Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is "Sri" only an honorific prefix to Aurobindo ?

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 Aurobindo which 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 forms 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

(Nolini Kanta Gupta, one of the first disciples of Sri Aurobindo, was the Secretary of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.)

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