Sri Aurobindo: Loho Pranam and A Garland of Adoration: A Review
By Anurag Banerjee
For the past several weeks two books have been my constant companions; whenever I found adequate time, I went on reading these two books—one in Bengali and the other one in English (though some of the articles included in it are in Bengali). Both the books have been penned by Krishna Chakravarti, a senior member of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry who is an inmate since 1956. These two books are not merely books; these are actually priceless gems offered at the Feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
The first book, which is in Bengali, is titled Sri Aurobindo: Loho Pranam; it is a biography of the Master. Sri Aurobindo has repeatedly instructed his followers from abstaining themselves from being his biographers because his life, according to him, has not been on the ordinary surface for man to see and he has also warned them that he did not craved to be murdered by his own disciples in cold print. Since Sri Aurobindo’s life was not on the ordinary surface for man to see, therefore, it is evident that his biographers would tend to draw inaccurate conclusions about him based on their personal research and hence, might represent him and his life in a wrong manner. Such a thing has happened very recently (I’m referring to the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs which has created an uproar among the Aurobindonian scholars and followers of the Path).
But Krishna Chakravarti’s book is an exception. The author has based her research mainly on what Sri Aurobindo has said and written about himself, therefore, she has not deviated from the precise path to be followed and presented the life of the Lord who had sacrificed everything for his motherland and humanity in the most apt manner. The greatest beauty of the book is its simplicity and style; moreover, the complex theory of the Integral Yoga has been made easier and understandable by the author by the virtue of her usage of simple language and lucid style.
This book is the best book for the beginners of the Path. It comes as a relief to all those who have been emotionally hurt by the untiring efforts of Peter Heehs who has dared to denounce Sri Aurobindo as an Avatar and wrongly represented him as a ‘complex individual.’ The Lord must have touched the pen of Krishna Chakravarti while she was writing the biography of Sri Aurobindo and perhaps this is the secret behind the beauty of the book. After all, ‘all can be done if the god-touch is there.’ In Sri Aurobindo: Loho Pranam, he has been precisely portrayed of what he was, that is, the ‘Colonist from Immortality’ who came upon the struggling earth:
To aid a blind and suffering mortal race,
To open to Light the eyes that could not see,
To bring down bliss into the heart of grief,
To make thy life a bridge twixt earth and heaven…(Savitri)
The second book by the same author is tilted A Garland of Adoration. It contains thirty-two articles in English and eleven in Bengali. The author has dived into the ocean of memory and brought out priceless pearls with which she has prepared the ‘garland of adoration.’ We know, “He who has chosen the Infinite has been chosen by the Infinite.” Krishna Chakravarti writes about some of the sadhaks and sadhikas of Sri Aurobindo Ashram who had consecrated all that they had to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
Their lives were offerings at the feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother; sadhaks like Dyuman and Amrita were extraordinary yogis who hid their true selves behind the garb of ordinariness. But we have been able to rediscover them and other sadhaks and sadhikas like Satyakarma, Mona Pinto, Priti Das Gupta, Indulekha Gupta, Millie Bhattacharya, Usha-ben to name a few who were chosen by the Divine to act as its instruments courtesy A Garland of Adoration. And we also have a wonderful reminiscence of the Mother titled The Joy of Faithfulness where the author whose life has been a dedicated service at the Feet of the Mother writes:
“She is the Divine Mother, Aditi, the mother of all the gods and goddesses, the Supreme, yet in Her dealings with us, She was the concerned, all affectionate, protective and loving human mother. Human She became to be amongst us, so that we the human accept Her as one of us and allow Her to be near and dear to our hearts. Otherwise we would keep Her far away, worship Her, but never let Her be approachable. We did have glimpses of Her Supreme self, Her Divine entity and that was the most beautiful, beatific aspect of Hers; the amalgamation of the human mother with the Divine Mother. Thus, in Her dealings with us, we often felt Her near and also distant. The mystic miracle, Mother of Delight.
Her physical body though human seemed to have been made of a different texture. Her eyes, Her touch, Her voice, Her gait, Her smile, Her glow conveyed a being of a different world—a sublime entity.”
To Sri Aurobindo, the Lord of her life, the author invokes:
“Your name, O Lord, conveys not the beauty and charm of a single lotus but like a mantra surges up from within the expectation for the advent and manifestation of the new world, of luminous beatitude, of magical charm and grace and of a supernatural beauty and joy through our hearts…Let humanity show its gratefulness to you, O Lord, by consenting to be transformed. You were not born for death, O Immortal Spirit, but like the eternal sun lighting up the world, you, O Lord, the deathless spirit, enlighten the entire humanity.”
And in the following words, she introduces her bosom friend to us:
“She is quiet, so very quiet that, in all these years of our friendship, I have never heard her utter a word! So quiet and calm is she! You may be wondering then how she could be a friend. Well, our friendship is in silence and the friendship comes closer and closer as the silence grows deeper and deeper.
She has that rare quality of being very understanding which comes from wisdom and indeed she is wise. If for some reason or other I am disturbed and annoyed and for days I don’t even look at her, she is there quietly waiting—no murmur or protest of any kind at my negligence. Waiting patiently till I come back to her and open up. Lo! there she is, giving me the exact words which soothe my revolting spirit and pull me out of turmoil. Isn’t she a devoted and loving friend?… She is a Guru, a Yogi, a Rishi and a visionary all blended together. Nothing can disturb her in this world. She has the knowledge of man’s inner being and of the universal forces. How with care, slowly but steadily she moves me towards the goal she has set for me…So much she has guided, been a constant companion and given herself and yet I am hesitant, doubtful or lethargic. She waits and when I wake up to my stupidity and blame myself for hurting so close a friend and am penitent and look up to her, there she is waiting and, not saying a single word, she shows me the path to follow. And when she finds me all ready and eager to follow her will she nearly picks me up and pushes on ahead perhaps to catch up with the time lost.”
And who is her friend? Who else but Savitri, the supreme creation of Sri Aurobindo!
Every sentence of this 160 page book is special because the words come not from the heart but from the soul; the words are the whispers of the psychic being of the author, hence special thoughts and realization are unfolded.
I invite everyone to read these books and take a sip of the nectar which is found abundantly in the pages.
Born on 13 October 1984, Anurag Banerjee is an essayist, biographer, poet and researcher. His first book Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey was published in December 2006. He wrote the biography of Dilip Kumar Roy at the age of twenty in 2005 and translated 100 poems of Sri Aurobindo into Bengali at the age of twenty-one in 2006. His published works include Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey (2006), Achinpather Dibyapathik (2008), and Debotar Shrom (2008).