In the face of huge publicity and propaganda in favour of some freedom fighters whose names are the main thrust of some political party, making them cult figures, Sri Aurobindo’s name as a freedom fighter has faded into oblivion. The young generation hardly knows the true history of the freedom movement of India.
Sri Aurobindo lives in the mind of the people as a philosopher and a great thinker. Beginning with his journalistic days to the last of his poetic era, he wrote large number of essays; political, socialistic, analytical and interpretative of scriptures besides translations of classics from different languages.
But he remained a poet from his student days to the last and wrote good number of dramas besides some short stories. He could be a remarkable dramatist and fiction writer too apart from poet but he was either engaged as a secret revolutionary leader or a political leader in the open field, either a professor, journalist, social thinker or a philosopher, doing yoga, meditating while walking for ten or more hours, in between his constant efforts to create literature, translate or edit them, at different periods of his life. Busy with many other things, his original works of imagination, largely remained incomplete, inconclusive. In a stormy life, shifting from place to place, Sri Aurobindo often lost track of his own works. Some of them were in police or Government custody, recovered by chance after he passed away. In search of perfection he often amended his own works; revised, corrected or added volumes, may be once or many times, sometimes leaving little tracks for the compilers and editors. It proved difficult sometimes to reconstruct his works which at the same time gave chance to some infidels to distort his works.
It may even be that he wrote more, completed more than it seems left incomplete but he could not keep them in a regular way, could not find a trace of them. And it may equally apply to Sri Aurobindo what the Mother once said to remind her disciple that they belonged to eternity, hinting that they did not care to keep all records of their works to the temporal world. His yoga diary consisted of jotted down notes in simple note books or chits of paper, not meant for preserving. Sometimes a disciple found some papers containing his works among pieces to be destroyed or burnt down and he kept them with care.
We may refer to a portion of the well meaning opinion expressed by K. R. Srinivas Iyengar, his learned biographer in his work, ‘Sri Aurobindo-a biography and a history’ -“In one sense, of course, it is unfair to Sri Aurobindo’s literary genius to discuss plays and fragments which he did not finalise or complete, and which were not published at all.” (Pondicherry; SAICE. 1985 edition. P.144)
On the whole, compared to his non-fiction and other works his original creative literature was quite less. It is little known that he was a fiction writer and a dramatist. Even as a poet he has not been accorded that altitude as he deserves in the minds of the critics and common people. The other reason for this is perhaps that he wrote not in his Mother Tongue.
All his short stories were posthumously published. Only one drama was published during his life time. Not all his poems were published during his time.
© Aju Mukhopadhyay, 2010