This is an extraordinary book about an extraordinary soul. Dilip Kumar Roy - known as 'Dadaji' to his countless followers -- was a most remarkable human being who spread light and joy wherever he went. Dadaji strove to make the earth a world of harmony, beauty and love. He was a profound seer, philosopher, thinker and poet; but all his life he remained as simple as a child - unspoilt by the veneration and reverence in which he was universally held. His magic was not far to seek - he was so human! He had transparent sincerity and unswerving regard for Truth. I had the privilege of knowing him, and the indelible impressions of his nobility and greatness remain etched upon my memory.
Sri Aurobindo had many disciples, and Dadaji was the most outstanding of them all. Despite all his greatness and scholarship, Dadaji had unfeigned modesty and humility. His work was an offering of love to his Creator. He was a living example of the fact that the higher a man is in Grace, the lower he will be in his own esteem.
As Dadaji said, "Grace involves responsibility". And he discharged that responsibility by ceaseless work. To quote Dadaji, "Work is Sadhna". He wrote books which ranked only next to Sri Aurobindo's in their sweep of thought, spiritual insight and beauty of expression.
In the following pages, Indira Devi - more affectionately known as 'Ma' or 'Didiji' - has brought to the surface of her mind Fragrant Memories of happenings and Dadaji's sayings which would otherwise have been lost to posterity. Indira Devi was to Dadaji what the Mother was to Sri Aurobindo. There was between them a relationship of ineffable beauty, enriched and ennobled by their deep spiritual impulse. In Indira Devi's own words, it was a relationship not only of a guru and disciple, a father and daughter, a teacher and pupil, but the relationship between two friends, two fellow pilgrims of eternity, with one goal and one path.
Dadaji and Indira Devi were originally in Sri Aurobindo Ashram and thereafter jointly ran Hari Krishna Mandir in Poona. In this book, Indira Devi has put down her recollections as they came to her mind or welled up in her heart. This spontaneous record of her reminiscences seems preferable to a pre-arranged plan involving a strict logical order or sequence. As Indira recalls the various incidents and her conversations with Dadaji over a period of thirty one years 1949 to 80 - she cannot help revealing the evolution of her own character and the transformation which she went through as a result of her association with Dadaji. Indira had the responsiveness, the nobility and the courage to give up life of great luxury and comfort, and even her deep attachment to her dear ones including her children after she came in contact with Dadaji. It is clear that she shared Dadaji's total sincerity and constant devotion to Truth.
Indira Devi had her consciousness raised to a higher plane which was in the realm of clairvoyance. She could see events before they manifested themselves and see things at a distance which the physical eye could not reach. On a number of occasions she heard music and songs of Mirabai which she was able to reproduce later after she came out of the trance. Sometimes the songs came to her one at a time; sometimes they came in torrent. Undoubtedly, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the rationalist's philosophy.
Dadaji had a soul saturated and dripping with music, and the devotion of Indira Devi to music was no less intense. Truly, both were Music incarnate. Indira authored hundreds of songs which Dadaji set to music.
One of the passages in this book has a bearing on the need for harmony between Hindus and Muslims, and is poignantly appropriate today. Our people must be spiritually dead if they are not moved by the fact that according to Dadaji one of the best translations of the Gita is by Professor Dil Mohammed, the Principal of the Islamic College, Lahore. In his preface, Professor Dil Mohammed writes in Urdu, "Gita is one of the greatest spiritual books in the world. It explains to us what man is, what God is, what Love is, what Knowledge is, what is the right way to work".
On his last day of earth - 6th January 1980 - Dadaji was his usual cheerful self, although aware of the impending end. Dadaji said, "Wash my hands. I have to touch the Lord's feet."
These Fragrant Memories are filled with echoes of the Lord's feet.
NANI A. PALKHIVALA
January 30, 1993