Act V, Scene 6

(22 August 1907. Bengal National College. The resignation of Aurobindo’s Principalship of the College. His beloved pupils request of him a few words of advice. Their faces are overwhelmed with sorrow at his resignation. He has been profusely garlanded by these students.)

AUROBINDO: I have been told that you wish me to speak a few words of advice to you. But in these days I feel that young men can very often give better advice than we older people can give.7

(One of the students stands up.)

STUDENT: Excuse me, Sir. If so, they speak of inspiration received from outstanding leaders like you. (Cheers.)

AURO: When we established this college and left other occupations, other chances of life, to devote our lives to this institution, we did so because we hoped to see in it the foundation, the nucleus of a nation, of the new India which is to begin its career after this night of sorrow and trouble, on that day of glory and greatness when India will work for the world. (Thunderous applause) … When I come back I wish to see some of you becoming rich, rich not for yourselves but that you may enrich the Mother with your riches. I wish to see some of you becoming great, great not for your own sakes, not that you may satisfy your own vanity, but great for her, to make India great, to enable her to stand up with head erect among the nations of the earth, as she did in days of yore when the world looked up to her for light. Even those who will remain poor and obscure, I want to see their very poverty and obscurity devoted to the Motherland … Work that she may prosper. Suffer that she may rejoice.

(Repeated cries of Bande Mataram. In reply one of the students stands up.)

STUDENT (with a choked voice): Words cannot express our feelings. The brilliant future of our country you have called up before our minds has impressed itself upon our hearts. We feel, too, that it can be realised by us if we have a leader of your stature to guide us. We give you our soul’s word that we will follow you, your noble ideal, your noble sacrifice.

(Loud cries of Bande Mataram.)

DB 37,2. Sri Aurobindo’s words in this scene are from an actual speech of his.