Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Name of "Sri Aurobindo"

Many well-meaning persons, who are intersted in Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and Their Teachings, refer to Him as Aurobindo. Even I have written to a few persons to refer to Him as Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo has Himself said that His name is Sri Aurobindo, and not Aurobindo.
I am quoting below a letter written by Nolini Kanta Gupta, one of the first disciples of Sri Aurobindo and previously the Secretary of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry :

30 November 1961

Dear little sister,

Mother has shown me the letter you wrote to her about the problem of "Sri" that is troubling you. She wishes me to communicate to you my view of the matter. Well, I shall be frank and forthright. It is an error to think that Sri is only an honorific prefix to Aurobindowhich is the real name. It is not so. Sri does not mean Mr. or Monsieur or Sir, etc. It is part of the name. Sri Aurobindo form one indivisible word. This is the final form Sri Aurobindo himself gave to his name. And I may tell you that the mantric effect resides in that form.

Sri is no more difficult to pronounce than many other Indian or Euro-American syllables. And I think it is not always healthy either to come down to the level of the average European or American under the plea that that is the best way to approach and convert the many. I am afraid it is a vain illusion ; better rather to oblige the average to make an affort to rise up and grapple the truth as it is.

Mother has seen this admonition of mine to you and fully approves of it.

Begging to be excused for perhaps a highbrow tone in my letter, I remain.

Your very sincere and affectionate elder brother
Nolini Kanta Gupta.


I hope this letter is sufficient to explain the situation to everyone who has the question in his or her nind whether or not to write or utter Sri Aurobindo.

Barin Chaki