Sumitanandan pant and spirituality

By Samridhi Dixit

                                “The spirit shall look out through matter’s gaze and the matter shall reveal the spirit face”

  –Shri Aurobindo.

Spirituality is considered a religious process of re-formation which aims to recover the original shape of man as exemplified by the sacred texts of the religions of the world. In modern times its definition has been reformed to a much broader sense as the deepest values and meanings by which people live, it include a belief in personal growth, religious experience, or an encounter with one’s own “inner dimension”

Spirituality or spiritualism may be considered an obsolete concept in today’s era. Though it has been widely imbibed by the western world now. But the roots of this lie in the golden history of our motherland. Sumitranandan pant appears to be one of the many in the Indian artistic and intellectual traditions who was initially drawn into Marxism and communism. Pant Ji himself was a seeker of light and self-realization. However, over time, these thinkers became disillusioned after either seeing through the narrow materialistic view of the world, returned to their Indian roots seeking deeper and more honest meaning to their life and of sumitranandan pant

Sumitranandan pant was heavily influenced by the spiritualism of some of the most influential spiritual leaders during his lifetime. While studying in Banaras he began reading works of Rabindranath Tagore as well as English poets.These figures would have a powerful influence on his writings. After his first collection of poems Pallav (1926) established him as the literary giant of the Hindu renaissance. Pant moved to kalakankar in 1931. For nine years he lived a secluded life close to nature. Simultaneously he grew enamored with the works of and thinking of Karl Marx and Mahatma Gandhi, dedicating several verses to them in the poetry he produced during this time. Pant ji was, early in his youth attracted to Gurudev Tagore, in whom he found not only a wealth of poetry but also the personality of a poet, accepted exclusively by the two worlds of the east and the west. Pant ji was a decade later attracted to Gandhiji for his great humanity and his service for human values. Concurrently he found in Marx all that the dynamism of the west can be put to use for the universal good of humanity. Thus the Gandhian synthesis of Sarvodaya was to be supported by analytical and scientific socialism. Pant ji acquainted himself with the outlines of modern science. But all the analysis and synthesis of the west was soon to be transcended by what Pant ji discovered in Shri Aurobindo’s The Life Devine, which had a great impact on him. In him, he found a poet, a philosopher and a yogi, who was of the ages yet ageless. All the earlier guiding stars seemed to have merged into the effulgent sun of Shri Aurobindo’s life and work.

Shri Aurobindo was an Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet, and nationalist. He joined the Indian movement for independence from the British rule. He is considered to be one of the most influential leaders who then became a spiritual reformer by introducing his visions on human progress and spiritual evolution. During initial years he was actively involved in nationalist politics and the nascent revolutionary movement in Bengal. He was also arrested, held at public trials and faced charges of treason, but he was only convicted and imprisoned for writing articles against British rule in India. During his stay in jail, he had mystical and spiritual experiences which lead him to the path of spiritualism, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work. He believed in the spiritual realization that not only liberated man but transformed his nature, enabling a divine life on earth. In 1944 Sumitra Nandan moved to Madras and then Pondicherry, to attend the ashram of Shri Aurobindo.

Sumitanandan pant and spiritualityPant Ji and Harivansh Rai Bachchan had a great bonding over writings and the fact that they both were influenced by Shri Aurobindo and that made this bond even more stronger. The instances of this bond has been mentioned in one of Bachhan ji’s famous work ‘Kavitaon mein saumya sant’ which shows the spiritual inclination of pant ji towards Shri Aurobindo. The book states that in 1942 when Pant ji went to live with bacchan he had all three parts of the book ‘Life Divine’ by Shri Aurobindo and also that both use to have long conversations about the Shri Aurobindo and his ashram in Pondicherry. In 1947 when pant ji returned to Allahbad from Pondicherry Bacchan ji says that pant ji brought a pile of Aurobindo’s literary works which included a monthly issue of ashram ‘Aditi’ and ‘advent’. Pant ji’s inclination towards the spiritualism of Shri Aurobindo is clearly exhibited in one of his longest poems ‘lokayatan’ and also his work ‘Shri Arvind’.

हमारे युग की अंधविश्वास, संघर्ष तथा हाहाकार से भरी।

पृथवी पर श्री अरविंद एक अदम्य विश्वास के जज्ववल्यमान स्वर्ण स्तम्भ की तरह उप्पर उठे और अपने अलौकिक ऐश्वर्य से अपने युग को मुग्ध कर गए।

उन्होंने अपने आत्म मधुर मर्मभेदी शब्दो में संदेश दिया कि मानव- चेतना विकास के पथ में है। मन का बोध ही सम्पूर्ण बोध नही

It was not for the power of passion so much as for the light of thought that Pant ji discovered his affinity with Shri Aurobindo. The call of the sturdy oak was responded by the lonesome pine. Pantji paid two visits to Pondicherry, during the lifetime of Shri Aurobindo. Ever since Pant ji knew Shri Aurobindo, he had known himself better or it can be said that after he registered Shri Aurobindo’s impact, it helped him to realize himself better and more fully, resulting in a constant flow of creative work, not lacking in self-assurance. Shri Aurobindo’s impact on Pant ji resulted in confirming the validity of some of Pant ji’s own conclusions and in reassuring him of the viability of some of his own dreams.

For as long as humankind has woven words into the creations of beauty that we call poetry, spiritual themes have beckoned to poets. This is quite natural. As people embark upon the exploration of both their inner and outer worlds, Spirit awaits, just as a shore surely awaits all ships that hold to a well-oriented bearing. Poet-seekers find Spirit in the natural world that surrounds them as well as in the deep reaches of the human heart, to share the experience with them through the poem.

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