Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sri Aurobindo's Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest

From: "SABDA Sri Aurobindo Ashram" mail@sabda.in
A new book has recently been published entitled Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest, containing notes, letters, telegrams, and public statements written by Sri Aurobindo. To understand its history one needs to look back more than fifty years. In 1953 several parts of this current work, including most of the notes from the section “Corrections of Statements Made in Biographies and Other Publications”, some of the letters to the Mother and Paul Richard, and the message of 15 August 1947 were published in Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on the Mother, Volume I of the Sri Aurobindo International University Centre Collection.
When the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library was published in 1972 Volume 26 On Himself: Compiled from Notes and Letters contained Parts One and Two of the 1953 book plus a large amount of new material. At just over 500 pages, On Himself consisted of “Part One: Sri Aurobindo on Himself” (439 pages) and “Part Two: Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on the Mother” (68 pages). Volume 25 of the SABCL was titled The Mother with Letters on the Mother and Translations of Prayers and Meditations and contained Part Three of the 1953 book along with a large number of additional letters. Both these books were reprinted several times after 1972.
With the decision to publish The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo came the task of reviewing and organising all the material collected for the volume meant to replace On Himself. Much related material had been published since 1972, about 90 pages in the Supplement to the SABCL and over 200 pages in other books and journals such as Champaklal’s Treasures, the Bulletin of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, and Sri Aurobindo: Archives and Research. New material had also been discovered and it was evident that there would be just too many pages for a single volume. Some of the material from On Himself easily migrated to other volumes: the 130 pages of letters on poetry went into Letters on Poetry and Art (CWSA, Vol. 27) and “Part Two: Sri Aurobindo on Himself and on the Mother” will be included in The Mother with Letters on the Mother.
As the remaining 300 pages of On Himself and the vast amount of new material to be included consisted of both documentary pieces and Sri Aurobindo’s letters, it made editorial sense to have two new volumes, arranged by type of material. One is Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest (available now in a soft cover edition and in the near future as Vol. 36, CWSA), and is made up of 600 pages of documentary materials. The other, Letters on Himself and the Ashram, will consist entirely of letters written to his disciples between 1927 and 1950 and will be more than 800 pages long.
Some readers will be familiar with some of the material as it has appeared in previous books and journals. However, more than 100 pages of documents and letters are being published here for the first time. These include: information supplied to King’s College Register; a few corrections of statements made in biographies; some letters written while Sri Aurobindo was employed in Baroda; some letters to political and professional associates, letters to public figures, some early letters on yoga, some messages on the integration of the French settlements in India, letters to the editor of Mother India, and some statements and notices concerning the Ashram. See the write-up below for more details on the contents of the volume.
NEW PUBLICATIONS To order any book, click on the title, which will locate the book in our online catalogue. Next, add it to the shopping cart. You may then proceed to pay by credit card online. Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical InterestSri Aurobindo ISBN: 978-81-7058-827-6Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, Puducherry Binding: Soft Cover Pages: 612 Price: Rs 190
This book consists of notes, letters, telegrams, and public statements written by Sri Aurobindo at various times. It includes approximately three hundred pages of material not included in the SABCL edition: well over a hundred pages are published here for the first time and the rest were previously published only in journals or as parts of different books. Of the material already published in the SABCL edition and included in this new book, half is from the now-discontinued volume Sri Aurobindo On Himself and the other half from Letters on Yoga and the Supplement volume, which was never brought out as an independent book. Most of the rest of the letters from On Himself, written by Sri Aurobindo after 1927 and touching on the subject of himself and his sadhana, will be included in a new volume entitled Letters on Himself and the Ashram.
This documentary volume is divided into four parts: autobiographical notes, which consist primarily of things he wrote to correct statements made by others about him; letters of historical interest, mostly written before 1927 to family members, political and professional associates, people interested in his yogic practice, and public figures; public statements on Indian and world events; and public notices concerning his ashram and yoga. It contains a detailed table of contents and nearly sixty pages of editorial notes, containing information on the people and historical events referred to in the texts. mail@sabda.in

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