Dr Anusuya Kumar (School of Culture & Society, Aarhus University, Denmark) earlier this year presented her research work on Johannes Hohlenberg (1881-1960) and his encounter with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Johannes Hohlenberg (1881—1960) was a Danish artist and author, who visited Pondicherry during the First World War, met Sri Aurobindo and also made a portrait of his. He became the first writer to introduce the Integral Yoga to Europe, authoring a book “Yoga and its importance for Europe”, through which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother became quite known in Scandinavia at the time. The book was translated into Swedish and German, but not in English.
J Hohlenberg on Sri Aurobindo: ” It was as if he belonged to all worlds and cultures at once… But this was only one side of his personality. Another seemed to live in infinity. I seemed to sometimes notice a slight hint of a smile on his face when he saw my amazement at his penetrating words. It was like I had been shot through the heart and mind.”
Sri Aurobindo would later recall about him, ‘In 1914 when the Mother came here, there came also a Danish painter who did a sketch of me. At the end of every meditation, he used to say, “Let us now talk of the Ineffable!”’
Below you can see the portrait of Sri Aurpobindo by Johannes Hohlenberg.
Johannes Hohlenberg, who was well-read with the works of Max Théon, also met the Mother in France. On his insistence, she taught him the art of exteriorization. Years later the Mother would recall to Satprem: “… I taught him how to do it [exteriorization], and what’s more I was there, he did it in my presence. And, my child, the moment he went out of his body, he was throw into such a panic! The man was no coward, he was courageous but it terrified him so! Sheer panic…”
Thanks to research work of Anurag Banerjee, Johannes Hohlenberg’s Recollections of meeting Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry are available online at the Overman Foundation website