Swami Pratyagatmananda Saraswati was born as Pramathanath Mukherjee on 27 August 1880 at Chanduli in the district of Burdwan. He passed his M.A. with honours in philosophy. He started his career as a professor at the National Council of Education where he had Sri Aurobindo as his colleague. Later he joined Ripon College where he had Ramendra Sundar Trivedi as his colleague and taught philosophy as well as mathematics and physics. For some time he edited the journal, Servant. He was fluent in English, Bengali and Sanskrit and made valuable contributions to various newspapers and journals. He was invited a number of times to deliver lectures by the Calcutta University and other educational institutes. He attempted to bridge up the rift between religion and science. ‘Pramathanath developed, very early in life, a wide philosophical outlook, which sought to synthesise the modern scientific spirit of enquiry with the ancient intuitive method of approach to reality. He firmly believed that what the ancient Rishis have left for us has a deep scientific basis and it is for us to explore it with the help of modern science. It is this belief that led him to interpret the age-old Vedanta through modern mathematical terms and symbols and in this way he was absolutely unique and original.’ (Sraddha, August 2010, p. 192) In his renowned book Approaches to Truth, he attempted to explain philosophy through the perspective of mathematics. He was also famous for his knowledge of Tantra and assisted Sir John Woodroffe in the field of Tantra. In his later years his sole preoccupation became the discovery of the rationale of mantras and Tantras. His other published works include Metaphysics of Physics, Science and Sadhana (in six volumes) in English and Vigjnana O Pragjnana and Veda O Vigjnana in Bengali. His Japa-Sutram, which he had penned in Sanskrit, consists of four chapters and four sections along with an exhaustive commentary in Bengali and runs to more than two thousand pages. He died on 22 October 1973.
Swami Pratyagatmananda Saraswati had paid a rich tribute to Sri Aurobindo in the form of a poem titled Sri Aurobindo, Namaste which he had penned on 15 August 1963. As the fourth installment of our special series on Sri Aurobindo, this poem—which we have obtained from Shri Arup Basu, editor of Sraddha, the quarterly journal published from Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata—has been published in the online forum of Overman Foundation.
With warm regards,
Sri Aurobindo, Namaste
“O Adorable Fire”! the Dawn of Divine Inspiration opens with the hymn to Fire—
As the Power radiant that burns and bores,
As the Light supernal that leads and lays, the Way
To the deepest-laid treasure-bed of abiding Value
Thou art that Fire incarnate, Sri Aurobindo, namaste!
The Fire leaps with its threefold Flame—
As Inspiration high and sublime,
As Aspiration that conquers and consorts all,
As Attainment that completes and consummates all:
Not Fire alone that burns in the suns and atoms,
Nor Fire alone that shines in gods and godlike beings,
But, par excellence, the Fire that informs and transforms creation’s Form and Pattern,
Enlightens its Soul, illumines its Spirit:
Thou art that Fire incarnate, Sri Aurobindo, namaste!
The Fire that in one pada (dimension) pervades and sways,
The positions and postures of existence here below,
But exceeds, in three other unrestricted, measureless measures;
Of whose deathless glory (Mahima) Vedic hymns sing;
The Fire celestial (Divya) shining beyond the sense that clouds.
Mind that doubts
And Intellect that debates and dogmatises
Thou art that Fire Supramental, Sri Aurobindo, namaste!
The Fire that resides as cave-dweller in the Creative Vak (word)
But releases the seeker of Fire Immortal from the cave of dark, dubious being ;
The Fire that is ‘born’ on the altar of Karma (purifying Discipline)
The Fire that ‘grows’ in flames of Bhakti (steady and single Devotion),
That fulfils with the shining Nectar of Jnana (whole Realisation), Thou art that Fire incarnate, Sri Aurobindo, namaste!
The Fire as seeking Ardour, fearless and tireless, that in Upakos’ala and Nachiketah burns—
Fire as the highest Illumination sought;
The Fire, Agni and Yama, lights and leads;
The Fire as Seeker, Seeking and Sought combined,
As also Guide, Seer and Teacher,
Thou art that Revealing Fire, Sri Aurobindo, namaste!
Seers know of padas (dimensions) numberless of Fire;
Tho’ they speak of them, now as three, now as five, now as seven;
They so speak to make transcending Total Significance to us comprehensible;
But it is the unfathomed Immensity of Significance,
Where both star and dust, soul arid sense,
Their import receive, their commerce carry, their destiny fulfil:
Thou art that Fire of Complete Significance, Sri Aurobindo, namaste!
Thy incarnation here, now ended, is unlimited in time, space and event:
Thy Life an eternal Code (sutram),
Thy Sadhana an eternally lucid Commentary (bhashyam),
Thy creation in Thought and Harmony, in Whole Yoga and
Is an Epic incomparable,
Unique and profound, surpassing and sublime;
O Expression and Exponent of Life Divine, of Perfect Yoga,
Of Meaning and Spirit of all Time, Sri Aurobindo, namaste!
Momentous is the Epoch that turns the Wheel and ushers the present age—
Momentous in human sadhana in knowledge, in power, for both emancipation and achievement;
The curtain rises, the stage lighted for the play of new Creative Event:
Mother Bengal wakes with the mahamantra, Bande Mataram:
To thee, Sri Aurobindo, is assigned the role that inspires, leads and fulfils:
To thee is committed the Charge Divine,
Of keeping alive and carrying to its culmination
The Fire—with “threefold flame:
Of Man’s integral self-awakening, self-avowing, self-emancipation here and now:
The last, specially, as the End—
Which to thee, Sri Aurobindo, is Purna Svaraj—Freedom Perfect as in Life Divine, namaste!
The curtain riseth again, the scene changeth:
In the solitude of Asrama,
Broadened and deepened, embalmed and inspired,
By the divinely significant Sea lapping in homage low and ecstatic at
Ramesvaram—and Kanya Kumarika,
Thy asana is unshakeably laid in glory of Purna Yoga,
Invoking and realising,
The Divine Mother as Perfect Power, as Perfect Harmony, as
Perfect Vidya (Knowledge), and Perfect Godhead:
Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati, Maheshwari.
The deluge of radio-active destruction, now mounting high, and looming near, now low, and receding—
What does it spell, Seer! to whom Time has nothing secreted sealed?
Thy immortal Epic Voice in Savitri assures and cheers—
The colossal unrest and abysmal fear of the age,
Is mighty travail of re-birth,
Of Man, Divine in spirit and expression,
From under the appalling pall of blinded belief, confounded lust and greed and spite.
O, that message of Fire Divine, as savious and builder of the coming Age, come true, now!
Devoutly aspires a lagging wayfarer on thy Way,
As the shades are fast falling and gathering,
And his pace slackening on the immensely intriguing, yet arresting shore:
The Shore kneeling and accosting (greeting) the Sea,
Sri Aurobindo, namo namaste!