Some four or five months before I left for Madras, Sri Aurobindo would sometimes say in a casual way, “Whatever happens, detach yourself from the happenings and learn to watch them as a Witness. Do not get involved in them.” …This single mantra acted as an unfailing sustenance of my life during my stay at Madras for four or five years.
The shikha was scissored off clean by Nolini Kanta Gupta in obedience to Sri Aurobindo’s order at about 2 a.m. on the altar of the temple at sacred Pondicherry in which Sri Aurobindo is the mūrti (deity). He performed this service when I was asleep.
…all bonds with my parents and relatives loosened. I felt them as strangers only. This major part unknowingly and imperceptibly was captured by Sri Aurobindo. The small part enjoying my mother’s caresses and fondling stood in my way.
The story I am going to narrate took place about fifty years ago. Sri Aurobindo lived then in the Francois Martin street …
As I was reading, Sri Aurobindo came, stood in front of the table and kept listening to my reading. When I put down the copy of the Arya and lifted my head I saw Sri Aurobindo standing there. I told him that the reading was delightful but nothing could be grasped.
Every day I talked with Sri Aurobindo from five-thirty to six-thirty and returned home. I played the role of the speaker. I poured out to him everything without exception. He would hardly ever put in more than a word or two. In this way days passed into weeks, weeks into months.
It was for the first time I got up to the first floor of Sri Aurobindo’s house. In the long verandah overlooking the wide courtyard below, there were big windows giving a wide view southwards… all the doors of all the rooms were open… Everywhere and on everything there fell an all-revealing light, nothing but light…
… those who led an orthodox life were felt by me as strangers whereas others I felt as my kin. I developed a dislike for the family rites and ceremonies and lost all faith in them.
a distinguished scholar and savant from France met Sri Aurobindo in secret. His name was Paul Richard. He was sent from France by Mira — she whom we now know as the Mother. She handed over to him the sketch of a yogachakra, saying that its interpreter was to be found in India; and he who could interpret it would alone be her helper and master on the path of yoga.
Sri Aurobindo’s birthday was drawing near — August 15, 1913. I requested Iyengar once more. I appealed to him to take me to Sri Aurobindo on his birthday. He replied, wonderful to say, in a consenting tone. I felt an immense joy.
At that time naturally I did not realise what was the new and precious thing which Sri Aurobindo’s active presence was shaping in me. Not that even now I have the full knowledge of it. It was, however, Sri Aurobindo’s dynamic presence that accounted for the indescribable joy experienced by me.
The five years, 1910-1914, served the need of my preparation. It should be called a pilgrimage to Sri Aurobindo. Each act of mine, each event of my life had become, as it were, offerings in the sacrifice done unknowingly by me.
In 1905 I came to Pondicherry for study. In 1910 Sri Aurobindo also arrived here. What a coincidence! He came to the very town where I had come! I was full of joy, thrilled with delight. A strong desire arose in me that I must see Sri Aurobindo.
This book is a translation of a memoir written in Tamil by K. Amrita, an early disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Amrita recounts the story of his childhood and student life, but always his central concern is his relationship with Sri Aurobindo and his efforts to come closer to him.