Important Notes of Dehradun Trip – Nov 1976

Posted By Author on October 4, 2011

Important Notes of Dehradun Trip

When I opened my baggage, I found a red plastic covered small pad given by Ramanidada for writing in presence of Baba.  On this pad I wrote the dictation 17/11/76 and later copied it in the diary.  As usual various matters were discussed between Baba and me.  I jotted down points in the pad to be elaborately written in diary. As the pad was misplaced and the activity was hectic, it remained to be written in diary.  Only dictation was immediately transferred to the diary.  I put code word C in the margin. I now elaborate those points.

1.             C stood for Confession. Baba was sitting on the concrete Bedi adjoining the northern wall.  We were two alone and when I asked that of what use it was to hide his identity from me when it was becoming obvious to others. Baba became grave and in a serious and pensive mood expressed, “Yes Suresh. But mind it. I am no more that boyish and ambitious Subhash.” I nodded.  It was a red-letter day and end of my research project in which I invested my youth, money, time and physical & mental energies for fourteen years. (By now total forty-seven years spent on this project. Chandrashekhar Dandge and Prabhakar Wadodkar since 1962 till today helped me through thick and thin.)

2.             Baba was seated on the Bedi.  Chandrashekhar and others were present.  He was annoyed by the old trouble of sleuths of the Intelligence Department.  He became angry and said write to the President. “What this Fakruddin is doing?” He was so upset that he could not resist his resentment.  Then he blurted, “Suresh, just now go and bring Vijaya.” I knew Vijaya means Vijayalaxmi Pandit living near us.    Chandrashekhar and I got up.  Took the opportunity. Hardly I walked ten paces and Baba told me to halt and return.  Then he said Indira had already warned Intelligence Department not to cause any trouble to Mahatmaji (Baba).  He got this information from a very high source.  Perhaps one Mr. Mukherjee was head of the Intelligence Dept.

3.             Baba was in brightened mood.  I mentioned bus stop known as ‘Kath Bangla’ to reach at the destination. Baba then told the story of Kath Bangla. He narrated that Rabindranath Tagore’s eldest son had some scandal and to avoid ignominy and society he was made to stay at this wooden cottage.  From wooden cottage the word became common as Kath Bangla. Kath means wood. Bangla means bungalow.

4.             One Mr. Jawaharlal Sharma from Delhi visited our place regularly.  He was a high Government Official and sent lot of money here. There was another Sharma, a regular visitor from Dehradun city.  He was a middle class man.  He was impressed and said to me that I was very favourite of Baba and in future going to be a big man.  I laughed.

5.             I walked down to village Rajpura. It is a Tibetan settlement.  Ladies were weaving carpets.  Beautiful.  Most of them were for export.

6.             Monetary crunch was a perennial affair for Baba. His personal needs were bare.  A couple of set of dhoti and shirt, shawl, sweater, cigarettes, lemons, two simple meals, fruits and sweets as per availability of funds.  Milk a must.  Glasses for reading, walking stick, umbrella, socks, shoes, reed-mat, a cotton bag and tin with chord, daily newspapers and books to read, two volumes of Life Divine of Shri Aurobindo, Bhagvat Gita, and a Bengali Almanac. However his living was very aristocratic. Charity was in his blood. Hospitality was extraordinary. Every visitor was always served with tea, snacks or food. While spending money there was no budget.  Never bothered about next day.  Some tinge of old age was manifest in his memory.  He would repeat certain stories already told to me.  For example from money scarcity he related the story of Chandrashekhar Azad. How he worked with old Mahant to get money after his death. He was frustrated to see Mahant of eighty years doing five hundred sit-ups daily. So he left, etc.

7.             Baba enquired about the welfare of Prabhakar. Dr. P.N. Wadodkar, my friend from Amravati who attended to him at Melghat and visited Gangtoli too.

8.             A wattle fencing surrounded Baba’s ‘bedi’. Outside there was a Badminton court.  Sometimes Baba would play badminton with children. Netaji always put a screen for meditation even in Mandalay jail. Whether in forest or at Ashram Baba’s hut was always screened with a high compound wall of wattle and made impervious for his meditation. He meditated in deep forests of Almora, Champaran, Kulu and many other places. This was because he followed direction of Ramkrishna. In his words, “One of Ramkrishna’s favourite maxims was: practice contemplation in a quiet corner so that none may observe you.” Badminton was his favourite game in jails and at Singapore. He would play eight games at a stretch and doctors would advice him to strain less. In Shaulmari Ashram and Dehradun residence too he had a Badminton court. Baba shunned all friends and relatives because as mentioned in his autography Subhash admitted, “At times I become stone-hearted.”

9.             I took photographs of children and surrounding.  Showed lot of magic tricks to children who narrated it to Baba.  The youngest Tanu told that I cut off my thumb and separated.  Baba laughed and told me to show him how I did it.  I performed. He enjoyed and asked me to explain the trick.

10.           Ramanidada requested me to bring enough snuff for him in my next visit.

11.           There is a Cement Bedi of Baba adjoining the back wall and facing the main gate.

12.           I was invited alone in it and given food and sweets, as was his habit.

13.           In privacy I proposed Baba that I would bring a tape recorder and requested to record his life story after 1945, which I would put in the bank vault with Ramanidada.  With this I promised I would raise enough money for children.  As expected he laughed it out.  Then I reminded him that he promised me to permit me to take his photograph.  Again he laughed and remarked in Hindi, Aur Shaitani karna hai?” It means, “Do you want to be more Satanic?”  Then He said that in December end I should come with camera.

Note:       Gyanendra Banerjee was looking after correspondence of Ashram. He was from Cacchar, Assam.  Gyanbabu’s blood would boil with the name of Fakruddin  Ahmad, the President.  He was from Assam and Gyanbabu resented his pro Pakistan slogans in 1947.  That he allowed infiltration of Muslims from East Bengal, then Pakistan, into Assam and became leader of minority community.

Baba was oscillating between pessimism and optimism.  Suddenly he recited the following stanza.  It was third or fourth time and to my surprise I found it in the textbook of tenth class of my daughter in 1985. I was ignorant to assimilate its real import. With this poem he augured his departure for eternal journey. He was true to every word of this stanza. I found that he repeated this after sixty-one years. His near and dear friend was Hemant Kumar Sarkar. At the age of eighteen, Subhash wrote a letter from Kurseong on Thursday the 20th October 1915. He mentioned this stanza in the letter. (Letter No.29 on page 153 of his autobiography ‘An Indian Pilgrim.’) Baba’s recitation is as below:

“Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,

Thus unlamented let me die;

Steal from the World, and not a stone

Tell where I lie.”

- By Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope was a protestant and rebellious writer of the eighteenth century. Catholic clergy dubbed Sir Isaac Newton sacrilegious for his discoveries. Catholic Pope did not attend his burial. He is buried in West Minister Abbey, London. Alexander Pope was his dear friend and colleague and arranged Newton’s funeral and presided over it that was attended by kings and nobles. Alexander gave a stirring eulogy before sprinkling dirt on the tomb. (See Da Brown’s ‘ Da Vinci Code ‘ Pp.408, 421,422.) He wrote the above poem at the age of nine, Prof. Chandrakar furnished the complete poem.  It is in file.

Again Baba warned me that I might have to come early after resigning.  There was about 1400 acres of land of some Raja.  It was to be purchased for training 500 people for one year to start work. He said that I should finalise the deal. He instructed me to be in touch with Prem Bhatia and Acchut Patwardhan. They should be asked to attend the training camp. He instructed to find out whereabouts of Hari Kamath.

While leaving Ashram in 1965, at the gate while departing he recited the following poem, which is already mentioned.  I recited the poem and requested him to give original Sanskrit couplet (author unknown) and he dictated.  I am not sure whether it is complete.

“Like driftwood spurs, which meet and pass

Upon the boundless ocean plain

So on the sea of life, alas

Man meets man and quits again”  — Mathew Arnold

This poem is inspired by Sanskrit verse from Upanishad rendered in English as ‘Yatha kashtam cha kashtam cha sameyata mahodadhau

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