Monday, May 04, 2015

Sri Aurobindo's experience in prison - The wit - Part 2

Part 1 here

1) About food in prison (p.30)
Coarse-grained rice, seasoned variously with husk, foreign particles, insects, hair, dirt amongst other things; tasteless  dal with most parts water; vegetables in the form of leafy greens and shak (herbs) - I could have hardly imagined before this that human food could be so tasteless and devoid of nutritive value. [...] any such vegetable once introduced in the menu was persisted with endlessly. We were currently witness to the reign of shak.[...] the appearance too did not undergo the slightest variation; the same everlasting, eternal, immutable, unique form was preserved throughout.  This experience, even if for a couple of days, was adequate to convince the prisoners of the stability of this transient illusory world (Maya-jagat).
2) About lufsi (prison gruel served for breakfast) (pp. 31-32)
It was only after a few days that I first indulged in this highest form of delicacy. [...] Lufsi was a trinity i.e. it had three forms. On the first day, Lufsi was presented in its Prajna aspect - unmixed original elements, pure, holy, Shiva-like. On the second day it was presented in its Hiranyagarbha aspect - boiled along with lentils, named khichuri, a yellowish admixture. On the third day, lufsi appeared in its Virat aspect - with a touch of jaggery, greyish in form, closer to being fit for human consumption. I shunned the Prajna and the Hiranyagarbha aspects after concluding that their consumption was beyond the capacity of mere mortals; but once in a while, I swallowed miniscule portions of the Virat aspect and then lost myself in wonderment and joyful reflection of the many-splendoured virtues of British rule and the high level of humanitarianism manifest in Western culture.
3) About Mr. Norton who was the government prosecutor (pp.60-61):
It was as if the National Movement began and ended with me; as if I was at once its sole creator and saviour, endeavouring to bring down the British empire. As soon as any high-quality, inspirational piece of writing in English came into view, Mr. Norton would jump up from his seat and loudly proclaim - Aurobindo Ghose! [...]
It is a pity for him that I was not born as an Avatar, else his devotion to me and ceaseless meditation upon me would have earned him mukti(salvation), and reduced both the period of our detention and the government's expenses.
4) Mr. Norton's reactions to witnesses who do not follow his plot (p.61):
Mr. Norton's anger under such circumstances was similar to the  legitimate outburst of a poet aggrieved at an inaccurate representation of his poem or that of a stage manager when the actor's declamation, tone or postures are not in keeping with his specific directions 

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