K. D. Sethna (25.11.1904 — 29.6.2011) was a Parsi sadhak who joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram at the age of twenty-three in December 1927. He was a noted poet, author, scholar and cultural critic whose published works include more than fifty titles. In 1930 he received the name of Amal Kiran from Sri Aurobindo. He was the editor of the monthly magazine Mother India from the time of its inception in 1949. Some of his notable books are The Secret Splendour, The Poetic Genius of Sri Aurobindo, The Adventure of the Apocalypse, The Passing of Sri Aurobindo: Its Inner Significance and Consequence, The Indian Spirit and the World’s Future, Sri Aurobindo on Shakespeare, The Vision and Work of Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo—The Poet, Altar and Flame, The Mother: Past-Present-Future, The Problem of Aryan Origin: From an Indian Point of View, Ancient India in a New Light, The Spirituality of the Future: A Search Apropos of R.C. Zaehner’s Study in Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin, Aspects of Sri Aurobindo, The Beginning of History for Israel, The Inspiration of Paradise Lost, Problems of Early Christianity, Problems of Ancient India, Our Light and Delight: Recollections of Life with the Mother, Science, Materialism, Mysticism: A Scrutiny of Scientific Thought and The Development of Sri Aurobindo’s Spiritual Thought and the Mother’s Contribution to it.
An unfinished correspondence between Amal Kiran and the Mother has been published in the website of Overman Foundation.
With warm regards,
People have been constantly puzzling over the fact that the body of Francis Xavier at Goa is still undecayed after centuries. There does not seem to be any embalming done. We should like to know how this “miracle” has happened. What keeps the body incorrupt?
It is not a “miracle” but simply an unusual case.
He was a saint and an ascetic, even when he was alive the body was reduced to its minimum.
It is a phenomenon of dishydration.
(16 September 1967)
When you say that the condition of Francis Xavier’s body is not a “miracle”, I suppose you quite rule out any direct action from beyond Nature.
What do you mean? There is nothing in this world which is not submitted to direct action from beyond Nature, but most of the men are unaware of it.
(18 September 1967)
Of course there is a direct action from beyond Nature everywhere, but certain phenomena permit controlled scientific experimentation. If the present case is not a “miracle”, could we say that a hitherto unrealised possibility within the scientific domain is here and that science by experimentation can exploit it? If any dead body could somehow be completely dehydrated, would it remain undecayed for centuries?
Your questions are mental ratiocinations and are not interesting.
(19 September 1967)
I regret I came down to the level of mental ratiocinations. But there is a genuine inquiry behind them. If you could just overlook the too mental form of what seems like cross-examination on my part, if you could say something more in your own way, we would be benefitted. My own problem basically is: “What exactly has made this ‘phenomenon of dishydration’ such ‘an unusual case’? Some power in the Saint himself—some power outside him?”
If you are so curious, ask the saint, he may tell you.
(20 September 1967)
Entry in Amal Kiran’s Diary:
Oh Mother! What a task you have set me as regards Francis Xavier! Won’t I myself have first to become a Saint in order to parley with him? Even then, would he — a stranger — divulge secrets when my own beloved and tolerant Guru leads me such a dance? (20 September 1967)