Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who later became the second President of India had approached Sri Aurobindo in August 1934 through Dilip Kumar Roy asking him to contribute an article for a proposed volume on contemporary Indian philosophy. When Dilip Roy conveyed his request to Sri Aurobindo, the latter asked Dilip to excuse him. But when Dr. Radhakrishnan persisted Sri Aurobindo wrote to him directly on 2 October 1934.
Today, we take the opportunity of sharing with you Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s second letter to Dilip Kumar Roy dated 27 September 1934 and Sri Aurobindo’s reply to him.
With warm regards,
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s letter to Dilip Kumar Roy
My dear Mr. Dilip Kumar Roy,
Your letter of the 9th instant. I realise that Sri Aurobindo will be very much pre-occupied with other things. But, may I impose on you the real importance of a specific contribution from him for the purposes of this volume. You are possibly aware that for the volume on Contemporary British Philosophy, men like Bossanquet, Bertrand Russell, Haldane and McTaggart, among others, made their contributions. The volume on Contemporary Indian Philosophy will not be worth the name without a statement from Sri Aurobindo. I feel that he will realise the enormous importance of a special contribution for this volume, not for my sake or for his sake, but for the sake of our country. If you do not have a copy of the Contemporary British Philosophy there, on hearing from you, I will send you a volume from which you will get a general idea.
Interesting as this letter to Mr. Chadwick is, I am afraid it will not do as a statement of Sri Aurobindo’s convictions on the central problems of God, Man and his Destiny. If he sets down his thoughts on these problems, we will be able to put it in. You may put a series of questions asking him to state in a summary form his views on God, the nature of the Human Soul, its Destiny, and if you get rounded answers to them, we may possibly use that as his contribution.
I hope you at least realise my anxiety in this whole matter.
I am returning the paper and shall be delighted to see the other thing on the Avatarhood of Rama.
Sri Aurobindo’s letter to Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
My dear Professor Radhakrishnan,
I regret that you should have had to wait for the publication of your book on account of the contribution I could not write. I had intimated to Dilip that it would be practically impossible for me and I could not make a promise I would most likely be unable to fulfil. I think he hoped I would still find time somehow to write.
I am entirely taken up by my present work which is exceedingly heavy and pressing and from which I cannot take my hands for a moment or spare the necessary energy or time for anything else. I have been obliged to put aside all mental or literary work and even to suspend sine die the revision for publication of the unpublished works in the “Arya” which I had undertaken. There is no chance of any alteration in this state of affairs in any near future. It is not a matter of choice but of necessity for me. I hope therefore you will excuse me for not being able to comply with your request. I regret very much that I have to disappoint you, but it is not possible for me to avoid it.