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Documents in the Life of Sri Aurobindo

SRI AUROBINDO’S SPEECHES AND HIS MEETING WITH LELE


1

Speeches Before Surat

14 December 1907
Meeting in College Square, Sj. Arabinda Ghose took chair — object to request Rashbehari Ghose to retire in favour of Lajpat Rai. Audience numbered about 4,000. Arabindababu pressed by people to speak and made his maiden speech (in English).

15 December 1907
Another meeting — Beadon Square, with Pandit Mokshada Charan Samadhayi presiding. Audience would not rest till they heard Sj. Arabinda Ghose speak. So he had to and said, “I have made it a rule not to speak in public and I have good reasons for it. I went to England when too young to learn mother tongue and I can’t speak it. And rather than address you, my countrymen, in a language which is not mine and which is not yours I kept ‘self silent’.” He then explained the position of the nationalists.

21 December 1907
Sjts. Arabinda Ghose and Syam Sundar Chakraborty left for Surat today. They had collected about 360/- for nationalist delegates to go to Surat.

Extracts from the diary of Hemendra Prasad Ghose.

2

On The Way to Surat — Barin Ghose’s Account

With a canvas bag in my hand and a blanket over my shoulder I came to the Howrah Station and was shown by volunteers into a third class compartment in the Congress Special packed full of Congress delegates. Sri Aurobindo and Syam Sundar Chakravarty were sitting smiling in that compartment while J. Ghosal, the Congress Secretary of the moderate party, was travelling in a first class compartment in perfect European clothes and style. The train started in the midst of deafening cries of “Bande Mataram” and the whole thousand-miles route from Kharagpur to Surat was a triumphal journey of lights, crowds, and continued cheering. The way-side stations even which the special did not touch were lined with admiring crowds and lights flashed and cheer after cheer rose and fell as the train leaping for a time into the lighted yard again rushed into the darkness of the night. We alighted at Amraoti and Nagpur. In both places a sea of heads covered the station and the adjoining grounds, and short halts were made in order to deliver appropriate speeches.

Aurobindo the new idol of the nation was hardly known then by his face, and at every small and big station a frantic crowd rushed about in the station platform looking for him in the first and second class carriages, while all the time Aurobindo sat unobserved in a third class compartment. By the time this fact became known and he was found out, the train was about to start. In these days of style, luxury and easy leadership, no one could imagine that Aurobindo — nurtured and educated in England and a high official of His Highness the Gaikwad’s service, who could leap into an all-India fame in such a short time, — would dream of travelling third class. J. Ghosal felt small in contrast and tried again and again to invite Aurobindo into his first class carriage and keep him there to save his face.

This simplicity of Aurobindo was natural and quite unostentatious. All his life he wore nothing but his country-made dhoti, piran (Indian shirt) and a urani [shawl] with gold threads in its border. Small in stature and slender in build, this quiet unobtrusive man was very often lost in the crowd of his own admirers. When he rose to speak his voice was hardly audible except to those nearest to him, — that thin and almost girlish voice which in measured cadence gave vent to truths ringing with strength and beauty. Crowds of thousands materialised as if by magic and were kept spell-bound as it were in a dream by his wonderful personal magnetism.

We detrained in Bombay; there a meeting was arranged on the sea beach. We could hardly walk to the place through the living streams converging through the streets and lanes towards the chosen spot, automatically stopping all vehicular traffic for a time. It was a sight for the Gods to see: the awakening of a whole nation from its age-long sleep and inertia into conscious life of flaming aspiration.

From an unpublished manuscript entitled “Sri Aurobindo (As I Understand Him)” by Barindra Kumar Ghose.

3

Nationalist Meeting at Surat

Surat, December 25th, 1907. — The first meeting of the Nationalists’ Conference was held on the 24th December in the afternoon. Babu Arvind Ghose, of the Bande Mataram fame, presided. The meeting was not open to the public. Only those who paid the fee of Re. 1 and signed the pledge of being Nationalists were admitted. There were more than a thousand persons present. On the motion of Mr. Khaparde of Amraoti Mr. Ghose, being elected to the Chair, observed that the object of the Conference was to disseminate the gospel of Nationalism and that for that purpose the Nationalists must be prepared to make all sorts of sacrifices. For the purpose of pushing forward the work of Nationalism an organisation was necessary and hence this conference. It was the object of the Conference to enforce the views of the Nationalists on the Indian National Congress and to make the Congress, which had hitherto been a body for the concentration of opinion, a body for the concentration of work. He then called upon Mr. B.G. Tilak to state in detail the object of the Conference.

Extract from Bombay Presidency Police, Abstract of Intelligence, Volume XXI of 1908, page 5.

4

“Aurobindo’s Spiritual Initiation”

[Excerpts from a chapter of Barin Ghose’s book]

After the break up of the Congress at Surat Aurobindo came to Baroda, the capital city of His Highness the Gaikwar. A few months back while searching for a spiritual guide for our political workers I had been to Swami Brahmananda’s Asram at Chandote on the banks of the river Nurbada. At that time there was a dawning sense growing in us — the young dedicated workers — that the deliverance of India was not possible without spiritual power. An idea of a Bhawani Mandir in the hills (a temple dedicated to that aspect of the Shakti which was worshipped by the great Sivajee of Aurangzib’s time) was in the air among the secret workers. I was sent along with another friend1 to Northern India to look for a Guru or spiritual guide who could guide India’s destiny and train us — the future builders of the nation — along spiritual lines.

Deeply imbued with the cult of violence, learnt from the Irish Seinfeinners and Russian secret societies, and equally ignorant of what spiritual power actually meant, we in our blindness wanted to harness Divine power to our dark mission.… It was no wonder then that we wished to take to spiritual means for a holy war against the British, this idea of God helping the righteous even in murder and bloodshed being ingrained in man from his savage days.

The great Yogi Brahmananda of Nurbada had passed away some years before and I found his disciple Keshavananda to be a dry as dust pedant and a mechanical Hatha Yogi knowing no higher yoga at all. But quite accidentally I had met for a few minutes a Maharashtra Brahmin, Vishnu Bhaskar Lele by name, in the Chandote Asram. I did know that this man was a great and real Yogi. While returning to Bengal quite disappointed in my quest. I met Lele again in a friend’s house at Navasari. He made me sit in a dark room with him for a few minutes and as a result three days afterwards I had my first glimpse of spiritual awakening, my first psychic experience.

Aurobindo hearing about him from me had expressed a desire to meet this wonderful devotee of love. As soon as the Surat Congress was over I wired to Lele requesting him to come to Baroda to meet Aurobindo. Crowds with flags and national cries followed us from the station and students unyoked a carriage and putting Aurobindo, myself and a Sannyasi, Sakhariaswami, on it, pulled it for some distance. In the midst of a surging crowd we reached Khasirao’s [sic] Bungalow at 8 a.m. and immediately after Vishnu Bhaskar Lele arrived. I left Aurobindo alone with him for half an hour. When he had left I asked my brother how he found him so far as Yoga was concerned. Aurobindo said in his characteristic cryptic way, “Lele is a wonderful Yogi.”

The next day Lele came again and requested Aurobindo to sit with him continuously for seven days all alone and in silence in a quiet place. At that time nothing was more difficult than this to arrange. Aurobindo had become the idol of the nation and a wonderful halo surrounded him producing a mysterious magnetic attraction for him in the hearts of our young men. Anybody, who was in national work anywhere, needed and sought his advice and guidance. Day in and day out, crowds surrounded our house and programmes of public meetings were being arranged for him.

Lele suddenly spirited Aurobindo away from the midst of all this commotion to a lonely old place tucked away in the heart of the city. There, day in and day out, the two of them sat wrapped in deep meditation facing each other. Their simple needs were looked after by Vishnu Bhaskar’s wife, a matriculate girl of small stature of very subdued nature. I was also there and used to sit in meditation with them morning and evening in my restless and perfunctory way. My mind was divided between my ambitious national work and this inner life of Yoga.

Seven days passed almost in continuous and silent meditation2 while batches of young men traversed the town in search of their newly-found leader who had so suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from among them upsetting all their crowded programmes and arrangements. When Aurobindo was at last permitted to come out and attend a meeting in the famous gymnasium there among his ardent admirers, a great and abiding peace had descended on him which from thence forward formed the basis of all his future Sadhana.…

Lele had certainly acquired great yogic powers, yet he had his frailties too. He was really a khanda yogī or an imperfect Yogi. While leaving Baroda, Aurobindo could feel and clearly detect the very human frailty of this wonderful man. In the presence of the vast concourse of people assembled on the station platform to see Aurobindo off, Lele most unnecessarily made him come down from his compartment and bow down to his feet in the full view of the multitude. The whole thing was such a childish trick to show himself off as the spiritual preceptor of this great leader of all-India political fame! A yogi, conscious of his own vital nature and its weakness, will seldom yield to it as Lele did.

Aurobindo had asked him earlier in the day,3 how he could possibly do such vast amount of mental work and address meetings when his mind had become so very calm and passive but his political works demanded from him continuous application of active mental labour and efforts. Lele said in answer, “You need not think at all. Be calm and remain surrendered, leaving everything to the higher power to arrange for you. A voice will wake up in you, be your guide and speak with your tongue. When I am away, this voice will tell you what to do. You have only to obey it and both your Sadhana and your work will develop side by side automatically.”

Straight from this Aurobindo went to Poona. He had to face a huge audience in a monster meeting. He rose to speak without preparing his speech and almost went through the identical experience which had come to Vivekananda before delivering his maiden speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Aurobindo got up to speak not only without previous preparation, but with a mind completely empty of thoughts. A thunder roared in his ear and threw him inward and when he came out of this semi-involved state he found that the required speech had been already delivered. The next morning’s papers showed him what he had actually said. It was a unique speech, and gave the already famous Aurobindo an unrivalled position as a political leader with spiritually prophetic vision unknown before in the history of India.4

From “Sri Aurobindo (As I Understand Him)”.

5

Secret Poona Meeting

Information has been received that while at Poona, Arvinda Ghose was present at a private meeting (besides a public meeting) which was attended by a select few, including certain Extremists. What transpired at this meeting is not known. It is, however, stated by a Native gentleman of good position who attended the public meeting, but was not admitted to the secret conclave, that it was given out that within a definite time a blow would be struck simultaneously at Poona, Belgaum and other places, which would hasten the attainment of the aspirations of Nationalists. The gentleman can say nothing definitely as to what was referred to.

Extract from Bombay Presidency Police, Abstract of Intelligence, Volume XXI of 1908, page 324.

6

Nasik Speeches

[Two portions of a police report on Sri Aurobindo’s doings in Nasik in January 1908 were published in the first issue of Archives and Research as the introduction and text of Nasik Speech. Below we give the parts of the report that were omitted from that issue, viz. the bulk of that part of the report that precedes the speech as printed in A & R (to be read after “accompanies”, A & R, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 2), and the three paragraphs of the report that follow the speech.]

Waman Sakaram Khare presided [at the meeting at Nasik on 25 January 1908] and the Babu [Sri Aurobindo] spoke in English. At the conclusion of his speech Waman Sakaram Khare asked Mr. Patankar, B.A., LL.B., to translate it into Marathi, but he excused himself on the ground that he had not sufficiently grasped what the speaker said.

Mr. Ramchandra Ganesh Pradhan, Pleader, in response to a call from the chair, eventually interpreted the speech. The following is the gist of the interpretation given:–

It is difficult to satisfactorily explain all the speaker has said. I shall, therefore, confine myself to the principal points in his speech. He commenced by explaining the meaning of swarāj which is National independence. It is essential for the welfare and existence of a nation and we should not depend upon other nations. The inhabitants of Maharashtra are not ignorant of the meaning of swarāj. Shivaji succeeded in establishing it and liberated the country from the clutches of Mahomedans. Swarāj does not mean Colonial self-Government according to the English idea, but that the country should be entirely under our control. The absence of independence means the extinction of a nation.

Illustration. — In ancient times the Romans ruled over many countries. The inhabitants of those countries like ourselves enjoyed peaceful rule, but they came to grief with the downfall of the Roman Empire owing to a lack of independence, and we are bound to share the same fate in the absence of swarāj. We should, therefore, guard ourselves against such a calamity. It is absurd to suppose that the Sovereign power will give us independence of their own free will.

Illustration. — Supposing I were to usurp another man’s house and restore it to the owner, I should be homeless. It is, therefore, idle to suppose that the people who have conquered this country with intent to drain its wealth will quit it. It is also absurd to suppose that they will be so liberal as to confer on us self-Government which we so sadly need. If we make efforts to obtain it, a struggle between us, the swarāj-seekers, and the Sovereign power, is bound to ensue. The Moderates seem to be dubious of success owing to our weakness. It is not a mathematical problem, but a question of confidence. We should trust in God. Man is God’s creature and He should be trusted. We should consider ourselves mentally independent, though bodily we are not. The Irish people, though slaves of the English, enjoy freedom of thought, and if we ventilate our views we shall in the end undoubtedly succeed in obtaining swarāj. Bengalis thoroughly understand these principles.

“No matter what calamity may befall me I will reach the goal” should be the motto of all Indians. Bengalis trust the people of Maharashtra to carry out this object.

An account of the Babu’s arrival at the station, his reception in the City and his speech are given on page 2 of the Nasik Wrata of the 25th instant which accompanies. There is a vast difference in his speech as given in the Wrata as compared with the interpretation rendered by Mr. Pradhan.

[Here the speech]

On the 25th idem the Babu made another speech in the temple of Rama, Punchevate, to an audience of about 200. He said “It is needless to exhort people of Nasik, as they know by past history how to ameliorate their condition.” He then quoted the following passage from the Bhagwat Gita; — “To save the pious, to punish the wicked, to protect religion I create myself in every age” [and continued:] “So said God. This you will only realize by belief and firm faith. Three demons have been created in the world. The first is a nation having a desire to enrich itself by looting wealth of others. The second is a nation having a desire to extend supremacy over other nations by grinding them down. The third is an atheist.

“The time is near at hand when God will appear in the world. We should put aside self-interest and work in unity with each other. When the time comes the 33 crores of gods will destroy the above said demons. We should, therefore, trust in God. India is bound to prosper and religion will spread.”

At the close of his speech he was thanked by Mr. Hari Rowji Moothe, who also invited him to visit Nasik again. He was then garlanded and presented with an address in Sanskrit, after which the meeting dissolved. He was then escorted to his lodgings amid tumultuous yells of Bande Mataram and subsequently left Nasik Road Station by the Delhi Express for Dhulia.

Extract from Bombay Presidency Police, Abstract of Intelligence, Volume XXI of 1908, pages 80-82.

7

Dhulia Speech

West Khandesh, January 29th. — The District Magistrate writes on the 26th instant:– “Mr. Aravind Ghosh of Bande Mataram fame arrived in Dhulia yesterday by the 5 p.m. train. Two pleaders Messrs. Dev and Chhandorkar, had gone to Chalisgaon to meet him and bring him here. A great demonstration was made on his arrival to welcome him. He was garlanded by many. Songs were sung in his honour and the carriage was dragged by the school-boys. Pan supari and garlands were given every few paces. The procession lasted for two hours, the distance being only 1½ miles. Shouts of Bande Mataram and Shri Shivajiki jai were frequent. A few houses in the city were illuminated. The procession finished by torchlight.

“This morning he gave a lecture at the Vijayanand Theatre. The theatre and compound was crowded — about two to three thousand men and boys being present. All the school-boys of Dhulia and all the pleaders were present, ‘Nationalists’ volunteers with their flags were present. Mr. Gadre, an ex-vakil, took the chair. The subject-matter of the lecture was swadeshi, boycott, swarajya and national education. I hear he was very moderate and reasonable in his speech, but I have not got the full reports yet.

“He leaves, I hear, for Calcutta by the 6-10 p.m. train this evening.”

Extract from Bombay Presidency Police, Abstract of Intelligence, Volume XXI of 1908, pages 57-58.

8

Amraoti Speeches — Dadasaheb Khaparde’s Account

28 January 1908
Babu Arvinda is staying with me with his companion. The young man arranged a procession in the evening. It was very grand and Arvinda was taken round the city. I could not accompany him. But my desire to attend his lecture was so great that in spite of fever I went to “Indrabhuwan Theatre” at 7 p.m. The place was crowded to suffocation and though it caused me great inconvenience I am glad I went to Arvinda Babu’s lecture. It repaid all troubles. It was [a] really theosophic address giving the basis of Indian nationalism.

29 January 1908
My illness has increased. To my great sorrow I could not attend Arvinda Babu’s lecture in Jog Square.

Extracts from the diary of G.S. Khaparde.

9

Nagpur Speeches

The fact that Babu Aravinda Ghosh will stop at Nagpur on his way back to Calcutta from the Surat Congress and that he has even started from Bombay being known to the people of Nagpur, the impatience of young men increased daily. The exact date of his arrival being unknown, many of them had been visiting the railway station almost daily during the whole week. He had to stop at Nasik, Dhulia, Akola and Amraoti on his way, in response to the importunate requests of his countrymen. Everywhere he was accorded a grand reception. The people of Dhulia, Akola and other places welcomed him, forgetting their party differences. At every place he delivered lectures full of eloquence, enthusiasm and love, such as would enkindle a flame of national devotion in the hearts of the people. Babu Aravinda Ghosh reached Nagpur on the morning of 30th January 1908 by the mail. Though, for want of previous intimation, there was not a large gathering at the railway station, still Dr. Munje and other leaders received him. He had put up in the house of Kesheo Rao Gokhale at Sitabaldi, Nagpur. On Thursday evening he delivered a beautiful lecture on “The aims of the Nationalist Party” at the Surat Congress, in the Venkatesh Theatre, Nagpur. After Mr. Alekar (pleader) had explained the reason why no president was elected that evening, Babu Aravinda Ghosh spoke as follows:–

[Here the first speech]

The next day on that very spot there was a large gathering at 7-30 a.m. as settled before. A resolution expressing public sympathy for Moulvi Leakat Hussain, congratulating him for the wonderful courage exhibited by him, was unanimously passed. Afterwards Babu Aravinda Ghosh made a speech full of earnestness and pathos on “Our Work in the Future”. The audience was spell-bound when Babu Aravinda Ghosh spoke, and there was such a silence that one could have heard the falling of a needle. Everyone who heard his lectures was deeply touched. He began by saying:

[Here the second speech]

After this (speech) a Pada or song on the present condition of Sanmitra Samaj of Poona was sung.

Babu Sahib was to go away on Saturday by the mail but was prevailed upon to stay on this day. He delivered his third lecture before the merchants of the Itwari Bazar, Nagpur, on Saturday. Babu Aravinda Ghosh stood up amidst thundering cheers and loud shouts of Bande Mataram and spoke as follows:–

[Here the third speech]

Translation (slightly edited) by A.A. Khan, Extra-Assistant Commissioner on Special Duty, of a Marathi pamphlet entitled “Lectures Delivered by Babu Aravinda Ghosh at Nagpur.”

10

Sri Aurobindo at Nagpur — A Police Spy’s Testimony

My name is Bulwant Krishan, by caste I am a Brahmin. I am [an] inhabitant of Nagpore. I am a Head Constable.

Examined by Mr. Norton.

Were you Head Constable in Nagpore city for fifteen years? — Yes.

Judge — He is now.

Do you know Arabindo Ghose, by name and sight? — Yes.

Witness walked up to the dock to identify Babu Arabindo Ghose, which he did with difficulty.

Mr. Norton — I must say, he is much changed. He looks ill.

Did you see him at Nagpore? — Yes, on the 5th [should be 22nd] December 1907 and 30th and 31st January 1908.

Did he speak on these occasions? — Yes. He delivered lectures.…

On the 27th [should be 22nd] December, did you go to the station? — Yes, I saw Arabindo at the station. There was also Keshab Gopal Gokhale, a Nagpore pleader, and Nairan Rao Alkar on the platform. Dr. Munji was also there. Nairan Rao is a pleader. Dr. Munji is an eye doctor.…

To what politics do these gentlemen belong? — They are extremists.

Were there students? — Some 300 or 400.

What did they do with Mr. Arabindo Ghose’s carriage? — They dragged it for some distance.

Where was the lecture delivered? — At the Raghubir Theatre. There were three or four thousand people present. Arabindo Ghose was introduced by Dr. Ghadrie and Keshab Gopal Gokhale, pleader. Arabindo was introduced as the Editor of the “Bande Mataram” while he was going to the Surat Congress. Arabindo did not contradict that statement. He spoke in English.…

Witness said he followed Arabindo to the Railway station, where the students gave him a grand ovation, when he left.…

After the tiffin interval, the examination of the same witness, Bulwant Rao, Constable, Nagpore, was resumed by Mr. Norton. Witness read out his Hindi report of an English speech, delivered by Aurobindo Ghose at Nagpur.

Were songs sung at Nagpore singing the praise of Aurobindo Ghose? — Yes.

The witness read out another report in Hindi describing the visit of Aurobindo Ghose to Nagpore accompanied by Shamsundar Chakravorti, and reproducing the substance of his speech delivered in English [in January/February 1908].

These speeches were [sic] an exhortation to the people in favour of the Swadeshi movement and national education.

How many men were present at this speech? — 850 to 900 men were present.

Was Aurobindo driven from Silabari to the temple of Namaleli in a carriage of 4 horses followed by 40 torches, and a musical party? — Yes.

The carriage was afterwards drawn by boys? — Yes.

Were songs sung? — Yes.

You heard the sound of “Bande Mataram”? — Yes.

Were there acclamations shouting joy in the names of Aurobindo, Shamsundar Chakravorti, Srikrishna Khaparde, Lala Lajpat Roy and Bal Gangadhar Tilak? — Yes.

Were betels distributed? — Yes.…

Is not this sort of pomp and pageantry displayed on the occasion of Raja’s visits? — Yes.

Was not the carriage stopped on the way and the party garlanded? — Yes.

Testimony given at Alipore Sessions Court on 28 January 1909, as reprinted the next day in the Bengalee (Calcutta).

11

A Summary of the “Tour”

The Jessore District Conference nominated Arabindo Ghose as one of the delegates to the Surat Congress. He left Calcutta with Syam Sunder Chakravarty, Hemendra Prosad Ghose,5 Abinash Bhattacharjee, Suresh Chandra Samajpati and Barendra Kumar Ghose for Surat on 21st December 1907 to attend the Indian National Congress. On his way he broke his journey at Nagpore on 22nd December 1907. He was received at the railway station by Dr. Gadre and others and was taken to the garden of Gopal Rao Buti. At 5 p.m. he addressed some 400 men and 400 boys at the Raghubir Theatre on swadeshi and swaraj and urged their attendance at the Indian National Congress. He left Nagpore at 6 p.m. on the same day.

On the 24th December 1907 at Surat Arabindo presided over the first meeting of the Nationalists’ Conference held in camera. The object of this Conference was to spread the gospel of nationalism, and the Conference requested the Congress to move resolutions on swaraj, boycott and national education.

On the same day at 6 p.m. a public meeting was held at “Balajis Tekdi” at Surat when Arabindo with Tilak, Ajit Singh and others spoke to impress the cult of the nationalist upon the audience. Another meeting was convened by the extremists at Haripara Ghukanta Wadi at 5 p.m. on 28th December 1907. It was presided over by Arabindo who spoke on the split in the Congress and only the extremists were allowed to attend it.

On the 29th December a strictly confidential meeting was held under the Presidentship of Arabindo Ghose at 2 p.m. at Ghukanta Wadi with the object of starting an organisation for teaching how to preach on the subject of nationalism.

On the 13th January 1908 at 6 p.m. a public meeting of the citizens of Poona was held in Gaekwad’s Wada under the presidentship of Mr. Anna Saheb Patwardhan. Arabindo delivered an address giving a brief sketch of the new movement of the nationalists in the region of politics.

On the 24th January Arabindo Ghose arrived at Nasik Road station and was taken to the house of W.S. Khare. On the same day at about 10-15 a.m. he addressed in English an open-air meeting in front of the old Wada.

He was first given two addresses, one in English and the other in Sanskrit, and then he delivered a speech on swadeshi and swaraj. He then left Nasik by the Delhi express for Dhulia.

Arabindo Ghose arrived at Dhulia by the 5 p.m. train on the 25th January 1908 and was received with a great ovation at the railway station. On the morning of the 26th January Arabindo addressed an audience of 2 to 3 thousand men and boys on swadeshi, boycott, swaraj and national education. This meeting was presided over by Mr. Gadre, an ex-vakil.

On the invitation of pleaders at Akola, he broke his journey at Akola on his way back to Calcutta. He stayed with Mr. Paranjpe, a pleader. At Rama Theatre he delivered a speech on “The means to improve the status of India” to nearly 1,000 men.

Arabindo arrived at Amraoti on the 28th January from Dhulia and Akola and stayed there as a guest of G.S. Khaparde to whose house he was taken from the railway station. At 5-40 p.m. Arabindo left Khaparde’s house in his victoria along with the procession of nearly 4,000 people organised in his honour, and reached the Undrabhubon [sic] Theatre at 7 p.m. when he addressed about 3,000 people in English on swadeshi, swaraj and national education. On the next day, i.e., the 29th January, Arabindo again delivered a speech before a large number of people on the song “Bande Mataram” at Jog’s Square in front of the Kasi Bai private school. He left Amraoti for Nagpore on the 30th January 1908.

Arabindo arrived at Nagpore on the 30th January and was received by Dr. Mughi [? Munji], Dr. Gadre and others. He was taken to the house of K.R. Gokhal. In the evening Arabindo delivered a speech regarding the Congress fiasco before the extremist leaders and an audience of nearly 300 or 400 people, mostly boys, at the Venkatesh Theatre. On the next day, i.e., the 31st January, Arabindo again made a speech at the same place on the Congress fiasco, and affairs in Bengal. Nearly 500 boys attended the meeting. On the evening of the 1st February Arabindo Ghose travelled in procession from Sitabaldi to Nana Teli’s Mondir in the city where he delivered his third and last speech in English before an audience of 800 people on trade, education and municipality.

On the 2nd February 1908 a number of people, chiefly Maharatta Brahmins, came to the railway station at Bilaspore to meet Arabindo Ghose and on the 3rd the Modi boys attending the Kampti High School met him at the Kampti railway station and garlanded him when he was returning from Nagpore to Calcutta.

Extract from Government of India, Home Department, Political A, Numbers 33-40, pp. 70-71.

1 Upendranath Banerjee. Upen’s account of the journey is contained in the first chapter of his Nirbasiter Atmakatha (Memoirs of a Revolutionary).

2 According to Sri Aurobindo he obtained the experience of the Silent Brahman in three days (or two or “really in one” day) of meditation with Lele. See On Himself, pp. 49, 82, 84, 85. He may have remained in seclusion with Lele for some days more before going out to give lectures etc.

3 Not necessarily this day. Barin seems to have been writing under the impression that Sri Aurobindo and Lele parted at the station, but Lele in fact accompanied Sri Aurobindo to Poona and Bombay.

4 The speech to which this description especially applies is the Bombay National Union speech of 19 January. In the manuscript of Barin’s book, which was seen and marked by Sri Aurobindo, the sentence beginning “A thunder roared” is barred in the margin, and three exclamation marks are placed beside it. Barin may have been guilty of some romantic overstatement.

5 Hemendra Prasad Ghose in fact stayed in Calcutta (see Document 1).



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