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Arjava = John Chadwick (Chetvic)

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(1899-05.05.1939, Bangalore) Sadhak. Englishman. Lived in Ashram of Sri Aurobindo. Mathematician. Poet. He was educated at Cambridge in Mathematical Philosophy where he was a ‘distinguished Don’. While at Cambridge, he had joined a one of the groups of the Rosicrucians and the influence of Rosicrucianism made him face serious difficulties years later when he started practising the Integral Yoga.

Chadwick joined Lucknow University as a lecturer in Philosophy. There he befriended Ronald Nixon (the Professor of English who later became well-known as Yogi Krishnaprem) and Dhurjati Prasad Mukherji, the Professor of Economy and Social Science. In 1928, Krishnaprem gave up his lectureship at Lucknow University and went first to Benaras with his Guru Yashoda Ma and later to Almora where Yashoda ma had built a ‘temple-retreat’. His penultimate meeting with Chadwick took place at Benares.

In the meantime, Chadwick had decided to resign from his job as a Professor in Lucknow University because, in his own words, “I came here to learn—not to teach!” In 1930, Chadwick arrived at Pondicherry and met Dilip Kumar. He wrote to Dilip Kumar after a few months and asked whether the Mother would accept him as a disciple. The Mother accepted him and Chadwick came to India leaving England forever and joined the Ashram. To mark the beginning of his new life, Sri Aurobindo gave him a new name—“Arjavananda”—Arjava in brief, which meant the joy of simplicity and straightforwardness in Sanskrit. At first, Arjava stayed with Dilip Kumar in the latter’s house but as he craved for more solitude, the Mother gave him a flat.

On 7 March 1931, Sri Aurobindo wrote to Dilip: “I do not think you are right in attributing Chadwick’s migration to any friction with you. His main inconvenience was the clash between the often animated conversation of those who gathered there (some of them have, as we know, very hearty voices) and his hours of sleep. He said that he had no right to object to people with a strong vitality from giving it vent in spirited conversation, but he was feeling more and more an inner need for quiet and solitude, and he thought it would be better for him to have other arrangements made for him than to act as a stopper upon others. His letter to the Mother asking for the change was in a very good tone and quite free from ill-will or personal feeling. So you need not be troubled in mind about it.”

In April 1933, Sri Aurobindo write another letter to Dilip on Arjava: “...you make us responsible for your becoming a stranger to Arjava, Moni and Khirode... First of all, I am utterly at a loss to imagine how I can be responsible for your becoming a stranger to Arjava, Moni and Khirode. I never asked you or them to break or get remote from each other, I never put any pressure for that or desired it—on the contrary I greatly regretted your getting estranged with Arjava, for Arjava’s sake as well as for your own…Nobody would be more glad than myself and the Mother if there is a rapprochement between them and you.”

On 7 September 1936 Sri Aurobindo again write to Dilip on Arjava: “A little confidential request. Arjava has staked out a claim for a particular place at evening meditation, a kind of niche, I believe. Nobody is supposed to do that, as there are no fixed places at this meditation. But he pleads that it is the only place in which he can sometimes get a good meditation — all others are a howling wilderness of restlessness and non-meditation. He seems to have made his claim good, only sometimes when he is not there and in occupation, you occupy the place. He is as nervous as Hell and the loss of his niche even for a day throws him into despair. We told him that there was no fixed places for anyone and each must take his chance. But he laments, especially today after returning from his illness, he is in the abyss. De profundis clamavit [Out of the depths he cried out]. So I take refuge from his [crises] with you. I suppose you are not particular about this place, and don’t mind leaving the niche to the monk? It will be a great relief for me. Only keep it dark—mum’s the word.”

 

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