Author's preface

Each individual has some heroes. Dilip Kumar Roy, the Golden Voice, happens to be one of my heroes. For us, he was known as Dilip-da. Let me start with my own personal connection with this great Gandharva Loka soul.1 Then I shall tell some other stories about him. Some stories are well-known, while others are known only to a few.

I beg to be excused for taking the liberty of paraphrasing some conversations between Dilip-da and other important figures.

  1. DDA 1. Great singers and musicians descend from this very sublime height.

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.

My article about Dilip-da

After receiving such encouragement from Dilip-da in the poetry-world, I decided to write an article about him. I read his main book, /"Tirthankar"/, plus several of his other books, /"Anami"/ and so forth. Then I wrote about twenty or twenty-five pages about him in Bengali. The title of my article was, /"Amader Dilip-da"/, which means "Our elder brother Dilip."

This time I gave the article directly to my teacher and she gave it to him. Dilip-da went through the article and his comment was, "I did not know that Chinmoy had such love for me."

Dilip-da's harmonium

Dilip-da also helped me indirectly in my musical world. This is how it happened. My very first Bengali teacher was Manodhar. He was my eldest brother's English teacher. He lived in the same place as I did and his room was adjacent to mine. From time to time, Dilip-da would allow Manodhar to use one of his harmoniums, only for practice. It was not a loan because Dilip-da wanted to preserve his harmoniums in excellent condition.

Sometimes, when Dilip-da was displeased with Manodhar for some reason, Dilip-da would get angry and take his harmonium back. At other times, Manodhar would not allow me to play on it when he was displeased with me.

Anyway, Manodhar was the first one to teach me how to play on the harmonium — Dilip-da's harmonium! The very first song I learnt to sing and play on that harmonium I still remember. It was Tagore's famous song, /"Parabasi eso. . ."/. I played on Dilip-da's harmonium from 1944 to 1946.

My sad experience with Sahana-di

Dilip-da was responsible for bringing so many great singers to the Ashram. First and foremost was Sahana Devi. She was at Tagore's Santiniketan, but when she saw and heard Dilip-da's supremely gifted talents, she became a great admirer of Dilip-da. She also developed tremendous love for Sri Aurobindo. So Dilip-da was the instrument to bring Sahana-di to the Ashram in 1928. And Sahana-di's uncle, Chitta Ranjan Das, was the barrister who saved Sri Aurobindo's life when Sri Aurobindo was imprisoned in the Alipore Jail.

Tagore was very upset when Sahana-di left Santiniketan. He was deeply enamoured of her singing voice. When she came to the Ashram, he sent a message, "Had I been an Emperor, like the Moghul Emperors, I would have sent my army to bring you back from the Ashram." She had such a great personality. She was very tall, stout. To go near her was really something. It was easier to go near Dilip-da. She was always kindness and seriousness at the same time.

Now Sahana-di happened to be one of my Ashram 'mothers'. I had five 'mothers' in the Ashram. These elderly women inundated me with their love and concern. My main mother was Mridu-di. Then came Sahana-di.

Somehow a serious misunderstanding arose at one time between Sahana-di and me. She had a devoted student, but later on this lady became Sahana-di's rival. The rival's daughter was in Sahana-di's music class. One day this girl was angry with Sahana-di for some reason. She stood up in the class and said, "You do not have your singing voice any more. Even Chinmoy-da says so."

It was only rivalry because this girl's mother was jealous of Sahana-di. Even so, it was very insulting and Sahana-di was so mad. It was all an utter lie, lie, lie. I had never even spoken to that girl. I was a great admirer of Sahana-di. She was so kind, so affectionate, so indulgent to me. But Sahana-di believed the story. When people speak ill of us, we always believe it. I told her that the report was absolutely false, but she did not believe me. She was so furious that she would not even talk to me.

This happened in 1947. That year Dilip-da was arranging a special programme in honour of India's independence. He wanted two hundred people to sing a song that he had composed for the occasion. The song was to be performed in front of the Governor's Palace. It was an excellent song in Sanskrit on India's freedom. The name of the song is /"Avirbhuta bharata janani"/.

Sahana-di said to Dilip-da, "If Chinmoy sings the song, I am not going to sing." Who was I in comparison with Sahana-di? She and Dilip-da were such close friends. So Dilip-da's reply was, "Oh, who needs Chinmoy?" I received a message via one of Dilip-da's young friends that I must not join the group; I was discarded. And my brother Mantu, who could not carry a single note, was allowed!

The singers used to practise at Dilip-da's house. It was only forty metres away from our house, on the same street. Two hundred people could not be accommodated in his house, so some of them had to stand outside on the pavement.

While they were practising, I used to enjoy singing the song. Who could remain silent? I could hear it very well, even from my room. I learnt it very, very nicely. But I was not allowed to participate in the final performance. That was my punishment.

I suffered so much because one girl told a lie. I incurred Sahana-di's anger and also Dilip-da got really, really angry with me.

The story does not end there. Two years ago, my disciple Rintu sent me a few tapes from Singapore. He knows that I enjoy listening to our super-excellent Bengali singers singing songs by Tagore, Kaji Najrul and others. Anyway, one of the tapes was recorded by this girl's mother, Sahana-di's rival. As soon as I saw her picture on the cover, I immediately threw the tape aside with all the anger that was at my command. How much I suffered from her daughter's malicious lie! It took three long years for Sahana-di to forgive me.

She had written one short poem and one very long poem on Sri Aurobindo in Bengali. Both of them were in the same book. One day she handed me the book and said, "I want you to translate the short poem into English. If you do a good job, I will forgive you."

I immediately translated both the poems into English. When I gave her the whole thing, she forgave me. She had only been waiting for an opportunity to forgive me.

Dilip-da performs my song for the Mother

A few years later, a superlative singer visited the Ashram. His name was Swami Chinmoyananda. He was a great admirer of Dilip-da, so he stayed at Dilip-da's place. He used to wear an ochre cloth.

It was decided that there would be a physical demonstration, a display of sports. In Gujarat, there is a kind of stick dance. Gujaratis call it gorba dance. It became almost compulsory for us to learn that dance.

I was inspired to compose a special song for the stick dance. I showed the words to Swami Chinmoyananda. By that time, I had learnt from him quite a few songs. Kaji Najrul Islam's famous song, /"He Paratha Sarathi"/, I learnt from him. Swami Chinmoyananda liked my singing voice and he was very kind to me. He agreed to set my Bengali words to music. The song was about sixteen lines long. Only the first three lines I still remember:

Chal, chalre O bhai chal,
Peyechhi amara mayer ashish
  amita sahasa bal
Satyer jai manrite chal chalre
  chuite chal...

One funny story: I translated the poem into English. My English teacher at that time, Norman Dowsett — who was very, very kind to me — changed a few words and made it into metrical form. At the bottom, he wrote "Translated from Chinmoy's original Bengali by Norman Dowsett." Then the song went to the press. The manager of the press was extremely nice to me. He said, "Does he know one word of Bengali?"

I said, "He knows a little."

Then the manager said, "For God's sake, say 'adapted', not 'translated'." So he changed it to "Adapted from the Bengali song by Chinmoy." This is Norman-da's most beautiful version:

Forward, comrades, ever forward

Forward, Comrades, Forward!
On to Victory —
On to Truth and glory
With sincerity,
We have the Mother's courage,
Her strength leads now the fight.
Forward, Comrades, ever forward
Forward to the Light.

Forward, Comrades, ever forward
To The Golden Morn
With our Lord and Mother
March on to The Dawn.
Hark to the voices calling
Calling to Her Truth —

Sing, Comrades, sing the chorus
Of eternal youth.
We fear no death no sorrow,
All falsehood we have slain —
Forward, Comrades, ever forward
To the fight again.

Forward, Comrades, ever forward
To The Golden Morn,
With our Lord and Mother
March on to The Dawn.

Forward, Comrades, Forward
On to Victory
Our code of life is amity
And equality.
Faith flames within each beating heart
And each heart beats as one —
Forward, Comrades, ever forward Till the Race is won……
Forward, Comrades, ever forward
To The Golden Morn,
With our Lord and Mother
March on to The Dawn.

– Norman 19th June 1948

(Adapted from the Bengali Song by Chinmoy)

It was decided that this song would be performed by a group of fifteen or sixteen selected boys and Swami Chinmoyananda would conduct us. Dilip-da allowed us to practise at his place in the late afternoon. He had a very big house, like a mansion. Now it is one of the nursing homes. Anyway, while we were singing, Dilip-da used to be in an adjacent room.

Swamiji made repeated requests to Dilip-da to come and sing the song with us, but Dilip-da's reply was, "No, it is enough that you are there. They are all kids! How can I sing with them?" He never came, but he was gracious enough to give us his home. It was fine with us; he was such a great singer and we were all useless by comparison. For about two weeks we practised the song.

The day of the performance arrived. The Mother was there at the playground and about five or six hundred people had gathered to watch. Many, many children were performing different things. Boys and girls did their performances separately. The girls had various kinds of drills. Our group only had two things: first we danced with the sticks. Then we did a dance with a kind of sword or small dagger — not real daggers, but wooden daggers. We did karate-type movements—full of enthusiasm!

Then the time came for us to sing my song. It was around five o'clock. We were all ready. In front of us, our leader — Swami Chinmoyananda — was ready with his harmonium. Suddenly, like a storm, Dilip-da came running, panting and huffing, and practically pushed poor Swamiji aside. Swamiji did not mind at all. On the contrary, he felt so proud, so blessed, so fortunate. He had been one hundred per cent sure that Dilip-da was not going to sing the song because we were all kids.

The Mother was only seven or eight metres away when this incident occurred. But Dilip-da was the Mother's darling and Sri Aurobindo's darling. Who could say anything? According to them, whatever Dilip did was perfect, perfect, perfect. Dilip was always right. In the case of others, that kind of behaviour the Mother perhaps would not have appreciated.

When Swami Chinmoyananda was pushed aside, we became so nervous! Dilip-da had never practised with us. Then Dilip-da started singing the song and accompanying himself on the harmonium. O God! He knew the song so well. We were standing behind Dilip-da. We were about sixteen singers and we could also sing correctly and confidently, but our voices were nothing, nothing, in comparison to his voice.

Usually he had the sweetest voice, but on that day his became the loudest voice as well! He sang so beautifully, so powerfully. He literally drowned us out! Only Dilip-da's voice could be heard. It was as if we were all silent Brahmans! He was singing and singing at the top of his voice. That was Dilip Roy. We were not at all upset. We were the proudest human beings because Dilip Roy had sung with us.

The Mother was very, very happy with the performance. Then, as soon as it was over, Dilip-da came running to the Mother and fell flat at Her feet like a three-year-old child. His whole body was prostrated on the ground right in front of the Mother and he put his head on Her feet. The Mother, with Her infinite affection and love, bent down and pressed his head again and again.

This was Dilip-da's childlike heart. He was like the most affectionate child. He took away all the glory from Swami Chinmoyananda.

Then, while getting up off the ground, he took his time. While placing his head on the Mother's feet, he did not take time, he came running. But getting up, he took his time! How can I ever forget this incident!

After our performance was over, there were other performances, but Dilip-da did not wait for them. He went home.

See how life changes. Once he was angry with me and he would not allow me to sing. Then, a few years later, he was not going to sing my song. But he gave us his place to practise singing. He never, never came into the room to practise with us, but somehow he learnt the song. And, at the time of the real performance, he came running and threw the leader out!

Regarding Swami Chinmoyananda, I wish to add one very sad experience, perhaps the saddest experience. As you know, after leaving the Ashram, Dilip-da became a Guru. I, too, did the same. Swami Chinmoyananda cherished the desire to become a Guru. He was all the time wearing ochre cloth and beads. Now it happened that five or six seekers came to the Ashram from Sri Lanka. When they saw Swami Chinmoyananda, they invited him to come back with them to Sri Lanka. They said they would open up a centre and he would be their spiritual leader. So Swamiji left the Ashram and went to Sri Lanka with these seekers. They found in him a Guru but, unfortunately, this Guru could not satisfy them. After only six months, they beat him black and blue. Then Swamiji returned to the Ashram and begged the Mother to accept him once more. Alas, for various reasons, the Mother did not take him back.

My fate was fortunately otherwise. After five years in America, I went back to the Ashram for a short visit. The year was 1969. On the day I went to see the Mother, there was a long line of Ashramites waiting to be blessed by Her. The Mother meditated on each person for two or three seconds. Thirty people were ahead of me in the line.

All on a sudden, the Mother's main assistant, Champaklal-ji, came to me and said,

"Mother wants you to stand in front of Her for as long as She wants."

My turn came. I stood in front of the Mother for Her blessings. Five long minutes She kept me there! Three times the Mother brought down my head and put it on Her knee. Then, when She raised my head, She examined my eyes, my forehead, my head — everything — with such compassion and affection. After five years' absence, how much affection She poured into me!

And about the disciples, Dilip-da is so fortunate to have found so many devoted and self-giving disciples. They call him Dadaji. I am also fortunate to have so many devoted and self-giving disciples.

Saturday evening soirées at Dilip-da's house

At the Ashram, only a small garden separated the house where I lived from Dilip-da's house. He lived on the same block. Our house was at one end and his was at the other end. Every Saturday evening, he would sing and I went to hear him many, many times. My brother Mantu attended on a regular basis. He never, never missed. I started going there when I was quite young, at the age of thirteen or fourteen. Sometimes I stayed for an hour, or an hour and a half.

Thirty or forty Ashramites would be there to appreciate Dilip-da's singing. And the tabla player was either Anil Kumar or Nolini Sarkar. Nolini Sarkar did not stay permanently in the Ashram in those days. He was a great literary figure and a great singer as well. Dilip-da set to music two of his immortal songs — one about Sri Aurobindo and one about the Mother. These two songs have become so famous. He was Dilip-da's very dear friend and also the friend of Kaji Najrul Islam. It was Nolini Sarkar who took Dilip-da to see Barada Charan, the great occultist. Sri Aurobindo said about Barada Charan, "The greatest Yogi of Bengal."

Dilip-da used to play the harmonium while singing. When he was young, he used to play on the violin. He was an excellent violinist. Then he gave up. He said harmonium is best. He said the violin needed practice, whereas the harmonium does not need practice. The harmonium anybody can play.

When we used to go to his place, Dilip-da would sing four or five songs. They were short songs, but each one would take fifteen minutes at least. First he would sing the melody, without using words. Then he would add the words. Such a sweet voice he had. Dilip-da went on, went on, in his own inimitable way. Each time he sang the words, his devotion used to come to the fore, and he used to become more soulful. This was not fake devotion, but sincere devotion. And those who could identify themselves with him used to feel that they themselves were singing.

Ravi Shankar's unforgettable performance

One year, I believe it was 1948, Ravi Shankar came to play at the Ashram. He played at Dilip-da's house. There were one hundred and fifty or two hundred people present in three rooms, on the porch and everywhere. I was so fortunate to sit near Ravi Shankar during his performance.

I was facing Ravi Shankar. I was a young boy of sixteen or seventeen. In those days, I did not have any problem to sit down cross-legged, in the half-lotus position. I was watching Ravi Shankar playing and I was so moved. How he played! The distance between us was perhaps two metres.

Now, can you imagine, Ravi Shankar and I have become dearer than the dearest! He is eleven years older than me and now he has adopted me as his youngest brother. Our connection all began because of Dilip-da. Whoever thought that history would play a most significant role in our lives! This was God's inscrutable Plan.

A few years ago, Ravi Shankar was telling me about Dilip Roy. They were very good friends. He told me that he stayed at Dilip-da's house for two days when he came to the Ashram. Ravi Shankar said about Dilip-da, "Such a great man, such a great man. But the Sri Aurobindo Ashram did not give him due honour."

Then Ravi Shankar was asking me about Sahana-di and Nishikanto. All the names of the great Ashramites he knows and he was asking me if I had known them. I was able to tell him that each of them was extremely, extremely kind to me.

Dilip-da and his friend Yogi Krishnaprem

When Dilip Roy was staying in Lucknow in 1923, he met a young English Professor named Ronald Nixon and they instantly became very close friends. Nixon had a deep love of spirituality and specially of Lord Krishna. When he took initiation from his spiritual Mother, he received the name Krishnaprem. Krishnaprem became a great devotee and Sri Aurobindo appreciated him highly. Sri Aurobindo said his third eye was open and he had all kinds of spiritual marks.

Dilip-da and Krishnaprem exchanged numerous letters over the years. And when Dilip-da's love and devotion disappeared, Krishnaprem used to scold him and force him to get back his love for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He was a true, divine friend. He came only once to the Ashram, in November 1948.

Dilip-da brought Krishnaprem for Darshan Day. On that day, we young boys had to carry the shoes of two thousand disciples from the entrance to the exit. Disciples entered into the main Meditation Hall, and from there they went upstairs. I happened to be near the exit and I saw both of them go upstairs.

Both of them had red tilaks on their foreheads and they were wearing japa beads. Dilip-da had a single, long, loose strand of small beads around his neck. Krishnaprem had dark, thick, round beads and he had wound them twice around his neck. I remember that Krishnaprem was very tall and thin.

How did he come to accept his spiritual Mother? It is a story at once amusing and illumining. One evening the Vice-Chancellor of Lucknow University invited this English Professor to come and dine at his place. As soon as Nixon saw the wife of the Vice-Chancellor, he fell down at her feet and said, "You are my spiritual Mother!" Everybody was so embarrassed. The wife herself was so embarrassed. But he said, "No, no, you are my Mother!"

He was such a highly educated Professor, a distinguished graduate of Cambridge University, and she was the Bengali wife of the Vice-Chancellor, a very aristocratic lady. Her name was Monika Devi. She never prayed or meditated, but she had a mystic personality and tremendous hidden depths.

The Vice-Chancellor himself was deeply embarrassed. He could not show his face to others. But finally he said, "All right. I can see that your devotion is so sincere. You can worship her."

So Nixon became a great disciple of this lady. She had never cared for spirituality. But, seeing the devotion of this young Englishman, she started praying and meditating.

After teaching for a few more years, in Lucknow and Benaras, Krishnaprem gave up and practised spirituality full-time at Almora under the aegis of his Guru. She took the name Yashoda Ma. Because of him, many, many disciples came to her. They could see that Krishnaprem was so highly advanced. Finally, her husband surrendered and he also became her disciple. He saw such beautiful, spiritual qualities in his wife.

Between Krishnaprem and the husband there was a great difference of age, but they became close friends. They were both disciples of the Vice-Chancellor's wife. Can you imagine!

A chance encounter with Dilip-da

I have never seen Dilip-da walking on the pavement; he always walked in the street. As soon as I saw Dilip-da, I would get such a thrill. He had such unimaginable charm.

One day, around three or four o'clock in the afternoon, I happened to be coming back home from the Ashram when I saw Dilip-da in the street. He said to me, "Do you know where Prabhakar lives?"

Prabhakar Mukherjee was my Bengali teacher. He used to teach in Calcutta University. He was so fond of me. He used to come to my house and I would read him my poems. After I had been in his class for only six months or so, believe it or not, he wrote an article about me. And he was the one who secretly took two of my notebooks to Nolini-da to get Nolini-da's comment about my poetry. Nolini-da gave a very nice comment, but he asked Prabhakarda not to tell me at that time.

Anyway, Dilip-da wanted me to show him where Prabhakar's house was. Can you imagine! Then Dilip-da said to me, "I am writing a poem in Sanskrit. I need the proper grammar for one word."

I said to him, "I can go and bring Prabhakar-da to you immediately!"

"No, no," he said, "I will go and see him."

Then I escorted Dilip-da to Prabhakar-da's place. It was quite far. We walked for a half mile or so. I did not dare to walk by Dilip-da's side. I stayed twenty metres ahead of him. He was in his singing mood.

When we approached Prabhakar-da's house, I screamed and screamed, "Prabhakar-da! Prabhakar-da! Dilip-da wants to speak to you!" Prabhakar-da came out of his house when he heard my voice. Then Dilip-da gave me a very big smile and again I came back.

Delivering letters to Dilip-da

Dilip-da corresponded with Sri Aurobindo on a daily basis, often two or three times a day, and Sri Aurobindo immediately replied at great length to all his letters. Nolini-da always delivered Sri Aurobindo's replies to Dilip-da.

Many years later, from time to time, Dilip-da also received letters from the Mother. I was Nolini-da's secretary. On four occasions, Nolini-da asked me to deliver a letter from the Mother to Dilip-da. I did not walk at that time. I practically ran from downstairs, screaming, "Dilip-da! Dilip-da! Dilip-da!"

Then he would call me up and I would give him the letter. What a beautiful, blessingful smile I used to get from him! That was Dilip-da.

Nolini-da defends Dilip Roy

Once somebody criticised Dilip-da mercilessly about his singing, about his songs and everything. The article came out in a magazine. There will always be critics. I was working inside Nolini-da's room. Dilip-da came like a child and pleaded, "Nolini-da, Nolini-da, can you imagine how badly I have been criticised? Now you have to defend me."

Nolini-da said, "What do I know about music? If it is any other subject, if you ask me to write about your spirituality, I am ready to defend you like anything. I know your high spiritual standard and all this. I will absolutely defend you. But what do I know about music? How am I going to defend you?"

Dilip-da said, "No, no, you can do it, you can do it, you can do it. You have to write something."

Finally, Nolini-da said, "All right, I will do it."

Then Dilip Roy said, "It has to come out in the same magazine. I will force them to accept your version about my musical talents."

Poor Nolini-da, the subject was quite new to him. But Nolini-da was a genius, a savant. He might not have had singing capacity, but was there any subject he did not know? Nolini-da had to read quite a few books and dive deep within before he started writing. Then he wrote an excellent article defending Dilip-da and highly appreciating Dilip-da's music. The same magazine accepted Nolini-da's version of Dilip-da's musical genius. That is why Dilip-da was so happy and so grateful to Nolini-da.

Always Dilip-da used to make that kind of affectionate demand. And he was at that time well over fifty years old. So this is how Nolini-da made Dilip-da happy and made the Mother and Sri Aurobindo happy.

Dilip-da receives payment for an article

One experience is funnier than the funniest. In comparison to American dollars, Indian rupees are almost worthless. One dollar is equivalent to 45 or 47 rupees. Anyway, one magazine begged Dilip-da to write an article on music, so Dilip-da complied with their request. Then they sent him three rupees as payment — three rupees!

I happened to be there at the Ashram gate. He was telling the gatekeepers and a few members of the Ashram, "Look, they have sent me three rupees!" Then he said one Bengali phrase, 'Jatha labha,' which means 'whatever you get is a gain.' But he was not upset at all. He was laughing and laughing. "They have sent me three rupees for my article. Something is better than nothing!"

He was so laughingly, happily and proudly telling everyone that he had received three rupees for his article. Dilip-da came of a wealthy family. And from his record albums, his books and his performances in Calcutta and other places, he used to get lots of money. He was extremely, extremely generous to the Ashram.

Fame is, indeed, gain. Because of his fame, Dilip-da brought tremendous glory to the Ashram.

The dearest disciple of Sri Aurobindo

Each spiritual Master has many, many disciples, but again, each Master has a connection, a very close, closer, closest connection, with a certain student or disciple. Our Indian Avatar story starts with Sri Ramachandra. Sri Ramachandra's own brother, his younger brother Lakshmana, was absolutely his dearest.

Towards the close of Lakshmana's life, after he was compelled to leave the palace, Sri Ramachandra said:

Deshe deshe kalatrani
Deshe deshe cha bandhabah
Tantu desha na pashyami
Yatra bhrata sahodara

"In all countries there are wives, in all countries there are friends, but I shall not find a brother like Lakshmana anywhere in this world."

Lakshmana was so dear to Sri Ramachandra. He gave every second of his life to his brother. That is why Sri Ramachandra said he would never find someone as close to him as his brother.

In Sri Krishna's case, his dearest one was Arjuna. In Lord Buddha's case, it was Ananda. In Sri Chaitanya's case, it was Nityananda. In Sri Ramakrisha's case, it was his Naren [Swami Vivekananda]. In Sri Aurobindo's case, it was this one: Dilip. Sri Aurobindo said that Dilip had been His physical son in a previous incarnation.