Thursday, 5 July 2018

Breakfast with the Sisters: A Meeting of Great Minds - 3

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:


In February 1910 Aurobindo learned that he was about to be arrested again, and immediately left for Chandannagore, a French territory north of Calcutta. He then sent a message to Nivedita to continue editing Karma Yogin. It is also known that she went to Chandannagore twice that month to consult with him. Nivedita edited the journal until April 1910, when the Government shut it down.

On 7 April 1910, Nivedita wrote to the Ratcliffes: Meanwhile, this week the K.Y. [Karma Yogin] has been attacked. There was a Bengali weekly printed at the same office—Dharma. This was stopped unless deposit of Rs. 2000 made. Not made—and A. Gh. [Aurobindo Ghosh] and the printer of K.Y. [Karma Yogin] were to be arrested, on article which I enclose. I trust you can give the article publicity in England. Is it seditious? A. Gh. [Aurobindo Ghosh] has not been found. ... Meanwhile there should be 2 more issues of K.Y. in any case (2.1086–7).

And on 6 July 1910, she wrote again, 'Aravindo seems to be still uncaught, though 5000/- Rupees, are now offered [presumably for his arrest]' (2.1107).

From Chandannagore, Aurobindo left for Pondicherry, also a French territory, and remained there the rest of his life, highly revered as an illumined spiritual teacher.

A more moderate political leader, who was also a friend of Nivedita and Christine, was G K Gokhale, from Maharashtra. He was a sincere man who was more inclined to try to compromise and make the best of a bad situation with the British, rather than incite a revolution. Though Nivedita frequently told him she did not agree with him, he was nevertheless often found at The House of the Sisters whenever he was in Calcutta. What is surprising is the conciliatory tone that Nivedita had with him in her letters. Though she normally manifested a caustic tongue for those she disagreed with, she was generally very respectful towards him, and would also apologise for any wounded feelings she may have caused (2.781).

Another of the moderate leaders was Romesh Chandra Dutt, an economist whose book on Indian economy Nivedita often referred to and recommended to others. She eventually became quite close to him and sometimes referred to him as her Godfather—a relationship that he reciprocated. He greatly encouraged her during her writing of The Web of Indian Life.

Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana :  Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana is a senior Sanyasini of the Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.