Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rishabhchand was the first person from the Jain community to join the Ashram

Sunayana Panda SABDA, May 2006
It is not generally known that he was the first person from the Jain community to join the Ashram. Many others, who were close to him and turned to him for guidance, eventually followed his example and came to live in the Ashram. In a way he opened the door for the others who came after him. He continued till the end of his life to be a guide and an elder brother to all those who needed help to better understand Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts. Through letters he was also in touch with people living in the outside world who had an inner aspiration to follow Sri Aurobindo’s path.

Rishabhchand began writing on the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo was published in 1953. Perhaps he got the idea of writing an entire book on this subject since he was often explaining the fine points of Sri Aurobindo’s writings to so many. This book turned out to be an answer to the real need of people all over the world and served not only as an introduction to the major works of Sri Aurobindo but also as a guide to those who wanted to put this new philosophy into practice. It is not at all surprising that this book was reprinted several times and continues to be available today.
In 1960 he started writing the biography of Sri Aurobindo. People often wonder why he took the trouble of writing it when such a good book as A. B. Purani’s Life of Sri Aurobindo already existed. There was also Sri Aurobindo On Himself for those who wanted to know more about the subject, in the Master’s own words. The truth is that this was not a personal project initiated by him. The Mother herself had asked him to write about the life of Sri Aurobindo, making it clear that she wanted him to focus on the external aspect of his life only. She wanted it to be serialised in the Bulletin of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.

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