Sahana Devi

Sahana Devi (17.5.1897—6.4.1990) was an early member of the Ashram. Her maternal uncle was Deshbandhu Chittranjan Das, the Bengali patriot and barrister, who served as Sri Aurobindo’s lawyer during the Alipore Bomb Case, and it was in his house that she had seen Sri Aurobindo for the first time, after the Alipore Bomb Case trial was over and he had been released.

She became a favourite of Rabindranath Tagore for her beautiful singing voice, which earned her the title “nightingale of Bengal”, and for a period of time was an inmate of Tagore’s Shantiniketan.

She was a close friend of Dilip Kumar Roy. Dilip and Sahana both arrived at the Ashram on November 22nd, 1928. She used to receive letters from Sri Aurobindo almost every day from 1930 to 1938.  At the ashram, her capacities as a dancer and as a poet developed to the full, and being a trained singer, she would often set her own poems to song. Sri Aurobindo gave them permission to sing for him once a week. Then, gradually, it became once a month.

The quality of her poems is deeply mystic and devotional, several of them symbolist or surrealist. The Mother’s famous “Radha’s Prayer” was written by the Mother for Sahana Devi to convey the consciousness of integral surrender needed to portray Radha in dance. She had many remarkable spiritual realizations and extraordinary experiences related to the inner mysteries of a song. Even at an advanced age and close to her passing, her singing kept its original charm, which she attributed to the Mother’s Grace.

 

WRITINGS BY SAHANA DEVI:

At the Feet of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo

Forty Years Ago

Several Poems

ABOUT SAHANA DEVI:

A Compilation of Sahana Devi Stories by Chinmoy (at his website)