33 years ago, on 7th February 1984, Nolini Kanta Gupta, a foremost disciple of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, left his body.
The Mother Herself had testified to Nolinida’s inner status on his birthdays cards. In 1969 she said, “en route towards the superman”, in 1970 “with love and affection for a life of collaboration”… “For the prolonged continuation of this happy collaboration”… and in 1973, “My blessings for the transformation.”
As Sisir Kumar Mitra wrote, “Ever averse to limelight and to any personal reference, Nolini Kanta rarely speaks about himself. His grave personality with its reserve and firmness covers a soft heart, a sweet amiability and a humorous temper which only the yogi in him knows how and when to express”.
In the following weeks we will continue sharing tributes to Nolini-da’s life. These reminiscences we find to be very inspiring and moving.
THE ELDER BROTHER OF THE ASHRAM
Dr Indra Sen
Nolinida (whom the wider world knew as Sri Nolini Kanta Gupta) was an institution by himself. He had been here long before the Ashram came into existence and he and the Ashram grew up together. As the Ashram became an institution he too became an institution within the institution. Quiet and economical in words and action, as he always was, he was able to dispose of a great deal of business of the Ashram and yet save a lot of time for his varied studies and writings. He looked so leisurely in the midst of all this.
Once he spoke of an inner Ashram of truth and beauty besides the outer Ashram. His own words are: “At present, as I say, there is a separation between the two ashrams…. They are to be made one single existence: the inner must take up, assimilate into itself the outer, the outer must allow itself to be cleansed and emptied of its dross and be possessed altogether by the inner.
His fondness for the younger people was also a special one. Once he spoke to them saying, “You have been told, and I have also often told you, that although the Mother’s physical body is not there, she has left her consciousness with us: the consciousness is still living, it is still working. She herself said even while she was in her body that if ever she left her body, her consciousness will be always there with us. But I will add something more here. Apart from the consciousness what she has left with us, what remains with us, is her Love, the love for her children is still there undiminished as before in its fulness. I spoke of the inner ashram life: that life is built out of her love for her children, and it must be easy for you to enter and enjoy that life through your love for the Mother, your answering love for the Mother’s love for you. And through the glow of that love you will gradually develop into what she wanted you to become.”
His identification with the Ashram and its younger people was indeed profound. And this found a poignant expression in his letter written a few months before his final departure where he talks of his “last wish about the Ashram.” He says “We are all old and none is immortal. Before we leave one by one, the next generation should be trained to take over the charge of the Ashram and only those among the younger generation should be chosen for this responsibility who are not only wise and efficient but also — and most of all — are honest and truly dedicated to the Mother.” Very touching words indeed! ‘We are all old and none is immortal.’ And how deep is the concern for the Ashram! “Before we leave one by one the next generation should be trained to take charge of the Ashram….” How far-sighted is he regarding the well-being of the Ashram and how willing and bold is he to pass on the charge of the Ashram to the next generation! All so wonderfully wise.
The Mother had spoken to some young people in 1972 shortly before She left Her body. She had said, “Well, you must rise to the height of the task, you must strive, you must conquer all weaknesses and limitations: above all you must tell your ego: your hour is gone. We want a race that has no ego, that has in the place of the ego the Divine Consciousness!”
These words of the Mother would come to our mind as we think of Nolinida’s last wish regarding the Ashram.
What a trust the Mother reposed in the young people to whom She addressed those words which look like Her last message! And how similar is the sentiment of Nolinida, his faith in the young people and their capacity to manage the Ashram for the future.
Nolinida’s love for the Ashram and his concern for its continued working are really very profound. He served the Ashram all his long life most devotedly. Such was his love for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and such was his dedication to them. He was a model of a disciple, an example to others, truly an elder brother of the Ashram almost all along.
In his later years, however, it appears, he attained to a perfect identification with the Divine Mother. He seemed to be merged in Her. The Mother had become to him his all. It was so wonderful to see this development in him after the Mother’s passing.
The Mother Herself had testified to Nolinida’s inner status on his birthdays in Her remarks on his cards in the years 1969 and 1973 in particular. In ’69 she said, “en route towards the superman” and in ’73, “My blessings for the transformation.” These are spiritually high appraisals. ‘Supermanhood’ and ‘Transformation’ are our ultimate objectives and to be in a position to seek them, to approach them, is a high status in sadhana. One must have covered much aspiration, much consecration and many successive realisations to aim at these ultimate objectives.
Nolinida was a model of a disciple in lifelong dedication of service to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He was also a profound scholar. Pursuit of knowledge in very many fields was a passion with him. His representation of the thought of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is always so clear and sure. He was also a wonderful spiritual aspirant. His turning to the Heights was really astounding. And he did approach the highest objectives.
Nolinida was an inspiring elder brother to us all. He showed to us by his vibrant example the path of service and consecration, the path of understanding and knowledge as also of the highest ranges of self-merger in the Mother and fulfilment in life.