Chunibhai Patel (19.6.1903—19.8.1992) was a Gujarati sadhak who was renamed ‘Dyuman’ (“the luminous one”) by Sri Aurobindo on 24 November 1928. He visited Pondicherry for the first time on 11 July 1924 and surrendered himself to Sri Aurobindo. He became an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in May 1927. He was in charge of the Dining Room and looked after the Granary. A dedicated worker to the core, the Mother made him one of the Founder-Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust on 1 May 1955. He became the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust in 1991.
We are happy to announce that Overman Foundation has received permission from Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to publish Dyuman’s Correspondence with the Mother in its online forum. We are extremely grateful to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, for giving us the said permission. We are also thankful to Shri S. Ravi, co-editor of Mother India journal and teacher at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education for providing these letters to us.
The first installment of Dyuman’s Correspondence with the Mother—containing letters written between 12 June 1929 and 21 March 1934—has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation. Please note that these letters are not included in the Collected Works of the Mother.
With warm regards,
I had no intention of violating Your orders. The wiping was already finished by the time I received Your last order at 5 p.m. or so. Mother, I am at Your feet for any punishment for violating Your orders even unconsciously.
Why punishment, my child?
I never thought of such a thing! I never thought even that you had violated any rules. The whole thing is a misunderstanding.
You must know that I trust you and have full confidence in your earnestness and your good will. It is on that ground that we are working together and also that I let you know whenever there is something that has to be corrected.
Never doubt my love.
12 June 1929
When X handed the monthly Prosperity things to me I thought: “What will Mother do if the stock of toothbrushes is exhausted? Mother must have this one—it goes to Mother.”
I have taken already my precautions. Since more than four months I am using my finger as a toothbrush and find it quite convenient. So I am sending back your toothbrush. If you have no use for it, you can return it to the stores.
2 February 1932
This bowl has been put on the fire by somebody and is now spoiled. Who this somebody is, is not known.
It is a great pity, because the best punishment would be to serve his or her meal in the bowl!
7 June 1932
I have an impression that the visitors are arriving with a big appetite and that they may find our dishes somewhat small. Consequently I have increased the quantity on the “menu”.
14 February 1933
Why were you so serious at pranam?
Don’t let anything from outside approach and disturb you. What people think, do or say is of little importance. The only thing that counts is your relation with the Divine—and from that point of view you have nothing to worry about, all is all right.
And never forget that we love and trust you.
30 April 1933
My dear Mother,
Y and I went to Aroumé today. We find the existing kitchen an impossibility. To change it we will have to spend time and money. We can put the kitchen somewhere else, as I am showing here in the plan.
The room which has an opening towards the Governor’s house can be turned into a kitchen. It has tiles on the roof and glass ventilators for light. We can put the ovens there. As for the smoke from the ovens, we can put a chimney. The food we can carry to the serving room. The kitchen vessels we can wash in the kitchen itself.
Unfortunately the latrines are next to the kitchen and also a new gutter. We can close the gutter and cut off the view of the latrines by planting a creeper.
I do not think this idea is at all practicable.
First, the greatest objection is the neighbourhood of the latrines; to hide them or to shut a gutter does not prevent the flies from going freely from the latrines to the food in the kitchen.
Second, Xavier was very particular that we should not misuse these rooms. I do not think he would agree to turn them into a kitchen.
Third, to put a kitchen just under the windows of the Government House, sending them directly all the smoke of our cooking, is just the best way to get us into trouble.
Fourth, it is a long way to carry the food to the serving place.
Fifth, there are many other minor inconveniences.
Sixth, you cannot judge the existing kitchen so long as it is not thoroughly cleaned and repaired. If it is not sufficiently ventilated and if there is not enough light, we can put in a new window. I am ready to do it any my own expense if necessary.
4 December 1933
Bless me with Thy Love. I now go out of this compound for the Divine Work, protected and surrounded by Your Love and the Love of my beloved Sri Aurobindo.
My Mother, though I shall be working outside, I am ever Thine, ever at Thy Feet.
Why do you speak of working outside? Do you think that any house of the Ashram is outside our atmosphere, even the most material? Here or there it is just the same: I am always close to you, helping you, supporting you, working through you, and it is not a few yards more or less which can make any difference for that.
4 January 1934
Z wanted to spend 20 minutes with me. That is not possible—not even 10 minutes regularly at a fixed hour. It is nothing but a vital demand on me; I cannot satisfy that. I can give her 2 or 3 minutes and not more.
It is not at all advisable to let her encroach like that upon you. The more she will get, the more she will want and finally, if she could, she would swallow you up.
Mother, I do not think that I should go to call her; if she comes to me I shall receive her. What do You say?
Keep quiet. You must not go to call her. She wants to annex you; this cannot be tolerated.
c. 25 January 1934
I do not understand this Yoga. I know only this: To be one with the Mother and to live and work for her; this is all.
Why are the Ashram inmates hankering after food? Why this big fuss over eating? Why are we breaking our heads due to vital desire, ego, pride, self-will, mental ideas and preferences? I do not follow all this and am unable to understand.
Mother, my heart was filled with such feelings; it was restless and unquiet again. But now I am quiet and happy. All these feelings have passed away.
This is very good. Indeed, if you want to do your work with a clear mind and discrimination, you must never get upset—whatever happens. This is a very important point.
26 January 1934
Seeing the work of the Building Department at Aroumé, I found so many faulty repairs. [The disciple noted several defects in the carpentry, painting and masonry work.] Mother, we spend plenty of money, but get a very bad result. We do some work, we find faults in it, we break it, we redo it and it comes out as something else. Labour, time, money and energy are wasted, yet we do not get what we require.
For all that, the change can come only from within, when the consciousness of each and everyone will be changed.
28 January 1934
X, the new visitor, came for work today. She cut the vegetables, then did not even wait to clean the knife she used. At noon she is expected to stay up to the finishing of the cutting, that is, to put aside the peelings for the bullocks, to put away the knives etc. in the cupboard and do other such works.
I think we cannot ask that from her in the beginning, at least. If she truly wants to do work she will ask you what to do and how to do it and then things can be explained to her, leaving her the choice to do or not to do. She is only a visitor and cannot be treated as the permanent members are.
4 February 1934
Newcomers staying in the Ashram houses come to the Dining Room for food. But what about people staying outside the Ashram, in hotels and private houses?
Is it not easier to let them eat in the Dining Room as food cannot be sent to the hotel? That is why I said that they could come to the Dining Room. But it may be better to give them food in the late-comers’ room to prevent their mixing too much with the inmates and … their bad habits!
7 February 1934
Often I get colds and fevers and am obliged to remain in bed for some time. During and after each illness my body becomes weak and faints.
How is that I often have illnesses and my body becomes so weak? I feel that it is not as strong as it ought to be for your work. I had high hopes and expected much from the body, but it has failed.
Your body is all right, but you are not giving it enough rest and food. I will have to ask you to be more careful on these two points because I want to make it strong and healthy, but regular rest and nourishing food are indispensable for that. I would like to give you one orange for orange juice every day. The best time would be when you rise. For that, if you give me a flask, I could fill it in the evening and send it to you before you go to bed and you would take it in the morning when you wake up.
9 February 1934
The cartman could not get a coolie to help him transport the kerosene. Not minding the load, he dragged the cart to Aroumé. While going up the slope at the gate, he was thrown back with the cart. I was there just in time to help. He gave me back the two annas I had given him for a coolie. Seeing the work he did, I gave one anna to him, as he deserved it. I would have paid two annas to a coolie.
You could have given him the two annas.
10 February 1934
I hope that You will not hesitate to tell me anything required to be done during our crucial Darshan days.
Be quiet and confident, it is all that is required.
19 February 1934
All kinds of bad suggestions about myself come and pass away; I have no time at present to pay attention to them, but every possible thing tries to enter: (1) I am bad; (2) I am fallen; (3) The body is a failure; I would like to give it up; (4) I have received nothing, progressed nowhere; and many more such things.
All this is mere nonsense and falsehood and nothing more. You do well to pay no attention to it.
22 February 1934
The fever is over. I am quite all right. Tonight I will drink the decoction again and I am sure I will get up 100 percent cured. My Mother, You are with me and our relation is now more close, more compact and more loving.
Certainly our relation is bound to become more and more close and strong and intimate.
Only your insistence is on the work—and my insistence is on your health first.
I have just heard somebody coughing. Is it you? It seems to me that, until you are quite free from this cough, it would be better not to rise before the sun rises; because these early morning hours are very cold and that helps in prolonging the illness.
My love and blessing are constantly with you, whatever are the circumstances.
3 March 1934
Why are you not taking honey and butter? They are both good for your health and will give you strength. It is light and wholesome food. For cough it is recommended to drink very hot milk sugared with honey (2 tea-spoons in a cup of milk). Or the drink that X prepares for you can also be sweetened with honey.
What you say about my trust in you is quite true—and that in itself should give you the strength and the courage to do what is needed to get completely cured.
5 March 1934
[Regarding the disciple’s physical condition. He had a headache, sore throat and fever, and suffered from general nervous strain and weakness.]
To get over this attack soon, one thing is needed: remain quiet, calm, peaceful. Do not get upset, do not fear, do not get restless or impatient. A quiet, firm trust in the Divine’s Grace is the one thing needed.
The anxiety of the mind, the restlessness of the vital delay the cure more than anything else.
Our love and protection are always with you.
21 March 1934