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Chapter 1: The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here

You can criticize, but criticism needs understanding. You can say Krishnamurti is not right, but then you have to give evidence - on what grounds? But just to laugh and giggle when Krishnamurti’s name was mentioned.Krishnamurti was saying, “I am the awakened one; you also have the capacity to be an awakened one,” and that was making Mahatma Gandhi laugh sarcastically.

Meher Baba, another man of the same caliber as J. Krishnamurti, gave a telegram to Mahatma Gandhi saying, “You have been in search of God, you have written your autobiography and titled it Experiments with Truth, but you don’t know anything of meditation, of silence. If you are really interested I can come to you and I can make you aware of the dimension of meditation.” And the whole gang that was around Mahatma Gandhi laughed - “This fellow thinks that he is God himself.” And Mahatma Gandhi replied, “I will do my own search; you need not trouble to come here.”

A third time it happened. One man of the name Kedarnath was of the same caliber as J. Krishnamurti, but was not world known. He was not a man of words but a man of silence, peace. He stayed in Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram, and soon the pendulum started moving towards him. The disciples of Mahatma Gandhi by and by started deserting him. In his morning devotional songs, the number of people was declining: they were going to sit in silence with Kedernath.

Finally it became such a situation: the ashram was Mahatma Gandhi’s, Kedarnath was just a guest, but he captured almost all Gandhi’s disciples. Gandhi was left alone, but his ego would not allow him to go and sit where all his disciples were sitting - in silence with Kedarnath. It was with great humanity and compassion that Kedarnath left the ashram in the middle of the night just to avoid a clash, because now it was becoming clear that Mahatma Gandhi had lost control of his own disciples. Kedarnath did not want to create any conflict.

Sri Aurobindo had a certain clarity. He was not an enlightened man of the category of J. Krishnamurti or Meher Baba, but he was very close. Perhaps one life more and he will be enlightened; he was just on the border line. He declared, “India will become free, will attain freedom on my birthday” - and it actually happened. The fifteenth of August is Sri Aurobindo’s birthday, and he had declared it thirty years before. People had completely forgotten about his declaration, but India became free on the fifteenth of August.

Sri Aurobindo sent a message to Mahatma Gandhi, “Now that the country is free, you need a complete program for its progress, because it is one thing to fight for freedom and it is another thing after attaining the freedom to create a nation; tremendous responsibility falls on your shoulders.”

And the reply that Mahatma Gandhi gave was again simply sarcastic: “You have left the world; you live in your ashram. You don’t have to worry about what happens to freedom and what we are going to do; that is our business. You have left it, you don’t have to interfere.”

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