The Divine Battle

Delhi Ashram was inaugurated on 12th Feb 1956

Unpredictable challenges and mysterious workings of Grace

by Shri Surendranath Jauhar, the founder of Delhi Ashram

Detailed plans and instructions for the construction of sri Aurobindo’s shrine were certainly received from the Mother. But it baffled me and made me most uneasy. I never had any knowledge or experience of such a delicate assignment.

Next morning when I was just washing and wiping the Meditation Hall which was my Sunday routine, a gentleman entered with devotion and a smiling face. It was a surprise. I embraced him and made him sit. He had come for the first time to the ashram. I asked him as to how he had come here. He spontaneously said that he had been longing to see me in my Ashram life, and just sat beside me in meditation with closed eyes.

He was a friend working in the Central Public Works Department. I always loved and respected him on account of his devotion to work, integrity and nobility. His name was Poonam Chand.

He continued sitting in the Meditation Hall with his body erect in meditation for over two hours. This surprised me further. When he came out of the meditation I asked him where he had learnt this art of meditation, as I could never imagine or conceive that a Government servant especially in the C. P. W. D. could be devoted to Tapasya, Mediation and Samadhi. He told me that he was doing meditation for several hours everyday in his house and he was a very early riser. I was so happy to know all this.

Now I told him that he had been sent by the Divine to solve my problem and showed him the plans and the drawings of the shrine which has been received from the Mother. He at once said that it was his job as he was responsible for executing all the marble monuments in Delhi. He assured me that he would take the responsibility and would execute the construction of the shrine from the beginning to the end. What a magic and miracle.

He took away all the plans and straight off called the proper people from Makana near Jaipur, Rajasthan, who were doing this kind of marble monument work and who were in his confidence and were completely under his influence. He gave them complete instructions and directions and settled all the charges, terms and time of delivery etc.

The arrangement was so perfect that within three months all the fabricated pieces for the complete shrine were received in the trucks along with the technicians to assemble the shrine on the spot. The shrine was assembled within a month under the direction and supervision of Rai Sahib Pooran Chand.

The cube in the centre was very heavy. This was lifted by a crane with the help of the expert and skilled labourers, who were arranged from the Supreme Court building under construction.

When the shrine was completely ready, just by chance I noticed that the symbols of Sri Aurobindo on all the four sides of the cube were wrongly carved. It shocked me seriously. Now the cube could not be lifted and the symbols could not be re-carved because the cube had gone two feet deep in the ground and strongly fixed in cement concrete. I felt that all the efforts had gone waste as the cube had in any case to be changed which was a difficult and terrible job. I could not reconcile myself as to how it could be done.

Next morning I explained this to Rai Sahib Pooran Chand and he comforted me and assured that the cube will be broken into pieces and dug out and the new cube with correct and authentic symbols will be got carved at Makrana again.

The distressed condition of my mind and the cry of my heart reached the Mother. Just at that time when we were discussing all this on the spot in animation, quite miraculously a lengthy telegram was received from the Mother saying that the Relics will be placed under the cube and not over the cube under the Lotus as was previously directed. Now all the anxiety and unhappiness was dissolved as the cube had in any case to be broken and taken out to place the Relics under the same.

The order and instructions for the new cube were given which was made again at Makrana with the correct symbols. The cube was received quite promptly and was placed in the Shrine with the Relics underneath.

With this, the second phase of the Divine Battle was over. But it looks that this battle is eternal till the consciousness undergoes a change.

Sri Aurobindo Marg

One fine morning in January 1962 a revelation dawned upon me that this Highway from Safdarjung Monument leading to Qutub Minar should be named Sri Aurobindo Marg. I put in a regular application to the authorities of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

My repeated pursuance for about two years did not show any signs of movement. No one could take a decision, as such important matters are discussed by the political parties and then the recommendation has to pass through several authorities before it is finally decided.

Mr.Sham Nath was the Mayor in those days. He was quite junior to me in our political life. He was with me for over a year in Multan Central Jail during Civil Disobedience Movement in the year 1930. He tried his best to process and recommend the case during his tenure of one year.

At this juncture fortunately Shri Nuruddin, Barrister was elected as the Mayor of Corporation. I knew him very well as he was Junior Advocate for the cases against me during the Quit India Movement in 1942. I had to sit with him for hours from time to time so that he could process the matter and discuss the same with members of the Corporation.

During three years, when the political cases against me were going on I had gradually given him a number of books written by Sri Aurobindo, so he was quite conversant with Sri Aurobindo and his political life.

One day just when I entered his office in the Municipal Corporation he said, “What is there to think or discuss. It would rather be a privilege for the Corporation to name the road as Sri Aurobindo Marg.” He called for the file and made a strong recommendation. This is how the case moved further.

The term of the Mayor is always for a year only and Sri Nuruddin’s term was also over.

Now the next Mayor elected was Lala Hans Raj Gupta. He was a good friend of mine. First time in the history of the Corporation he was elected as Mayor for five consecutive terms. This gave me a golden opportunity to pursue the case with him during all these five years and the consent to name the road as Sri Aurobindo Marg was obtained. It gave me utmost pleasure and satisfaction. Lala Hans Raj Gupta, the Mayor, also wrote a direct letter to the Mother that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had changed the name of Mehrauli Road, on which Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch and the Shrine of Sri Aurobindo are situated, to Sri Aurobindo Marg and sent a copy to me.

When I read through the consent-letter I was shocked to find that it was only for the part of the road from Yusuf Sarai to Qutub Minar. I could never imagine that. On enquiries it was explained that the Corporation had its jurisdiction from Yusuf Sarai only and that the road from the Safdarjung Monument upto Yusuf Sarai lay under the jurisdiction of the New Delhi Municipal Committee which was a nominated body of the Central Government of India. This discouraged me very much and I felt that all my hopes and efforts of seven years had proved futile. However, I had been writing to the Mother and keeping Her informed about the developments of the case.

I never knew anyone in the New Delhi Municipal Committee. In a desperate mood I dashed to the residence of its President, early next morning and knocked at his door. No one could dare to approach the President in such a manner without personally knowing him or without any appointment. The bearer came out and I gave my name on a chit of paper stating that I was from Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I was told that he was in pooja (prayers) and he had desired me to sit in the drawing-room and wait. After about half an hour he came out and said, “What telepathy! What a miracle! And what a Grace that you have come!”

He told me, “Last evening I was attending an official party and suddenly some thoughts came to me that I must know something about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. In spite of my being completely immersed in the party and talking to friends this thought was extremely strong at the back of my mind and I was seriously thinking as to how to know that and whom to contact . Lo What a surprise and what a mystery and what a Grace, that early in the morning you are here!”

Now we were talking for about two hours and went on explaining and telling him whatever he wanted to know about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the Ashram. At the end he asked me the purpose of my visiting him. I explained to him the whole case about the road. It has taken me seven years to pursue the case with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Now I am told that the main part of the road from Safdarjung Monument to Yusuf Sarai falls under the jurisdiction of the New Delhi Municipal Committee and the decision about this part lies with you.”

I showed him the file of the case and explained to him. “We had applied to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for the entire road from Safdarjung Monument to Qutub Minar to be named as Sri Aurobindo Marg and their acceptance has been received only for Yusuf Sarai to Qutub Minar. Had I known this earlier I would have simultaneously applied to the New Delhi Municipal Committee also.|”

He spontaneously said, “The New Delhi Municipal Committee will surely agree and I will get this passed in the Committee meeting very soon.” And what a Grace that the acceptance of the Committee was received within a fortnight. This made me extremely happy and I breathed a sigh of relief.

On my request and pursuance, beautifully designed and written sign-boards were fixed on the entire road. I took the car and went to see the boards and I found that on these boards the name of the road had been written wrongly as “Aurobindo Marg” – in all the three languages – English, Hindi and Urdu.

I immediately telephoned the President of the Municipal Committee and he told me that they do not use affixes to the names and therefore ‘Sri’ could not be written. I explained to him that ‘Sri’ was not an affix but it was part of the name. He did not understand and would not accept my version. Then I asked him as to what was his name. He told me that his name was Sri Chand. I sharply said, supposing Sri is deleted from your name, will you accept that?” Now he realized and laughed. Very quickly he ordered his people to change signs on the boards. And within three days the writing on the boards was changed and since then it is “Sri Aurobindo Marg”.

This is the culmination of the story and the battle.

New Delhi, the capital of India and a metropolitan city has become a Mecca and there is a regular flow of official and non-official visitors to Delhi from India and all over the world. Everyone who comes to Delhi goes to, or is taken to, see Qutub Minar. This is a must, and every one has to go through the entire highway ‘Sri Aurobindo Marg’.

Although I have not read any of the voluminous works of Sri Aurobindo, his philosophy and yoga, I feel proud that I have put everyone on Sri Aurobindo Marg, not only for the present but also for the future.

Now it is for them to realize.