The close friendship that existed between Aurobindo and the poet is well brought out. The daughter had watched how much Aurobindo too sought the company of the poet,rather than the poet sought after the company of the great yogi and seer. There was a violent storm and heavy rain and Pondicherry was devastated. The next day Bharati and the 12 year old daughter went to visits Aurobindo. “Babuji welcomed father with much affection. The two conversed together for long. Babuji did japa the whole night without bothering about what happened around him. While all the other things were intact, the photograph of his wife Srimathi Mrinalini Devi was smashed. That pained Aurobindo much. After two days, there came news from Bengal the dear lady passed away” (page 74) The editor of the volume says no one who wrote of Aurobindo so far had bought out the close association of the yogi and poet as the 12 year old girl who often accompanied her father to the ashram had done. Very true! There were many nights when the poet would visit the yogi and both would spend almost the whole nights together reading the Vedas and discussing such high matters. The Mother, formerly Mira Richard along with her husband once visited Bharati in his home. This anecdote is also interesting.It was Bharati who taught the mother not to shake hands of strangers and he showed her the Indian way of saying namaskar and from that day onwards the Mother adopted the practice (page 203). More interesting is her observation on Aurobindo and Bharati. Says she:”It is difficult to write on the sort of relationship that existed between the two. It is impossible. Mahakavi Bharati imagined himself as Arjuna, nay, he had the mental resolve and mental faculty to imagine himslef as Lord Krishna.Aurobindo understood this side of the poet’s character and he admired his friendship with the poet”(page 203).Only an innocent and at the same time an intelligent young girl of just 12 could make such observations!
I believe but book selling, in my opinion, is a greater art and science and cultivated good manners!
My book reading and book buying habits had grown over the years and changed radically too. Now, I am time conscious and therefore make quick glancing through the new books I see in the bookshops and make up my mind whether to take the new ones seriously or reject them.
Since so many new books are turned out by the book industry one has to be careful not to be misled by the many sales promotion tricks indulged by the charmed circle of book reviewers, glossy magazines and also the passing fashions in books.
Macdonell’s history of Sanskrit literature
Unknown to Indians the historic facts about Mahabharatha & Ramayana
Educated Indians, even the best of their kind, might not be able to tell correctly the historic facts about our great Classics, our Vedas, Epics, Brahmanas,Sutras etc., Our Education is at fault greatly. But more to the point, our traditional gurukula education was based on caste and as such the vast masses of non-Brahmin castes were left in total darkness about the classics.
One more contributing factor has ben our tradition of popularisation of the epics, and their morals for the masses. Prof. Arthur A. Macdonell’s classic history published in 1900, still remains the best account of Sanskrit literature. No Indian can feel educated unless he or she has some knowledge of our own great classics.
America a superpower / American literature not supreme!
In any standard anthology of English literature or world literature there is no chapter, not even a honourable mention of American literature! Why? A question that should engage Indian writers in English as well as those who write in Indian languages which have ancient literatures and literary traditions.
American literature puts me off easily. on the other hand,even an obscure writer from some unknown geographical space, even in poor translations excite me.Why?I often wondered! America to me is a barren cultural landscape. There is so much money, sponsoring foundations and galleries and nig halls. But no modesty of scale,no striving,no respect for traditions.A cactus might flower,not the rich luxuriant cultural springs would arise out of a desert landscape.
Poets make news in Britain,
Why poets don’t make news in India?
He belonged to the early years of Freedom and idealism, when subtlety mattered, reticence was a sign of culture and understated elegance was still a way of life. The more noisy, tabloid variety of celebrity status didn’t become still a new vulgarity! So, Dom belonging to the more enchanted era would be our icon of a more elegant cultural symbol. Adieu my dear friend!
It is some months since Dom Moraes, the Indian poet who created a great reputation in England and hopefully in India too, passed away in Mumbai.His friends and admirers have paid rich tributes to his memory and his many facted personality. I had known Dom for more than nearly four decades, ever since I went up to Oxford in the late Fifties. He was already a legend of sorts, for having won the Hwathornden Prize for his first book of poems, titled, A Beginning in 1958, when he was just a lad of 19! This was high praise in England for the poet himself was too young and the prize also was so prestigious and which was not awarded for so many years.