This is the first of three volumes of correspondence between Sri Aurobindo and Dilip Kumar Roy, singer, musician, poet and writer. In 1928, Dilip, whom Sri Aurobindo called" a friend and a son," became the latter's disciple. A massive correspondence ensued - countless letters from Sri Aurobindo and a few more from Mother, extending till 1951, and published unabridged here for the first time.
In these illuminating pages, Sri Aurobindo explains his Yoga, guiding Dilip in his inner life, encouraging him to overcome doubt, depression, even revolt, to develop his poetic skills, commenting upon his Bengali and English poems. We see at work the ideal guru-shishya, teacher-student relationship, the infinite patience of the loving guru on the one hand, on the other the questionings, difficulties, struggles, but also experiences, of the doting disciple, whom Sri Aurobindo invites "to take up the pilgrim's staff and start out to journey there where the Reality is forever manifest and present."
Sri Aurobindo, through his innumerable illuminating writings has left to the world a vast mass of his actually experienced living knowledge, which is a priceless treasure for all who want to tread the path of the evolution of human consciousness. He was a ceaseless explorer, not only delving deep into the "past dawns" but also lifting the veils that withhold our vision of the "noons of the future." He stands out, therefore, as a Supreme Teacher, Maha Guru of the entire human race, who came to reveal to man the higher and higher peaks of consciousness that he has to conquer through his ever new experiments in this "thinking and living laboratory" of human life and mind, until he reaches or attains the Supermind, where the purpose of creation will be fully revealed ultimately to him one day.
As is well known to all, in the first part of his life, Sri Aurobindo dedicated himself completely to the one task of freeing his motherland from foreign domination, as he felt that this land and this nation has a mission to fulfil by giving a call to all in the world to realise that they are the children of Immortality. Later on, having made sure of the country's freedom, he left the political scene to turn his eyes to the freedom of the world by removing the shackles of death, desire and incapacity. So long as he was in his body, Sri Aurobindo kept himself totally absorbed in this single super- human task of making "matter lit with the spirit's glow," and withdrew himselffrom all public contacts to dedicate himself absolutely for intense sadhana in utter seclusion. But he was ever awake to the needs of all wayfarers towards the same goal, who had gathered around him in Pondicherry for guidance and help, and he used to answer all their queries with his own hand, sometimes spending the entire night sleeplessly in fulfilling this one task. His luminous letters have also become a legend and have since been published in books like Bases of Yoga and also included in his complete works, running into volumes.
Naturally some may question the propriety of publishing them over again. The purpose, first of all, is to highlight the context in which these letters were written-to what particular query the particular answer was given. Secondly, the unique personal relationship between the teacher and the taught, the Guru and the sisya is absolutely missing in all that has been published, which alone makes these priceless letters so vibrant and living. Fortunately for us all, the disciple, in this case, Dilip Kumar Roy, had preserved his Master's letters with meticulous care and the Hari Krishna Mandir, which he later established in Pune, where these letters were enshrined, has now taken up this task of publishing them, with the collaboration of Mira Aditi.
Of all the disciples of Sri Aurobindo, Dilip Kumar Roy was one to whom the Guru gave the utmost indulgence, possibly because he was ever aware of this disciple's utterly sensitive nature and lest he should leave the path in disgust or dismay, the Guru took him closest to his breast, owning him as a child and a very part of his being, through his wide heart and sympathies, much to the chagrin of his other disciples. As this disciple happened to be a man of intense feeling by nature, the Guru took particular care to guide him along the path of music and poetry because he knew that the entire being of this disciple would vibrate and resonate as soon as he would start singing, transporting him and others to a level far beyond the mundane sphere. The Mother took special care in encouraging his music, so that he could transform it into an art for the Divine's sake, instead of pursuing it as just an art for Art's sake. Through Sri Aurobindo's constant encouragement and meticulous guidance his poetic faculty too, especially in writing English verse, flowered beyond comprehension. At every step, day in and day out, this great master of English poetry would teach his beloved disciple through his letters the intricacies of the different metres -in which English poems are written, even penning new poems to illustrate some metrical point. Dilip's translations of many Bengali poems and songs the Guru corrected at every step. In a word, Sri Aurobindo happened to be the constant companion and guiding light in all his literary adventures.
To none else perhaps did Sri Aurobindo write so many letters in his life as he wrote to Dilip Kumar, as he could never refuse to answer any query that came from Dilip. Sometimes, it was about a Bengali book by a promising writer, who at that time happened to be almost unknown, though his genius was unmistakable and the disciple wanted this to be verified by the Guru. The Guru was his touchstone in every matter in life and at every step, the disciple would refer all matters under the sun to him and him alone for verification and the Guru would readily acquiesce to each and every request that came from this importunate disciple.
As such, these pages of illuminating letters stand out as an unique document of the ideal Guru-sisya, teacher-student relationship, in which the infinite patience of the loving guru on the one hand, as well as the infinite impatience of the doting disciple on the other, are both equally revealed. The tie of eternal love that bound these two souls could never be snapped, either in this life or hereafter.
Before I conclude, I am tempted to recount the story which I had the privilege of hearing from a great mystic soul, Sri Krishnaprem, who had, according to Sri Aurobindo, a "seeing intellect" (pasyantibuddhi. A bosom friend of Dilip Kumar's, this Sri Krishnaprem was invited by the former to visit Pondicherry to have a darshan of Sri Aurobindo, and so he went there just a day or two prior to the day fixed for darshan and was staying with Dilip. On the previous night before the darshan, Dilip sent a note to Sri Aurobindo toinform him that next day, Sri Krishnaprem will also be accompanying him for Sri Aurobindo's darshan and in the line of devotees assembled for the darshan, the man next to Dilip will be Sri Krishnaprem. "If possible, please give him a smile, when he approaches you, O Guru." "Just think," Sri Krishnaprem told me, "how he dares order or command the Guru to oblige him! And what the ever-obliging Guru could do? He could not refuse any request coming from Dilip! As soon as I stood before him, he gave me a very beautiful broad smile!"
Such was the unique relationship between the Guru and the sisya, of which possibly there is no parallel in the world of living memory. By reading the letters exchanged between the two, may we all try to have such a living and loving relationship with our Guru, which lasts through all eternity.
Such a manifestation of sun-splendour that is Sri Aurobindo, "mighty and forceful" brought forth the flowering of grace, beauty and glorious opulence in a multifaceted form, in the life of Sri Dilip Kumar Roy-our Dadaji.' This process is superbly documented for the first time, first hand, in the correspondence between the master and the disciple, spanning over two decades. With immense pleasure and grateful hearts we are bringing out this complete (as far as they are available) collection of the invaluable letters of Sri Aurobindo written to Dadaji in three volumes (vol I, 1928-33; vol. II, 1934-36; vol. III, 1937- 51, including letters of the Mother). The coming together of Dadaji, Sri Dilip Kumar the seeker, and Sri Aurobindo the mentor, is a most significant phenomenon which was predestined. Theirs is a unique relationship; Sri Aurobindo described it as that "which declares itself constantly through many lives. It is a feeling which is never mistaken and gives impression of the one not only close to one but part of one's existence. The relation that is so indicated always turns out to be that of those who have been together in the past and were predestined to join again."
Sri Aurobindo went into seclusion in 1926. Dadaji sorely missed and longed intensely for personal day-to-day contact with his guru. One cannot but admit on hindsight that this was perhaps preordained. Present also were three significant traits in Dadaji: first, his mastery of the languages and the ability to express; second, his sincere earnest quest and the power to draw out great people.' and third, his generous nature which delighted in sharing anything that was worthwhile with all seekers. Circumstances, time and the persons were right. These invaluable letters got written and a veritable spiritual treasure became available not only for Dadaji alone but also for posterity.
Sri Aurobindo showed limitless patience, understanding, love and exquisite tenderness, sparing no effort-even giving up, at times, his much needed sleeping hours to write to his Dilip whom he called a "friend and a son." Sri Aurobindo wrote, "I have poured on you my force to develop your powers to make an equal development in the yoga." They discussed philosophy, literature, humanism, rationalist ideals and materialism and a plethora of topics-in short covering all the strands of human aspirations. Sri K. D. Sethna rightly said: "It is the intimacy implying not only the unhindered approach of the disciple but also the master's own enfolding movements, that sets the pattern, mixes the colours and constitutes the highlights of the picture."
Mention must be made of the humour that we find so deliciously interspersed in these volumes of correspondence: the banter of the master and the disciple, quick repartees, wit, hilarious word pictures, terse but delightfully expressed irony, are a joy to read. Perhaps it would not be an exaggeration to say that Dilip Kumar is one of the few (if not the only) disciples who took such liberties with his guru and brought out the human side of Gurudev.
This is the second of four volumes of correspondence between Sri Aurobindo and Dilip Kumar Roy, singer, musician, poet and writer. This volume scans only two years 1934-1935 as the correspondence between the Master and the disciple grew in volume, frequency and depth during this period.
What shines through these letters is Sri Aurobindo's immense patience guiding Dilipda through his turbulence, his despondency, and nurturing with such tender care his latent talents. And the infinite love Sri Aurobindo and Mother poured on this over-sensitive but exceptional being for his full blossoming. Here reason's logic is countered with sounder logic. A gentle irony like a cool breeze blows away mind's cobwebs. No insistence to toe his line. No judgment, always clarity of vision. Comprehension. Compassion Rarely a sigh escapes the Guru's lips, "It is only divine Love which can bear the burden I have to bear."
This is the second volume of Sri Aurobindo’s letters to Dadaji, Sri Dilip Kumar Roy. The first volume was published by us in August 2003. It covered the period between 1929 and 1933. This volume spans only two years 1934 and 1935 as the correspondence between the Master and the disciple grew in volume, frequency and depth during this period.
It will not be out of place here to highlight again the Divine force and Grace imparted concretely through these letters by a Guru, the Messianic "treasurer of superhuman dreams" to his cherished and receptive disciple who the Guru called "a friend and a son and part of his existence". Sri Dilip Kumar illustrates this in his book "Sri Aurobindo Came to Me" which is a companion volume of reminiscence to these letters set- ting the context and circumstances, voicing his doubts and queries, stating his experiences and seeking the Guru's help in his despondency which evoked, in response, these magnificent letters of his Gurudev. Sri Dilip Kumar writes :
"The general reader, I feel, is likely to apprise the value of letters such as these in terms either of their weightiness of matter or profundity of wisdom. But to us, his disciples, every such communication was valued even more as a token of his Grace than for its other merits, as also because of the light it carried from the fount of his luminous personality, which we had grown to cherish. To me, personally, his letters radiating affection imparted something even more convincing-possibly because only such personal letters could convey to my sceptic mind the light of seerhood that hovered round him, through a receptive emotion which nothing short of an intimate contact with his soul of compassion could arouse. Besides, had he not written to me once: 'I am certainly not helping you only with letters, but doing it whenever I get some time for concentration and I notice that when I can do it with sufficient energy and at some length there is a response.'
Outsiders may not seize the import of this, but as I saw the effect of his concentration on and for me day after patient day, I had to believe in its concrete efficacy. Could it be otherwise when, time and time again, I experienced my glooms melting away like mists before sunrise and strength returning to me through his exhortation dripping every time the deep tenderness of his solicitude?"
The response of readers of "Sri Aurobindo to Dilip", Vol.1 has been heart-warming; we are positive that this second volume will be received with greater enthusiasm. Sri Aurobindo's Grace and influence is not confined only to his direct disciples but it is far reaching. It is this vast influence of Sri Aurobindo across the Globe, for all time to come, that has been the motivating factor for the detailed publication of these letters.
In this context I would like to quote Madame Gabriela Mistral (Nobel laureate). She affirmed :
"In the midst of personal sorrow, Aurobindo brought me to religion. It may sound quaint that a non-Christian should have opened the way to my religious consecration, but Aurobindo did.... Every people must have an Aurobindo, a man far above the people and yet identified with the aspiration of the people ... My debt to India is very great and is due in part to Aurobindo."
In bringing out these Letters Dr. Gobindo Gopal Mukho-padhyaya's guidance, inspiration and encouragement are invaluable. We are grateful to him. We also gratefully acknowledge the dedicated work of "Mira Aditi" team under the guidance of Revered Satprem and Sujata Didi.
We offer our humble pranams to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Dadaji Sri Dilip Kumar Roy and Ma Indira Devi. We seek their blessings for our journey of the Spirit.
In this the third of four volumes of correspondence (1936-1937) between Sri Aurobindo and Dilip Kumar Roy, Sri Aurobindo is night after night, imparting knowledge in his delightful way and encouraging Dilipda to: "Keep through all the aspiration which you express so beautifully in your poems; for it is certainly there and comes out from the depths, and if it is the cause of suffering-as great aspirations usually are in a world and nature where there is so much to oppose them-it is also the promise and surety of emergence and victory in the future."
We find Dilipda immersed in melody, "winging and soaring" in music and prosody, experimenting in new metres, writing inspired poetry and also inspiring others. His "Suryamukhi" was published and he was receiving high praise from eminent Bengali writers and preparing the music syllabus for Calcutta University.
This is the fourth and final volume in the correspondence (1938-1950) between Sri Aurobindo and Dilip Kumar Roy. Sri Aurobindo keeps up his correspondence with his favourite "son" throughout the difficult war years, always finding time for him personally even though having largely withdrawn to concentrate on his "real work". Dilip responds with an increased devotion and capacity for service, giving of himself tirelessly, as well as offering whatever material support he could muster through his writing, singing, etc. to Sri Aurobindo and Mother who fully appreciated his work during those times of rationing and scarcity.
Innumerable glimpses are there throughout the correspondence into Sri Aurobindo’s work for "the right development of the war and of change in the human world".
"Sri Aurobindo has made our realisation independent from all world circumstances, and He always considered you as part of the realisation...", writes Mother in one of the letters written to Dilipda after 1950. These letters from Mother are included in this volume.
Sri Aurobindo was surely one of the most remarkable personalities to emerge anywhere in the world in the 20th century. A brilliant scholar in England in his youth, he returned to India after 14 years and immediately became deeply involved in the freedom movement. When Lord Curzon implemented the controversial decision for the partition of Bengal-the Bang Bhang-Sri Aurobindo left his academic assignment in Baroda and moved to Calcutta where for five years he shone like a meteor in the darkening sky. In 1910, after an epiphany in the Alipore Jail he left for Pondicherry where he lived for the next 40 years until he passed away in 1950. During those 40 years he produced his great classics including The Life Divine, The Human Cycle, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on the Gita and the extraordinary epic poem Savitri.
The Mother joined him as his spiritual collaborator in 1920 and the number of disciples grew substantially. In 1926 heceased meeting with them and withdrew into his private chambers where for 24 years he pursued his extraordinary adventure of consciousness into what he called the Supra- mental plane, his attempt being to bring down this great force and fix it in the real consciousness so that it could help in speeding up the evolutionary destiny of humanity.
Interestingly, there is a common belief that during those 24 years Sri Aurobindo was not in touch with his disciples. In fact as is evident from the 3rd volume published so far of Sri Aurobindo to Dilip, he wrote letters constantly, and in particular was engaged in a massive correspondence with one of his favourite and favoured disciples, the famous Bengali poet and writer Dilip Kumar Roy whom he called "a friend and a son". In these letters, which are full of humour and humanity, Sri Aurobindo covers a wide range of matters and ideas. For the first time the unabridged letters of Sri Aurobindo to Dilip Kumar are being published jointly by Hari Krishna Mandir and Mira Aditi. This is the fourth volume of the series.
Here I must recount my own close association with Dilipda. It was through his book Among the Great that, in the early 50s, I first learnt of Sri Aurobindo and of Dilipda's very close personal friend, an English swami Sri Krishnaprem who lived in an Ashram in Mirtola near Almora. In fact I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Dilipda, because it was this book as well as a subsequent one that he sent me entitled Sri Aurobindo Came to Me that aroused my interest in Sri Aurobindo and led me later to do my doctoral thesis on the Political Thought of Sri Aurobindo which as been published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan under the title Prophet of Indian Nationalism. This also led me to visit Pondicherry where I had the privilege of several meetings with the Mother.
Also, the book led me to enter into correspondence with Sri Krishnaprem, visit Mirtola and interact with one of the most remarkable persons that I have ever met. The correspondence between Sri Krishnaprem and Dilipda is most charming and fascinating and has been reproduced extensively in many of Dilipda's books.
I had occasion to meet with Dilipda and his talented disciple Indira Devi on many occasions right until he passed away, and to hear him singing bhajans in his distinctive style of which Sri Aurobindo was so fond. I would meet both of them whenever an occasion arose, in Delhi, Hardwar and elsewhere. After Dilipda left his body I continued to interact with Indira Devi who herself was a highly spiritually developed person. All in all, therefore, Dilip Kumar Roy has had a major impact on my life and I consider it a privilege to be asked to write a short foreword for the Fourth Volume of these letters. They represent a treasure trove of inspiration and interest for spiritual seekers around the world and will richly repay the reader. I close by paying my deep personal homage to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, as well as to the memory of Dilipda and Indira Devi.
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