Documents in the Life of Sri Aurobindo
THE "INDIA" INTERVIEW (1909)
Article from India (Tamil weekly) 18 September 1909
A Conversation with Sriman Aravinda Ghosh
A few days ago one of our correspondents went to Calcutta and spoke to Mahajnani Sriman Aravinda Ghose on several topics. We give here excerpts from the conversation.
Our correspondent had the darshan of Aravinda-babu at 6, College Square Street [sic], Calcutta. The house belongs to Babu Krishna Kumar Mitra, who has been deported. The family of Babu Krishna Kumar resides downstairs, while the office of his journal Sanjivani is located upstairs. In two rooms here, Aravinda-babu does his writing work and speaks to those who come to see him.
When our correspondent saw Aravinda-babu there, the first thought that came to his mind, it seems, was, Is this Aravinda-babu? But then, he had not seen Aravinda-babus eyes as yet. Aravinda1 is of a lean frame; and he was sitting like a very ordinary man with a piece of cloth thrown over his upper body. On seeing him our correspondent could only wonder, Is this the Yogi born to redeem us through an upheaval, showing a new way to India?
It was when he saw the eyes that our correspondent felt reassured. Oh! how knowing those eyes were! What grace in them! What peace! Mahashanti, mahashanti! The room exuded a great sattwic shanti.
Our correspondent asked a few questions about the Narayan darshan which Aravinda-babu had experienced when he was in prison. Since a darshan of the Supreme is a rarity in this age, our correspondent wondered whether Aravinda-babus darshan could have come about in the dream-state. But when he listened to Aravindas reply, all his doubts vanished. When our correspondent saw the humility, the peace, the solemnity, the innocence and the light that appeared on Aravindas face when he answered, it was very clear to him that Aravinda is indeed a Mahasiddha.
Aravinda: Yes, I saw Narayana. I had all my darshans in the waking state; they were not dreams.
Correspondent: Is there a way to reach the state you are speaking about?
Aravinda: Yes. Yoga is the way.
Correspondent: Was it only you who were practising yoga sadhana in the prison, or were there others who practised with you?
Aravinda: Barindra too was practising sadhana as I was.
Correspondent: What kind of yoga was it?
Aravinda: It was Bhakti Yoga. Leave all responsibility to the Divine. Try to realize that whatever you think, speak, or do is not yours, and that it is the Divine who thinks, speaks and acts through you. The realization will come in time. Realization is different from vision. Crush your ego, be without the I, practise self-renunciation.
Rumour of Deportation
Later our correspondent turned the conversation from spiritual to worldly matters.
Correspondent: All Calcutta is rife with the rumour that the Government is going to deport you. If perchance they take you away from us what shall we do?
Aravinda: It seems that the Viceroy and his council have not accepted the suggestion from the Calcutta police that I should be deported.
Correspondent: The authorities will not do anything against you now. We know that God shall allow none to touch you, because you are destined to show the way to the nation for a while yet.
Our Correspondents Thoughts
Our correspondent writes of the thoughts that rose in his mind even as the conversation was going on:
Aravindas voice was very calm. A state of peace was born in my mind. There was peace everywhere. It gave me great bliss to think that I was in the presence of a great being who has suffered much out of his love for the country, one whose utterances have been the wonder of the whole nation, and who was one of the Rishis of the Swadeshi Dharma. I was astonished to see him conversing with me calmly and peacefully even while his own brother was awaiting the death sentence.
Aravinda continued to answer with great grace the several questions put to him by our correspondent. Finally our correspondent started speaking about the present confused state of India. When he asked Aravinda some questions in this regard, he gave this Divine answer:
There will be an upheaval.2 There are signs to indicate its coming. The year 1906 completes 5000 years of Kaliyuga, and a new age has begun with the year 1907. The upheaval will have developed well enough to be visible to all. It will be complete in a further period of four to five years.
Correspondent: What kind of upheaval is it?
Aravinda: The upheaval will be one of a revolutionary change, a great step; the low will be raised and the high brought down. There will be change, change, everywhere change in Government, change in our people; new resolves, new thoughts, new ways for all actions.
Extract from Government of India, Home Department-A, June 1912, 41-68: 67.
Aravinda Ghose who is proved to be living in Pondicherry is stated to have declared in reply to a Karmayogin correspondent3 that 5,000 years of the Kaliyuga have expired, that a new epoch has commenced and in the next 4 or 5 years there will be great deluge, change, revolution, great revolution, great persons falling, low persons rising, change, change, change everywhere, change in the Government, change in our people, new methods, new ideas in all See exhibit BBB.4
1 The newspaper throughout used the respectful form Aravindar.
2 The words pralaya and mahāpralaya in the Tamil text have been translated as upheaval.
3 There was a Tamil newspaper called Karmayogi that was related to India.
4 An exhibit in the Ashe murder and conspiracy cases (1912).