Title: Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him. Author: Anurag Banerjee. Publisher: Overman Foundation, Kolkata. Number of pages: 242. Price: Rs. 325.
“He drew the energies that transmute an age”—
Savitri, Book I, Canto III, p. 45
This is, indeed, another priceless gift to the readers from Anurag Banerjee, a timely and thoughtful presentation in the form of interviews of all the fortunate ones who had the lifetime of a privilege to have Darshan of Sri Aurobindo. There is very interesting and profound epistemological proposition which states “What do I see and how do I see”. This is all about the mystery of “Perception”, a subtle process by which the perceived object is cognized at first and then in a millionth of a second internally recognized instantly so to speak.
Now when the disciples stood before Sri Aurobindo in the adorable silence, the perception of the mighty Supramental Godhead, apart from their devotional fervour, was exactly according to the spiritual poise and status of each individual’s consciousness, according to the degree of their Shraddha. The Divinity manifests Itself according to one’s receptivity and faith. It was no ordinary darshan. When you stand before effulgent Glory like the pristine splendour of the Himalayas, one is simply swept off one’s feet and dazzled. However, the disciples recorded that their feeling on seeing Sri Aurobindo was simply ineffable, beyond human language to describe. This is how it should have been just as Arjuna was overawed after seeing the awesome “Vishwaroop”.
Our galaxy of disciples also responded with awe and serenity and was touched to the core of their heart. The gushing forth of their feelings to the crisp and pointed queries by the editor brought out diverse responses. Each response was like a fragrant flower and the editor had to simply strewn together all the flowering devotional raptures in the form of a very beautiful dignified volume for us to have Darshan as well as through the grateful memoirs of the children of Sri Aurobindo and Sweet Mother. Each darshanarthi offered narration in a warm and intimate manner.
When Gurudev Rabindranath had a meeting with Sri Aurobindo in the sactum sanctorum, Gurudev exclaimed with amazement seeing the Golden Purusha—the glowing divine body of Sri Aurobindo—“where is my young Aurobindo”, recalling the first meeting in the first decade of 19th century in Kolkata. This was another record of Seeing, so, in a profounder level all the dialogues and interactions of the disciples with our ever-alert editor is a record of Seeing at different levels of each being’s consciousness. The response of Sri Aurobindo was also equally compassionate according to the inner preparedness of the seekers.
Words are too poor and inadequate to further add anything on these astonishing sacred and memorable expressions, enthralling exclamations, certitudes and feeling of gratitude bordering on instant Katharsis. And, finally, to rounding off, if ever yours truly had the rarest of Grace to have Darshan of Sri Aurobindo, he would have simply remained speechless and numb with infinite Gratitude that in this very life he had seen the Lord in the Supramental form. Oh! What a treasured and liberating privilege to us the mortal beings it has been.
Thank you, Anurag, for offering us this wonderful compilation. And what about a sequel to this book, The Divine Mother As We Saw Her?
Surendra Singh Chouhan
About the Reviewer: Surendra Singh Chouhan is an ex-student of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE); after finishing his Higher Course he taught for a year in SAICE. He is an international educator and a frequent visiting trainer and faculty in the world of academia who had taught Philosophy to the Chinese students in Shanghai under the auspices of Shanghai Normal University. Presently he is hired by a multinational Chinese company to oversee its corporate interests in Sri Lanka, Nepal and India.