Anandamath is a Bengali novel, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and published in 1882. Set in the background of the Sannyasi Rebellion in the late 18th century, it is considered one of the most important novels in the history of Bengali and Indian literature. Its importance is heightened by the fact that it became synonymous with the struggle for Indian independence from the British Empire. The novel was banned by the British. The ban was lifted later by the Government of India after independence. The national song of India, Vande Mataram, was first published in this novel.
The prologue and the first thirteen chapters of Part I were translated by Sri Aurobindo, the rest by his brother Barindra. The parts translated by Sri Aurobindo first appeared in the KARMAYOGIN, intermittently between August 7, 1909 and February 12, 1910.
Author: Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
English Translators: Sri Aurobindo and Barindra Kumar Ghosh
Print Length: 173 pages
Publisher: Basumati Sahitya Mandir
Contributor: Alexey, Krishna
Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle
- Part I
- Part II
- Part II
- Part IV
A wide interminable forest. Most of the trees are sals, but other kinds are not wanting. Treetop mingling with treetop, foliage melting into foliage, the interminable lines progress; without crevice, without gap, without even a way for the light to enter, league after league and again league after league the boundless ocean of leaves advances, tossing wave upon wave in the wind. Underneath, thick darkness; even at midday the light is dim and uncertain; a seat of terrific gloom. There the foot of man never treads; there except the illimitable rustle of the leaves and the cry of wild beasts and birds, no sound is heard.
In this interminable, impenetrable wilderness of blind gloom, it is night. The hour is midnight and a very dark midnight; even outside the woodland it is dark and nothing can be seen. Within the forest the piles of gloom are like the darkness in the womb of the earth itself.
Bird and beast are utterly and motionlessly still. What hundreds of thousands, what millions of birds, beasts, insects, flying things have their dwelling within that forest, but not one is giving forth a sound. Rather the darkness is within the imagination, but inconceivable is that noiseless stillness of the ever-murmurous, ever noise-filled earth. In that limitless empty forest, in the solid darkness of that midnight, in that unimaginable silence there was a sound, “Shall the desire of my heart ever be fulfilled?”
After that sound the forest reaches sank again into stillness. Who would have said then that a human sound had been heard in those wilds? A little while after, the sound came again, again the voice of man rang forth troubling the hush, “Shall the desire of my heart ever be fulfilled?”
Three times the wide sea of darkness was thus shaken. Then the answer came, “What is the stake put down?”
The first voice replied, “I have staked my life and all its riches.”
The echo answered, “Life! it is a small thing which all can sacrifice.”
“What else is there? What more can I give?”
This was the answer, “Thy soul’s worship.”
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838 – 1894) was a Bengali writer, poet and journalist. He was the composer of India’s national song Vande Mataram, originally a Bengali and Sanskrit stotra personifying India as a mother goddess and inspiring the activists during the Indian Independence Movement. His works were widely translated into other regional languages of India as well as in English. Chattopadhyay is widely regarded as a key figure in literary renaissance of Bengal as well as India. Some of his writings, including novels, essays and commentaries, were a breakaway from traditional verse-oriented Indian writings, and provided an inspiration for authors across India.