Letters of Sri Aurobindo
Volume 1. 1935
Letter ID: 1447
Sri Aurobindo — Nirodbaran Talukdar
October 18, 1935
You always paralyse me by bringing in Mother and yourself in the argument. I can try to fight my cause against others who are human, or have been so at one time; but you are non-human.
All this about human and non-human is sheer rubbish, your usual red-herring across the path; you use it in order to argue that our knowledge and experience are of no practical value because they apply to us alone and cannot apply to or help human beings. As if no human beings ever had a clear mind and strong will able to make a resolution and carry it out without vital struggles and repinings. There are thousands who have done so. Even most ordinary men can do it when the passion for a cause seizes them. I have seen that in hundreds during the Swadeshi times. And do you think none who were human ever had conquered passion for the Divine?
Somnath suggests that I might try to write humorous stories, since he suspects that there is humour in me, however glum my outer appearance may be. He argues further that “since Sri Aurobindo is so humorous in your letters, you must surely have that element in you, which invites some response to it”. Well, Sir?
There is a psychological truth involved in that reasoning. But it may be that it is an appreciation of humour rather than a power of humorous creation.
He asked how is it that sometimes secular literature moves one more, and gives a greater light and illumination than religious literature?
Religious literature inspires only the religious-minded,– and most religious literature, apart from the comparatively few great books, is poor stuff. Secular literature either appeals to the idealistic mind or to the emotions or to the aesthetic element in us, and all that has a much easier and more common appeal. As for spiritual light, it is another thing altogether. Spirituality is other than mental idealism and other than religion.
In literary expression, I think, it is the inner man that counts. But that would be tantamount to saying that an insincere man can’t write things which will move the readers with a genuine and concrete something, or even if he does, not so much.
Plenty of insincere men have written inspiring things. That is because something in them felt it, though they could not carry it out in life, and that something was used by a greater power behind. Very often in his art, in his writings, the higher part of a man comes out, while the lower dominates his life.
What shall we say then about Y? You seem to have said that his poems have helped many people, yet he was not quite sincere to his mood in his expression. Mother also spoke of his insincerity, it seems, and remarked that if he had been sincere his poems would have had a great force.
The Mother spoke of the poetry written in his bad after-days when he was merely repeating himself. It does not mean that nothing he wrote was sincere.
What about B.P.? His eyes seem cured – what about the rest of the business – sores? syphilis? blood test?