It was under the illumined aegis of my guru Sri Aurobindo that I first blossomed into a writer of novels, plays, poems and biographies, impelled through it all by my inveterate urge to limn the human greatness that seemed to accost me at every turn. I have never considered this inclination of mine to be mere hero worship, especially as Krishna Himself declares in the Gita:
yad-yad vibhutimat sattvam shrimad-urjitam eva va
tat-tat evagaccha tvam mama tejomsha-sambhavam
Wherever thou findest a flowering of grace,
So it was with a certain joy that Indira Devi and I received an invitation from our dear disciple Prashanta, on behalf of The Macmillan Company, to write a book about our lives as spiritual seekers. In my own case, I was spurred on by a letter Aldous Huxley had written to me some years ago in which he complained about the vast pseudo-literature that had been pullulating on the subject, inspired by ends very different from those of true spirituality.
Glory or opulence that thrills the eye,
Know: they all stem from a gleam of My sun-splendor
Some of our readers will be familiar with my older work Among the Great where I have written at length about the great personalities whose ideas and friendship have had a significant impact on my life. For reasons of space as well as to avoid needless repetition, I have here greatly curtailed such biographical material, except, of course, in the case of Sri Aurobindo, my guru and the one fixed point in my otherwise kaleidoscopic life.
I must pause briefly to say a word about Sri Aurobindo, whose birth centenary is being celebrated this year all over the world. I have quoted liberally from his works only to testify that it was he who, in his infinite compassion, molded me into whatever I may amount to now.
From my boyhood days I had heard of him as the great revolutionary who sacrificed everything for the cause of the Motherland, as he called India. When I finally came to know him, however, it was in a different light, for by then he had retired from politics, declining the leadership of his country to pursue a greater vision that progressively revealed itself to him through the practice of yoga. I lived under his beneficent aegis from November, 1928, to his passing in December, 1950, and went through the trials that befall every aspirant who seeks "to make his life a bridge twixt earth and heaven," as we are exhorted in his immortal Savitri. To be with him was to enjoy a foretaste of heaven, and his sudden passing would have left me derelict with grief but for the consolation of my daughter disciple, Indira Devi, who had come to me the previous year. She was a highly gifted mystic and never failed to sustain me with her luminous experiences which Sri Aurobindo fully endorsed, acclaiming her Samadhi or superconscious trance, as "authentic" and her visions as "beautiful."
It was at this time also that the famous Saint Mira of hallowed memory began to manifest her lead of light through Indira's visions, giving her song after ecstatic song in flawless Hindi verse which I then set to tune and sang athrill. To date Indira has dictated more than eight hundred such songs, sometimes, alas, while literally gasping for breath due to her cardiac asthma. As to the historicity of Mira, the queen turned mendicant in the Lord's name, the reader is referred to the appendixes of this work. I need here mention only that from the time of her earthly embodiment in the sixteenth century up to the present day, her life and songs have electrified countless admirers and devotees drawn by the dateless message of Krishna and God-love.
Since Indira is contributing a preface of her own, I will not further extend my own remarks except for the brief but pleasant task of acknowledgments. To Sri Prashanta, Sri H.V. Kamath, Sri Aina, Sri Mohanta and Sri Rasiklal Desai go our sincere thanks for their varied and loving help. And to the Jaico Publishing Company of Bombay, I want to extend my special appreciation for allowing me the many lengthy quotations I have made from my works Among the Great and Sri Aurobindo Came to Me.