Sri Aurobindo Ashram Library

From Auroville Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Library 2015.jpg

(Nolini:) “It will not be out of place here to say something about the sort of education and training we received in those early days of our life in Pondicherry. One of the first needs we felt on coming here was for books, for at that time we had hardly anything we could call our own. We found that at the moment Sri Aurobindo was concentrating on the Rigveda alone and we managed to get for him two volumes of the original text. He had of course his own books and papers packed in two or three trunks. It was felt we might afford to spend ten rupees every month for the purchase of books. We began our purchases with the main classics of English literature, especially the series published in the Home University Library and the World Classics editions. Today you see what a fine Library we have, not indeed one but many, for there is a Library of Physical Education, there is a Medical Library, there is a Library for the School, and there are so many private collections. All this had its origin in the small collections we began every month. At first, the books had to lie on the floor, for we had nothing like chairs or tables or shelves for our library. I may add that we had no such thing as a bedding either for our use. Each of us possessed a mat, and this mat had to serve as our bedstead, mattress, coverlet and pillow; this was all our furniture.
         We were able to purchase some French books at a very cheap rate, no more than two annas for each volume in a series. We had about a hundred of them, all classics of French literature. I find a few of them are still there in our Library. Afterwards, I also bought from the secondhand bookshops in the Gujli Kadai area several books in Greek, Latin and French. Once I chanced on a big Greek lexicon which I still use.
         Gradually, a few books in Sanskrit and Bengali were also added to our stock, through purchase and gifts. As the number of books reached a few hundred, the problem was how to keep them. We used some bamboo strips to make a rack or bookstand along the walls of our rooms; the almirahs came later. I do not think there were any almirahs at all so long as we were in the Guest House. They came after the Mother’s arrival, when we shifted with our books to the Library House. That is why it came to be called the Library House.”[1]

(Janina to her friend, 1958:) “Now as to the cook-book; it is not necessary to send one. I never thought there would be cook-books in our wonderful library where Medhananda reigns, but imagine – I found twenty-two of them! Yes, twenty-two cook-books in the Ashram! Some of them as old as the world, but some quite new. Medhananda is quite amused by my studies. And these twenty-two are quite enough to make a real gourmet of my dear old patient, the husband of Tripura.”[2]

(Janina:) “Let me know if you have got the Bulletin issues of 1956. There are a number of very inspiring talks by the Mother. I often go to our beautiful library, sit on a big veranda with a view of the sea, in the shade of course, and read these old issues. It is as if She is actually instructing me. It really is so. Often I feel Her order to get up and leave everything at the Nursing Home and go to the library and read. This is more than reading. The August 1957 Bulletin had helped me today a lot. And often the part I have to read is ‘given to me’ with the omission of other talks. My inner contact grows into a greater and greater intimacy.”[3]

  1. Nolini Kanta Gupta, Reminiscences, p.84, “Pondicherry – II”
  2. Janina Stroka, A Captive of Her Love, p.29
  3. Ibid., p.44

See also

External links