Established in , the aim is to spread the message of the Veda and Sri Aurobindo, which imbibes awareness to lead beautiful, harmonious, creative and a happy life, individually and collectively. We should become conscious of every act or thought in us so that we can indeed lead a beautiful and harmonious life. What we do? The revival of the knowledge of the Vedas and paying due attention to it, which it truly deserves, is the need of the time. The more the inner meaning of the Vedas is brought to light, the more will be the effulgence and expansion of the true genius of India, which will lead of not only the good of India, not even only of mankind, but also to the entirety of Nature and environment, both animate and inanimate. This verily is our firm conviction and ardent hope.
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Enter T. Kapali Sastri, an eminent Sanskrit scholar of South India. It is no longer deep-brown as before. In you, Yoga incarnate carries now its true complexion. Now I have come, my mind made up once for all, to throw myself at your feet and upon your Grace for ever. Pray how should I proceed in the first step of your Yoga? But I cannot try the too-hard so soon.
I repeat I throw myself at your feet and upon your Grace, now and for ever. Do with me as you please. Sri Aurobindo gives a gracious smile and a nodding assent. An early photograph of Kapali Sastry. Prabhakar was my first Sanskrit teacher. He was an authority, specially on the Rig Veda.
Sri Aurobindo said such nice things about him. This story happened in I had written some prayers in English. They came from the very depths of my heart. I was a seeker and I shall always remain an eternal seeker, so these prayers came from the seeker in me.
I liked this particular teacher very much. He was extremely kind to me and full of affection for me. I went to his house and showed him these prayers. They numbered about twenty. He liked them immensely. If somebody had told me that Mother had written these prayers, my faith in the Mother would have increased so much! I would have immediately touched her feet and offered her all my love, adoration and devotion because they are so beautiful, so soulful.
But you are just a little kid, so I cannot do that. I know who you are. Instead of touching your feet, I can only bless you. I still have them in my Indian notebooks.
What a wonderful teacher! He was absolutely right. Always we have to know who has written the words or who has said the words.
The very next moment he himself will go and steal and tell lies and everything. The force carries through the words. The same thing can be said by different people but you have to know the source. This next story happened a few months later. In those days, in December, we used to have an annual cultural function at the Ashram. In English, the poem begins, In the blue of the sky, in the green of the forest, Whose is the Hand that has painted the glow?
I like this poem so much. Hundreds and hundreds of times I used to recite it — sometimes softly, sometimes forcefully. Anyway, my teacher was teaching the class to recite the Sanskrit words in the South Indian style. Unfortunately, on that occasion I became the worst student because I did not like his way at all. He wanted me to join the group but I was not getting any joy, so I was not learning his way. I was making mistakes, perhaps deliberately, God alone knows. This teacher had such affection for me, but I was not doing it the way it should be done.
So he asked me to recite it for him in my own way. The way I recite poems, Bengali and Sanskrit, is pure Tagore style. Since I could not learn his way, he threw me out. Mother used to watch the final rehearsal of each group. If she approved the performance, then only you could be in the programme. So my teacher took about twenty students to recite the poem in front of the Mother.
Many Ashramites were also there listening and I was among the audience. I was in a very good consciousness, not at all jealous!
Mother listened to their recitation, but she did not like it at all. Still, she graciously gave him another chance. They need improvement. Now you do it in your own way. Since the Mother did not approve of my way, let us try yours. If you yourself do not like it, it is useless for me to teach others. But I really want you to try. Perhaps Mother will make a selection. She heard mine this week and she will hear yours next week.
The best thing is to try your way. My way was very simple. Sometimes there was a musical touch in it. He also made a few suggestions to improve it. We went the following week to recite the poem in front of the Mother. O God, she liked it very much. I was seated in the front row. Then Mother had to ask me whether I recited or not. She asked me what I was doing in the audience. So I also joined the group and, in a week or two, at the cultural programme, we recited it exactly my way.
My poor teacher! He showed such magnanimity of heart. Not only was he the ocean of wisdom but he had such a large heart. He was sincerely happy that Mother like my version. This story shows his nobility. Next to Kapali Sastry, we were like drops. He was the ocean of knowledge. He wrote a book in English that was all about the Mother.
It was called Flame of White Light. He asked me to translate it into Bengali. In the Ashram, these great sadhaks did not request; they just compelled. Pandit, who was a very great literary figure in the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo was M. So I translated the book into Bengali.
The booklet was printed at the Ashram. The original cover and the pages of Bengali text follow: 1 5. All of a sudden, so many reminiscences of my Sanskrit teacher started flowing in my mind-river. I could not believe it. Later I learnt that it was his centenary year.
T.V. Kapali Sastry