Mémoires of Sri Aurobindo by Sudhir Kumar Sarkar (Part 4)

Sudhir lived with Sri Aurobindo like a family member for almost a year. Later, he looked after Sri Aurobindo when they both were in the Alipore Jail in the year 1908-1909. Here are a few experiences and anecdotes recounted by Sudhir Sarkar, originally in Bengali. This is the concluding part of the manuscript.

 

An Interesting Incident

One day a Scotch warder went crazy. Picking up Sri Aurobindo on his shoulders, he started dancing wildly in front of our cells. He had a big carrot-like nose, a heavy jowl and little eyes — a distorted face filled with demonical laughter! It was really a bizarre sight! The poor fellow seemed unable to decide what to do in his ecstatic state. But Sri Aurobindo was totally still. There was not a trace of smile or vexation on his face. He did not even try to resist. He was in some other world far from this earth. Only the body, separated from his consciousness was held on the shoulder of the warder.

 

I Took Care of Him

Thus a whole year passed for us. When C. R. Das could not get any assistance from Sri Aurobindo, he would stand looking helpless, wipe away his tears in dismay and go away. We would say among ourselves, “Political leaders, when the blows fall hard and mercilessly, either turn into sadhus or else they go mad!” In the afternoon we were given refreshments at the dock in the court — puris, sandesh and pan (betel leaves). Sri Aurobindo would eat them all together — puri and betel leaves both! — so I had to help him eat properly. I enjoyed sitting beside him and felt like touching him, but I dared not do so for fear of taunts from friends who had other views. But sometimes I would stealthily put my hands out and touch his soft body and feet. I smelt his head, I fed him, I washed his face.

 

The Mantra He Gave Me

At the end of one year, after the case had been fully heard, the court assembled to decide the date of pronouncing judgment. We were all present. Sri Aurobindo opened his mouth and spoke. He was talking about his realisations and Sadhana to Upen Bandyopadhyaya, Ullaskar Dutt and Nolini Kanta Gupta. He said “Vasudev Narayan has spoken to me, saying, ‘I have much work still to be done through you. I will take you out of prison’.” We then, one after another, taking advantage of the opportunity, asked about our future. Vasudev had already told Sri Aurobindo that we would be given sentences, and that Ullas and Barin would not be hanged. Getting this chance, I asked, “How will I be able to bear the days in prison at this young age? If I become weak and falter, what should I do?” Sri Aurobindo replied, “Think of me; I shall always be with you.” How deeply touching were these words! Out of jail, whenever in difficulty or danger, whenever in my helplessness I have been able to remember him, always I have seen that the difficulty has become a blessing, or if I have had to face it boldly, someone has always delivered me out of danger.
Later, during our life in exile, whenever the tyranny of the British Government tried to oppress us, we noticed how Sri Aurobindo’s Grace was always there to protect us. In the midst of endless abuses and suffering a heavenly cheerfulness wrapped us in its warm embrace, shielding us, comforting us.

 

Mrinalini Devi

In those memorable days of 1907, I have seen Mrinalini Devi take out suits used by Sri Aurobindo during his stay in England and put them on us with her own hands; in this way she would dress us up, when we had occasion to visit subscribers of Bande Mataram and Yugantar for funds.

 

The Universal Identify

I have heard it said that Sri Aurobindo had realised identity with all things — earth, trees, stones, birds, and beasts — with his own body, more intimately than we tend to feel towards our kith and kin. But this identity in body and soul does not make things dissolve into some undefined and undifferentiated mass. In fact each separate object is given its due place and value, and in that unique realisation its value goes on increasing more and more. The country, the body, everything appears uniquely in its distinct truth. What human beings can only conceive mentally, becomes living facts, as living and true as life and death itself. When we try to assess a person, we form an idea of him by observing his facial expression and his features; we can even have some glimpse of his mentality. But Sri Aurobindo saw things with some other power of sight: from the gross to the most subtle, all the different planes were revealed to his eye. All our thought and aspirations are derived from those subtle planes. But we can give expression to only a small portion of them. All that we receive comes from those planes. The Gods, Agni, Varuna and others — are not imaginary entities, they are beings as real and existent as we are. We human beings have to depend on those Deities; and they are connected not only with us but with animals. All things are complementary to each other; all that takes place in our world is interlinked with what takes place in those worlds! As the truth of this harmony is revealed to us more and more, all our actions tend towards perfection.

 

(the end)