To introduce a poet to the public is sometimes almost as tempting as to be oneself a bard; especially when the author is a close relation of the introducer and when the former is more gifted than the latter.
Just eleven years ago, one day as I was busy with my students in the Bengali class in our Ashram School, a boy of thirteen was brought to me. I found myself looking for the first time into Chinmoy's intelligent but innocent and simple face. In a couple of years he joined my Sanskrit class, after having been initiated into that language by his eldest brother, Hriday Ranjan, who is a devoted student of the Rig Veda and a lover of poetry.
Within a few days Chinmoy brought me some Bengali poems of his, not in a spirit of display but for correction. I took his manuscript and without his knowledge showed it to the Secretary of our Ashram, Nolini Kanta Gupta, who is a celebrated savant and front-rank writer. It ws returned with the comment, “The boy has merit; encourage him, he will produce even better poetry in the future.” The present book also been seen in manuscript.
In 1946, the poet rendered Sri Aurobindo's Bengali story ‘Kshamar Adarsha’ (Ideal of Forgiveness) into Bengali verses - no less than two hundred lines. Poet Nirod Baran took it to our Master who remarked: “It is a fine piece of poetry. He has capacity. Tell him to continue.” The poem was published in a journal in March 1948, with an appreciative Editorial note.
Somewhere in 1950, while one evening I was all alone, absorbed, in my room, Chinmoy suddenly knocked at my silence, and soon a heap of typed sheets was before my eyes. They were all ‘Prayers’ in English, composed in prose but with a fragrance of genuine poetry.
Since 1953, he has been contributing now and again to ‘Mother India’. I thank its Editor K.D. Sethna, a prominent poet of modern India in English as well as an erudite exponent of Sri Aurobindo-Literature, for his encouragement and advice to the young poet in various ways.
Romen, the author of ‘The Golden Apocalypse’, also deserves my thanks for giving Chinmoy a push on the path of English poetry.
Lastly, a word of thanks to Chinmoy himself for choosing me to write this Introduction. He is too unassuming to ask for appreciation, but when some one suggested my name, he exclaimed: “Oh! I got inspiration from him in my younger days, that continues even now. And who else will appreciate me so affectionately?”
Though perhaps out of place here, yet it is interesting to note that Chinmoy got the Blessings of our Mother and Sri Aurobindo as early as 1933, when he came here for first time as a child of a little above twelve months! May he continue to receive their Grace!
'Flame-Waves' is the maiden work of the author, dedicated to our Mother Divine as a humble offering on his own birthday, on the 27th of August, 1955. The title, of course, indicates the Aspiration in the inner being of the poet, at once wide-spreading and upward-leaping.
Sri Aurobindo International University Centre, Pondicherry, 27-8-1955