The World of Sri Aurobindo’s Creative Literature

sri-aurobindo

Mukhopadhyay, Aju. The World of Sri Aurobindo’s Creative Literature. New Delhi: Authors Press, 2013. ISBN: 978-81-7273-696-5. (HB) pp. 161. Price: Rs. 600.

The World of Sri Aurobindo’s Creative Literature is one of the finest books written on Sri Aurobindo. The book is a comprehensive study of the seer-poet’s literary creations which are the gems in Indian English Literature. The book has total twelve chapters divided into four sections: Introduction, Poetry, Dramas and Short Stories.
The introductory part has detailed description of Sri Aurobindo’s life and works. From his being a true poet since his childhood to dour days in his education and qualifying in the ICS examination for the satisfaction of his parents. The author discusses “the Himalayan heights of his personality” and justifies him as “a classical scholar” like Dante.
Sri Aurobindo was inspired by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Anandmath and PB Shelley’s The Revolt of Islam as well as Swami Vivekanand. Being a voracious reader, Aurobindo studied the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and India’s all sacred texts. It was the influence of these scriptures and his time that he believed in “Spiritual Nationalism”. It is his highest order of spiritual perception that he “lives in the minds of the people mainly as a yogi and philosopher, at the most as a great thinker.”
The author illustrates various poems of Sri Aurobindo (nature, romantic and mystic). By thorough study of his poetry, the author finds that Sri Aurobindo was greatly attracted by the English poets like Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, Lord Tennyson, Swinburne, Stephen Phillips and the Greek poetry.
Besides his first volume of poetry, Songs to Myrtilla, having fine poems written between 1890 and 1892, the present book has a detailed analysis of Aurobindo’s greatest creation Savitri. The author makes comparison between Savitri and The Life Divine and asserts that “One is a poem and the other is a philosophy in prose.” Savitri has “spiritual content in poetic form, … , it is really not poetry in the usual sense but spiritual poetry of the future.”
There are various references of different writers and critics: AB Purani, Ann Margaret Robinson, P Lal, Keki N Daruwala, KD Sethna, Satprem, KR Srinivasa Iyengar, Nissim Ezekiel, Sisir Kumar Ghose, Ronald Nixon, James Cousin, Sir Herbert Read, Peter Heehs, Prema Nandakumar, Bernard M Jackson and some more in which Ann Margaret Robinson hails Sri Aurobindo as “A supreme master of English poetic expression and the greatest innovator in this language since Shakespeare.” Being honest to his work the author does not forget to put the criticism on Sri Aurobindo’s literary creations in which P Lal stands first.
Among dramas Perseus the Deliverer, Rodogune, The Viziers of Bassora, Eric and Vasavadutta have been discussed in depth and detail. The author describes that the first two plays have Syrian background and they are the results of Greek influence. The third play has the story from the Tales of the Arabian Nights told by Shahrazad in six nights to the king. It is a story that made the king spellbound, forgetting to kill the teller for her stories which continued for a long time. Eric, a romantic comedy, has setting in Norway and deals with different small kingdoms and earldoms fighting with each other for supremacy without paying heed to national unity. In the play Eric emerges as the most powerful king. In all these plays love and fate play a dominant role.
Vasavadutta is also a romantic play but this has setting on Indian soil. In this play “love triumphs against the regal power. It is a very sweet love story where the hero and heroine win against all ods by the force of love. It is taken from Somadeva’s Sanskrit storehouse of stories, Kathasaritsagara, a favourite source of Indian romance and drama.”
The last section of the book “Short Stories” covers a number of stories written by Sri Aurobindo. Some of them are: “Svapna” (A Dream), “Kshamar Adarsha” (The Ideal of Forgiveness), “Karakahini” (Tales of Prison Life), “Golden Bird”, “The Phantom Hour”, “The Devil’s Mastiff” and “The Door at Abelard”.
The author, Aju Mukhopadhyay has done a good job by producing such book, The World of Sri Aurobindo’s Creative Literature, which is comprehensive on its subject. He has approached every aspect of Sri Aurobindo’s literary world with plenty of relevant references that make the book a must read for the teachers and researchers interested in exploring Sri Aurobindo’s life and works in particular and Indian English literature in general.

Reviewed by Dr. Vijay Kumar Roy

A bilingual poet, writer, editor and critic
New Delhi, INDIA.
([email protected])

Book Review: ‘Workout Your Soul’

BOOK REVIEW ‘WORKOUT YOUR SOUL’

By Amritbir Kaur

Reading the book ‘Workout Your Soul’ is like looking within, talking to your inner-self. The book takes you along to an inward journey and you emerge out a pure, washed, somewhat cleansed soul because the book you the noble path to reach the destination – the destiny of refining of your soul. The book revolves around the thought, “A strong, undeterred virtuous soul is the key to universal faith – not rigid, dogmatic religion.”sonia singh

Sonia Singh, the author of this book, has very meticulously planned the arrangement of the chapters beginning from ‘What is Universal Religion’ and precisely ending it with ‘Forgiveness with Positive Outlook’. A very noticeable feature of the book is the way the chapters are entitled; for instance, ‘The Ticker of Goodness Within’ or ‘The Kill of Money’ – such titles not only inspire but also tempt you to read. The writing style of the book is interesting. We feel as if we are being addressed individually and this is what helps to bind the reader and keep him glued to the book.

Finally I would simply say it is a book you won’t put down before you finish reading it thoroughly. And it’s not because it is a small book with just 96 pages, which is also a plus-point, but because it presents before us the essence without any repetitions and dragged narrations.

The language of the book is simple and easy to understand, which construes that there won’t be any obstruction on your path to self-reflection. There is clarity of thought in the manner in which it has been portrayed and presented in the book. It seems that the author had the courage of conviction while writing this book, which makes the book all the more authentic and impressive. The book is like a whiff of fresh air amidst the mundane life of a common man, who doesn’t even observe all the things around, let alone looking within.

About the Author:

Sonia Singh is an author, who started out by writing poems during her schooling. She won accolades as a debater at the University level. She has a Master’s degree in Chemistry and Education. She was an editor for a science magazine and editor-in-chief for the Quarterly News during her teaching career. She wrote this book for her kids so they will remember to remain in that “regular workout (that) gives you an admirable body, similarly working out your soul can give you an exemplary soul.”

About the Book:

The 96-page book ‘Workout Your Soul’, divided into eighteen chapters, has been published by Petals Publishers and Distributors with an impressive cover display photograph and well-spaced and easy to read print and good quality printing too.

Ranjodh Singh on a mission

ranjodh singhRanjodh did his mechanical engineering, coming from roots of family business, with strong automotive history. Inspite of inherting business values, he has singularly been to carve out a distinct identity for himself not only  carrying his lineage forward but also in the field of Art and Social Work.

He joined as Project Engineer in 1989 in GS Radiators Ltd. And worked in various capacities efficiently. From being the Executive Director in 1992, he came to be Business / Chairman & Managing Director of GST GROUP in the year 2004.

Ranjodh Singh was elected as President of Ramgarhia Educational Council (REC), which runs 6 Educational institutions in Ludhiana as follows:-

    1. Ramgarhia Girls College
    2. Ramgarhia Sr. Sec School
    3. Ramgarhia Girls Sr. Sec School
    4. Ramgarhia Elementary School
    5. Ramgarhia Co-ed high School\
    6. Ramgarhia Swarag Asharam,GT Road,Dholewal.

He is the youngest President of REC and perhaps, of any Punjab university affiliated College. REC is 6 decades old institution and has done commendable work in field of education. It has been providing education to weaker sections of society. REC also manages Gurudwara Ramgarhia and Swarag Ashram.

Ranjodh Singh is presently acting as :-

  1. President- Punjab Lalit kala Academy since feb,2010-feb.2013.
  2. Finance Secretary of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana.
  3. Vice President of Punjab & Chandigarh Private College Management Association
  4. Secretary of Neterheen Sangeet Vidhalaya, Anandpur Sahib, which provides free religious education to the blind, handicapped and orphan children.
  5. President of SPIC MACAY-Ludhiana Chapter- the Society for Promotion of      Indian Classical Music Art and Culture amongst Youth.
  6. Member of Archeological Survey of India since May 2007.
  7. General Secretary of Auto Parts Manufacturers Association (India) since 27th September,2009.
  8. Member Senate—Guru Nanak Dev University-2009-2012;..
  9. Chairman –Creativity Council, Ishmeet Singh Music Institute, Ludhiana
  10. Patron- Sankara Eye Hospital, Ludhiana

 

As if all this was not enough, he is a thorough creative person as far as arts are concerned. He even received the state award for photography on Republic Day, 2004 from the then Chief Minister of Punjab; ‘VIRSA PUNJAB DA’ Award presented by Jagran Punjabi on 12 May,2012 AS “PUNJABI ARTIST OF THE YEAR” in a glittering ceremony; with chief guest-Bhagat Chunni Lal, Minister Local Bodies, Punjab, Sh.Nishikant Thakur and S.Shangara Singh Bhullar. There is a long list of awards he received for his social services too.

He has to his credit some notable and unputdownable wonderful books that include a unique coffee table book ‘Japuji Sahib – Prayer of the Soul’, which is the first ever translation/transliteration of Guru Nanak’s Japuji with photographic illustrations. Then there is a tri-lingual book on ‘Nankana Sahib and Sikh shrines in Pakistan’, a book on Hemkunt Sahib, ‘[email protected] – Original and not so Original Ideas that can change your life’.

The kind of person I have known him is that he is an ever-restless soul, who would want to improve this world with his unique and creative ideas. Venturing out on his bicycle in his cycling group he is carrying forward his pledge to contribute his bit to making this world a better place. Waiting till I hear about his next exciting and wonderful adventure!

I am reminded of Sahir Ludhianvi’s couplet:

Maana ki iss zameen ko na gulzar kar sake

Kuchh khar kam toh kar gaye guzare jidhar se hum

 Ranjodh Singh seems to be on a mission like that…Amen!

 

Sonia Singh – working on the workout

KNOW YOUR AUTHOR

Author: SONIA SINGH

Book: Workout your Soul

sonia singh

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Tête-à-Tête With The Author:

Age too matters in terms of the number of years of experience we add to our chronological age. Being in mid-forties and working as a Medical Office Manager, Sonia Singh has had a lot exposure by interacting with people from all walks of life, a varied lot. She has been teaching Chemistry for over twelve years and counts her students as her greatest inspiration.

When asked what she looks forward to she gave a humble reply, “Achieving a communion of people who want to strive, like me to remain on the path of goodness.”

“All writers are wonderful beings”, she shared his excitement about his writing and writers. But at the same time one needs to stand apart from the rest of the crowd to carve out a niche for oneself.

When asked what makes her stand apart, she said, “My book ‘Workout your Soul’ is in a way revolutionary as we need to realize that peace comes to you only if you work towards it”.

“Everyone needs soul searching and soul workout regularly for healthy soul cannot be achieved in one day neither by me nor by you”, she added a final piece of advice for her readers and fans too.

Hope you receive her book well…happy reading!

Importance of Art

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History bears testimony to the fact that art plays a crucial role in life. Art is universal and is everywhere. We experience art on a daily basis from the houses we live in, to the movies we see and to the books that we read. It expresses ideas beliefs in more than one way. It can record the experiences of people. Art pieces have given historians valuable information about the standards of beauty, fashion, society and beliefs of the artist’s time. They can also make statements and provoke serious thought about the current issues. Art immortalizes people, places and events, clearly evident in our vast treasure of paintings and sculptures. A very famous example, are the enchanting frescos depicting life of Lord Buddha at the Ajanta caves.

The critically important role of art in the academy, as in life, is to enable us to see the world and the human condition differently, and in seeing the world through a particular work of art, to see a truth we might not have understood before. Imagination and a sense of discovery are often as important as knowledge. Composing a song, writing a play, creating a painting, or writing a poem forces us to think in alternative ways, to hold different assumptions and to entertain different and often more instructive ways of making connections and ways of looking at all that surrounds us. A good artist advances culture and civilization by provoking thought, introspection, and discussion.

Art can be a key to a child’s mind. Art, being a natural expression, gives children an easy and smooth outlet to express their emotions, ideas and thoughts. Plenty of therapists recommend art as a form of therapy to help children open up and to build self-confidence. It also lends itself to physical development and enhancement of fine and gross motor skills. Children should be encouraged to play and connect with colours and enjoy the radiance of life and hence celebrate their childhood.

Art is a great medium of meditation. Great art can invoke many positive mind states in a viewer. It can ease stress and renew energy. Each time we look at a painting or a sculpture, or watch a good play or movie, of listen to a certain music, it connects us to emotions and inspires us to dive deep within. In this way art can serve as a catharsis, or help us uncover feelings of which we were previously unaware. Colours used on the canvas can bring colour and brightness to our otherwise mechanical and mundane lives. Art makes people happy and happiness is what we all strive for.

 

Suguna Salhotra