Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo
The Complete Set
What shall we do about S? Ray him or leave him?
Wait a while till the present imbroglio is over.
We allopaths are concerned with diagnosis. We open up even a dead man's viscera not to speak of sacrificing so many guinea-pigs which, according to Moni, is much more abominable than goat-sacrifice before Kali.
I suppose the objection is to the suffering inflicted which is avoidable in the other cases.
Shall we continue giving K cod-liver oil? He seems all right.
It might be stopped. Perhaps Nergine may be given instead. He will have hard work now, so a little support may be necessary.
You are asking why “amorphous”? The lines, expressions, words that I feel swarming all around me, but I cannot put into form, what else shall I call them?
If you simply feel things swarming without a shape, then you can't call that lines and expressions – it is only the chaotic potentiality of them.
One begins with the morphous lines hoping that the amorphous chaos will sweep in ecstatically and help me build a splendidly original cosmos, and what do I find? Either they elude me or what comes is something fictitious and commonplace.
That's another matter. It's like dreams in which one gets splendid lines that put Shakespeare into the shade and one wakes up and enthusiastically jots them down, it turns out to be “O you damned goose, where are you going While the river is flowing, flowing, flowing?” and things like that.
Do you mean that I should scribble down all these expressions as soon as they hop in? Good Lord! there will be parts and pieces only. How shall I make a whole poem out of them?
Many poets do that – jot down something that comes isolated in the hope that some day it will be utilisable. Tennyson did it, I believe. You don't want to be like Tennyson? Of course it is always permissible for you to pick and choose among these divine fragments and throw away those that are only semi-divine.
Already words and lines of four or five poems in halves and quarters are lying in a comatose condition, without any hope of resurrection.
Well, well – all that shows you are a poet in the making with hundreds of poems in you also in the making, very much so. The mountains in labour, you know – what?
I have told you – by some magic there is now a manifested tendency to concentrate. 3-4 duty, 4-4.30 tea, 4.30-6 writing reports, 6-8.30 meal, meditation, duty, 8.30-9 prayer class, 9.30-10.30 or 11 left to me exclusively. So only 9.30-11 is the solid time. What can one write in one or one and a half hours?
Lucky man! Ample time, sir, ample time, both to realise the Brahman and to write another Iliad – or Nirodiad.
Good Lord! what can one write in 1 or 1.5 hours? If I could only get that time for immortal productions every day! Why in another three years Savitri and Ilion and I don't know how much more would be all rewritten, finished, resplendently complete.
I can write at the most 10 lines which seem so poor a stuff!
The question is whether they are really poor or something can be made out of them.
Today I have produced 8 unchiselled lines in the afternoon – so I couldn't do any meditation.
What of that? Chisel them at the next opportunity.
Please don't ask me to fix the consciousness high while writing, for that is impossible. This is the difficulty I've been facing all along: one part bounding for concentration, another plunging into literature. How can I go straight or baldheaded?
Well, but what I mean is to stop this profitless debate in your stomach and do what you have to do. When you are moved to concentrate, concentrate – when you are moved to cosmicise chaos, cosmicise away. And don't waste time in remorses for having done either. Remorse is a damned useless affair, very depressing, defertilising etc. Even if you murder somebody or, what is worse, write lines which amount to a murder of the Muse, remorse is out of place. In the first case, the useful thing to do is to bury the corpse and in the second to seek the capacious arms of the W.P.B.1 for your misdeed or try to cover it up by doing better.
I was perplexed by your reply about Kalidasa.2 You mean he was an abstainer? You seem to know his life very well; then is there any truth in the conjecture that you were Kalidasa?
Don't know anything about that. But I said “There are no doubts, very much to the contrary” – meaning that everybody knows he was a sex-gland-active.
I have given you my timetable so that you may concentrate on me at the exact time. I hope the mathematical figures won't give you a shock!
No fear. Mathematics are more likely to send me to sleep than give a shock.
1 Waste-paper basket.