‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’: Author: Anurag Banerjee. Foreword: Dr. Ananda Reddy. Publisher: Overman Foundation. Number of pages: 362. Price: Rs. 475.
“I am, I love, I see, I act, I will.”
Savitri, Canto Two, Book Nine, p. 594.
‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’ is a work of labour of love, incisive scholarship and conscientious research by Anurag Banerjee.
It is, indeed, a fascinating work of many sided views and perspectives. It is a tale of tales anchored around the earthly manifestation of the Supreme Divine Consciousness-Force in the form whom we adore as “Sweet Divine Mother”. It is revelatory in content and masterly in narrative. An episodical “Sri Mad Matri Bhagwatam”, the Book of the Divine Mother, so to speak.
Anurag Banerjee has attempted something impossible and seemingly unattainable task to script in mere mortal words the embodiment of the Divine Mother here in the conditions of manifold Ignorance on the whirling planet earth against the vast cosmic backdrop of the mighty galaxies and ever expanding Universe.
Has he succeeded or has he met with a brilliant failure? As a reviewer of the book, my quick word is both “Yes and No”. A climber was queried why do you climb the mountain? He simply answered because it is there. So, Anurag Banerjee has dared to ascend the summit and measure the immeasurable! In this sense, he has succeeded in chronicling expertly the Divine Life but could not fathom the fathomless as it should have been in spite of all the sincere dedicated efforts.
However, we have to admit that the author has become adept by now in accomplishing incredible feats with prayers on lips and surrendered heart come what may. The result is truly an exhaustive work in the form of the creation “The Birth and Growth of a Flame”. But shall we call it a book or a biography? It will be a big NO! It is neither of these. It is—yes it is—as it were, akin to a volcanic eruption emerging from the deepest depth of ocean with fire and brimstone; such has been the energising focus of the author that one can not help marvelling at his clarity of the project in hand and linking thousand details in completing the living painting of “Mona Lisa” through selective details and the characters and the protagonists of diverse colours and hues. It contains a series of truly strange and fascinating revelations as yet hitherto unknown. The Lila of the Divine Mother—the Empress of the Universe—cannot be described in words. However, what emerges from the prolific detail, is a satisfying creation in all the contexts.
We see here several confluences and influences in the book as if the Mother Ganga was taking all the tributaries in its compassionate bosom. It is a well researched multi-dimensional history—an exercise in historiography of what transpired in the long decades of the Divine Mother’s life. It is an engaging and inspiring narrative of diverse cultural settings and the Odyssey of the Divine Mother in exploring every form of occult Vidya measuring the limit and extent of the mystical practitioners which are all faithfully recorded here so much so that ‘The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame’ has become literally a book of reference for the generations to come . One could question the inclusion of the avoidable details but then it was a compulsion to refer to all the incidents to complete the flowing narrative.
Savitri is for sure an unparalleled and most comprehensive inner as well outer supramental biography of the Divine Mother. However, in this context, the author has also tried bravely to cover a wide spectrum of experience/experiences, encounters and crucial and critical turning point during the course of the Growth of the Flame. The style is earthy, direct and interactions and events are simply told without taking recourse to any embellishment. Apt and contextual lines from Savtiri only help the readers to appreciate and drink deep of the the grace and grandeur of the object of our adoration.
Having penned all this appreciative remarks, one has to admit and point out the presence of a just few flaws in the book. We feel as if we are reading just a recorded history—the evocative fire of aspirational afflatus is missing at some points. The author seems to get lost in the quagmire of facts and figures in his enthusiasm to offer information and more informations. However, dedication and devotion of the author overrule all these minor errors and we have the privilege and joy to read through the book—The Book of The Divine Mother.
Incisive foreword with in depth analysis by Dr. Ananda Reddy has not only added further lustre to the value of the book but has vastly enhanced the overall appreciation and understanding of the content of book.
Surendra Singh Chouhan
About the Reviewer: Shri 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 presently teaching Philosophy to the Chinese students in Shanghai under the auspices of Shanghai Normal University.