Act XII, Scene 7

(Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. Time: 10 a.m. 29 May 1928. Sri Aurobindo and, at a distance, the Mother. Sri Aurobindo had sent his secretary Nolini Kanta Gupta to receive Rabindranath Tagore on board the steamer when it was berthed at the pier, and escort him upstairs into the Darshan Room. The Poet came up the stairs and, throwing off his cap and shoes, rushed in, hands outstretched, at the sight of Sri Aurobindo standing at the other end of the room. Sri Aurobindo caught his hands and requested him to sit in a chair. At this first look and touch, the Poet appeared overwhelmed and drawn back within himself.)

TAGORE: It is eighteen years since you left Bengal. All this time I have longed, off and on, to see you. My longing is fulfilled to-day. But I know it couldn't have been if you hadn't made a special concession for me. Hence, I am all the more grateful to you. As I have already written to you, I am now on my way to Europe. I ask: if they want to know of you, what shall I tell them?

SRI AUROBINDO: I, too, am glad to meet you. As for Europe, if they want to know of me, they are free to come here. My Ashram is open to sincere seekers from anywhere.

TAGORE: I wonder how you can run your Ashram and do your world-wide work from within your room in a corner of the earth. My wonder increases a hundred-fold when I think of my tremendous struggle and labour, in India and abroad, for the Viswabharati. Now I am out seeking help overseas.

SRI AUROBINDO: I am not troubled about the future. It's the Divine's work which the Divine does.

(Exit Rabindranath quite a different man. He had come all the way upstairs, talking with Nolini Kanta, complimenting him on his literary abilities, appreciating his originality and terseness of expression of thought and wishing him to turn to short stories: in a word, he was vivacious and "social". After the interview with Sri Aurobindo he came down concentrated and silent. Returning to the steamer he shut himself up in a cabin and spent a long time alone. The Poet's classic reaction to the interview came out in the Modern Review of Calcutta some time after.)