Nagin-bhai Tells Me

— R. Y. Deshpande

cover

Price: Rs 60

Pages: 82
Dimensions (in cms): 14x22
Soft Cover
   
Publisher: Aurosoorya, Pondicherry

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About Nagin-bhai Tells Me

Nagin-bhai came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram as a young boy in the 1930s. He had a regular correspondence with Sri Aurobindo regarding his sadhana, the role of Avatarhood, etc. Quoting from the introduction, `He always regarded the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, to put it in his own words, "like my own mother and father" and there is no doubt that it is they who were doing Yoga in him as his spiritual parents.' The author had regular conversations with Nagin-bhai from 1994 to 1997 when Nagin-bhai passed away. Records of Nagin-bhai's experiences as narrated to the author comprise Part 1 of this book.
Part 2 consists of miscellaneous material on Nagin-bhai.

REVIEW



  Nagin Doshi came to Sri Aurobindo at the age of fourteen "for the sake of making a nice long journey" to Pondicherry during his school vacations. However during the month that he spent at the Ashram certain changes were wrought in his being so that, back home at Bhavnagar, Gujarat, he could stay for no longer than two days. He hurried to Pondicherry "with the full realisation that I could not possibly live, either happily or unhappily, without the Mother and Sri Aurobindo."

  That was the beginning of a long journey of self-discovery, self-development and self-surrender to his chosen Gurus. The three volumes of letters from Sri Aurobindo to Nagin brought out by Sri Aurobindo Society in 1974 (Vol.I) and Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1976 and 1987 (Vols.II, III) show us how closely Sri Aurobindo followed and how carefully shaped the growing boy to be his instrument and field. The letters outline Nagin's sadhana upto 1937.

  After that nothing is revealed any more except what the keen eyed can glean from the occasional poems in Mother India, which appeared all together in 1997 along with an essay of Nagin's in Early Whisperings of the Great Event privately published from Delhi. Then appears Naginbhai Tells Me, a collection of the comments made to a brother sadhak over the span of four years: 1994 to 1997, the last four years of his life. Meeting brother Deshpande briefly during the school recess two or three times a week, Nagin started by asking clarifications about passages from Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine and Letters on Yoga but soon started telling him the "important aspects of his sadhana as it was progressing" from day to day.

  The result is a rare treasure: sadhaks as a rule are tightlipped about their sadhana as it is held that only the Guru has any business knowing about their peregrinations. It will delight both the curious and the aspirant, providing the one with lucid description and the other with a general inspiration and encouragement as well as helpful pointers on the way.

  The comments are forthright, concise, unembellished. There are few explanations. Just statements. "Remember and Offer" sums up Nagin's personality as revealed through them. It is this attitude that enables him to describe the work that is taking place in him as though he were just a witness. Occasionally he may be puzzled or curious but never more involved than that, and always fully recovers his surrendered stance:

He [Sri Aurobindo] told me not to touch him, nor to touch Power. "Do not try to touch me" was his clear instruction.

What does that mean? Why was he telling me that? Perhaps it means that the issue should not be forced. Things should be allowed to go on without any insistence of any kind.

I was asking for supramental peace and strength and purity; I even willed for them. But it seems I should not exercise my will. I should aspire, but not will. The sadhana should be left in their hands. They know what is needed for me.

(20/7/94)

  However this is not a passive surrender that does away with effort. For he says

When people say that the Mother is doing all Sadhana and that we have nothing to do, I say, it is to ignore our responsibility.

                    (9/2/95)

  And insists

They [Mother and Sri Aurobindo] are working but I have to do my work as well.

(9/2/95)

  These confidences make up Part I of the book. Part II contains several interesting documents that help us to place Nagin. To the average reader it would definitely serve as an introduction and provide a background to situate the first part. His poems, extracts from his correspondence with Sri Aurobindo, a report of his contact with a visionary called Esha, and two testimonials from fellow-sadhaks Kailas Tippesamy and Amal Kiran all serve that purpose.

  

  The first poem given is of particular interest because it seems to bear a connection to the experience of the Supramental Descent on earth, which the Mother had nearly a year after Nagin wrote his poem. Her experience of 29 February 1956 centres around a "golden door which separated the world from the Divine". The Mother struck the door and smashed it to bits, "the supramental Light and Force and Consciousness rushed down upon earth in an uninterrupted flow." In Nagin's poem too a golden gate opens in "a movement of light" and "then gushed out air the world had never breathed before".

  Another interesting point in Part II concerns an experience known to most sadhaks, when all progress stops. Amal Kiran in his tribute says that Nagin had "six long years of sadhana-stoppage". Nagin himself in his comment of 9 February 1995 says "Almost for twenty years, I was not doing anything." Then on 29 June 1994 he reveals "the last 30-40 years there was really no sadhana." Amidst this juggling of figures is there any lurking figure of despair or hopelessness? Has the barren stretch broken the camel's back? Not a whimper. And indeed, no time for all that, for "The work is going on now."

  And that is the whole thrust of the booklet. It stands as a testimony to the ongoing experiment of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in man. As Deshpande says, "what we see in it is the work the Master and the Mother do in each prepared soul of theirs."

— Sunam Mukherjee

November 2002