An interview, recorded in 1999 (audio and video).
UDAR PINTO ON SAVITRI – FROM A TALK IN AUROVILLE IN 1999
I’ve been in this Ashram for 62 years, so I’m an old soul – nothing new about it. I’ll go back to the very early days of the Ashram, even before I heard the name of Savitri: Mother used to give me a rose every morning, she used to put a rose in my buttonhole – I still wear one. One day, in addition to the rose she gave me a small white flower. I took it from her without asking why. The second day again she gave me the white flower, and again I took it without asking why. On the third day she said, “Don’t you want to know why I’m giving you this?” I said, “Mother, when you give me something, I take it, I don’t know what the reason is, but anyway …” She said, “The meaning of this flower is ‘Gift of Expression’, and one day you will know why I give this to you”.
So if I am able to recite Savitri, it is purely a gift of the Mother. It’s nothing to do with me. I am not a poet, I am not a classical scholar, I’m an engineer, I’m comfortable with pliers and screwdriver and hammer – not with poetry. But Mother gave me a gift, and I have to use it. That’s just as a beginning.
After some time, the Mother gave me the opportunity of working in Sri Aurobindo’s room. She asked me to make the furniture for Sri Aurobindo’s room, and after it was all made she took me there and said, “Now Udar, I asked Sri Aurobindo if Udar can look after the furniture and he said all right”. So I was allowed to go and work there. I used to be there mostly at the time when Sri Aurobindo was dictating Savitri to Nirod. I was a listener there. Of course I didn’t know anything about Savitri, but it was very beautiful to hear Sri Aurobindo’s voice. He had a beautiful voice – a typical English accent, what I would call a Cambridge accent, and a beautiful voice. But he was dictating, he was not reciting. There is a difference between dictation and reciting. So I can’t say that I can copy him, because it would have no meaning.
For a long time Mother never told me anything about Savitri. But one day, much later on, she spoke to me very very strongly. She never mollycoddled me – she always used to speak to me sternly, and I liked that. She said, “Udar, Savitri is a mantra for the transformation of the world, and I want you to make Savitri your life… “ That’s all. From that day I got involved in Savitri, and now I am completely involved in it.