Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo
The Complete Set
I am rather grieved to know that you rubbed off what you wrote, and that my attempts to draw you out have failed very narrowly! But what are we to do? Everybody's opinion is that nothing can be got out of you unless you are “pricked” (not my term) and we want to know so much of your life of which we know so little!
Why the devil should you know anything about it?
So I dared to make this hazardous statement. Often we have to write strongly about what we feel and think and so many ways and means we have to devise just for a few more strokes than you almost grudgingly allow. You will admit that I almost succeeded in my diplomacy (forgive me).
Of course, I don't mean that lack of money is the only danger one can be in. Nevertheless, is it not true that poverty is one of the greatest dangers as well as incentives? The lives of many great men illustrate this. Therefore living poorly seems to me to be akin to living dangerously. I know that my contention has obvious fallacies in it, but isn't this mostly true
Not in the least. You are writing like Samuel Smiles.1 Poverty has never had any terrors for me nor is it an incentive. You seem to forget that I left my very safe and “handsome” Baroda position without any need to it and that I gave up also the Rs. 150 of the National College Principalship, leaving myself with nothing to live on. I could not have done that, if money had been an incentive.
But what is the use of telling me what Nietzsche meant by it? How am I to know that you mean the same as he?
Certainly not the commercial test.
I was quoting Nietzsche – so the mention of him is perfectly apposite.
Kindly let us know by your examples, what you mean by living dangerously that we poor people may gather some courage and knowledge...
I won't. It is altogether unnecessary besides. If you don't realise that starting and carrying on for ten years and more a revolutionary movement for independence without means and in a country wholly unprepared for it meant living dangerously, no amount of puncturing of your skull with words will give you that simple perception. And as to the Yoga, you yourself were perorating at the top of your voice about its awful, horrible, pathetic and tragic dangers. So –
1 A well-known Scottish writer of the mid-19th century who laid great stress on the importance of difficulties and self-effort in building character and in achievement of every kind.