OF THE STARS Autobiography of two Yogis, Ma Indira Devi & Dadaji Sri
Dilip Kumar Roy. more
The daughter of a musical mother and a rich father,
Indira Devi had, since her childhood days, a deep longing to become a cloistered
nun. It was, for one of her upbringing, a strange and inexplicable yearning, the
more so as she was brought up on the sayings of Guru Nanak, the great medieval
saint of the Punjab, who had never favoured escapism of traditional kind.
Born in 1920, she had imbibed early a deep love of books and learnt Urdu and English
from her infancy till she became perfectly at home in these languages.
Hers was a curious life. Born to wealth and luxury, she felt attachment to neither.
A congenital other-worldliness, which none could explain, grew with her years
even when she rode and danced and read with avidity the most up-to-date English
dramas, novels and biographies. She had a native aptitude for the histrionic art
and acted brilliantly in amateur theatricals which attracted so much attention
that she was pressed by a film magnate to join the movies. She declined; for,
lonely in the midst of opulence and stirred relentlessly by a mystic impulse,
she longed only for the Divine. She started various kinds of social work in which
she cut a brilliant figure; ran orphanages and refugee camps, became the provincial
President of Women's Conference which elected her more than once to be sent as
a delegate to Europe. But there again she refused because with time her ingrained
nostalgia for the nameless fulfillment only deepened till she met in Jubbulpore,
Sri Dilip Kumar Roy who had come there to sing and speak of his Guru, Sri Aurobindo.
She instantly decided to accept him as her Guru and spiritual guide but, as Sri
Dilip Kumar hesitated, she had to wait a few years till Sri Aurobindo, after seeing
her in 1949, wrote to him to accept her. So Sri Dilip Kumar Roy adopted her as
his daughter and disciple and she came to Sri Aurobindo Ashram renouncing her
home, family, wealth and social activities to dedicate herself to the spiritual
life under her Guru's guidance and direction.
In 1949 she began, unexpectedly,
to go into samadhi (the English term 'trance' often lends itself to misinterpretation
as samadhi in Indian Yoga is far removed from a mediumistic phenomenon)
in which she stayed entranced for hours at a stretch, with a beatific smile on
her face which drew many a seeker to her.
Gradually, she began seeing
visions of various gods and goddesses along with one figure she did not know,
who later revealed herself as the great saint Mirabai of hallowed memory. This
noble queen of Mevar and composer of devotional songs, which are sung to this
day throughout India, had given up her throne and palace and family to become
a wandering mendicant in the name of Krishna, the Lord of her heart. Now she manifested
herself again to Indira and sang song after beautiful song which Indira, after
her samadhi, dictated to Sri Dilip Kumar and others. These songs, roundly
about 1000 in number, were published by Sri Dilip Kumar in 7 books entitled Shrutanjali,
Premanjali, Ushanjali, Vibhanjali, Sudhanjali, Bhavanjali and Deepanjali
which were hailed by thousands of spiritual seekers in India and abroad. These
are now available in two volumes together with heretofore unpublished songs, entitled
'Indiranjali Vols I & II'.
In the Ashram Ma Indira Devi learned singing
from Sri Dilip Kumar himself and dancing from three dancers successively, in three
different styles: Manipuri, Kathakali and above all Bharata Natyam, the most evolved
and intricate dance of mystic India. She improvised as she danced with Dilip Kumar's
songs which had hitherto been regarded by the critics as too intricate to dance
to, accompanying the singer's improvisations with her dance improvisations. The
success of the new technique attracted much attention and Maulana Azad generously
sponsored a round world trip for her and Sri Dilip Kumar on a cultural mission.
Thereafter, with her Guru, She settled in Poona where they finally founded
the Hari Krishna Mandir, and started daily puja and arati every
evening which is attended by devotees of all castes and creeds. Neither she nor
Sri Dilip Kumar had ever believed in untouchability, religious bigotry, provincial
communalism or dogmatic sectarianism.