Tributes to Nolini Kanta Gupta – Pilgrim of the Supermind
Tributes to Nolini Kanta Gupta – Pilgrim of the Supermind. Contributed articles on the life and philosophy of Nolini Kanta Gupta on the occasion of the birth centenary, 1889-1989 edited by Nirodbaran.
Nolini Kanta Gupta (13 January 1889 – 7 February 1984) was a revolutionary, linguist, scholar, critic, poet, philosopher and yogi, and the most senior of Sri Aurobindo’s disciples. He was born in Faridpur, East Bengal, to a cultured and prosperous Vaidya-Brahmin family. While in his teens, he came under the influence of Sri Aurobindo, then well-known revolutionary fighting for independence against the British. When in his fourth year at Presidency College, Calcutta, he left a promising academic career and rejected a lucrative government job to join a small revolutionary group under Sri Aurobindo. In May 1908 he was among those arrested for conspiracy in the Alipore bomb case. Acquitted a year later, after having spent a year in jail, he worked as a sub-editor for the Dharma and the Karmayogin, two of Sri Aurobindo’s Nationalist newspapers, in 1909 and 1910.
He was taught Greek, Latin, French and Italian by Sri Aurobindo himself and was among the four disciples who were with Aurobindo in 1910 at Pondicherry. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was founded in 1926, he settled permanently in Pondicherry, serving the Mother and Sri Aurobindo as secretary of the ashram and later as one of its trustees. A prolific writer on a wide range of topics, he has about 60 books to his credit of which about 16 are in English and 44 in Bengali, as well as many articles and poems in English, Bengali and French.
Nolini Kanta Gupta died at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram on 7 February 1984.
Print Length: 115 pages
Publisher: Sri Mira Trust, 1988
Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle
- THE MOTHER’S BIRTHDAY MESSAGES TO NOLINI
- INDIRA GANDHI’S MESSAGE
- PAUL RICHARD’S APPRECIATION
- NOLINI-DA — HIS ASHRAM LIFE NIRODBARAN
- SRI NOLINI KANTA GUPTA (A Life Sketch) STEPHEN K. WATSON
- NOLINI-DA ANIMA
- THE INTEGRAL YOGA AND NOLINI KANTA ARABINDA BASU
- NOLINI’S ATHLETICS CHINMOY
- THE PILGRIM OF ETERNITY CHUNILAL CHOWDHURY
- NOLINI-DA Soul-Reminiscences GAJARAJ D SUKHDEV
- THE ELDER BROTHER OF THE ASHRAM INDRA SEN
- NOLINI-DA JAYANTILAL PAREKH
- NOLINI KANTA GUPTA K. D. SETHNA
- HOMAGE TO NOLINI К. R. SRINIVASA IYENGAR
- NOLINI-DA M. P. PANDIT
- NOLINI-DA [February 9, 1984] R. Y. DESHPANDE
- NOLINI KANTA GUPTA’S PERCEPTIONS OF POETRY R. Y. DESHPANDE
- NOLINI KANTA GUPTA The Vyasa of the Present Age SATADAL
- THE HUMAN NOLINI-DA SHYAM KUMARI
- NOLINI KANTA GUPTA M. SHRIRAMULU
NOLINI-DA — HIS ASHRAM LIFE
It was about ten years ago that we assembled in this historic playground of hallowed memories on the occasion of the Mother’s passing and it was Pranab who addressed you at that time. Most unexpectedly it is on the occasion of another departure that we have assembled again tonight. It is the passing of Nolini-da who was, to borrow a happy phrase, one of the first and foremost disciples of the Mother, her collaborator and our eldest spiritual brother. The sanctity, solemnity and beauty of this occasion my poor words cannot express though my mind can envisage it without fathoming it. His “unhorizoned” consciousness is too wide for human measurement and it never ceased to climb towards the heights even when he fell ill. At that time I was once called at night. He said, “You see, I went out of my body and when I came back, the body received a jerk. Hence this minor disturbance. You will understand. I don’t need any medicine.” The tone was reminiscent of Sri Aurobindo. I had come to know that often Nolini-da used to go out of his body and had to keep his hold on somebody’s hand in order to keep contact with the earth. Once, he is said to have gone out to Bengal at the call of a dear friend of his young days. The friend was mortally ill and died. When Nolini-da brought back his soul to the Mother, she asked, “You have brought him to me?” It was a very perilous journey, indeed and he suffered much on the way. I had read also the Mother saying that he could easily go out of his body to the Sachchidananda state. Well, these superconscious things are beyond me; I know, a bit of the subconscious ones. Nevertheless I feel it my humble duty to present a few glimpses of his vast-visioned life to you so that you may have a rough idea of a person who rarely spoke of himself and to whom you may offer your gratitude and love for having quietly done so much for us. I must confess that most of what I shall say is based on my observation, reflection and conviction,
I had a moment’s sight of him when I met the Mother for the first time. She came to see me accompanied by Nolini-da, Amrita-da and Dilip-da. It was Dilip-da who had arranged the interview. Later, when I came to settle in the Ashram for good, I used to hear of three people’s names: Nolini-da, Amrita-da and Pavitra-da and of these three Nolini-da was an enigma, known to be a man of few words, and kept himself apart. People would not dare to assail his sanctum except on strict business. He was the secretary of the Ashram and was occupied with his own work but they all respected his aloofness. Often he used to be brusque with them and there were quite a number of anecdotes current in the Ashram about his abruptness. He had acquired the knack of upsetting people without himself getting upset. I shall quote two such stories. Once a sadhak complained to the Mother for what he considered Nolini-da’s rude behaviour to him. Sri Aurobindo wrote to Nolini-da about it. As a result he called the sadhak and apologised to him. On another occasion the hair-cutting saloon was to be opened. Nolini-da was approached to perform the ceremony; he flatly refused. The person wrote to the Mother and proposed another name, instead. When, next day, Nolini-da went to see the Mother, she asked him why he had refused. On coming down, he hastened to the saloon and opened it. There you can see two traits in his nature, the outer somewhat jerky and the inner obedient to the Mother, obedience being the first requisite of a disciple. Amrita who was his close associate used to say that Nolini-da was like уаṣṭi madhu. You have to chew it before you taste its sweetness. What a conversion took place in the later phase of his life! I marvelled at it. But let me not anticipate.
Though I kept myself at a distance because of his rudeness, his learning and writings had a great attraction for me. I admired and respected him for them as well as for his personality. His passion for knowledge, which made buying books his one hobby, could be summarised by a verse from Savitri “He sought for knowledge like a questing hound.” If the small can be compared with the great, I had also such a passion, but a minor one and I tried to satisfy it at Sri Aurobindo’s expense. You know the way I provoked, pestered, even bothered him with a host of questions. While I did this, Nolini-da gathered his consciousness in the ‘quiet’ cathedral of his mind and seated him on its high altar as the supreme deity. You know how Sri Aurobindo initiated him in the esoteric lores of the Vedas and Upanishads as well as in the secular knowledge of various literatures and languages. Sri Aurobindo’s heart must have been gladdened to find such a worthy young mind. Thus his approach to Sri Aurobindo was through the mind. I need not dwell at length upon this aspect, since his erudition is quite well known. Perhaps I can summarise it by quoting another expression from our Shastra. Both parā vidyā and aparā vidyā were at his command and they have all gone into 10 volumes of Bengali and 8 volumes of English works. They can make a side-stream running along with Sri Aurobindo’s vast Brahmaputra-like productions, fed and nourished by them and flowing into oneness with them. Sri Aurobindo has said that Nolini-da had a remarkable mind.