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Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo

The Complete Set

I let go the typescript, but the poem? How can I allow you to break a promise, Sir?

Break a promise? Who's going to do that? No time was fixed – so the promise can be fulfilled, say in 1997. If you say you are not likely to be alive then, nor I either – well, our heirs can complete the transaction.

What is the use of your complaining? You have committed the grave blunder of coming into this sorrowful world with a mighty magical pen. Sri Krishna, I conjecture, may have complained about his lungs because of his incessant blowing and fluting to melt our hard hearts.

It is an idea! Strange that none of the poets has mentioned it – a modernist poet would catch at it at once, “The Flute and the Lungs,” or “Krishna's Bronchitis.”

I am knocking about with Kanai and trying some joint meditation in the hope of getting something. Vain illusion?

Don't know – sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.

D has presented me a copy of his novel dolā and writes: 1 Good Lord! can't afford to be his companion in melancholy any more. He has beaten me hollow, what?

Ten times hollow! What the hell has made him so abnormally sensitive? He attributes his last despair deep as black Erebus to a joke of mine which he took as a personal sarcasm against him, though it was only a joke pointing out the logical outcome of his idea that you can't love the Divine until you experience that highly elusive gentleman. I say, you are not going to be sāthī  in that kind of thing? If so, I shall stop joking betimes and write to you henceforth with the solemnity of an owl.

U's lipoma can be operated upon under a local anaesthetic. Now all this question of operation is useless, because he says he is afraid. After all he has no discomfort and neither is it very big, he says, so let it be. Only I am thinking that if it grows bigger, as undoubtedly it will, unless your Force prevents it, what will be done then?

No use doing it if he is afraid. Let us wait on the Gods and hope they won't increase the lipoma till it deserves a diploma for its size. An American skyscraper on the neck would be obviously inconvenient.

About Mulshankar's massage – do you think a servant can be trusted to do it properly – or a sadhak, say Virabhadra, should be asked to do it. Mother wants your opinion.

You have read Nishikanta's poem rājahaṅsa. I would like to know how far the images he has put on the back of the swan, are permissible in poetry. It seems the imagination has run riot. D also voiced the same opinion. Here is a quotation: You have shown new paths to the horse known as Uchchhaishrava... By one single quiver your dance Urvasi was born. Isn't it rather too much for a swan's miraculous activity?

If you except2 matter-of-fact verisimilitude from N or a scientific ornithologically accurate swan, you are knocking at the wrong door. But I don't see exactly the point of your objection. The lake is not a lake but a symbol – the swan is not a swan but a symbol. You can't expect the lake merely to ripple and do nothing else or the swan simply to swim and eat and do nothing else. It is as much a symbol as the Bird of Fire or the Bird of the Vedic poet who faced the guardians of the Soma and brought the Soma to Indra (or was it to a Rishi, I have forgotten) – perhaps carrying a pot or several pots in his claws and beak!! for I don't know how else he could have done it. How is he to use his symbol if you do not make allowances for a miraculous Swan? If the swan does nothing but what an ordinary swan does, it ceases to be a symbol and becomes only a metaphor. The animals of these symbols belong not to earth but to Wonderland.



1 With affection, to one who has till now remained my companion in melancholy.


2 See below – the following letter.











1936 03 13 Exact Writting Letter Nirodbaran