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object:Talks With Sri Aurobindo 2
book class:Talks With Sri Aurobindo
author class:Sri Aurobindo
compiler class:Nirodbaran

nuine regard.
PURANI: The Viceroy's proposals seem to fall far short of a National Government.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, it is a short extension of his Executive Council.
How many Congress members did the Viceroy propose last time?
PURANI: Two, perhaps.
SRI AUROBINDO: Now he may make it four and, if they refuse, he may
take in the League, the Liberals and probably Savarkar and Ambedkar.
PURANI: The Working Committee is giving counter-proposals, it appears.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, many are in favour of the National Government.
So Rajagopalachari prevails.
PURANI: If the Executive Council with its defence powers were handed
over to the Indians?
SRI AUROBINDO: The Viceroy is not likely to agree. The British won't
like to abdicate, leaving all defence measures in inexperienced hands.
PURANI: Chamberlain is being attacked by Lloyd George and asked to go.
SRI AUROBINDO: That can't be done. It will create a dissension by offending the Conservative Party.

4 JULY 1940
NIRODBARAN: Today is the date of expiry of the armistice terms.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, two days more are there, except for two ports.
NIRODBARAN: The Pondicherry Governor seems to be backing out from
his previous stand.
SRI AUROBINDO: Looks like that; the stand is becoming a "seat" now.
SATYENDRA: He made a diplomatic statement ending with "Long live
Britain and France" and saying that he would align himself with the British
but without repudiating the Ptain Government.
NIRODBARAN: Why is he backing out now?

SRI AUROBINDO: Frightened, I suppose. Except Djibouti Caledonia, both
tiny places, all the other colonies are undecided.
NIRODBARAN: Perhaps the British will capture Pondicherry.
SRI AUROBINDO: For that they will have to have an excuse; for example,
Nazi agitation here.
SATYENDRA: Even the British Government is hesitating about the Ptain Government.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, if they had formed an alternative Government then
it would have been easier.
SATYENDRA: All the leaders seem to have been unable to leave France.
SRI AUROBINDO: Except Blum; he must have brought away some money
with him.
SATYENDRA: Gandhi has offered his help, through the Viceroy, to the
British Government and has asked them to lay down their arms and practise
SRI AUROBINDO: He must be a little cracked.
SATYENDRA: While asking them to lay down their arms, he wants them to
keep up their spirit.
SRI AUROBINDO: And be subjugated in practice!
NIRODBARAN: The French papers are being governed by Goebbels, it
seems, and Le Matin has already started its campaign against the British.
SRI AUROBINDO: Le Matin is a government-aided paper. Most of the
French papers are aided. During the Abyssinian campaign Italy bought up
almost all the papers in her favour.
SATYENDRA: After a long time the judgment on the Bombay prohibition
case has come out.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, the judges seem to be fond of drink. Are they going by the amendment of the Abkari law? It seems clear that if the Congress
Government came back, it would have no control over the import of foreign
PURANI: No, because export and import become a reserved subject.

Radio news: Most of the French fleet has fallen into British hands. Only at
Oran in North Africa has the French fleet resisted and a naval fight is going
on between the British and the French.
SRI AUROBINDO: This is what is called "coup de tonnerre".
SATYENDRA: The British move is quite logical in pursuance of their
blockade. They said all French ports are under blockade.
PURANI: The French could have simply said they had been over-powered
and so surrendered to the British fleet.
NIRODBARAN: Fleet means what?
PURANI: Some naval units.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oran is a big port in North Africa.
NIRODBARAN: Now the colonies may buck up.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Pondicherry Governor is sliding towards the Ptain Government. But the British have now shown they won't stand any nonsense.
NIRODBARAN: The only thing now, perhaps, is that French soldiers will
be used against the British because of the naval fight between them.
SATYENDRA: What can be done? It has to be done sooner or later.
SRI AUROBINDO: But will the French fight for Germany? There won't be
any later as they are already in German hands.
PURANI: Moreover, after demilitarisation it has to be seen how much vim
is left in them.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why is this fleet trying to go to France to be demobilised instead of having it done by England?
PURANI: Perhaps they are Fascist.
SATYENDRA: No reply to Gandhi's offer? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: But the British are now demobilising the French fleet.
The French can lay down their arms and go home.

PURANI: Grazziani is being sent to Libya.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. It was he who established peace in Libya by killing
all the people who resisted. Do you know about the will?
PURANI: What will?
SRI AUROBINDO: The will that has been found in Balbao's plane. People
are asking how the will could have remained intact when everything else
was burnt and why Balbao would have carried a will with him. If it is a suicide, why would he have committed suicide with ten people?

5 JULY 1940
News has come today about the details of the naval fight between English
and the French fleets in Oran. But Sri Aurobindo did not seem to be in a
mood to talk. Almost all the time he listened to us.
PURANI: Ptain is being called the Fhrer of France.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he has realised the dream of his eighty-four.
NIRODBARAN: They say that a major part of the French [fleets] has fallen
to the British.
SRI AUROBINDO: A large part.
PURANI: The German radio says that the Ptain Government has cut off all
diplomatic relations with England.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): There is not much relation to cut off. They
have only a charge d'affaires at London. On this side things are getting
PURANI: In the Balkans?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, in Pondicherry. The Consul has left for the North,
nobody knows where. The Vice-Consul also left for the North with the director of the Bank, perhaps to arrange for the currency directly without passing through the Governor. The Viceroy is coming to Madras. The French
Governor is now frightened because the Ptain Government has issued orders to carry out government orders as it is the duty of the fonctionnaire to
obey the superior authority. Moreover, Hitler has threatened the admirals,

officials and others that if they don't obey their wives and children will be
taken to the concentration camps.
SATYENDRA: Then what remains for them to resist for?
PURANI: The British also are taking strong measures, I hear. They have forbidden all British ships to touch Pondicherry. That means a blockade.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they must have done that after learning of the Governor's attitude.
NIRODBARAN: And now if diplomatic relations go, the British will take
possession of Pondicherry.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not necessarily. Even if diplomatic relations go,
Pondicherry may simply remain hostile without being at war.
NIRODBARAN: It seems that the Ptain Government will very soon take
up a hostile attitude towards England and even go to war with her, especially
now after the naval intervention.
SRI AUROBINDO: Looks like that. Their policies are lining up more and
more with Germany. (To Nirodbaran) Have you seen the new constitution of
France that Ptain has proposed?
NIRODBARAN: No, I haven't seen it yet.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is all authoritarianism and dictatorship. Ptain is the
dictator and Weygand is the vice-dictator, I suppose the successor. Weygand,
Mother says, is tremendously rich. He is one of the chief shareholders of the
Suez Company.
PURANI: Dr. Andr seems to have been correct in his estimation of the
French officials here. He said, "You will see all of them back out when the
Government order comes from France. They only say big things but they
don't actually want to go to war. I know about two doctors in our hospital."
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, all those who were shouting have become tame. I
mean the military officers who wanted to fight with the British. One of them
even wanted to commit suicide. (Laughter)
PURANI: I told Dr. Andr about Bulloch who has been earnest and sincere
and gone to war willingly. He said that because he was a technician he had
to go.

SRI AUROBINDO: That is not correct. He has gone because he wants to
fight, wants to get a promotion.
PURANI: Some people say that conditions in France must be all right. The
peasants must be getting enough food, otherwise they would have revolted.
SRI AUROBINDO: Who are these people?
PURANI: Some townspeople.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then the peasants in India must be very prosperous because they don't revolt. (Laughter)
PURANI: I told them that in Germany people had to be on war rations for
seven years.
NIRODBARAN: Due to this blockade we shall also suffer.
SRI AUROBINDO: Of course, especially as our wheat is detained at
Madras. If we had our own wheat we could go on millennium.
NIRODBARAN: Then instead of wheat we shall have rice. (After awhile)
Have you read Harin's poems?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they are good but nothing wonderful. I have read
part of Anilbaran's conversations1 too. I don't see that all of them are worth
publishing. There are plenty of trivial things. A selection has to be made and
even then it may not be worth publishing it.
NIRODBARAN: Besides, the style is very poor. He hasn't taken any care to
present things in an elegant way.
SRI AUROBINDO: Of course I didn't speak to him in Bengali.
PURANI: It seems to me that such things require a bit of rounding off to be
presentable and to have a literary value.
SRI AUROBINDO: But he may fear that it will be too much rounded off
like Charu Dutt's stories! (Laughter) It is all about his sadhana. There is
nothing literary there. Things like, keep your mind quiet and aspire.
PURANI: That reminds me of Noren. He says, "Charubabu says, 'Keep your
mind quiet and aspire'; Sri Aurobindo also has said this. What is new in
[1] The conversations Anilbaran Roy had with Sri Aurobindo on his first were sent to Sri
Aurobindo for revision with a view to publishing them.

SATYENDRA: Easy to say but difficult to do.
SRI AUROBINDO: But Anilbaran seems to have done it all right. When he
was asked to do it, he said he tried and his mind became quiet but nothing
descended. (Laughter)
PURANI: At that time everybody used to feel something very concretely after having a talk with you.
At this point SATYENDRA began to smile, looking at Nirodbaran.
SRI AUROBINDO: That was the golden period of the Ashram. And now
(looking at Nirodbaran significantly) it is the age of the "physical crust".
(Laughter) The scientists have a special term for it.
SATYENDRA: But a most momentous period for us.
After a while Purani read out a poem by B. K. Thakore on Hitler. In it
Thakore says, "We will gather all our might to crush you."
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Not so easy as in poetry. (Laughter)

6 JULY 1940
PURANI: There is a German order that ships must keep twelve to twenty
miles off the French coast. I suppose it may apply to colonies too.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even if the ships come nearer, what can Pondicherry
do? It has no guns.
PURANI: Mohanlal says he saw three sepoys with guns on the pier.
SRI AUROBINDO: To shoot British warships? It seems all communications, trains, etc. are going to be stopped between Madras and Pondicherry.
The people are in a panic. Hitler has declared that the French fleet is not to
be demobilised, (laughter) because he can't get at it and he has threatened
Turkey and Yugoslavia. It depends now on what Russia will do because it
will be dangerous for Russia to allow Hitler to get control of Turkey which
means control of the Dardanelles also, an entry into Asia Minor. The position will then be that except for Russia and Britain everybody will be under
Hitler. Spain is practically under his thumb. That is the New World Order. I
suppose. Only North Africa will be out of it, since it is being guarded by the
British navy.
PURANI: I suppose Turkey will consult Russia before yielding.

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Everybody is climbing down. Have you noted that
Cordell Hull said that America won't participate European politics? America
will only concern itself with trade!
NIRODBARAN: For some time America has been following that policy.
NIRODBARAN: I wonder if it is because of the impending election. On the
other hand Knox and other Republicans have said that Britain's defence is
their own defence. Are there only two parties in America?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but there is a split in the parties. The Democratic
Party is solidly behind Roosevelt, I think, while in Republican Party there
are isolationists, interventionists, etc.
PURANI: France has cut off all diplomatic relations with England, Germany
says. In that case the Indian Government naturally take stern measures and
they won't hesitate to take possession of Pondicherry.
SRI AUROBINDO: Diplomatic relations are already cut off here. It seems
the Consul has gone to the North with the Vice-Consul. When the British
Consul asked the Governor why he was hesitating, he replied, "Your own
Government has not decided what to do." That is practically a refusal.
NIRODBARAN: But he could have acted like Indo-China and the British
status quo.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but what if he wants to go back to France? The Ptain Government will be there.
NIRODBARAN: Is Hitler trying to checkmate Russia in Turkey or working
in league with Russia?
SRI AUROBINDO: Don't know. But Stalin and Molotov would be off their
heads to allow Hitler to get Turkey. Hitler would next occupy Asia Minor
and then Asia. Then Jawaharlal might think the invasion of India has become real.
NIRODBARAN: Can't say. He still might not believe it.
SRI AUROBINDO: He might say that there are mountains, deserts, etc!
NIRODBARAN: But Turkey is in a better position. She has the Allies on her

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but there is Syria in between. The British will have
to occupy it first.
SATYENDRA: Hitler has made a calculated move. He has first alienated
Syria, then he will impose himself on Turkey. He and Italy have warned Turkey and Yugoslavia against an independent policy.
SRI AUROBINDO: If Kemal were there, he would never submit. I don't
know about these other people.
NIRODBARAN: Italy calls Churchill a criminal gangster because of his action against the French fleet.
SRI AUROBINDO: Italy? Of course. A gangster like Mussolini?
SATYENDRA: Where was the Italian fleet at that time?
SRI AUROBINDO: Italy said that it couldn't arrive in time.
NIRODBARAN: Italy has thrown a challenge to the British navy to come to
the Italian naval base.
SRI AUROBINDO: The fact is that the Italian fleet is hiding in the Adriatic.
PURANI: There was a great rush at the bank to exchange French notes for
British money.
NIRODBARAN: So Pondicherry is becoming a British colony? And diplomatic relations also seem to have been cut off.
SRI AUROBINDO: The French charge d'affaires in London has resigned.
But why "resigned"? They are called back in such cases. Is it a new term?
PURANI: Perhaps he is in sympathy with the British and so has sent his resignation to Ptain. The French fleet has been asked to scuttle itself.
SRI AUROBINDO: The British also have made a similar offer to sink it.
DR. RAO: What do you think of Gandhi's offer to the British?
SRI AUROBINDO: The result of the offer here has been that those officers
who wanted to fight don't want to any more. They say, "If submission is
heroic, why fight?" The French forces stopped fighting not because they

were non-violent but because there was no hope. If there had been any hope
they would have fought on.
PURANI: Any news of the Congress Working Committee?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, they are still holding sessions. Something important seems to be going on there, otherwise they wouldn't have taken so many
DR. RAO: There is a rumour of a mysterious letter sent by the Viceroy
through Aney to Gandhi.
SRI AUROBINDO: Rumour from where?
DR. RAO: The Indian Express. (Laughter)
As Dr. Rao didn't get the joke about The Indian Express, he looked from one
person to another.
SRI AUROBINDO: The paper comments that the Simla office circle is hard
in its attitude.
PURANI: It seems Grig is against any wide reforms.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is the resistance of Simla that stands in the way, I am
sure the English people would give larger terms. The Manchester Guardian
describes the Viceroy as rigid and asks Amery to visit India.

7 JULY 1940
PURANI: Baudoin is furious with the British.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. He says that this aggressive action of the navy is a
blot on English honourpeople who are entitled to honour!
Have you heard that the banker and the Vice-Consul of Pondicherry are
SRI AUROBINDO: They are back and now the blockade will be withdrawn.
Trains won't be stopped; the currency will be all right.
PURANI: They must have settled with the Madras Governor.
SRI AUROBINDO: Maybe. But nothing is known on this side. I mean, what
the Pondy Governor has decided.

DR. RAO: Weygand, in a statement appearing in today's paper, has laid the
blame on the British. He says that he asked them to fight in the southwest,
but instead of that they went to the north so that they could escape, and by
sacrificing the majority of the French army their Expeditionary Force was
able to get away.
SRI AUROBINDO: To fight in the southwest would have been the maddest
thing to do. They would have been completely destroyedboth the French
and the English.
PURANI: Yes, by this move at least the English Army has been saved.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that was the only course open. The French also
should have withdrawn.
DR. RAO: They say that France is their own homeland; they can't leave it
and get away.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is not a question of homeland. The question is one of
military strategy and the only strategy was to withdraw as quickly as possible. If the French had done that, they could have come back to France again
and fought. And it was not only the British who escaped. They rescued more
than a lakh of French people too. The fact is that after the breakdown at
Sedan and the Meuse, the French, British and Belgian forces were encircled,
and then no other course was left but to withdraw. Weygand has done nothing and is now trying to justify himself.
NIRODBARAN: There is a notion among our people that the British played
tricks and were treacherous.
DR. RAO: Yes.
SRI AUROBINDO: These people know nothing about war. Why would the
British do that? Don't they know that if France falls England will be in the
greatest danger? Besides, Churchill has proved that he sent more soldiers
than he had promised to Reynaud.
PURANI: The British lost fifty thousand lorries.
SRI AUROBINDO: One thousand guns and other material.
SATYENDRA (after a while): Is there no news about the invasion of Portugal?

SRI AUROBINDO: No. It must have been a false rumour. Franco doesn't
seem to intend to claim Gibraltar. He won't as long as the English navy is
supreme. The Spaniards are only taking a promenade with one aeroplane
and leaving a few bombs as mementos.
NIRODBARAN: The important news was vague todayabout the Alexandrian fleet.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they couldn't catch the keyword.
NIRODBARAN: The Italians can send their navy to help the French.
SRI AUROBINDO: They will take good care not to.
PURANI: Alexandria is too far away, they might say.
SRI AUROBINDO: They have their fleet in the Dodecanese; they could
have sent it from there.
DR. RAO: The Italians are said to be bad fighters.
SRI AUROBINDO: Till now they haven't proven themselves very good. Of
course there have only been raids and skirmishes till now. One can't judge
from that.
PURANI: Malta is such a small place and so near. The Italians have not
been able to do anything till now. (After a while) Savarkar is not enthusiastic
over the Viceroy's extension of the Executive Council, it seems.
SRI AUROBINDO: Nobody would be enthusiastic. It is like the old reforms, giving one or two seats.
PURANI: Since the Hindu Maha Sabha's and the Liberals' defence policy is
the same as that of the Congress, it is asked why the Government should
take the minorities instead of the Congress majority with them and win the
confidence of the masses.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but the minorities like the Maha Sabha and the
Liberals merely advocate their policy and don't insist on it like the Congress.
The Liberals say that they should have this and that. If nothing is conceded,
they say, "All right, we shall wait till the next time." They are a peaceful lot
like the Ptain Government, Gandhi ought to like them.


Due to the war there has been a Government rule that all arrivals and departures, even for only two hours, must be reported to the police. Dr. Rao
had not been reported yet. As soon as Purani entered the room, Shri Aurobindo commented on it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Purani, have you reported this dangerous character?
PURANI (smiling): No, I will do it tomorrow. Under cover of Sunday I was
taking rest. Tomorrow I will go. (After a while) Is there any proposal by the
Committee? Sikander Hyat Khan, it seems, has met the Working Committee
and Gandhi, and is trying to come to a settlement. Fazlul Huque also was
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but there is no proposal. They are still discussing.
But Gandhi is making the Congress position as difficult as possible.
SRI AUROBINDO: Haven't you read his article today?
SATYENDRA: He is asking the Congress to keep aloof from the irresistible
temptation of going back to office, to stick to non-violence and to declare independence as the immediate goal.
SRI AUROBINDO: And yet it was he who asked the Congress to accept
Dominion Status and even made a proclamation about it.
PURANI: Yes. The French fleet has been demolished in Alexandria.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and the British and French sailors are drinking together in the port. The French Senate met with only 450 members out of
932, a bare majority. The socialists, communists and radicals must have kept
aloof because they knew the price of opposition. De Gaulle has been sentenced to four years' imprisonment and fined one hundred francs by Ptain .
PURANI: For fighting against Germany.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh no, for that the punishment is penal servitude for
life or death. I suppose it is for their lack of fidelity to their promise to
Hitler. I have read about that statement of Baudoin. After Weygand took
command in the southwest, the French, British and Belgian armies were encircled by the Germans. The Belgians were asked to take up a new position
which they refused to do and then defected. As a result the British were ex293

posed from the north, while the French were encircled. If the British Expeditionary Force had not retreated, all would have been encircled and escape
would have been impossible.
After some had left, Nirodbaran brought up the topic of Gandhi again.
NIRODBARAN: Gandhi seems to have been in a hurry to bring out his article before the report of the Working Committee.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he would have been too late otherwise.
NIRODBARAN: If Gandhi takes up this attitude there is no chance of a
SRI AUROBINDO: It is impossible.
NIRODBARAN: His hasty departure for Wardha, his short meeting with
Sikander Hyat Khan and everything else show he is in no mood for any
NIRODBARAN: And yet it was such a fine opportunity when Hyat Khan,
Fazlul Huque and the Liberals were on the point of coming to a settlement
with the Congress!
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, it was a unique opportunity thrown away. With
Bose on one side and Gandhi on the other, future unity will be difficult. And
if Hindus and Muslims had now made a united demand the Government
would have had to submit.
NIRODBARAN: C. R. and Azad are for a compromise.
NIRODBARAN: But I don't think they will dare to make a break with
SRI AUROBINDO: No. Gandhi would make a big row. Of course he is
right in one respect. He says private armies will be of no use if you go in for
defence. They will be like the Khaksars. Then you have to join with the
British Government. I didn't see any reference to the mysterious letter to
Gandhi sent through Aney. I thought it was impossible.


8 JULY 1940
PURANI: Gandhi has said that as the other party's programme is the same as
that of the Congress they can form ministries and carry out the administration together. If that is so, why did the Congress seek an election at all?
SRI AUROBINDO: Where has he said that?
PURANI: In yesterday's Hindu.
SRI AUROBINDO: Does he mean that except for his point about non-violence the others agree? How can it be? The Muslims want Pakistan and if
they are allowed to take up administration they will establish Muslim Raj.
SATYENDRA: No, no. Gandhi has said that only about the defence policy.
Otherwise why should the Congress seek any election at all? He says also
that if you follow his programme, India will get Swaraj even before the war
is over, provided you are non-violent.
SRI AUROBINDO: But what is his programme? His programme is to sit
and wait as he doesn't want to embarrass the Government during the war. If
he had started some movement for the goal, I could have understood.
SATYENDRA: He doesn't want to start civil disobedience as the country is
not prepared.
SRI AUROBINDO: And the country will never be prepared according to the
conditions laid down by him.
NIRODBARAN: How to explain this shift in him from Dominion Status to
SRI AUROBINDO: Don't know. He doesn't know himself, probably. Caught
by forces.
SATYENDRA: Or is it his principle of non-violence that is the difficulty
with him?
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case why did they resign the Ministry? They
shouldn't have resigned at all. Reforms of whatever kind would have come
as a natural step.
PURANI (after some time): Huque has started his tirade against Jinnah.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? He says that he wants a settlement with the Congress and the League.

PURANI: Yes, but he doesn't like Jinnah's asking the League members not
to take part in the war committee. He wants, if he can, to come to a settlement with the Congress behind Jinnah's back.
SATYENDRA: What about the arrests connected with the Holwell monument?
NIRODBARAN: Still going on.
SATYENDRA: Bose has started the agitation, after all.
SRI AUROBINDO: What a thing to fight over!
NIRODBARAN: He has taken it up as a common measure between Hindus
and Muslims, thinking they will also join.
SRI AUROBINDO: All joined against the monument? But his friend Huque
arrested him.
NIRODBARAN: I thought it was the Central Government.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Central Government doesn't care about the monument. When Bose said that he would start Satyagraha, he was arrested by
Huque. Huque says he is not going to be compelled by anything or any
PURANI: Yes, he says he will do what is right and just, but not under any
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the advantage of popular government. It can do
anything it likes because of its majority and say the country is behind it. C.
R. has done the same. The Muslim League is exasperated with the Congress
not because of any oppression by the Congress but because they are
nowhere in the Government.
SATYENDRA: The Bombay Congress Committee observed silence on the
arrest of Bose.
SRI AUROBINDO: In honour of his arrest?
SATYENDRA: Just now, is the stress of the Yoga laid mostly on Karma,


SRI AUROBINDO: No stress is put on anything. If you mean that the sadhaks have to do more work now as the Mother had to dispense with many
servants because of the war, it is true.
DR. RAO: Your patella should be moved by somebody to give it a greater
range of flexion.
SRI AUROBINDO: I know. You have said that before.
DR. RAO: By passive movement the adhesions will break.
SRI AUROBINDO: Do you think so?
DR. RAO: Yes, Sir. You can guide Nirod to do it, if you can't do it yourself.
It can be done for five minutes to start with, when the leg is in an extended
SRI AUROBINDO: Explain all that to Nirod.
NIRODBARAN: It is not the explanation but the sanction that is required.
DR. RAO: Yes, you are right.
SRI AUROBINDO (after a pause): The Purusha is a Drashta and merely
observes all that is done.
PURANI: That means permission is given. You can do the flexing.

9 JULY 1940
PURANI: The German troops are being concentrated on Franco-Spanish
frontier. Hitler wants to march through Spain to Gibraltar.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that may be his intention. I don't see then how the
British can hold out against him.
NIRODBARAN: Is Hitler working in collaboration with Franco?
NIRODBARAN: Then Portugal also would be left out.
PURANI: Hitler is trying to cut off supplies.
NIRODBARAN: Not only that. If he gets Gibraltar, he can block the
Mediterranean gate.

SRI AUROBINDO: That must be his intention, as he can't invade England
directly. With Spanish Morocco and Tangier on the other side, the route will
be closed.
NIRODBARAN: Won't that put the British in a bad plight?
SRI AUROBINDO: Not in a bad plight, but certainly in some difficulty.
PURANI: Rumania has lined up with the Axis.
SRI AUROBINDO: It had already done that before.
PURANI: Yes, but now it has openly declared it and cut off oil supplies to
England. Some Englishmen have left Rumania. The Nazis seem to say, "Oh,
it is too friendly!" (Laughter) Obviously Germany is afraid of Prussia. To
turn to Indian affairs: the Congress has asked for a declaration of complete
independence in the future.
SATYENDRA: Yes, and a provisional National Government at the Centre.
SRI AUROBINDO: On what lines? What about the defence?
SATYENDRA: Nothing about it, perhaps. The details aren't out yet.
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case what remains of independence?
NIRODBARAN: They say that only when everything is in their hands can
they throw their full weight behind the defence of the country.
SRI AUROBINDO: Defence against whom?
PURANI: Ptain has become a Fhrer.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not yet, going to be.
PURANI: He says that now is the last phase of the third Republic and the
motto will be not Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, but Work, Family and Patrie.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the Fascist motto.
PURANI: The priests are happy because Ptain is a Catholic.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh yes, but our position will be bad, If a Catholic government takes control, then our Ashram won't be allowed to exist.
NIRODBARAN: All moves seem to fall on us in some way or other.


SRI AUROBINDO: Of course. The Asura is more concerned with us than
anything else. He is inventing new situations so that we may fall into difficulty. Nazis, Fascists and communists are all against us and we are safe under none of them. Mussolini perhaps may allow us to continue.
SATYENDRA: He has read some of your books.
NIRODBARAN: He will allow us so long as he is not criticised.
PURANI: It seems Bonvain is unable to communicate with the Ptain Government. The British office won't accept his telegrams,
SRI AUROBINDO: Then we may be safe, at least during the war, unless
they send somebody by aeroplane which may be shot down by mistake by
the British.
PURANI: But the aeroplane has to land at Karachiunless they make a
nonstop flight from Syria, for example.
The French are again accusing the British of having dislodged Weygand.
NIRODBARAN: The British staff officer's reply that Weygand's plan was
good on paper but not in practice, makes one suspect that the allegation is
SATYENDRA: Yes, he should not have said that.
SRI AUROBINDO: But they don't say they disobeyed him. His plan may
have been strategic at the beginning but after the German breakthrough and
encirclement, things changed. And then they disagreed about the plan.
SATYENDRA: There must have been some agreement afterwards, otherwise how could the evacuation of French soldiers have taken place?
PURANI: These are all political views put forth by the French leaders, not
by the military. They are dictated by the German High Command.
SATYENDRA: If they have surrendered everything, why did they fight at
all? Without their co-operation, England would have kept aloof.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, England could have been on the defensive. But
England has learnt one lesson from the fight. She could have gone on evad299

ing Hitler and then been put to some difficulty later, but now she knows all
his tactics.
NIRODBARAN: Has Gandhi himself proclaimed independence for India or
has the Working Committee forced it on him?
SRI AUROBINDO: It must be his own move. He is warning the Congress
against accepting Dominion Status.
NIRODBARAN: Our fate seems to be changing. Before we were under the
French and now perhaps we will be under the British.
SATYENDRA: Can't say; everything is in a flux.
SRI AUROBINDO: The British, at least, won't give in so easily to the Government in France.
PURANI (after reading a letter from X stating that a court judgment had
been in her favour by the grace of Sri Aurobindo and Sri Krishna): Setalvad's son, who is the Advocate General and related to the lady, may have
spoken to and influenced the judges against her husband who is a drunkard.
SRI AUROBINDO: But do the judges discuss a case with anyone when it is
sub judice? If he is defending the case it is different.
PURANI: No, he is not defending it.
NIRODBARAN: In Calcutta the judges are said to take bribes.
SRI AUROBINDO: High Court judges?
NIRODBARAN: People say so.
SRI AUROBINDO: People say all sorts of things. One can't believe what
people say. Mofussil judges may sometimes take bribes, but I don't think
High Court judges do. The British judges have so far kept a very high standard.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Mother said that the 10th of last month seemed to
have been significant.

10 JULY 1940
PURANI: The Hindu says that Mittelhauser has resigned.
SRI AUROBINDO: Resigned? He was relieved, they said.
PURANI: No, the paper says he has resigned and that many French officers
have joined the British.
NIRODBARAN: Yes, mainly those of a high rank. There seems to be unrest
in Syria. The Syrians want independence and are being supported by Turkey
and Iraq.
SRI AUROBINDO: Syria is a mandated territory like Iraq.
NIRODBARAN: What exactly is a "mandated territory"?
SRI AUROBINDO: It means that the French hold the country in trust and
when the people are fit they will be given independence. The French have
been going back and forth for some time in this matterthey have been vacillating.
PURANI: De Gaulle is bitter because the British have destroyed the French
fleet. He says they cannot claim it as a naval success! There was really no
fight and that every Frenchman is in grief and pain over the tragic episode.
Gandhi has appealed to Britain to accept the Working Committee's resolution.
NIRODBARAN: Yes, it seems to be a resolution brought by C.R. It was carried by a majority against Gandhi's. Gandhi has given a statement to explain
the background of the resolution. C. R. gave a bit of the hard truth to Gandhi
saying that Gandhi has become obsessed with the idea of Ahimsa by constantly brooding over it. Gandhi says, "He went on to say that my vision is
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): He said that?
NIRODBARAN: Yes, Gandhi pays a tribute to C. R. for the patience and
skill by which he carried the members with him. As an individual, he has
placed his services at England's disposal, he says.
SRI AUROBINDO: Spirit of non-violence?
NIRODBARAN: Yes. But the demand of complete independence remains.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is difficult for the British to accept.

NIRODBARAN: And the National Government will include defence. Will
the Viceroy give it?
SRI AUROBINDO: It depends on how they work it out. But as for defence
and war, they are all inexperienced. In England a minister can carry on with
the help of the Civil Service, the Admiralty, etc.
Jinnah is already speaking against the National Government. He wants
Pakistan. I suppose that if a Muslim majority is granted, he will accept such
a government.
PURANI: In Pondicherry the officials are laughing over Gandhi's appeal of
non-violence to the British. Of course it is beyond their conception. They are
saying, "Is he mad?" (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: But by non-violence he does not mean what the officials
have done in France.
SATYENDRA: He says the British should refuse to carry out Hitler's orders,
not cooperate. They may be killed for that. Still.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Still?
PURANI: Even the Congress regime has adopted the police system.
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't see how non-violence can work in the administration.
SATYENDRA: The Americans are praising Churchill, comparing him to
NIRODBARAN: I wonder what Chamberlain would have done if he had
been the Premier.
SRI AUROBINDO: He would have committed twenty mistakes.
SATYENDRA: He may also be compared in the future to somebody and
given praise.
SRI AUROBINDO: Praise in the sense that nobody has ever committed so
many mistakes? (Laughter)
PURANI: No, people may say he worked for peace and reconciliation. During the Munich Agreement they were going to name streets after him.

SRI AUROBINDO: Chamberlain Street and Umbrella Square? (Laughter)
Peace? Yes, it was meant to be peace for our time, but a short peace. This is
how people like Ptain and Chamberlain, who make mistakes, get a following.
PURANI: The Italian navy is withdrawing under a smoke screen from contact with the British navy.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes, the meeting with the British navy was
an unexpected surprise for them. If the British can destroy the Italian navy,
then it will be a big gain in their favour.
SATYENDRA: On land too, the Italians are not shining. Perhaps Hitler will
employ them to guard the French territories?
PURANI: If he can trust them.
SRI AUROBINDO: Trust? Hitler can drive them out and conquer Italy at
any time.
NIRODBARAN: Nolini, in his translation of a chapter of The Life Divine, is
finding some difficulty about the word "defy" in "defy matter". He has used
the word abajna.
SRI AUROBINDO: Abajna implies "contempt" which isn't the case here. It
should be something like "challenge".
NIRODBARAN: But we couldn't find the Bengali for "challenge", either.
Asvikar, amanya, agrahya, etc. - none gives the sense of "defy".
PURANI: Bengal doesn't challenge anybody, so no word exists for it.
NIRODBARAN: Bose's talk doesn't do anything but challenge.
SRI AUROBINDO: Perhaps you could say in Bose's language: "Give an ultimatum to matter"! But has even "ultimatum" any equivalent in Bengali?
SRI AUROBINDO (after some stray talk had been going on): By the way,
the Government here has given up the 14th July celebration. Since Ptain
has become a dictator there is no meaning in that occasion and, for that matter, the whole of France is now one big Bastille. Ptain has killed the Revolution, the Revolution which had required three more revolutions to make it
firm and, established.

SATYENDRA: There is no hope of any revolution now.
SRI AUROBINDO: So long as Germany doesn't leave, no.
PURANI: Now the motto is: "Work, Family and Fatherland" most mundane
and stupid. It doesn't evoke any inner feeling at all, while "Liberty, Equality
and Fraternity" acts like a mantra.
SATYENDRA: Not stupid but mundane, as you say.
SRI AUROBINDO: Work and Family will always be there.
PURANI: Yes, so there is nothing new in it.
SRI AUROBINDO: What does Counouma say about this Government?
PURANI: He is not here now. But he is against it. He said, "Armistice may
be all right, but if they try to destroy the Republic, I will enlist myself. I
don't know what Dr. Andr and others think about it. They still support Ptain in his peace move and say, 'People on the spot know better than others',
and blame the British for their insufficient help."
SRI AUROBINDO: If people on the spot know better, it means Ptain and
his minority know better than others. One may also suggest perhaps that Ptain is working to give bread to the people. (After-a while) If David were to
become a dictator of Pondicherry and say that he would give bread, would
he know better because he would be a man on the spot?
As for the inadequate help of the British, you can blame Chamberlain for
their late conscription. But instead of trained soldiers whom they could have
sent if they had started conscription earlier, they sent whatever army they
had and could muster. And if they had adopted conscription earlier, the
Labour Party would have made a row. It is no use blaming the British people
for that.
PURANI: They blame Chamberlain's Munich peace policy for all this and
say England has directed the French foreign policy so far.
SRI AUROBINDO: But all the Rightists who are now against it supported
the Munich policy at that time.
SATYENDRA: De Gaulle doesn't accuse the English of destroying the
French fleet. He only asks that it not be claimed a naval success.
SRI AUROBINDO: One man voted against the Munich policy in the Senate.
His name seems familiar. (Turning to Purani) Do you remember there was

somebody with the same name in Italy who was shot at by Mussolini's mistress?
PURANI: Yes, I remember.
SRI AUROBINDO: Is he the same man or does he perhaps belong to the
same family?

11 JULY 1940
PURANI: Italy says that the change of the French constitution has come too
late. Just because of the change, they can't waive their claims on France.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Of course not. That would be easy way to
get out.
NIRODBARAN: Ireland is getting more and more into a difficult position.
What do you think of De Valera's proposal?
SRI AUROBINDO: Which proposal?
NIRODBARAN: About provincial autonomy to North Ireland?
SRI AUROBINDO: They won't consent unless De Valera joins the British in
the defence of England. I don't think De Valera is so foolish as to say that by
remaining strictly neutral Ireland will avoid a German attack. Hitler may or
may not attack as it suits him.
NIRODBARAN: Even after so many examples before his eyes, he doesn't
SRI AUROBINDO: Maurice Magre has said that one of the chief characteristics of the human race is stupidity. I think he is right.
SATYENDRA: But even England's help would not be of much use in case
of attack.
NIRODBARAN: The defence will be far more effective without it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Of course. Still Germany may start aerial bombing.
NIRODBARAN: Roosevelt has declared that America won't join the European war.

SATYENDRA: What we have been hearing about America's participation is
only from the New York papers which are pro-Allies. Other papers have not
mentioned it at all. The isolationist sentiment is still very strong in all other
NIRODBARAN: He says in case of aggression they will attack, which goes
without saying. (Laughter)
PURANI: There won't be any choice left then.
SRI AUROBINDO: If New York is invaded, they may take action.
NIRODBARAN: But Roosevelt's attitude was strongly pro-Allies at one
SRI AUROBINDO: That was before the fall of France. After the fall, things
have changed and now America is not likely to join.
PURANI: Yes, but the Americans see that England can't stand alone against
SRI AUROBINDO: Besides, they can't send an expeditionary force if they
joined. Where will it land?
SATYENDRA: In England there are plenty of people to fight.
NIRODBARAN: The Americans can land somewhere in England if Germany invades her.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but if they can't do anything with forty million
people, a few hundred thousand Americans won't help much. Of course
America can help with munitions and the navy.
SATYENDRA: The American navy is not strong, either.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, but they are building fast. They have a navy for one
ocean and now they will have navies for both.
SATYENDRA: England has sent the Duke of Windsor to the Bahamas, as
far away as possible.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he may be talking freely again, though not in public, and the Government thinks perhaps that he may be made a Fascist king
if England is defeated.

SATYENDRA: Hitler has already declared that.
PURANI: Sammer has a very nice idea. He says that all Europe will turn
SRI AUROBINDO: Every communist says that. If Hitler is defeated, Germany may turn communist. In that case the whole of Europe will be communist. And after Hitler's death there may be dissensions in Germany and then
communism may follow. But that is a remote possibility.

12 JULY 1940
NIRODBARAN: Dilip says he met a Turkish lady at Madras. She said England has not the ghost of a chance against Germany. "They won't fight at all,
you will see," she said. "Don't live in a fool's paradise, Dilip." When Dilip
asked whether Turkey would back Britain as she is her ally, she said, "That
was before the fall of France. Now we have to save ourselves first."
NIRODBARAN: By alliance with Russia, perhaps.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then she is a fool herself. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Russia is following a very secret method. Behind all these
rumours and denials of an ultimatum to Turkey nobody knows the truth. It
may be true as in Rumania's case.
SRI AUROBINDO: If Russia has demanded free passage through the Dardanelles it would be quite natural, for free passage is quite different from control, and the denial of it would be unnatural.
NIRODBARAN: H has paid back seven out of nine rupees.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, then his character must have changed.
PURANI: Is Satyendra still with him?
SRI AUROBINDO: She refuses to be a party to his polygamous tendency
and says that so long as this dancing girl is with him, she will have nothing
to do with him.

PURANI: He is trying to start a school there for training young people and
wants to give it the name of this dancing girl.
SRI AUROBINDO: Training in mutual borrowing? (Laughter)
PURANI: In Bombay also he got some money from the public for such a national school. When they came to know him they feared all the money
SRI AUROBINDO: Would be nationalised? (Laughter)
Purani was discussing art with Sri Aurobindo, apropos of Laurence
Binyon's book.
PURANI: Binyon has not adequately dealt with Indian art here.
SRI AUROBINDO: Hasn't he done that in a separate book?
PURANI: Yes, with Mogul art. Coomaraswamy says that images were found
in India even in the pre-Buddhistic period, before the Greek influence.
SRI AUROBINDO: What proof is there? It may be that they have shaken
off the Greek influence and taken up a new line. Greek art had Egyptian influence, so why not Indian art?
PURANI: Gandhara art may be Greek.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it is mixed. No scholar claims it to be pure Greek

13 JULY 1940
PURANI: There is a rumour that Ptain may retire and Flaudin take his
place. Ptain is having a disagreement with Germany.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, first it was Laval and then Flaudin. Flaudin is proGerman and worse than Laval. But will the name of Flaudin be enough to
enthuse the people?
SATYENDRA: The15th of August is nearing.
PURANI: Yes, Hitler said he would dictate peace terms on that date.
SATYENDRA: Not only that. He will go to England, he said.
SRI AUROBINDO: And not come back? (Laughter) Did he say that?

SATYENDRA: Yes, it was on the German radio.
SRI AUROBINDO: There does not seem to be any preparation for the invasion of England. But, of course, he does not do what is expected. Evidently
he has no intention of going to the Balkans. Could it be Spain he has in
mind? Gibraltar won't be difficult for him to take and then he may cross over
to Morocco. In that case it will be difficult for the English ships to cross the
strait of Gibraltar. If thus he can break the British Empire in Africa with the
help of the possessions of the French whom he will oblige to hand them
over, it will be a great stroke. Unless he achieves this, I don't see how he can
invade England. No doubt, Ireland is a weak point. But the British are raising a ten-thousand-strong army.
SATYENDRA: That would be nothing.
SRI AUROBINDO: But combined with the air force, it can prevent Hitler's

15 JULY 1940
SATYENDRA: The British Government has issued a notice that France and
her African possessions will be treated as enemy countries as regards trade.
All trade is forbidden with them. They don't mention Indo-China or
Pondicherry perhaps because they have declared a status quo. They know
that if there is no trade, they won't get anything from outside.
SRI AUROBINDO: And nothing from inside. (Laughter)
PURANI: Sammer must be glad over the arrest of workers in France. He
says that Fascism, will help towards bringing about communism in France.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? It is Germany that has arrested the workers because they refused to work.
PURANI: Oh, I see.
SATYENDRA: But that was one of the conditions of the armistice.
SRI AUROBINDO: The workers didn't make the armistice! (Laughter)
Gandhi ought to be happy because of their passive resistance.
PURANI: I think Germany may try to push the French soldiers to war
against England.

SRI AUROBINDO: Not likely, because to do that Hitler will have to arm
France which he doesn't want to do. He hoped to get the navy.
NIRODBARAN: He must have made a mistake if he hoped that.
SRI AUROBINDO: Evidently he hoped. Now that he can't get it, he is getting whatever he can by plunder.
SATYENDRA: Yes. All the money and jewels in the banks. Investments are
prohibited without permission.
NIRODBARAN: England has made a three-month agreement with Japan regarding the Burma route. But China may not be affected much.
SRI AUROBINDO: It will be affected considerably.
SATYENDRA: The Japanese radio has been declaring that England must
concede the demands. Otherwise they will have to take the necessary steps.
So England has given way.
SRI AUROBINDO: England can't deal with anything else now except
Hitler. She can't deal with Japan or Russia.
SATYENDRA: Churchill saw long ago the necessity of alliance with Russia
and also the need of increasing the air force.
NIRODBARAN: And Chamberlain did neither. And still he has a big influence.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is because he looks after the class interest while
Churchill sees what is good for England.

I6 JULY 1940
PURANI: Italy has published a long article, it seems, on the New Order in
Europe and if England doesn't recognise it, she will have to pay the price.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even if she recognises it, she will have to pay. (Laughter)
PURANI: It says war on England is to begin in a week.
SRI AUROBINDO: A German paper says England won't enjoy another
weekend. Hitler will appear in a triumphal march on 27th July for which
windows are being hired.
SATYENDRA: That means hardly two weeks.

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. I don't know how he is going to do it.
NIRODBARAN: Italy says her navy will involve the British navy in engagements in the meantime.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Not involve it in engagements but threaten
to engage it, so that it may not go elsewhere. If there were actual engagements, there wouldn't be any Italian navy left to keep the British navy engaged. Italy knows this very well.
NIRODBARAN: Britain seems to be mediating between Japan and China.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is what the Governor of Malaya says. If true, he
shouldn't have said it.
After this there was an interval in which Satyendra, Champaklal and Purani
were talking among themselves. There was a stain on Satyendra's shirt
which brought up the following topic.
CHAMPAKLAL: Paul Richard used to say that a stain on the clothes means
a stain on the soul. If he saw any stain on his clothesa dhobi stain even
he would be very angry and consider it a stain on his soul.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): If it was a dhobi stain, it would be a stain on
the washerman's soul. (Laughter) That was one thing Richard believed in
signs, emblems, omens, etc.
CHAMPAKLAL: Every time he saw a stain, it would make him angry.
SRI AUROBINDO: If he knew the cause of the stain, why should he be angry afterwards?
SATYENDRA: He did not like the cause to be revealed to him. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: He revealed it himself. If a clothes stain had been a
stain on the soul, then no place would have been left on his soul. (Laughter)
But the soul has no stain.
PURANI: No, that's how I argued with him saying that according to Hindu
philosophy the soul is pure and immaculate. It can have no stain.
SRI AUROBINDO: He means the vital being, perhaps.
PURANI: Yes, he was a very self-contradictory man. At one moment he
would say one thing, at the next another.

When others had gone, Purani said Hitler was not getting any inspiration to
attack England.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, nobody knows what he has up his sleeve. But I
don't think that he can attack. He can attack by air and destroy the industrial
centres, which will be something. Britain's air force also has increased but it
is still inferior in number. She is inferior in the army also. There are now
about three million men in arms. They will be sufficient to deal with Hitler if
he makes a land attack, for he can't first land his whole army and armoured
units. Most probably he has not worked out his plan yet.
PURANI: Or he may be considering various possibilities that may come in
his way.
SRI AUROBINDO: That doesn't matter to him. He never considers possibilities. If he gets the right inspiration, possibilities don't matter. That is how he
goes against all the generals who show him various possibilities that may go
against his ideas. All through he has been guided by inspiration and he has
gone ahead depending on luck. Regarding France, Poland and all other
countries he had set out a plan beforehand and carried it out. But regarding
England nobody knows what he has. He has a most original mind, because it
is not his own mind.
I can understand if he wanted to take Gibraltar first. That wouldn't be
difficult; then he could go to Africa and destroy British Empire there which
would be a great stroke. Then he can turn towards Asia unless Russia comes
in the way. The British island can then remain as it is. Of course it will still
have its navy, Germany is a land power.
The second volume of The Life Divine (in two parts) has come out. The two
volumes are very big in size. Sri Aurobindo said they were like two elephants. We were discussing the price (Rs. 16) which seemed too high. Especially Satyendra asked how the money was to be got. He said some people
(meaning himself) had deposited the money in advance and had withdrawn
SRI AUROBINDO: Well, after all, the publishers try to solve all the problems of existence. (Laughter)


SATYENDRA: That they do both internally and externally; they are very
sound in every way. I was, in fact, wishing for this book to come out. Nirod
has not finished the first volume yet.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): By the time you finish the three volumes,
you will become a philosopher, (laughter)
NIRODBARAN: I doubt it.
SATYENDRA: It doesn't follow.
NIRODBARAN: Some say Part I of Volume II is the most difficult.
SRI AUROBINDO: The psychological and metaphysical chapters may be
NIRODBARAN: What has the sale been like in America?
SRI AUROBINDO: There were some orders from America, but there are no
books available. Biswanath couldn't send any.
SATYENDRA: Now they are busy with something else and can't take any
interest in The Life Divine.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, busy with bombs.

17 JULY 1940
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling and addressing Purani): Hitler's hope of a triumphal march into England is diminishing day by day.
PURANI: Yes, there is yet no sign of any preparation to attack.
SRI AUROBINDO: I see only two ways possibleeither landing troops in
spite of the British navy or an attack by air. No other way seems possible.
NIRODBARAN: Could it not be a bluff, for an attack somewhere else?
SRI AUROBINDO: That is another matter.
NIRODBARAN: If Gandhi's proposal to Britain to offer only passive resistance had been accepted, perhaps Hitler's hope would have been fulfilled.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. They appreciated his proposal but couldn't consider it.

PURANI: Churchill has made a very fine speech.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he was inspired.
PURANI: Exact, precise and summing up the situation very well.
NIRODBARAN: But he takes good care not to say a word about Indiaall
Europe, the continent, America come into it. Half of the speech was devoted
to France.
SRI AUROBINDO: He has been always a lover of France.
SATYENDRA: To what a pass England has come to declare the battle at
Oran a great naval success!
SRI AUROBINDO: Success? No, it was to prove the decisiveness of the
British and their readiness to fight to the last. Otherwise it was no battle.
SATYENDRA: England has now found a leader. If she is defeated it will be
due to her position and karma.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. If she had declared Dominion Status to India, then
a large part of her karma would have been wiped off.
SATYENDRA: That was also what Gandhi's moral support meant.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, moral support is quite different.
PURANI: The Statesman, whose editor is Moore, has again written for Dominion Status, and in the Hindu also some Briton wrote of it yesterday.
SRI AUROBINDO: They are only individuals. If Amery were strong and
firm against the Simla attitude, then he could do something. Till now he
hasn't said anything against the granting of Dominion Status.
PURANI: If English opinion also turned in our favour?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, English opinion won't do. It is the opinion of the
House of Commons and that of the Conservatives that matter. Some of the
Conservatives are in favour of it but it must be the majority and I think the
majority doesn't want any drastic change. The majority are under Chamberlain. I am almost sure they are standing in the way; otherwise, with the
Labour pressure and with the Liberals also joining, something would have
been done. Of course they have some trouble over Jinnah. They don't want
to create any trouble among the Muslims just now.
PURANI: He has been put up by the Government.

SRI AUROBINDO: I don't think so. Wherever it suits him, he goes against
the Viceroy. I think he has put up himself.
SATYENDRA: He has taken up an impossible attitude. There is no chance
of any agreement.
SRI AUROBINDO: Unless on such terms as the Khilafat and whatever
other demands they make.
NIRODBARAN: Or Pakistan. India's karma is also standing in the way. So
many years' slavery hasn't wiped off the karma.
SRI AUROBINDO: Slavery doesn't wipe off the karma.
SATYENDRA: Slavery associated with suffering.
SRI AUROBINDO: Provided you learn from suffering. (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: That is a different matter.
PURANI: Jinnah is a sort of dictator. He wants to be obeyed in everything
and he would discard no means for his aim.
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case it would be bad for Huque and Sikandar.
(After a while) If the Hindus consent to accept Jinnah as their Badshah, then
he may agree. He will say, "Oh the cause of the Hindus is so dear to my
heart!" (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: And Jinnah is demanding fifty-fifty representation.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, soon he will say that the pressure exerted by the
Hindu fifty is too much for Muslims and will claim another twenty-five out
of the fifty.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why not? I think Sir Akbar's son is also standing in the
way. He has some influence with the Viceroy.
NIRODBARAN: Which son? The one who came here?
SRI AUROBINDO: No. This one won't come here any more than he would
think of going to hell. (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: America is going to follow an independent policy in the

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. She has no claim to make in China.
PURANI: It seems according to N.S.N. that on 27th May the Japanese Army
was routed by the Chinese.
SRI AUROBINDO: Who writes that?
PURANI: Some military correspondent.
SRI AUROBINDO: With the Chinese?
SRI AUROBINDO: Can't be believed! The Japanese claim that only eighty
thousand Japanese have been killed so far, while the Chinese make it out to
be half a million. Evidently neither number is true. Even if the Chinese estimate is true, it doesn't seem to make any difference to the war, and the Chinese are nowhere near driving out the Japanese. War is still going on. The
Chinese are braggarts and the Japanese follow a silent policy till the whole
thing is done.
PURANI: After the resignation of the Japanese Cabinet, it is probable that
Prince Konoye will be the Premier. He doesn't know what will be the policy,
Fascist or otherwise. If Fascist, the Japanese may line up with the Axis.
SRI AUROBINDO: If they do that, they will be bound to the Axis and later
on Italy and Germany may want to enter in the East, which the Japanese
won't like and which is against their policy. Japan's aim is to turn all the Europeans out of Asia. So if she joins the Axis it will be only to suit her present
position and purpose.
(After a while) I don't want the Japanese to go down in the fight against
the Chinese because they may be needed as a counter-balance against Germany or Russia when, in case England goes down, they try to come to Asia.
That is the only chance for India. While they fight each other, India can prepare herself, provided people like Jinnah and Bose are not there.
NIRODBARAN: But if England goes down, Japan may herself grab India.
SRI AUROBINDO: She may. But out of the three evils, she may be the best
and I don't think she will annex India. She may start some Government as in
Manchuria. The Chinese can't be relied on to fight against Russia or Germany. Everyone knows that Italy has her eye on Asia Minor and that Germany wants to get into Baghdad. Japan won't like that. She won't like the
"barbarians" taking possession of Asia.

NIRODBARAN: Roosevelt is standing for election after all.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, of course, he was maneuvering all the time.

18 JULY 1940
SATYENDRA: Tomorrow Germany is going to attack England.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, tomorrow night and finish it in a week. On the
26th the preparation and on the 27th the triumphal entry into London.
PURANI: But there is no sign yet anywhere of the attack. Nolini was saying
that just as Napoleon was scratching his head at Boulogne thinking about
how to invade England, Hitler also must be doing the same. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: During the reign of King Harold, the last invader
crossed over to England.
NIRODBARAN (after a pause): Huque has paid a high tribute to Bose.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes. With tears in his eyes he had to arrest
PURANI: What has he said?
NIRODBARAN: That Bose is the most lovable person in Bengal politics,
reputable, admired, revered, etc.
PURANI: He is trying to humour him so as to have a smooth time when he
is released.
SRI AUROBINDO: I think everything was ready for the monument to be removed when Bose started the agitation. All the parties have agreed, Europeans and others, to have it removed.
PURANI: He found an easy way of combining the Hindus and the Muslims.
Now the women are also starting Satyagraha on the men.
SRI AUROBINDO: On the men? What for?
NIRODBARAN: For equal rights. (Laughter) Hamida Begum said this at
some conference of women.
SRI AUROBINDO: No cooking, no conjugal rights and no housekeeping?
Is that the programme?
SATYENDRA: That is secret yet. They don't let out their strategic moves.

NIRODBARAN: That's all they can do.
SRI AUROBINDO: All? That is a great deal.
PURANI: Men will start cooking.
SRI AUROBINDO: But they may upset the whole thing. An irruption of
women suffragists may invade and upset everything. (Laughter) But after
they get their rights, they should combine and fight Hitler because wherever
he goes, he deprives women of their rights.
PURANI: The Fascist slogan is back to the family.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the Fascist and Nazi and now the French slogan
Famille. Women will have no other duties except the household one.
SRI AUROBINDO (in a grave tone): We have lost eighty-seven crores of
rupees due to the collapse of the Bank of France. (Seeing us all agape) That
is why we are dismissing many servants. (Laughter)
PURANI: I was wondering why it was eighty-seven.
SRI AUROBINDO: And neither has the Bank of France collapsed. Today
Dyuman heard people talking in the bazaar"Ashram, Ashram!" When he
enquired what it was about, he came to know that this was the news they
were discussing. It is the bazaar radio!
SATYENDRA: They have very big ideas about our wealth and think we are
very rich.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, the underground of our new Secretariat is supposed to contain an immense mass of gold, and formerly some British police
thought it was a fortress we were building!

19 JULY 1940
PURANI: Hitler has called the Reichstag and is delivering a Speech.
SRI AUROBINDO: Instead of a triumphal entry, a triumphal speech?
PURANI: He is going to offer peace to Britain.
SRI AUROBINDO: He knows Britain won't accept. Why does he offer it?

SATYENDRA: To keep a historical record that he was a peace-loving man.
(Laughter) He is creating a New World Order and becoming a protector of
small nations, taking them under protection without any loss of their honour
and prestige.
SRI AUROBINDO: They are rather being kicked into the New World Order.
SATYENDRA: Anyhow our India is joining the international federation.
The Women's Mission is going to China. The Nehru family will be represented.
SRI AUROBINDO: Without the Nehru family there can't be anything international. (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: Vijayalakshmi is the President.
SRI AUROBINDO: They can send Nehru as the head of the delegation.
SATYENDRA: No, Begum Hamida won't like a mere man being put at the
head of the ladies.
SRI AUROBINDO: Which one was Hamida in yesterday's photo?
SATYENDRA: The one on the right. On the left was Amrita Kaur, She
doesn't look so terrible.
SRI AUROBINDO: As in her speech? No, she looks quite matronly and
amiable. Whose Begum is she? Or who is her Nawab?
PURANI: I think an I.C.S. man called Hamid.
SRI AUROBINDO: And she is Hamida? Just as Hindu names have Dev and
Then followed talk about censorship, for all our letters were now being censored.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even insured letters are being censored. It is better that
it is being done by some special body instead of by the police. By the way, is
Jaswant in prison now?
PURANI: Yes, in B class, very happy, gets books to read and is carefully
looked after, he writes.
SRI AUROBINDO: By the Imperial Government? (Laughter)

SRI AUROBINDO: Then they haven't started killing the communists yet? It
is lucky he is in prison, otherwise he would have sent all sorts of communist
pamphlets here. For how long has he been sentenced?
PURANI: It is under the Defence of India Act. Simply interned.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is for the duration of the war? That means from
five months to fifty years. (Laughter) Some people say that the war will last
fifty years.
PURANI: Then Churchill and Hitler will be no more.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it will become a normal condition of life. From this
occasional bombing and no serious damage, it is not unnatural to suppose
that the war will last fifty years.
PURANI: I don't think the present R.A.F. bombing of Germany will affect it
materially very much.
SRI AUROBINDO: If it can destroy the industrial cities then it will.
SRI AUROBINDO: The original date to attack England seems to have been
last Monday. So they have changed the date now.
PURANI: Oh, was the talk in Turkey about that?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, Hitler's dates regarding France and other countries
proved to be true.
PURANI: That shows they were all planned in cooperation with the people
SATYENDRA: There is a Peshawar prophecy that Hitler's decline will begin
from 27th July and that he will try to commit suicide on the 9th of August.
SRI AUROBINDO: For failing to enter into England in triumphal march?
SATYENDRA: But such an easy misfortune is not for him; he won't die like
NIRODBARAN: We will be quite satisfied with that.

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, we are not vindictive. Is that the war contribution
from Peshawar?
NIRODBARAN: Franco has declared his rights over Gibraltar.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, this is the first time he has spoken about it publicly. (Then addressing Purani) You have seen some Japanese commercial
man's proposal?
SRI AUROBINDO: He has gone to Europe, to Italy, for some mission or
trade purpose. He is said to be an important man. He says Germany and Italy
should make an axis with Japan. They will be exhausted after the war and
lose all spring for action. Japan and these countries may help one another by
trade agreements between East and West. Here the implication seems to be
that Japan would represent the East and that the whole East would be left
under Japanese influence.
After some time Purani brought in the subject of art.
PURANI: Sammer has a queer idea. He says that nowhere in Europe and India was there any popular art. Only in Russia has it come now. Communism
has brought in popular art, he says.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the stock-in-trade argument of all communists.
PURANI: I was staggered. He has no knowledge of Indian history. I told
him that even today there is a village in Pondicherry where pottery is done
and the village is known for it. These carvings on the wooden seat 1 of the
Mother which is such a fine piece of art were done by an ordinary workman.
The Mother was pleased with it.

20 JULY 1940
PURANI: Hitler has simply poured abuse on England in his speech and said
the usual things. If England doesn't accept peace, she will be destroyed.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? He talks only of air attack. With aeroplanes he
can, destroy a good deal no doubt, but the same can be done to Germany.
[1] The carved divan now kept on the northern side of the upstairs meditation hall. On 21
February 1928, the Mother and Sri Aurobindo both sat on this seat and gave darshan.

SATYENDRA: He didn't want to attack the British Empire, but now he will
if the British don't accept peace. He is a man who wants to live in peace and
has no territorial ambition!
SRI AUROBINDO: No, he didn't want anything outside Germany. Now
there is no democracy left in Europe except in Yugoslavia. Only in Asia does
democracy remain, Persia being the true democracy.
SRI AUROBINDO: Turkey doesn't claim to be democratic. If England
didn't stand in the way Hitler would settle first with Russia, then proceed to
Asia and then to India.
SATYENDRA: Russia may not like Japan's collaboration with the Axis.
SRI AUROBINDO: Privately she won't. Japan wants to make a non-aggression pact with Russia as Germany did. But she has nothing to offer Russia
while Germany gave Russia a free hand in the Baltic and half of Poland.
SRI AUROBINDO: I have read Hitler's speech. In many respects this man is
a mountebank and yet he has become so successful. Of course, it is not his
success, but that of the force behind him.
NIRODBARAN: Some people in the Ashram find his speech full of reason,
and according to them everything he has said is true.
SRI AUROBINDO: Everything true? Don't they read the papers? Don't they
see his speech is full of misstatements and misrepresentations?
NIRODBARAN: It is true in the sense that whatever he has prophesied he
has carried out. Look at Poland and Norway. And since he has succeeded everywhere else, he will succeed also against England. England will make
SRI AUROBINDO: That is another matter. What about his lies about the
British Expeditionary Force, which he claims he has destroyed?
NIRODBARAN: These people seem to believe Hitler more than others.
SRI AUROBINDO: And these people pretend to do Yoga? The French
themselves have said that the B.E.F. was rescuedthe majority of itand
people who have returned from Flanders have written to us about the evacu322

ation. If this Asuric influence acting through Hitler is being cast on the
Ashram too, it is dangerous.
PURANI: What about his seeking friendship with Britain or his love of
peace? Are they all true? And because he has succeeded so far, will he succeed always? Is he omnipotent? Greater than the Divine?
SRI AUROBINDO: Omnipotent and omniveridical? Then, as he says himself, has Providence guided him and given him sucess? I have not seen any
other person who has followed the Asura with such extraordinary fidelity.
Three things of the Asura he adopts strictly: first, if you go on telling lies
long enough with assurance, people will believe you; second, you must
adopt treachery and appeal to the basest passions of the people; third, care
only for success without regard for truth. There have been men who have
done that with some pretence of truth. But Hitler speaks openly of his
method of falsehood and yet people believe him.
NIRODBARAN: Except for the air attack, what else can Hitler do against
England and how far will the air attack be successful?
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know. Aeroplanes can be tremendously destructive and if the industrial areas are destroyed, it will be a great blow.

25 JULY 1940
For four days there was practically no talk. Then Bhaskar's radio news said
that Germany was making intense preparations to attack England.
SRI AUROBINDO: Bhaskar doesn't give the source of his news. He says
that such intense preparations are going on that the universe is moving towards destruction. (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: The universe? Nehru also speaks in terms of planets. The
Sunday Times has given the news that somebody in America has discovered
some submarines which can be made into tanks. There is a humorous story
along with this news.
SRI AUROBINDO: That may be Germany's new weapon to attack England.
SATYENDRA: Is that an accomplished fact?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is an America-and-Sunday Times-accomplished fact.

Here Sri Aurobindo related the humorous episode of the tank which was
much enjoyed by all.
PURANI (after some time, smilingly): Have you read in the Sunday Hindu
the article saying that there are Hindu tribes in Arabia?
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes. It is like the Tamil Christ and the
Madrasi Virgin Mary.
SATYENDRA: What is that?
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, you don't know? A Tamil scholar discovered that
Christ was a Tamil belonging to Madras and he found all the equivalent
Tamil names for Christ, Mary and eyen the streets,
PURANI: Here also this man says that Araba equals Arava, Saracen equals
Surasen and Ansari equals Anusari. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: That was the fashion at one time. It was Colonel Todd, I
think, who said that Krishna was Hercules who is also called Heracles. He
derived the Greek name from Harikul (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: It is now known what Bhaskar's source was for the report of the coming German attack on England. A detailed document was
found in the pocket of an American reporter who had died in France. It told
of the German plan to attack England from Belgian and French ports, supported by aeroplanes, smoke screens, etc. The Germans will land at various
places. In that case they may have some chance of success.
PURANI: Yes. Otherwise I don't see how it is possible. So they are putting
Daladier and others on trial?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that is Laval acting out of revenge. Poor Delvos is
also to be tried. Laval was ousted from politics in all the ministries. His
photo in the paper shows the face of a criminal. The paper says he began as
an errand boy and ended as a millionaire.
PURANI: This action of his may also be to satisfy Hitler.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and out of revenge and fear of these people as


26 JULY 1940
SATYENDRA: The Bengal Government is removing the Holwell monument after all.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Huque didn't stand up in his dignity then.
Huque said that unless Satyagraha is stopped he won't do anything.
NIRODBARAN: This Islamia College incident has contributed to it, perhaps.
NIRODBARAN: Bose has got some success.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes, it was all pre-arranged, only he hurried
up the process of removal.

27 JULY 1940
PURANI: America has agreed to supply three thousand planes per month.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. In that case England will very soon match Germany in air-strength.
NIRODBARAN: Amery says the Indian situation is not serious.
SRI AUROBINDO: Because there is no chance of civil disobedience, perhaps. And Gandhi is now preparing the world for non-violence.
PURANI: But nobody accepts it.
NIRODBARAN: De Gaulle has advised passive resistance to the French
people. C. R. says England may be thinking that if we were independent we
wouldn't help her.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they have a fear that we may do just as Ireland is
PURANI: They say there is a difference of opinion among Hitler's generals
regarding invasion.
SRI AUROBINDO: May be only a story. He may be trying to settle the
Balkan problem first. But if it is true, it is remarkable that Keitel is against
invasion. He has always been for attacking England. He is a general in name
only; he knows nothing about war, he is only Hitler's mouthpiece.

PURANI: Nolini was saying that he found this book of modern poetry very
difficult to understand. How many people will read it?
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): Not worth reading. I have read Eliot's Hippopotamus; it is amusing. Nowadays one reads poetry not to enjoy oneself
or for pleasure, but as a duty or a task. All that these Moderns are doing is to
take the most commonplace ideas and try to express them in poetry. Whatever is beautiful is to them romantic and whatever is grand is rhetoric. You
should take only commonplace, mean things, express them in mean, dirty
language, with very little or no rhythmthat is the recipe for modem poetry.
PURANI: The same thing is happening in art.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is an age of decadence like Roman decadence, only
in a different way. That took a thousand years to start. Now also it may take
a thousand years. Hitler's threatened millennium of the New Order will be
like this, probably.

28 JULY 1940
Mussolini, on his fifty-seventh birthday, has given an interview to press reporters. He bared his upper body and said, "Am I sick? Am I old?" and then
galloped around on a horse.
NIRODBARAN: Mussolini has been dramatic.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes.
PURANI: But what about his fleet? It doesn't seem to vend out.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, for fear of becoming sick. (Laughter) According to
a press report the size of the British Army in Africa is not sufficient. If true,
it should be reinforced; otherwise if the Germans take Alexandria and the
rest of Egypt, it will be bad for England. Alexandria is like Gibraltar. I suppose England has concentrated all her forces in England itself.
PURANI: Yes, the French collapse may have changed this plan.
Have you read about America's army strength in New Statesman and
Nation? It is lamentable.

SATYENDRA: Yes, what has she been doing all these years?
SRI AUROBINDO: No wonder she is against sending any expeditionary
force to Europe.
SATYENDRA: Now Japan is also threatening her.
SRI AUROBINDO: America has her navy to deal with Japan. Hitler had a
navy, then after defeating England he would have gone straight for America.
The present state of America's army would have been a great opportunity for

29 JULY 1940
Germany has sunk a French refugee ship.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): You have seen how Hitler says Churchill has
sunk the French ship.
PURANI: Does he say that?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. The Daily Herald has a report, perhaps true, about
Germany inventing the story that England is going to invade France and
Germany will come in as a saviour. (Laughter)
PURANI: Hitler wants all the world to believe this!
NIRODBARAN: Probably it is meant for home consumption.
PURANI: He is making Brittany an autonomous state, it appears.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. If reports are true, he intends to take back AlsaceLorraine and make a kingdom of Flanders with Northern France included in
it. Perhaps Italy will take Savoy, Nice and Corsica.
NIRODBARAN: Mussolini is stretching his arm to Palestine too.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and he wants to drive out the Jews en masse.
SATYENDRA: Poor Jews! They have been cursed through the ages, driven
out from everywhere
NIRODBARAN: Why is it so?
SRI AUROBINDO: Firstly, they have always tried to keep their individuality and, secondly, everywhere, by their cleverness, they have come to the top
in all the professions and have created envy among others.

30 JULY 1940
SRI AUROBINDO (starting the talk): So Hitler has changed the date to
September 15th.
PURANI: Yes. He doesn't know what to do and the Balkan problem is also
engaging him.
SRI AUROBINDO: He must have relied on the French fleet surrendering to
him. If he had attacked at once there might have been some chance of success.
PURANI: Yes, time has been on England's side. She has prepared herself
and learnt her lessons. If the French had not surrendered, they could very
well have carried on the war from their colonies. They still had a sufficiently
big army and their navy was substantial. They could have at least taken hold
of the Italian possessions in Africa.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and it would have been a great gain.
PURANI: There is a rumour in the Cercle1 that Mandel is going to be shot.
SRI AUROBINDO: Ah! If they begin shooting people, how will it all end?
But on what charge?
PURANI: On the charge of entering into some secret agreement with England.
SRI AUROBINDO: But England was not an enemy. If it was for overthrowing the Ptain Government I could understand. No, it must be out of revenge. During his ministership he imprisoned many Fascists.
PURANI: In this way the revolution may be quicker.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but people everywhere are tame and timid now.
The Socialists and Democrats have no ardour like the Nazis and Communists. The Poles seem to be the only brave people: they are still continuing a
guerilla war; they have not yet caved in. The Finns were also doing well but
as soon as defeat began they caved in.
SATYENDRA: Where is Colonel Beck?
[1] The French club in Pondicherry.

SRI AUROBINDO: He is in Rumania. Rumania's Government does not allow him to go to England. It is just as well, because he would clash with the
Polish Government there and make a lot of mistakes.
NIRODBARAN: Rajagopalachari says the English are a desirable lot.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes, he has seen what others are like.
NIRODBARAN: And he says England gives way to public pressure.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is true.

31 JULY 1940
The Hindu published the information that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo
have given Rs. 1000 to the Allied war fund.
SATYENDRA: It is good Jaswant is in prison. Otherwise he would have
sent another letter.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes.
PURANI: I had a letter from his brother. He is very happy in jail, he says.
Put in B class.
SRI AUROBINDO: Like Oswald Mosley?
PURANI: They had fixed his marriage but due to his imprisonment they had
to drop it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why? They couldn't arrange it in jail?
PURANI: Russia has demanded the return of her trucks from Rumania.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): Yes. She seems to be looking for an excuse
for a quarrel.
PURANI: Rumania has given no reply and is perhaps turning to Hitler.
SRI AUROBINDO: Hitler will say he is not going to fight Russia over some
trucks. He will advise her to settle the affair.
NIRODBARAN: As in the case of Hungary, Bulgaria, etc.? If Rumania concedes to all of them, very little of her will remain.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and she will be so light that she won't weigh on the

PURANI: Mandel, Reynaud, Gamelin, etc. are going to be tried, it seems.
SRI AUROBINDO: Gamelin for insufficient preparation. In that case Ptain
is also to blame. He was Minister of Defence for so many years and he has
done nothing. Mandel and others have been betrayed by Nogues. It seems he
invited them to Africa to fight from there against Germany and then betrayed them to Ptain . It was very unwise of them to have gone there. This
De Gaulle is a remarkable man. He foresaw all these things and knew what
was in store for him and left for England beforehand.
SRI AUROBINDO (after some time): This book on modern poetry by F. R.
Leavis is very heavy reading.
PURANI: Nolini also said that. He couldn't make anything out of it. The author says that the reading public of poetry is getting very small.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and he says it is a very good thing, (Laughter)
PURANI: But the number of poets is increasing, he says, and many have talents. But the talent depends on what use society will make of it.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Obviously!
PURANI: You have seen at the end of the book what he says about the sale
of poetry books?
PURANI: He has quoted a publisher's statementvery revealing. The publisher says that out of many books published, someabout one dozen
brought twelve pounds altogether from the sale and, as for the rest, he lost
almost double the sum.
SRI AUROBINDO: You know what an English publisher said when my poems were presented to him by somebody for publication? He said they were
very striking but nobody would buy them, as no one read poetry now. He
added, "Let the poet write some prose first and make a name and then his
poetry may sell."
NIRODBARAN: No wonder people won't read poetry after what the Modernists have done with it.
PURANI: It is the same thing in painting too. I remember how Francois and
Agnes used to cudgel their brains to find out the significance of some
bizarre, grotesque pictures.

SRI AUROBINDO: Perhaps it was meant only as a joke and no meaning
was there. You know the origin of Cubism? Mother used to go among the
artists. One day she found that two artists as a joke had made some queer
figures but people began to find great originality in them and praise them.
Then they took it up seriously. There was a postman who painted a green
cow grazing on red grass. People began to remark: "How original! How
striking!" and now he is an outstanding painter. I forget his name. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: This arrest of a well-known Englishman in Japan on an espionage charge looks fishy.
SRI AUROBINDO: Very fishy. The Japanese are showing themselves as
masters and want others to submit. For espionage the British give regular
training; they don't employ well-known people in that business.
NIRODBARAN: And the death of Knox also is not very convincing. How
could he get through the resistance of the gendarmes? As Mother said, the
Japanese themselves may have got rid of him to cover up some crime of
their own.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, the manner of death is not convincing. The Japanese are becoming bullies now. It is the new spirit of the Nazis and Fascists
they have got from the West.
NIRODBARAN: But I don't think an Englishman would have done what
they say.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, not a high-class Englishman. The English and
Americans are very haughty and disdainful; they haven't understood the Japanese as, for instance, people like Lafcadio Hearn did. And they are now
being paid back.
NIRODBARAN: The English in India have, of course, done worse things.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh yes, in the colonies they are quite different. All
other Powers except the French treat their subject races alike.
NIRODBARAN: But just when England is involved Japan is taking these
SRI AUROBINDO: People show themselves in their true colours in times of

PURANI (after some time): Have you seen the Masnavi by Jalaluddin
Rumi? A professor from Hyderabad reviewing your Life Divine says that all
you've said in it about evolution and descent has already been said by Rumi.
SRI AUROBINDO: I have glanced at the Masnavi. Yes, Rumi does speak of
evolution but it is an individual evolution. Surprisingly he does not mention
rebirth. If he admits individual evolution he has to admit rebirth. An individual can't evolve in one birth only.
PURANI: Sufis do admit rebirth, I think, in a way.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, do they? Rumi speaks of transmigration which is
quite a different mattertaking different bodies, animals, birds, etc. Transmigration would bar entrance to other worlds. It would be an immediate

1 AUGUST 1940
SRI AUROBINDO: Hitler wants peace not in Rumania only but all over the
PURANI (laughing): Yes, he has already said he does not understand why
the war should go on.
SRI AUROBINDO: He would say, "Now that I have won, why should it?"
NIRODBARAN: The newspaper says there is a great concentration of
troops along the French Channel coast to attack England.
SRI AUROBINDO: Troops? Not ships? A concentration of ships is required.
PURANI: Perhaps they will swim across with swimming belts and allow
themselves to be arrested.
SRI AUROBINDO: Swimming parties can't be arrested.
This man Leavis is less partial to Ezra Pound than to Eliot. He says
Pound's earlier poems are a preparation for later ones which have rhythm,
form, etc., but have no substance. Have you found. wonderful rhythm?
PURANI: None. Isn't that poem "O Apollo.. .tinwreath" by him? Nolini said
tin-wreath is wonderful! (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, it is in Greek tina; most idiotic it is. And he says it
is a great pun; not a pun but most idiotic.

PURANI: I told you Amal's joke that Pound is not worth the penny! (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Among all these people only Eliot has done something.
PURANI: Yes, though he has no form, he has substance.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and rhythm and energy. No wonder that old English people can't enjoy their poetry and they call it idiotic. It is a new kind of
decadence. The old decadence was intellectual. The intellect was sterilised
and petrified but this is dotty and crazy.
PURANI: Yes, if "You are thinking? What are you thinking?" can be called
SRI AUROBINDO: And striking rhythm! He admits people read poetry.
That is good, he says, for then poetry becomes more precious. It is like Einstein's theory; only five or six people understand it.
PURANI: And they also differ among themselves.
PURANI: Westerners say that ancient Indian art is religious and spiritual.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is because only these types still exist. There was
also secular art which has been destroyed.
PURANI: And Indian art is not so much aesthetic as expressing some religious emotionthe artists wanted more to express these emotions and feelings than to make the work a piece of art or aesthetic. And if they became
art, it was in spite of themselves.
SRI AUROBINDO: Nonsense. If art is not aesthetic, it is not art. Indians
have no aesthetic sense, they mean to say? What about the Indian idea of
PURANI: Coomaraswamy says all art must pass through the intellect in order to be real art. The Modernist conception also is like that to a certain extent.
SRI AUROBINDO: What the Modernists aim at is to make their sensations
pass through the intellect, sensations in place of emotions. Sensations not
only of the vital but the physical too. As they say, Hopkins's poetry must be
heard not only through the ear but through the body. And it is these sensations modern poets are labouring to express through their poems.

2 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: Have you read the review of a book on Russia in the last Manchester Guardian? It says that some Englishmen who worked in Russia
think that an alliance between Russia and England is not possible; it is possible between Russia and Germany. Between themselves they have divided
their spheres. Hitler is to take the West and Stalin the East.
SRI AUROBINDO: I suspected some such thing. So India is to fall under
Stalin? Only, Indians don't yet realise it. But though Hitler may allow it for
now, he may turn against Stalin afterwards.
NIRODBARAN: So India will be treated with another subjugation by Russia? Communists, of course, won't call it an aggression.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, they have no national sense.
PURANI; Besides, they will have favourable positions under Stalin.
SRI AUROBINDO: Our condition will be worse, even worse than under
Germany. But Russia will have to face Japan before Stalin comes to India. It
is Japan's firm, age long aim to drive out all Europeans from Asia. She considers herself as holding and guarding the destiny of Asia. This aim is
stronger than her own imperialism.
NIRODBARAN: Japan has already given a hint of her aimshe wants to
link China, Indo-China and the Dutch East Indies.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even before that, she had the same rooted aim.
Mother's friends who were prominent people hold that idea and for that reason they have been protecting Indian refugees. The leader of the Black
Dragon first developed the idea and Okakura too had it. China can't be expected to have that mission. She is more self-regarding and international.
PURANI: Yes, she won't mind taking European help for her purpose.
SRI AUROBINDO: Only the Japanese have lost their clear mind and high
vision by Western contact, and their soldiers also are not what they were.
NIRODBARAN: The Western races know Japan's aim very well and they
call it the yellow peril.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and theirs is the white peril, which Japan knows.


NIRODBARAN: The Supermind ought to descend now; the conditions are
getting very bad with Hitler and Stalin threatening everybody.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Supermind is not concerned with these things.
PURANI: Nirod is surprised to find that the Supermind goes by different
values and he doesn't like it.
SATYENDRA: If it had not different values, it would not be worthwhile.
NIRODBARAN: We are hoping the 15th will come soon so that the descent
on that day will act as a check against Hitler.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): According to the rather discredited astrologers
the 3rd, tomorrow, is the date of his death.
SATYENDRA: It has been estimated that about two and a half crores of rupees will be required to equip one division.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then forty such divisions will be necessary against
Hitler or Stalin.
PURANI: The Ptain Government has declared that French pilots fighting
for England will be shot if they land in French territory while the English
will be taken prisoners.
SRI AUROBINDO: So it means France is at war with England.
PURANI: Practically.

3 AUGUST 1940
To a letter of Dilip's regarding the present world condition, Krishnaprem
wrote a reply which was read by Sri Aurobindo.
SATYENDRA: Krishnaprem quotes the Gita's, "By Me these have been
slain" and says, "The war has already been fought and won," by which he
means action in the subtle worlds.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, of course, it is there that things first happen. They
are decided in the higher worlds before they are projected here.
NIRODBARAN: So what happens here will be the result of the decisions
and actions above?

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but what happens here doesn't always take place
exactly in the same way. There are variations, and the decisions also can be
changed. When there is a struggle of forces it is always possible to change
the balance of forces and thus alter the decision. But there can be variations
only in what has been decided by the Supreme Vision.
For instance, there are forces which are trying to destroy the British and
their Empireforces above and here in this worldI mean the inner forces.
I myself wished for the Empire's destruction but at that time I didn't know
certain other forces would arise. These forces are working for the evolution
of a New World Order which is bound to come. But for this new arrangement the British Empire need not be destroyed. It can be achieved in quite a
different manner by a change in the balance of different forces, more quietly
and without much destruction. Were it not for Hitler I wouldn't have cared
whether the British Empire remained or went down. Now the question is
whether this New Order is to come after much suffering and destruction or
with as little suffering as possible. The destruction of England would mean
the victory of Hitler and in that case, perhaps after a great deal of suffering
and through various difficult reactions on the part of men to Hitlerite oppression, the New Order will come or it may not come at all or come only after
Pralaya! Of course the issue has been decided by the Divine Vision and there
can be no change in that. But nobody knows what it is.
Krishnaprem puts it in a rather absolute way which I don't think is true.
He doesn't give sufficient importance to the material world. If everything is
fixed and whatever happens is, as he says, according to the decisions above,
then this world would be only an illusion. He says that by a psychic change,
the New World Order can be brought about. Psychic change is useful only
for much higher spiritual purposes. Even so, it is possible only in a small
number of people and how can that alter the world? Besides, for changing
the World Order the psychic change is not necessary, it can be done by
change in the balance of forces.
NIRODBARAN: That balance will follow by the psychic change?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but is the psychic change possible for the whole
world? By psychic I suppose he means the mental and vital changes. I don't
know how even these are to come about if Hitler wins and if everybody is
busy taking refuge in cowardice and trying to save their own skin.

NIRODBARAN: You said that what is decided above takes place here with
a certain variation. Is that variation the process and method of working
things out?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, even the whole decision may be changed, as I said.
NIRODBARAN: Can the Vision of the Supreme be different from the decision of these higher worlds?
SRI AUROBINDO: Why not? There can be a variation of the play of forces
in the different planes. The play of forces may appear as the destiny were in
favour of one or another group of forces and that they were the makers of
destiny. There are different layers of destiny, so to say. When one is born one
comes with a physical destiny, then there is the vital and mental destiny. By
bringing in vital and mental forces the physical destiny can be changed. It is
the mental destiny that is difficult to change. The astrologers are usually
concerned with the physical destiny. They don't see the others and hence
make mistakes because they look at the physical graph of things. Only the
Supreme Vision can't be changed.
NIRODBARAN: What is the Supreme Vision?
SRI AUROBINDO: Nobody knows.
NIRODBARAN: Not nobody; you must know, and as you said just now the
New World Order is bound to come, that must be the Supreme Vision?
PURANI: But at present before the Supreme has a chance there are many
others who are already busy with their own idea of the New World.
NIRODBARAN: To the supramental vision the Supreme Vision must be
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but I haven't yet become the Supermind and no
one knows whether the Supermind will descend.1
NIRODBARAN: How is that? You have already said it is bound to descend.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): But I didn't fix a date - whether it will be tomorrow or not.
[1] What is perhaps meant - as we suspect from other pronouncements of Sri Aurobindo
and from the Mother's statementsis that bodily Sri Aurobindo had not yet become the
Supermind. In other words, the final plenary stage of supramentalisationthe total
transformation of the body by the Supermind's descending powerhad still not been

NIRODBARAN: The Mother seems to have said that the Divine Descent
will take place when everything will be dark with not a ray of hope anywhere.
SRI AUROBINDO: That was the ancient prophecy she repeated.
PURANI: I suppose the world is sufficiently dark already. England alone
stands in the way of Hitler's triumph.
SRI AUROBINDO: Have you not read the Mother's prayer this year?1
SRI AUROBINDO: Those who received it in France are already realising
what it means.
NIRODBARAN: I couldn't quite follow Krishnaprem when he said that this
war is not a real war. His words are: "It is the troubled wake of a ship that
has passed, the trail of a snail, the dead ash of a forest fire," etc.
SRI AUROBINDO: He means the psychic past as he makes clear afterwards. All Karma that has been done in the past has passed into the inner
worlds. What is here now is only the result of it. It is a one-sided view of the
matter. Of course he takes the psychic in another sense than ours as he
speaks of the world-psyche.
PURANI: He takes his stand on the Buddhistic Karma theory.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. His contention that everything is fixed reduces this
world to Maya. Even the result of the psychic past belonged once to the material world before it passed away into the subtle. And the material can always modify the result. He himself admits that in the case of Hitler he could
reject the influence. So others. It is the same as in Yoga. If you accept the influence, it will then try to throw its formations on you and come true in the
material plane. There also the manner of acceptance makes a difference. If
you accept it in one way, a certain result comes; you accept it in another,
then there is a different result.
NIRODBARAN: Krishnaprem says England has some soul-purpose to manifest.
[1] The New Year message of 1940: "A year of silence and expectation... Let us find, O
Lord, our entire support in Thy Grace alone."

SRI AUROBINDO: He puts a big if and says that if it is so England will
SATYENDRA: Yes, he says that every drop of his blood says this. His English blood!
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, in spite of his being a Sannyasi, his blood is English. At this moment all Englishmen will feel like that. Even Arjava who
cavilled at the English would have felt so. By soul-purpose Krishnaprem
means perhaps some higher values. But standing for higher values doesn't
make for victory. Look at Poland and Czechoslovakia. Perhaps you may say
Poland made many mistakes, but wasn't Czechoslovakia absolutely blameless?
SATYENDRA: Japan has now openly declared her aim and policy toward
Indo-China, the Dutch East Indies and the South Sea Islands.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but let China be settled first, though there is no
sign of settling.
These Russians are the most brazen-faced people. Have you seen Molotov's speech?
SRI AUROBINDO: He says America is trying to be imperialistic in the
Western hemisphere. That is the move he sees behind the Pan-American
conference (regarding the transfer of American territories to the Western
Powers). And Russia is going to take steps against America and England's illegal action in freezing the Baltic States' finance. What can she do against
NIRODBARAN: To these Russians everybody is imperialistic except themselves and their grabbing of the Baltic States is for self-protection! The
world is not so foolish as to believe that.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is meant for the communists who will believe everything from Russia.

4 AUGUST 1940
SRI AUROBINDO (addressing Purani): The death-sentence has been
passed on De Gaulle.

PURANI: Yes, and he has given a reply.
SRI AUROBINDO: Has he? What does he say?
PURANI: He says the Ptain Government is dictated to by Germany. At the
end of the war he will appeal to the public to give their verdict.
Rumania is now turning away from the Axisperhaps it wants to go to
NIRODBARAN: What is the use if Hitler divides and gives away Rumania
to other powers?
SRI AUROBINDO: Rumania's claim on Transylvania is right because the
majority of people there are Rumanians and they don't want to go to Hungary. Already their peasant leader is organising resistance against any such
PURANI: This is all due to their separate policy. If they had made the entente together, these things wouldn't have happened.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, then their entente would have been formidable.
Turkey tried her best for it. Turkey, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia are fighting
races; Armenia and Greece are not.
Purani started a talk on art and on Coomaraswamy's criticism on art, saying that he had written very well.
PURANI: Coomaraswamy says the artist expresses his individuality in his
SRI AUROBINDO: Individuality? Who has done that? Does he mention
any name? Michelangelo?
PURANI: No, he means the ego, perhaps.
SRI AUROBINDO: The ego! That is different. But an artist doesn't express
his individuality. I don't think Coomaraswamy is right there. A poet may do
that. If you speak of individual tendencies it is different. An artist may have
theories and ideas about art but he does not express his individuality. In
modern art, the artist figures much, while in old Indian art he didn't: he remained behind.


5 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: I was reading Okakura's book on Japan. He says that even if the
Japanese have to be Westernised to protect their independence, they will go
to that length.
SRI AUROBINDO: Being Westernised won't serve. As you say, the Western
nations lost their independence.
Champaklal and Purani standing at either extremity were making gestures
at each other; Champaklal burst suddenly into laughter and Purani joined
in. Sri Aurobindo looked at them. They continued to laugh.
SRI AUROBINDO: Unspoken jokes seem to be more successful.
PURANI: Champaklal was showing different poses of standing.
The British have started arresting the Japanese.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes, and they say it is not retaliation. Extraordinary coincidences, I suppose.
PURANI: Yes, many such coincidences are possible in this world.
SATYENDRA: This is better than wordy warfare.
PURANI: The Bengal Government is taking many communal measures. The
Hindus should organise.
NIRODBARAN: They held a protest day on the 4th.
SRI AUROBINDO: Mere protest won't do anything.
NIRODBARAN: Shyama Prasad is the only figure now who says other
measures have to be taken.

6 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: The Viceroy has issued an ordinance banning all volunteer organisationspolitical or communal. Only for social service can an organisation
be retained, sanctioned by the provincial Government.
SRI AUROBINDO: I see. That would give an occasion for starting civil disobedience.

PURANI: Yes. One good thing is that the Khaksars will goall the other organisations too: Hindu Sabha, Mahavir Dal, etc.
NIRODBARAN: Gandhi will issue another threatening statement. But the
Government may be taking advance measures to stop any civil disobedience
SATYENDRA: That won't prevent Gandhi. If he issues a call, people will
SRI AUROBINDO: How can that be possible without organisation?
SATYENDRA: During the Dandee march it happened automatically.
SRI AUROBINDO: But he admitted there were many mistakes. Of course
he says he will start the civil disobedience in his own way. Nobody knows
what that way is.
PURANI: The Viceroy says that in any such private organisation one man
gets more power than he is legally entitled to, which is not desirable. The
Government has enough capacity to deal with any trouble.
SRI AUROBINDO: Has it? The Government hasn't shown it recently.
PURANI: People can join the Civil Guard, the Viceroy says.
SATYENDRA: Setalvad has declared for expanding the Council and trying
for independence after the war.
SRI AUROBINDO: Trying for what?
SATYENDRA: For independence.
SRI AUROBINDO: Independence? He can try for twenty thousand years,
he won't get it. He has been trying already by giving speeches, writing, etc.
PURANI: Have you read the article in the Sunday Hindu the collapse of
France? It says that Reynaud's speech helped to the morale of the army.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? Churchill also said that if England fell they
would go to the Empire and fight from there. That didn't break their morale.
SATYENDRA: And his appeal to America was to avert the armistice move
in the cabinet.
PURANI: He says it is a mystery that when the whole nation was against it,
a small number of people could make them accept the armistice.

SRI AUROBINDO: When a small number of persons is determined to do a
thing, they can do it. It has been done any number of times in history. There
is no mystery there. Here especially, when there was no chance of communication with the people or the Parliament, it was quite easy. He assumes that
constitutional opposition would have been possible. But how when there
was no proper senate? At Bordeaux there were only fifty or sixty members
and they were all Laval's men. Lebrun played into the hands of these people.
PURANI: Mandel is said to be the natural son of Clemenceau. It may be
true as is evidenced by his energy and vigour.
SRI AUROBINDO: And Weygand is said to be the illegitimate son of
Leopold II, one of the most notorious kings in history, Weygand is also very
rich, holding many shares of the Suez Canal. A lieutenant here, who used to
attend the French cabinet meetings as a police officer, said that Mandel was
the only clean and honest man. In Reynaud there was something excited and
unsteady, but he was very intelligent. Outwardly his decisions were all right
but one could see that inwardly he was liable to make many mistakes.
SATYENDRA: It is lucky that England has got a leader now. Nobody
knows what the old Government would have done by now. The back numbers of the New Statesman and Nation make a very interesting study. They
are still discussing the defection of Belgium. One doesn't know what they
will do when they hear of Paris' fall and the Vichy Government. When one
reads these back numbers one feels like a minor god who knows the afterevents and is ahead of them while others are still occupied with the old
SRI AUROBINDO: They show how people commit mistakes in their judgment and calculation similar to what we are doing ourselves at the present
time. (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: People chafe at these past mistakes. If they knew of their
past lives life would become a burden.
SRI AUROBINDO: And yet they want to know their past.
Radio news: The Germans are concentrating for an attack on the Channel
ports and are embarking and disembarking in the Baltic.
PURANI: So it is true that the Germans are preparing.

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Perhaps they will attack from Holland and Belgium. The Baltic is too far away. If it is a quick stroke and cleverly done,
then it is possible and it depends on where they land. The British Navy can't
protect the whole coastline.
PURANI: But if after landing they can be checked successfully once, then it
will break their morale. Hitherto they have thought themselves invincible.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not one check, but many checks.
PURANI: At any rate England knows all about their plan and preparation.

7 AUGUST 1940
SRI AUROBINDO: Hitler's invasion can't come off on the l0th.
PURANI: He still has three days' time. Otherwise it will break his sequence.
He is preparing.
SRI AUROBINDO: I wish it had been fixed to come after the 15th; I don't
want the Darshan to be disturbed.
NIRODBARAN: Hiren Dutt finds The Life Divine obscure and loose.
SRI AUROBINDO: Obscure to himself?
PURANI: I haven't much regard for his opinion and learning. I met him in
SRI AUROBINDO: He has an ordinary mind and it runs in the traditional
groove. When the Arya was being published, I think he said that he couldn't
understand it.
NIRODBARAN: Yet he has made a name as a scholar.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not a very big name!
NIRODBARAN: Prashanta Mahalnavis seems to have said The Life Divine
is Ganja?
SRI AUROBINDO: He is a Brahmo, isn't he?
PURANI: He means he found it as intoxicating as Ganja?
NIRODBARAN: Oh no, Brahmos don't touch Ganja.

PURANI: He was the same man who came here with Tagore and was not allowed to accompany Tagore during his interview with you. He was very angry. I remember the story of a Brahmo. He was asked by somebody where
some particular theatre was; he said he didn't know. He realised that he had
told a lie and then called the man back and said, "I do know, but I won't tell
you." (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: That is Heramba Maitra.
SATYENDRA: I like this comment about Ganja. He means we have been
smoking Ganja in solitude here.
NIRODBARAN: Oh, they think much worse than that.
PURANI: Some of these people are strictly ethical and moral.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the Pharisee's "I am not a sinner" type.
Hiren Dutt was a clever solicitor. He was the solicitor in my case, in all
my cases, I think, and he was one of the few who remained faithful after the
collapse of our Movement. When the meetings were, getting smaller and
smaller, he was the one who was always present. Ramananda was another.
NIRODBARAN: Ramananda has now joined the Hindu Movement.
SATYENDRA: China is also threatening Indo-China!
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, in case they allow Japan to use any ports.
PURANI: It seems Italy has launched an attack against British Somaliland
and Egypt.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but not against Egypt. It is evident that the British
have a very insufficient force there. I don't understand why Australian soldiers are being sent to England. They ought to have been out there.
Then Purani brought in the talk about Nandalal Bose's coming here and
said that it must be due to consideration for Tagore that he has suspended
his coming for this Darshan.
SRI AUROBINDO: Artists can't keep their resolutions!


8 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: The Viceroy has issued a declaration that the expansion of the
Council can't be delayed any more. India will have the right to frame her
own constitution as soon as possible after the war.
SRI AUROBINDO: Did he say that?
PURANI: Yes, and he has invited Abul Kalam to see him.
SRI AUROBINDO: But how is the constitution to be framed? What procedure?
PURANI: He doesn't say. It may not be a round table conference again. .
SRI AUROBINDO: Will the Indian leaders be able to come to an agreement? If the Congress stands for the Constituent Assembly, Jinnah won't
SATYENDRA: If the Viceroy has conceded our right to frame our own constitution, it is quite reasonable.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, only people don't listen to reason nowadays.
SATYENDRA: And it is a greater step than Dominion Status.
SATYENDRA: And the expansion of the Council, that is also quite reasonable.
NIRODBARAN: But one must know what part they would play.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. But the Government can't be expected to pass
all authority to people who have no idea about war and no experience of it.
PURANI: But what will be the procedure for the constitution?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is better not to quarrel over that now. The Indians can
decide that themselves afterwards and they ought to be able to do it if they
can speak of a National Government.
SATYENDRA: On the whole it is a very good advance unless there is some
catch. One must read the text first.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. It depends also on what powers they give to
the Council. The Viceroy ought to have seen Rajagopalachari too. Perhaps
he was not in Madras during the Viceroy's stay.

SATYENDRA: Yes, Rajagopalachari is the leader now.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, Gandhi is the leader. But he doesn't want to lead
and the others refuse to follow him. (Laughter)
PURANI: Perhaps there may be a conference of Premiers in which Rajagopalachari will be present. Now only Punjab and Bengal are left to decide. Sind also to some extent.
SRI AUROBINDO: Sind's stand is very near to that of the Congress.
PURANI: But the Princes may stand in the way. They ought to make a common cause.
SRI AUROBINDO: How can they when the Congress has intimated that
they have no right to exist and that in a free India they may have no place? If
the Congress had kept its claims moderate, then by an inner pressure of circumstances they would have come round. You have read C. P. Ramaswamy's
speech the other day? It is a very telling speech. He says: You ask us to depend on you, but you have already spoken about our extinction in the future
constitution of India. How can we acquiesce in that extinction?
By the way, the Viceroy has banned only drills with weapons and what
they call para-military uniformsany that may have a military-uniform
semblance. Apart from that, organisations can exist.
NIRODBARAN: Somebody said to Charu Dutt, "You speak of the dominating influence of Sri Aurobindo over the sadhaks. How is it then that idiots
living under his influence produce only third-rate works?"
SRI AUROBINDO: Has the "somebody" read Nishikanta's poems? If he
also calls them third-rate, he must be an idiot himself
NIRODBARAN: Dutt was speaking highlyas in fact all do, Dilip, etc.
of Jyoti's book Sandhane (In Quest). According to Dutt she has taken a long
stride from Rakta Golap (Red Rose), her last book.
NIRODBARAN: Dutt says Rakta Golap is an imitation of Tagore's poeticprose novel Char Adhyaya (Four Chapters). Only the style is very good.
That is true to some extent. She gave most of her attention to style and tried
to make it poetic. And Sandhane she wrote long ago. Rakta Golap was the

Sri Aurobindo was amused to hear that the latest book was inferior to the
previous one.
SRI AUROBINDO: What does the idiot say about it?
NIRODBARAN: He may not have read it.
SRI AUROBINDO: But can a novel be written in a poetic style?
NIRODBARAN: Tagore's is not a novel but a novelette, one may say.
SRI AUROBINDO: One can write a romance in such a style.
PURANI: Tagore is doing so many new things. They say he has written
mystic poems about death after his recent serious illnesswhat death is like,
one's feelings about it and so on.
SRI AUROBINDO: Anybody can write that out of imagination; one needn't
have any experience.
NIRODBARAN: And everywhere he is talking of his approaching death.
SRI AUROBINDO: He has been dying for the last twenty years. When he
came here, he spoke of it.
PURANI: Even his stories are not very good.
NIRODBARAN: Not true. He is considered one of the best story-writers.
PURANI: I mean like Chatterjee.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but he is not a novelist.
PURANI: You have seen Patrika's review of Nishikanta's book? While
Tagore has praised his chhanda and bhasha, people call it halting and Sanskritised.
SRI AUROBINDO: Stupid review!
Satyendra said something about the Commonwealth. Sri Aurobindo then
spoke about the recent declaration of the Viceroy.
SRI AUROBINDO: The British have more of diplomacy but less of the
right spirit. A great deal depends on the way things are put. This statement is
most uninspiring and unconvincing. And there is a snag too. If the constitu348

tion is unacceptable to large and important sections, then the Government
can't agree to it. That means that if Jinnah and the Princes don't accept it,
there is no settlement.
SATYENDRA: Nehru says the Sevadal won't be dissolved. They will keep
their organisation.
NIRODBARAN: With lathi?1
SATYENDRA: Why lathi? It is non-violent.
SRI AUROBINDO: Or is the lathi for others to beat them with! (Laughter)
PURANI: Yes, they can offer their lathi to the opponent and ask to be
SATYENDRA: That would be ideal non-violence.
SRI AUROBINDO: A hundred per cent!
PURANI: Somaliland is now being attacked by the Italians.
SRI AUROBINDO: I thought they had already taken it.
NIRODBARAN: The British are retiring after inflicting heavy losses.
SRI AUROBINDO: And without any loss to themselves! Bhaskar has again
put an exclamation sign. (Laughter) They don't seem to have any force there
at all.
PURANI: Only camel corps.
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't understand their war strategy. no head or tail to
PURANI: They think if they win the war, they can take the place back.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but if Egypt loses, their chances of winning the
war will be jeopardised. Egypt occupies an import position.
NIRODBARAN: Shyama Prasad has given a one-month limit to the Bengal
SRI AUROBINDO: Inspired by Bose's success? But there won't be any
Muslim to join him.

[1] A stick or staff used for defence.

NIRODBARAN: Tagore has been made an Oxford Doctor and got a Latin
SRI AUROBINDO: And he replied in Sanskrit. Gwayer could have spoken
in Irish.

9 AUGUST 1940
SATYENDRA: Everybody is silent on the Viceroy's declaration. Jinnah,
Gandhi, C.R. nobody says anything. And he is interviewing the leaders all
over again. He seems to be bent on expansion of his council, but perhaps nobody will accept it except the Liberals.
NIRODBARAN: Why, Savarkar has said he will.
SRI AUROBINDO: He has given qualified assent. He said some of his demands remained unsatisfied.
SATYENDRA: Our Suren has again covered his body all over.
NIRODBARAN: In anticipation of a cold!
SRI AUROBINDO: Or expecting an anticipation.
NIRODBARAN: Today when he was doing pranam at the photo in the Reception Room in that protective attire, a visitor for Darshan was looking at
him very intently. Suren ought to be removed from the gate duty. Otherwise
it will give a bad impression of us.
SRI AUROBINDO: The visitor was perhaps looking with admiration and
saying to himself, "This man is so sick and yet has so much devotion!"
SATYENDRA: Suren and Manibhai seem to be friendly. They were talking
very cheerfully.
SRI AUROBINDO: Manibhai was talking of his health and Suren of his illness?
PURANI: The British don't seem to want to defend Somaliland. They have
no forces there, only some camel corps.
NIRODBARAN: What chances has the camel corps against mechanised
SRI AUROBINDO: The camel corps also is mechanised, they say, or perhaps they mean the camels are mechanical?

PURANI: If they don't think Somaliland is important, what about Egypt?
Italians have one-and-a-half lakh troops in Libya, while the British have
only a few.
NIRODBARAN: Egypt has no forces?
SRI AUROBINDO: It has a trained army. But it is neutral.
PURANI: Will it remain neutral even when it is attacked?
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): In this world of Leopold, I don't know what
it will do.
NIRODBARAN: The American ambassador has said that Leopold is a prisoner in his own castle.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is to gain people's sympathy.
NIRODBARAN: Also he says that Leopold informed the British about his
surrender two or three days earlier.
SRI AUROBINDO: How is that? If they had been informed, they would
have taken immediate steps to withdraw their troops instead of exposing
them to grave peril and there was no mention of that in the papers.
NIRODBARAN: And he says further that Leopold was compelled to surrender, seeing so much destruction and suffering and the risk of complete annihilation of his army.
SRI AUROBINDO: If he was so much moved by the suffering, he could
have called the Germans in at the very outset.
NIRODBARAN: That idiot about whom Charu Dutt was speaking also said
that Nolini has only an assumed depth, he is a soi-disant philosopher or
something like it. He said something about Anilbaran too.
SRI AUROBINDO: Who is this man, I would like to know then his depth or
height could be judged. It seems he has only depth. And what is his opinion
about me? Third-rate too? If my influence has produced third-rate works,
my work can't be any higher.
NIRODBARAN: Charu Dutt doesn't seem to consider Nishikanta's poetry in
Alakananda as first-class.
SRI AUROBINDO: Is he a good judge of poetry?
NIRODBARAN: I don't think so.

SRI AUROBINDO: Then his opinion has no value.
NIRODBARAN: He didn't, at first reading, understand the poems. After he
had read them over and over again, they were clear to him, he said.
SRI AUROBINDO: What kind of a mind these people have, I wonder!
NIRODBARAN: They are very simple poems, except for one or two.
NIRODBARAN: And people object to Nishikanta's poems because they are
all centred on the Mother and yourself, not so much because they are spiritual or lack variety.
SRI AUROBINDO: How do they know about the Mother?
PURANI: The poems can very well be taken as addressed to the Divine
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Besides, all the poems are not like that"Garur
Gadi", for instance. He has variety too. Of course they are spiritual and mystic.
SRI AUROBINDO (to Purani): Do you know anything about why Baron is
being recalled from Chandernagore?
PURANI: No, I only heard that he has committed some political indiscretion.
SRI AUROBINDO: It seems that recently he invited Subhas Bose to his
house and for that reason the Viceroy has asked the Governor to transfer him
from there.
PURANI: How could Baron do that? And how does he know Bose?
NIRODBARAN: Probably through Dilip.
SRI AUROBINDO: These people are wonderful. It will go against the
Ashram. He ought to have known about Bose's activities and the consequences of his visit.
NIRODBARAN: Japan is concentrating her navy towards Indo-China.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, not concentrating, that doesn't matter. Japan is
heading towards Indo-China.

NIRODBARAN: Wants to swallow it, perhaps. Being a little hasty.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? On the contrary this is the time, when other nations are engaged elsewhere. The only thing is that the Japanese are very involved in China. Don't know how effective this move will be.

10 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: It seems that when Dilip was in Calcutta, he took Bose to Baron
and introduced him. That is how they know each other.
SRI AUROBINDO: Dilip has no sense of these things at all. He thinks,
"You are a good man, he is a good man, both should meet each other."
PURANI: Hitler's Blitzkrieg has got a rude shock.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, to lose sixty planes in one attack is something.
Italy also has got a knock in Libya. She lost about sixteen.
NIRODBARAN: The British superiority in the air has now been proved. If
only they can achieve equality in numbers.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, Hitler is superior on land only.
PURANI: Somebody from Punjab, who has come for Darshan had a severe
haemorrhage from the nose. I had to call Dr. Andr; he gave an injection and
the bleeding stopped.
SRI AUROBINDO: These people ought to pay Andr.
PURANI: Yes, this man will pay. It seems he has disposed of all his property
and has come to stay here permanently, but he hasn't received a favourable
reply. That may have helped to cause the haemorrhage.
SRI AUROBINDO: How could he make his arrangements without permission? Was he in communication with us?
PURANI: He wrote three or four letters but got no reply. I told him that he
should not have acted so hastily.
SATYENDRA: People take the silence as a test.
SRI AUROBINDO: If he took it as a test the result was rather bad, as he got
a haemorrhage.

SATYENDRA: Munji has asked us to accept whatever we get from the Government and fight for more.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that is Tilak's policyaccept even a quarter loaf.
The Ptain Government has acceded to Japan's demand for naval military
bases in Indo-China; at first it was reported they would resist.
SRI AUROBINDO: That means the end of Indo-China.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Ptain Government must have over-ridden Admiral
Decoux's order to fight. Why do these French admirals brandish their swords
and then put them back? If they resist now, there may be some chance. Otherwise it is the end of Indo-China.
PURANI: Yes. Besides, the Chinese have announced that they will resist
Japan's claim. So they can combine.
NIRODBARAN: Japan is following the Russian policy. First base, then government.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, change of government by the Left and then "you".
SATYENDRA: The British have quietly withdrawn their forces from Shanghai.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that is more dignified.
NIRODBARAN: The Ptain Government is putting one hundred people on
trial for bringing France into the war! And Mandel is the main figure.
SRI AUROBINDO: Mandel is the only man, clean and honest, who has not
made money from politics. Laval and others are afraid of him. He is unpopular because of his straightforwardness.
SATYENDRA: He is a Jew. He refused to join his party with Ribbentrop
when the latter proclaimed eternal friendship with France in 1937.
SRI AUROBINDO: The result of his eternal friendship is the swallowing up
of a part of France.
SATYENDRA: The Indian Express say that the Congress ought to accept
the Viceroy's offer, otherwise other people will come and take it.

SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. M.N. Roy has also advised unconditional support to the British Government. For once he has agreed with me.
NIRODBARAN: How? You didn't mean unconditional support!
SRI AUROBINDO: They ought to have done that at the beginning as
Gandhi had said. They would have got much more and British public opinion also would have swung round. Even now if they accept the Viceroy's offer, it will come to the same thing. Otherwise they will either have to start
civil disobedience or keep hanging.
NIRODBARAN: You said that if the British gave Dominion Status to India,
a large part of their Karma would be wiped off
NIRODBARAN: Now they have offered it but if India doesn't accept, what
will be the result to British Karma?
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know!
PURANI: But where have they offered Dominion Status?
SRI AUROBINDO: Why, it is the same thing. They have offered "free and
equal partnership in the Commonwealth". That is the same as Dominion Status. They can't call it Dominion Status because Jinnah is opposed to it and
the Congress too. Where it falls short is on the question of the minoritiesif
the minorities don't accept it, it can't be given. There is also the question of
the expansion of the council, but that could be turned into a National Government later. And the other point against the offer is where they speak of
their obligation to other people. I suppose they mean the native states.
NIRODBARAN: Gandhi is against abolition of the states.
SRI AUROBINDO: But Jawaharlal and all the socialists are not. So the only
thing that really stands in the way is disagreement among Indians themselves.
PURANI: Yes, and we always put the blame on the English; we don't see
our own faults. If we don't come to any measure of agreement, what can
they do?
PURANI: People say the British are causing and continuing the disagreement.

SRI AUROBINDO: Nonsense. As if there were no differences in India before. If people think that after the British withdrawal will be united, they
will find it an illusion.

11 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: It seems that behind Japan's demand for naval military bases in
Indo-China, there must be Hitler's pressure on the Ptain Government to accede to the Japanese demand.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite possible.
PURANI: Hitler may want the Japanese to act as a check against the British
and keep them engaged in the East while he carries the invasion.
SRI AUROBINDO: Perhaps. Japan is still talking only of Indo-China, the
East Indies and the South Sea Isles and not talking furtherr than that. But she
may start an attack on Singapore after settling in those places. In that way
the Japanese are a remarkable people. To them the first thing comes first;
they can wait for the next. Once their scheme is fixed, they can wait for
years to carry it out, and when the right moment comes they strike. Japan's
influence in the East is, of course, good for us. It will serve as a counterpoise
against Hitler and Stalin if England goes down and in the meantime we can
prepare as much as we can unless we fly at each other's throat. We heard the
other dayI don't know wheremaybe on the radio, that the Kuomintang
met and spoke of reducing the suffering of the people. The leaders wanted to
adopt a pro-Fascist policy by lining up with Germany. That means the whole
of the Far East for Japan. There was no confirmation of that news.
PURANI: Everybody is becoming pro-German now. The result of the
French collapse.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they think England will go down but are not quite
sure. This is the first time the French Government is yielding like thatso
flat and miserable. It must be very decadent
SATYENDRA: Malaviya is doing Shanti Swastyana now.
NIRODBARAN: There was in the New Statesman and Nation controversy
over the efficacy of prayer. A taxi-driver said that the Belgian defection was
the result of prayer.
SRI AUROBINDO: A humorous taxi-driver!

SATYENDRA: And another person said that the evacuation at Dunkirk was
also the result of prayer.
NIRODBARAN: Some people here said jokingly that the Mother's gift to
France was responsible for its collapse, as it came one week after the gift
and they hope that England won't suffer such consequences after her gift to
SRI AUROBINDO: It may be said that this Channel-victory (sixty German
planes lost) was due to that. Others may say something else. But the real
purpose of the gift was to counteract the pro-Nazi propaganda in the Ashram
and in that respect it has been successful.
PURANI: Hitler's 10th August has passed and nothing has happened.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. The threat to Indo-China, may be this event of the
SATYENDRA: One M.P. has contributed one lakh pounds to replace the
sixteen British aeroplanes lost in the last German raid. Madras has given
some money for two aeroplaneswhether for training or for the air force,
we don't know.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Madras squadron of one aeroplane. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Dr. Mahendra Sircar has written to Charu Dutt that the
Mother's gift to the Indian Government has surprised many in Calcutta. He
wants some elucidation.
SATYENDRA: Why has Mahendra Sircar suddenly taken interest?
SRI AUROBINDO: There have been many others. Somebody has come
from Calcutta to get elucidation on it. Jatin Sen Gupta protested at first when
we gave ten thousand francs to France. But this gift to the Indian Government he has appreciated. But it should be plain enough: I want Hitler to be
knocked down.
NIRODBARAN: I don't understand how Dr. Sircar can ask that question. Is
he anti-British?
PURANI: Doesn't he know what will happen to him if Hitler comes to India?

SRI AUROBINDO: He will lose his pension or Mussolini may allow it for
the sake of old times!

12 AUGUST 1940
SRI AUROBINDO (addressing Purani): Do you remember when Bose was
PURANI: It must have been about a month backin July.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then how can they say that Bose met Baron on the 4th?
Not only that, even after the interview Baron met the Bengal Governor and
expressed his confidence in Bose. What is the matter then?
PURANI: Perhaps the Indian Government has taken steps over the head of
the Bengal Government. But even so, they usually inform the local Government.
PURANI: About Baron, perhaps Bonvain is trying to stay in tune with the
Ptain Government and at the same time satisfy the British. Baron spoke
openly in favour of alliance with the British in Calcutta.
SRI AUROBINDO: It seems to be a mystery. The Indian Government is refusing telegrams from the French it seems. If so, it may be a retaliation
against the French for their action against the British in Syria.
Have you read Gandhi's argument in favour of Ahimsa? He says that
non-violence has been in progress and that De Gaulle has now advised it to
the French.
PURANI: That is because they have no other way.
SRI AUROBINDO: Gandhi admits that.
Sri Aurobindo was given Moni's article to read in reply to Meghnad Saha.
Nolini Sen was much hurt by Moni's personal attack against Meghnad.
SRI AUROBINDO: I have read Moni's article(laughing) it is personal all
through. One can't but feel the sting there and the force. But Meghnad has
also made personal attacks. So neither has any reason to complain.
PURANI: No. Moni's criticism can't be without personal attack.

13 AUGUST 1940
NIRODBARAN: Azad has refused to see the Viceroy.
SRI AUROBINDO: He has refused?
NIRODBARAN: Yes, he says that as there is no common ground, no use of
any interview.
SATYENDRA: They will send a formal reply after the Working Committee
NIRODBARAN: And Nehru finds a wide gulf between the Congress demand and the Viceroy's statement.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh Nehru! But he should have seen the Viceroy. At
least Gandhi would have done that.
PURANI: No. All the same, since Kher and others are meeting the Viceroy
they will know what he has to say.
SRI AUROBINDO: Where is the Viceroy now? In Hyderabad?
PURANI: Perhaps. He wants twenty crores from the Nizam, it seems.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that is because the Nizam is anti-British, perhaps?
So the Viceroy wants to squeeze out whatever he can before the English go
down. Doesn't want to leave anything for Hitler. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: But why is the Nizam anti-British?
SRI AUROBINDO: Don't know, this is a funny worlda joke.
PURANI: Montbrun has already made a broadcast from Madras. He has
now left for England to fight. He wants to be somebody and if England
wins, he may be that.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, if England wins. But that is the risk an ambitious
person has to take, and he is very ambitious.
PURANI: Dara has become double now. How fat he has grown!
SRI AUROBINDO: Is there room for that? And will his room hold him?


14 AUGUST 1940
Regarding Amery's statement, Sri Aurobindo remarked that minority question is a black spot because it leaves the power of vetoing with them.

16 AUGUST 1940
Today's evening radio says that 144 German planes have been brought
down in Englandthe biggest number so far.
CHAMPAKLAL: That is the result of Darshan.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): The day of Hitler's triumphal entry into England!
NIRODBARAN: It seems Anandamayee of Dacca is dead.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh! She is dead.
NIRODBARAN: It is reported in the paper.
SRI AUROBINDO: The disciples have killed her as they tried to do with the
Maharshi by giving him dyspepsia?
NIRODBARAN: They say it must be due to the Divine Will.
SRI AUROBINDO: Everything is due to the Divine Will because the Divine
Will is at the back of everything. But what is the Divine Will? The Will
works through various factorsforces, one's own nature, etc. The murderer
also can say that behind his murder there is the Divine Will. Then his being
hanged also has to be taken in that light. Lele supported his queer acts by
saying they were due to the Divine Will. If everything is taken like that,
what is the use of doing Yoga?
(To Purani) I hear that the Darshan was a very happy one.
PURANI: Yes, many people say that. Plenty of people saw you smiling.
NIRODBARAN: Dilip also said it was a very happy Darshan. But they want
to know what your impression was.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, that! Ali looked as if he was the Nizam.
PURANI: You recognised Dutt this time?
SRI AUROBINDO; Yes, I recognised him by the old cut of his face as well
as by the man behind.

17 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: Italy is trying to foment trouble in Greece.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and she says it is for the sake of the Albanians.
Wonderful people these!
NIRODBARAN: I asked Ajit Chakravarty his opinion about Dilip's poetry
and why Dilip is not appreciated in Bengal. He says that Dilip has not been
able to blend bhava and bhasha1 together and there are many lapses in his
poetry. Of course, some of his pieces are very good, but they are very few.
He doesn't consider that because Dilip has cut a new line he is not popular.
SRI AUROBINDO: The reason they don't like his poetry is because it is not
traditional. It is mental poetry and not emotional like Nishikanta's.
SATYENDRA (before the topic could proceed further): We all heard
Bhishma's music last night. (All of us expressed our appreciation of it in
spite of its being only raga music.)
SRI AUROBINDO (after listening to us quietly, without making any remarks and then smiling): Unlike the other arts, music doesn't seem to have
been modernised. There is no room for Cubism in music.
Some friend has written to Purani that as he thinks everything is happening
according to the Divine Will, there is no such thing as right or wrong.
SRI AUROBINDO: Does he actually feel or perceive it or is it only a mental
PURANI: Can't say. Looks as though he perceives it.
SRI AUROBINDO: What he may perceive may be the Cosmic Force. But
what we seek is something higher than the Cosmic Force. One may say that
the Cosmic Force is also the Divine Force or the Mother's Force. True, but
the Mother's Force is acting through it under certain conditions for a certain
purpose. The Cosmic Force works through Nature, which one has to observe
and reject. Then it is not the question of right or wrong that has to be considered, but of Ignorance and Knowledge. Cosmic Force works in Ignorance
according to the Law of Ignorance, whereas one has to pass from Ignorance
to Knowledge.
[1] bhava: mood, Sentiment; bhasha: speech, words.

18 AUGUST 1940
NIRODBARAN: Some time ago a long controversy was going on in Bengal
regarding the place of katha in music: whether katha is greater or sur.1
Though we know nothing of musical technique, we liked Bhishma's music
so much that katha didn't seem at all necessary. Pure sur seems to have as
much appeal.
SRI AUROBINDO: Pure music need not have any words. If words are
there, they are an addition. They are not absolutely necessary. (Sri Aurobindo repeated this twice for emphasis.) If you say you can't have pure
music without words, you can also say you can't paint a subject which is not
NIRODBARAN: Tagore places a great value on words and he has developed his new Bengali music with importance given to katha and his own
particular sur which nobody is allowed to vary.
SRI AUROBINDO: Is Tagore a musician?
NIRODBARAN: If I am right, Dilip also agrees with Tagore about the value
of words and their place in music.
SRI AUROBINDO: Does he? That means then that he is a singer and not a
musician. Like all other arts music has its own medium and it stands by itself. If it depended on words or poetry, it would be the poet's music.
SATYENDRA: Veena, sitar, etc., have no words to express, but their tunes
are music all the same.
NIRODBARAN: Tagore contends that ustadi music2 has now become much
a matter of technique. There is no life in it. Perhaps because of that he
doesn't like it.
SRI AUROBINDO: If it is technique only, it is not music.
NIRODBARAN: He says Bengali music must take its own way of expression and words will have a great place.
SRI AUROBINDO: Is music to be a commentary on words?
NIRODBARAN: He thinks that ustadi music is dead and has no chance of
revival; its age is passed.
[1] katha: words, narrative; sur. music, melody, tune.
[2] The music of the ustads or musical masters.

SRI AUROBINDO: That is because classical music has degenerated. But
that doesn't mean it shouldn't be revived and the remedy is not to give value
to words or poetry, but to the soul of music. To leave it or forget it is not the
way out. If words are indispensable for the appreciation of music, how can
an Englishman listen to Italian music and like it?
SATYENDRA: Appreciation of pure music requires training.
PURANI: Everybody can't appreciate or criticise music. The ear and the aesthetic faculty have to be trained. You can see in Bhishmadev and Biren that
they enter into the spirit of music. Beethoven's Symphonies are played with
instruments only. When Bhishmadev sings you can see that he is conscious
only of the notes and not of the words and that he tries to communicate his
emotion through the notes.
NIRODBARAN: Some people say Dilip's music is spiritual and Bhishmadev's is aesthetic.
SATYENDRA: That is because Dilip sings Bhajans and religious songs.
PURANI: What I have found in Dilip's music is that the atmosphere created
is due to something other than the musichis personality, maybe.
NIRODBARAN: Can pure music be spiritual?
SATYENDRA: So far as the spiritual atmosphere is concerned, it doesn't require a great musician to bring it. A spiritual person singing some devotional
songs can create it.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is why I don't grant the contention of the modernist poets that in order to appreciate modern poetry you must read the poems aloud, because a clever elocutionist can make much out of bad and
commonplace poetry. A poem which has no rhythm will sound very beautiful if read by an elocutionist.
NIRODBARAN: The same thing is said of Dilip's poetry: that when he
reads it aloud, people like it, but they call it apathya (unreadable) when they
try to read it. That is due, I think, to his new technique. Unless one knows
the chhanda, one will stumble. It is not Tagore's simple and smooth
SRI AUROBINDO: There are two things in Dilip's poeetrysubject and
treatment. As regards the subject, he follows the pre-Tagore Bengali poetry

which is intellectual poetryperhaps due to his father's influence, which I
liked and miss in later poetry. He takes up an idea and puts it into poetical
form. It is a poetry written from the poetic intelligence, as I say. The treatment is, as you say, his own technique which is a departure from old tradition. Tagore has brought in a new element of feeling and imagination and, as
he is a genius, his poetry is beautiful. But Tagore can diffuse himself fifty or
sixty lines and even then his idea doesn't come out. After Tagore, Bengali
poetry has become wishy-washy. There is no intellectual backbone.
NIRODBARAN: Motilal has a certain originality.
PURANI: Even in his poetry Tagore talks of death.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): Yes. In his Oxford convocation address he
also did that. It is perhaps a form of self-defence. He may believe that by
talking of death constantly, he will avoid it.
SRI AUROBINDO (addressing Purani): Have you read Gandhi's new programme for mankind?
PURANI: No. What does he say?
SRI AUROBINDO: He wants to make everybody equal. Everybody will
have a good house to live in and good food and, of course, khaddar. Nobody
has yet been able to do this, though, not even Russia!
PURANI: We would like to see how he does it....
The Ptain Government has again declared its intention to resist a Japanese
move in Indo-China.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes, they are adopting a see-saw policy.
First they started hobnobbing with Japan, then tried to be fraternal, then tried
to be friendly with China, turned again towards Japan and now combine
against her. If the news is true, it means that Hitler doesn't want Japan to be
master of the East.
NIRODBARAN: This eccentric Ajit Chakravarty asked Sisir
SRI AUROBINDO: Is he an eccentric?


NIRODBARAN: No, I mean unsteady. He asked Sisir what he thinks and
feels about you. Sisir replied, "That is a needless question. What did you
feel?" Ajit said he felt as if you could shake the world (Sri Aurobindo
smiled) and about Mother he felt extreme sweetness. He is also a great lover
of poetry.
PURANI: He met Moni. He likes Moni's poetry better than his prose.
SRI AUROBINDO: I am afraid I can't agree. That is because he is a lover of
poetry. Moni's prose has a force, especially his imaginative prose is remarkable. His prose Hasanter Patra (Letters of Hasanta) is good, but the other is
better. In the prose of Hasanter Patra one cannot but feel the sting.
NIRODBARAN: Ajit likes Jyoti's prose better than her poetry.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is because her prose may be more mature. Her poetry is brilliant, but not mature yet.
NIRODBARAN: About her prose in that book Sandhane, Ajit said it is mature writing, though it was written earlier than Rakta Golap. About Rakta
Golap he is not very keen. The style is very good, the poetry also and it is
suggestive, but it is not a mature work. That is true, I think; her whole concentration was on style and the plot is a sort of mysticism.
SRI AUROBINDO: Mysticism in a novel? That is good in a short story.
PURANI: And there is plenty of talk and discussion.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is Dilip. That is better left to him. I turned the
pages of his books here and there, and everywhere I found people talking
and talking.
NIRODBARAN: That is the type and character of the intellectual novel,
they say, which is not only story.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that is the Western influence, probably, In the New
Statesman and Nation I read somebody who said that now the novel has
been made a vehicle for everything: business, politics, religion, etc.
NIRODBARAN: Ajit found a mistake in a poem of mine where I had written "Cast away on a shoreless sea". He says that "cast away" means on an island or on a shore, but not in the sense of cast adrift.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is not bound by that meaning.

NIRODBARAN: And about Dilip's poetry, he says his English is better than
his Bengali.
SRI AUROBINDO: He is mistaken.
NIRODBARAN: According to him, Dilip has not been able to blend bhava
and expression correctly. About the expression "unbargaining hyaline"
which Dilip has used somewhere, Ajit says it is not good English.
SRI AUROBINDO: Can't say without knowing the context. If it is something like "unbargaining hyaline of aspiration" it is all right.
NIRODBARAN: He seems to mean that "hyaline" is a fine word, while
"bargaining" is common. So the two don't blend.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is an old idea. Sometimes such combinations are
used more effectively, with more force.
NIRODBARAN: It seems that, while in Shantiniketan, Ajit used to be so absorbed in classes that he would teach for three or four hours at a stretch, at
the expense of the other professors.
SRI AUROBINDO: Is that why he has been driven out from there?
NIRODBARAN: Don't know; more probably due to his habits.
Anilbaran, discussing in one of his articles the causes of the degeneration of
India, has written that its vitality was lost but one can't offer any explanation as to why it was lost.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why no explanation? Things get stereotyped and tied to
forms and so degeneration sets in. It is everywhere the same. After long periods of activity, the degeneration comes unless the race finds a renewing
source. For instance, when Buddhism came in as a shock, it pervaded the
whole of life and brought in a new current everywhere. The saints and Bhaktas can't exert that kind of influence because their urge doesn't pervade the
whole of life. It is confined to religion and hence degeneration may come in
the life of a nation in spite of its saints and Bhaktas.
Anilbaran's point about Russian religion being mere superstition is only
an echo.
NIRODBARAN (after everybody had gone away): Dilip says that for music
to be spiritual it must be conscious.

SRI AUROBINDO: That is all right.
NIRODBARAN: But can't one be unconsciously spiritual while singing?
Can't one write spiritual poetry without knowing it?
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't see how one can. If one writes spiritual poetry,
one will be conscious of it. Cesar Franck had a spiritual influence in his music. When Mother asked him if he knew that, he said, "Of course!" Dilip's
music is spiritual due to long periods of devotional singing with words and
music combined.

20 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: The Chinese Professor Tan Sen observed the 15th in Shantiniketan, it seems.
Krishnalal has drawn a horse this month. Satyendra remarked that the
horse has checked the German onslaught. In the Indian tradition the vahana
or vehicle of KaIki, the last Avatar, is said to be the horse.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, Krishnalal is very apposite and has some power of
intuition. Just when the Germans began their attack, he painted an eagle, as
if swooping down on its prey, and then there was the monkey picture representing the refugees. The picture of the goat represented the English waiting
for the attack. And now the horse. He has a remarkable gift in drawing animals.
SATYENDRA: Here the horse has taken the classical pose.
NIRODBARAN: Dr. Amiya Sankar in his planchette sittings was told by
Vivekananda's spirit that he wouldn't have his realisation in this life, that he
would die about twenty-two years later, and that one year afterwards he
would be born again with Vivekananda. Sri Aurobindo would still be alive
and in that life Amiya Sankar would have his realisation. "Is that true?" he
asks. (There was a burst of laughter as the information was conveyed.)
SRI AUROBINDO: Has he any justification for belief in these things?
NIRODBARAN: He says he got two things rightone about the possibility
of a sea-voyage. The spirit said "Yes" and it was correct.

SRI AUROBINDO: Anyone could say that. Our Baroda instances are more
striking than that.
SATYENDRA: How does he know it was Vivekanand's spirit?
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. Vivekananda's spirit must have other things to
do by now.
NIRODBARAN: He said also that Amiya Sankar had been Sri Chaitanya's
playmate. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Was it found true? (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: Why should great souls come to such sittings?
SRI AUROBINDO: What people wonder at is they should come and talk all
sorts of rubbish. These things, as far as they are not communications from
the subconscient mind, are communications of lower forces, even vitalphysical ones. I remember one instance. In Calcutta I went to attend a sitting. The spirit violently objected to my presence and said that it was painful
to him. In another instance the spirit was asked to prove his presence by eating a sandesh which was there. Somebody took hold of the sandesh and
asked take it from him by force. His hand got so twisted that he cried out in
pain. Evidently something was there apart from the communication of his
subconscient mind.
PURANI: Moore has reviewed the second volume of The Life Divine.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but he hasn't understood it. He wants me to go
back to politics for the establishment of the New World Order, while I have
said that it is not through politics that it will come.
NIRODBARAN: He seems to have said that England will form the nucleus
of the New Order.
SRI AUROBINDO: If France had accepted England's offer of joint citizenship, it might have been so.
PURANI: The Italians have occupied British Somaliland. In the popular
mind this may cause some loss of prestige for the British. People will say,
"Even the Italians couldn't be defeated?"
SRI AUROBINDO: But the British didn't want to defend that territory. They
decided at the very start not to defend it. They say it is of no strategic impor368

tance. I expected them to withdraw; in fact I foresaw it. No, in war minor
points must be sacrificed for greater ones. Egypt and Palestine are more important. I wonder if they have sufficient forces there.
PURANI: Egypt wants to defend hereself now. Such neutrality as Egypt's is
worse than belligerency.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. I have the impression that the British haven't
enough forces there. In Syria they have only 200,000 troops or so. Of
course, it is the French defection that has exposed their flanks.
PURANI: Yes, they relied on the French troops.
SRI AUROBINDO: Gibraltar and the Suez are points of vital importance.
England by itself can be defended, perhaps, but if these are lost then it will
be dangerous for England.
PURANI: If Spain doesn't come in then Gibraltar can be defended.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the whole point.
NIRODBARAN: Now that England has regained her prestige, Spain may
hesitate to join Germany. In Alexandria the French have joined De Gaulle, it
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. (Looking at Purani) Have you seen De Gaulle's
photo? He seems a strong man and young.

21 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: Churchill in his speech appears to have said that France will be
compelled to declare war against England.
SRI AUROBINDO: Has he said that? Or what has he actually said? For if
he has said that, there must be some truth in it. He wouldn't have said it if he
didn't know something. It is of tremendous importance for us.
NIRODBARAN: It won't come quite as a surprise. One by one the Vichy
Government is taking steps leading to that.
SATYENDRA: The world seems to be getting chaotic. But if such a thing
happens, the British Government will grab Pondy at once.


NIRODBARAN: The British Government has thanked the Nizam for his
contribution. But the Nizam must be smarting and cursing within for the loss
of his money.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): They specially thanked Sir Akbar for it.
NIRODBARAN: The rumour about the naval bases being ceded to America
seems to be true, though it was rejected at first as baseless.
PURANI: And the American Navy will patrol the Canadian waters, they say.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): It is practically an alliance.
NIRODBARAN: Some sections say that this is a move towards joining the
war. How slowly and carefully Roosevelt is moving!
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he will be freer after November. Of course, the
Congress will still be there, but the Congress also will be freer. Even if he is
not reelected as President, he may bind the next President to some course of
action; for the next President comes in January, I believe.
NIRODBARAN: England can hold out till November, I hope.
SATYENDRA: Oh yes. In winter the operations have to be slower.
PURANI: Hitler is trying to find Britain's weak spots by these small air attacks. But if Spain and France join Hitler
SRI AUROBINDO: Then it will be formidable.
PURANI: Hitler is trying to drag in France.
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case, it will end in a revolution in France. The
French are already reluctant to fight Germany. They will be still more so
against Britain.
Purani asked Sri Aurobindo if he had finished Coomaraswamy's book on art
and what he thought about it.
SRI AUROBINDO: His book is one-sided. No doubt, art is cosmic, universal; it is not concerned with personality. But the artist expresses his inspiration and in that there must be the stamp of his individuality, as you find in
the case of great artists and poets. Take for instance the Greek poets or the
French dramatists. They follow the same tradition, national custom, etc., but

each has his own individual stamp. An artist does not express his personality, but it is stamped on his work.
PURANI: Coomaraswamy says Leonardo da Vinci followed tradition, there
is no stamp of personality on his art.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not correct. What Coomaraswamy says about the inner
and the outer vision is correct and interesting. The East has followed the inner vision in art, while the West the outer; but by outer is not meant simply
the surface but the deeper things of the world.

22 AUGUST 1940
There was talk again about the Baron-Schomberg affair; it was said that it
was Schomberg who had made all the mischief.
PURANI: Ali has heard from somebody that you have remarked about his
progress since Darshan.
SRI AUROBINDO: When did I say that?
PURANI: That was what I was wondering about. I told him that you might
have said you had been pleased with him or something like that. Alys said,
"Sri Aurobindo doesn't say anything about me! Every time it is Ali and Ali.
He doesn't find me good, perhaps!" (Laughter) I consoled her.
SRI AUROBINDO: You could have said that it goes without saying in her

23 AUGUST 1940
SRI AUROBINDO: The Viceroy, it seems, has wired to Bonvain that the
Governor of Bengal wants Baron back in Pondicherry. He won't accept the
man who is to replace him. When Schomberg was told this news, he broke
It came out that Schomberg was a staunch Catholic and had taken Holy Orders and so was as good as a priest. He was therefore working under the in fluence of the priests here. Baron being in connection with us, the priests
had turned against him.

SRI AUROBINDO: Schomberg is a Jesuit. There is a general opinion that a
Jesuit can tell any lie if it serves the glory of God.
Today's news announced Trotsky's death at an assassin's hand. Somebody
said, "Stalin's last enemy is gone!" He was in dread of Trotsky, it seems.
NIRODBARAN: But how is it Trotsky was thrown out by Stalin?
SRI AUROBINDO: He was a good organiser, but not a man to lead a revolution. He did not have sufficient vital force to support his action. That
doesn't mean he was not a man of action, but he acted with his brain rather
than with the vital force. Stalin has more vital force. He has no intellect, but
has a clever and cunning brain. Lenin combined both intellect and vital
force. Trotsky's actions were more of an intellectual nature. His very cut of
face shows that he is more of an intellectual type. Such people work better
under a leader, not by themselves. Like Subhas Bose, for instance. He did
very good work under Das.
Here Purani mentioned some people in Gujarat who could work only under
somebody's guidance.
SRI AUROBINDO: Charu Dutt's summary of The Life Divine is not bad.
But there are one or two mistakes. He says that I have derived my technique
from Shankara. What does he mean by technique? I don't know that I have
got my technique from anybody. Again, he says that I have laid insistence on
service to humanity.
PURANI: That is perhaps the old idea people are repeating.

24 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: Spain is not very eager to join Italy and Germany, it seems.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, this British resistance has removed many dangers.
PURANI: Spain is getting financial help from Britain for reconstruction of
her Government, and she must be afraid of a British blockade if she joins
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. To get help from Hitler in financial matters is the
least thing possible.

SRI AUROBINDO: The Governor has warned Baron against Schomberg,
saying that he is a scoundrel and will try to do harm to him. The charge
against Baron is that he mixed with revolutionaries.
PURANI: Meaning us?
SRI AUROBINDO: Who else could it be? This Viceroy seems to be kanpatla (credulous). What Schomberg said he quietly believed and acted on it,
and now what the Bengal Governor says he believes! That is why his conferences are not successful.
PURANI: Yes, he is influenced by the opinion of the Civil Service.
SRI AUROBINDO: This Bengal Governor seems to be a man of will.

25 AUGUST 1940
PURANI: Baudoin is speaking like Hitler.
PURANI: He says Britain is continuing the war and will bring ruin on the
world because of it. As Hitler says, "I don't see why the war should go on."
NIRODBARAN: Baudoin says it would have been cowardly and derogatory
to leave France and fight German from the colonies.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is cowardice to fight but heroism to surrender. He is
another scoundrel and swindler like Laval. Many of these people had their
money deposited in Germany before the war and when the war broke out
Hitler stopped all payments except to these people in order to keep them in
his hands.

26 AUGUST 1940
Anilbaran has again asked why the vitality of a nation is lost after a certain
time and the nation degenerates. He says that for him it is inexplicable.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why inexplicable? There are many factors. It would
take too long to list them all, but the essential thing is that in every civilisation and culture there is a period of decline unless some new force is found,
a process of new birth to give a fresh impulse to the life-force. Otherwise the

old life-force gets exhausted and, if not renewed, the nation decays. The
same thing happened with the Greek and Roman civilisations.
PURANI: Could it be that some higher beings took birth and built the Greek
SRI AUROBINDO: How? The Greek civilisation was not spiritual. It was
intellectual and aesthetic; it was more subtle and delicate than the Roman
civilisation, which was more massive and had more strength and discipline
than the Greek. That is why it lasted longer than the Greek civilisation.
Purani spoke of some healer with occult power somewhere in Uttar Pradesh
an educated man. He had performed many miraculous cures, even cures
of mad people. The cases had been verified by Abhay. But one thing peculiar
was that he didn't have that descent of power after food, so there was no
cure after eating.
SRI AUROBINDO: The physical may not be in a proper condition after
food. Food lowers the consciousness.

29 AUGUST 1940
Purani spoke to Sri Aurobindo about a professor of psychology at Delhi
College, who had promised Abhay to give his services to some national
cause. Abhay now wants him at Gurukul, according to his promise. But the
professor hesitates on many grounds. The main reason is that there is no
freedom of expression there. So he is in difficulty over the decision.
SRI AUROBINDO: Abhay is very keen on service.
PURANI: Yes, and also on keeping to one's promise. He couldn't forgive
Govindbhai's coming here, only because Govindbhai had given his promise
that he would serve under Gandhi.
SRI AUROBINDO: Suppose I promise to go to Calcutta in six months. If it
turns out disadvantageous, must I still go because of my promise? He should
take some training under Meher Baba. (Laughter) What would he say to
Meher Baba's bringing people all the way to India from England to take
them to China and then changing the plan and turning them back? But such
things are nearer to spirituality than these fixed ideas, because one is not
bound to anything.

PURANI: This professor, knowing some psychology, tries to give psychological treatment by suggestions. But he is not sure if he is doing right or doing harm.
SRI AUROBINDO: All depends on the suggestions.
PURANI: Those usual things about suppression.
SRI AUROBINDO: But it is not always true that what is suppressed rushes
up some time later. One has to consider the contrary thing also, that indulging them may become a habit. Just as suppressed actions may rise up
later, so too by indulgence one doesn't become free of them.

PURANI: I read Gandhi's queer argument about non-violence with Kher and
others. Kher said that during the Bombay riot even the non-violent leaders
refused to risk and sacrifice their lives to stop the riot. Gandhi says, "That
supports my argument." (Laughter) I am simply at a loss to understand how
it supports his argument. Then he says, "If they had sacrificed themselves,
then the riot would have stopped."
SRI AUROBINDO: "If" they had! All depends on "ifs" and expectations.
Gandhi is not a psychologist. During his Dandi march, though they didn't do
any acts of violence, the leaders' minds were full of violence. In fact it was
because of the opportunity violence would give that they joined the movement. And then he supports prohibition. Prohibition under compulsion is violence. There is no compulsion unless there is violence.
PURANI: He says a child has to be forced to do good things and that this
wouldn't be violence. But then the British Government can say that it is for
our good that they are doing all these things, that it is they who have given
unity to India.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is true. Only, the trouble is, we haven't got that
unity. (Laughter)
After this there was some talk on Science, especially Relativity, which
started by reference to the term "light-year" which Sri Aurobindo used in
The Life Divine. Nolini Sen had pointed out that scientists didn't use it in
that sense, so the term was changed to "light-cycle". Jatin Bal supplied
many quotations from Jeans, Eddington, etc., on various points. In our dis375

cussion Sri Aurobindo refused to accept Time as a dimension of Space. Purani noted, in connection with the complicated mathematical formulas involved, that scientists had first thought Science would be understood by everybody. Now only the scientists can understand anything about Science.
SRI AUROBINDO: They are becoming metaphysical physicists. It is like
poetry. Dr. Leavis said that poetry would be understood by fewer and fewer
people gradually.
PURANI: Scientists say that the sum of universal energy is always the same.
SRI AUROBINDO: I do not agree. Is it proved? If not, why can't there be
something behind that is constantly putting forth energy into the universe?
About the Law of Entropy Sri Aurobindo also didn't agree.
SRI AUROBINDO: One sun may be losing heat, but another sun may be
created and thus perpetual creation go on. Nobody knows when creation began.
PURANI: They say, for instance, that from a machine some energy is always lost, and for that reason a machine can't operate perpetually.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is about man-made machines. Nature is cleverer
than man and, besides, in future machines may be created which will go on
perpetually. What happens to the energy that is lost?
PURANI: It goes to the common stock of spent energy. It is no longer available.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why? Why can't it be available in another form? What
has been available once is always available.
PURANI: When you burn coal for energy, you can't get the coal back.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is true about coal because it disintegrates.
Sri Aurobindo also said that the Quantum Theory was tending towards our
Indian Vayu theory without the scientists knowing it. About the deflection of
starlight towards the sun, he asked:
SRI AUROBINDO: Why should it curve towards the sun?
PURANI: Because the sun contains matter, they say. Suleiman is now questioning Einstein's theory. He stands for Newton.

SRI AUROBINDO: Einstein's theory seems to me fantastic. (At this time
some dogs were barking outside.) There, they are protesting against Einstein!

SRI AUROBINDO: Radhakrishnan finds contradictory statements in Buddhism about the Self. In one place, he says, it doesn't recognise the Self and
in another it takes the Self as the sole refuge and giver of enlightenment.
PURANI: Yes, that is a famous quotation. But we thought that Buddhism
doesn't recognise the Self.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, perhaps it means the phenomenal self.
SATYENDRA: Krishnaprem gives a different interpretation to Buddhism.
He says Nirvana is only a half-way house.
SRI AUROBINDO: That agrees with my experience.
SATYENDRA: In one of his letters I saw that he didn't agree with you about
some idea of Buddhism. I don't remember exactly what it was.
SRI AUROBINDO: What I might have said or now say about Buddhism is
based on the current idea about Buddhism. Krishnaprem puts his own interpretation.
NIRODBARAN: He follows the Mahayana school.
SRI AUROBINDO: Mahayana is nearer to the Advaita school.
SATYENDRA: Even Mahayana teachings may be a modern interpretation.
Nobody knows what Buddha said.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. My impression is that even Mahayana has no clear
idea about the ultimate concepts.

NIRODBARAN: Charu Dutt is impressed by the fact that here there are apparently no demigods, while in Shantiniketan you find at every corner such
demigods popping up their heads. Anilbaran, Nolini, etc. are inclined to
keep themselves more behind and aloof than in front.

SRI AUROBINDO: I see. Anilbaran and Nolini are not likely to interfere
with anybody. Suren and Ramachandra may.
CHAMPAKLAL: Here the condition or atmosphere is quite different. There
is no scope for anybody's domination, even if they wanted to. Isn't that correct?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, the desire to dominate is in everybody, but there is
no field here because of the Mother.
CHAMPAKLAL: Yes, that is what I meant.
Anilbaran couldn't understand one quotation in The Life Divine taken from
the Rig Veda:
"By the Names of the Lord and hers they shaped and measured the force
of the Mother of Light; wearing might after might of that Force as a
robe the lords of Maya shaped out Form in this Being.
The Masters of Maya shaped all by His Maya; the Fathers who have divine vision set Him within as a child that is to be born."
SRI AUROBINDO: What is the difficulty? It is very simple.
PURANI: He is asking because he will have to explain it to his class. He
wants to know what is meant by "Names" and how "might after might" can
be worn as a robe. (Loud laughter) ,
SRI AUROBINDO: What has become of his head? It is a metaphor and why
can't it be used as a metaphor? He can tell his students that these are mystic
expressions and that they will have to become mystics to understand them.
PURANI: Then he will have an easy escape.
SRI AUROBINDO (taking up the passage): "Names" means ideas, significances, and as for "might after might", the Divine Force is of various kinds,
each of which one takes up just as one wears a robe; all very simple. Ask
him to use his mystic mind instead of the professorial one.
PURANI: It seems Bonvain is going to declare for De Gaulle.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. The British Government has put pressure on him.
He must either declare for De Gaulle or the British Government will take
possession of Pondicherry.

Purani then reported that there had been a meeting of the Council in which
David and others had spoken about the matter; some, especially Baron and
the bank manager, favoured the idea, others opposed it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Baron's voice seems to have been drowned out in a
murmur of disapproval.
SATYENDRA: But why should there be any difficulty? The Governor has
been advised by Ptain: "Marchez avec les voisins."1
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but this is not "avec" but "vers les voisins",2 more
than what was asked. But this is the first time the British Government has
given such an ultimatum. They are feeling stronger, perhaps, after their alliance with America in the matter of the naval base.

SRI AUROBINDO (to Purani): Any more news about French India joining
De Gaulle?
PURANI: It seems the Governor has sent the resolution to the Viceroy.
SRI AUROBINDO: I understand that the French officials here have made
one condition with the Indian Government that if war breaks out in IndoChina they may be allowed to send troops there, and the Indian Government
has consented.
PURANI: But how is it possible? Indo-China is under the Ptain Government.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. So they may get shot by them. And it will be bad
for us.
PURANI: Scientists say that the light of a star passing close to the sun is deflected towards the sun; the light curves in this way because of the curvature
of space.
SRI AUROBINDO: How does space get a curvature and manage to do all
these stunts?
PURANI: Mathematically a curved space has been demonstrated.
[1] "Go along with your neighbours."
[2] Not "with" but "towards your neighbours".

SRI AUROBINDO: Mathematics is like reason. As by reason you can logicise anything, so by mathematics you can prove anything.
PURANI: But one has no means to verify these things. And the difficulty is
that if anybody questions them, these scientists at once reply that you must
first know mathematics. All these people get some idea first and then try to
fit the idea into their work.
SRI AUROBINDO: What Arjava said seems to be true, that according to the
way you approach Nature, Nature will answer you.
PURANI: And they say that mathematics is most impersonal.
SRI AUROBINDO: Nonsense! They used to say the same thing about Science. Algebra and geometry are like designs. They offer no theory on the
conception of the world, but only a structure.

Yesterday again there had been a rumour that the Governor was not going
to declare for De Gaulle.
PURANI: It has come in the Hindu like that: "The Governor announces..."
So there can't be any truth in that rumour.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is true he has declared for De Gaulle and also that
there won't be any mobilisation for Indo-China if a fight breaks out there.
The two things we wanted have happened: that he should reject the Ptain
Government and also any involvement in this Indo-China affair. But why are
these people, including Dr Andr, in favour of sending troops to IndoChina?
NIRODBARAN: Perhaps because Dr. Andr has his brother there.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, his brother is there?
PURANI: Yes, and many other relatives. Many people here have their relations there.
SRI AUROBINDO: But instead of sending troops, Andr should bring his
relatives back. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: M.N. Roy has been expelled from the Congress.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. I don't understand the reason.

NIRODBARAN: Because he makes freedom dependent on British support.
SRI AUROBINDO: But he is talking about world freedom and it is quite
true that unless Nazism is destroyed, there won't be any freedom anywhere.
PURANI: And if Hitler wins, India's freedom has no chance.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not in a century.
NIRODBARAN: Roy has also said that we must give unconditional support
to gain the sympathy of the British public.
SRI AUROBINDO: He is right. What sympathy the British have at present
will cool down if India persists in this attitude. They will say, "We have
promised them Dominion Status after the war, what more do they want?"
They can't understand fine distinctions.

PURANI:Udar has got an unexpurgated edition of Mem Kampf. If you want
to see
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't want to waste my time on it.
PURANI: Charu Dutt says that the modern poets are trying to follow Pope
and Dryden in their play with words, their metrical devices, etc.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? Pope and Dryden are very clear in what they say,
while you can't make out anything of the Modernists. As regards metre,
Pope and Dryden are formalists and limited. One may say they don't play
with words. The Modernists are unintelligible and their irregularities are eccentric. The only similarity they have is in their intellectuality and the ingenuity of their mind.
Sahana wrote an aphorism in which darkness indicates unwillingness to receive the Light. Dilip didn't agree.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is partly true. In one state it may be true, but in the
state of inconscience there is a temporary obstruction which produces an incapacity to receive even if one has the will. You can say it is also an unwillingness, but one of nature, not a personal unwillingness. In other cases, the
mind may be unwilling, or it may be willing but the vital may not agree. In
these cases you can say that one is unwilling.

Then there was some talk about Kalidasa's Raghuvamsha and Kumarasambhava. It seems that X found Raghuvamsha full of problems, questions of morality and immorality.
SRI AUROBINDO (to Purani): Have you been struck by a great number of
problems in Raghuvamsha? Kalidasa being concerned with morality and immorality?
PURANI (laughing): I thought Kalidasa was the last person to be concerned
with them. He was more concerned with beauty, the aesthetic aspect. No
ethical question troubled him.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. If it was a feeling, he was concerned with the
beauty of the feeling, if an idea, with the beauty of the idea.
PURANI: Some peopleBankim was one, I thinkare trying to make out
that Kumarasambhava is earlier than Raghuvamsha.
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't think so. Raghuvamsha is brilliant while Kumarasambhava is more mature, has more power and energy.

PURANI: Anilbaran seems to hold that the individual has no selective action. He is only an instrument, a puppet, an automaton of the Divine Will.
He has no individual choice.
SRI AUROBINDO: The individual is also the Supreme.
SATYENDRA: Yes, it is the Supreme that has become transcendent, universal and individual.
SRI AUROBINDO: How does Anilbaran come to his view of the individual?
PURANI: He quotes the Gita where Arjuna is said to be an instrument of the
SATYENDRA: But why then does Krishna ask him also to be manmana,
madbhakta (my-minded, my devotee)?
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. And why does he ask Arjuna to get rid of
Ahankara? (Sri Aurobindo quoted the passage.) Who is that "you" there? If

he makes the individual a mere puppet, an automaton, my whole philosophy
comes to nothing. Doesn't Anilbaran know that the individual has a Purusha
who is free to choose, accepting or rejecting? If according to his idea everything is done by the Divine Will, then a murderer can say that it is the Divine who is committing the murder and in that case there is no necessity of
doing Yoga because everything is being done by the Divine Will and so everything is perfect; there is nothing to change. And we shall have to concede
Shastri's demand to supply him with two thousand books because it is the
Divine Will! He says everybody doing anything here is right, because it is
the universal Divine Force, that is acting through him. About Arjuna, even if
he was an instrument, he was acting according to his own nature, in his own
way, by using his bow, and not like Bhishma and Bhima. There the selective
action comes in. Besides, he has been asked nimitta matra bhava, to be an
instrument for a particular purpose.
It is true that whatever is the ultimate Divine Will must fulfil itself, but
that doesn't mean the individual has no choice and is an automaton. These
are fundamental metaphysical facts true in another plane of consciousness or
spirituality. When one brings them down into the practical field, they create
great difficulties.
SATYENDRA: Only one who has gone into such planes of consciousness
can say that everything is done by the Divine. In the plane of Ignorance, one
can't say that; we would all come to Maya then.
PURANI: Mother also said that each truth has its own plane. What is true on
one plane may not be true on another.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Supreme takes three positions: transcendent, universal and individual. But it is the position that makes the difference. Here,
if the individual doesn't choose, where is the place of effort? Why do we insist on and demand consent? If we were to act without consent, it would create much difficulty. And, if, after proceeding on a wrong path, one realises
it, he won't be able to come back because it is the Divine Will that has led
him there. Then Nolin Bihari and some others would be quite right in saying
that the Divine Will was behind all their actions. Even when we contradicted
him, he was quite right in insisting on his own way.
PURANI: Anilbaran would say that even the selective action is chosen by
the Divine.

SRI AUROBINDO: Then the individual is the Divine and there is no longer
any individual and we come to Shankara. What is the meaning of my insistence on the One and the Many? Anilbaran seems to have a rigid mind. If he
reads my philosophy in that way, he will never understand it. It has to be
taken as a whole.
(After some time to Purani) You have seen that the Ptain Government is
in difficulty.
PURANI: Yes. The Axis is threatening them with complete occupation. But
it would be good if they did. The French will then be obliged to put up resistance again.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. I hope the news is true.
PURANI: People have submitted to all this mainly because of Ptain .
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they thought, "After all it is Ptain!"
PURANI: And now if Ptain is forced out, it will be difficult to hold the
SRI AUROBINDO: Then also, "After all, Ptain?" (Laughter)

PURANI: Anilbaran says you have written in The Mother that one has to be
an instrument of the Divine.
SRI AUROBINDO: But that is about work only. An individual is not only
an instrument. He is a lover (Bhakta) and knower (Jnani) as well. If I have
written about the instrument, I have also written about effort and rejection in
the earlier part. If he says that passivity is an intermediate stage, that is another matter. Otherwise, by simple passivity you expose yourself to various
forces, as Lele did, thinking that everything is being done by the Divine.
PURANI: Besides, one can't lift one passage out of its context and apply it
in a general way.
SRI AUROBINDO: I have very clearly said that the individuals not an automaton. His consent is required. He has to be a conscious, living and consenting instrument. I think Anilbaran is unconsciously influenced by the Advaita idea of the One being real and the Many being Maya. The One is real

and the Many are also real, just bacause the One is real. If that is correct,
then the individual must be real.
PURANI: Yes, otherwise there is no individuality. Each one would be like
everyone else.
SRI AUROBINDO: If he says the individual is a passive automaton, one
may ask, "What are you doing all the time?" or "There is no you, is there?"
PURANI: Another point he wants to know: you have spoken of two Mayas,
the higher and the lower. He is asking where one goes after passing beyond
both. To the Akshara?
SRI AUROBINDO: Damn the Kshara and Akshara. Why does he want to
bring in the Akshara? One overpasses the higher Maya and goes to the Transcendent. First, as I said, one embraces the lower Maya to overpass it and
then one overpasses the higherPara Prakritiafter embracing it.
SATYENDRA: He seems to be influenced by the Gita.
PURANI: Yes, so he wants to know if, after overpassing these Mayas, one
can remain in Akshara Purusha.
SRI AUROBINDO: He can if he wants to. But that is withdrawing from all
Nature, not transcending it. You have to pass through all these aspects to go
to the originating Source.
A quotation was supplied from The Life Divine1 in which the individual is
described as a dynamo or channel and afterwards is merged in the Cosmic.
Sri Aurobindo read the passage.
SRI AUROBINDO: There is no difficulty. I have said here, "the dynamo selected"I haven't said who selects. It may be the Divine Will or Nature.
And even when the individual is merged in the Cosmic, the individual character remains. But the question of selective action of the individual doesn't
arise from this passage.
All this took place before the walk. Afterwards, when Sri Aurobindo sat on
the bed, Champaklal beckoned to me to give him the chamber-pot as he occasionally needed it after the exercise. I was hesitant. Then he himself asked
for it. Dr. Becharlal had not noticed it and so Champaklal gave him a call
[1] SABCL vol. 18, pp. 543-44.

too. As Champaklal was insisting on it, all of us, including Sri Aurobindo,
looked at Champaklal and laughed.
SRI AUROBINDO: The question is now: who Calls? The dynamo, Nature
or Champaklal? If not Champaklal, is it I or Nature? (Laughter) But I think
it is Champaklal because my need was not urgent. (Laughter, and Champaklal abashed)
Take the example of a machine. The machine is driven by an electric
force. Now, is the Force driving the machine or is there a man behind it?
Whichever it is, if a pig is put into the machine to be cut up, the machine
will put out bacon or sausages. It won't put out anything else. You can't
make the machine move like a train. It has its own characteristics according
to which it will work. If such be the case with a machine, how much more so
with man who is conscious being? It makes it all the more complicated. And
even if an individual is a perfect automaton, a passive instrument of the Divine Will, here too he has to act only according to that Will. He has to reject
and choose amongst all other forces which are not that. Then he performs
the action of rejection. He is no more an automaton. And his very calling for
the Divine Grace may be an interference.
SATYENDRA: Besides, one has first to know what the Divine Will is.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. It is true that ultimately everything works out
according to the Divine Will and fulfils the Divine Purpose. But that doesn't
mean that the individual has no choice, no selection.
SATYENDRA: These are truths of a higher spiritual consciousness where
one knows what the Divine Will is and sees or perceives it acting everywhere through Nature.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, here in the Ignorance there are various forces and
possibilities and one has to choose from all these. When the soul came into
the manifestation, it was not that God threw it down on earth by force, but
that the soul willingly chose to come down. There was no compulsion by the
Anilbaran may be influenced by the determinism of Nature in the Gita.
But that is not the whole thing. There the Purusha also comes in. The Purusha may dissent to something but still Nature carries it out or the Purusha
may assent to it while Nature refuses. That is what happens in Yoga. Nature
goes on repeating its own habits and preferences against the Purusha's con386

sent till the power of the Purusha so increases that it can assert itself over the
Prakriri. Anilbaran may also be speaking from an ideal point of view, but
there too discrimination by the individual comes in. Will you remember all
PURANI (laughing): At least I will remember the substance.
SRI AUROBINDO: Have you read Anilbaran's article in the Vedanta Kesari? I just glanced through it. He says that it is the soul that enjoys and suffersa very astounding remark to make. And he seems also to have said
that the soul is wholly responsible for a new mind, life and body in the next
birth. What then becomes of the Karma theory? Surely the editor will contradict him.
PURANI: I haven't read it. I will go through it. But how can he say that the
Soul enjoys and suffers?
SRI AUROBINDO: In a way you can say that the soul takes up the essence
or Rasa of all experiences, holds and supports them. But the way he has put
it, makes the soul subject to the experiences. Anilbaran has a fighting mind,
so his statements are put in such a way as to evoke protest, contradictions,
If the soul or the psychic being took an entirely new mind, vital and
body, then the law of Karma would not be binding in the next life. It is not a
tabula rasa that it begins with. It collects and gathers from the past life's experiences whatever is necessary for the next life, adds what new force it can
bring in and takes up a new instrument to fulfil that evolution.

SRI AUROBINDO (addressing Purani): Have you mentioned yesterday's
points to Anilbaran? What does he say?
PURANI: I have told him a few of them as there was not enough time. He is
coming round and was especially impressed by the example of the machine.
SATYENDRA: All these questions don't arise if one accepts Nirvana as the
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): Yes.
SATYENDRA: After all the explanations the mystery remains the same.

SRI AUROBINDO: Because Truth is supra-rational, hence it must be mysterious. Buddha in that way was most logical. He was concerned with how
things started and got stuck together and how to unstick them and make oneself free. It is the Upanishad's standpointpsychological. Shankara bringing
in Maya created the difficulty.
SATYENDRA: Isn't there some difference between Buddha's and
Shankara's ultimate goals?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Shankara speaks of the One and the One-in-Many.
For Buddha there is no ultimate Self of all; each by his own effort attains
separate liberation. Radhakrishnan is now trying to prove that Buddhism believes in the Self. But then illogicality will come in.
SATYENDRA: The Tibetan Buddhists say that Nirvana is a half-way house.
SRI AUROBINDO: What is beyond?
SATYENDRA: That I didn't find in Madame David-Neel's book.
SRI AUROBINDO: I met a Muslim scholar in Calcutta who said that Islam
also has ascending planes of experience of the Divine
SATYENDRA: Maybe a Sufi.
SRI AUROBINDO: Bhaskarananda of Poona spoke to me of the same ascending planes.
(After some time) Germany is speaking of invasion of England but again
says that invasion is not necessary. Their air attacks and submarine blockade
will break down the English. (Laughing) They are preparing their people in
case the idea of invasion is given up.
PURANI: Yes, it must be that.
SRI AUROBINDO: In the meantime the R.A.F. is battering the French coast
and Germany too.
PURANI: I don't know how far an invasion will be successful.
SRI AUROBINDO: Now it will be difficult. Hitler had his chance after the
fall of France. If he had attacked at once it would have been difficult for
England to resist. Hitler really missed the bus. Now England is equally
strong in air and navy. Only on land, if they come to grips, it has to be seen
what the outcome will be.

PURANI: Hitler will have to pay a heavy toll for an invasion.
SRI AUROBINDO: He doesn't care about that. What he is afraid of is failure.
SATYENDRA: It seems there are eight hundred thousand Italian's in Egypt.
SRI AUROBINDO: Eight hundred thousand?
SATYENDRA: So the Indian Express says.
PURANI: It must be eighty thousand or so.
SRI AUROBINDO: Eight thousand!
PURANI: The other French colonies are now moving towards De Gaulle.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? (Laughter)
PURANI: That is what somebody writes in the Indian Express.
SATYENDRA: Can we believe it?
CHAMPAKLAL: That is why he didn't name the Indian Express before!
PURANI: No, but they say there is a great tension in Syria.
SATYENDRA: The Indian Express holds the opinion that the Congress
should have accepted the Viceroy's extension of Council and then fought for
SRI AUROBINDO: That would obviously have been a practical step. A
practical politician like Tilak would have done that, accepted half a loaf and
fought for the rest. If you won't accept any compromise, then the only alternative would be to prepare for a revolution.
SATYENDRA: Nehru is speaking bitterly against the Government policy
and saying that Congress can't remain in such inactivity for long.
SRI AUROBINDO: He is the Kerensky-type. Any resumption of Satyagraha
when England is being threatened with invasion would be serious. Besides,
talk of independence is absurd. England won't concede that, especially if after that you declare yourself neutral. When the British Government offered
Dominion Status of the Westminster variety
NIRODBARAN: That was as good as independence and, as in the case of
Ireland, the British Government could not force India to join the war.

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and Egypt too. Suppose today Hertzog gets a majority and tries to make peace with Hitler; England can't do anything about
it. It can only create a split separating Natal and Cape Town.
NIRODBARAN: Nolini Sen is asking whether, after the ego-sense has disappeared, any selective action can remain.
SRI AUROBINDO: After the disappearance of the ego-sense ego-movements remain and they go on, the habitual movements of the old Prakriti, but
one is not bound by it as in the Ignorance.
SATYENDRA: Two liberated souls won't act in the same way. They will
have some selective action.
SRI AUROBINDO: In the old Yogas one used to leave the nature-part to act
in its own way, thinking that it would fall off with the falling of the body.
They would either allow the Cosmic Force to act on their nature so that the
Bhavas of Bala, Unmatta, etc. would result, or they would open to the Cosmic Force with a controlling influence. Or it would be the nature of their
own being that would go on with its movements to exhaust the Karma.
SATYENDRA: Unless after liberation one becomes entirely passive as did
SRI AUROBINDO: Even Ramakrishna used to pray, "Give me whatever
you like but not lust." So he kept a preference there. Among the saints, there
is the egoism of the Bhakta. Besides, one may say that the ego-sense has
gone, while in fact it may be there. We have seen a number of cases like that
where people have claimed that their egos had disappeared.
NIRODBARAN: In the other state, where there is no ego-sense or egomovement, can't there be selective action still?
SATYENDRA: That is the supramental state; before Supermind it is not
SRI AUROBINDO: One can have a reflection of it. But that is a very difficult state. There the individual becomes as it were a divine personality. He
acts and lives in the Divine Presence. There is no longer any selective action.

SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): England has destroyed 175 German planes.

NIRODBARAN: A very large number, as on August I5th.
CHAMPAKLAL: It was also the I5th yesterday.
PURANI: Anilbaran was asking, "How does the psychic carry its experiences into the next life?"
SRI AUROBINDO: By the various subtle sheaths. After the dissolution of
the body these sheaths preserve their experiences and they go to rest in their
own planes after which they get dissolved. From these experiences the psychic takes up the essential elements that are necessary for the soul's evolution in the next life. It is the psychic that chooses according to its need from
its own inner world. It is not that the psychic takes up an entirely new body,
mind, etc. or that it is once again the old personality that renews itself. You
can see in the case of the Lamas that it is not the same person.
Purani gave an instance of how a Dalai Lama, as a boy, gave the correct
details about a new hidden tea-bowl about which all others had forgotten.
SRI AUROBINDO: I hear these Lamas die young.
PURANI: About thirty or forty.
SRI AUROBINDO: When one dies young, one comes back to life quickly
and the memory remains fresh, as in that Mathura case. Very often one's desires remain unsatisfied and attachments persist, while in old people desires
have to a great extent been worked out.
PURANI: In Tibet they have developed this occult science wonderfully
well. (Purani gave some instances from Madame David-Neel's book) They
call in a Lama during somebody's death to help the passage of the soul
through the vital world.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the most dangerous passage. It is this world of
which people usually speak when they refer to heaven and hell.
PURANI: By some process the Tibetans are able to awaken some flame in
the heart and after that, even if one is kept immersed in ice, it does not affect
one at all.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the Yogagni, I suppose. Here, only Kanai may
be able to do that (laughter), but unfortunately we haven't sufficient ice to
test it.

PURANI: Instead of immersing him in ice, we can put ice on him.
SRI AUROBINDO: The number of aeroplanes shot down is now 185!
PURANI: Yes. It seems two French fleets have passed from west to east
through Gibraltar. Perhaps they have been allowed by the British to proceed
to Indo-China!
Tabouis has said that if the Italian navy could be destroyed, it would give
a tremendous blow to the Axis.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is my view also. If they could do they could separate Africa and occupy the whole of it.
PURANI: She has also said that if the French had attacked the Siegfried
Line, they could have broken through it.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is what I thought. Of course they would have had
to sacrifice a lot of men, but it wouldn't have been as invulnerable as they
NIRODBARAN: Nolini Sen is still not clear about the selection of the individual in the supramental state. He says there will be individual centres and
asks whether the individual, though he will work according to the truth of
his being, won't exercise some selection in the process. As each individual
will work according to his own truth, there will be some selective process.
SRI AUROBINDO: In the supramental state there will be individual centres
of cosmic consciousness. The Supermind will work through the cosmic in
these centres according to the truth of their being.
NIRODBARAN: Is the condition of complete egolessness a supramental
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, when there is the fullness of the supra mental state.
In the intermediate stages there may be various ways of working.
NIRODBARAN: Nolini Sen also speaks of individual truth of being. He
says that since there will be various individuals, the truth of one will be different from that of another. So in their manifestation a certain selection will
come in.
SRI AUROBINDO: Selection is the wrong word. It does not apply. The Supermind will work in various ways harmoniously for one purpose, without

any limitation. In the lower planes there are various possibilities and the ego
bound by its limitations selects out of them. If one looks at the supramental
state mentally, giving it a mental and vital character, one is likely to make
PURANI: One can say it is a specialisation.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not even that. It is a fulfilment.

NIRODBARAN: Gandhi says he won't embarrass the British Government;
at the same time he is asking permission to start non-violent non-participation in the war. This statement seems queer.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, it is very funny. He may as well hope for the
Viceroy and other Englishmen to walk out of India non-violently. But does
he think non-participation will remain non-violent? (Looking at Purani) You
have seen the incident at Madras? (There was a police firing and riot in a
Congress meeting.)
PURANI: Gandhi in his interview may ask for clarification of the whole
question again and, if the Government doesn't offer satisfactory reforms, he
may ask that the situation be allowed to remain as it is, instead of this extension of councils, etc.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is what the Working Committee said, isn't it?
NIRODBARAN: It seemed from Gandhi's speech that he almost wished he
had stuck to his first statement.
NIRODBARAN: People make wonderful statements. Nehru said they were
not bargaining with the British Government, and now Gandhi again makes
another contradictory statement.
SRI AUROBINDO: Original ideas!
PURANI: Anilkumar has been asking me if it is true that Italy has invaded

SRI AUROBINDO: No, not invaded. Mussolini wants to deliver Egypt.
Anilkumar seems to be naive.
NIRODBARAN: He doesn't read the papers.
PURANI: This man Sumer is saying that though Spain is quiet now, it
doesn't mean that Spain has no interest in the New World Order in Europe.
When the time comes, Spain will take her share. He has gone to Germany.
Perhaps Hitler may persuade or force him to join him.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Siam is also claiming from the French her bit of
territory, not by using any force but only as a concession. However, if
France doesn't listen, Siam will renounce the non-aggression pact!
PURANI: It must be the Japanese pressure behind.

PURANI: It seems Bonvain called all the European officials today to discuss the support to De Gaulle.
SRI AUROBINDO: How do you know? It may not have been for that reason.
PURANI: What else could it be for?
SRI AUROBINDO: We are not told. It seems the representative of De
Gaulle found the French people lacking in enthusiasm.
PURANI: Yes. They all want safety and self-interest. Even the Governor's
statement looks dubious.
PURANI: He has said, "The Vichy Government has said to us, 'Marchez
avec les voisins.' According to that advice we have joined De Gaulle."
SRI AUROBINDO: He is not sure of British victory. If the British lose, then
he will say to Vichy, "You asked me to be friendly with them." He wants to
keep his path clear. De Gaulle is getting very good support, it seems. He
wants to raise a French army and take offensive action in France.

PURANI: That would be very good. They may have many supporters there
SATYENDRA: But it won't be an easy job. The number of men has to be
very high.
NIRODBARAN: They have one million, they say.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not only number; the men must have equipment too.
De Gaulle is a man who understands the need for equipment; without it he
won't do anything.
SRI AUROBINDO (after reading Bonvain's statement): He can be compared with Mark Twain! (Laughter) Bonvain doesn't believe that England
will win.
PURANI: It seems the French were asking De Gaulle's representative many
questions about their future situation if England got defeated. How can one
answer all that now? Besides, one must take a certain amount of risk.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. He has replied to them as far as he could, but
also said, "If we go on predicting we will lose everything."
In times of revolution everything is unsettled; how can anything definite
be said? Some risk has to be taken. When a course of action is chosen, emergencies have to be met with as they come.
SATYENDRA: According to an Italian source, the British have a 230,000
strong army in Egypt.
SRI AUROBINDO: How the devil can they give an exact figure? If it is really true, they are almost equal to the Italians. Why then don't they enter into
an encounter?
SATYENDRA: I think it is either to prove their prowess or prepare their
people for any reverses. (Laughter)

PURANI: It seems the Ptain Government is resisting the German demands
and there is a possibility of Ptain resigning. Weygand is also dissatisfied
with the ways of the Government. He intends to fly to Morocco, set up an
independent government and declare for De Gaulle.

PURANI: And there have been clashes in Morocco between De Gaullites
and Ptainites.
PURANI: That is not said.
SRI AUROBINDO: Where did you get all this?
PURANI: The Indian Express. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: You always keep the name out.
PURANI: But it must be in the Hindu also.
SRI AUROBINDO: Baron says that the Germans are trying to use the
French navy and submarines. The sinking of a British ship by a French submarine near Indo-China was done by Germany, he says. And that is why
Darlan has ordered those two French destroyers to proceed to Dakar.
PURANI: Something like that must be true. Otherwise they would not have
escaped the British. If the French take the British side, they will be able to
keep Italy out.
SATYENDRA: The British are offering no resistance to the Italians in
Egypt. They don't seem to have enough forces there.
SRI AUROBINDO: No. They say they have transferred several thousand
there. But it is not a question of thousands. They have one and a half million
troops. Why can't they send one hundred thousand? These news correspondents are talking in terms of the old warfare. They say there are stretches of
desert to cross.
SATYENDRA: What are deserts nowadays to tanks and cars?
PURANI: Hitler seems to be putting pressure on Sumer, trying to displace
the French.
SRI AUROBINDO: He doesn't require pressure. He has always been proAxis. He is a phalangist.
PURANI: The British have kept Spain neutral by offering joint control of
Gibraltar after the war as well as now.

SRI AUROBINDO: If Hitler gets Spain, it will be only one point controlled.
The radio reported that Sri Aurobindo had contributed Rs. 500 to the
Madras War Fund as a token of his entire support to the British in their
struggle for the cause of freedom. All of us were taken by surprise by this
sudden disclosure though, of course, we knew Sri Aurobindo's standpoint,
NIRODBARAN: This has come as a counterblast to Gandhi's non-participation. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: It was not meant to be. For the money was sent some
time back, before Gandhi's blast.
PURANI: The Italians have penetrated sixty miles into Egypt. The British
are not offering any resistance, it seems.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they say it is still only the desert the Italians are
occupying. The whole of Egypt seems to be a desert, except for a small strip
along the Nile. (Laughter) The English don't seem to have any forces there.
They say they are waiting to come in contact with Italian forces. I don't understand their strategy. They talk of a blockade. But if Cairo and Alexandria
are lost, then what effect would a blockade have in spite of their control of
the Mediterranean? And I don't see either how they will keep that control.
SATYENDRA: They seem to have concentrated all their forces on home defence.
SRI AUROBINDO: That must be the fact.
SATYENDRA: They think that if they can prevent Germany from occupying England, everything will be all right.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is not enough. They will have to take back all
these lost territories.
PURANI: Joad has written an article describing how and why he has turned
from a pacifist into a supporter of the war. It is not only a war for defence,
he says, but for civilisation.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is my standpoint also. They talk of independence,
but nobody will remain independent if Hitler wins.
PURANI: Dr. Andr was asked by the pharmacist what he would do if Germany came to India. Andr was telling me it is a far-off thing yet.

SRI AUROBINDO: All the same, it is a pertinent question.

Today's Hindu published news of Sri Aurobindo's war contribution and
quoted his letter to the Madras Governor, in which Sri Aurobindo said that
we give our entire support to the British in their struggle. It is not only a
war for self-defence and the defence of nations threatened with world domination by Hitler, but also a war for the preservation of civilisation, etc.
SRI AUROBINDO (looking at Purani): So?
PURANI: It will be published in all the papers. Gandhi will see it.
NIRODBARAN: He may find some light in his groping. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: It is not in his line. They call me a savant.
NIRODBARAN: No other savant has contributed anything yet.
SATYENDRA: The letter has come out at an opportune time.
SRI AUROBINDO: Schomberg can no longer say that the Ashram is a nest
of Nazis.
SATYENDRA: This is your first public pronouncement since your retirement.
SRI AUROBINDO; Yes, though indirect and not given as a pronouncement.
SATYENDRA: No, but it was meant to be.
SATYENDRA: But as regards India, the British are not very lovable.
SRI AUROBINDO: Lovable? Nobody said they were lovable. They never
were. But the question is to love Hitler less. (Laughter)
PURANI: Some American correspondent has said the British forces are
waiting in Egypt for the Italians to come out like tortoise heads, and then
they will chop them off.
SRI AUROBINDO: Of course if the British can face them, the Italians will
have the disadvantage of having the desert at their back.

SATYENDRA: Egypt may declare war now.
SATYENDRA: The marriage of some prince of theirs is over. (Laughter)
PURANI: Oh, the brother of the Hyderabad princess, the legal heir to the
Sultan. He would have become the next Sultan if he had been in Turkey.
PURANI: I see; he would have been killed!
SRI AUROBINDO: This Egyptian ministry can't raise popular enthusiasm.
Nahash Pasha could have.
SRI AUROBINDO: So New Caledonia has revolted against the Ptain Government?
SATYENDRA: Where is New Caledonia?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is a small island near Australia.
PURANI: There are some volunteers here who want to join De Gaulle.
SRI AUROBINDO: Have they declared themselves? They have to do that
first. But do they know that they are to be shot by the Ptain Government?
You have heard the story of the French Consul in Bombay? It seems that
somebody painted the Croix de Lorraine on his door at night. Most Frenchmen in Bombay are for De Gaulle, while he is for Ptain. He wanted to report to Ptain against some of these sympathisers, but as he could not do it
from Bombay, he went to Kabul and telegraphed from there. The reply came
that the sympathisers are to be shot. Now after his return to Bombay, somebody phones him every morning saying, "Ulysse, are you still proving yourself to be a traitor to your country?" (Laughter)
PURANI: But the condition in France is none too happy.
SRI AUROBINDO: No. Hitler is putting pressure on Ptain. The Germans
are plundering whatever they can in the non-occupied territories and withholding payment from the banks. They have released French prisoners from
Germany and are sending them to Ptain to avoid a shortage of food in Germany. Ptain is being tolerated only for the sake of the colonies. It seems

the Germans and Italians have already divided the colonies between themselves. Italy is to take Tunis, Corsica and Morocco, while Germany will get
West Africa.
After some time Purani spoke about Tagore's new interpretation of an ancient Indian history of the Ramayana periodItihasher Dhara. Tagore
seems to hold that: (l) Rama, Vishwamitra and Janaka are the three forces
combined into one that moulded the ancient social life; (2) the fact that Sita
was found on cultivated ground indicates that she is a symbol of agriculture; (3) the Kshatriyas were really the ones responsible for the growth of
culture and civilisation while the Brahmins were only its preservers.
SRI AUROBINDO: All these are old European ideas. He is not even being
original. They are as old as the hills.

SRI AUROBINDO (looking at Purani): Is Hitler waiting for the fog?
PURANI: It seems he is more busy in the east settling Rumanian questions
in the warm climate.
Japan seems to have toned down. It must be due to the Anglo-American
alliance regarding the Singapore naval base.
SRI AUROBINDO: Obviously. Everything is getting queer. They make war
without declaring war, alliance without calling it alliance.
SATYENDRA: What has happened to Japan's ultimatum?
SRI AUROBINDO: Modified. If this alliance takes place, it will be dangerous for Japan; for Singapore is a strong naval fortress, but at present the
British have only a few ships there. An alliance with America will bring in
American ships.
SATYENDRA: I don't think Hitler has given up the idea of attack. Perhaps
he is delaying because of differences among his generals.
SRI AUROBINDO: He may attack. There have always been differences; in
spite of them he has acted on his own. He is trying to establish his air superiority. Hitherto, all his tricks have failed.
SATYENDRA: The war will last a long time, it seems.
SRI AUROBINDO: At any rate, it won't end now.

PURANI: The Egyptian cabinet is meeting to decide what Italy's intention
could be. (Laughter) The President has already said that their intention is
very clear, so they must act at once.
SATYENDRA: Do they think the Italians are coming to embrace them?
SRI AUROBINDO: Or perhaps they think that they will blow a kiss from
Sidi Barani and withdraw. (Laughter)
PURANI: We had a joke at Rajangam's cost. He has received a letter from
France. We told him that the Vichy Government was calling him.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why from France?
PURANI: It's from a medical firm. It was posted before the Armistice.
SRI AUROBINDO: I see. But the firm may not exist nowlike a star that
has gone out although its light still comes to us. (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: Plenty of people are writing to Doraiswamy about your war
donation. They don't understand why you have done it.
PURANI: Why? The reason was given very plainly in the statement itself.
SATYENDRA: They don't see how you can support the culture and civilisation of the British and their allies.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why not? They ought to see what Hitler is doing everywhere.
NIRODBARAN: The difficulty is that they are so biased with an anti-British
SRI AUROBINDO: But I am not biased like them.
SATYENDRA: They are political people, not Yogis.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then they should have political insight.
PURANI: The Egyptian ministers have resigned. It seems the Egyptian
Government is pro-Fascist in tendency; that is why it is hesitating.
SRI AUROBINDO: If it has only a twenty-thousand strong army, of course
it won't count for much; but why is the Government pro-Fascist?

PURANI: It is Mussolini's work, I suspect. Mussolini has been working and
preparing the field there for a long time. He has, perhaps, promised these old
Pashas high offices and posts.
SRI AUROBINDO: They must be idiots if they believe him even now.
PURANI: Yes, and the King also is centralising power in his hands.
SRI AUROBINDO: They ought to have abolished the King as was done in
NIRODBARAN: Is it because of Egypt's neutrality that the British are not
attacking the Italians?
SRI AUROBINDO: No. Egypt won't dare to prevent them unless they turn

The radio said that De Gaulle had gone to Dakar as there had been rumour
of a revolt among the people. Sri Aurobindo remarked, "He would not act
simply on a rumour. " There was confused and meagre news from Dakar. It
was reported that naval fighting was going on between the French and the
British. Then Purani described how France had given up the fight in spite of
having much materialthe usual story about how the French leaders and
people had betrayed the cause, etc.
SATYENDRA: France would have been in a better position if she had not
joined the war.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? She would have been attacked one day. Italy was
already talking of her colonies. In that case, British help wouldn't have been
available. They might have hoped that Hitler would attack Russia first but it
is doubtful whether Italy would have waited such a long time.
Sri Aurobindo had been styled a Brahmo leader by some American paper in
connection with George Nakashima's talk on NishthaMargaret Wilson,
daughter of the former President of the U.S.A.
SRI AUROBINDO: So I am called a savant (British radio), a Brahrno
leader and an ascetic (Bombay Times) !
Some Egyptian prince had come to India, visited Hyderabad and called it

PURANI: If he finds Hyderabad marvellous then one wonders what Egypt
may be like.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes, Hyderabad is still half in the Middle
Ages! You know Dara's story? One of two brothers from there came for Darshan. After going back the brothers had some quarrel over property and the
one who had been here filed a suit and asked our help. He won the case.
Then the other brother came for Darshan and after going back he filed another suit against the brother who had won, and he also asked our help. This
brother also got a judgement in his favour. I don't understand how it was
possible to have opposite judgements, when the judge was the same.
SRI AUROBINDO: Bhaskar reports on his radio, "It must be remembered
that the British have been shelling Dakar." (Smiling) How can we remember
when we never heard of it before? There seems to be a mystery around the
whole affair.
PURANI: Yes, all sorts of conflicting news is coming in. Nobody knows
what the truth is.
SRI AUROBINDO: It appears from an Englishman bringing news from
Rome that Hitler will try to take Gibraltar first, then cross to Morocco, capture Egypt, the Suez canal, the whole of Africa and finally invade England.
PURANI: If the French forces side with England in Africa, even now there
may be a chance of victory. There are fine French forces in Morocco.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. If Hitler takes Gibraltar, the British can occupy
Tangiers as a counterblow.

SRI AUROBINDO: The situation about Dakar seems to be a little clearer
now. It appears that De Gaulle went there with some free French forces supported by British warships; he sent an ultimatum to the authorities but a
fight is still going on as they didn't surrender. But I don't understand why De
Gaulle wants to land troops at Dakar. It will be very difficult. He could have
landed them in the neighbouring British territory and from there marched to

PURANI: Yes, and in that case he might have got the support of the people
without any fight.
SRI AUROBINDO: Perhaps there is no good port for landing.

The radio announced the cessation of fighting by De Gaulle at Dakar.
SRI AUROBINDO: Queer end of the expedition. He shouldn't have undertaken it.
NIRODBARAN: He wants to spare French blood.
SRI AUROBINDO: But the French at Dakar didn't spare it. (The French
fired at De Gaulle's forces when they tried to land.) Neither will the British.
NIRODBARAN: De Gaulle still has some sentiment left.
SRI AUROBINDO: Gandhian sentiment of non-violence?
PURANI: Mrs. M.N. Roy has written an article in support of the war. There
she says that people consider Hitler great because he is a vegetarian and because he is a bachelor. "But there may be medical reasons for it," she says.
SRI AUROBINDO: Any vegetarian who murders people will be great then?
NIRODBARAN: That is what the Jains seem to have thought. Plenty of Jain
kings, while being strict vegetarians, had no hesitation in killing others.
SRI AUROBINDO: You know the story of the two Jain brothers during the
invasion by Mahmud of Gazni? The brother who was the king was defeated
and taken prisoner. The other brother was then made king by Gazni and his
brother was handed over to him. He didn't know how to dispose of his
brother. At last he found a way.
He made a pit below his throne and put his brother there. If he died, it
was not his fault. (Laughter) It is a fact of history, not a mere story!

SATYENDRA: It seems Jinnah carried many files with him to his interview
with the Viceroy.

SRI AUROBINDO: Files? All the speeches he delivered at the Muslim
League meetings? (Laughter) He is making most exacting demands.
PURANI: The Secretary of State has already answered Gandhi's conscientious objection to war.
SRI AUROBINDO: What did he say?
PURANI: He has said that it is Viceroy's conscientious conviction that India's interest is also involved in the war and so nothing should interfere with
India's war effort.
In the recent military pact Japan has been given the right to be the leader
of Asia.
SRI AUROBINDO: Asia? How? What of Italy's intentions regarding Syria
and Palestine?
PURANI: I don't see what the pact means or how Japan is going to profit by
SRI AUROBINDO: It means nothing. It is like the anti-Comintern pact implying a "we all hate communism" sort of thing.

SRI AUROBINDO (after inquiring whether there was any further news regarding the three-Power pact and whether Japan was declared the leader
of Asia or the Far East): Not that it makes any difference.
SATYENDRA: It is the Far East.
SRI AUROBINDO: Italy has an eye on Palestine and Hitler wants Baghdad.
How can Japan be allowed the whole of Asia then?
NIRODBARAN: Russia left out of the picture?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, perhaps they have seen that she is not in a fighting
mood at present.
It seems probable that there is some spy in De Gaulle's camp who gave
information of the expedition and so the French Government was able to
provide the military resistance.
NIRODBARAN: But did he expect no resistance?
SRI AUROBINDO: He expected that the people would get hold of the town.

Sri Aurobindo has decided not to give Abhay a copy of his letter in support
of the Allies. It is widely known in the Ashram that he has written such a letter and, as a matter of fact none of us thought it was confidential; on the
contrary we thought that if people knew about Sri Aurobindo's views they
would be enlightened. Sri Aurobindo's objection to publicising it was that it
would raise controversies and spoil the work. He didn't want to get into any
controversy. When he decided that Abhay shouldn't write anything to Mahadev Desai, Purani pleaded that if Sri Aurobindo didn't want it he wouldn't
write anything in Sri Aurobindo's name nor show the letter to anyone.
SATYENDRA: It will profit many people to know your points, especially
Doraiswamy. He is much disturbed.
SRI AUROBINDO: If one does not want to give up his idea nothing will induce him. The facts are there speaking for themselves. There is the threePower pact.
(After a while, laughing) Some Patel has written a postcard to us saying
that he is convinced Hitler is right and we are wrong in supporting Britain.
NIRODBARAN: This pact seems to be directed against America.
PURANI: It seems Spain is being persuaded to join the war and allow German troops to pass through Spain to attack Gibraltar.
SRI AUROBINDO: Indo-China's example?
PURANI: But Franco doesn't seem anxious to join the war. He has to reckon
with the blockade too.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. The Monarchists also don't want Fascism in Spain.
It is not the Republicans alone but Franco's own men who don't want war.
The Phalangists, of course, want it. The Phalangists are Fascists.
SATYENDRA: Laski says that whenever the India-question is touched, he
doesn't know what the devil happens to Churchill.
SRI AUROBINDO: At any rate, he is allowing discussion on equal terms
with the half-naked Indian Fakir.
SATYENDRA (laughing): Yes, that was Churchill's own expression.

Yesterday morning, Vithalbhai suddenly disappeared somewhere, returned
at night about ten. Somebody gave the news to Sri Aurobindo.
SRI AUROBINDO: He was too disorganised and so he came back?
Sri Aurobindo asked if any of us had inquired where he had gone and why.
Somebody said that perhaps he had been passing through some difficulty.
SRI AUROBINDO: He has behaved like Naik. Naik used to have such fits. I
suppose it is vital restlessness and dissatisfaction.
SATYENDRA: Perhaps. Some dissatisfaction must have been growing
SRI AUROBINDO: He seems to have many minds. He wrote to us that he
didn't want to be in any organisation. By going out he found himself disorganised, probably. Another time he wrote he wanted to see the influence of
other Yogis.
Purani brought in Roosevelt in some connection.
SRI AUROBINDO: It seems this Wilkie is almost certain to be elected.
Many Democrats are supporting him. All the same Willkie doesn't appear to
be of Roosevelt's standard.
Purani narrated a story of how Reynaud was persuaded by his mistress to
give up resistance in the North and withdraw to the South, as a result of
which the majority of the French Army was crushed in Belgium.
SRI AUROBINDO: Where was that story?
PURANI: The Sunday Times.
NIRODBARAN: The Sunday Times? We didn't see it.
SRI AUROBINDO: No! I would like to see it.
PURANI: I will get the paper tomorrow.


1 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: Hitler hasn't given up the idea of attacking Britain. He is concentrating his forces in Norway.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. About 200,000 troops are practising jumping into
the sea from the rocks! Is it a preparation, in case of reversal, to swim back
from England?
Any news about Gandhi's second interview with the Viceroy?
PURANI: No, there is conjecture that Gandhi may have urged the release of
the politicals.
SRI AUROBINDO: That means there must have been some settlement.
SATYENDRA: The Muslim League has also refused.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Jinnah wants to know what the League's status will
be in case some other party comes in later. He means Congress! It is like the
Berlin-Japan pactby some other power they mean the U.S.A.
SATYENDRA: Jinnah has realised that the Viceroy doesn't want to part with
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): To the Muslim League? No! The Government is in an impossible position. Congress wants Dominion Status now
and, declaration of independence after the war; at the same time it refuses to
say that it will support Britain in the war and speaks only of the defence of
India. The Muslims want Pakistan with a fifty per cent representation everywhere. The Hindu Mahasabha demands one quarter of the seats to be given
to Muslims.
SATYENDRA: The Muslim League wants to know the number of members
in the council and the personnel having portfolios.
SRI AUROBINDO: How can the Government say this now? There seems to
be a new age of inspiration, not of reason. Pakistan, Hindustan, the Khaksars, all are inspired and inspiration is sacred. Gandhi is more rational.
SATYENDRA: He has been till now. This affair about freedom of speech
has spoiled his reputation a bit.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even after independence there may be civil strife and
some dictatorship may be needed.

PURANI: Gandhi doesn't want war.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, no government by force. But if the Khaksars start
violence how will he prevent it, or how will he prevent the goondas who
take joy in beating and killing? Does Gandhi know that the Nazis are trained
to beat people as part of their duty? What will he do then? The British people have two things: first, they are afraid of world opinion; second, they
want to play hide-and-seek with their conscience. If it is exposed, they begin
to scratch their heads. But the Nazis have no conscience to deal with and no
world opinion to reckon with.
NIRODBARAN: This story about Reynaud's mistress was in the Indian Express.
SATYENDRA (smiling): Yes. I read it there but I thought it might have been
in the Sunday Times, too, when Purani said that.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Purani's subconscious thought that the Sunday Times was more respectable than the Indian Express. (Laughter)
PURANI: Gandhi's freedom of speech hasn't been granted by the Viceroy.
PURANI: Gandhi takes up some theoretical issue. C.R. would have been
much better in such cases. He has practical sense.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Viceroy has referred to conscientious objectors in
England and says that they are not allowed to preach against war among munitions workers.
SATYENDRA: Gandhi says the conditions in India are different.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and he says that though he won't himself preach,
others must have the right to do so, if they wantpeople like Bose. How
can any government allow that?
PURANI: The Jinnah-Viceroy correspondence is out.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, it is full of impossible demands. The Viceroy has
answered to them, "Yes, I note them. We will consider them". All the time he
must be thinking what a fool Jinnah is that he doesn't understand what impossible demands he is making.

PURANI: Gandhi speaks of freedom of speech. But even during the Congress regime, that was not given to the Socialists, even by C.R.
SRI AUROBINDO: M.N. Roy is cogent. He said, "You talk of freedom of
speech, but don't tolerate anybody criticising you."
SATYENDRA: But he belongs to an organisation which is fighting.
SRI AUROBINDO: So is England. Besides, Roy is not in the Executive of
the Congress so he can't criticise it. He is only a member. Congress has two
contradictions. If it is an army then it's all right not to allow any freedom of
speech, but if it is a democratic organisation how can freedom of speech be
SATYENDRA: There is no review of the second volume of The Life Divine
SRI AUROBINDO: No, they will take six months to finish it and, after finishing, they won't know what to say.

2 OCTOBER 1940
Somebody had sent a reply-paid wire to Sri Aurobindo asking for some message for Pratap Mazumdar's centenary, which they were celebrating. Naturally Sri Aurobindo refused.
SATYENDRA: They have wasted two rupees. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: I may send a message one day late. (Laughter)
PURANI: Even then they may publish it.
SRI AUROBINDO: If I say that he was an insignificant person? (Laughter)
PURANI: That would be a nice idea.
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't see why they are making a fuss about him. He
was a second-class personality. All I know about him is that he was Keshab
Sen's disciple and went to America.
PURANI: He was a good speaker.
SRI AUROBINDO: Plenty of people are good speakers!
PURANI: You have seen the Egyptian Government's queer resolution? They
think that a sixty-miles' entry into their territory is not of much concern.

SRI AUROBINDO: No! It is only desert! It is like walking on the gardenpath of a compound. When they actually come to the verandah, then it is of
some concern and something needs to be done!

3 OCTOBER 1940
NIRODBARAN: Sikandar Hyat Khan has strongly attacked Gandhi.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): Yes.
NIRODBARAN: He says Gandhi's non-participation in the war is stabbing
the British in the back.
SRI AUROBINDO: Non-violently!
SATYENDRA: Violent or non-violent, the result is the same.
NIRODBARAN: Sikandar says he can't understand Gandhi's logic. The
logic of Mahatmas is different from that of ordinary mortals like him. Otherwise what could be meant by non-embarrassing the British Government and
at the same time preaching India's non-participation?
SATYENDRA: I would like to know what Kripalani says about this statement of Gandhi. He has a keen intellect.
PURANI: The Sikhs also don't understand; they say, "These are intellectual
quibbles." Neither can they conceive of how the defence of India can be
done non-violently.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is something I can't swallow myself.
SATYENDRA: Gandhi himself can't carry Congress with him. But the question has been shelved for the presentI hope buried like Aurangzeb's musicians. (Aurangzeb forbade all music. In spite of that, some took out a musical procession in front of his palace. He ordered the musicians to be buried
SRI AUROBINDO: Is music forbidden by the Koran?
SATYENDRA: I don't know.
PURANI: There is no injunction against it in the Koran, as in the case of art.
SRI AUROBINDO: Art is different; it is idolatry. But there are so many
things without injunctions in the Koran. Is there an injunction against killing

PURANI: No, but if someone is a drunkard he can be killed. That is how
they killed Murad. They themselves made him drunk and on that pretext
killed him.
SRI AUROBINDO: What about Dara, then?
PURANI: He was a Kafir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Are Kafirs to be killed according to the Koran?
PURANI: Don't know. They find so many things in the Koran. Even the idea
of non-cooperation, they say, is found in it. That was during the Khilafat agitation. They say that Mohammed was threatened with his life and he fled
and that was non-cooperation.
SRI AUROBINDO: Many people have fled in such circumstances! Then I
myself was a non-cooperator since I fled from Bengal! (Laughter)

4 OCTOBER 1940
Purani said that Girijashankar had written another instalment of Sri Aurobindo's life in Udbodhan. Nolini sent it up through Purani.
SRI AUROBINDO: Is anything written there about my life which I don't
know? (Laughter. Then Sri Aurobindo began to read it. After a while he
gave a hilarious laugh) He says "Night by the Sea" has been addressed to
my English sweetheart. (Laughter) And "Estelle" to a French girl! He is trying to make my biography out of my poetry! He also says that "Baji Prabhou" was written in Gujarat under the influence of Tilak and the Mahrattas.
In fact it was written in Calcutta. (After reading the whole instalment) He
has not made enough out of the poetry. He ought to have said that Myrtilla
was addressed to a Greek girla girl whom I loved and buried on an island.
Seshadri said about the poem "Revelation" that the girl spoken of there must
be somebody I came across on the Pondicherry beach! (Laughter)
PURANI: What would he say about "The Hound of Heaven" then? An ordinary dog?
SATYENDRA: That is not interesting.
SRI AUROBINDO: There is nothing about my life here. It is all about my
poetry, also the poetry of Tagore, Das, Monomohan, etc. He also says "Love
and Death" and "Baji Prabhou" are ballad poetry. (Laughter) People are

funny. Somebody criticising "Love and Death" said it was all Keats, and
Girija says there is nothing of Keats, but it is a ballad!
SATYENDRA: As in your Life Divine, people find Shankara, Ramanuja,
etc. (Laughter)
It appeared that Veerabhadra had been going to the labourers and teaching
them Hindi. Also a pamphlet had been circulated that he would deliver a
speech on Gandhi, on Gandhi's birthday. If all this was true, naturally it
would go very much against the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo was anxiously inquiring about it from Purani. Some days earlier Purani had spoken to Sri
Aurobindo about it. Sri Aurobindo had said, "In that case Veerabhadra will
have to leave the Ashram. He ought to know that the Ashram is not allowed
to join in any public activity." It seems the Mother also heard about the
pamphlet and told Sri Aurobindo of it. Both the Mother and Sri Aurobindo
were rather concerned.
SRI AUROBINDO: There are already people here who are looking for any
pretext to use against us. There was an enquiry some time back as to
whether we were an enemy of the British. It was reported that we were concerned only with philosophy. Now if they get to know this? Mother has been
telling me that something is going on in the subtle plane against the Ashram.
Of course we knewlike that.
PURANI: I don't know why he should meddle with these things. He is a fool
to do that.
SRI AUROBINDO: I may be forced to make an official statement. (laughing) If they made a real enquiry and cross-examined Y, for instance, then
Later on it was found that the pamphlet had been circulated by somebody
else. Veerabhadra had nothing to do with it.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): There is still another charge against him.

5 OCTOBER 1940
NIRODBARAN: Mandel is acquitted!
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he seems to have dangerous documeents against

NIRODBARAN: Like Daladier!
PURANI: Yes, Daladier said he would drag down many others with him.
SRI AUROBINDO: If politicians were made responsible for their mistakes,
then many would have to go to the scaffold. It is like the French Revolution:
when a General failed, his head was cut off!
SATYENDRA: Is it some new poetry you are writing now, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it is Savitri.
NIRODBARAN: Is it not finished yet?
SRI AUROBINDO: The writing is over, but every time I see it, I find imperfections. Only about two and a half cantos can be said to be finished.
SATYENDRA: It is good that it is something innocent. Otherwise every
time you took up The Life Divine some catastrophe took place: first in 1914
and now in 1939both times war. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Savitri also contains war, but it is imaginative. So I suppose the opposing forces may not object.
SATYENDRA: What would that commentator Girija make of it?
SRI AUROBINDO: He said nothing biographical about "Baji Prabhou" either. He could have said that it was the glorious account of a scuffle I had
with some Mahommedan!.
NIRODBARAN: But what was this man trying to prove? He seems to be
trying to establish some connection between the development of your poetry
and that of Tagore.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes.
NIRODBARAN: He said that Tagore wrote his "Jete nahi dibo"1 when you
came back to India and that it was as if a new glimpse of his "Aurobindo
Rabindrer laha namaskar."2 I don't see any connection.
SRI AUROBINDO: Neither do I. I thought Girija idiotic when he was writing in Das's paper. "Jete nahi dibo" is about some daughter, isn't it?

[1] "I shall not let you go."
[2] The poem composed by Rabindranath Tagore on the occasion of Sri Aurobindo's arrest:
"Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee!".

PURANI: Yes. The daughter doesn't allow her father to return to his place of
activity and then he philosophises about love, etc. What is the connection
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know. He makes out that Das, Tagore, I and others were writing under the same influence, with the same bhava, on the
same subject! But how can he say that some new poems were added to
Songs to Myrtilla? None were added.
SRI AUROBINDO: In this book only earlier poems were included. He says
three poems in Myrtilla are about a part of my life I wanted people to know
about. He objects to the poem on Rajnarayan Bose being excluded from the
new edition. The fact is I had no copy of it. Besides, these are the usual sorts
of things critics say about a poet after his death. I am still alive. I should be
immune so long as I am alive. (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: They construct a biography out of the poems since they can't
approach dead poets. But they can approach you.
PURANI: About Shakespeare also they have built up many stories.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. They say his dramas are all experiences of his life.
He deserted his wife, became an actor-manager, later abandoned that job.
Now it is denied. They also made him out to be a usurer, a thief who killed a
deer in a park and stole it. As a protest against the theory about Shakespeare's sonnets that "with this key Shakespeare unlocked his heart". Browning wrote:
"Did Shakespeare? If so, the less Shakespeare he!"
SATYENDRA: It was said that no such person as Shakespeare existed.
SRI AUROBINDO: That idea has been given upthen they said there were
two Shakespearesboth at Stratford.
PURANI: Bacon also was bolstered up as the real Shakespeare.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Some critic made Bacon out to be both an Elizabethan and a post-Elizabethan poet. But take the actual poetry he has written: one can see how prosaic it is!

SRI AUROBINDO: Moore has written an article against Gandhi, taking his
stand on the Gita and on me. He says that if Gandhi considers himself an instrument of God and preaches non-participation, he, Moore, is also an instrument of God entitled to object to it. (Sri Aurobindo gave us the gist of
the article.)
PURANI: Azad and others take a different standpoint from Gandhi.
SATYENDRA: They make it a political non-participation, while Gandhi
SRI AUROBINDO: Brings in both political and conscientious objections.
SATYENDRA: It seems Azad, C.R. and Nehru aren't very warm towards
this new stand of Gandhi.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is evident from C.R.'s speech. After the rejection
of the Poona offer, they didn't know what to do. So they had to take Gandhi's
help. Now they are in an impossible position. It was Venkataram Shastri, I
think, who has said Congress has been making mistake after mistake. After
they had resigned their offices, if they had stuck to civil disobedience it
would have meant something. Right or wrong, it was a line of action, a policy. But instead they have been going now this side, now that side.
SATYENDRA: Nehru also speaks of being international. Now his sister
speaks in the same vein.
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case he should support Britain. Otherwise, he
will only help Hitler.
NIRODBARAN: If there is any trouble in India, Hitler will be glad.
PURANI: Benoy Sarkar writes in Rupam about art, that the subject matter is
not important. Indian art has been always concerned with the subject while
what matters in art is whether it is aesthetic or not. From that point of view,
pattern, design, colour, line are things that count.
SRI AUROBINDO: But that is decorative, not aesthetic.
PURANI: Yes, he takes the current modern view of art. He says one must
see the balance and mass, etc., in a work of art, for instance in a Buddha
seated in a triangle.

SRI AUROBINDO: That is again scientific art, not aesthetic, and besides,
has modern art no subject?
PURANI: Agastya answers Sarkar by saying that by the Indianness of Indian art what is meant is not so much the subject as the tradition, the training
that one follows in one's art, which is quite different from the European tradition.
SRI AUROBINDO: Apart from the subject, art has something which is extremely important, but the subject, too, has its value. If it is all mass and balance, why call in Buddha then? The image or figure of Buddha is supposed
to express the calm of Nirvana. If you are not able to feel that or if the art
hasn't been able to bring that out, then you don't appreciate the art.
PURANI: It is the same thing they are doing in poetry.
SRI AUROBINDO: Poetry has no subject? No meaning? Then it is what
Baron makes out of it when he says, "Why do you want to understand?"

6 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: Sarkar says that art was at first religious everywhere; only India
has remained where she was, while Europe has gone forward.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is all right, but where?
PURANI: Going round!
SRI AUROBINDO: And backward. They have gone farther back than we
have ever done.
PURANI: What seems to me the point is not whether art is religious; it is the
inner vision, the inlook, so to say, by which an artist creates, that matters.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. Sarkar is scientific.
PURANI: I remember Arjava used to see Krishnalal's pictures like thatthe
scheme, line, compositionthe geometry of art, so to say. Poor Krishnalal
couldn't make head or tail of his criticism.
SRI AUROBINDO: He practised without knowing!
NIRODBARAN: Moore's article on Gandhi is very strong.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): Have you read it?

PURANI: Yes, it is very strongly worded.
NIRODBARAN: But he goes a little, too far. He doesn't believe that non-cooperation has done any goodon the contrary it has done much harm, he
PURANI: What non-cooperation has done is to show people in a combined
state, united in action for a common purpose and thus it has given solidarity
and a sense of unity.
SATYENDRA: It has helped to awaken the mass-consciousness tremendously.
SRI AUROBINDO: That, of course.
PURANI: Non-violence has been brought in by Gandhi as a principle, while
Azad and others have accepted it only as a policy.
SRI AUROBINDO: Non-cooperation is nothing new. It is the same as the
Swadeshi movement. Only, we had no non-violence. Holland is using nonviolence by a violent abuse of words.
PURANI: Abhay says this is the time to preach non-violence to people in
Europe when they are down with the curse of war and violence.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, to preach but not to practise!
C.R. Das has delivered a speech in answer to the Madras Governor. He says
that it is easy to sneer at non-violence during war, but it was the non-violent
movement that overcame the terrorist activities that had been raging before
the war and converted the terrorists.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is saying too much. They were not converted:
when they saw that their movement was a failure, they took this up as a policy.
SATYENDRA: When there was repression everywhere by the Government,
it was only this non-violent movement that could have been produced and it
helped to awaken the masses.
SRI AUROBINDO: That, yes. But that was due to the non-cooperation
movement, non-violence serving only as a policy. And it succeeded because
the common people thought it would give them freedom from the Zamin418

dars. Everybody except Gandhi took it up as a policy and, if you do that,
then there is no quarrel.
SATYENDRA: Gandhi himself was not so strict about non-violence before.
In 1928 he said that government by use of force may be necessary. Only recently has he made non-violence an absolute faith.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, even at that time it was in his mind. If you keep it
for religious and ethical matters, nothing can be said against it. But in politics even his own followers accept it with reservation.
SATYENDRA: Now all are in an uncomfortable position. It seems C.R.
would be glad to go back to office.
SRI AUROBINDO: That he feels uncomfortable is quite evident. There is
no strength in his speech.
SATYENDRA: If Gandhi had kept out after the Poona meeting, it would
have been better for everybody.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh yes, much better.
PURANI: This new Madras Governor gave a hint of conceding to Congress
demands for a national government at the Centre. So C.R. took it up.
SRI AUROBINDO: In fact many Governors were in favour of it. This Governor came fresh from England and didn't know the official mind.

7 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: Gandhi has made a long statement about his interview, with the
Viceroy. He says that the Viceroy was very patient, very courteous but unbending. Gandhi discussed all the problems with him and he listened to everything patiently as no Viceroy had done before. But he didn't go into any
of the arguments.
SRI AUROBINDO: Only listened?
PURANI: He says there was a cold reserve about the Viceroy which couldn't
be penetrated. From his answers it could be seen that they were all prepared
beforehand and that he had made his decisions already and nothing could
shake him. "And that is what is meant by a steel frame, I suppose," he says.
SRI AUROBINDO: To frame him?

PURANI: So Gandhi departed, but as a personal friend.
SRI AUROBINDO: And he saw Jonah before going, didn't he? (Purani apparently didn't know what "Jonah" referred to.) Jonah is the turtle that was
saved by the Viceroy from the mouth of a fish and put into a pond. Jonah is
a Biblical name. You don't know the story of Jonah?
SRI AUROBINDO: Jonah was a saint swallowed by a whale and he remained in its stomach for about three days, after which he was rescued. So it
was quite an apposite name. Gandhi even cooed to Jonah. (Laughter)
PURANI: Gandhi complains that the Viceroy didn't say anything in reply to
all his questions and problems.
SRI AUROBINDO: What could he say? It is very plain why he didn't. First
of all, the British don't want to concede the demand for independence. What
they are willing to give is Dominion Status after the war and they expect that
after that India will settle down into a common relationship with the Empire.
But just now a national government would virtually mean Dominion Status,
with the Viceroy acting only as a constitutional head.
Nobody knows what the Congress will do after they get that power.
They may be occupied only with India's defence and give Britain only such
help as they can spare. And if things go wrong with the British they may
even make a separate peace leaving the British in the lurch. There are leftwingers, socialists and communists whom Congress won't be able to bring
to their side; neither will they dare to offend them, and if their influence is
sufficiently strong the Congress may stand against the British. So it is quite
natural for the British not to part with power just now. As it is also natural
for us to make our claims. But since we have not enough strength to back us
we have to see if there is any common meeting-ground with the Government. If there is, a compromise with the Government is the only practical
step. There was such an opportunity but the Congress spoiled it. Now either
you have to accept what you can get or I don't know what is going to happen.
Of course if we had the strength and power to make a revolution and get
what we want, it would be a different matter. Amery and others did offer
Dominion Status at one time. Now they have altered their stand because of
the temper of the people. These politicians have some fixed ideas and they

always go by them. Politicians and statesmen have to take account of situations and act as demanded by them. They must have insight.
PURANI: Even now if we could make common cause and demand things,
they would be compelled.
NIRODBARAN: But it is because of the British divide-and-rule policy that
we can't unite.
SRI AUROBINDO: Nonsense! Was there unity in India before the British
NIRODBARAN: But now since our national consciousness is more developed, there is more chance of unity if the British don't bolster up Jinnah and
his Muslim claims.
SRI AUROBINDO: Does Jinnah want unity? His very character shows what
he wants. What he wants is independence for Muslims and, if possible, rule
over India. That is the old spirit. But why is it expected that Muslims will be
so accommodating? Everywhere minorities are claiming their rights. Of
course there may be some Muslims who are different, more nationalistic in
outlook. Even Azad has his own terms; only he sees Indian unity first and
will settle those terms afterwards.
NIRODBARAN: C.R. seems to be sure of British victory. He says Britain
won't lose India to Germany.
SRI AUROBINDO: Lose to whom else? Against Germany there is one advantage: the British navy is supreme. What Germany intends is a long-term
blockade of England and thus to exhaust her. But to do that she must have
Mediterranean supremacy. If she gets that and can also occupy Africa, then
she will have endless resources at her disposal. Germany bungled by treating
conquered people like slaves and not making use of other opportunity.
PURANI: In these air raids the British have shown themselves more than
equal to the Nazis.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. The Nazis have more enthusiasm and dash. But the
British individual is more awake and has more initiative and brain-power.
PURANI: Some military correspondent writes that Britain could start an offensive and invade Germany through the Adriatic.
SRI AUROBINDO: They are looking far ahead. But where will they land
their troops? Yugoslavia? That means violating Balkan independence.

Rather, with their troops in Palestine they could take Syria and then, with
Turkey siding with them, proceed towards Germany. That would be much
easier than going through the Adriatic. The Adriatic is far more risky and
difficult, for the Italians guard the coast. Turkey will side with the British if
the British are powerful enough.
Rameshwar is bringing out a booklet containing Sri Aurobindo's writings on
Bankim, Tilak, Dayanand and Romesh Dutt. He has asked if Romesh Dutt
should not be put after Bankim. Nolini asks why Romesh Dutt should come
after Bankim.
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know. I don't know why he should be there at
all. (Laughter)

8 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: German troops are pouring into Rumania, it seems. Do they anticipate a British invasion through it?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it is more a move towards the Balkans by Germany,
if it is also true that Italy has concentrated troops in Albania against Greece.
PURANI: But war on two fronts will be costly for Germany.
SRI AUROBINDO: But how can the British help there? They have no army
to spare unless Turkey joins and brings her troops.
PURANI: Kalelkar has rearranged the Gita text leaving out some of the portions which according to him are not essential. And he gives each chapter a
separate name: for example, Utthapana Yoga.
SRI AUROBINDO: And Kalelkar Yoga? (Laughter) Nobody has so far tampered with the text of the Gita.
PURANI: No, they have done so with the Ramayana and the Mahabharata
but not the Gita.
PURANI: America and Russia will check Japan in her imperialist policy in
the East.


SRI AUROBINDO: It seems they are not willing to go to war. They only
want to help China so far.
Somebody writing about Egypt says that it is the British who don't want
Egypt to take any action against Italian attacks just now. I don't see why.
They may have their reasons.
PURANI: Kalelkar says that after the war it will be India's lead.
SRI AUROBINDO: Kalelkar's lead? (Laughter)
PURANI: He says the Western powers will be crushed. Only Russia and India will survive. They will see the futility of violence, the fruits of such atrocious wars!
SRI AUROBINDO: How is communism a substitute for violence? And why
does he call it an atrocious war? In the past also there have been massacres,
pillages, sackings, burnings, etc., only in a different way. In these air-attacks
on England the death rate so far is less than death by motor accidents. Only
the destruction of property is great.
NIRODBARAN: If Russia and India alone survive, India will be a great opportunity for Russia. .
SRI AUROBINDO: It will be like the story of a lady of Niger and a tiger
in Edward Lear's limerick. You know the story?
SRI AUROBINDO: A lady of Niger went for a ride on the back of a tiger.
The tiger returned with the lady sitting inside and the tiger bearing a smile
on its face. (Laughter) There are good stories in his limericks. You know the
story of the cow?
PURANI: I have heard it. Moni's favourite, I think.
SRI AUROBINDO: It can be very well applied to passive resistance. It is
like this:
There was a young man who said, "How
Shall I melt the heart of this cow?"
So he sat on a stile
And continued to smile
Till he melted the heart of the cow.

9 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: It seems America's war with Japan is inevitable.
PURANI: As a consequence of the opening of the Burma Road by the
SRI AUROBINDO: Not likely.
PURANI; And Prussia also will have two portsthe Balkans and Japan.
SATYENDRA: Japan won't go to war.
SRI AUROBINDO: None of them is willing unless they are obliged to.
Have you any idea what Churchill meant when he declared that Mussolini would very soon see the surprise that the British has for him? What
Churchill means in simple words is, "I will show you." (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: He may have something up his sleeve. He doesn't give out
empty threats.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not usually.
(Addressing Purani with a little smile) Baron went to see Schomberg on
some business.
PURANI: I see.
SRI AUROBINDO: He said that he had come to know it was on
Schomberg's demand that he had been called from Chandernagore,
Schomberg with great surprise exclaimed, "Oh, what a lie, what a lie! Who
told you this? It is the Governor who called you; I had nothing to do with it."
"But the Governor himself told me that you did it." "What a lie! it is not
true, it can't be true." And then when Baron met the Governor he told him
what Schomberg had said. The Governor now exclaimed, "What lies, what
lies!" (All of us burst into laughter.) Baron thought one of them must be lying. He forgot the possibility that both may have been lying.
PURANI: Yes. The Governor may himself have called him back in order to
please his Vichy Government.
PURANI: Veerabhadra has gone, it seems.

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he was asked to give up his public activity, if he
wanted to stay here. He says he can't do that as public activity is part of himself. He has got permission to come to the Ashram but live outside. He is fit
for nothing else but propaganda. I was many times on the point of driving
him out, but he escaped.
PURANI: I wonder how he was teaching Hindi when he himself knows so
little. He knows even less than Amrita, I think.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is like Amrita's teaching French in Madras. You know
the joke about old French?
SRI AUROBINDO: While he was teaching in the class, the students said
that what he was saying was different from the book. Amrita replied, "That
is old French." (Laughter)
PURANI: Yes, yes, I remember Moni and others used to taunt him.
SRI AUROBINDO: It was a standing joke for a long time.

11 OCTOBER 1940
SATYENDRA: The British Government is preparing a huge scheme of insurance for all against the destruction caused by Germany.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, it will be a heavy bill. I don't see how they can
meet it unless they socialise the whole Government. It is only by socialisation that they can succeed.
SATYENDRA: It may lead to socialism in England after the war.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, some form of modified socialism, of course.
PURANI: Shaw goes a step furtherhe wants communism.
SRI AUROBINDO: Communism exists nowhere, not even in Russia.
PURANI: Sarat Bose has also been expelled from the Congress.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Yes, two great Bose brothers are gone now.
They may try to do some mischief now.

12 OCTOBER 1940
The Czech national committee of Bombay published a pamphlet on the oppressive rules instituted by Germany in Czechoslovakia against university
education. The Mother brought a copy of it to Sri Aurobindo in the morning
SRI AUROBINDO (after breakfast): Those who think that Hitler's rule in
India won't make much difference from the British, can read it. Then they
will see why I support the British. But this is only one example of their oppression, directed only against the university.
PURANI: I have read it. Jallianwalla Bagh seems only a small incident by
its side and that was committed by a single man who was afterwards compelled to retire from his office.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that was an instance of a military commander doing something on his own authority, while here it is a regime. Wherever
Hitler goes, he starts that regime.
NIRODBARAN: If he could be so brutal with his own white race, what will
be the fate of the coloured races?
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. But in Poland it is still more severe.
SRI AUROBINDO: Because he knows the Polish people are more resistant
and won't be subjugated. At one time he thought of exterminating the Poles
PURANI: The Polish lady who wrote to Ravindra has come back from Europe. She says she has first-hand knowledge of the condition in Poland
about what Germany has done. She prays to you for Poland's amelioration.
SRI AUROBINDO: Poland's amelioration is not possible unless Hitler undergoes deterioration.
PURANI: Hitler's entry into Rumania seems to be his first step towards the
SRI AUROBINDO: It is, like all his moves, a slow penetration from which
he may go to Turkey, Egypt and Asia. What is wonderful is Stalin's attitude.
He is quite silent.
NIRODBARAN: Any secret pact?

SRI AUROBINDO: Even if there were, how long would Hitler respect it if
he won? Then Russia would have either to resist or be effaced. Stalin is
counting on the exhaustion of the Axis and England and France. Now if
Hitler takes Turkey and Egypt and Africa, that will mean practically England's defeat. Then what can Russia do? Hitler has a sufficient army to fight
on two fronts while England can hardly spare her troops.
PURANI: Japan is trying to be original: she says she wants peace with
America. The three-Power pact is not against America! (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't see how Japan can fight England and America
when all her war supplies come from them. That is also why Spain can't join
PURANI: N.R. Sarkar has given a lecture in Madura against non-violence.
He says non-violence can't prevent invasion by another power.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is my opinion too. I don't see how Satyagraha can
prevent it, or does Gandhi expect that Hitler won't come to India? Hasn't he
read anything about Poland?
PURANI: He must have. This Polish lady who was there must have told
him. Gandhi says he does not know himself what would be the exact
method. He waits for inspiration at the last moment as in all his other cases.
He also says that generals don't know their moves beforehand. They wait for
inspiration calmly and quietly. In violence one can't be quiet. Gandhi is disturbed by the incidents, etc.
SRI AUROBINDO: Generals get excited by violence? If so, they could
never win battles. Gandhi doesn't seem to know much about human psychology. If Napoleon and Marlborough had got excited they could never have
been successful.
SATYENDRA: Gandhi doesn't say he can stop an invasion but he says that
non-violent non-cooperation can make it impossible for one to rule.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is another matter.
SATYENDRA: If done rightly it can melt other people's hearts as with
Prahlad, he says.
SRI AUROBINDO: Prahlad is all right, but a nation of Prahlads doesn't exist. (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: He actually believes that Narsimha will come down.

SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): To tear the stomach out of the other fellow?
SATYENDRA (laughing): Yes.
SRI AUROBINDO: But at one time he thought of stopping an Afghan invasion by Charkha.
SATYENDRA: In my opinion he should have kept aloof after that Poona affair.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. Gandhi's originality lies in bringing Ahimsa
into politics. Otherwise non-cooperation is nothing new.
NIRODBARAN: Tagore is having a relapse again and passing restless
SRI AUROBINDO: This time it is difficult to escape, it seems, in spite of
Gandhi's wish.
NIRODBARAN: I read the Czech pamphlet.
SRI AUROBINDO: How did you find it?
SRI AUROBINDO: Would you like India to have that?
NIRODBARAN: O Lord, no! I was thinking the Jallianwalla Bagh affair
was mild beside this.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, I was wondering why they made so much noise
about it.
Dr. Rao had come in the morning. Nirodbaran asked him: "What does
Madras think of Hitler? It seems it is anti-British." Rao said plenty of people were much surprised by Sri Aurobindo's contribution and were wondering how it was possible for Sri Aurobindo, who once had been so antiBritish, to do such a thing. But there were others who supported Sri Aurobindo. Then Sri Aurobindo explained to Rao at great length all the points
and sides of the question, most of which he had mentioned in the letter. We
saw that he repeated all of them deliberately, so that Rao might speak of
them to others if the occasion arose. What is not included in the letter is
given below.

SRI AUROBINDO: In Africa, the Germans have already exterminated one
race. Now in France they are creating a distinction between white and
coloured races which didn't exist before. It is only the British navy that
stands against Hitler's world domination.
DR. RAO: I don't believe that he can dominate the world.
SRI AUROBINDO: Do you know that he is trying to get a foothold in South
America and doing extensive propaganda there? If he gets a hold there, he
can lead an attack against the U.S.A. He is practically master of Europe. If
after the collapse of France he had invaded England, by now he would have
been in Asia. Now another force has been set up against him. Still the danger
has not passed. He has a fifty per cent chance of success. It is a question of
balance of forces. Up to the time of the collapse of France he was extraordinarily successful because he sided with the Asuric Power behind him from
whom he received remarkably correct messages. He is a mystic, only a mystic of the wrong kind. He goes into solitude for his messages and waits till
they come.
DR. RAO: But how long can he keep these races in subjection? They will
rise in revolt one day.
SRI AUROBINDO: What about Poland and Czechoslovakia? They are two
of the most heroic nations in the world and yet what can they do? Besides,
Hitler doesn't want to annex all these countries under direct German rule. He
wants to make them protectorates under his gauleiters, all schools, institutions, industries serving German interests and having its culture.
DR. RAO: What is the difference between communism and Nazism?
SRI AUROBINDO: Communism is the proletariat Stateno dictatorship,
though Stalin is a dictator but he doesn't call himself that. Otherwise they
are the same.
DR. RAO: The trouble in India is that the British Government has not kept a
single promise so far. So nobody trusts it.
SRI AUROBINDO: The fact is that the British don't trust India [to] help
them if she is given Dominion Status. Otherwise they would have given it.
DR. RAO: I don't think India will refuse to help if we get something in return.

SRI AUROBINDO: You think so? I am not sure. What do you think of the
left-wingers, the communists, Subhas Bose, for instance? And it is not true
that they have given nothing. It is the British character to go by stages.
Whenever their self-interest is at stake they come to a compromise. You
have to take account of things as they are. They gave provincial autonomy
and didn't exercise any veto power. It is the Congress that spoiled everything
by resigning. If without resigning they had put pressure on the Centre they
would have got by now what they want. It is for two reasons I support the
British in this war: first in India's own Interest and secondly for humanity's
sake, and the reasons I have given are external reasons; there are spiritual
reasons too. You know that propaganda of any kind is allowed by the Nazis.
In that case how are you going to awaken the national sentiment?
DR. RAO: Even if Hitler wins, there is Japan who will resist him in the East.
SRI AUROBINDO: But is Japan powerful enough to do that? It is true that
Japan wants to drive out all Europeans from Asia. She can have enough
power for that only if she is master of the Far East including China.
DR. RAO: People say that the British won't allow the loss of India. If it
comes to that, they will make peace. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: They said also that Britain wouldn't fight after the collapse of France.
PURANI: But why should Hitler make such a peace if he finds that he has
chances of success? The trouble with us is that we want to cut off our nose
to spite another's face.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, we call in a third party to cut off our nose to spite
the other's face. (Laughter) India has always done that.
DR. RAO: If Hitler is defeated and they make another treaty of Versailles,
there will be trouble again.
SRI AUROBINDO: But if they don't do that there will be another war in
twenty years' time. Something has to be done.
PURANI: The best thing would be to march into Germany as they wanted to
do in the last war.
DR. RAO: People in Madras regard Italy as no more considerate than Germany.
PURANI: For that reason Egypt has not declared war, they say.

SRI AUROBINDO: No, it is said that the British are holding her back. But
do you know that the Italians have exterminated half the native people in
Libya? Whatever independence England has given the Egyptians, they will
lose if Italy comes there. Are they so foolish as not to know that? The Arabs
know the Italians very well. Hence they are completely supporting Britain
though they were fighting with her before.

13 OCTOBER 1940
SRI AUROBINDO: Any news about the Congress decision or is Gandhi going to ponder for another two years till the war is over and the Satyayuga
comes in? (Laughter)
PURANI: Azad has said that there is no going back on the Bombay decision.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is all right, but what are they going to do?
PURANI: It seems Gandhi has prepared a scheme which he is going to submit to the Working Committee. It may be something like what he has advised in Hyderabad, which you may have seenonly four persons selected
to go to jail and, if they are released, they will go again.
SRI AUROBINDO: But how will that redress their grievances? And will
they call a meeting?
PURANI: They will have to.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then it will no longer be individual. Or they can go to
Sir Akbar and sit in his bedroom and refuse to move till their demands are
acceded to. (Laughter)
PURANI: If they call a meeting, the police may try to break it up.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and then some sort of violence is inevitable. That
is about the State. What about Congress? If it is something like their Salt
Campaign, one can understand.
PURANI: The same procedure, I suppose: individual Satyagrahis are calling
a meeting. The meeting may be banned by the Government, then there may
be some riot.
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case a riot is inevitable. Gandhi is balancing on a

PURANI: Hitler's intention seems to be to launch an attack in the East.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not only that. He wants to control the oil fields in Asia
Minor on which the British depend.
Turkey says Germany will have two million bayonets to face to get to
Anatolia. Somebody says that, though Turkey has no mechanised army, it is
not very necessary because the country is not suited for mechanised units.
So Germany won't be very effective. I am not so sure of that. It may be difficultthat's all. Such things were said by France, and Belgium too.
PURANI: In Bankim's "Bande Mataram" there are two versions of the line
ke bale ma tumi abala.1 I don't remember the other version. Nolini wants to
know which version you want to keep.
SRI AUROBINDO: But I have translated the original version only.
NIRODBARAN: The other version is abala keno ma eto bale.2
SRI AUROBINDO: Eto bale! Oh, that is for grammar: abala being feminine, one can't say abale; all the same abala keno ma... bale is not good. It is
better to be ungrammatical than to miss the point. Bankim surely knew
about the grammatical error.

14 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: Gandhi speaks of a premonition of a fast.
PURANI: In reply to Malaviya who had asked him not to fast whatever else
he might do, Gandhi said that if he was inspired by God, he might or must.
SRI AUROBINDO: The British Government ought to set up somebody to
fast against him(laughter) not to give up his fast till Gandhi stops.
NIRODBARAN: Linlithgow is returning, it seems.
PURANI: They talk of Samuel Hoare as the successor to Linlithgow. In the
Indian Express there is a cartoon showing Hoare as a rabbit being stewed in
his own juice. (Laughter)
[1] Who says, Mother, that you are weak?
[2] Being so strong, how are you so weak?

SRI AUROBINDO: He is needed in Spain. Lothian would have been the
best choice. But he is also much needed in America.

15 OCTOBER 1940
NIRODBARAN: Have you read Gandhi's article? He says there is nothing
much to choose between British rule and Nazism.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, I have read it. Let him be under the Nazis and then
he will realise the difference.
PURANI: Amarnath Jha has given a speech in South India. He says that this
is not the time for non-violence. One can make a righteous war. Non-violence very often is a cloak for cowardice.
SRI AUROBINDO: Cowardice? One can't say that. Non-violent resistance
can't be cowardice.You can say that non-violence may lead to cowardice on
the pretext of non-resistance.
PURANI: Yes, simply out of fear of resistance people will take up an attitude of non-violence. That was why a prominent leader of Congress once
said in a speech, "I prefer non-violence but if you can't accept it, at least
don't sit quiet in times of trouble or danger. Do something." To this Gandhi
took objection.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why? He has said that himself many times.
SATYENDRA: Yes, only now he has taken an absolute stand.
SRI AUROBINDO: My only objection is that he wants to use non-violence
as a ramrod; it is not practicable under present circumstances. Individual
Satyagraha may be possible because some individuals have reached that
stage of evolution but as a wholesale mass movement it is not practicable.
He muddles the whole thing by bringing it into politics. As a prophet of nonviolence, he can practise it as a movement of ethical affirmation, a demand
of the soul.
SATYENDRA: Yes, if he had led some such sort of movement with people
who could strictly follow him, there would have been nothing to say. From
that viewpoint, his retirement from politics after the Poona affair was the
right move.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, it was the right thing.

SATYENDRA: But people drag him in, foist on him the leadership of the
NIRODBARAN: But doesn't Gandhi himself have the idea of saving India
politically too? Then why should we blame others or can we say that the
leadership has been foisted on him?
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, not only saving India but the whole world. The
leadership was foisted on him as people were feeling helpless without his
SATYENDRA: That is why I blame these people more. Why don't they take
the leadership?
PURANI: I think C.R. could have done something with the Viceroy if it had
been left to him.
SATYENDRA: Why doesn't he do it then? He got his opportunity after the
Poona affair.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but he is not the leader and he couldn't go to see
the Viceroy as the leader.
SATYENDRA: He can stand against Gandhiji and lead the movement.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. But Gandhi's hold is too strong for him. Moreover,
when these people are face to face with difficulties they feel themselves
weak. Unlike the revolutionaries they have not got the strength to start a
movement and lead it. C.R. could have made some compromise with the
Viceroy except for the fact that the Viceroy isn't a man for compromise. He
is, as Gandhi says, unbending; he meets you with fixed decisions. Otherwise
Amery's first speech went much farther; it was quite clear in what was said.
But because of the Viceroy and the officials it came to nothing.
NIRODBARAN: Now Irwin could be sent as Viceroy.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he has the instinct for peace. Lothian or some other
Labour member would have been the best. Lothian has a liberal mind.
SATYENDRA: It is the officials mostly that stand in the way.
NIRODBARAN: That is why some suggested that Amery should pay a personal visit.


SRI AUROBINDO: That won't be of any use. Amery is not the man. Of
course one has to take account of Indian officials for any advancement unless one is so strong as to do something over the heads of these people.
PURANI: It seems there is disagreement in the Working Committee about
the procedure. Some don't agree with Gandhi in wanting to inform the Government of their move beforehand. But Gandhi wants to keep them informed.
SRI AUROBINDO: He wants to assert the right of free speech. And according to his ideal of Satyagraha he is quite right. His followers take it up as a
political move.
SATYENDRA: Yes, that is the trouble. Their standpoints and outlooks are
quite different. Somehow I understand Gandhiji in these principles for
which he stands. The only thing, as we said, is that he should have kept himself apart from politics.
PURANI: Another trouble with Gandhi is that he says that no man can be
perfect unless the society around him is perfect.
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case, like Amitabha Buddha refusing to go to
Nirvana till all have attained it, he will have to wait till eternity for perfection! (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: He thinks his life is bound up with the national life, so he
can't sever himself from the nation.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, his life is bound up but the national life is not
bound up with himthat is the trouble. Hence wholesale non-violence is not
possible. He should have gone to Denmark when they wanted to adopt nonviolence, though their non-violence was for a different reason, because they
saw that a small army is of no use against greater powers.
SATYENDRA: Gandhiji's non-violence is of course of a different type. You
offer resistance non-violently and the enemy may pass over your dead body!
SRI AUROBINDO: Somebody in England gave the same suggestion. Hitler
will regret that nobody accepted it.
PURANI: Japan declares she will help the Axis in case of reverses.
SRI AUROBINDO: By telegrams?

This Japan-China war seems to be interminable; each claims big successes and yet it comes to nothing. The same with the other war.
PURANI: Yes, only air raids!
Nandalal Base's picture of Durga in the Puja number of the Hindustan Standard was shown to Sri Aurobindo.
SRI AUROBINDO: It seems to be post-Ajanta decorative style. Lion
stylised, peacock in front of the lion, Kartik humorous.
PURANI: Gandhara art is supposed to be a mixture of Greek and Indian art.
More of Greek influence than Indian.
SRI AUROBINDO: What Gandhara representations I have seen seem to me
to be spoiled by Central Asian influence and then bungled by Indian. It is
more Central Asian than Greekit is an imitation of Greece without its
mastery, as is the case with all imitation.

16 OCTOBER 1940
Purani started the talk about one Mr. Chevalier, a friend of Dr. Ramchandra, who had arrived here. He seems to have said that Dr. Ramchandra was
much changed. Satyendra and Champaklal corroborated the observation.
But Purani said that he had heard also some things against Dr. Ramchandra
for instance, his gardening and gardening all the time! Then there was
talk that both Suren and Dr. Ramchandra were much relieved because Suren
had moved to a new house.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, Suren has been wanting to move for a long time,
and Ramchandra said that it would be difficult to check his violence if Suren
was not removed.
SATYENDRA: But I see much change in him now. Of course many things
turn up here from our old nature. For instance, I find in myself things that I
didn't suspect existed in me. That is, perhaps, due to some special working
in the Inconscient at present.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, many people have said that to me. It is what the
psychoanalysis put so much weight upon. They call it suppression and its
later effect.

SATYENDRA: But everything is not suppression.
NIRODBARAN: You said before that the work was going on in the subconscient.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is the same; it is the rising up of the subconscient
from the Inconscient.
NIRODBARAN: Has everybody such dark elements in the Inconscient?
SRI AUROBINDO: There is a possibility, though they may not be manifested in a formed state, etc.?
SATYENDRA: When the subconscient rises up, it seems there is no end to
it. It keeps recurring. One doesn't know how to get rid of the cycle. It is
something terrible.
SRI AUROBINDO: Mind and the vital are easy to change. It is these three,
the physical, the subconscient and the Inconscient, that are most difficult.
Gandhi has elaborated his campaign of Satyagraha and elected Mr. Vinoba
Bhave as the candidate to start it.
PURANI: I read that Gandhi thought of making Vinoba Prime Minister in
place of Kher.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, not Kher but Dr. Khare from Central Province.
PURANI: Good Lord! I would like to see how Vinoba would carry on even
for a week.
SRI AUROBINDO: He would have advised fasting a week for purification.
Purani then gave a description of Vinoba. Gandhi has elaborated on his science of fasting, saying that it is a dangerous weapon and nobody should undertake one without being a master of its technique. Then he said that his
Rajkot fast was a mistake.
SRI AUROBINDO: I thought it was inspired by God!
PURANI: Yes, but in its application he committed mistakes; for instance, he
shouldn't have asked the Viceroy to intervene since he considered the Prince
as his son. It seems he has selected Nehru as the second candidate after

SRI AUROBINDO: Nehru is not scientifican anticlimax!
NIRODBARAN: No news of Tagore!
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he is getting better. Something strange about him:
when you think he is getting better, he suddenly begins to die and when you
think he is dying he gets better. (Laughter)
PURANI: You have read about a Polish ship escaping from Dakar almost
miraculously through a ring of submarines, warships, etc.?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. That's the true Poleyou can't subjugate the race.
By the way, have you marked the "damages and casualties" in Bombay from
the cyclone?
SRI AUROBINDO: They are all speaking about it in terms of war as if there
had been some air raid. (Laughter)

17 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: Gandhi gave a long introduction about Vinoba, saying he is the
most fitted and ideal non-violent worker, one who has understood and practised his non-violence in the true spirit. Vinoba declares that non-violence
will bring about a revolution in the country.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why speeches then?
PURANI: They will be a preparation for successful non-cooperation. He
also says the Charkha will bring contentment to people and to the peasants
by making them self-supporting.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then how can there be a revolution? Discontent brings
about a revolution.
PURANI: He has also read Arabic in order to understand and make common
ties and sympathies with the Muslims. He has written a book making the
Charkha the central subject, taking spinning, cotton, etc. as various items,
and written about the history, geography and science of it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why the Charkha then? One can write as well on nails!
That is the kind of intelligence which looks at things from one aspect only
a one-eyed intelligence can't take a complete view of a subject.

PURANI: Declaring Britain's war-aims, Churchill has said that they are not
fighting for the status quo nor for the old order of things. More than that it is
not possible to say.
SATYENDRA: He says that the only war aim now is to win the war.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. If he starts declaring the war aims, a quarrel
will start at once and those who are supporting Britain will object. For war
aims don't depend on Britain alone but on Europe too. With the co-operation
and consent of all these other nations they have to be developed. Different
people will prefer different orders. For instance, the Socialists in England
will want Socialism, while no one in Europe will agree to that, not even anyone in America.
NIRODBARAN: There is Satish Das Gupta in Bengal, another lieutenant of
PURANI: His is more of a personal attachment to Gandhi.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not because of Gandhi's ideas?
PURANI: Ideas are secondary; he is a lieutenant because of his attachment.
The main thing is his personal attachment apart from any ideas.
SRI AUROBINDO: Religious devotion?
SATYENDRA: There are many people like that who are attached to Gandhiji because of his personal charm, his personality, not because of any idea
or principle he stands for. Patel, for instance.
SRI AUROBINDO: Has none gone for his ideas?
SATYENDRA: I don't think so. It is as things are here. There are not many
people here who have come for your philosophy.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why "not many"? Very few.
SATYENDRA: That was my tactfulness.
SRI AUROBINDO: Nirod didn't come for my philosophy!
SATYENDRA: Amrita, for instance, says that whatever you say he will do.
If politics, then politics.

SRI AUROBINDO: There is only one man who has come for my philosophyVeerabhadra! (Laughter)
PURANI: Yes, he has his own idea about it and says it is just like
SRI AUROBINDO: Dilip used to shudder at the idea of the Supermind.
Even the psychic used to appal him.
NIRODBARAN: Though what he is aspiring for is this psychic attitude of
SRI AUROBINDO: He thinks the psychic has no love and emotion. What
he was afraid of was that his vital movements would be taken away.
NIRODBARAN: Mahendra Sircar also came for your philosophy.
PURANI: Adwaitanand, too. Of course, such people are very few.
SATYENDRA: Very few people have any clear idea about it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. I am not speaking of those who come for Yoga.
What about Veerabhadra? Where is he now?
PURANI: In the town. I suppose the Vaishya Sabha is putting him up.
SRI AUROBINDO: He ought not to have any difficulty as he is a Brahmin.
PURANI: Yes, a Brahmin in South India is honoured everywhere.
SRI AUROBINDO: And he has many disciples here. If he had the gerua
(the saffron robe) he would have still more advantage.
NIRODBARAN: But in Bengal he would have a hard time.
NIRODBARAN: In Bengal Sannyasis are not held in much esteem.
SRI AUROBINDO: Bengal has Deshpande's idea, I suppose. I remember
when Deshpande returned from England some Sannyasis came to him. He
drove them away, asking why able-bodied people should go about from door
to door.
SATYENDRA: But in any other part of India a Sannyasi has no difficulty.
Purnananda speaks very lovingly of a warm reception in Gujarat.
NIRODBARAN: He says Bengali Sannyasis are not treated well in North
India by North Indian Sannyasis. "As the Bengalis don't treat us well, why

should we treat them well?" they argue. There is himsa (jealousy) among
sadhus too!
CHAMPAKLAL: Jain Sadhus beat each other!
SRI AUROBINDO: That is not unusual, quite ancient. There are funny stories in old Buddhist books about Sannyasis. In some books the Sannyasis are
described as drinking and shouting in the streets. Subramaniam Bharati told
me that in old Jain books he had found instances of Brahmins killing each
other in South India and eating cow's meat! Nobody will believe it now.
SRI AUROBINDO: Brahmins eating meat goes as far back as the Ramayana. There is the story of Batapi, a Rakshasa, who alongwith his brother
wanted to kill Brahmins. He turned himself into a sheep which was killed
and eaten by a Brahmin. Then his brother came and chanted some mantra by
which the sheep inside tore open the Brahmin's stomach and came out. He
tried to play the same trick on Agastya. But as soon as his brother chanted
the mantra, Agastya chanted some other mantra and thus prevented the
sheep from. tearing open his stomach. (Laughter)
Then there is the story in Bhavabhuti where Vasishtha ate a whole sheep
in front of his disciples. The disciples exclaimed, "That fellow is eating the
whole sheep!"
SATYENDRA: They must have wondered at his digestive capacity.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it was not said in praise! .
NIRODBARAN: The digestive power must have deteriorated a lot among
us since then!
NIRODBARAN: Buddha couldn't digest even some pieces of pork.
PURANI: He was eighty! But it was not a sheep that Vashishtha ate; it was a
cow, I think.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, yes, a calf, I remember now. I was surprised to find
a Brahmin eating a cow!
NIRODBARAN: Weren't Brahmins eating cows at one time?
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh yes, sacrificial cows.

NIRODBARAN: It was the post-Buddhistic influence that stopped meat-eating.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it was Jainism. In Bengal where Buddhism was
once very dominant they used to eat meat. It is remarkable how Jainism
spread that influence throughout the whole of India. It was because of jainism that Gujarat is vegetarian. But some carry this abstinence from meat as
far back as the Veda. There is a Sloka which says that meat cannot be eaten
and they make it "must not" be eaten.
At the end Purani showed us a famous sculpture of Durga from Bihar. Sri
Aurobindo said that it was very lively; even the posture of Durga indicated
that. Then jocularly he said that one must have a divine quality to balance
oneself on a lion like that.

18 OCTOBER 1940
There was miscellaneous talk about this and that. It started with the news of
Vinoba's arrest. We said that Purani must be very glad of' the news. Then
the talk was about the business capacity of different persons. There was
some discord, between Vinoba and his co-worker Harkar in the Gandhi
Ashram. Vinoba seems to have remarked that Harkar would not be able to
earn even five rupees outside. This insult was only an additional reason to
the many others for which Harkar left the Ashram with the resolve to show
whether he could earn his living or not. He joined some business with our
Kashibhai. Satyendra remarked that Kashibhai was a good man but had no
business capacity. This led to the subject of X's capacity in business. Purani
said that he had been on the point of being dismissed from the Navajeevan
Office. He also had a tailoring shop which failed.
SRI AUROBINDO: Anything he touches will be a loss. He has a genius for
that. He can work under somebody who will oblige him to work. Has he
produced any more children?
PURANI: I don't know.
SRI AUROBINDO: He already had three. The way he was industriously
working at it, he must have five or six now.
PURANI: T was complaining of the ill-health of the children.


SRI AUROBINDO: Both the parents suffer from ill-health, so their children
must be like that. But such people live long.
CHAMPAKLAL: G also started some insurance business with motor cars,
etc. It failed.
PURANI: He was also with Gandhi.
SRI AUROBINDO: What was he doing there?
PURANI: Harijan work.
SRI AUROBINDO: Means only talking! He is suited for that.
SRI AUROBINDO (referring to Vinoba's arrest): The Government said that
it would watch how the movement developed. But it didn't wait very long.
PURANI: Have you seen Vinoba's picture in the Hindu?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. The only notable feature is his foreheadit is like
that of a scholar. He has close-cropped hair ready for jail.
SATYENDRA: From his appearance one can make out an ascetic type.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, ascetic and puritan, but a mental puritan. Not vital,
because his lips indicate otherwise. Only his chin has not the necessary
strength for vital indulgence.
PURANI: In spite of all his rigorous practical and routine life, his health is
not strong.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, he is badly born, as we call it.

19 OCTOBER 1940
News of Vinoba's arrest has been contradicted on today's radio.
SRI AUROBINDO (to Purani): Has it been a great disappointment to you?
A number of visitors came from Gujarat by a special trainon a pilgrimage. Some were known or related to Satyendra. Sri Aurobindo inquired as to
who they were, Purani answered that some were Satyendra's elatives.
SATYENDRA: They recognised me at once by my nose. Our family has this
characteristic nose. (Laughter)

PURANI: He says that in the delineation of the gods he finds such noses!
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but Nandalal is making them short and crooked
Gurusaday Dutt is on a tour of South India promoting his Vratachari folkdance movement and is expected here as Anilbaran's guest.
PURANI: Anilbaran wants to know your opinion about Dutt's movement.
SRI AUROBINDO: I have no opinion (laughter)as I don't know what it
PURANI: He asks whether you consider the movement good.
SRI AUROBINDO: Any movement could be good.
PURANI: His books have been sent to you, it seems. Have you seen them?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they have been sent but I have not read them.
PURANI: It seems he wants to do social service, village uplift work through
his Vratachari folk dances. According to him it is the lower castes in India
that have preserved the real Indian civilisation. Even the Harijans
SATYENDRA: Not even! It is the Harijans who are the real custodians of
Indian culture.
SRI AUROBINDO: All I can say is that the Pondicherry Harijans are
cleaner than caste people. (Laughter) But is he also of the opinion that whatever is primitive and ancient is real culture and so must be revived?
SRI AUROBINDO: Then I can't agree with him.
NIRODBARAN: He claims also a spiritual value in his movement. He says
it will help towards spiritual uplift too, which Anilbaran can't swallow.
There are five ideals he has set forth: knowledge, labour, unity
SRI AUROBINDO: Knowledge very good, unity better, and then?
NIRODBARAN: Truth and joy.
SRI AUROBINDO: Joy also? Ananda, Satyam
NIRODBARAN: Anyone who follows these in his life will have spiritual

SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Obviously! I suppose it is through the
rhythm of the folk dance that all these will be achieved?
SRI AUROBINDO: He himself took part in a dance and his I.C.S. people
thought he had gone mad! But I thought it was also a scout movement, not
only folk dancing.
PURANI: Yes, that is also part of it.
NIRODBARAN: Anilbaran says there is this difference from the Gandhi
movement, that it includes joy and beauty.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why? Gandhi finds joy and beauty in suffering!
NIRODBARAN: Dutt is very devoted to his wife's memory, it seems. He always keeps one vacant seat by his side during his meal time. He has written
a book on her too. It seems Dutt got inspiration from his wife in all these
SATYENDRA: Many people are devoted like that. Dr. Chandulal, for instance. He lost his wife when young and did not marry again, He wrote a
poem on her.
SRI AUROBINDO: He can marry again and write another poem! (Laughter)
SATYENDRA: Sometimes in their devotion, external beauty of form doesn't
count. In the Leila-Majnun story, somebody asked Majnun what made him
love Leila so much, since Leila had no beauty. He answered that one must
have Majnun's eyes to see her beauty. But I am afraid Majnun could not
have done these Vratachari.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not even if Leila started it? (Laughter) A modernised
Leila? You must make some allowance for modernism!
PURANI: One of the visitors is a retired D.S.P. It seems he was your student.
PURANI: He says that after the war is over there will be a great economic
strain all over the world. Whoever wins won't make much difference to the
other economically because both sides will be utterly exhausted. He also
thinks that some other social order will come in.

SRI AUROBINDO: A tremendous necessity of that sort will compel them to
a new arrangement of society. It is Nature's push that they have not taken
any account of so far. They can't go back to the old forms of government and
state and society. If they do, there will be upheavals again. What they are
calling a New Order will be forced on them by such a necessity. Hitler looks
at it upside down. He wanted to make Germany self-sufficient and saw that
it was not possible without making the world subservient to Germany. That
means that self-sufficiency is not enough nowadays. Nobody can preserve
himself by self-sufficiency alone. Unification becomes necessary. You see
what Hitler's unification is?
PURANI: By compulsion!
SRI AUROBINDO: Not only compulsion but subservience to Germany!
PURANI: Italy and Germany are holding out threats to Greece; it is said
Germany wants to march into Greece, after Rumania!
SRI AUROBINDO: But how? Through Yugoslavia? Is that why the Yugoslavian Prime Minister has gone to Turkey? They can march through Rumania too but it is difficult. Perhaps for a joint action Italy has held up her
operations in Egypt.
The newspaper said that Vinoba had given three or four speeches and had
made up a programme of addressing other meetings.
SRI AUROBINDO: Vinoba is having the time of his life! His speeches are
so inoffensive and colourless that I don't see how anybody can arrest him.
He can't change his phrases for fear of falling into violence!
PURANI: The evening papers have put in a placard like Gandhi's new
movement! Don't know what that new movement is!
SRI AUROBINDO: Because Vinoba has not been arrested? Perhaps he
thinks it is a crime on the Government's part not to arrest him?

20 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: Gandhi has declared his programme: he will start civil disobedience with twenty people of his Ashramno outsidersincluding two
ladies, and he has even asked the Congress Working Committee members
not to attend the meetings.

SRI AUROBINDO: And if the Government doesn't arrest them?
SATYENDRA: He may go through the whole of India and he will establish
the right of free speech.
SRI AUROBINDO: But only Gandhi's followers may not be arrested. Others won't be free. He is fighting for freedom for everybody. Is this the new
movement? Nothing new there!
PURANI: It seems Azad differed from Gandhi and was on the point of resigning!
SRI AUROBINDO: As far as that?
PURANI: Yes, he doesn't believe in ethical movements. He wants non-violence as a political weapon like others. But he was persuaded to stay on.
SRI AUROBINDO: But if these people are not arrested, what will be the
next move?
PURANI: Gandhi doesn't say. Perhaps he will wait for inspiration.
SATYENDRA: But Pattabhi knows.
SATYENDRA: Yes, he seems to know all about Gandhi's scheme and writes
about it in the papers.
SRI AUROBINDO: What did he write?
SATYENDRA: The Indian Express cut a joke at his cost.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is as somebody said, "Only God and Hitler know
what Hitler will do next," so only God and Pattabhi know what Gandhi will
do? (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Like Dinabandhu Mitra writing an epilogue to Bankim's
SRI AUROBINDO: How is that?
NIRODBARAN: As soon as Bankim had finished a novel, Mitra used to
come out with a conclusion imitating Bankim's manner, style, etc. Bankim
said that he wouldn't be able to write any more because of this man.
SRI AUROBINDO: I see! He married off Ayesha to Jagat Singh?
NIRODBARAN: Something like that.

PURANI: There seems to be some truth about sixty thousand German soldiers being killed on September 15 when Hitler planned to invade England.
It was reported at that time.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, it was reported? That staved off the invasion then?
If only during embarkation sixty thousand were killed, then in crossing and
landing how many more died? Everybody who wanted to invade England
stumbled against England's sea power. Now I don't think there is any chance
of an invasion, because all of Hitler's plans have been exposed and seen.
PURANI: Yes, the British R.A.F. is now able to know Germany's moves and
preparations. Hitler now admits to Britain's naval power.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh! it won't be long before he admits to Britain's air
power too.
SATYENDRA: Russia says that Germany and England are equal in air
SRI AUROBINDO: Equal in force, not number.
PURANI: If they can start invading Germany
SRI AUROBINDO: That will take about a year more. A standing army of
one-and-a-half million is not enough for that.
SATYENDRA: Each side is now at a stalemate.
PURANI: Unless some unknown factor supervenes, one doesn't know how
long it will go on.
SRI AUROBINDO: The only unknown factor is "Russia or America coming
in. America seems to have come to an understanding with Russia. That may
be the reason for their sending war materials. But for America to enter the
war with the complete equipment of her mechanised army will still take one
or two years. In reply to Russia's note, Germany seems to have said that her
step in Rumania is directed against any aggressionnothing more. If any
other power threatens, Germany will fight, which means that she is quite
ready to fight Russia if Russia attacks Rumania.
PURANI: If Turkey is attacked by Germany what Russia will do, I wonder.
SRI AUROBINDO: Don't know.
NIRODBARAN: Russia is also interested in Bulgaria.

SRI AUROBINDO: It was Russia under the Czar that liberated the Balkans
and, if the Czar were there, they would have inclined towards Russia. Now
they are afraid of both Russia and Germany.
PURANI: There was a short engagement with the Italian navy in the
Mediterranean in which the British destroyed two or three Italian cruisers.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, only a short engagement is possible with Italy.
The evening radio says that Yugoslavia has signed a protocol with Germany
as regards economic and political matters.
SRI AUROBINDO (to Purani): Have you seen Yugoslavia's agreement with
PURANI: Yes, they are coming to an understanding.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, not only understanding; they have signed a protocol by which Yugoslavia is dependent on Germany economically and politically, which means everything. If the news is true, that is the beginning of
the end of the Balkans, because Bulgaria won't resist. Greece will be at its
wit's end without Turkey's help and what can Turkey do all alone? So Hitler
comes to Asia Minor and that means India. This is what I thought, long before, that Hitler might do in the Balkans. The Asura is up to his tricks again.
Now Hitler's moves are quite clear. He will try to move towards the
Mediterranean, taking possession of the Suez and then Egypt with a simultaneous movement into Spain for Gibraltar with the help of Franco if willing
or, if unwilling, without his help and by replacing him with Sumer. That is
why he has probably asked Sumer to wait. After Egypt, he will try to take
North Africa with Ptain's consent. If Ptain refuses, he may place Laval at
the head. And if both refuse, then he will occupy the whole of France and
the Mediterranean ports. Then through Spain he can move to Africa. All this
will be most dangerous to England and the blockade won't be effective any
more. In fact I felt this danger from the very beginning of the war.
NIRODBARAN: But will Russia remain quiet all through?
SRI AUROBINDO: It seems to be like that till now. Except for a short inquiry about Rumanian affairs she has done nothing. Don't know what has
happened to Stalin's brain.

PURANI: Even if she comes in, it will be too late afterwards. She should
come in now.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. It is because of the lack of her support that
these powers are breaking down. They know that England can't do anything
to support them because England can't help them with land forces. Even
Italy by herself outnumbers England.
NIRODBARAN: Turkey is depending too much on Russia. As nobody
knows what Russia's motive is, it can't be safe for Turkey. If Russia betrays
SRI AUROBINDO: Exactly. You remember what that Turkish ladyDilip's
friendsaid? She said that England is a decadent nation; Turkey won't
profit by joining with her. And when she was asked what Turkey's fate
would be if England went down, she said, "Why? We will join Russia!"
NIRODBARAN: I wonder if Stalin has made a secret pact with Hitler.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is what all suspect. But what will be the value of
any such pact if England is defeated? Then Italy, Germany and Japan will all
turn on Russia.
NIRODBARAN: How, if Greece and Turkey together put up resistance to
SRI AUROBINDO: That would be an effective check. England could come
in with her air and navy.
PURANI: Yes, and Italy could have a little fun from the R.A.F.
SRI AUROBINDO: But the world is under a double curse of stupidity and
cowardice. This Hitler is very supple. He takes one step at a time, not the
whole movement. When he saw that he had been baulked on one side, he
turned to his other side, the danger I had anticipated from the very start.
NIRODBARAN: Now England has only America to rely on.
PURANI: But America is not prepared. She has only a seventy thousand
strong army which she must keep for her own defence because she herself
runs some danger.
SRI AUROBINDO: She is in no immediate danger unless Hitler establishes
himself in South America. That is not possible as long as there is the British

NIRODBARAN: They could get help from India if they started munitions
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, they are going at a snail's pace. Starting now an
aeroplane factory at Bangalore!

21 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: Vinoba has made five speeches.
NIRODBARAN: Has there been any effect?
SATYENDRA: There is some effect among the masses. On the news of his
arrest there was a partial hartal in Bombay. It seems the speeches are censored. The papers mention: "Two or three sentences are censored here." The
Indian Express wanted to bring out a special number on this rumoured arrest
but couldn't because of the censorship.
SRI AUROBINDO: It could have published the fact that nothing had happened! (Laughter)
PURANI: But what effect can non-violence produce? India has been traditionally non-violent from ancient times. So not much preaching is required.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? India was fighting all the time before the English
rule. Everybody was fighting and there was no distinction between martial
and non-martial races. It is only after the English came that people lost their
fighting habits and ability.
NIRODBARAN: The Yugoslavian pact with Hitler seems a fact.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. However, it is good news that Turkey says she will
resist. She is not depending on Russia.
NIRODBARAN: Nothing is known about Greece.
PURANI: There is no more blitzkrieg. So England can anticipate Hitler's
moves now and prepare accordingly.
NIRODBARAN: But what can England do in the East unless Greece and
Turkey resist?
SRI AUROBINDO: If they resist it will be an effective check. England can
come with her air force and navy.
PURANI: Italy can be easily pounded.

SRI AUROBINDO: Not only Italy; from her bases, England can attack East
Germany and Poland, where Hitler has factories, and then Rumania itself.
The British can close its embassy in Rumania on the plea that she is now an
enemy-occupied country. Then it will be an even game.
SATYENDRA: Ribbentrop is going to Moscow, it seems.
PURANI: Yes, to bring Moscow into Germany's three-Power pact.
SATYENDRA: They say Germany's relations with Russia are sound, solid

SRI AUROBINDO: And durablethe three words meaning the same thing.
SATYENDRA: The Indian Express has published news of the birth of
Churchill's grandson.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Hindu too!
SATYENDRA: Oh, I thought it was too small a news for the Hindu. Soon
they will give the photo of the baby.
SRI AUROBINDO: War baby! (Laughter)
PURANI: Anilbaran wants to know what the relation is between cosmic
consciousness and Overmind.
SRI AUROBINDO: Relation? What relation?
PURANI: I told him that Overmind is an instrument like Supermind.
SRI AUROBINDO: Cosmic consciousness has many levels: it can be of
mind, vital and matter; of Overmind too. So what does he mean by relation
between them? Cosmic consciousness is a term used in contrast to individual consciousness. Through it you get to know about the universe. Overmind
is a power of cosmic consciousness just as mind, vital and body are. Only,
you can have body, vital and mind without any knowledge of cosmic consciousness, while to go to or know Overmind you must have cosmic consciousness. The cosmic working can be known by entering into Overmind,
but for the source you have to go to Supermind. You can know the working
from Overmind knowledge but to get control or command or the final secret
you must have Supermind,. which is an instrument of self-determination of
the Divine and has organised the cosmos.


22 OCTOBER 1940
SATYENDRA: In reply to the judge as to whether he had anything to say,
Vinoba is supposed to have said that they had made a disgraceful translation.
SRI AUROBINDO: Translation?
SATYENDRA: Yes, Sir. He made speeches in Marathi and they were translated into English.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why disgraceful? Means inaccuracy in language or incorrectness in content?
SATYENDRA: Don't know.
PURANI: Though he is a scholar in Sanskrit, he has not read Shakuntala
and considers this a great virtue! He has learned Sanskrit in order to read the
Gita and the Upanishads.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not Shakuntala because it is erotic?
PURANI: Probably. Mahadev Desai has put forth Vinoba's philosophy in the
Hindu today. Vinoba says: We live because we can't die. We eat and walk,
etc., because we are compelled to. We sleep because sleep overcomes us.
SRI AUROBINDO: I thought it was other way round. We die because we
can't live.
PURANI: That was what I thought too.
SATYENDRA: He must have said in relation to something. Perhaps a friend
of mine holds the same view.
SRI AUROBINDO: How is that?
SATYENDRA:I spoke about it once before: he wanted to commit suicide,
took a lethal dose of opium but it didn't kill him. Another friend had many
accidents but death escaped him.
PURANI: He could have taken potassium cyanide!
Desai continues to say that Vinoba had differences with Ramdas. Ramdas says the doer is free while Vinoba says he is not. As I said before, according to him we sleep because we are compelled to. In everything we do
there is a compulsion.


SRI AUROBINDO: One can say one is compelled to be born, at least in appearance. But does Ramdas say one is free?
PURANI: He says partially freein the process of becoming free.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is a different matter.
PURANI: Sardesai makes out in the course of a talk that Shivaji had no political guidance from Ramdas: Ramdas refused to give any when Shivaji approached him. This is something new.
SRI AUROBINDO: What about the ochre-coloured flag? A legend?
PURANI: He says that Ramdas gave him advice about the succession to the
throne when Shivaji wanted his second son to come to the throne instead of
Shambhuji. Ramdas advised him to make his eldest son the rightful heir and
to follow the usual royal custom.
SRI AUROBINDO: He did guide him then?
PURANI: It is only part of a talk Sardesai gave, in which he says that he
will put forward only two or three points for the present. Shambhuji, he
says, was not as bad as is made out.
SRI AUROBINDO: White-washing?
PURANI: Yes, and if it was eating and drinking, that was a common fault.
Everybody used to do it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Queer defence! If he wants to be original he must say
something unexpected.
SATYENDRA: Lothian is mentioned as a possible Viceroy of India.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh! In that case they will have to change Amery too.
But Lothian is doing much useful work in America. Can he be spared?
PURANI: Lord Lloyd is also suggested by the diehards!
SRI AUROBINDO: Good Lord! They may as well send the devil himself or
Sir John Anderson. It will be disastrous! But the Labour Party may not consent. When is the present Viceroy to go?
PURANI: After six months.
SRI AUROBINDO: That's a long time!

Amando Menezes has written another book of poems and has sent a copy to
Sri Aurobindo. Purani asked if he had read it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, some of the poems. There is a remarkable change.
There is one written on 21st February. He has still to progress till every
word becomes inevitable. His long poems are not so successful.
PURANI: Yes. He says that he is afraid to read The Life Divine lest he
should have to make a choice between the worldly life and the spiritual. He
got something at the Darshan.
SRI AUROBINDO: There are two or three poems in connection with that
I have read Desai's account of Vinoba. He has combined Buddha and
Plato in him. He could have added Diogenes too. It seems Vinoba doesn't
like literature. Only history and philosophy interest him.
PURANI: Yes, I told you he is proud of not having read Shakuntala.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not only Shakuntala, but literature in general doesn't
interest him.
PURANI: Yet he is said to be a great lover of art. Somebody told him that he
is an ascetic and doesn't appreciate beauty. He replied that he loves beauty;
he loves flowers and the starlit sky. He would rather tear off his skin than
pluck a flower.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the popular notion of art and artist. If you love
flowers and admire the sky you are considered an artist. I saw in Prabuddha
Bharata that Vivekananda was called a great master of art because he loved
SATYENDRA: Perhaps one can be an artist by appreciating art?
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case many people are artists.
NIRODBARAN: If one can sing well?
SRI AUROBINDO: Singing well doesn't make one an artistthat is my
point. An artist must either create something or have an aesthetic understanding of art. Anybody can look at the moon or the sky and get an emotion.
PURANI: Now they give a new definition to art. They say art must be able
to transmit emotion. Otherwise it is not art or it is art that has no value.

SRI AUROBINDO: What emotion?
PURANI: Feeling, I suppose.
SRI AUROBINDO: Feeling? What feeling?
PURANI: Such as an agriculturist or farmer can understand. That is their
conception and in that they are followers of Tolstoy. You know Gandhi is
greatly influenced by Tolstoy and follows his view of art, the puritanic and
popular view.
SRI AUROBINDO: That puritanic element exists in many places. Even
Ruskin who was considered an authority on the aesthetic element in art had
puritanism in his blood. Puritanism has been brought from Europe to India.
In India even ascetics were not puritans.
PURANI: Musriwalla is trying to introduce some ideas of spirituality. He
has written three or four books on the lives of Buddha and others. He says
that experiences are not reliable because they take place in Nature.
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case you can't realise God because the experiences will be in Nature. The only thing to do is to commit suicide to get out
of Nature.
PURANI: Or sit quiet.
SRI AUROBINDO: That will be in Nature!
PURANI: Musriwalla has no idea of these things, not even elementary principles of Sankhya. He doesn't realise that in Nature one can have the contact
of something of Supernature. He has no imagination, either. He says Valmiki
has depicted Ayodhya as a rich, luxurious city.
SRI AUROBINDO: Should it have been described as a poor village? Then if
he read Kalidasa he would squirm with agony.
PURANI: For such people everything should be simple, bare, austere and
poor. I don't understand why poverty should be made to appear so great.
SRI AUROBINDO: Because Tolstoy said it and Gandhi said it after him!
PURANI: He is also against temples. There is no necessity of temples according to him. As somebody said, churches are not necessary, for the Bible
can be read in the fields.


SRI AUROBINDO: Why houses then? Everybody can live in the fields like
the birds and animals; it will be quite natural.
SATYENDRA: Rumania seems to be in luck. It has got not only the Germans but an earthquake too.
PURANI: Yes, like Turkey.
SRI AUROBINDO: But Turkey has no Germans!
PURANI: The Germans are trying to penetrate into Bulgaria also in the
guise of tourists.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Hitler didn't find Boris very
PURANI: Pliable? No.

23 OCTOBER 1940
PURANI: Gandhi hasn't appointed any successor to Vinoba. He says that
this time there won't be a continuous stream of resister.
SRI AUROBINDO: If he appoints one every month so that they may be
spread over the whole period of the war, it will be all right.
SATYENDRA: He wants to proceed very carefully this time as he doesn't
want to precipitate any mass movement and thus give the Government cause
for provocation.
SRI AUROBINDO: Especially as now is the best chance! (Laughter) But
surely by a few arrests he doesn't expect to change the hearts of people like
Churchill and Amery.
PURANI: He says any number of people are volunteering. But he will select
only those who believe in complete non-violence and Khadi, etc. Even these
may not all be expected to be called. He evidently has some plan or is waiting for inspiration!
SATYENDRA: He may wait indefinitely but I fear the Working Committee
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): No! They will be wild.
PURANI: Churchill's speech is again magnificent. He has a wonderful quality of rising to the occasion. He has made a very stirring appeal to the

French not to succumb to Hitler's perfidious cunning. It is mostly due to his
personality that America has turned her sympathies towards Britain.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but also helped by the misdeeds of Japan and
Hitler. (Laughter) Churchill is the second great man given by his family to
England at times of crises.
PURANI: Some American correspondent has said that though destruction
from bombing is going on in London, people are as firm as before and taking it all coolly.
SRI AUROBINDO: It seems for the first few days they were very perturbed.
That's what Mona's mother has written to her. Then they accustomed themselves to the bombing.
SATYENDRA: In such circumstances, people become fatalists.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is like the Japanese. In Japan there is a fire every
week, a typhoon each fortnight and an earthquake every month. Mother said
that they go to bed quite dressed and as soon as any of these things take
place, they jump out of bed and rush out. (Laughter)
(After some time) Laval is at his game trying to make a pact with Hitler. I
hope people understand him and won't believe in him. Those who understand Hitler ought to know that Hitler will agree to anything that suits him at
the moment and afterwards swallow everything.
PURANI (handing Sri Aurobindo Dean Inge's book on Plotinus): It seems
Krishnaprem has said that Plotinus's Nous is the same as Supermind. Somebody from outside has asked if that is true.
SRI AUROBINDO (after looking at a few pages): Inge takes Nous as Spirit.
As far as I can make out, Nous is spiritual consciousness, not Supermind,
but I will see about it again.

24 OCTOBER 1940
SRI AUROBINDO (addressing Purani): Laval is involved in a great labour!
Laval is trying to bring about peace in France by some agreement with
Hitler. Proposals seem to be to give Nice to Italy, put Tunis under France
and Italy, cede Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, Morocco to Spain, Indo-China
to Japan, surrender air and navy to the Axis and have France declare war
against England.

SATYENDRA: Will the French fight?
PURANI: If they had wanted to fight they could as well have gone on fighting against Germany in the first place.
NIRODBARAN: But Hitler may hold out the threat that if they don't agree,
the whole of France will be occupied.
SRI AUROBINDO: If they do agree, they will lose their colonies. This
seems to be Hitler's game. It is quite clear now what happened at the Brenner Pass. They must have decided to spread out to the Balkans and then to
the east to Egypt, and on this line bring France and Spain into the war.
Sumer's visit and Hitler's visit to Franco must be to induce Spain. There
must be an Italian brain behind this scheme. Hitler moves to the front with
one objective at a time. This sort of combination is not usual for him. It must
be Mussolini's calculating brain. It is a large scheme this time, not like
Hitler's previous moves.
NIRODBARAN: Britain and America are proceeding with their evacuation.
Do they think an attack is imminent?
SRI AUROBINDO: They must have got some private information. Even if
there is a chance, Japan won't say anything. They will simply make arrests.
But the old Japan during the Magi regime would have said something.

28 OCTOBER 1940
Radio news came that Italy has invaded Greece.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is the result of their Brenner Pass meeting.
PURANI: England will now have a chance to bombard Italy from close
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, if they know how to use this opportunity they can
occupy the islands there.
PURANI: If Turkey wants to fight, she should join now.


SRI AUROBINDO: If she has any sense she ought to. The British can't send
an army. Unfortunately the Greeks are not good fighters. If the Turks come
in, then they can put up a fight. They have their army in Thrace.
PURANI: Turkey spoke some time ago about giving help to Greece, an alliance, probably.
SRI AUROBINDO: Alliance or understanding?
PURANI: May be understanding.
SRI AUROBINDO: Turks usually keep to their undertakings.
NIRODBARAN: Unless Russia beguiles them.
SRI AUROBINDO: But will Russia protect Turkey if she is invaded?
(After a while) Gandhi has been forestalled in non-violence by Poland.
The Poles adopted non-violence against the Nazis and do you know the results? The Polish lady, who wants to come here and is Ravindra's friend,
wrote to Gandhi an account of the German oppression against the non-violence. She has given a report in a Telegu paper which accidentally came into
Satyakarma's hands. He was very upset and spoke to the Mother. The
Mother has asked Krishnayya to translate it. The Polish lady cites a few horrible instances of atrocity on men and women, young and old.

29-30 OCTOBER 1940
Very little talk these days.
PURANI: Hyderabad wants to be an independent sovereign state after the
war and has asked the British to withdraw their forces and treat it as an
equal. It says that if India gets Dominion Status, Hyderabad should become
an independent sovereign state.
SRI AUROBINDO: An independent dominion within a dominion?
PURANI: No, an independent state altogether.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why does Hyderabad wait for the war? It can do that
PURANI: Yarjung Bahadur with his assembly is the leader.


SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, him? It's an assembly of idiots! But what will happen is that the Nizam will be the first to be kicked out. He knows it very
PURANI: He claims that Hyderabad has always been independent. But in
fact in five battles with the Mahrattas, it was utterly defeated; not a single
battle went in its favour. Yarjung says that the Nizam is contributing so
much to the war fund, so he must be treated as an ally, equal in status.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is not the Nizam who is contributing but Sir Akbar
who is forcing him to contribute. Otherwise the Government knows very
well what the Nizam's views are.
PURANI: Sir Akbar will be coming here now.
NIRODBARAN: Nripen Sarcar is coming too. So they will meet.
PURANI: It seems Sarcar has suddenly turned religious. He has employed
Sanskrit pundits and is learning Sanskrit.
SRI AUROBINDO: I see? Preparing himself for the other world. Whatever
he has had to achieve he has done in this world and is now doing things for
the next? (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Charu Dutt seems to have persuaded him to come here and
also to buy a house to stay here for some time.
SRI AUROBINDO: Buy a house? Queer ideal! Wants to do Yoga?
PURANI: He has spoken somewhere in the South against Hitler and the
Nazis and, quoting from Mein Kamf, says that Hitler considers us "chattels
and slaves". In a Nazi victory our lot will be like that.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. That is the well-known Nazi position on the
coloured races. Ptain is now taking it up in France.
PURANI: Yes, he has already started against the Jews.
SRI AUROBINDO: He is also preventing coloured people from entering the
Government service.


DR. MANILAL: When the Gita says "I shall deliver you from all papa",
does papa mean sin, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, from all evils. Sin is a religious conception, an offence against God. Arjuna's refusal to fight can't be called an offence against
God; it is an offence against morality, you can say. Virtue and vice are moral
MULSHANKAR: What type of Yogi is Gandhi, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yogi? He is not a Yogi; he is an ethical man.
MULSHANKAR: He is guided by voices.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then everybody who is guided by voices would be a
Yogi. Then all Quakers are Yogis. Those who are possessed by strong vital
forces, good or bad, can hear voices. Gandhi himself says that when he is so
possessed he can't resist. These are voices which come from various sources.
One voice says one thing, another contradicts it.
Dr. Manilal was sitting with a warm cloth tied round his head to protect it
against a cold draught.
SRI AUROBINDO: You have the expression of Schopenhauer on your face.
DR. MANILAL: How, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: The world, according to him, is full of suffering and
sorrow, and life is an insanity.
DR. MANILAL: It is just the contrary with me. I thought I caught an infection of hilarity from Ravindra.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then you are trying to suppress it. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Are German philosophers influenced by Vedanta?
Vivekananda said that Max Mller was a reborn Sayanacharya.
SRI AUROBINDO: How? It is more than a compliment.
DR. MANILAL: Sylvan Levi is also a Sanskrit scholar. He came to Baroda.
The Gaekwar used to refer to you, Sir, as "my secretary".

SRI AUROBINDO: Not a troublesome one? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: No, Sir. Vallabbhai once said that you were fined Rs. 50 by
the Gaekwar in Kashmir.
SRI AUROBINDO: In Kashmir? No, it was in Baroda. I refused to attend
office on Sundays and holidays, so he fined me Rs. 50. I said, "Let him fine
me as much as he likes", and when he heard about it he stopped fining me.

DR. MANILAL: Is not the taking of life a sin, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: You are all the time thinking of sin. It depends on circumstances. English doctors advocate giving injections to cases of incurable
suffering in order to cut short their lives.
PURANI: Gandhi also advocated it in case of the Ashram cow and there was
a row among the Jains.
DR. MANILAL: What about suicide?
SRI AUROBINDO: It depends on the spirit in which it is done. If it is done
in a vital spirit or with a vital motive it may be sin. Would you say that the
Sannyasi who committed suicide in the story about Alexander engaged in an
act of sin?
DR. MANILAL: I don't know the story.
SRI AUROBINDO: When Alexander was returning to Greece he wanted to
take with him two Sannyasis. One refused, the other accompanied him. But
after some time the latter had a severe attack of colic. He said his body was
betraying him. So he decided to give up his body by immolating himself. In
spite of pleadings he carried out his decision.

12 DECEMBER 1940
The talk started with the release of Mrs. Naidu from prison.
SRI AUROBINDO: As I remarked, the Government has not given her the
chance of a rest cure in jail. The Government refuses to take up responsibility for her.


DR. MANILAL: Instead of getting a rest cure she would rather feel restless
in jail after some time. She is a brilliant speaker. She can do more valuable
work outside the Congress.
SRI AUROBINDO: Much more! She has done nothing in the Congress.
DR. MANILAL: I heard her in Baroda. She has a fine voice too.
The talk proceeded to B.L. Gupta, also a good speaker, a former Dewan of
the late Gaekwar. Then the Gaekwar himself came into the talk, how he had
been humiliated at the Durbar due to the foolishness of B.L. Gupta. It was
reported that after this humiliation the Gaekwar had begun to go downhill.
DR. MANILAL: Before this he was really great. A speech he made at the Industrial Exhibition was marvellous.
SRI AUROBINDO: Which Industrial Exhibition?
DR. MANILAL: At Ahmedabad.
SRI AUROBINDO: That was the speech I prepared for him. (Roar of laughter)
MULSHANKAR: I heard your lecture at Bombay after the Surat Congress.
You had some paper in your hand.
SRI AUROBINDO: That was the speech I made from an entire silence of
the mind. It was my first experience of the kind. You didn't hear me at Baroda?
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir, once only. I was in the Matric class then. I remember only one sentence of that speech. Dr. Mullick had come to Baroda.
The meeting was held in his honour. Professor Saha proposed you to the
chair saying, "Dr. Mullick is a Bengali and Mr. Ghose is a Bengali. So I propose him to the chair." You replied, "I consent to take the chair not because
Dr. Mullick is a Bengali and I am a Bengali, but because I am an Indian and
Dr. Mullick is an Indian."
When did you conceive of doing the Yoga, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Conceive of it? You mean when I started it?
DR. MANILAL: All right, Sir. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: It was Deshpande who wanted me to do Yoga. But
when I came to know it would mean withdrawal from the world I didn't

want to do it as I wanted to do political work. Then I took to Pranayama. But
it didn't carry me far and I came to a point beyond which I couldn't proceed
further. I gave it up and fell dangerously ill! I was on the point of death. I
asked Barin if he knew anyone who could help me in Yoga. This was in
Surat where I had attended the Surat Congress. Barin knew of Lele who was
in Gwalior. He wired to him and asked him to meet us at Baroda. Pranayama
had given me good health, a lot of poetry and various experiences. Now
Lele took me to a quiet room upstairs in Khaserao Jadhav's house. I told him
that I wanted Yoga to help me in my political work, for inspiration and
power and capacity. I didn't want to give up my activities for the sake of
Yoga. He said, "You are a poet; it will be very easy for you." Then he said,
"Sit still and try to make your mind quiet and empty of thoughts. You will
see that all your thoughts come from outside. As you perceive them, simply
throw them away before they can enter into you." I tried and did it. In three
days my mind became entirely quiet and vacant, without any thoughts at all,
and it was in that condition of Nirvanic silence that I went first to Poona and
then to Bombay. Everything seemed to me unreal; I was absorbed in the One
In that state of mind I told Lele, "I have been asked to deliver a lecture.
How am I going to speak? Not a single thought is coming to me. I cannot
make a speech." He held a day of prayer with other disciples for me and at
the end he said, "Make a pranam to Narayana in the audience before you
start, with your mind completely vacant. Then you will see that everything
will come down and some power speak through you." I did as he had said
and found that the whole speech came down from above; not a single
thought or expression was mine. It got hold of my organ of speech and expressed itself through it from beginning to end. In my tour from Bombay to
Calcutta all the speeches I made were from that condition of silence.
While I was parting from Lele I asked him what I should do, how I
should be guided. He said, "Surrender yourself to the Divine and be guided
by Him. If you can do that, you needn't do anything else." I replied, "I can
easily do that." And when I did that, everything came from above and I was
guided by that. After some time when Lele came to Calcutta, he asked me
how I was getting on, whether I was meditating or not according to his advice. He had asked me to meditate twice a day and to be guided by the voice
within. When I told him that I had given up medicationin fact the meditation was going on all the timehe said, "Ah, the devil has got hold of you."

(Laughter) He did not wait for me to explain anything to him. Since then
we began to follow our own ways. Evidently he had something in him and it
was he who opened up and gave me the silence experience after my failure
to advance further. Only, he wanted me to follow his path. He didn't want
me to have the Nirvanic experience.
DR. MANILAL: What is the reason for your failure in the riding test in the
I.C.S., Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: I appeared late for the test.
DR. MANILAL: Why? Was it under any inspiration?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, (laughing) it was intentional. I wasn't dealing in inspiration then. I didn't want to be in the British Government Service. I had a
strong dislike for the British.
DR. MANILAL: But then why did you appear for the I.C.S. exam at all?
SRI AUROBINDO: I had no intention to do it. It was my father who wanted
me to be a civilian. I had to play this trick; otherwise my father and everybody would have howled. My poet brother was horrified to see me, along
with my elder brother, smoking and playing cards at the Liberal Club after
avoiding the riding test.
DR. MANILAL: Was your father alive at that time?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he was arranging with Sir Henry Cotton a post for
me in Bihar under Sir Henry. But he died of shock soon after.
DR. MANILAL: What shock?
SRI AUROBINDO: He asked me to return to India by a particular ship. I
don't know why on that ship. The ship was wrecked off the Portuguese
coast. He thought I was on it. But I hadn't sailed on it at all.
SRI AUROBINDO: I didn't intend to.
NIRODBARAN: Did your father know of your failure in the test?
DR. MANILAL: Then he would have been shocked in any case.

SRI AUROBINDO: When they came to know, they all asked me to try
again. But I didn't want to and I knew too that the British Government
wouldn't give me another chance.
SRI AUROBINDO: My record was too bad.
SRI AUROBINDO: They thought that I was a revolutionary, giving seditious speeches in the Indian Majlis. There was a man named Mehedi Hussain, an Indian deputy magistrateI don't know why he went to England
who used to come to the Majlis and was supposed to be a spy. He may have
reported me to the Government.
DR. MANILAL: How did you get the job in Baroda?
SRI AUROBINDO: I think I applied for it when the Gaekwar was in England. Sir Henry Cotton's brother asked me to do it and through his influence
I came in contact with the Gaekwar.
DR. MANILAL: I thought that your political career began with the Bengal
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh no! It began long before in Baroda. It was our men
who got hold of the movement in Bengal and gave it a revolutionary character. Otherwise it would have been a moderate movement. We were training
people in our secret society started by Tilak.
DR. MANILAL: Servants of India Society? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: No, no, a secret society which I and some others joined
along with some Rajput Thakurs. While in Bengal the revolutionary party
was started by Okakura and joined by Nandy, Suren Tagore and others. The
Swadeshi movement started before the Bengal Partition. I was coming and
going between Bengal and Gujarat. Gujarat was very moderate at that time.
With Pherozeshah Mehta it was just beginning to be revolutionary.
DR. MANILAL: What about Dadabhai Nowroji? He was an extremist.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, Moderate, ardent Moderate. Ardent of the non-ardent type. Moderate of the middle kind, like Gokhale.


13 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL: Sir, was the Mother doing your Yoga in Europe?
SRI AUROBINDO: Why my Yoga? She was doing Yoga, though the Europeans don't call it Yoga.
NIRODBARAN: There is such a striking similarity between your ideas and
the Mother's.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, that is why I ask.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yoga is everywhere the same.
NIRODBARAN: Yes, but what I mean is that the Mother also stressed the
need of divine manifestation, of not considering the world as Maya. Did she
have any teacher?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, Jnan Chakravarty, the husband of Krishnaprem's
Guru, gave her the Gita's Yoga in Paris. And she used to come in contact
with Abdul Baha in Paris. As a matter of fact, it was she who was leading
and organising the Bahai group in Europe. In one of their group meditations
Mother had some experience which none of the others had.
DR. MANILAL: What is Bahaism, Sir? I find it mentioned in the Sunday
Times too.
SRI AUROBINDO: I think Abdul Baha was the son or grandson of Baha-ullah who established the Bahai sect. It is a modernised and liberalised form of
Mohammedanism. They believe there is truth in every religion, and they believe themselves to have gathered all the essential religious truths. This
Baha-ullah was imprisoned in Turkey for thirty or forty years. He was kept
in a tower; about thirty to forty thousand people used to come to see him and
he used to give them his blessings standing at the tower window.
NIRODBARAN: I heard that Mother used to see you in visions, but could
not make out the exact identity. She thought it might be a Chinese figure.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it was not like that. Every day somebody used to
appear to her calling himself Krishna. As soon as she saw me, she recognised that it was myself.
DR. MANILAL: Could Hitler be called as great as Napoleon, Sir?

SRI AUROBINDO: What? How can he be compared with Napoleon? He
can't stand any comparison with Napoleon. Hitler is a man of one idea; he
has no other capacity or activity except that he is also a house-painter, while
Napoleon had many sides: he was not only a military general, but also an
administrator, organiser, legislator and many other things. It was he who organised France and Europe, stabilised the French Revolution. Besides being
a legislator he established the bases of social laws, administration and finance which are followed even today. He is not only the greatest military genius in history but one of the greatest men, with manifold capacities. Hitler
is a man of one idea, with no intellect, which he applies with strong force
and violence; he has no control over his emotions. He hesitates in his policies which some call cautiousness. And all his power comes from the Asura
by whom he is possessed and guided while Napoleon was a normal human
being acting through the power of his brain which reached the highest development possible in a human being.
DR. MANILAL: Napoleon is said to have been immoral.
SRI AUROBINDO: If you mean that he was not chaste, it is true. As I said,
he was a normal human being with enormous many-sided powers and capacities which very few people have possessed.
Hitler's idea of the Nazi order is also not his. It is the idea of a Jew whom he
murdered later on.
PURANI: And you can see in Europe the type of New Order and civilisation
he wants to establish.
NIRODBARAN: But as regards military genius they say he is as great as
SRI AUROBINDO: How? One can say that he has developed a new technique which he has pursued with great audacity. Even that new technique is
not his. It was discovered by a Frenchman and was passed on to the German
generals. They hesitated to act on it while Hitler pursued it boldly, disregarding the advice of the generals.
Hitler is a new type, an infra-rational mystic, representing the dark counterpart of what we are striving to arrive at: a supra-rational mysticism.
(Looking at Dr. Manilal) Do you know that in his secluded residence he has
a cinema and enjoys and gloats on the horrors and sufferings he has inflicted

on people? That is the story told by his maidservant who was with him all
the time.

16 DECEMBER 1940
Anilbaran in an article on the Gita has tried to bring into it Sri Aurobindo's
ideas of transformation, The Life Divine, etc. Sri Aurobindo commented on
SRI AUROBINDO: The Gita doesn't speak of transformation. It is his own
reading of the Gita. One can say that the Gita shows the way to something
further or to our Yoga. What it speaks of is the need to act from a spiritual
consciousness using the instruments of the human mind, vital, etc., but not
of the transformation of these instruments.
PURANI: Anilbaran admits this but he says that here and there in the Gita
there are hints beyond it.
SRI AUROBINDO: In that case my claim that our Yoga is new doesn't hold
good, and the man who said that the Gita speaks of transformation would be
Purani conveyed Sri Aurobindo's views to Anilbaran. Anilbaran admitted
his mistake and said that in the future he would be more cautious and accurate in his statements.

17 DECEMBER 1940
Today Anilbaran asked through Purani: "What is the limit of transformation
which the Gita speaks of?"
SRI AUROBINDO: Limit of transformation? But the Gita, as I said, doesn't
speak of transformation. It goes as far as the Buddhi.
PURANI: Krishna says, puta madbhavam agatah"They come to My nature"doesn't this mean transformation of nature?
SRI AUROBINDO: That is not transformation. Puta, being purified, you attain to My naturethe Divine naturebut such an attainment is not transformation.
PURANI: When one is acting from the Divine nature, the Divine spiritual
consciousness is the background. Is it not the transformed nature?

SRI AUROBINDO: What is the Divine nature? Transformation does not
mean the change of ordinary nature into it. At least that is not the sense in
which I have used the term.
PURANI: The Vaishnavas speak of getting the nature of the Divine.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then is that transformation? If so, the Vaishnavas have
the supramental transformation of the nature! And any change of nature can
be called that. In that case, attaining a sattwic nature is also transformation.
NIRODBARAN: Most of us don't quite understand what is meant by this
SRI AUROBINDO: When there is an entire change in the basis of one's
consciousness and a radical change in the dynamic movement of one's nature; in other words one is no longer acting from the ordinary or even the enlightened human consciousness and its ignorance.
NIRODBARAN: Couldn't people like Ramakrishna, who have attained to
the Divine consciousness and been living in and acting from it, be said to
have transformed their nature? He didn't act from a human motive or from
egoism or selfishness.
SRI AUROBINDO: Was he correct in all his actions? Did he not commit
any mistakes? At least he didn't claim to be in such a state. He didn't have
selfishness in the ordinary human sense of the term, but was he completely
free from the separative I? He himself said that the shadow or form of the I
is necessary for action. In the supramental transformation the ego is not indispensable for action.
People always confuse a change of nature with transformation. If a
change of nature means transformation, then many sadhaks here have got
NIRODBARAN: What then is transformation?
SRI AUROBINDO: Transformation is that state in which everything is
based on the Truth-Consciousness; the whole instrumentality is that. One
lives in that and acts from that; one has it both in its static and dynamic aspects.
It is said that Ramakrishna had a cold while travelling in a train. Somebody asked him to put his head out the window and his cold would be cured.
He did that.

NIRODBARAN: He was quite childlike in many such matters.
SRI AUROBINDO: But was it acting from the Divine Consciousness?
DR. MANILAL: What about Buddha, Sir? Was he not transformed?
SRI AUROBINDO: He had knowledge. Knowledge is not transformation.
People are using the word in any sense just like the word supramental. It is I
who have first used it and in the special sense I have given to it. If everybody has attained to the transformation I speak of, the supramental transformation has already been done and everybody is supramental. They don't
make the distinction between action from a spiritual consciousness which is
above mind but acts through human instruments, and the supramental action
from the Truth-Consciousness.
DR. MANILAL: There may be sadhaks here who act from the spiritual consciousness.
SRI AUROBINDO: Who? Nirod? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Nirod and Anilbaran, etc. (Laughter)
PURANI: What Ramakrishna and others did came at most from the intuitive
consciousness. They were open to that plane and got inspiration for action
from those levels.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, their static consciousness may have been transformed, but it is the dynamic nature, too, that has to undergo transformation.
PURANI: That is why they called this world Ignorance. It is Sri Aurobindo,
alone, who said that Ignorance is growing knowledge.
SRI AUROBINDO: If they had believed in and known about transformation, they wouldn't have condemned the world as Maya.
People get shocked when they hear that something more has to be
PURANI: Yes, they think Ramkrishna and everybody else had all the knowledge and realisation. What more can there be?
DR. MANILAL: But you have got transformation even down to the Inconscience, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Have I? I am glad to hear of it.
MULSHANKAR: If you haven't, how can you write or know about it?

SRI AUROBINDO: One can't have the knowledge of a thing, without first
getting the thing? If you are asking whether I have the experience of the Inconscience, I say I have and so I can write from my experience of it. [see
NIRODBARAN (to Dr.Manilal): You have an idea of peace, you know
about it but you haven't got it yet.
DR. MANILAL: As I see the sea, have an idea of it and know about it without plunging into it?
SRI AUROBINDO: Even seeing it, you may not know it is the sea. As some
people from Punjab saw the sea and asked, "What is that blue thing?"
DR. MANILAL: How shall we be able to know whether one's nature has
been transformed?
SRI AUROBINDO: By being transformed yourself! (Laughter)
MULSHANKAR: Could Buddha be said to have a transformed nature? His
actions and discourses don't seem to have been inspired from the human
SRI AUROBINDO: He used human reason and logic in his discourses.
DR. MANILAL: Nirod won't agree that Buddha didn't have a transformed
nature, being a Buddhist himself. He will take the side of Buddha.
NIRODBARAN: I didn't say that Buddha was transformed. But as for applying human reason and logic, you also do the same with us.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is because I have to speak to the human mind, so I
have to apply human logic.
DR. MANILAL: By what tests or actions could one judge that one's nature
is transformed? Is there no such criterion?
SRI AUROBINDO: You are asking like Arjuna in the Gita, "How does a liberated man walk or speak?" As I said, you have to be transformed yourself
to know that. (Laughter)

DR. MANILAL (laughing): That is what I too said to Nirod. That shows I
have become transformed.
SRI AUROBINDO: That doesn't show that.
DR. MANILAL: Are we a help or hindrance, Sir, in your work? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): You are asking a delicate personal question.
You may be either or both. Or your help may be a hindrance and your hindrance a help. (Laughter) You have to be transformed in order to realise that.
In the last issue of the Sunday Times there are some stories related by
Europeans about incidents of their previous births. They have given corroborative proofs by which the stories have been verified. (Sri Aurobindo cited
an example.)
DR. MANILAL: I also heard of a story, Sir. In our part a deputy magistrate's
grandson, who is now a student, related that he had been a parrot in a previous birth, residing in a particular banyan tree and bowing before the image
of Vishnu. The wife of this magistrate, while passing beneath that tree, had
seen a parrot and after hearing about its religious character prayed that it
might be born as her grandson. The grandson related the story when he was
only four years of age.

18 DECEMBER 1940
This evening Sri Aurobindo broached the subject of rebirth by addressing
Dr. Manilal.
SRI AUROBINDO: Your story about the parrot being reborn as magistrate
may not be true.
DR. MANILAL: Not as a magistrate but as his grandson. (Laughter)
MULSHANKAR: Why not true. Sir? You mean that a parrot can't be born as
a human?
SRI AUROBINDO: Because there is no evidence by which to verify it. It
may be the simple imagination of the boy, whereas in other cases ample
proof is given.
DR. MANILAL: Can't a parrot or and animal be reborn as a human? You
don't believe in the evolution of life, Sir?

DR. MANILAL: In a Jain story it is said that the mother of our first
Tirthankara was born as a banana tree. By the side of that tree there was another tree full of thorns. Those thorns used to prick the banana tree so much

NIRODBARAN: Good Lord! Do you believe in these stories?
DR. MANILAL: but in spite of the pain and suffering the tree used to remain calm.
PURANI: As a reward it was reborn as a Tirthankara's mother.
SRI AUROBINDO: You are asked whether you believe in these stories.
DR. MANILAL (looking at Nirodbaran): Why not? When there is no proof
to the contrary.
NIRODBARAN: But there is no proof in their favour either.
DR. MANILAL: Why? This story has been told by the Tirthankara himself
who is a Sarvajna, that is, one who knows the past, present and future.
SRI AUROBINDO: How do you know it was told by a Tirthankara?
DR. MANILAL: Why? It is in the Shastra. (Laughter)
PURANI: Everything in the Shastra is true?
DR. MANILAL: Otherwise why should it be stated?
SRI AUROBINDO: For the sake of pleasure. Besides, what proof is there
that it was told by a Sarvajna or that what the Sarvajna said was true?
DR. MANILAL: Why not? A Sarvajna is supposed to know everything. You
don't think Sarvajnas exist?
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know, I have never met one.
DR. MANILAL: If these stories can't be believed, then Buddha's recounting
of all his past lives is also not true, not correct.
SRI AUROBINDO: How to know whether they were correct or not?
PURANI: Besides, who reports those stories? Is it Buddha himself?
DR. MANILAL: Then all that is said about Krishna and Arjuna and the Gita
can't be believed.


PURANI: It is not necessary to believe everything. The point is whether or
not the principle laid down there is true.
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. The important question is whether the truth or
principle laid down in the Gita is valid, can be verified. The rest is unessential, legendary, unimportant.
DR. MANILAL: Buddha says
DR. MANILAL: In the book. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: You remind me of a British worker who said, "It must
be true because I saw it in print." (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: In that case all Buddhism and jainism are false.
NIRODBARAN: Not Buddhism!
PURANI: Why false? There are records by which it could be proved that
Buddha did exist whereas there is no proof of his previous births, of the existence of other Bodhisattvas. Only after Gautama Buddha appealed did we
come to know that he was the thirty-second Bodhisattva, while Dipankar
was the first. But all that depends on who has said it and whether there is
any proof of it.
DR. MANILAL (to Sri Aurobindo): Do you disbelieve it?
SRI AUROBINDO: Disbeliefis easy. Beliefis difficult. But it does not matter at all whether Buddha and other Bodhisattvas existed. The thing is
whether what has been said as regards Buddhism can be verified by experience. That is the important thing.
PURANI: They usually regard four things as possible proof of a fact
Shruti, Anumana, Anubhava, Aptavakya.
DR. MANILAL: Aptavakya alone is enough. What do you say, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO (beginning to shake his head): What is meant by Aptavakya?
DR. MANILAL: Words of a realised soul.
SRI AUROBINDO: How to know if someone is realised and from whom
the words comefrom him or from somebody who reports them? Annie Be476

sant, for instance, calls herself a saviour and knows all about her past,
present and future
DR. MANILAL: I think even the Theosophists don't believe in that.
NIRODBARAN: Why? Some may and some may not, just as some Jains
may not believe in the Tirthankara stories. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Oh no, every Jain believes in them.
SRI AUROBINDO: It was said that Mohammed was born some three or
four thousand years prior to what is now presumed to be his date of birth.
Only after sorting through all the documents and spurious evidence, has the
date been cut down so many years now. So which is the Aptavakya and how
to believe in it unless there is some proof to substantiate it?
DR. MANILAL: But if Purani reports something you have said, can't it be
taken as true?
SRI AUROBINDO: It depends. It may or may not be true. Depends on the
reporter. The report is not only from Purani, but from Purani to somebody
else, and then from somebody to somebody again and so on! In that case the
miracles that have been added to my life by Motilal Mehta may be considered true.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir, as he was your disciple and came in direct contact
with you. But miracles are associated with the life of realised souls. Alice
told me once of a miracle in Hydrabad. She said that for a long time there
was no rain in Hyderabad. Then she said to people, "You will see, in twentyfour hours there will be rain." (As Dr. Manilal was narrating the story Sri
Aurobindo was saying all the time, "Yes, yes.") Then she began to pray to the
Mother, pray, and pray very intensely, and then came a heavy downpour.
Was it not a miracle by the Mother?
SRI AUROBINDO: Well! It was a response to Alice's prayer, but any and
every prayer doesn't get such a responseit must be an intense prayer. One
may go on praying and praying without any result. But it was not a miracle.
DR. MANILAL: It was not done by the intervention of the Mother?
SRI AUROBINDO: Maybe, but it was not a miracle, it was the result of a
Contact with some forces that brought down the rain. It was a play of forces.
Any number of people have done that sort of thing. There is the story of
some European who prayed to save the ship he was on in the midst of a

heavy storm, and it was saved. Then the well-known story of a Christian
minister who began to pray for rain. There was such a downpour that it
wouldn't stop for days. Then the minister cried out, "Oh, God, this is just
ridiculous." (Sri Aurobindo said this with great amusement.)
NIRODBARAN: What happened as a result of his outcry?
SRI AUROBINDO: That is not reported. The healing by Christ is not a miracle for that matter. Many people have done that.
CHAMPAKLAL: What is a miracle then?
SRI AUROBINDO: Something that happens contrary to any laws of nature.
DR. MANILAL: If on the new moon day, the moon can be seen?
SRI AUROBINDO: That is not miraculousmay be hypnotic? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: If not hypnotic?
SRI AUROBINDO: Then it could be a miracle.
DR. MANILAL: The raising of the table cloth from the table and suspending it in the air as narrated in the Mother's conversation?
SRI AUROBINDO: That is not a miracle either. It is simply done by putting
out some force. Where there is a method, a process, it can't be called a miracle. Otherwise levitation is also a miracle.

19 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL: Gandhi has asked people to stop the satyagraha during
SRI AUROBINDO: I see. The Government can also release the prisoners
for that period.
DR. MANILAL: This may be Gandhi's first step towards a compromise.
DR. MANILAL: He may stop the movement and join hands with the Government.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not likely. I don't think he will.
After some time Dr. Manilal began again.

DR. MANILAL: There is then no such thing as Sarvajna, Sir! (Laughter)
After so much battering last night by all of us when he again raised the subject, we couldn't help but burst out laughing.
NIRODBARAN: Did you have good sleep last night? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Is there no such thing. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know.
DR. MANILAL: How could the word come then? And what could be the
meaning of it?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is for them to say who have used the word.
DR. MANILAL: Have you not used it?
SRI AUROBINDO: I may have.
DR. MANILAL: Are not those who have realisation Sarvajna?
SRI AUROBINDO: What realisation?
DR. MANILAL: Nirvana, for instance.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why should one who has separated himself from everything know everything?
DR. MANILAL: What then could be the meaning of Sarvajna, Sir?
NIRODBARAN: As he has said, knowledge of everything.
DR. MANILAL: What everything?
SRI AUROBINDO: Everything means everything.
PURANI: Their meaning of Sarvajnatva is knowing all the facts of existence.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even what Lloyd George had for his break-fast or
knowledge of the share markets?
Then some other talk intervened. After this Dr. Manilal again resumed the
DR. MANILAL: What are the meanings of the English words omniscient,
omnipotent, etc.?
SRI AUROBINDO: They are applied in English to God.

DR. MANILAL: We are being asked, "Always behave as if the Mother was
looking at you; because she is, indeed, always present." What could be its
meaning then?
PURANI: It means the sadhak should feel as if he was before the Mother
DR. MANILAL: Don't mix up the meaning.
SRI AUROBINDO: Does it mean that the Mother is expected to know what
one is doing in the Working Committee?
DR. MANILAL: But doesn't it mean that she can know?
SRI AUROBINDO: That is a different thing. She can know if she wants to.
DR. MANILAL: She can know then everything?
SRI AUROBINDO: What do you mean by everything? She can know what
is necessary for her to know. She may not know everything in her physical
body, but in her universal entity she can know. Sarvajnatva doesn't mean
knowledge of everything. It usually means knowledge of the Trikala. When
the Gita says Sarvavid, it doesn't mean knowledge of everything.
DR. MANILAL: But Trikala would mean all time.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it may mean that one knows whatever it is necessary to know, what one is concerned with in the past, present or future; beyond that he is not concerned with anything.
If Mother wants to know a particular thing she has to concentrate. A yogi
can know, but by a process of concentration. It is a power, not a state of preoccupied knowledge of things. But that doesn't mean that he knows everything.
NIRODBARAN: When one gets into contact with the subliminal self, one
can know whatever he wants without any concentration.
NIRODBARAN: Isn't the knowledge there automatic?
SRI AUROBINDO: What do you mean by automatic?
NIRODBARAN: I mean without any need for concentration one knows a
thing directly.


DR. MANILAL: He means, for instance, that when one sees a gold ring, he
will know at once that it is made of gold.
SRI AUROBINDO: But it may not be made of gold, it may only appear to
be so.
NIRODBARAN: No, what I meansuppose I see Dr. Manilal, I will at
once be able to know without any concentration that
SRI AUROBINDO: All about his life?
NIRODBARAN: No, say, what he has been doing.
DR. MANILAL: He may know about the essential parts of my being or consciousness.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why? It may be the most inessential part also.
DR. MANILAL: Or for instance, if he visits a patient, he will be able to diagnose without any exam that it is a case of T.B.
SRI AUROBINDO: It may not be a case of T.B. The subliminal consciousness is not all true knowledge. It is mixed with Ignorance. Also you have to
develop the capacity to know. Even if you know, the capacity of utilisation
may be absent; or if you have the knowledge, you may cure in some cases
but it doesn't mean you will be successful in every case.
NIRODBARAN: In other words, awareness of the subliminal may give
knowledge but not power?
SRI AUROBINDO: You have to develop the power. It doesn't come by itself. Even then, as I said, you may not be successful in every case. As, for
example, when Christ came to some parts of Judea, he couldn't cure. He
said, "These people have no faith."
DR. MANILAL: Faith is then always a preliminary to cure?
SRI AUROBINDO: Not necessarily. Without faith one may also be cured.
Many patients get cured without their knowing about the action of the Force.
Lack of faith may be an obstacle too, especially a positive disbelief.
CHAMPAKLAL: Is one born with faith?
SRI AUROBINDO: One is not born with it, but one may be born with a capacity for faith.

DR. MANILAL: The Sarvajnas(Laughter, Sri Aurobindo exclaimed,
"Oh!")are they concerned with only a higher plane of knowledge. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: How do you mean?
DR. MANILAL: I mean, are they concerned only with the higher planes of
existence, not our day-to-day mundane affairs?
SRI AUROBINDO: By clairvoyance also one can see things. But what is
your idea about Sarvajna? Who, according to you, is Sarvajna?
DR. MANILAL: Those who have realisation.
SRI AUROBINDO: What realisation?
DR. MANILAL: Of Nirvana or Kaivalyajnan.
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know what Kaivalyajnan is.
DR. MANILAL: One who has a solitary realisation of the One.
SRI AUROBINDO: If he has a solitary realisation of the One, how can he
be expected to have knowledge of the many?
DR. MANILAL: I mean the One and the many.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is not solitary. That is a comprehensive realisation.
DR. MANILAL: I mean that; it was a wrong expression.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not expression, but a wrong statement. Even if one has
knowledge of the many, it doesn't mean he has knowledge of the all. That is,
he may know what he has to know or wants to know.
DR. MANILAL: Like Vyasa's shadow-reader who could by studying someone's shadow tell his past and present, etc.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, he can say everything! (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Nirod says that by knowledge of the subliminal one can
know everything. Isn't it so, Nirod?
NIRODBARAN: No, no, I must read the chapter again.
SRI AUROBINDO: What I have said in The Life Divine is that when you
get into contact with the subliminal self, you get into contact with a greater
source of knowledge. But it is not all pure and correct knowledge because
the subliminal is also mixed with Ignorance and it has many parts and

PURANI: What Nirod told me was something like thisby getting into the
subliminal one can project into the physical whatever incident or event one
comes in contact with.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is too mechanical a way of seeing it. Besides,
there are so many ways of approaching and knowing the subliminalby
penetrating, by enveloping, and then there are various depths of the subliminal.
NIRODBARAN: What I wanted to say was that the knowledge of the subliminal gives one a direct automatic knowledge without any need for concentration. That is how I understood the matter.
SRI AUROBINDO: You may or may not have to concentrate.
DR. MANILAL: How far is the supramental from the subliminal, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: What do you mean by "far"?
DR. MANILAL: How distant, I mean.
SRI AUROBINDO: Ten thousand miles. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: There is a jain story about two yogis who went to Mahavideha Kshetra and met Padmadevi and asked her how distant their realisation was. She said to one three years and to the other as many years as
there are leaves on a tree. The latter began to dance
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, that is Narada's story of the Tapaswi and the
CHAMPAKLAL: That story you told me when I asked you on my first visit,
"Shall I have realisation?"
SRI AUROBINDO: This is more pointed than the Jain story.
At this stage Dr. Manilal departed.
NIRODBARAN: But a contact with the subliminal may give me direct
knowledgesay, correct diagnosis of a case as T.B. without any exam.
SRI AUROBINDO: It may, but it is only a knowledge. How will you have
the power to cure? Besides, knowledge is not necessary for cure. Plenty of
people can cure without knowledge.
PURANI: That is what I too told him.

NIRODBARAN: How does one get the power to cure?
SRI AUROBINDO: By getting the Force.
NIRODBARAN: But the subliminal may give me the knowledge of the
right drug.
SRI AUROBINDO: If you know the right drug, will it always cure a case?
Are there no failures in spite of the right drug being administered? Are all
diseases curable?
NIRODBARAN: So says homoeopathy, that every disease has a right drug
and is curable unless the organs are too damaged.
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know about homoeopathy. But there are any
number of instances where cases have failed in spite of the right treatment.
NIRODBARAN: Did you say in the morning that the Mother may not know
something in her body but know it in her universal entity?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. It is not necessary for her to know in her body.
There are many people whom the Mother has not met or seen but who call
the Mother and get help.
CHAMPAKLAL: Yes, Mother told us such a story in her stories, that some
people were calling her.
PURANI: I remember distinctly her other story while sitting among us. Suddenly she went into a trance and returned after twenty minutes or so. Then
she said to us that she had gone to the Himalayas to help a Yogi who had
been calling her. We saw her actually shivering due to the cold of the Himalayas. Mother said she didn't know who the Yogi was.
SRI AUROBINDO: In her sleep Mother goes to various places. It doesn't
mean that she knows or remembers in her waking moments all the places
and persons she visits.
NIRODBARAN: Now it is clear. But how will the knowledge in her universal entity be practically applied in her physical which may not know about
that knowledge? I mean her universal entity may have the knowledge of a
particular act done by such and such a person. How will she be able to say
which particular person has done it?


SRI AUROBINDO: If it is necessary for her to know, she can know by concentration. The physical brain is an instrument of the true individuality. Even
the Yogis are not concerned with what is happening on Jupiter or Venus.
BECHARLAL: Does an Avatar know everything?
SRI AUROBINDO: What everything? It is the same question. Did Rama
know it was not a real deer?
BECHARLAL: They say that he knew it was a false deer but in order to set
an example
SRI AUROBINDO: Good Lord! You mean to say that all he has done, the
fight with Ravana and the rescue of Sita, is all deception in order to set an
example? Then the Ramayana and Rama lose all their value. And his lamentation for Sita is also a pretension? Does an Avatar resort to deception in order to teach people?
PURANI: What about Sita's Agniparisha?1
BECHARLAL: That was real, they say. But the Sita that was stolen by Ravana was not the real Sita, but her shadow. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: So all the time the real Sita was with Rama? And why
then did Rama play that deception with Hanuman about Gandhamadan parvat? He could have told him straight away that it was in such and such a
place, instead of Hanuman having to search for it everywhere.
The shadow-of-Sita story reminds me of Helen of Troy's story. Someone
perhaps Euripidessays that it was not the real Helen but her image that
was taken by Paris and that after the battle was over she rejoined her husband.

21 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL: In the Gita Sri Krishna says that he knows all about Arjuna's past lives.
SRI AUROBINDO: What about it? A past life can be known.
DR. MANILAL: Then he knew all the details of his past life?
SRI AUROBINDO: Who says that? Does Krishna say that? (Laughter)
[1] Ordeal by fire.

DR. MANILAL: He knew at least the salient features.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not necessarily; he may have known only the general
DR. MANILAL: Simply from general features one won't be able to make
out the character and quality of a man.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why not? The first impression one gets, on knowing
the general features of a man's past life, is that of character.
PURANI: He wants to say that one must be able to know what he had for his
NIRODBARAN: What was your point in that question?
DR. MANILAL: I wanted to say that Krishna was Sarvajna. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Then that girl from Mathura who knew all the details of
her past life was also Sarvajna. When Arjuna said to Krishna, "Will you tell
me again all you told me about Kurukshetra etc.,etc.?" Krishna replied,
"Good Lord, do I remember all that blessed lot now? At that time I was in
DR. MANILAL: But he was always in Yoga.
SRI AUROBINDO: He didn't say that. He said he had forgotten.
DR. MANILAL: How could he have heard Draupadi's lamentation then during Vastraharan?
SRI AUROBINDO: His subliminal heard it! (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Is that story true, Sir, and not an allegory?
SRI AUROBINDO: Why an allegory?
DR. MANILAL: Of course you yourself have said somewhere that all these
stories are true.
SRI AUROBINDO: Where have I said that? What I have said is that the
Gita was recorded as a fact in the Mahabharata, intended to be a fact of life,
not an allegory. But do you mean that Hanuman's taking the sun under his
armpit and jumping into Lanka and burning Lanka by his tail-fire were all
DR. MANILAL: What are they then? Poetry?

Purani narrated the story of the ex-Maharani of Porbandar who had come
here. It is said she commuted the death-sentence of a criminal in her court
because she was so moved by the piteous cry of his wife.
DR. MANILAL: Could this be called a Punya karma or Kuta karma, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Which part of her action?
DR. MANILAL: This pardon and release of the murderer.
DR. MANILAL: It is an act of mercy. Mercy is a Punya karma.
DR. MANILAL: But can the release of an archmurderer be called Punya
SRI AUROBINDO: How do you know he was an archmurderer? He may
have been innocent.
DR. MANILAL: Let us take for granted he was an archmurderer.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why should you take it for granted?
DR. MANILAL: Suppose an archmurderer is released under such circumstances, he may go on committing more murders. Can that be called a Punya
SRI AUROBINDO: It may be both. (Laughter) You are looking at it from
the social point of view and don't see the character or nature of the act itself.
Compassion is a virtue and an act of compassion is a virtuous act.
DR. MANILAL: Suppose a man is asked by a hunter about an antelope that
has passed his way
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, that old story of the Yogi? A Yogi was asked by
some murderers if he had seen a man running away. He said "Yes", and
showed the way. The man was caught and killed. The Yogi after his death
was taken to hell.
DR. MANILAL: Was he right in telling the truth?
SRI AUROBINDO: There was no necessity.
DR. MANILAL: Should one speak the truth in all circumstances?
SRI AUROBINDO: It depends on the circumstances. Every action has to be
judged on its own merits.
DR. MANILAL: But in this case?

SRI AUROBINDO: He need not have told the truth as he knew what would
be the consequence of his doing so.
DR. MANILAL: According to Jainism, one could have remained quiet.
SRI AUBOBINDO: Quite so. In this case he told the truth, not for the sake
of telling the truth but from ethical vanity.
NIRODBARAN: Or perhaps for fear of his own life.
SRI AUROBINDO: That can't be a virtue either. To endanger another's life
in order to save one's own can't be a Punya karma.
DR. MANILAL: Have you read Professor N.N. Sen's lecture at the Madras
Philosophy Conference?
SRI AUROBINDO: I have waded through it.
DR. MANILAL: The Hindu gives a short note on it, but I don't grasp it myself very well. It says, "What is mind? No matter" and "What is matter?
Never mind." Something like that.
SRI AUROBINDO: It means mind and matter are not the same.
DR. MANILAL: But one thing I can't understand, Sir, about life and existence. If a living organism consists of living cells and each living cell has a
SRI AUROBINDO: A cell has a soul?
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir, otherwise how could it live?
SRI AUROBINDO: It lives because of the life in it, not because of the soul
in it. You can ask "What is life?"
DR. MANILAL: What is life then?
SRI AUROBINDO: For that you have to read The Life Divine (Laughter)
PURANI: He wants a shortcut.
NIRODBARAN: If each cell has a soul, then there are so many thousands of
souls in the body?
SRI AUROBINDO: He is referring to Nigodh or Jiva. (Laughter) In that
case one can say everything existing has a soul. A tree has a soul, a stone has
a soul. That may be but it is not self-evident.

DR. MANILAL: That is what Jainism says. (Laughter) J.C. Bose has shown
that the tree has a nervous system.
SRI AUROBINDO: A nervous system is not a soul. It is capable of response
to a stimulus. If a cell dies, what happens to the soul?
DR. MANILAL: It also dies. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: So body and soul are the same: both are destructible. If
one dies, the other follows? That is the Western idea which makes no distinction between body and soul and life.
DR. MANILAL: What is your idea then?
SRI AUROBINDO: As I said, read The Life Divine. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Is there no shortcut to it? (Laughter) When a person dies
SRI AUROBINDO: A person dies? You mean the body dies?
DR. MANILAL: No, Sir! Say, when a human being dies
SRI AUROBINDO: A human being dies? What is a human being?
DR. MANILAL: When the Atman departs(Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: That means the body dies. If the Atman or soul departs,
it does not die; it is the body that dies. Either the body dies because the soul
departs or the soul departs because the body is destroyed. According to one
conception the soul is a portion of the Divine, and hence indestructible,
while mind, life and body are instruments of its self-expression. It is the materialist's conception that soul and body are the same so that when the body
dies existence ceases.
Dr. Manilal was so thoroughly battered that he had no more words to utter
after this. After a short while he made his usual pranam and departed.

22 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL: Have unicellular organisms like the amoeba no soul. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, they have a psychic spark, not a developed soul or
a psychic being.
DR. MANILAL: According to Jainism there are different types or grades of
lives with grades of development of senses. Thus some creatures have only

one sense, such as touch; some have two, touch and smell, and so on, till we
come to the human grade with five senses. Is that true. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is for the scientists to say.
DR. MANILAL: Perhaps it is the underlying principle of the evolution of
life that they want to show. But is it by any sort of virtuous act that a lower
form of life becomes a higher one?
SRI AUROBINDO: Virtuous act? No, it is a question of consciousness, a
change from a lower to a higher consciousness.
DR. MANILAL (after a while): My shoulder is still resistant. Sir. The pain
in the joint continues.
SRI AUROBINDO: Apply the Force.
DR. MANILAL: I have done so. Sir, but no result!
NIRODBARAN: Is the Force weak or the shoulder resistant?
SRI AUROBINDO: I got rid of my shoulder trouble by a triple process: the
Force, the doing of those movements that bring on pain, and perspiration!
DR. MANILAL: I have tried all that.
NIRODBARAN: You have added anothersalicylates. (Laughter)
PURANI: He leaves nothing to chancetry everything so that one at least
may hit.
DR. MANILAL: Yes. Fomentation, embrocation, massage, etc.
SRI AUROBINDO: Perhaps you tried too many things, each reacting with
the other and producing no result.
DR. MANILAL: Mridu was weeping today, Sir, because she was late and
you had finished your meal.
SRI AUROBINDO: She shouldn't have been told.
NIRODBARAN: It was I who unguardedly told her about it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oosh, these things should not be told.

DR. MANILAL: But she has already recovered. I must say she has improved. Formerly I used to hear her threatening of suicide two or three times
a week. This was the first time in one month. She says she won't eat.
CHAMPAKLAL: She will eat all right.
DR. MANILAL: She counts everythinghow many luchis she had given,
how many you have taken.
SRI AUROBINDO: She won't be able to know how many I have taken and
how many others have taken. But there is no reason why she should cry. It is
I who ought to cry as I didn't have the fritters. (Laughter)

23 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL: Has Trikalajna no knowledge of the future?
SRI AUROBINDO: It means knowledge of all past, present and future.
DR. MANILAL: But if we can change the future by effort
SRI AUROBINDO: Who says that?
DR. MANILAL: I think you have said it, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: I! What about it then?
DR. MANILAL: Then how can one read the future completely?
SRI AUROBINDO: What does "completely" mean?
DR. MANILAL: It means in every detail.
SRI AUROBINDO: I didn't say in every detail. As I said, one has the faculty
of knowing.
After this there was miscellaneous talk about this and that, about the Philosophical Congress at Madras, etc. Radhakrishnan then came into the discussion.
NIRODBARAN: Radhakrishnan seems to have said that he doesn't believe
there is anyone who can challenge Shankara. It was in a talk in Belur Math
regarding Sri Aurobindo.
SRI AUROBINDO: There have been many people who have challenged
PURANI: Yes, Vaishnavas, Ramanuja, Madhava, etc.

After this Nirodbaran referred to Professor Amarnath Jha's lecture in the
Hindu on Indian English where he has mentioned Gandhi's prose style as
simple, sincere, almost Biblical.
DR. MANILAL: I must say Gandhi has improved Gujarati literature remarkably.
On this topic Manilal had an argument with Purani. All the recent stylists of
Gujarat came into it: Kanu Munshi, Musriwalla, Kalelkar, etc.
DR. MANILAL: What has happened to Kalelkar? He hasn't come back here
after his first visit.
SRI AUROBINDO: Harm has frightened him away.
PURANI: What about B.K. Thakore?
DR. MANILAL: Oh yes, he is a great stylist. (After a pause) He is a great
drunkard, too.
PURANI: I thought he had given up drink.
DR. MANILAL: Oh no, he can't do without it. He used to go every day to a
Bombay station and drink heavily in the station restaurant. Of course he
didn't get tipsy.
SRI AUROBINDO: If not tipsy, how is he a drunkard?
DR. MANILAL: He drinks so heavily SRI AUROBINDO: But drinking heavily doesn't make him a drunkard; you
can call him a heavy drinker.
DR. MANILAL: He drinks in excess.
SRI AUROBINDO: What do you mean by excess? Excess for somebody
else. But if the quantity doesn't affect him, it can't be excess for him.
DR. MANILAL: I submit, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: In Plato's Symposium, Socrates, Aristophanes, Agathon
and others meet and discuss the nature of love, and drink wine. Everybody
gets drunk except Socrates. Even after heavy drinking he keeps on discussing philosophy with some friends, while the rest fall asleep. You can't
call him a drunkard!

Dr.Manilal has wrapped a piece of cloth around his head because of the
NIRODBARAN: Dr. Manilal is looking like a Maharaja.
SRI AUROBINDO: I thought he looked like a college professor.
DR. MANILAL: I feel cold in the head. Sir; that's why I have put this cloth
on it. Usually I catch cold in the chest and head.
NIRODBARAN: In spite of so many layers of garments? He has at least
five on.
DR. MANILAL: Only one is warm.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even there he doesn't hold the record. I remember in
London that the strength of Sarat Ghoseone of the Christian Ghoseswas
disputed in some talk. He began to take his garments off. He took off his
coat, waistcoat, shirt, one vest, then another, and still another and so onaltogether eleven! (Laughter)
Purani started a talk about some evening procession of the Selvaraju family.
DR. MANILAL: Did the family ever come to you, Sir, I mean in your early
days here?
SRI AUROBINDO: Come to me? It is said that the father of the family tried
to kidnap me into British territory, if that is what you mean by coming to
DR. MANILAL: I saw the Governor today. He looks absolutely like a bulldog with a ruddy face.
PURANI: That is due to drink!
DR. MANILAL: He drinks?
SRI AUROBINDO: He is a heavy drinker, not a drunkard (laughter), but he
goes on to the point of apoplexy.
DR. MANILAL (after a while): They speak of Gandharvaloka, Sir. Is there
any such world?
SRI AUROBINDO: Supposed to be.
DR. MANILAL: Have you seen it, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: I have not been there.

DR. MANILAL: I meant: did you have any experience?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is not necessary: there are many musicians in the
Ashram. (Laughter)
PURANI: Professor Indra Sen, who has come for the Philosophical Conference at Madras, says that nowadays anybody who has written on any subject, economics, social reform, is being called a philosopher. Gandhi and
Tagore are being called philosophers.
SRI AUROBINDO: Karl Marx is also a philosopher and all the communists
PURANI: Yes. Indra Sen is asking if by the supramental descent the whole
of humanity is going to be transformed and how humanity is going to be
benefited by it. By a change in consciousness?
SRI AUROBINDO: If he means supramental transformation, no.
NIRODBARAN: I thought there would be a general heightened consciousness.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, in some persons.
PURANI: I told him there would be a move towards a higher consciousness
through the influence of people who have attained to that consciousness.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is what I have said myself.
PURANI: He wants also to know how humanity today is better fitted for the
change than before. I replied that nowadays one has to conceive of the
whole of humanity as one unit: one can't think of it in separate terms or divide it into so many compartments. Nature won't allow any such division. .
SRI AUROBINDO: The main question is one of the development of mind.
There has been a general development more than beforeof course it is
nothing exceptional. I am speaking of the masses. That is the first necessary
PURANI: Yes, I told him how in Buddha's time or in the classical period of
the Greeks, teaching and culture were limited to a small area, the greater
part of the race had no access to them. Now, communication being so easy,
there is no such obstacle. One can hear Roosevelt here in India.
There was a Muslim professor who spoke in the Philosophical Congress.
He spoke on Freud. He has criticised Freud's theory that everything is due to

the subconscient. Freud says that Moses turned into a prophet because of his
personal sufferings, the repression in his childhood. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Repression complex.
PURANI: The professor says that Freud's theory doesn't explain Moses.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): Not at all. It explains Freud. (Laughter) He
himself had so many complexes that he couldn't find any other theory than
that for every human action. He says that the sense of injustice in children is
born from their inability to retain their excrement. (Laughter) And what is
surprising is that everybody in Europe believes it. His real contribution is
about the subconscient. Even there some of his disciples, such as Jung, are
throwing out many things.
PURANI: And the professor says that the idea that in primitive races men
used to kill their fathers in order to marry their mothers is not true.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, that old thing!
PURANI: Everyone didn't kill his father.
SRI AUROBINDO: Neither did everyone marry his mother.

24 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL: Is there, Sir, such a condition of detachment that one is not
disturbed or perturbed by anything whatsoever?
DR. MANILAL: Practicable, Sir? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Is it only a theory, then? An ideal not realisable in practice? As with Tagore who is reported to have said that yogic realisations are
only ideals, not realisable, not meant for practice?
DR. MANILAL: Has anybody achieved it. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is one of the aims of Yoga.
DR. MANILAL: I know, but it is possible? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: If it is impossible, why should it be an aim of Yoga?
Merely as an ideal? Honesty is an ideal to be observed in commercial transactions. Does it mean you must observe it only when it suits you? (Laughter)

PURANI: Is the synopsis ready?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, I have just made a summary from which the synopsis will be made. After it is done, we can try it on Manilal and see if he understands it.
DR. MANILAL: If you make me understand, I will, Sir.
After some time Nirodbaran asked what was meant by space being coexistent with souls. Sri Aurobindo explained it but Nirodbaran could not follow.
DR. MANILAL: Souls have no space. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: There is a theory to that effect.
DR. MANILAL: According to jainism they have no space.
SRI AUROBINDO: What is space then according to jainism?
DR. MANILAL: Akasha.
SRI AUROBINDO: What is Akasha?
DR. MANILAL: Empty space.
SRI AUROBINDO: How is it empty?
DR. MANILAL: There are many atoms pervading it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Where do the atoms come from?
DR. MANILAL: They don't come from anywhere. They have been always
there from time immemorial.
SRI AUROBINDO: From time immemorial? How do they get there?
DR. MANILAL: They have been there. Sir. We have to take it for granted.
SRI AUROBINDO: What is time then according to jainism?
DR. MANILAL: There is no time; it is indivisible. What we see as present
becomes past and what is future becomes present.
SRI AUROBINDO: So there is past and present.
DR. MANILAL: How, Sir? What we call "just now" has already become
past. So there is no present. Mahavira and Buddha were at one time present
but they no longer exist.

SRI AUROBINDO: If time were indivisible, they should exist now. You
speak of from moment to moment.
DR. MANILAL: Relatively, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: What do you mean by relatively? Otherwise it is absolute timelessness.
Here there was talk about a discussion of Sri Aurobindo's Life Divine by
DR. MANILAL: Is space indivisible?
SRI AUROBINDO: Not unless it is useful for it to be so (laughter), otherwise you have to go on walking for three miles without stopping.
If you have to take everything for granted, take my philosophy also for
granted and don't discuss it. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: That requires a lot of Shraddha, Sir. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Then should I be asked to have Shraddha, in your Jain
philosophy? (Laughter) There are some postulates that are taken for granted.
After a time they are given up in favour of some other postulates. For instance, matter was at one time thought to be the source and origin of everything. Now they have upset that theory.
Space is indivisible in the sense that existence is indivisible. If you look
at existence as a whole, as the one Being, then space and time are indivisible. But if you look at the individual being, they are divided when you want
to do anything. India is indivisible but it is very much divided! (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO (to Purani): What is the news of the world?
PURANI (smiling a little): I have no news. You have read Lloyd George's
DR. MANILAL: It is a very balanced speech. Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Very balanced? Nonsense! The one thing he lacks is
balance. The one thing he has is vigour.
DR. MANILAL: He has made a strong attack on the Government. Chamberlain, Churchill and others are saying that they have committed big mistakes.

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, everybody makes mistakes except him. Who
doesn't make mistakes? Gandhi has also admitted that he has made "Himalayan blunders".
PURANI: Lloyd George is asking the Government to state its war aims and
peace terms. How can one do that now?
DR. MANILAL: And he refers to his own Government in 1917.
PURANI: Yes, but that was when they were winning the war, while now
they are just in the thick of the fight, with at most a fifty percent chance of
success. And if they start stating war aims and peace terms now, division
and quarrel will start among them giving a handle to Hitler to break up their
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. What peace terms did Lloy George offer?
DR. MANILAL: It was the Versailles treaty and this war is result. Perhaps
he wants to be the Prime Minister.
SRI AUROBINDO: He is too old for that. Besides, he is most unreliable.
DR. MANILAL (after a short while): There is a Jain sloka which means that
mind is a bondage to Mukti. Can it be true, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Bondage? Instrument, if you like. But mind is not the
only instrument of Mukti; it is the power of the Spirit also that brings Mukti.
You can say that mind is an instrument of bondage in the sense that it is the
dividing principle that separates itself from the Unity and brings in division
and ignorance. Life can properly be more said to be the real instrument. The
life principle is the principle of desire, a straining after various objects of desire. Life is the root of all desires with which it affects the mind. The desires
of the mind are not really its desires because its business is to know, to perceive.
DR. MANILAL: Life is the seat of emotions, I thought.
SRI AUROBINDO: Emotions, sensations and several other things. That is
the mistake most people usually commit, especially those influenced by
Western ideas. They don't make any distinction between mind and life, they
consider them the same. This President of the Philosophical Congress at
Madras says that mind is hungry. Mind is not hungry; it is the life and body
that are hungry.
PURANI: Professor Atreya calls Krishnamurti a philosopher.

SRI AUROBINDO (chuckling): Bhagwan Das also and Radhakrishnan. Is
Radhakrishnan really a philosopher? Has he contributed anything new?
PURANI: No, he is only an exponent of Indian philosophy.
SRI AUROBINDO: That's what I thought. He is one of the highest authorities on Indian philosophy but I don't know that he has produced any new
philosophy. He is a Shankarite, isn't he?
DR. MANILAL: He may have realised Shankara's philosophy.
SRI AUROBINDO: Realised? You mean he is a Yogi? Everybody knows he
is not. He is only an interpreter.
DR. MANILAL: He could be both. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: He is not! What do you mean by could be? Anybody
could be, you could be, Lloyd George could be. (Laughter)
PURANI: A Ceylonese young man, a Buddhist has come to see the Ashram.
He says Buddha didn't teach that the world was full of evil.
PURANI: But I asked him whether or not Buddha said that the world is "full
of sorrow" and that "one must escape from it"?
SRI AUROBINDO: Not full of evil but that it is undesirable.
PURANI: He also makes out that Buddha spoke of a divine consciousness.
DR. MANILAL: He meant Nirvana, probably.
SRI AUROBINDO: Buddha didn't mean that by Nirvana. Of course he
didn't say what Nirvana is.
PURANI: This man doesn't believe in the Jataka stories of Buddha.
NIRODBARAN: Tell it to Dr. Manilal.
DR. MANILAL: Why? I believe in them.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is just the point.
DR. MANILAL: Are there no previous births. Sir?

PURANI: The point is whether all that is said is true.
After this Dr. Manilal was going away. Suddenly he came back and said,
"Mother has said to Sir Hukum Chand, 'I know you.'"
SRI AUROBINDO: Well, what about it?
DR. MANILAL: That means there are previous births.
SRI AUROBINDO: Nobody denies it.
DR. MANILAL: Nirod doesn't believe it.
NIRODBARAN: I didn't say that.
PURANI: He doesn't deny the principle of rebirth but is doubtful about all
that is said about the knowledge possessed by Yogis or Tirthankaras about so
many previous births; for example, that Manilal's Adishwar knew about all
his previous births and that his mother was a banana tree. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Why, a Tirthankara is supposed to be Sarvajna.
SRI AUROBINDO: How do you know that?
DR. MANILAL: It is said in the books. Sir. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Who said it?
DR. MANILAL: If it was not true and if Krishna and Arjuna didn't exist,
you would not have written Essays on the Gita, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why not? Whether they existed or not I would still
have written the book if the truth of the Gita was there.
NIRODBARAN: Sri Aurobindo himself has said in the preface that the important point is not whether Krishna and Arjuna did actually exist but
whether the things said in the Gita are true.
At this point Dr. Manilal left.
SRI AUROBINDO: I have been reading today Plotinus on Matter by Dean
Inge. It is curious that what he was trying to describe in various ways with
much difficulty is what we call the Inconscient in Matter. But as he had no
knowledge of the Inconscient he couldn't express it properly. Of course he is
speaking of Matter as a. principle, not as a form. This Dean Inge has a confused mind, he can't state his thoughts clearly and logically and bungles the
whole thing. But what Plotinus says is that Matter is infinite, indeterminate

and non-beingthat means the Inconscient; and if Matter is raised to the
level of the Spirit it could become divine, that is to say. Matter itself is the

25 DECEMBER 1940
Dr. Manilal had a warm cloth wrapped around his head and was sitting
leaning against the small book case. When Sri Aurobindo sat up on the edge
of the bed, he looked at him.
SRI AUROBINDO: You are looking like one of the pictures of Ajanta,
thinking the world to be a burden and being cold and miserable. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Today he has put on one more vest.
DR. MANILAL: That can be easily taken off. I was not feeling cold but to
prevent any draught I put it on.
SRI AUROBINDO: I was speaking of your expression; you were looking
like an incarnation of suffering.
DR. MANILAL: But I am supposed to be very jolly, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: But at that moment you were not! (laughter)
Some time later the Mother came and, soon after Sri Aurobindo's daily
walk, Dr. Manilal left.
PURANI: Indra Sen wants to know if the cosmic descent could correspond
to the yogic descent in any way.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, the yogic descent is a process of unveiling while
the cosmic descent is involutionary, a process of veiling.
PURANI: Yes, I also said something like that.

26 DECEMBER 1940
We heard from Usha that Sachin's daughter had improved after receiving
the Mother's flower. She has been brought to Calcutta.
SRI AUROBINDO: Have the doctors diagnosed her condition? I haven't
heard anything.

DR. MANILAL: Regarding diagnosis the doctors are at sea
SRI AUROBINDO: They generally are. (Laughter) If only one doctor is
concerned, it is not so bad a situation.
DR. MANILAL: Can you not help us with your knowledge?
SRI AUROBINDO: That would be too much work for me.
DR. MANILAL: I don't mean in every case, only in difficult cases.
SRI AUROBINDO: It would establish a precedent. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: But you can know the right diagnosis and suitable treatment in a case.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is a medical question.
PURANI: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother can as well cure a case straight
away instead of bothering about all that.
DR. MANILAL: If Joan of Arc was a saint, how could she be burnt alive,
SRI AUROBINDO: She was declared a saint only some years ago! And
what did you have in mind? Many saints have been killed, burnt, riddled
with arrows.
NIRODBARAN: Christ was crucified.
DR. MANILAL: Some say it is not true. (Laughter)
PURANI: How? It is written in the books! (laughter)
DR. MANILAL: They hold a procession now in memory of Joan of Arc.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir, when I was in Paris ten years ago I saw it.
SRI AUROBINDO: "Now" is not ten years ago. When you said "now", I
was astonishedhow could Germany allow it? It is a French national festival.
DR. MANILAL: It is said that Joan of Arc used to have some power or
some power used to descend in her by which she defeated the English.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, what about it?

DR. MANILAL: If so, how were they able to catch and burn her? The
power couldn't protect her?
SRI AUROBINDO: She had no power at that time. She herself said that she
was given that power only for a short timetwo years or soand after her
work was finished she wanted to go away, but the king kept her back.
DR. MANILAL: Wasn't it a sin to burn her? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: They didn't care a damn whether it was a sin, not having studied Jainism like Manilal. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Tolstoy had some realisation, Sir, didn't he?
DR. MANILAL: Otherwise how could he write about angels etc? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: I suppose you know that a writer has imagination.
DR. MANILAL: But he led a moral life.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh! Did he? He never succeeded in living a moral life
as far as I know. He became a mystic, at least tried to but never led a
moral life. Are you interested in Tolstoy?
DR. MANILAL: In some principles of his.
SRI AUROBINDO: What are they?
DR. MANILAL: I have forgotten. Sir. (Laughter) It was long ago I read
SRI AUROBINDO: Principles like those of Gandhi?
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Interested in Gandhi's principles?
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir, in some of them when they are put into action.
DR. MANILAL: Ahimsa, for instance. Of course, not Ahimsa as he
preaches it. There is also truthfulness.
SRI AUROBINDO: Nothing new. Ahimsa is more than twenty-five hundred
years old and truthfulness very ancient too, more than six thousand years.

DR. MANILAL: Millions and millions of years. Sir, according to Jainism
(Dr. Manilal mentioned a book.)
SRI AUROBINDO: I am not interested in Jain history.
PURANI: Where is the history? It is more a story like the Puranas.
The topic changed. What exactly Sri Aurobindo refers to in the following is
not remembered.
SRI AUROBINDO: I have sent both the synopsis and the summary down to
Nolini. I don't know how many pages they will be in type. I think there will
be about two hundred pages altogether. Manilal might find them easy.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: It may be more difficult to understand than the text, because the argument will be more compact.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not necessarily. One may get only the salient points.
NIRODBARAN: I haven't yet got a clear idea of the Absolute. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): How could you have got a clear idea? If you
had, all your troubles and difficulties would have been over.
NIRODBARAN: I mean mentally.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even mentally one can't get a clear idea.
NIRODBARAN: What I mean is whether the Absolute stands for Sachchidananda, the Supreme, the Transcendent and is also beyond all of them.
SRI AUROBINDO: Of course the Absolute is beyond all of them. But that
doesn't mean the Absolute has no Sachchidananda aspect. But it is beyond
all expression.
NIRODBARAN: Sachchidananda also is beyond expression.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it is Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.
DR. MANILAL: You can't have any idea or experience of the Absolute.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, you can have an idea, even experience it, but you
can't express it. When you try to express it, you limit it because expression
comes from the mind and from mental ideas and thoughts.

DR. MANILAL: It is like sweetness. Sir. There are so many kinds of sweetness, but we can't define it.
SRI AUROBINDO: One can define it to a certain extent.
DR. MANILAL: How will you express the sweetness of a pomegranate,
SRI AUROBINDO: That is a question of style, but I am not going to do it; I
have something more worthwhile. (Laughter)
PURANI: Some define the taste by colour.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, the modern craze!
PURANI: They will say the sweetness of an orange is yellow.
SRI AUROBINDO: Pomegranate pink and shades of pink as pink I, pink II.
DR. MANILAL: But one can get the proof and knowledge by eating.
PURANI: That is experience.
DR. MANILAL: It is knowledge.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is a knowledge of the taste, not a metaphysical
knowledge. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Nolini Sen says they are feeling a more and more intense
force, peace, etc. at Calcutta in their meditation. So intense that some people
wonder if it isn't the supramental force that is descending.
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): No! It is the spiritual force.
NIRODBARAN: Even the children feel it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then it must be supramental. (Laughter) The supramental is independent of conditions and circumstances.
NIRODBARAN: It is curious that we don't feel anything.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Supramental must have descended at Calcutta
alone. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: In the circumference to start with.
SRI AUROBINDO (after a pause): These experiences of force, peace, etc.
come easily to those who begin the Yoga in the mind or vital. Those who be505

gin in the physical mind have a tremendous tussle. Experiences don't take
place in them so easily and they come only after a long time.
NIRODBARAN: Then I must be in the physical mind. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: But those who open their mind or vital first are not very
safe. I have seen many Yogis, not great ones, I mean those who have got
some experiences and power in the vital and they are satisfied with that.
They think that that is all and there is nothing beyond it. X by his sadhana
has got some inert peace in the physical which he thinks to be real peace.
PURANI: Professor Indra Sen was asking me about the theory of cause and
effect. I told him I had not read the new volume of The Life Divine but, as
far as I could remember, there is a sort of a continuous process of things and
events going on. You cut off from that continuity any part and say that that
must be the cause of this. I don't know if I am right.
SRI AUROBINDO: What I have said in The Life Divine is antecedent and
subsequent. What we consider to be the cause of a particular effect may not
be the immediate cause. For that effect to be produced, so many forces have
come into play; even the opposing forces are necessary. The human mind
sees only one factor and thinks that it is the cause. But as a matter of fact,
without the combination and opposition of other forces, the result would not
have been possible.
The human mind can't look at anything as a whole, it sees only by parts.
It is like switching on a light and thinking that the switching must be the
cause of the light. But the one who designs the whole electric system has to
consider many factors before light can be produced.

27 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL: My shoulder pain is still persisting, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is responding to the wind, probably.
DR. MANILAL: Just near the insertion of the deltoid. Sir. Can't turn my arm
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, yes, I also have a pain in the same place. You must
have passed it on to me. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: How to get rid of it. Sir?

SRI AUROBINDO: Don't identify with it.
DR. MANILAL: But how?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is a sort of inner movement. Or else make just those
movements that bring on the pain.
DR. MANILAL: That causes pain. Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Doesn't matter. (Laughter) Or try to go up out of the
body. Get rid of the old Sanskaras of the body.
At this time Manilal was sipping Padodaka, the water in which the Guru's
feet are washed, and applying some of it to his shoulder.
PURANI: The pain has already gone. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: It is very much there.
PURANI: No, no, I tell you it has gone.
SRI AUROBINDO: He wants to make you believe that the pain has gone
but you don't believe it. Or rather you believe but your arm doesn't. You
identify with the arm.
DR. MANILAL: Last evening your knee was bending more than usual Sir,
wasn't it?
DR. MANILAL: Coming almost to a right angle.
SRI AUROBINDO: I could have bent it more but I was afraid that if I tried
Purani would fall on me with the chair. (Laughter)
Sri Aurobindo used to sit on the edge of a chair and do the bending. Purani
would stand behind the chair and hold the back of it lest the chair fall forward with Sri Aurobindo 's weight on its edge.
PURANI: No, I was prepared for all eventualities.
DR. MANILAL: Arthur Luther, Sir, thrust his hand into the fire.
SRI AUROBINDO: Luther? You mean Archbishop Cranmer? Your knowledge of history is extraordinary! Neither was his name Arthur. What about
DR. MANILAL: When his hand was burning, did he not feel pain. Sir? How
could he keep his hand in the fire? Did he do it stoically?

SRI AUROBINDO: How stoically?
DR. MANILAL: I mean in spite of the pain he endured the suffering. Or did
he feel no pain at all?
SRI AUROBINDO: He may not have done it stoically but out of religious
feeling. One can separate oneself from the body and then pain doesn't affect
DR. MANILAL: Is it possible. Sir?
NIRODBARAN: Nishtha was asking again whether, since the Mother
doesn't know everything, she has to tell everything to the Mother, every detail. She also says that everything comes from the Divine. In that case there
is no need to do Yoga, I said. She is wondering whether it wouldn't be better
for her to resume the vitamin pills she was taking before and says that the
suggestion may have come from the Divine.
SRI AUROBINDO: The suggestion to stop may have come from the Divine
NIRODBARAN: I told her what you said to us the other day about the
Mother knowing things. She thinks that mental prayer is not sincere and so
won't be heard by the Divine. The prayer must come from a deeper source.
SRI AUROBINDO: Of course, the deeper the source it comes from, the better it is. But why can't the Divine hear? Is he deaf to mental prayer?
NIRODBARAN: I said any sincere prayer is heard.
SRI AUROBINDO: He may hear but whether it is answered is different.
DR. MANILAL: Why couldn't it be answered, Sir? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Not couldn't be. Anything could be but it may not be.
DR. MANILAL: According to our Jain Shastra, there are three or four signs,
Sir, by which gods can be recognised. Their feet don't touch the ground,
their eyes don't blink, the garlands around their necks don't dry up.
SRI AUROBINDO: You will find those signs in the Mahabharata also.
There is one more sign. The gods have no shadows.

DR. MANILAL: And they don't perspire. Is that true, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Ask the gods.
DR. MANILAL: You are above the gods, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: I am on earth.
DR. MANILAL: Some time ago the Mother said that the godsShiva,
Vishnu, etc. came to the meditation she was giving.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and then?
DR. MANILAL: In what form did they come. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: What do you mean?
DR. MANILAL: In an image form?
SRI AUROBINDO: What is an image? Everything is an image. You are an
image. Nirod is an image.
DR. MANILAL: I mean could they be seen as concretely as, for instance, I
see Nirod?
SRI AUROBINDO: Shiva is as concrete to Vishnu as you are to Nirod.
DR. MANILAL: Were they seen with open eyes?
SRI AUROBINDO: One can see with open or closed eyes. But with what
sense does one see the gods?
DR. MANILAL: I don't know. Sir. That was not made clear by the Mother.
SRI AUROBINDO: What is there to make clear? One sees them with a subtle sense, not with the material.

28 DECEMBER 1940
In connection with the ex-Maharani's case, Purani reported that Dilip said
he had heard from very reliable sources that the Madras judges had now become corrupt and took bribes. It was not so during Purani's time.
SRI AUROBINDO: Everything going down?
DR. MANILAL: In Bengal also there is much corruption.
SRI AUROBINDO: In the High Court?

DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: I suppose it has come after the new Governmentwith
the advent of H and B. I am wondering what Swaraj will be like.
NIRODBARAN: Was there no corruption before?
SRI AUROBINDO: Not so much. Bengal and Pondicheny were the only
two exceptions.
NIRODBARAN: H's ministry is almost openly doing these things.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, one has the impression that after this new Government, Bengal has become quite corrupt. There is one good thing about England: it is still free from corruption in public life. Of course England also
was at one time corrupt but it has come out of that. Victoria's time was especially admirable.
DR. MANILAL: France and America also are said to be very corrupt.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, terrible! Not a single senate member is free from
bribery and corruption.
NIRODBARAN: What about your shoulder. Dr. Manilal?
PURANI: You shouldn't have asked. It is all right, isn't it? I see it is all right.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is all right without his knowing it. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir. Purani knows it without my knowing myself.
SRI AUROBINDO: Knowledge by identity! (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: That would have been all right if by my eating Purani's
hunger would have been satisfied.
SRI AUROBINDO: But suppose it is by Purani's eating that your hunger
would be satisfied? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: If it were, a lot of trouble would be saved, Sir, but it isn't;
my hunger is still as strong.
SRI AUROBINDO: Consider it an illusion. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: I am not a Mayavadin, Sir.


NIRODBARAN: Will knowledge by identity give one knowledge of diagnosis of a case?
SRI AUROBINDO: If it is complete. If you identify only with the patient's
mind, however, you may not know because the patient himself may not
PURANI: What will you do with a diagnosis if you don't know the cure?
DR. MANILAL: Identify with the Mother, not the patient, then you will
know everything.
NIRODBARAN: But one can also know the right drug.
SRI AUROBINDO: Does the right drug always cure?
SRI AUROBINDO: Is every disease curable?
DR. MANILAL: No, Sir, but why isn't it curable?
SRI AUROBINDO: There are conditions.
NIRODBARAN: The Divine may cure unconditionally.
SRI AUROBINDO: In every case?
NIRODBARAN: No, when he chooses.
SRI AUROBINDO: That means a condition.
DR. MANILAL: What are the conditions? Faith, aspiration?
SRI AUROBINDO: You leave out the important elementreceptivity.
DR. MANILAL: Am I receptive. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: You may be but your shoulder may not.
DR. MANILAL: How to make it receptive?
SRI AUROBINDO: Surgical operation. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: With what scalpel, Sir?
NIRODBARAN: Do different parts have different degrees of receptivity?


SRI AUROBINDO: Of course. The mind may be receptive but the vital and
physical may not, or the mind and the vital may be receptive without the
body being so.
DR. MANILAL: But Laxmi's case was a miracle. Sir, I must say. I thought
she would pass away but now she is quite a different person, looks young
and energetic.
PURANI: It is a question of faith. She has faith in the Mother.
DR. MANILAL: I also have faith.
SRI AUROBINDO: You may but what about your arm? Purani wants to
make you believe that you are all right but you or your arm won't believe it.
DR. MANILAL: How can it believe when the pain is still there, Sir? Otherwise I have faith.
PURANI: You are not open to the Force then.
DR. MANILAL: All my cells are open. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: To Sri Aurobindo's Force.
SRI AUROBINDO: Even your rheumatic cells? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Open to rheumatism.
Purani was coughing a little.
DR. MANILAL: You talk of Force. Why don't you apply it to your own
SRI AUROBINDO: He is driving the Germans out with his air force!

29 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL: Sir, why are the flowers counted by the Mother when they
are brought to her?
SRI AUROBINDO: Why shouldn't they be? The stars are counted in astronomy.

DR. MANILAL: The Mother has recently started counting them, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Astronomers also have recently started doing it.
DR. MANILAL: Do they count them as beads are counted?
SRI AUROBINDO: I don't know. You can ask them. (After a while) He, perhaps, wants to know if there is any Punya in it. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: No, Sir. There are transformation flowers in our house.
Ambu picks them and brings them to the Mother. He says the Mother counts
every one of them. When I asked the reason, he said, "All I know is that it
has an occult reason. I don't know any more and can't tell you any more."
SRI AUROBINDO: Nor can I. Even that much I don't know. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Have you read Savarkar's speech. Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. What about it?
DR. MANILAL: What do you think of it? He says we should join the Army
in order to profit by the experience.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is a point of view forcefully stated.
DR. MANILAL: Have you also read Chandravarkar's speech?
DR. MANILAL: He says the Morley-Minto reform scheme with its separate
electorates is responsible for this Hindu-Muslim disunity.
SRI AUROBINDO: Anybody could have said that.
DR. MANILAL: Savarkar also says that the British can't be defeated.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is nonsense. They were saved by Divine intervention during this War. They would have been smashed if Hitler had invaded
England at the right time, just after the fall of France.
DR. MANILAL: Why didn't the Divine intervene in France, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Because the French were corrupt and had no power of
resistance. The English people have still some of their old virtues left to
which support could be given.

DR. MANILAL: They say that Hitler may occupy Italy if Italy meets with
SRI AUROBINDO: That is one of the possibilities. But it will be hard for
Germany to keep so many people under control.

31 DECEMBER 1940
DR. MANILAL (as Nirodbaran was bending to touch Sri Aurobindo's
knee): I see a trident. Sir, on Nirod's forehead.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir.
NIRODBARAN: What does it mean?
SRI AUROBINDO: It means that you are Shiva. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN (after a while): Some people want to know how to increase
their receptivity.
SRI AUROBINDO: The answer would be followed by "How to do that?"
DR. MANILAL: One can understand how to open the lid of a vessel. One
just pulls and it comes off. But (touching his head) how to open here?
SRI AUROBINDO: Just open it. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Could you not smash our heads, Sir, as the blacksmith
smashed Jupiter's head in the Greek story?
SRI AUROBINDO: What is that story? I don't know of any blacksmith doing that.
DR. MANILAL: That is what is given in children's books, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: That may be for children. What I know is that Jupiter
had a severe pain in his head. Suddenly his head burst open and Minerva
came out of it.
DR. MANILAL: What about Nirod's receptivity question, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: You have to become quiet, become wide and open or
become open and wide.
NIRODBARAN: Is not wideness a result of quietness?

SRI AUROBINDO: Not necessarily; one may be wide without being quiet.
DR. MANILAL: It seems to me, Sir, quietude of the mind is most important.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not only the mind, there is the vital, then the physical
and (nodding his head) then the Inconscient. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: End of the story. Sir? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes! When the Inconscient is in a proper condition of
quietude, you are able to receive.
DR. MANILAL: That would mean throwing away all disturbances.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not all. There is a central quietnesswhen the stuff of
the mind becomes quieta condition in which one can receive in spite of all
DR. MANILAL: Am I receptive, Sir? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Your mind may be but your body is not.
DR. MANILAL: What percentage of receptivity have I, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: These things don't go by percentage. Besides, receptivity is infinite.
DR. MANILAL: How to know if one is receptive?
SRI AUROBINDO: If you receive you know you are receptive. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: My shoulder is the same, Sirpainful as before.
SRI AUROBINDO: That means it doesn't receive and so is not receptive.
DR. MANILAL: They speak of a golden lid, Sir, above the head which covers the face of the Sun. Is it a matter of experience?
DR. MANILAL: Is it in the subtle body that one feels these things?
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, one feels a sense of boring, drilling, hammering
so many things. Never had any such an experience?
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir. I had it, but long ago. It was marvellous, Sir, at
the time. Even while going in a carriage I used to feel the descent of
Ananda, Force, etc. Now all that is past history. (Laughter)

SRI AUROBINDO: They were experiences in the mind. Never had any
force descending into the vital?
SRI AUROBINDO: You are closed in the vital then and, when the vital
opens, you may be closed in the physical. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Tragedy after tragedy, Sir. Experience of ascent and descent also stopped. Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why? Didn't you find it interesting?
DR. MANILAL: Very interesting.

1941 +
l JANUARY 1941
The radio news said that Hitler has prayed to the Almighty to protect him
against his enemies, as he is a single power surrounded by enemies.
SRI AUROBINDO: Since when has he become pious?
DR. MANILAL: God must be in a fix, Sir. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: He is always in a fix.
DR. MANILAL: And Hitler prays to the Almighty, not just to God.
SRI AUROBINDO: He thinks himself a mighty man; God, being almighty,
will be on his side, he thinks.
DR. MANILAL: On which side would Krishna be, Sir, in this war? On the
SRI AUROBINDO: But his army might be on the other side as in the Mahabharata. Send a letter of enquiry to his chief secretary. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: I was telling Nirod that when a medicine has both good
and bad effects, it is the good aspect that acts in a disease, while the bad effect remains behind. For instance, aspirin when given in rheumatism exerts
only its good effect.
SRI AUROBINDO: The bad effect has no occasion to exert itself, so it has
time to lie idle! (Laughter)

DR. MANILAL: While if aspirin is given in normal health, it may exert a
bad effect on the heart.
SRI AUROBINDO: Since it can't do good, it does harm? (Laughter) Is it
true that sometimes a thing which is contraindicated in a disease cures the
disease? Mother told me the story of a lady in Paris who was suffering from
diabetes. The doctor asked her not to eat potatoes at any cost. But at that
time no other vegetable than potatoes was available. So she ate them and got
cured. (Laughter) Is it possible?
DR. MANILAL: Not impossible, Sir. I have no faith in doctors and
NlRODBARAN: But you take medicines all the same.
SRI AUROBINDO: Habit or chance'. (Laughter)
(After Dr. Manilal had left) Modern science says that quantity and movement alone are real. Quality is a creation of the senses. What is seen is a
configuration of the senses. The configuration of reason acting on the configuration of the senses produces what is seen! But that doesn't go far
enough, for the scientific researches which deal with quantity and movement
as data are also a configuration of the senses. So everything is Maya, illusion.

2 JANUARY 1941
Anilbaran has been trying to introduce The Life Divine as a course of study
in Indian universities. Some universities have refused on varying grounds.
Others have given hopeful answers. He wants to make the study of religion
also apart of the curriculum.
SRI AUROBINDO; If he wants to make The Life Divine a text-book for the
colleges, I object. It will have worse results than in Manilal's case. (Laughter)
Anilbaran has made a few drafts of letters to be sent to the universities for
that purpose. Sri Aurobindo approved none of them. He remarked that Anilbaran had made The Life Divine a special course of study.
PURANI: He wants to make it compulsory.
SRI AUROBINDO: Hitlerian? No, what should be done is to introduce a
course of Indian philosophy in Indian universities and The Life Divine can

come in by the way. It can't be made a principal subject. (Laughing) If it is
made a textbook, one indubitable effect will be that the Arya Publishing
House will get a lot of motley and my private purse will get fat.
DR. MANILAL: In this year's prayer,1 we are expected to be valiant warriors. Sir. I should like to be a warrior, but a warrior, against what? Whom
shall I fight?
SRI AUROBINDO: Suppose you are sent to Italy as a pilot?
DR. MANILAL: No, Sir. I can only give suggestions.
SRI AUROBINDO: You have to fight the hostile forces. But how can you
do that without knowing how to use the Force?
NIRODBARAN: Dilip says that Ashok MaitraHeramba Maitra's son, who
has married a famous actresshas asked him for permission for your Darshan.
SRI AUROBINDO: Why do all these actors and actresses want to come for
NIRODBARAN: Dilip says they are very fine people.
SRI AUROBINDO: Everybody is fine to Dilip. How old is this Ashok
NIRODBARAN: My age. We were in the same class in City College.
SRI AUROBINDO: You were in City College?
NIRODBARAN: Yes, one year.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not time enough to be Herambaised?
NIRODBARAN: Dilip says many good people from Madras are coming for
the Darshan this timean insurance manager, etc.
SRI AUROBINDO: He means high-placed people?
PURANI: So others who have come are bad people? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: How can bad people come? They won't get permission.
SRI AUROBINDO: Can't say that.
[1] The Mother's New Year prayer of 1941: "The world is fighting for its spiritual life menaced by the rush of hostile and undivine forces. Lord, we aspire to be Thy valiant warriors so that Thy glory may manifest upon the earth."

DR. MANILAL: But all who are permitted to come have the intention of doing Yoga and are fit for Yoga.
SRI AUROBINDO: They may be fit but they have no intention.

3 JANUARY 1941
Dr. Andr and we are all puzzled about Nishtha's case. She is rapidly going
downhill and no definite diagnosis has been arrived at. Dr. Andr called
Dr. Manilal for a consultation. Dr. Manilal saw her and said it was gout and
that she has been asked to take chicken and fish. But the difficulty about the
arrangement of cooking meat and fish couldn't easily be solved; when it was
finally solved some other difficulty cropped up and Nishtha was much upset.
Nirodbaran had to spend a lot of time speaking with the Mother about how
things were to be managed.
SRI AUROBINDO (after hearing the report): Vichy negotiations finished?
NIRODBARAN; Yes. It is all about the cooking arrangement. Nishtha finished about half a chicken yesterday, though the chicken was very tough.
SRI AUROBINDO: So it is anorexia carnivora? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Whenever I prescribe a meat diet to patients, I am not at
ease with my conscience, Sir. So I avoid giving it whenever possible, saying
that meat is not good for health. Is it the voice of my conscience, Sir?
DR. MANILAL: I thought it was my inner voice, Sir. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Like Gandhi's?
DR. MANILAL: Is not meat injurious to the body, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Depends on the person. Of course it makes the body
heavy, I mean the subtle body. The other objection to a meat diet is the taking of conscious life.
DR. MANILAL: Isn't it tamasic? But Vivekananda used to recommend it.
SRI AUROBINDO: He said it is rajasic.
NIRODBARAN: It is rajaso-tamasic.
DR. MANILAL: Is it good for the spiritual life?

SRI AUROBINDO: Again it depends on the person. Vegetables are, of
course, better. If there is no attachment to meat, it does not do any harm. I
was very much attached to meat. In order to get rid of the attachment, I used
to give up meat for a long period, then take it up again and again give it up
until I got rid of the attachment.
DR. MANILAL: Why are there so many diseases now in the Ashram?
SRI AUROBINDO: The Inconscient!
NIRODBARAN: But surely not all are ill?
SRI AUROBINDO: Some have illnesses, others other things.
NIRODBARAN: Are we promised a better time after the Inconscient is conquered?
SRI AUROBINDO (laughing): I don't promise anything. It may be as bad.
DR. MANILAL: Purani's cold still persisting! (To Purani) Why don't you
apply the Force on yourself since you speak of it to others?
PURANI: I am applying it. I am already better.
SRI AUROBINDO: Applying Cou diligently!
DR. MANILAL (laughing): Nishtha seems to have been completely metamorphosed, Sir! She was actually running.
SRI AUROBINDO: The Divine Force is great but the force of chicken
seems to be greater! (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: She is doing very well with her chicken and fish. Now she
waits eagerly for her meals. After finishing half a chicken, she kept the other
half for the next day!
DR. MANILAL: Gouty people are usually good eaters. The Maharaja Sayajirao was also like that. He knew which things were forbidden to him but
when they were served on the table, without looking this way or that, he
would go on eating everything. Afterwards somebody would say, "Sir, you
shouldn't have taken those things!" and he would reply, "Oh, why didn't you
tell me?" (Laughter)
Then Dr. Manilal began to tell same stories about the Maharaja.

DR. MANILAL: I remember he once lost his wallet. He had dropped it in
the bathroom. He suspected somebody and charged him with the theft.
When the wallet was found, the man came to the Maharaja and gave him a
bit of his mind: "You are great people; I am your poor, small officer. So you
could charge me with the theft. Even when I denied it you didn't believe
me," etc. The Maharaja heard all that very calmly and didn't utter a single
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, but he would take his revenge afterwards.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, of course. But to listen to the abuses so calmly is unusual for a Maharaja. He was a great man except for one or two defects.
SRI AUROBINDO: More than two! (Laughter)
A case of pox had broken out in the Ashram. Dr. Manilal said after hearing
the symptoms that it might be small-pox. Dr. Andr saw the case and said it
was chicken-pox.
SRI AUROBINDO (after asking Dr. Manilal about the period of infectiousness): I had a mild attack of small-pox in Baroda and at that time there was
no such illness there. A judge prepared some mango drink and asked me to
take it and transferred his small-pox to me in the process. The Maharaja
asked me to go to Mussouri but the illness prevented me. When I got cured,
I went there but the Maharaja sent me back quickly.
Somebody named Ananda, about sixty years of age, has written to Anilbaran
that he has taken up Sannyasa, is suffering from many ailments and wants to
come for the Darshan.
DR. MANILAL: He will increase Nirod's work.
SRI AUROBINDO: How old is he?
PURANL: Sixty.
SRI AUROBINDO: He can postpone it for the next life. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: There are some here who wear the Sannyasi dress. So, he
will be one of them. Dilip also puts on Sannyasi garb.
SRI AUROBINDO: But he is not called Ananda unless you call him Dilipananda. (Laughter)


DR. MANILAL: You have yourself given the name Ananda to peopleto
that Japanese.1
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, I gave him the name but not Sannyasa. (Laughter)

4 JANUARY 1941
DR. MANILAL: What type of diseases does the Inconscient bring out, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: No type! Any type. It doesn't select. Each person may
have a personal selection. For instance, Nirod has a predilection for a cold.
DR. MANILAL: And I have for shoulder pain, gall-bladder trouble, angina,
blood pressurea walking museum of diseases, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Then you must be a big Yogi. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Barin used to say that all the big Brahmo preachers
used to have a lot of ailments. So they must have been big Yogis.
NIRODBARAN: What comes after the Inconscient?
SRI AUROBINDO: Nothing. The Inconscient is the basis of matter.
NIRODBARAN: I mean, what will be the next phase of the working?
SRI AUROBINDO: Development of Supermind or of the higher planes.
NIRODBARAN: Will the troubles be less?
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh, open your Inconscient first.
NIRODBARAN: I thought it was open.
SRI AUROBINDO: Manifest it at any rate.
DR. MANILAL: What really is the Inconscient, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Absence of consciousness. (Laughter) The world is inconscient. Consciousness grows in it but along with its development the Inconscient also remains, like a crust, so that the development is always lim[1] Sundaranandathe name given to the Japanese architect of Golconde, George

ited. This Inconscient has to be broken in order that consciousness may enlarge. Your shoulder, for instance, is conscious of the pain but is unconscious
of the Force. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: "What should the shoulder do, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: The Inconscient in the shoulder or else the shoulder itself can become conscious and open to the Force. The Inconscient is the last
DR. MANILAL: Have you heard of Ralph Waldo Trine, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, who is he?
DR. MANILAL: He is an American writer and mystic. His method is like
SRI AUROBINDO: In tune with the Infinitesomething like that?
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir. He says that one should imagine oneself as the
Brahman and try to feel the force running through all the fibres of the body.
SRI AUROBINDO: Like Cou. You had any result with it?
DR. MANILAL: For a time.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is the same with the descent and action of the Force,
only it is an unconscious process, done by the power of the idea of the mind.
It may help but I don't know if it goes the whole way. It may affect the mind,
but after the mind, there are the vital, the physical and the Inconscient. The
Inconscient has ideas of its own, as it were. If the opposite ideas are strong
enough and have power over them, then a cure may result.
DR. MANILAL: You have written in Basis of Yoga that one should say to
oneself in any trouble, "I am a child of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo." .
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, it is the same power of the idea, a question of fundamental faith not only in the mind but in every part of the being, even in
the Inconscient.
DR. MANILAL: Will it take a long time, Sir, to finish the Inconscient?
Sri Aurobindo with such a smile and tone said: "Yes!" that we all roared
with laughter.

Champaklal forgot today to give the wiping cloth to Sri Aurobindo and
Nirodbaran did it instead. We laughed over it. Sri Aurobindo asked why we
were laughing. When we said that Champaklal had forgotten to give the
cloth he said, "The Inconscient?"
NIRODBARAN: Is the Inconscient the last?
SRI AUROBINDO: I have told you many times that it is the last, but I must
remind you that the work is not short and not individual; it is the principle of
the Inconscient that is being worked out.
Sri Aurobindo now took up Dara's radio news. Dara had incorrectly written
something like Lord Garlic.
SRI AUROBINDO: Lord Garlic and Lady Asafoetida! (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN (after the news was over): I don't quite understand your
work in the Inconscient. If it is concerned with the general Inconscient, then
we ought also to be benefited by it.
SRI AUROBINDO: Indirectly. (After a while) What I want to discourage in
you all is the idea that you will get the Supermind or be on the way to it as
soon as the work in the Inconscient is over.
NIRODBARAN: No, I am not asking with that motive; neither have I that
SRI AUROBINDO: You may not, others have.
DR. MANILAL: They will be at the feet of the Supermind. (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Not even at the tail.
DR. MANILAL: But one thing is certain. Sir, that when the Supermind is
established, there will be a control over diseases.
SRI AUROBINDO: All over the world?
DR. MANILAL: Not that way, Sir; I mean mastery over disease.
SRI AUROBINDO: Whose disease?
NIRODBARAN: In the Ashram.
DR. MANILAL: Among the sadhaks. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: If it is only in the Ashram, he will be left out, so he says

DR. MANILAL: Even among those outside who have faith.
SRI AUROBINDO: You bring in the faith condition now.
Champaklal and Purani gave instances in which even without any faith people had been cured by a flower from the Mother.
SRI AUROBINDO: So you see (looking at Dr. Manilal), the problem is
very complex.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir, but how to explain it? (Laughter)

5 JANUARY 1941
NIRODBARAN: In Nishtha's case, is it the Force that has produced this
rapid improvement or is it the right medicine?
SRI AUROBINDO: You can infer or believe as you like.
NIRODBARAN: If the Force, why then was there no effect for such a long
time but as soon as the right medicine was given she improved?
PURANI: It may be that the right conditions were absent before and now
they have been brought about and so there is a cure.
SRI AUROBINDO: But does the right medicine always cure?
NIRODBARAN: If the right medicine can be found, yes.
SRI AUROBINDO: There are many instances where the right medicine has
no effect. According to the French doctor, the medicine is an excuse; it is the
doctor that cures.
NIRODBARAN: If that were true, why couldn't Andr, who has been treating Nishtha all along, cure her before and is only now able to do it?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is the French doctor's opinion, not mine.
NIRODBARAN: What is yours then?
SRI AUROBINDO: As for me, there is the Force, the doctor and the
medicine. It is the combination of all these that brings about the cure. From
my point of view, a disease is a play of forces. If you make a combination of
one kind of forces, it gives one result, a different combination a different re525

sult. But in Nishtha's case the main credit, goes to the chicken (laughter) and
one can say that the doctor has hit on the right medicine.
DR. MANILAL: After the Inconscient, Sir, aren't the mind and vital to be
worked out?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, that has already been done; not in each and every
one but in principle. In the mind and vital again there are many parts. There
are also the subconscient mental, vital and physical.
DR. MANILAL: What is the difference between the Inconscient and the
SRI AUROBINDO: In the Subconscient, consciousness is suppressed but it
is there, while in the Inconscient all is black, there is no consciousness at
work, and yet consciousness is involved in it, out of which matter and everything else emerge by evolution.
DR. MANILAL: Jada is Inconscience, isn't it?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, consciousness may also be Jada; Jada is a result of
NIRODBARAN: What is the difference between Inconscience, Ignorance
and Nescience?
SRI AUROBINDO: Ignorance is knowledge that is wrong, partial or imperfect. Nescience is absence of knowledge; knowledge develops out of Inconscience. The theory I have put forward in The Life Divine is that the Inconscient and the Superconscient are two sides or counterparts of the same reality, though they appear to us as opposed to each other. The Inconscient is a
black trancethe dark counterpartwhile the Superconscient is a luminous
trance. Out of the Inconscient, knowledge emerges by evolution. In the Superconscient, knowledge is always there, it only manifests out of it. They are
the two opposite poles of the manifestation of the Absolute.
Nescience may be sensitive to impulses without knowing what these impulses are, whereas Inconscience is insentient. This is the great riddle, that
Inconscience can yet create perfect order. It is like the Sankhya Prakriti
which is Jada and at the same time intelligent.
NIRODBARAN: What are effects of the working out of the mind and vital?
SRI AUROBINDO: Opening to the higher consciousness and a capacity to
receive it.

NIRODBARAN: Why don't we see any effect then?
SRI AUROBINDO: It is only in principle. If everybody were able to receive
it, then the whole of humanity would be changed.
NIRODBARAN: But we are slightly different from humanity.
SRI AUROBINDO: But still part of humanity unless you want to say that
you have achieved the Supermind.
DR. MANILAL: We ought to have at least a little taste of the Supermind
since we are here. If an incense burns in a room, one gets the smell of it.
SRI AUROBINDO: But if you don't have a nose like Sayajirao? (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: If the work is now in the Inconscient, why do some people, especially newcomers, get experiences? Is the work in them not in the
SRI AUROBINDO: It depends on what kind of experiencesinner or
higher experiences or those in the vital. One may think that one has become
the Supreme and the Supermind, but the fact may be otherwise.
NIRODBARAN: But don't some newcomers have psychic experiences?
SRI AUROBINDO: The work may be going on in the psychic, the Inconscient coming in between to hinder it.
PURANI: Those who have been here long may be participating in the working and in them the Inconscient may rise up.
SRI AUROBINDO: So that you may suddenly feel stupid. (Laughter)
PURANI: That should give some consolation!

6 JANUARY 1941
DR. MANILAL: The Mother says in her Conversations that one can
progress without meditation.
SRI AUROBINDO: Can't say anything without the context. In that case the
whole world would progress.
PURANI: No, the Mother says about those who can't meditate that through
work they can progress in sadhana.

SRI AUROBINDO: That is different. There are people here who can't meditate at all but are working all the time and they receive through their work.
(Addressing Dr. Manilal) But you have no excuse. You can meditate. You go
into deep meditation, though not quite like a Tirthankara. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: I couldn't be a Tirthankara, Sir, otherwise I wouldn't have
been born again.
PURANI: Why? Are Tirthankaras afraid of life?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, afraid of Pudgal. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Might I have been a jain in my previous birth, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Certainly, since you know all about Jainism but don't
follow it. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: Is it a tragedy, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, your knowledge comes from a previous birth; you
don't follow because it is not necessaryyou have done it already.
DR. MANILAL: How to pass through the stage of sleep in meditation?
SRI AUROBINDO: Is it sleep or going within?
DR. MANILAL: Well, I don't know. Sometimes I seem to come out of a
deep sleep knowing or remembering nothing about where I have been.
Sometimes, I see many incoherent things but can't remember them.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the border of the Subconscience. Before sitting,
one has to fix a-will to-be conscious; the result comes afterwards. .
CHAMPAKLAL: I also seem to be going somewhere very deep; it is very
pleasant and nice there. One would like to be there for ever.
SRI AUROBINDO: That is the inner being. You feel like Shankaracharya
who said, "I went somewhere to a region of Bliss. I wish I could remain
After this, the talk turned to the Hindu Mahasabha, whose conference was
taking place in Madurai.
DR. MANILAL: The Mahasabha people are in favour of giving help to
Britain but they also want India's freedom. I don't understand Gandhi's attitude at all. There is no question of his being insincere but his stand and actions are not very clear.

NIRODBARAN: Some say he is not sincere. As proof they cite the fact of
his pledging unconditional support at the beginning and then making a somersault, saying that we are not making a bargain when it is nothing but that.
SRI AUROBINDO: The question is, when is a bargain not a bargain, like
the question, when is killing not killing.
DR. MANILAL (apropos of Abhay's father who suddenly lost his sight due
to cataract): There is no cure for a cataract except an operation when it is
mature, unless Dr. Agarwal can do something. But I think gazing at the sun
may sometimes destroy the eye.
SRI AUROBINDO: It depends on how one does it. Sun-gazing has been
done in India since time immemorial. I myself have done it and there are
people here who have regained their sight and discarded glasses by the practice.
PURANI: I have done it too. For many years I used to gaze at strong sunlight. But I gave it up after what happened once during meditation. There
was a great descent of force then suddenly I felt a severe pain in my eye.
SRI AUROBINDO: It must have been an attack.
MULSHANKAR: In meditation also can the hostile forces attack?
SRI AUROBINDO: Why not? It is their business to do so at any time.
MULSHANKAR: Is there no protection from the Divine? Purani is quite
SRI AUROBINDO: Strength and protection are not the same thing. So long
as there is a weak spot one is liable to attack unless one puts it right oneself.

7 JANUARY 1941
DR. MANILAL: Does the killing of mosquitoes come in the way of spiritual
attainment, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Whose attainment? Of the mosquitos? (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL .; No, Sir, our attainment?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, it may be for the mosquitoes because you kill them
before they have exhausted their mosquito propensity. But why that question?

NIRODBARAN: Gandhian ahimsa, perhaps, or Jain virtue and vice.
SRI AUROBINDO: It may take away from ethical qualities but it has nothing to do with spiritual principles.
DR. MANILAL: In medical practice we may sometimes be liable to kill patients because of our lack of knowledge, negligence, etc. Are we responsible
for the deaths?
SRI AUROBINDO: If they are due to negligence, yes, but not if they are
due to lack of efficiency or knowledge. It is the spirit or intention that is
more important than the act.
NIRODBARAN: But is ignorance excusable?
SRI AUROBINDO: If one is ignorant and goes on committing mistakes in
his ignorance, then he can't be excused. But if his intention is good, his lack
of knowledge doesn't make him responsible for his mistake. I am not speaking of those people who make experiments on patients.

8 JANUARY 1941
DR. MANILAL: The knee is bending a little more, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Do you think so?
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir.
NIRODBARAN: Is it the Inconscient that stands in the way of a rapid cure?
SRI AUROBINDO: Partially and many things in between.
NIRODBARAN: If diseases arise from the Inconscient, then when it is
worked out, all diseases should ceaseDr. Manilal's too.
SRI AUROBINDO: That depends on Manilal.
NIRODBARAN: If by Sri Aurobindo's working on the higher planes we can
open more easily to them, then by his working on the Inconscient our diseases ought to be cured.
PURANI: Yes, but we can open only in the reverse way! (Laughter)
There was news that Hitler was trying to persuade Bulgaria to allow German passage or to join the Axis orbit.

SRI AUROBINDO: That is the danger now. I don't think an invasion of
England is likely. If Britain can't help the Balkan powers with sufficient
anti-tank guns, aeroplanes, etc., it will be difficult for them to resist Germany.
NIRODBARAN: Turkey may come in to help Bulgaria if the latter is attacked.
SRI AUROBINDO: Don't know. If Turkey waits till Bulgaria is attacked it
will be too late. In that case Hitler may turn towards Palestine and help Italy
there, and then move on to Africa. Next he will ask Spain to join him so that
the English army in Africa will be caught between two forces.
. PURANI: Yes, that is why England is trying to hurry up the Libyan campaign so that it can move its forces to Greece.
Dara has reported that Roosevelt in his speech mentioned three things, one
of which was freedom from care.
SRI AUROBINDO: Freedom from care? Is it material or spiritual freedom?
Take for instance Manilal's shoulder. Material freedom would mean freedom
from pain, while spiritual freedom would mean it does not matter even, if
there is pain. Which do you want, Manilal?
DR. MANILAL: Both, Sir! (Laughter)
Afterwards it was found that Roosevelt had said "freedom from want".
There was a difference of opinion about a case of chronic appendicitis. Dr.
B. C. Roy advised an immediate operation, while others said it should be
postponed for a year. Nirodbaran asked Dr. Manilal's view.
DR. MANILAL: I don't know the case, but if it is chronic it is better to remove the appendix. But it may not be appendicitis at all. Many mistaken operations have been performed even in cases of pneumonia, typhoid, pleurisy.
At one rime it was the fashion to blame the appendix for any trouble and remove it. Doctors sometimes make much of a little thing.
SRI AUROBINDO: I remember in England Sarat Ghose had a small pimple
on his lip. A doctor was called. He examined it and said with a long face,
"Very serious, very serious!" The way he said it with a grave shaking of his
head was most comical!

NIRODBARAN: I had an urgent call today from X. I got a little frightened
as she has been having the haemorrhage trouble. But when I went in, I saw
that she had called me for just a few patches of leucoderma she had suddenly discovered under her breasts. She was on the point of weeping and
asked me to tell you to stop them. She said, "God has made me sufficiently
ugly. Why this further addition?" (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: If she were a professional beauty I could understand her
fear! (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: You must have seen that K.S. Roy has become the leader
of the Bengal Congress party.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): Yes. Y and Z have seen that the game is up
now. They are the most wonderful people for creating splits. I haven't seen
anyone else like them.

9 JANUARY 1941
Somebody from Bombay has written that in the old files of lndu Prakash he
has found a series of six articles on Bankim written by Sri Aurobindo. Purani asked Sri Aurobindo if it was true.
SRI AUROBINDO: I may have, I don't remember. I wrote some articles on
Madhusudan, I remember. In which year was it?
PURANI: In 1894, the second year of your stay in Baroda.
SRI AUROBINDO: My knowledge of Bengali was very little at that time. I
couldn't have finished reading all the writings of Bankim or perhaps I wrote
the articles during the first enthusiasm of my learning the language. Of
course we started learning it [at] Cambridgethe judge, Beachcroft, was
one of usunder an Anglo-Indian pundit. He used to teach us Vidyasagar.
One day we hit upon a sentence of Bankim's and showed it to him. He began
to shake his head and said, "This can't be Bengali!" (Laughter)
PURANI: Nolini is very happy that he will get materials for another book.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): Can't allow publication of that. It must have
been very immature.
It was decided that the man should be asked to send us copies of the articles
for Sri Aurobindo's inspection. The man in his reply wanted to charge about
ninety rupees for expenses.

SRI AUROBINDO: I can't pay money for these articles. They are not worth
PURANI: If Sri Aurobindo wants to see them, money can be arranged from
SRI AUROBINDO: Then I have no objection.
Later on it came out that Sri Aurobindo had written some articles on the
SRI AUROBINDO: Those will be interesting to see.
NIRODBARAN: How could Madhusudan write so well in Bengali?
SRI AUROBINDO: He engaged several pundits and he had the inborn poetic faculty.
PURANI: Besides, he was a linguist; he knew many European languages.
SRI AUROBINDO: Oh yes! You can see the influence of Homer, Virgil and
Tasso in his writings.
DR. MANILAL: I asked Nirod if he was having experiences. He said, "No,
my work is now in the physical." I asked, "What about mind and vital?"
"Oh, all that is finished!" "So it will be Supermind next?" "Yes," Nirod
replied. (Laughter)
(After some time) Nirod, how is your poetry getting on?
SRI AUROBINDO: He has finished his mental and vital working. (Laughter)

11 JANUARY 1941
There was some talk about Purushottam, a sadhak who had gone away.
DR. MANILAL: Did he have any occult knowledge?
SRI AUROBINDO: All his knowledge of previous births is humbug. What
he had was some life-force which he could apply on the physical.
DR. MANILAL: What does that mean, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: You have to read The Life Divine for that.
DR. MANILAL: How could he have this fall?

SRI AUROBINDO: The physical mind.

12 JANUARY 1941
There was a long story narrated by Purani about the ex-Maharani of Baroda, how her boxes were detained and opened by a Muslim judge in Madras
and handed over to the Police. The Police also detained her valuable documents.
DR. MANILAL: What type of past action makes innocent people suffer like
this, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: Innocent people suffer everywhere! The law of Karma,
perhaps. They may have been wicked in their previous lives. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Then how can they be innocent in this life?
SRI AUROBINDO: As a reaction. In the next life they may again be wicked
and fortunate. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: In her sleep X had an interesting experience of the action
of the higher, and the lower forces on her body in connection with her haemorrhage. The lower forces wanted to make the physical being accept the suggestion that the bleeding should start again and the higher forces repelled the
DR. MANILAL: How can it be explained, Sir? (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: No explanation is required. It is a fact. Usually ordinary
people get suggestions of illness from the subconscious in their sleep or
dreams. They don't know it and get the disease. Moreover, the physical being is habituated to these things and easily accepts the suggestions; the vital
being too. But if the inner consciousness is awake, the suggestions can't act.
DR. MANILAL: I don't accept suggestions, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Who is "you"?
DR. MANILAL: I, Manilal, Sir! (Laughter)
SRI AUROBINDO: Who is Manilal? The surface Manilal may not accept
them but there are many other Manilals whom the surface Manilal doesn't


DR. MANILAL: Last night I got a bit depressed, Sir, because of this shoulder pain.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, you looked as if this world were Duhkhamaya.1
(Larer on, to Nirodbaran) Now that X has got this experience she ought to
be able to bring down the right kind of forces and prevent the disease from
NIRODBARAN: But how can it be practically applied?
SRI AUROBINDO: Once one has the experience, one can do it more easily.
It is the power of the idea and will. If the physical consciousness is awake, it
can act.
DR. MANILAL: I am having no meditation, Sir, and no experiences. Formerly I used to feel so much peace and Ananda.
SRI AUROBINDO: That means you have progressed. You may have
reached the Inconscient!
DR. MANILAL: Is the Inconscient something like Tamas?
DR. MANILAL: How to get rid of it, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: By Utsaha and Kala.2 (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: If my state is due to the Inconscient, how do other people
get meditation and have experiences?
SRI AUROBINDO: You have made more progress than them, progressed so
much as to be as inconscient as you are. (Laughter) The Inconscient doesn't
work in the same way with everybody. Are you becoming stupid?
DR. MANILAL: Formerly I used to feel that I was always carrying away
something with me. This time nothing at all, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Aparigraha!3 (Laughter) Are you feeling stupid, forgetting things?
[1] Full of misery.
[2] Enthusiasm and time.
[3] Non-acceptance.

SRI AUROBINDO: Then it is all right. You have-been here only two
months now. Nirod says he has been here for so many years and he is not
getting results, only medical cases.
NIRODBARAN: Ma phalesu!1 Even in my cases I am not making any
SRI AUROBINDO: You can't say that now there are no cases.
NIRODBARAN: No, but I am not profiting by the experience.

13 JANUARY 1941
DR. MANILAL: There are four principles of jainism, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, what are they?
DR. MANILAL: Dana, Sila, Tapa and Bhavana. Bhavana is aspiration. This
concerns our Yoga, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: Only this one?
DR. MANILAL: Why only one, Sir? Dana also.
SRI AUROBINDO: Dana is charity. We don't insist on charity to others.
Ours is self-dana.
DR. MANILAL: And Sila, Sir?
SRI AUROBINDO: What is Sila? Virtue? We don't insist on virtue. Virtue is
a moral principle, not spiritual.
DR. MANILAL: Morality is a consequence of spirituality.
SRI AUROBINDO: Not necessarily. Tapa is asceticism. We have nothing to
do with asceticism.
SRI AUROBINDO: So aspiration is the only common factor.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir.
[1] Not for the results.

Shastri has recently been showing signs of unbalance. A few days ago
Nirodbaran was asked by the Mother to go and see him about his health. He
had not been sleeping well nor eating properly. He had been observing silence for a long time, in spite of the Mother's disapproval. The inevitable
consequence happened: he lost his mental balance and this evening he came
right inside the Ashram only to inquire if the Mother and Sri Aurohindo had
called him. After that he seemed to have disappeared. News came later that
he was wandering about in the bazar.
DR. MANILAL: I don't know anything about this story. What's the matter
with him?
SRI AUROBINDO: First descent of the Supermind! (Laughter) Yes, that's
what he said. He asked others to be valiant warriors and to write to Atreya to
become one of his commanders-in-chief. (Laughter)
NIRODBARAN: Is it the result of the Inconscient?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, the usual story. Going into silence and shutting
himself up thinking that he is doing great Yoga and that everybody is inferior to him. This kind of silence is not good for our Yoga.
DR. MANILAL: Radhanand also observes silence.
CHAMPAKLAL: No, not this kind. He has communication with selected
SRI AUROBINDO: Radhanand's is quite a different case. He knows what
he is about. He had been doing Yoga for ages before he came here. All the
cases I have seen of this nature have been due to one of two causes: excessive indulgence in sexual perversity or ambition.
DR. MANILAL: Which was it in Shastri's case?
SRI AUROBINDO: Ambition. He wanted to be a great Yogi. What happens
in such cases is that they open to some intermediate zone before the vital is
DR. MANILAL: G is said to have had the Overmind experience. Is it true,
SRI AUROBINDO: True, if he had it. (Laughter. Dr. Manilal thought that
he had it, so Sri Aurobindo added:) The question is whether he had it.
(Laughter) It is very easy to get into some vital plane and think oneself to
have had all sorts of things.

DR. MANILAL: I remember now. Sir, that Sila in jainism is not virtue but
ekapatni vrata, being faithful to one's wife.
SRI AUROBINDO: We have no wives, so we are not required to keep that
commandment. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: There are five other principles which can be said to be
common with us.
SRI AUROBINDO: What are they?
DR. MANILAL: Brahmahcarya.
DR. MANILAL: Aparigraha.
SRI AUROBINDO: Expected to be common, but isn't. (Laughter)
DR. MANILAL: I forget the other one.
DR. MANILAL: Yes, the most important.
SRI AUROBINDO: That we half observefor instance, the killing of mosquitoes and bugs is allowed!

14 JANUARY 1941
DR. MANILAL: By the rejection of lower impulses, Sir, is it not the rejection of immoral impulses that is in view?
SRI AUROBINDO: What is meant by immoral? What society does not like?
Isn't that so?
DR. MANILAL: Yes, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: We have nothing to do with society. Otherwise we can't
do Yoga.
NIRODBARAN: We couldn't leave our family and parents! It would be immoral. Of course in Dr. Manilal's case that problem doesn't arise. (Laughter)

DR. MANILAL (massaging Sri Aurobindo's patella):It has become more
flexible, Sir.
NIRODBARAN: Not much; far less than expected. We expected a miracle
from you.
SRI AUROBINDO: Kaivalyajnana.1 (Laughter)
News has been obtained that Shastri is somewhere in the town. The owner of
the house in which he is lodged is in contact with the Ashram. He proposed
to Shastri that he would bring him to the Ashram if he wished. Shastri
replied that the Mother would send a car for him!
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, and the next day he will ask for an elephant.
PURANI: The best thing for such people is to send them home. Then they
become all right.
In January 1941 Nirodbaran stopped recording the talks on a regular basis.
What follows are seven talks and a letter from the period 1941-48. All but
one deal with a devotee from Calcutta.

10 AUGUST 1941
NIRODBARAN: A, who has come for the first time, met Dilip in Calcutta
in 1937 and 1938. After Dilip's return to the Ashram for the August Darshan
of 1938, A wrote him a letter. He said he was. going through a severe crisis.
He seemed to be enveloped by darkness twenty-four hours a day and felt
that something was trying to throttle him. It is not that he did not see any
daylight but that the feeling of darkness was overwhelming, and though
there was no physical discomfort, the choking feeling was very real. He did
not feel like doing anything though his B.A. examination was only a few
months away. There was no earthly reason for his condition, he said. There
was no dissension in the family, no lack of money, etc., so he wrote to Dilip
that he thought it was owing to something in himself. He asked whether Sri
Aurobindo could help and what he would have to do for it.
Dilip, says A, gave a beautiful, encouraging and reassuring answer. He
said he sympathised with A's anguish and hoped that it would-not last long.
[1] Knowledge of the One.

He said that he thought it was owing to something in A wanting a new birth.
Till then forces of Nature had dominated him and now something in A, his
Antaratma, was rebelling against that domination and naturally the old
forces were reasserting themselves with redoubled vigour. Dilip said it was a
very good sign and hoped that something really worthwhile would come out
of the crisis. He asked A to write a letter, preferably typewritten, to Sri Aurobindo and, if he wished, to the Mother also and, if possible, to enclose a
passport size photograph of himself. He assured A that Sri Aurobindo could
certainly help. A did as Dilip had suggested and Dilip sent the letters to you.
Dilip also enclosed for the Mother an introductory letter in which he gave
his impression of A, his family background, etc., and enclosed the photograph. The Mother sent Dilip's letter back to him with this remark on the
margin of the last page: "It is a beautiful face, he must be a charming boy.
He may write of his experiences."
He says he got the letter in the afternoon around half-past five and as
soon as he opened it and took the blessing packet in his hand, something
happened. He saw a column of white light which was at the same time a
force coming down from above, touching the crown of his head and entering
his body. Eventually it went down to his feet. He says this was Shaktti-sanchar (a movement of force). He has asked me to report this to you.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Anything else?
NIRODBARAN: He says that he had more to report but that he is waiting
for your reaction:

11 AUGUST 1941
NIRODBARAN: A says he is very grateful to you for your confirming his
experience. He related something about you which he had heard from a
friend of his. He went to see this friend who is a Tantrik-cum-astrologer. He
had your book The Mother with him. The friend, on seeing the book, folded
his hands and touched his forehead with them in the normal Indian manner.
A asked the friend why he did so, was it the subject of the book or was it the
author? The friend simply said, "Bhagabaner boi" ("God's book"). Then he
became quite solemn and quietly said, "I have got his horoscope", to which
A replied, "That's interesting, God's horoscope?" The friend chided him,
"Don't be flippant, I really mean it, I have it." A realised that the friend was
serious and he also becoming so, asked him, "All right, what is your read540

ing?" "In 1947," answered the friend, "he will become the ekachatra adhipati (unchallenged sovereign of the whole world)."
SRI AUROBINDO: 1947? Then I will do things quicker than Hitler! (Turning to Dr. Manilal) What post will you have Manilal?
DR. MANILAL: Nothing, Sir.
SRI AUROBINDO: No, you must have something to do.
DR. MANILAL: Sir, I'll be at your feet. Sir, humbly.
SRI AUROBINDO: I'll make you the Chief of the World Medical Service.

12 AUGUST 1941
NIRODBARAN: A says that the day after he had his Diksha he started meditating without any apparent effort, even without any resolve to meditate. He
says he got up at about four o'clock in the morning and then after having a
wash he went down to his study and started to meditate. Soon he began to
have experiences. He says that the first thing he noticed was that the walls of
the room were vibrant, full of life and no longer made of solid matter. Two
or three days later he experienced a force which was light, a kind of consciousness. After eight days he had a concrete experience of everything in
the room being made of delight. He found it was the same substance of bliss
which was in him and around him. He says this experience stayed with him
for a month. He felt a joy always, and even for people he was not particularly fond of, he had a spontaneous sympathy and love. He felt great love
even for animals he did not particularly like.
SRI AUROBINDO: He has had one of the highest experiences of Yoga.

13 AUGUST 1941
NIRODBARAN: A says that seventeen days after he had started meditating,
he saw during the night when he was asleep a young woman standing by his
bed. Even in his sleep he felt very alert and was sure that the apparition was
not good though the woman seemed to be sad and her eyes appeared to appeal for help. A says he heard a voice within him saying, "Go away." He felt
it was not his own voice and yet it sounded exactly like it. He now takes it to
be a command from a deeper part of himself. The woman did not seem to
hear it and became more appealing with her eyes. After a while she seemed

to stir a bit as if she might go nearer the bed. The voice within A went on repeating all the while "Go away", but when the woman seemed to be on the
point of moving, it shouted with great force, "GO AWAY." The woman
crumpled away on to the floor without leaving any trace. A woke up, felt
great relief, light and joy. He happened to look in a mirror in his room and
saw a splendid light on his face.
SRI AUROBINDO: His inner being has rejected sex altogether.
NIRODBARAN: A has asked if the inner being means the psychic being.
SRI AUROBINDO: It also means the inner physical, the inner vital and the
inner mental being. The psychic is the inmost being.
NIRODBARAN: A has asked if the gains in the inner consciousness are not
to be worked out in the outer being.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, the ultimate aim is to transform the total being and
NIRODBARAN: A has requested me to convey his gratitude to you and the
Mother. (Sri Aurobindo looked pleased.)

One L.D.M. has reviewed Sri Aurobindo's latest poems in the Hindu literary
supplement. Dr. Manilal said at noon that it was a good review. Sri Aurobindo expressed a little surprise and said that the Hindu was usually not
favourable to him. In the evening we read the paper and found that it was a
very bad review.
SRI AUROBINDO (to Dr. Manilal): You said it was a good review. There is
nothing good there. In fact the writer says that this is not poetry at all. At the
end he did what they call damning with faint praise. When I first heard about
the review, my impression was correctthat it was not favourable.
NIRODBARAN: This man doesn't seem to understand much about poetry.
He says there is no colour! Good Lord, there is any amount of colour in
"Rose of God" and in the very lines he quotes from "Thought the Paraclete".
SRI AUROBINDO: Quite so. And he says there is no emotion or feeling.
The point is what he means by emotion.

NIRODBARAN: There is tranquillity, he says, but that, according to him, is
more an evidence of poetic failure than poetic gift!
DR. MANILAL (rather abashed at his wrong appraisal): Of course, I don't
understand poetry. But at the end doesn't he say that one ought to read and
reread it?
NIRODBARAN: Yes, that is the part damning with faint praise.
SRI AUROBINDO: But what does he mean by emotion?
PURANI: The usual sentimental stuff, I suppose.
SRI AUROBINDO: If he means sentimental romantic emotion, that age has
passed in poetry. Doesn't he know that? That is the concern of drama. Nowadays poetry is concerned with Truth and Beauty. If you are able to express
them with sufficient power of language and rhythm, that is what is required
of you. In drama one is concerned with drawing characters with life and its
reactions. I suppose what he wants is something more like Francis Thompson's poetry.
PURANI: And Gerard Hopkins?
SRI AUROBINDO: No, for Hopkins has many compound words. The reviewer also thinks that Paraclete means advocate, and there is no advocacy
in the poem!
DR. MANILAL: The dictionary also says that.
SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, that is the dictionary meaning. But one isn't always
obliged to accept that meaning. Doraiswamy would then be a retired Paraclete? (Laughter) The Paraclete is also the Holy Ghost. What I have meant
there is that thought is the intercessor between the Supreme Truth and the
human consciousness. Thought flies to the Supreme Truth to connect its
consciousness with the earth and after its departure all that is left behind is
the Self. That is what I have meant there.
SATYENDRA: The images, he says, have an intellectual setting difficult for
the reviewer to appreciate.
SRI AUROBINDO: The images I have used are, of course, not of a mental
nature. What has been seen or realised is yogic through experience or vision,
I have tried to express inner symbols. All the images are symbols of inner
experience. And in these poems I always use yogic symbols. These experiences and visions have a form; the images have been used to give as correct

a description of these forms as possible so that they may become a reality,
even a being, so to say.
NIRODBARAN: That is why the reviewer says "unconventional imagery"!
SRI AUROBINDO: He means original, I suppose.
DR. MANILAL: But certainly very few people will understand the poems,
Sir. I have asked many here.
SATYENDRA: The poems are like his prose works. But poems like "Baji
Prabhou" Dr. Manilal will understand.
DR. MANILAL (smiling): Oh yes, that even I can grasp.
SRI AUROBINDO (smiling): You remind me of Molire. You know that
SRI AUROBINDO: He used to read all his plays to his maid-servant before
publication. And if she understood and liked them, Molire was satisfied. He
was then certain that everybody would enjoy them. (Laughter)

19 AUGUST 1944
NIRODBARAN: A says that he went to see someone who was a reputable
astrologer, a different person from the one about whom I spoke to you some
years ago. A relation of his sent him to consult this man about her son. A had
your book Essays on the Gita with him, and on seeing it, the astrologer
made the gesture of namaskar. On being asked why he did so and whether it
was for the author or the book, he replied, "Bhagabaner boi." He also said
that he not only had your horoscope but he had received your birth chart
from you.
NIRODBARAN: A says the astrologer told the following story. Sometime
before November 1926, he had written to you requesting you to send him
the date and time of your birth. He also wrote that he analysed the birth
charts of great people as a matter of scientific interest and not for financial
gain. He asked you whether he could do the same in your case also. Then, A
says, the astrologer appeared to be very moved and with obvious gratitude in
his voice he said that besides sending him the date and time of your birth,

you had drawn a chart, for him. But you said that you would rather that he
did not write and publish anything about you. The man commented: "Sri Aurobindo could have just told me not to write about him, instead he requested
me not to do so. That is a sign of greatness." Asked whether he had published anything about you, he answered, "How could I after Sri Aurobindo
himself said that he would not like me to do so." A asked him what his reading was. His answer was: "In 1947 his philosophy will become the basis of a
new world civilisation and culture. Nothing can stop that." He added that he
had read thousands of horoscopes but had never seen the same time of birth
as yours. He said it has all the signs of a unique greatness. A says he emphasised unique, ananyasadharan.

26 JUNE 1946
One day in June 1945 around four a.m., A woke up from a sound sleep and
found to his surprise something which had never happened before: Japa, the
repetition, of the names of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, was occurring
spontaneously within him. After some time he felt the life-force and a diffused consciousness in him rising up through his body from the feet towards
the centre between the eyebrows (ajnachakra). The consciousness formed itself into a reddish golden ball and appeared right in front of that centre. A
was still in bed. He saw the mosquito net, the pole holding it, the bedstead,
the hooks on the shelves built into the walls and the walls themselves vanish
into nothingness. After a while all that remained was bare Awareness. It was
not awareness of anything, there was nothing to be aware ofnor did A feel
he was experiencing Awareness. There was no experience but sheer consciousness. It was only later in the day when the intensity of Awareness became less and began to disappear gradually that A felt he had had an extraordinary experience. He felt a great detachment from everything and a
strong disinclination to do anything. He carried on his domestic and professional dutieshe was then teaching at a university in a town in north India
but had no sense of involvement in them.
A had a strong streak of inertia in his nature. He knew that Sri Aurobindo's
was a dynamic Yoga and that disinclination to work was not only no part of
it but a great obstacle to progress. He felt a division in his being and nature
which produced in him a sense of despair. So when he came to the Ashram
in June 1946, after having experienced pure Awareness, he wrote to Sri Aurobindo describing the experience and also about the strong element of iner545

tia in his nature and asked him whether his interpretation of the experience,
that it was of the silent Self, was correct and told him that he wanted to shed
his inertia and prayed to the Master to assign some work to him so that he
could discipline himself. A's letter to Sri Aurobindo was read out to him by
me and he dictated the reply given below. After it was read back to him, he
asked me to give it to A.
Your analysis is perfectly correct.
Realisation of the silent, inactive Brahman is no bar to the dynamic side
of the Yoga; often it is the first step. One must not associate it with attachment to inertia. The silent Brahman is attached to nothing. Your mind is associated with inertia and attached to it.
Work itself is no solution; the spirit behind the work is important. The
real remedy is to open oneself to the Force. When one gets free through the
silent Brahman, one does not go back to the old way of work. By this liberation one becomes free from the ego; one becomes an instrument of the Divine Force by receiving the Force and feels its working, then inertia goes
away and work in a new way becomes possible. Until that can be, one has to
work in the ordinary way. But becoming an instrument of the Divine is the
proper way.
I had the realisation of sublime Nirvana first. There was complete cittavritti nirodha, entire silence. Then came the experience of action, not my
own, but from above. One has to grow into it unless it comes easily.

27 JUNE 1948
A felt disappointed that Sri Aurobindo had not given him any guidance to do
anything specific. His idea was that if Sri Aurobindo had told him to do
something, whatever it might be, he would try to carry it out diligently and
regularly and thus overcome the inertia in his nature. A later told me that he
came to realise why Sri Aurobindo did not ask him to do anything. If he had
and if A could not have fulfilled it, it would have been a failure to carry out
the Guru's Adesh which might have meant spiritual disaster. A said that it
was out of compassion that Sri Aurobindo did not grant his prayer for a
clear "command" to do something.

A discussed the matter with the Mother at the same time as he wrote to Sri
Aurobindo about his problem. The Mother also did not assign any specific
task, though A had asked her for one as he was going to stay in the Ashram
for nearly two months. A few days passed, but the Mother only said she
would consider what A might do. On being asked a third time she simply
said, "You are not used to work, A, are you?" A answered quietly, "No,
Mother, I am not." And A told me that they both had a laugh.
A has reported to me that the Mother made the remark with such compassion and love and simple humour that he could not feel hurt or offended. He
also said that the incident showed the Mother's great insight into people's
characters. Incidentally, the Mother did tell him in response to his prayer
for some guidance that if he wanted to get over his inertia he should make a
resolution, for example, to read one paragraph of The Life Divine every day
and then stick to the resolution with diligence. She further told him not to
worry about work during that particular stay in the Ashram but to enjoy
NIRODBARAN: A has just written that five days back he was taking a bath
in the afternoon and, when he had nearly finished, feeling cool and comfortable, he started singing a bhajan of Mirabai. Towards the end the word Mira
occurred and he played on it, repeating it over and over again. He says his
mind suddenly became very indrawn and he felt a descent of peace. He
writes that he had to go to a meeting at the Pathamandir. He says he did all
that he had to do in the milling crowd of Bowbazar and College Street but
the feeling of peace never left him. He has written to me to ask you whether
the Mother's namebut it did not occur to him that it was the Mother's
name he was repeatinghas the power to bring such experiences.
SRI AUROBINDO: He has got it. Why does he ask? Of course, the
Mother's name has the power.


Apropos of Sri Aurobindo's mention of his "experience of the Inconscience",
we may quote a sonnet of his dating to the same period as these Talks (18
October 1939 thru 7 February 1940 )

My mind beholds its veiled subconscient base;
All the dead obstinate symbols of the past,
The hereditary moulds, the stamps of race
Are upheld to sight, the old imprints effaced.
In a downpour of supernal light it reads
The black Inconscient's enigmatic script
Recorded in a hundred shadowy screeds
An inert world's obscure enormous drift;
All flames, is torn and burned and cast away.
There slept the tables of the Ignorance,
There the dumb dragon edicts other sway,
The scriptures of Necessity and Chance.
Pure is the huge foundation now and nude,
A boundless mirror of God's infinitude.


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