My admiration for Shivaji

I have always been a great admirer of Shivaji. At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram where I grew up, our teachers used to give us marks out of four. If you got four out of four, it was excellent; if you got three, it was very good; two was good; one was fair and zero was "tolerable."

One time my Bengali teacher asked us all to write an essay on Shivaji. We had to write it in the classroom, not as homework.

I was at that time around thirteen or fourteen years old. The teacher was so pleased with my essay that he gave me eight out of four! The principal came to know of it and he said to this particular teacher, "Are you crazy? How can you give eight out of four?" Then they had a serious altercation.

By giving me eight out of four for my essay on Shivaji, my Bengali teacher — who was so fond of me — got into trouble with the principal!

Sri Chinmoy, Shivaji, Agni Press, 1997