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Sri Subramania Bharathiyar

Monday October 11 2004 08:14 IST

By Karmayogi

Bharathi was a personality that exuded fire. He was in Pondicherry for about ten years which were years of inspiration. He used to visit Sri Aurobindo who recognised his passion for freedom. They read the Vedas together, discussed the Thirukural and the Alwars.

Struck by the grandeur of the poetic eminence of Nammalvar, Sri Aurobindo says he rose to the level of the greatest poets of the world. Sri Aurobindo translated ten verses from Thirukural, about ten poems from the Alwars where Andal describes her dreams of her wedding with Lord Krishna.

Sri Aurobindo in those early days of the Ashram used to see the visitors in the evening, but, making an exception, he saw Bharathi whenever he came. Bharathi treated Sri Aurobindo as an equal and often offered him advice.

The French government, yielding to the pressure of the Madras Government was contemplating some action against Sri Aurobindo, perhaps handing Him over to the British authorities. Bharathi took the issue into his hands and negotiated with the French Governor who desired the support of five prominent citizens of Pondicherry.

Bharathi's interview with the Governor evoked the latter's appreciation of his fluent English. The Governor could not be aware of Bharathi's long poem in English about Annie Besant which became very popular. It was really a crucial moment in Sri Aurobindo's stay in Pondicherry.

On successful completion of his mission, Bharathi wrote a poem “Victory is there, there is no cause for fear.' A Muslim cook who was a magician caused stones to fall from the ceiling of Sri Aurobindo's house. Mother called the beings that were throwing stones and they stopped. The magician fell ill and was on his deathbed.

News came to Sri Aurobindo who said the cook need not die for a few stones and saved his life. This incident made Bharathi write a poem, “Be compassionate to your enemy, my good heart.”

Bharathi gave poetic expression to most of Sri Aurobindo's major ideas. In a poem he says, “Life is yoga, yoga is life.” In another line, Bharathi speaks of Krishna holding both the feet of his beloved in his hands in ecstasy, a thought to which Sri Aurobindo gave expression, contrary to our tradition.

Perhaps the people of Tamilnadu have accepted the Master and The Mother, as Bharathi prepared the Tamil emotions even in the twenties by his poems which fully explain the inspiration of Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo was not happy about Bharathi returning to the then Madras city and even expressed his wish that he should stay back.

Bharathi would never listen to anyone, even to Mahatma Gandhiji. His stay in Pondicherry was for a decade. It was a decade of inspiration, Once he wrote suprapatham in Tamil, saying it sounds sweeter in Tamil. He was a great poet, who enjoyed the great affection of Sri Aurobindo.
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