“I am with you”: A Review
By Anurag Banerjee
We often read books penned by intellectuals and we sometimes glance through the works of the pseudo-intellectuals as well but rarely do we come across the works of true souls, of people who consecrate all they have to the Divine. Such children of the Divine do not always express or reveal their inner experiences to the world; it is only when we look into their eyes that we understand which level of consciousness do they reside in. But there are some who, fortunately for us, reveal their inner experiences and cite personal incidents to show how the Divine Grace works in our day-to-day life and activities. One such person—a true child of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother—is Kailas Jhaveri who has gifted to us a mind-boggling book titled “I am with you” in two volumes.
Born on 11 June 1926, Kailas Jhaveri took her B.A. (Honours) and M.A. in philosophy from the university of Bombay. As a student of Elphinstone College she was introduced to the works of Sri Aurobindo, who would become the supreme master of her life as he represented the ‘Supreme Consciousness’ and the ‘Future in the making’, by Dr. J.N. Chubb.
She arrived in Pondicherry on 9th December 1950, just four days after the passing away of the Yugavatar and at the newly constructed Samadhi of the departed sage, she experienced the ‘living presence’ of Sri Aurobindo and received the assurance from him that he would be with her ‘in every ebb and perilous tide.’ Kailas Jhaveri migrated to the United States of America in the 1950s where she worked at the U.N.O. and also took courses for Ph.D in International Organization and International Relations but in due course of time she was disillusioned by the way U.N.O. was functioning and she left U.S.A. and came to Pondicherry in August 1964 to spend the rest of her life at the lotus feet of the Mother whom she had met during her first visit to the Ashram in December 1950 and with whom she had kept a regular correspondence and a deep, inner and living contact.
- The first part of “I am with you”, which has been published in the form of a booklet, deals with the story of how Kailas Jhaveri came to the Ashram;
- the second part portrays her life with the Mother and her association with Sri Aurobindo Society, Auroville, Unesco and Madras Institute of Development Studies while
- the third part illustrates her life after the physical departure of the Mother and it also includes a record of her travels and works in the various parts of America, Canada, Europe and India.
This book is not a mere autobiography. It is the story of the journey of a living soul penned by the living soul herself in the simplest of language. Each and every word conveys her deep love for the Mother whom she considered her “All in all.” One might ponder:
- why did the author decide to include her spiritual experiences she has been blessed with in her autobiography?
- Is it not rather personal? But hasn’t M.P. Pandit said that nothing is personal for a sadhak?
Let’s read what Kailas Jhaveri has to say about this query:
‘…I cannot help but sing aloud the Grace and the Glory of Their living Presence and Help at each moment of my life through all its vicissitudes and share the bliss I experience.’
She has explained the difficulties she had to face as a sadhika and how she conquered them by the Grace of the Mother. The ‘help’ Sri Aurobindo had assured to her was always present to guide her on the path of her sadhana and then there was the presence of the Mother who made her spiritual foundation as solid as a rock and lifted up her consciousness to higher levels and transformed her difficulties into avenues of progress and growth. The book is a testimony which proves that whatever occurs in one’s life is, in fact, an act of grace. Let’s not forget what the Mother has said with reference to this context:
‘When in your life, you meet with hardship, take it as a grace from the Lord, and indeed it will become so.’
Let’s also read what Kailas Jhaveri writes of her hardships:
‘I churn and churn within and without till I come to grips with the forces involved and finding the truth behind, harmonise all movements within. One must never be afraid to search, to discover, to reject, to rebuild—to go through error and pain so that one may know the truth and the delight it veils. One must be prepared to go through hell so that it too may bear the footprints of heave and know its bliss.’ (p. 179)
Thus, her journey of the inner worlds commenced and it went on till the vision of her soul stood victorious.
After the Mother left her physical body on 17 November 1973, her physical absence was acutely felt by all but Kailas Jhaveri tells us that she can still feel the Mother who has provided her with everything that was required for her integral and spiritual progress and she writes:
‘For me, She is concretely present with Her benign smile the minute I utter Her name or even think of Her…I am sure anyone who loves and adores Her and seeks Her guidance can always contact Her as the universal and transcendental Mother. For, She is still in the subtle physical atmosphere for anyone throughout the world to reach out to, just as Sri Aurobindo is present and can be contacted. In truth, She is always seated in our heart.’ (p. 389)
As an able instrument of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Kailas Jhaveri has spread their message across the world and has inspired many a seeker to come to the Path. But she claims that she has not achieved anything by her own effort and the effort itself was inspired by ‘the Supreme Mother and the Lord’ and she adds:
‘They are the effective Force working behind the scene.’ And she has called herself ‘a tiny drop that has, by Their Grace, learned to experience the bliss of living in the vastness of the limitless luminous ocean of Their Light, Love, Glory and Splendour.’
The practitioners of the Integral Yoga are deeply indebted to Kailas Jhaveri for gifting this treasure house of realizations and experiences to them. Reading the book is like drinking nectar in a golden cup and that too from the hands of the one whose very touch makes the nectar sweeter. This book is an assurance for all those who were born after the physical departure of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as it assures that when one accepts Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, they in turn take the charge of his life and sadhana and leads him to Light from Darkness. And Kailas Jhaveri informs us:
‘I am certain that every child of Hers has received and is capable of receiving even more that what I have received from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.’
The book also contains valuable correspondence Kailas Jhaveri had with the Mother along with some of her illuminating articles on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. It should be read by all those aspirants who want to make considerable progress in the path of sadhana. “I am with you” comes from the pen of a living soul and it indeed touches the soul.
Born on 13 October 1984, Anurag Banerjee is an essayist, biographer, poet and researcher. His first book, Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey was published in December 2006. He wrote the biography of Dilip Kumar Roy at the age of twenty in 2005 and translated 100 poems of Sri Aurobindo into Bengali at the age of twenty-one in 2006. His published works include Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey (2006), Achinpather Dibyapathik (2008), and Debotar Shrom (2008).
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Aspects of Amal Kiran
Datta (Dorothy Mary Hodgson)
Dilip Kumar Roy
Dr. Govindo Gopal Mukhopadhyay
Nirmal Singh Nahar on Satprem and Sujata
Nirodbaran, Amal Kiran and Udar Pinto vis-à-vis Satprem
Prithwi Singh Nahar
Rijuta (Patricia Noonan)
Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Place
Suresh Chandra Chakravorty (Moni)