Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo
The Complete Set
I find it rather hard to be a medium between X and J. For instance X wants to use yāminī or anything in place of ūṣaśī1 but J wants to keep it.
How can “anything” be used in a poem? A slight change makes all the difference between something forceful and a mere literary expression that misses its mark.
I feel this difference hurts X, however much he may try to be calm, and, I have to convey these differences.
But why must everyone accept X's suggestions or their preference for their own ideas irritate him?
I would be happy if they could do these things direct between themselves.
Doing direct means a flare up and quarrel. You are suffering for the good of the community.
J has written in a poem:
X says: “How can stars be bent?” So he changed it to 3 whereas J declared that she wrote It because she experienced one night as if the stars were really bending down. I also found the expression very fine.
is no doubt good poetry and very good poetry but it is a purely external image and gives no subjective vibration, while J's line does. The objection that stars do not get nata stands only if, the poem describes objective phenomena or aims at using purely objective images. But if the vision behind the poem is subjective, the objection holds no longer. The mystic subjective vision admits a consciousness in physical things and gives them a subtle physical life which is not that of the material existence. If a consciousness is felt in the stars and if that consciousness expresses itself in subtle physical images to the vision of the poet, there can be no impossibility of a star being 4 – such expressions attribute a mystical life to the stars and can appropriately express this in mystic images. I agree with you about the fineness of the line.
X says: “This may not be an experience at all and who knows if it is not an imagination, and how are we to say which is which?”
But is it necessary to say which is which? It is not possible to deny that it was an experience, even if one cannot affirm it – not being in the consciousness of the writer. But even if it is an imagination, it is a powerful poetic imagination which expresses what would be the exact feeling in the real experience. It seems to me that that is quite enough. There are so many things in Wordsworth and Shelley which people say were only mental feelings and imaginations and yet they express the deeper seeings or feelings of the seer. For poetry it seems to me the point is irrelevant.
X argues, “E said many things that she used to imagine. She herself considered them experiences.”
How do you know that E's sayings are only imaginations? If so, they are very remarkable imaginations for a child of that age. They might be the communications of her inner being to her mind which she was to express in. A few children have that in a degree; in some it takes the form of imagination – E had it in a very unusual degree. I hope the elders will not knock this rare gift out of her by their misunderstanding and want of sympathy.
All this highly confidential if you please. I don't want to rub X the wrong way just now as his nerves are in a rather raw state and if he gets upset it means a lot of unnecessary work for me.
I think that anyone who has had some insight into these occult worlds, can no longer stand on absolute rationalism... Qu'en dites-vous? Stars can be humble?
I have answered that.
I hear Mother has vetoed J's poem being dedicated to her. X says it has already been done. “Is Mother's name to be taken out?” he asks.
It was more an objection than a veto – and not to the dedication but to the emphasising of it by the poems. X says he has given the order to print and it is not worth while upsetting that now. Let it stand.
I am merely repeating the words “impurity, desire, despair”, in my poetry.
Well everybody repeats himself. A time will come when this trinity will disappear, let us hope.
Did you seriously write that I would have been “a talented young man”?5 I find no talent anywhere.
Well, you thought outside you would have made the same progress. I simply expressed my doubts whether your utmost efforts would have carried you beyond literary talent.
You have so abruptly stopped writing about the Yogic Force.
I didn't stop because I didn't begin. I wrote some scattered answers only and intimated to you that volumes might come out in future (not in these notes) which you would probably not read.
K doesn't come any more. Is she another kicker like R.B.?
Am without news of her.
2 Millions of stars are swaying in rhythm
And, sparkling, pour their diamonds:
They are bent downward in self-oblivious ecstasy.
3 In a steadfast stream of illumination.
4 Bent downward in self-oblivious ecstasy.