from aurosatya vrata firstname.lastname@example.org to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" email@example.com date 6 April 2010 12:13
subject Re: Reg. ongoing discussion on Sri Aurobindo's Savitri
Dear Mr. Mohapatra,
Thank you for your kind reply. I would like to add the following in response to the on-going discussion on the Savitri.
In Mr. Anurag Banerjee’s post on the SEOF dated
4th April 2010 titled “I firmly believe that the 1972 edition of Savitri is the most precise text”, what is most striking is that Mr. Anurag Banerjee is expressing merely his personal opinion. And he is of course entitled to do so and he is also entitled to hope that by emphasizing his point he may sound authoritative.
However, unfortunately for him, for a reader of the Savitri such as myself, and I am sure also as that of the vast discerning majority, Dr. Nirodbaran’s opinions, judgment and actions with regards to the editing of the Savitri supersedes that of all the Toms, Dicks and Harrys that may wish to express their opinion on this or other websites.
Let us not forget that none else but Dr. Nirodbaran and Mr. K.D. Setna (aka Mr. Amal Kiran) put their “sign” of approval on the 1993 edition of the Savitri. There is no one as qualified as Dr. Nirodbaran and Mr. Amal Kiran to study the manuscripts, the hand-written copies and all other documents related to the Savitri.
Let us not also forget that it has taken them about 2 decades of hard, meticulous and dedicated work to make sure that the 1993 edition was the most authentic version of the Savitri.
Those who complain about the “large” number of changes in the Savitri demonstrate that they have scant knowledge of the processes involving the restoration and editing of a complex and voluminous epic such as the Savitri that was written during a span of more than 4 decades, consisting of several revisions.
Not only do the critics of the 1993 edition show their ignorance in such matters, but they also demonstrate their under-estimation of Dr. Nirodbran’s and Mr. Amal Kiran capabilities, dedication and integrity. The most ignorant even go one step further and insinuate by misusing some of Sri Ma’s words out of context that Mr. Nirodbaran and Mr. Amal Kiran were “morons”.
Some others like Mr. Anurag Banerjee also frequently misuse Sri Ma’s quote, once again out of context, to try and prove their personal points. For example, the critics of the 1993 edition frequently refer to Sri Ma’s “order” not to change even one comma in the Savitri. Either those who misuse this anecdote are ill-informed, ignorant or they just want to mislead people outright. Thus, for their and other people’s sake I am reproducing here an interview with Mr. Amal Kiran, for their clarification, once and for all, that was published on page 5 in the booklet “On the New Edition ofSavitri” by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust in 1999.
An interview with Amal Kiran on
8 June 1999
According to your book Our Light and Delight [p. 23], the Mother once told you, “I won’t allow you to change even a comma in Savitri.” Is this true?
Yes, but she meant I could not change anything according to my own ideas. After that I made it clear to her that corrections would be only according to Sri Aurobindo’s latest version. Some
words had been misread and I had suggested what might be the right reading. But we would not dare to change anything on our own. I told her this. And Mother quite understood the situation.
“That’s a different matter,” she said.
So she approved of my making my suggestions, and many of them were found to be correct when the manuscripts were checked.
Have you written about this anywhere?
Part of it is there in Our Light and Delight. To anyone who reads it carefully, the Mother’s attitude towards the correction of copying mistakes and such things should be clear enough.
But most of the conversation recorded there [Our Light and Delight, pp. 23 – 25] is not about such corrections at all.
It is about a statement I wanted to include in the Publisher’s Note. I wanted to say that certain passages in Parts II and III had not received Sri Aurobindo’s final revision. The Mother’s strong reaction to this has been quoted as if it showed that she was against correcting copying mistakes or typographical errors in Savitri. But she never objected to corrections of that kind. Naturally she wanted Sri Aurobindo’s own words to be printed in Savitri, not a version with words accidentally substituted by others.
Later, the Mother even accepted the substance of what I had wanted to write in the Publisher’s Note. She agreed to have it included in the Note before the letters at the end of the 1954 edition. It was only something in my attitude that had provoked her reaction. This was her way of working. It brought about a great change in me.
Extracts from Our Light and Delight by Amal Kiran
. . . when the second volume of the first edition of Savitri was under preparation, a sadhak had stressed to the Mother the danger of sending the proofs to me. The Mother seems even to have passed an order against sending them. But Prithwisingh and Nirod made urgent representations to her, saying that it would be a great mistake not to let me see the proofs, for I had made very appropriate suggestions in the past, which had been found correct when the typed copy had been compared with the original manuscript. So the Mother cancelled her order but left, of course, the final decision in the hands of Nolini and Nirod. [p.23]
“Mother,” I said, “I am not wanting you to sanction the changing of commas and such things. All I want is that in some sort of Publisher’s Note we should say that certain passages in Parts II and III did not receive final revision: otherwise critics will think that they are what Sri Aurobindo intended them finally to be.”
Some time afterwards, when I was putting together the letters which Sri Aurobindo had written to me on Savitri to serve as a supplement in the last part of the volume, I spoke to the Mother of an introductory note to them. She consented to listen to what I had a mind to write. In that note most of the points which I had previously put to her but which she had rejected came in again, amidst some other matters. She approved of all of them unconditionally. And when I proposed that this note might go as a footnote in small print she expressed her wish that it should go as a real introduction in its own right. [p. 27]
I have related elsewhere some other incidents connected with my editorial work on Savitri. I may here mention the grand finale, as it were. After the last pages had been printed, the Mother calmly announced to me: “The Press is very displeased with you.” I answered: “I know it, Mother, and I am sorry I have troubled the Press. But are you displeased with my work?” She gave a faint smile and said: “No.” [p. 212]
Under these circumstances, can people such as Mr. RY Deshpande, Mr. Anurag Banerjee, Mr. Bijan Ghose, Mr. Aju Mukhopadhyay, Mr. Jitendra Sharma, Mr. Hugh Higgins and a handful of others like them really claim to know more and be more qualified and "credible" than Mr. Nirodbaran and Mr. Amal Kiran?
These people may respect each other and pat each others back and find some common ground in criticizing the 1993 edition (even though they disagree about which edition is the most authentic or sacred), but does that give them the right to muddy the calm and crystal clear waters of the Savitri with their personal opinions? Why do they wish to confuse other readers, “sow seeds of doubt” and seek to impose their opinions, when Dr. Nirodbaran, Mr. Amal Kiran and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust have clearly made their position absolutely clear?
Do they have any rational, logical and convincing arguments? Or is all they have only heaps of personal opinions and perhaps a common grudge against, Dr. Nirodbaran, Mr. Amal Kiran and the SAA Trust?
Best Regards, S.
from Jitendra Sharma firstname.lastname@example.org to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" email@example.com date 6 April 2010 09:17 subject Re: Comment Forwarded Message: 1972 edition of Savitri is the most precise text
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 From: "Hugh Higgins" firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com
As a participant in this discussion of the editing of Savitri, I have to give my deep thanks to Anurag Banerjee for these extremely helpful comments. I agree completely, because I, based on little other than my own instincts and sense of poetry and knowledge of Sri Aurobindo's other works, have felt for years that the 1972 edition was more accurate and faithful than the later one. It is truly wonderful to know that some real scholars who have lived in the Ashram agree with me. Even today, while reading in the 1993 edition, I noted two variations on two successive pages from the earlier editions, which seemed jarring and wrong to me, and corrected them with my pen. Not to prolong debate, but as a help in understanding why these matters are so important, I may post here, if I may, some of the changes which have disturbed me the most. Not today but as time permits. Thank you Anurag Banerjee for this very important message. Hugh Higgins
Daily forecast-meditation at: http://cosmicpiper.blogspot.com/