Pages of Inspiration–Book Review
YOGI SRI KRISNAPREM
Author: Dilip Kumar Roy
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
First Edition: 1968
This riveting book about a great soul, Sri Krishnaprem,** authored by renowned Bengali singer and musician, and disciple of Sri Aurobindo, Dilip Kumar Roy, brings to light the immense spiritual wisdom of Sri Krishnaprem. Through his close personal interactions with Sri Krishnaprem over about 40 years, in person as well as through regular written correspondence, the author portrays Sri Krishnaprem’s transformation from an intellectual Englishman, Prof. Ronald Nixon, to a staunch Guru bhakta whose heart became completely filled with divine love of Sri Krishna and Radharani.
Leading a secluded life in Mirtola, near Almora, with his Guru, Sri Yasoda Ma, and a couple of other Ashram inmates, Sri Krishnaprem would have remained largely unknown to the world if not for this book that comprises mostly of the letters that Sri Krishnaprem wrote to Dilip. The letters—which cover a wide range of spiritual topics from right from “free will vs. destiny” to the greatness of bhakti and love of Krishna—stand out in their clear and lucid handling of subjects that, under normal circumstances, are fuzzy and mysterious at best. Interestingly, the book also contains several letters from Sri Aurobindo to his disciple, the author, commenting on and substantiating the accuracy and validity of Sri Krishnaprem’s points.
A book that skeptics must read, Sri Krishnaprem’s sharp words strike hard on those who focus on mere “intellectual” discussion of what they consider the truth, instead of truly seeking out the Truth: That which is beyond the intellect, and cannot be spoken of, but only experienced.
“People who want the truth, must bear in mind that Reason can never be its pathfinder…. Reason, being only a “pleader”, it can plead for no matter what you enjoin it to, for it is a ready-enough advocate of your desires as psychoanalysts, too, have found out.”
Sri Krishnaprem constantly wrote about faith in Krishna and complete surrender to the Guru, who is none other than Krishna Himself. His words on the greatness of the Guru are heartfelt and are worth inscribing in stone. A year after the passing of his Guru, he wrote:
“I will tell you what is written in burning letters of fire in my heart that carry their own guarantee of truth.
Krishna and Guru are one: but if I leave Him, Krishna may leave me… But my Guru will never leave me whatever I do… I may fall from the Path, return to the flesh-pots and wallow in their filthy slops for five lives or fifty lives; I may blaspheme the Sacred Stone within my heart and die cursing God and man—all this and more I may do but She will never leave my side. Each separate folly of mine will be a stab of sorrow in the heart of Her, but She will never turn away Her face nor cease from trying to assuage the pains that I must suffer from my own foolish acts. Never, never will she leave my side nor cease to guide my steps until I stand in that eternal Braja where She stands now. God-forsaken and man-forsaken I may be, but Guru-forsaken, never.”
For Sri Krishnaprem, who saw and lived in love for Krishna, Krishna was the Supreme Reality above everything else, not a mere symbol or “form” of God. His advice to the author (and all spiritual seekers) was: “Give yourself utterly to Krishna and in finding Him you will find everything, while your critics will remain merely talking about. Go forward, caring nothing for anything else. Only ask nothing, give everything.”
**This review is about a book on Sri Krishnaprem of Almora (1898-1965). Not to be confused with Paranur Mahatma Sri Sri Krishna Premi Swami Maharaj of Paranur and Senganoor, Tamil Nadu.