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Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo

The Complete Set

Here's about the “damned hieroglyphs” you don't understand, though I don't understand why you don't. If you only read Sherlock Holmes' science of deduction and analysis which I have done lately, you would have at once realised my remark.

Sherlock Holmes arranges his facts beforehand and then detects them unlike these doctors.

Well, keep the chart vertically then it should at once be clear to you that the red line is the normal temperature line: 98.6, and the fever would be about 101.8. Then the figures below, what could they be? Well, your long association with doctors should have taught you that in a fever chart pulse rate is recorded with the temperature.

Never gave me one, so far as I remember; I mean not of this problematical kind.

If that be so, between those pairs of damned figures, one must be of pulse, and which is it? Surely not 30, 26, because with that rate no charts would have been sent to you!

Naturally, I knew it must be the pulse, but what were the unspeakable 30s and 24s attached to them? And I didn't want the pulse, I wanted the temperature. However your red line which I had not noticed sheds a red light on the matter, so that is clear now. I was holding it horizontal because of its inordinate length.

What are these 30, 26, 24 and 24 then? Just a little bit of cool thinking would again point out, Sir, that they are respiration rates – normal being 20, 22, or so. Now is it simple and easy or is it not?

No, Sir, it is not. What's the normal respiration rate anyhow? 32 below zero or 106 above? (N.B. zero not Fahrenheit but Breathen-height.)

Can you say the same thing about your yogic hieroglyphs? By Jove, no!

There are no hieroglyphs in Yoga – except the dream and vision-symbols and nobody is expected to understand these things.

But what about E? Extravagant? Eccentric? Epatant?

Let the Sherlockian vein be pardoned. One independent criticism: I don't know how they suspect pneumonia with a respiration rate of only 30, 26. It should bound up to at least 40. Instead with a temperature of 102 [38.9C], it is only 24!

Well, both the doctors did that and one is a mighty man there, the Doctor of Doctors. But perhaps it's the fashion in Hyderabad to breathe like that when one has pneumonia. Anyhow pn. seems to have dropped out of the picture, and the D of Ds tells only of typhoid and a possible reactivity of inactive germs of tuberculosis.

I have at last written a poem, Sir. I have avoided anapaests as far as possible,

I have brought some in, but without any impure intention – they just came.

You will see that I have tried to immortalise depression, tried to bring in power, passion and spirit of the wilderness, with what success, you may judge. Amal says that it is very good – even “fine”.

It is certainly good – in away fine. The only defect is that it is somehow reminiscent of things that have been written before. It is difficult to be otherwise when one tries to immortalise depression – so many people have done it before you.

Today Mother said to me something during pranam – something more than “said”. I searched in my mind, heart and body – what is it I have done!

She didn't; she only looked at you a little longer than usual.

I can take any amount of thrashing with grace, even good grace, as you have had enough evidence by now, but to take it without knowing the why or how of it, goes a little too deep, Sir.

No thrashing at all – not even the natural yearning to thrash you.

For an earthly reason, I found that I have accepted an invitation for lunch. Is that then why Mother focussed her fury on my dread soul? Or is the reason unearthly?

Knew nothing about it.

Never dreamed even of the lunch – was thinking of B.P. – not of any delinquency of yours.

You can't say there was nothing...

I can and do.

I was positively conscious that there was something and I want to know it if only to rectify myself.

Only fancy, sir, dear delightless fancy. Nothing more deceiving than these pseudo-intuitions of Mother's displeasure and search for its non-existent reasons. Very often it comes from a guilty conscience or a feeling that one deserves a thrashing, so obviously a thrashing must be intended. Anything like that here?

The word “focus” was unintelligible? But you understand all right. I adopt the device and “your attention” to save your time and mine as well as it is obvious.

Good God! Is this Hebrew or Aramaic or Swahili? I can't understand a word. Which device? which attention? Some reference to something I wrote? If so, it has clean gone out of my head. That by the way is a manner of speaking, for I have never anything in my head.


1936 03 24 Exact Writting Letter Nirodbaran