Jan 22, 2010

A Salutation and a Pledge to Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya (Dada) – by Alok Pandey

A strong pillar of the Ashram life has fallen -- a pillar of strength, a pillar of love, for behind the strong exterior of Dada there always flowed a soothing river of love even as fresh streams reside within and flow from a majestic mountain’s heart. This was not the usual thing that men call love, not something weak and sentimental that human beings often romanticise. It was a strong and mighty current, much like his being and his persona, that derived its truth and force from his unflinching faithfulness and love for the Mother.



[Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya (affectionately called Dada) who first came to the Ashram in 1942, settled in 1945 and became one of the closest attendants of the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, passed away at 2.40 in the afternoon on 8 January 2010.]

A strong pillar of the Ashram life has fallen -- a pillar of strength, a pillar of love, for behind the strong exterior of Dada there always flowed a soothing river of love even as fresh streams reside within and flow from a majestic mountain’s heart. This was not the usual thing that men call love, not something weak and sentimental that human beings often romanticise. It was a strong and mighty current, much like his being and his persona, that derived its truth and force from his unflinching faithfulness and love for the Mother. It was, we may say, the Mother’s love, the love She had abundantly poured on him and all whom She drew close to Herself. Of course, Dada was a special recipient of that Love and Glory. And this special Grace, of which he was the recipient and a strong vessel, was not just because of his straightforward nature, his honesty and fidelity to the truth, his courage and fearlessness, not even for his love for Her. These are no doubt admirable and rare qualities, indispensable for the Yoga and the Divine Life. They are the solid elements of human nature, the best that the old creation could provide, to be used as scaffolding for the Future Work, the New Creation of tomorrow. Dada had these in abundance, qualities that would not only mark one as a hero and a leader in any sphere of life, what the Gita calls as srestha, the very best among men. But that was not the only thing. The deeper reason perhaps lay in the fact that Dada took upon himself the most challenging field of work. Not the subtle regions of the mind, not even the flowing domains of the heart, which respond more easily to the divine touch. Instead he chose to work upon the most obstinate, the most stubborn of all elements, the physical body -- that hard, rock like material, impervious to all Light and which does not allow any Ray to pass through its thick and obscure substance. As we know, the yogis of the past did not even attempt it; most dread this domain that is the very bastion of resistance. Dada consented to enter this dark and dangerous field, dark to any spiritual light, and by Her Grace, with Her as his divine Teacher, did admirable work that will help the coming generations. He established Her fort in the most difficult terrain, the country of fixed dead matter, as we call it. Yet by the power of Her Love, he managed to bring this dead matter to life and awaken it to Her love and compelled it to aspire for Her Light.

Such men never die! Nor does their work go vain. They have inspired the hearts and minds of humanity, they have shaped many lives by their subtle influence and neither the inspiration one has derived from them, nor their occult influence cast upon men by their inner beings cease with their passing on to domains beyond the grasp of our material senses. If anything, freed from the hard grip of the human frame and the limiting cage of embodied nature, they become freer, larger and universal in their action, even as a god bears with his immensity the creation’s load. Their force liberated from the narrow circle of the few and the fortunate reaches out to the many, often even unknown to them. Having done their appointed task, they return to the hill tops of silence from where they came. But what they have gathered within their bodies, they leave behind as a gift to earth. They enrich the earth not only during their life but also through their death. While it is natural that we feel his loss as if some material aspect of our Divine Mother has left us, yet by this very act of sacrifice, if we may say so, this material power universalises itself and enters into hearts and souls that are ready. It even diffuses itself into matter, percolating silently layer by layer and from there awakens it to aspire, increasing and releasing Light from within its dark folds much as the Angirasa sages of old released Light from the caves of darkness by the power of the Mantra. But this is not just the power of the mantra releasing Light from the caves of darkness, but rather converting those very caves into homes of Light, to invade the dark bases upon which the foundations of our earthly life seem to stand. They have been instrumental in establishing upon earth the seeds of the Supramental Truth-Consciousness that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo brought down to earth by Their tapasya.

Indeed it is Their labour, Their Glory, Their Grace and Love that we see fructified in these pioneers that have gone before us in this life. But they needed instruments, earth-natures that are fit and ready or willing to be made ready, surrendering themselves to Her tremendous touch, plastic to Her Force that few can bear or hold. These pioneers and pillars provided that much needed soil to plant the divine seed upon earth. The seeds did take roots and have grown, watered by Her Love and helped by the Sun of Their Grace brooding over our earth. The work done, They withdrew but not before ensuring that the roots are secure. In time to come, many more saplings will emerge out of each of these trees, the seeds of Light will find better and better human vessels, and earth made ready by the Supramental Force ploughing our minds and bodies and life since Its descent on 29th feb 1956....

Alok Pandey

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