Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo by Nirodbaran

Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo

Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo by Nirodbaran is an account of the period of his close personal contact with Sri Aurobindo, the time when he served as Sri Aurobindo’s personal attendant and literary secretary from 1938 to 1950.

Readers of Sri Aurobindo might wonder about the Master’s external personality. The curiosity is perennial in the mind of the seeker; in the Gita, Arjuna cannot refrain from asking Sri Krishna, “How does the sage of settled understanding speak, how sit, how walk?” Equality has always been held as the hallmark of the liberated soul and while signs of equality are subjective, sensitive souls cannot help perceiving the spiritual atmosphere of evolved beings. The Person in them is larger than the personality, and this inner largeness overflows into and suffuses their external nature as well.

Book Details

Author: Nirodbaran
Print Length: 324p.
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Submitted by: Website Visitor
Book format: Pdf, ePub, Kindle
Language: English

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Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo


It was the hour before the Gods awake

The calendar stood at November 1938, the month of the Darshan. A few weeks more and we would meet the Master after a long wait of three months. After every Darshan we start counting the days for the next one, for each occasion brings the Eternal and his Shakti closer to us and is therefore a significant landmark in our lives. As the date comes nearer, our days too take on a brighter hue and the day before the Darshan, all faces glow with sweet smiles. Friends meeting on the road greet each other with one word, “Tomorrow!” or with a silent look of happy expectation. The Dining Room hums with the same theme. Wherever you go, whomsoever you meet, no other talk except the Guru’s Darshan for one or two minutes, — an eternal moment.

As for myself, my feelings are more complex. I have broken verbal lances with him, challenged his views, poked fun at his Yoga. I know all these will be forgotten at the moment when I shall meet his august Presence. He will be as affable as in his letters and bestow his gracious smile from his transcendental height while my heart will beat in joy and wonder. Still, the mind cannot be entirely free from a conventional fear.

In this mood of expectation we arrived at the eve of the Darshan, November 24th. The Mother gave her blessings to all in the morning. Embodiment of the Mahalakshmi Grace and Beauty, she poured her smile and filled our hearts with love and adoration, an ideal condition in which to present ourselves to the Lord. Each Darshan is an occasion for him to survey the progress we have made after the last one and to give us a fresh push towards a further advance.
Visitors had swollen the even flow of our life; among them, Miss Wilson, daughter of President Wilson, had come from far-off America for the Master’s Darshan. His book Essays on the Gita had cast an unearthly spell upon her. That there could be someone who could write such a wonderful book in this materialistic age was beyond her imagination. She could hear the Voice of the Lord saying to man, “Abandon all dharmas. Take refuge in me alone. I shall deliver thee from all Sin.” The book was her Bible. She decided she must have the Darshan of such a unique person.

The day passed in a happy rhythm. Most of the sadhaks had gone to bed early to prepare inwardly for the great event. Over the Ashram reigned an atmosphere of deep peace and silence. Only one light was burning in Sri Aurobindo’s corner room towards the street and keeping a vigil over the pervasive darkness. The Mother too had retired early, leaving Sri Aurobindo at his work. He was perhaps busy with Savitri now that the “avalanche of correspondence” had been arrested due to Darshan work. Thus the small hours were reached. Then in Purani’s room the light was switched on; it was 2 a.m. He had to prepare hot water for the Mother’s bath. At 7.30 a.m. the Darshan would start. But nobody suspected that

Across the path of the divine Event
The huge foreboding mind of Night, alone
In her unlit temple of eternity,
Lay stretched immobile upon Silence’ marge.

Breaking the profound silence the emergency bell rang from the Mother’s room. Purani rushed up and found the Mother at the top of the staircase. She said, “Sri Aurobindo has fallen down. Go and fetch Dr. Manilal.” Fortunately, he had come for the Darshan from Gujarat. Soon he arrived and saw that Sri Aurobindo was lying on the floor in his bedroom. On his way to the bathroom he had stumbled over a tiger skin. The doctor made a preliminary examination and suspected a fracture of the right thigh bone; he asked the Mother to send for assistants. It appears that Sri Aurobindo while passing from his sitting-room to the bathroom (probably revolving some lines of Savitri) fell with his right knee striking the head of a tiger. Perhaps there was jubilation among the adverse forces crying, “Our enemy has fallen!” Sri Aurobindo, however, remained unperturbed and tried to get up. Failing to do so he lay down quietly expecting that the Mother would come in soon. As was natural, the Mother in her turn received a strong vibration in her sleep which made her feel that something had gone wrong with Sri Aurobindo. She came in immediately and found him lying on the floor. Her intuition and good general knowledge of medical science made her suspect a fracture. She rang the emergency bell.

About Author: Nirodbaran

Nirodbaran was born on November 17, 1903 in Chittagong (now Bangladesh). He lost his father when he was five years old. After passing Matriculation Examination, he participated in the famous Non-Cooperation Movement and was punished with two months’ imprisonment. After passing Intermediate Examination in the first division, he decided to go to England to qualify for the Bar. In 1924, he went abroad, but finally went in for Medical Studies at Edinburgh. After a long six-year course, he took the M.B.C.H.B. Degree and then went on a tour of Europe with his niece. His meeting with Dilip Kumar Roy, the famous musician in Paris, sealed his fate. His niece, having heard about Sri Aurobindo from Dilip Kumar Roy, met the Mother and was highly impressed. On her repeated requests, Nirodbaran, after coming to India in 1930, met the Mother and was overwhelmed and had a spiritual experience. After some vacillation he finally felt the call and joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1933, leaving behind the prospect of a highly lucrative career. In the Ashram he entered upon a new life and had many experiences and realizations. With Sri Aurobindo’s help and inspiration he flowered into a wonderful poet. His correspondence with Sri Aurobindo is an invaluable treasure. In 1938 when Sri Aurobindo broke his leg, he was drawn into the inner circle of Sri Aurobindo’s personal attendants. He served Sri Aurobindo till his passing away in 1950. He had the extraordinary good fortune of being Sri Aurobindo’s scribe when the latter dictated “Savitri” to him. He had been engaged with Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education as a teacher of English, French and Bengali. He has been a prolific writer, in English and Bengali, having to his credit quite a few beautiful books (“Twelve years with Sri Aurobindo” and “Memorable Contacts with The Mother” deserve special mention) and numerous articles which will not only rank as fine literature, but also serve as an invaluable guide for knowing Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, their teachings, their many-splendoured personality and also about the Ashram and the disciples.

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