Amal Kiran

K.D. Sethna, known in the Ashram and Auroville by the name Sri Aurobindo gave him – Amal Kiran (A Clear Ray) – was born in a Parsi family in Bombay on November 25th 1904. A brilliant student of Philosophy and English Literature, he joined the Ashram in 1927 at the age of 23. His passing, on June 29th 2011 at 12.15pm, after a short illness, marks the loss of a last physical link with the earliest days of the Ashram. For 13 years he was the only person with whom Sri Aurobindo shared passages from his epic Savitri in the course of its composition, and the correspondence between them about the poem gives us invaluable insights into Sri Aurobindo’s intentions and methods in writing the poem. Amal himself was a born poet, whose talent blossomed into genius under the influence and inspiration of Sri Aurobindo. He also authored over 50 books in prose, as well as being a prolific writer of articles and letters, many of which were published in the journal Mother India monthly review of culture which he founded in 1949 with Sri Aurobindo’s blessings, and continued to edit for more than 50 years. Amal was partly crippled by poliomyelitis as a child, but never allowed his handicap to hinder his adventurous spirit much, until two successive hip-fractures, in his 90s, took him to the Ashram Nursing Home, where he spent the last 10 years of his life. Today I imagine his ever-youthful spirit, freed at last from the load of the body, joyfully winging to meet his beloved Mother and Master, He would have been 107 on November 25th. He will be remembered with affection and gratitude by many many people whose lives were warmed and enriched by his clear and smiling Ray.

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