Part I — My personal connection with Dilip-da

Dilip-da's compassion for a young poet

I am starting with my first contact with Dilip-da. At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, I had four or five English teachers. The name of my very first English teacher was Rani Maitri. She was a very close friend of my sister Lily. My sister studied privately with her and I studied in the school.

Rani Maitri was full of affection and compassion. She heard from my sister Lily that I had started writing poems. Sisters always take tremendous pride in their brothers' achievements. Unfortunately, brothers do not take as much pride in their sisters' achievements!

Anyway, my sister showed one of my notebooks to my teacher. It was a thick notebook and it contained about a hundred of my Bengali poems. Rani-di was very pleased with the poems. She happened to be a cousin of Dilip Roy. They were very close to one another. So she took my notebook to Dilip-da. Dilip-da most compassionately read the poems and wrote two lines in Bengali about them. His comment was that some poems were fine, others were good and a few were very good. I shall forever and forever treasure Dilip-da's blessingful encouragement.

I was so surprised that he had gone through all the poems. Who was I? A silly little boy in the Ashram! This incident occurred around 1946, when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. Dilip-da was at that time forty-nine.

Dilip-da found a mistake in my poems and he made the correction in his own handwriting. When a peacock has not raised all its plumes, one particular verb is used to describe it. Then, when it looks so beautiful with its plumage outspread, a different verb is used. Poor me, I did not know that was the case. So Dilip-da cancelled the verb I had used and wrote in the correct verb. Plus he put an exclamation mark after it! I should have shown this poem to my brother Chitta or to my Bengali teacher first. They would have corrected it.

This experience was nothing other than Dilip-da's boundless affection and compassion for a young Ashram boy.