A photograph shows Rabindranath Tagore arriving in Pondicherry on May 29, 1928. He was lowered from a ship which arrived from Madras on to a small boat in a stool placed inside a cut-out wooden barrel and taken to land. Photo: T. Singaravelou
“Why did Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu travel to Pondicherry over 500 years ago from Nabadwip Dham, West Bengal? Why did Agastya Muni chose this coastal town as his Sadhana pitha (place of spiritual practice)? Why did Swami Vivekananda came here before Sri Aurobindo and stay in the same house that was the first abode of Sri Aurobindo?”
These are questions posed by Dibyendu Goswami, Secretary of the Bangavani Trust of Nabadwip Dham, West Bengal and Managing Trustee of the World Peace Trust, who believes the answer lies in the spiritual richness of Puducherry, which has pulled people in with a ‘special attraction’ from all over. This ‘pull’ also brought Sri Srinivas Acharya and poet Bharathiar, besides The Mother who was first offered the charge of Santhiniketan in West Bengal but went on to take charge of Sri Aurobindo Ashram instead. Their arrivals were ‘pre-destined,’ says Mr. Goswami.
“People have felt peace here. The Mother said she found a huge light enveloped Pondicherry when she first arrived. We have to tell our future generations about the spiritual history and cultural heritage of Pondicherry. Everyone must be made aware of this,” he says.
Keeping alive the memory and passing on the heritage is what drives him to lead celebrations of the anniversary of the visit of Rabindranath Tagore to Pondicherry to meet Sri Aurobindo in 1928.
Tagore was on his way to England when he expressed a desire to meet Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry at a time when Sri Aurobindo was not meeting people. With the initiative of The Mother, Tagore arrived on May 29, 1928 off the coast of Pondicherry in a ship from Madras.
As there was no jetty at the time, Tagore was lowered on to a small boat in a stool placed inside a cut-out wooden barrel and taken to land, says Mr. Goswami.
The meeting lasted only 20 minutes and Tagore is believed to have repeated his poem, ‘Namaskar,’ which he had first offered to Sri Aurobindo in 1907. “Tagore took that much effort to meet Sri Aurobindo. Tagore found Sri Aurobindo to be at peace, and like a rose, unlike the troubled Sri Aurobindo he had met in Bengal. Tagore was influenced on a spiritual level by him,” says Mr. Goswami.
The celebration was organised by the World Peace Trust of Puducherry and the Bangavani Trust of West Bengal last Friday at the INTACH office. The programme included the recital of the poem ‘Namaskar.’ There was also dance and music on Tagore’s songs (Rabindra Sangeet). Photographs of Tagore’s arrival here, his stay in Japan and the meeting with The Mother there, paintings by Tagore and sketches by The Mother were also on display.
The programme was attended by Member of Parliament R. Radhakrishnan and MLA K. Lakshminarayanan.