16 Aug 2014

An Interview with Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya in May 1991 (3)

Interviewer(s): Pranab-da, you said that on the 24th April, 1945 you marched in front of Sri Aurobindo. Where and how was it?

Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya: It was in 1948. It was in the Darshan Room. He was sitting in the Darshan Room and we did the march past in the hall that is above Meditation Hall [downstairs]. We came in by the staircase door that is nearer to the staircase, and then took a round and came out by the other door. Two in a row and we told everybody not to do pranam and all that, as that will spoil the march past. Just turn your head and see. In bhakti, you know, if they did pranam, they would spoil everything (laughter).  So the whole march past took some three or four minutes and we got the advantage of going again for the second time, so we had two Darshans.

Interviewer(s): She said anything after that?

PKB: She liked it very much. Sri Aurobindo was amused, that is what Mother said. There was a little smile on his face, we could see that. And when it was finished, I went and told him that it was over and he gave me a nod. Then Mother told me that the way I had come and said the thing was over was liked very much by Sri Aurobindo.

Kittu: He was sitting in the same place?

PKB: In the same place as in the Darshan picture.

Kittu: Before starting, you went and told him that now you are going to start?

PKB: No, I was given the signal to start.

Kittu: And you stood there?

PKB: In the corner, near the door, and I was counting Un, Deux, Un, Deux. (laughter)

Interviewer(s): So as they went two by two from the staircase, they turned to the right?

PKB: Eyes right.

Kittu: Tête droite

Interviewer(s): And then turn left.

PKB: And come back by the other door.

Interviewer(s): He commented afterwards “quite a smart turnout”?

PKB:  He was very happy and amused, that is what Mother told me.

Interviewer(s): You had any occasion to talk with Sri Aurobindo?

PKB: As I said, yes (laughter). It happened in those days that I was suffering terribly from depression and the depression was coming and lasting sometimes one week, two weeks, three weeks! Now I know that two things saved me, firstly, that I strictly followed the discipline – I never missed any of my appointments and work; and, secondly, I did hard physical exercise. These two things saved me. I was suffering from depression, and one day after tennis we came to the Playground. There was a foreigner, I think, and Mother asked me to show him Physical Education, and I became angry and said, “No I am not going to show him.” I just walked out, and the idea came to me that I would walk on and on and on and when my energy would be finished, I would drop dead. That was my idea and so with that I started going. So I walked around, here and there, and when I reached the Military Ground (there is a bridge there), I sat on the wall and I was thinking which way to go. Then, after some time, it became evening and I started feeling sad that Mother must be searching for me, and she must be feeling very bad. So after some time all my anger melted away and I was coming back. When I came near Parc à Charbon, I saw Pavitra-da and Amiyo, they were in a car and they were looking for me. Mother sent them to look for me to see where I had gone. So they took me in the car and brought me to Mother. And as soon as I came to Mother in the Ashram, she caught hold of my hand and took me to Sri Aurobindo. There I told Sri Aurobindo that this cannot go on for a long time, I was suffering from this thing. He consoled me and said that it would be all right, it would be all right.

I told him: “This is happening and you must make me all right. How long should it continue?” I started in Bengali and when I found that he had difficulty in speaking Bengali, I started in English again. Then he consoled me and from that time...  even before that, Mother was always telling me: “I would like to give you a present. If you get that, all your troubles will go.” She was promising and promising me, and days and months and years passed. It was only in 1968 that I could tell Mother: “I am getting the present that you wanted to give me.” Then gradually the depression went away. It passed through. But from 1945 to 1968, I suffered from terrible depression.

Interviewer(s): What was the depression about?

PKB: No apparent reason. But after I came out of it, I understood what it was. I wanted to live a higher life under the highest principle, but my lower being wanted its ways, and naturally that was bringing the difficulty and there was conflict of motives and personality. At that time, I didn’t know from where it came. Mother knew it but she didn’t tell me, she said: “It will go and you will understand everything afterwards.” When I came out of it, then I knew what it was and it was all working in my subconscient and inconscient, and I was not conscious about it. Now I can tell when people come and ask me, I say it is coming from there and you have to work upon it, pray and work and apply your discipline and all that.

Kittu: What kind of work?

PKB: Work means first you have to be conscious from where it is coming and try to call or try to open it more to the light of the Divine and aspire for change. That is the only thing to do. All that I didn’t know and I didn’t do it, but when I came out I knew what it actually was. It looked as if it came from nowhere, this terrible depression. But these two things saved me, I never shirked from my duty and I did hard exercise, two hours, three hours of exercise every day.

Interviewer(s): Any other occasion when you had a talk with Sri Aurobindo?

PKB: No, but he was taking my news from Mother. Sometimes he was telling me certain things through Mother, sending news or getting my news as to how I was.

Interviewer(s): He was keeping a tab on you. Did you do pranam to him or you just talked?

PKB: Pranam, pranam. Fell on his feet.

Interviewer(s): He was sitting?

PKB: He was sitting with legs stretched out.  Mother caught hold of my wrist and pulled me and took me to him and I fell immediately at his feet. He talked a little, consoled me, patted my head. Then Mother told me that he was very much enthusiastic about my body. He was praising Sri Krishna’s body but he was not happy with his own body, but when he saw me, he was enthusiastic about it.

Interviewer(s): You didn't tell us the present that she gave you?

PKB: Yes, that is the present. The depression went away and I came in contact with my true being. If you are in contact with your true being, then all problems are solved. At least, you can face all problems squarely without fear and without difficulties. That present she gave me. That present she wanted to give me since a long time.

Kittu: You told her?

PKB: Yes, I told her that I am getting it. I am getting it. Somebody asked me how you are still so confident when Mother has left and you don’t seem to be worried about anything at all. I didn’t answer, but this must be the reason. You have somewhere the question [put to me], “Are you in contact with your psychic being intermittently or at will?” That was her present, the permanent contact. I need not tell people, but it happened, and after that there is no fear, no worry, no anxiety, whatever may happen I can take it easily, smilingly.

Interviewer(s): Did she tell you what is to be done in yoga or how to do yoga?

PKB: Yes, how to widen oneself, how to absorb the power or light that is coming. How to be conscious – she was putting much stress on becoming conscious – and that is the first stage; and with consciousness you work upon your defects, open up the faults that you find, and this is to be done constantly. In other disciplines you are tested before you are taken in their order. But here the test is at every moment. Every moment you are tested for your sincerity, about the purpose for which you have come here.

Interviewer 1: Did she teach you occultism?

PKB: We started an occultism class, it was...

Interviewer 2: Occultism class!

PKB: Yes, myself and Mother. It was after midnight. She was feeding Sri Aurobindo and coming to sleep at 1.30 or 2 o’clock. The first lesson was how to come out of the body. Once I came out, and then I had contact with a huge being looking almost like a camel, with thorns on the body and pressing upon me. I got terrible pain and I shouted, “Mother, Mother.” “Yes, yes, yes, you are here,” [she said], and then I came back into the body. I explained to her what had happened and she said that these were all vital beings; they sometimes try to torture us but, as we have a body, we have protection. The body is like our fort, so there is nothing to fear. For a few days it continued, but in those days I was doing tremendous work and exercise and feeling very sleepy. So one day I asked Mother: “Is there no way by which you could simply pass this thing directly to me without this lengthy process?” She said: “Yes, there is a possibility.” I said: “You better do that, I am feeling very sleepy at this time; I will call you whenever there is difficulty. You come to my help and do what is necessary. If that is possible, you better do that.” It lasted for two weeks, I think.

Interviewer(s): But she showed you the procedure of how to come out of the body?

PKB: Yes, how to come out. Concentrate on the heart and you come out through the heart, and there should be a link, and that link should not be broken. So when you practise occultism, there must be somebody to guard your body. At night when I was staying with her, I was guarding her body and she was confident that nothing would happen to her body when she was going out. If that link is cut, then you are dead.

Interviewer(s): But you were guarding her body physically?

PKB: Naturally the support was there, an occult support was there.

Interviewer(s): Did you ask her to teach you occultism?

PKB: No, she simply called me and told me one day that she would teach me occultism. And I was a young boy at that time. How old was I, 23 or 24 years old, and at midnight you know, I was terribly tired and feeling sleepy. It didn’t go well, I was often falling asleep even while sitting. In those days I was sleeping very little, for a few hours only, 2 to 3 hours perhaps.

Kittu: You used to have dinner with her?

PKB: Had dinner with her and attended to her. She was coming at 1.30 after giving food to Sri Aurobindo, and I slept on the floor the whole night. In the morning I was taking a glass of milk and coming home at 4 o’clock.

Kittu: She used to come down to leave you?

PKB: First she was coming down and opening Abhay Singh’s door – the Rosary door; all the way she would come, open the door, let me out and then close it at 4 o’clock. Then later when she was not well, she was coming up to the first floor door just before the staircase.

Interviewer(s): Was she sleeping, in the normal sense of the word, or just resting?

PKB: No, she was resting.

Interviewer(s): How many hours of rest?

PKB: Not much. Two to three hours perhaps, she was on the bed for two or three hours, not more.

Interviewer(s):  In those days regular meditation used to go on and after meditation she used to go and give food to Sri Aurobindo and then...

PKB: Yes, all these things, first food and then occultism till very late - how I stood all that for months and years, I don’t know! I never suffered from any sickness; that is strange. I didn’t get mentally deranged also, and those bouts of depression on top of all that! Now when I think of it all, I don’t know, I am amazed, how I could pass through all that and am still quite all right! One day Champaklal told me: “Whoever came very close to Mother, either went away from here or became mad or died; you are the only person who has stood up till now.”

Interviewer(s): Could you explain the process through which you came out of your body?

PKB: I just told you. Concentrate in the heart and with the concentration you just come out and there is a link between the body and the soul

Interviewer(s): You perceived it immediately?

PKB: I did. That experience I had, the camel experience.

Interviewer(s): Afterwards did you ever do it?

PKB: Yes, I tried in my bed and sometimes it was successful, it worked – coming out [of the body] and seeing people; sometimes I tried to help people, that I could do. Now I remember, even in my childhood, I could do it. It will sound very big, but since we are talking about it, I am telling you this. My brother got typhoid, my second brother Himadri. I was there at that time in Calcutta and he was at Behrampur, 15 miles from Calcutta. As soon as the news came at night, I started concentrating and tried to help him. And it worked. Of course, he was given treatment and medicine, but it worked, he became all right. So it was perhaps quite natural (and it will seem like boasting), but one thing I can still do is that if somebody is sick, I can take away the sickness on me. That I have tried. The last time I tried was with this gentleman, our Ashok Sengupta. He had a terrible kind of pain on the back and I took it upon myself and I suffered for many years; now it is gone. When he comes, I shall ask him whether he is cured of it or not. I shall ask him because he doesn’t know. But in that way I have cured many, taking it upon myself and then working it out. I was doing that often before. For the Mother also I did it many times, to take it away upon myself. One day, she said “Shall I pull more from you?” I said, “What is my existence for, it is for you only. If you want, you can take me fully; all my energies you can take and you can live.” To that she said: “Mother cannot do that.”

Kittu: She said she will draw energy?

PKB: She asked, ”Shall I pull more energy from you, shall I pull more?” I said, “Yes, as much as you like, you can even finish me by pulling if you want.” Then she said, “Mother cannot do that.” But nowadays I am a little careful, I do not take everything upon me because now, with age, I am also getting worn out and cannot stand like before. When it is necessary I can do it, take upon myself. That is easier. I explained that to Mother also. Mother said, “It is not the good way, but it can be done, but it is easier than to cure directly another person without taking upon oneself. Taking upon oneself is easier.

Interviewer(s): Did you ever see Mother doing that, taking upon oneself?

PKB: No. She was working the other way, directly. Sometimes it was coming upon her, even if she didn’t want it (that I have seen) – cold or fever or headache or pain – and she was suddenly becoming sick, suddenly! Then she said this person has given me this present (laughter).

Interviewer(s): What else did you learn with her in those two weeks?

PKB: This kind of coming out from the body and going out. That continued for two weeks, and then afterwards I got the license.

Interviewer(s): Did she take you along?

PKB: Yes.

Interviewer(s): Where did you go?

PKB: Into the vital world and I had only once that experience. Then afterwards I found that it was quite all right, because often I have had to encounter a lot of opposition, trouble and all that, but I have steered through them quite well.  It has happened many times after Mother has left her body.

Interviewer(s): Often you have to take very important decisions. How do you take these decisions?

PKB: It just comes. If I decide something and it is not comfortable inside, pleasant to me, I find that it is wrong, there must be something wrong. If I feel it is all right, pleasant, then I take the decision. I must feel within myself, it is from that feeling that I take a decision.

Kittu: Pleasant means comfortable.

PKB: Comfortable. If I feel uncomfortable, then I immediately know that my decision is wrong.

Kittu: How do you take a decision, any decision?

PKB: I don’t think, I don’t think or reason out or see the pros and cons, it just comes immediately. The question is put and immediately this thing comes. Sometimes it takes more time, sometimes immediately.

Interviewer(s): This is a perception?

PKB: Kind of.

Interviewer(s):  Kind of happy feeling?

PKB: Yes, that’s what I told. If I feel uncomfortable, then I say there must be something wrong, so I must review it. That I have done, and changed often my decision, not immediately perhaps, but one or two days later I have changed. “Oh, what I said or what I did was not correct, this is the right thing!” 

It just comes like that, I do not reason or see pros and cons and weigh the possibilities, I do not act like that; it just comes.

1 comment:

  1. Very intimate and inspiring, a gift for the Darshan.