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 24 July 1922, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue.
At the Society's Chambers. 1910. CMS II: 13 15. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 31 July 1922, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue.
Things Seen in Symbols . 1910. CMS II: 16. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 28 November 1920, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue.
Things Seen in Symbols . 1910. CMS III: 16. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 29 August 1920, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue.
The Real Difficulty. 1910. CMS II: 8. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 15 August 1920, and subsequently inThe Hour of God and Other Writings.
Art. 1910. CMS III: 12 13. A defective version of this piece was published in The Standard Bearer on 27 March 1921, and subsequently in The Harmony of Virtue.
PART SEVEN: EPISTLES / LETTERS FROM ABROAD (C. 1910 1912)
The first three of these fictional letters form part of the Chandernagore Manuscript (see Part Six). The other three, entitled "Letters" and not "Epistles", were written in
a year or so later. Sri Aurobindo numbered the first two of the Letters
"IV" and "V", in sequence to the three Epistles. The final
number, VI, has been given by the editors. Pondicherry
Epistles from Abroad I III. 1910. CMS I: 11 12, II: 11 12, III: 14 15. Defective versions of these three pieces were published in The Standard Bearer on 20 March 1922, 3 April 1922 and 10 October 1920. All three were subsequently published in The Harmony of Virtue.
Letters from Abroad IV VI. Circa 1911. These three pieces were not published during Sri Aurobindo's lifetime. In establishing the texts of Letter V and Letter VI, the editors have followed an early version of the pieces, but have inserted the author's revised versions of certain passages in the appropriate places. A white space indicates that the passages above and below are not physically continuous in the manuscript. Another version of the opening of Letter IV and an additional passage of Letter V have been printed as footnotes.
Autobiographical Notes_Vol-36 VOLUME 36 THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO NOTE ON THE TEXTS Note on the Texts
To Motilal Roy. In February 1910, Sri Aurobindo left
and took temporary refuge in Chandernagore, a small French enclave on the river
Hooghly about thirty kilometres north of .
There he was looked after by Motilal Roy (1882 1959), a young member of a
revolutionary secret society. After leaving Chandernagore for Calcutta in April, Sri Aurobindo kept in
touch with Motilal by letter. It was primarily to Motilal that he was referring
when he wrote in the "General Note on Sri Aurobindo's Political Life"
(p. 64 of this volume): "For some years he kept up some private communication
with the revolutionary forces he had led through one or two individuals."
In these letters, which were subject to interception by the police, he could
not of course write openly about revolutionary matters. He developed a code in
which "tantra" meant revolutionary activities, and things connected
with tantra (yogini chakras, tantric books, etc.) referred to
revolutionary implements like guns (see Arun Chandra Dutt, ed., Light
to Superlight[ Pondicherry :
Prabartak Publishers, 1972], pp. 27 30). The code sometimes got rather
complicated (see the note to letter  below). Sri Aurobindo did not use his
normal signature or initials in the first 22 letters. Instead he signed as
Kali, K., A. K. or G. He often referred to other people by initials or
pseudonyms. Parthasarathi Aiyangar, for example, became "P. S." or
"the Psalmodist".  3 June 1912. The "letter to our Marathi
friend" referred to in the second paragraph may be the letter to Anandrao
(see above). Note however that according to Arun Chandra Dutt (Light to
Superlight, pp. 4 5), the Marathi friend was a merchant named Madgodkar,
apparently the same as the Madgaokar mentioned in letter  below. The
"case" mentioned in the penultimate paragraph is the one that
Mayuresan tried to set up; see "Note on a Forged Document" above. 
August 1912 or after. (In April 1914, Sri Aurobindo wrote of "the Parabrahma darshana",
apparently the experience mentioned in this letter, as happening "two
years ago"; see Record of Yoga, volume 10 of
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO, p. 447.)  Circa
January 1913. According to Arun Chandra Dutt (Light to Superlight, pp.
50 51), the "experiment in the smashana" mentioned in this letter
was the attempt to assassinate the Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, in Calcutta on 23 December 1912. Śmaśānas
or graveyards are believed to be good places for tantric sadhana. The term
applies also to Delhi ,
the graveyard of vanished empires. Other terms in the letter make use of the
same "tantric" metaphor.  February 1913.  June July 1913. The
"tantric books" referred to are almost certainly revolvers sent from Delhi to
Chandernagore (see Light to Superlight, pp. 27 28). The
explanations in cypher concerning these "books" have not survived.
 June July 1913.  August 1913. The manuscripts ("MSS")
referred to are Sri Aurobindo's translation of Chittaranjan Das's Bengali poem
cycle Sagar Sangit, for which Das agreed to pay him Rs. 1000. 
Circa 1913.  1913 (between April and October 1913, Sri Aurobindo lived in a
house on Pondicherry Mission Street,
Pondicherry, for which the rent
was Rs. 15).  March 1914. Rashbehari Bose was a revolutionary of
Chandernagore who orchestrated the bomb-attack against Lord Hardinge in in December 1912.
On 8 March 1914, British police officers, armed with an extradition warrant of
arrest, raided Rashbehari's house in Chandernagore. They were unable to arrest
him, as he had slipped out some time before. News of the raid appeared in the
newspapers on 12 March or before. Sri Aurobindo wrote this letter to Motilal a
short while after he read the news. He was interested not only in Rashbehari's
fate, but also in the legal precedent that might be set by the issuance of an
extradition warrant against a French subject for a crime committed in Delhi British India.  April 1914. For Paul Richard, see the
note to "Extracts from Letters to the Mother and Paul Richard" in
Section Two below. Every four years an election was held in to choose a Deputy to represent
the colony in the French Chamber.  17 April 1914. This letter was written
shortly after the results of the election were announced. According to
the Journal Officiel, Bluysen received 33,154 votes, Lemaire 5624, Pondicherry 368 and Richard
231.  5 May 1914.  June 1914. The "New Idea" was officially
sanctioned by the government of French La Porte in June 1914.
 July 1914.  July August 1914.  29 August 1914.  After
October 1914. Bijoy Nag, a member of Sri Aurobindo's household, was imprisoned
in October 1914 under the Defence of India Act after he entered India British India. He remained in jail for the duration of
the war. V. V. S. Aiyar was a revolutionary from the Madras Presidency who had
taken refuge in .
(Despite the "a certain", Sri Aurobindo knew Aiyar well.) 
Undated, but after the launch of the Arya in August 1914. 
After September 1915, the month in which Motilal began to publish the Bengali
journal Prabartak.  Undated, but apparently shortly after the
armistice in November 1918. Haradhan Bakshi (1897 1962), a young man of
Chandernagore, served in Pondicherry Mesopotamia during
the war.  Apparently towards the end of 1919; certainly earlier than the
next letter, which refers to the Standard Bearer by name. 
2 January 1920. A short time before this letter was written, M. K. Gandhi sent
his son Devdas to speak to Sri Aurobindo on his behalf (see Gandhi's letter to
Sri Aurobindo on page 442).  May 1920. Barindra Kumar Ghose (Sri
Aurobindo's younger brother, see Section Two below) was released from the penal
colony of the Andaman Islands in January 1920.
Paul and Mirra Richard returned to Pondicherry
on 24 April 1920.  2 September 1920. For information on the "marriage
idea", see Light to Superlight, pp. 93 96.  11 November
1920. The portion of this letter placed by Sri Aurobindo within inverted commas
was reproduced in the Standard Bearer on 21 November 1920. See
pages 278 79.  In 1922, Motilal's relationship with Sri Aurobindo soured.
In May 1925 Motilal wrote asking for permission to visit Sri Aurobindo in Japan . This
telegram of 13 May was Sri Aurobindo's reply. It is reproduced from a notebook
in which A. B. Purani wrote down Sri Aurobindo's conversations and bits of
household news.  8 May 1930. When Motilal wrote to Sri Aurobindo in April
or May 1930, Sri Aurobindo wrote this draft and asked Nolini Kanta Gupta to
reply in Bengali in his own name. This explains Sri Aurobindo's use of the
third person. Pondicherry