Born on 13th October 1984 to Jayanta Banerjee and Sanghamitra Banerjee, eminent film actress of Bengali Cinema, Anurag Banerjee received his early education from The Future Foundation School, Kolkata. His association with Sri Aurobindo Ashram started from 199 when, as a young boy of fifteen, he visited Pondicherry. A.B.Com graduate from Calcutta University with Honours in Accountancy and Finance, he obtained a diploma in Business Administration which was followed by another diploma in Business management and an M.B. A. Degree from ICFAI University, Dehradun, with specialization in Human Resource Management.
At the age of twenty, Anurag penned a biography of Dilip Kumar Roy titled Achinpather Dibyapathik (thus he became the youngest Indian to pen a biography) and at the age of twenty-one he translated one hundred poems of Sri Aurobindo into Bengali titled Debotar Shrom; both books were published in 2008. His first book in English, Nirodbaran: The Surrealist's Journey, was published in December 2006 when he was twenty-two years old. In the past few years, he established himself as a poet essayist researcher, biographer and translator. He is also faculty at Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research (SACAR), Pondicherry, were he conducts the course on 'Integral Management' developed by him.
At the age of twenty-five, Anurag established Overman Foundation, a non-profit organization which runs India's only online research centre dedicated to the mission of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the 'Auro-Ratna Awards'. Overman Foundation has published the following books written and edited by Anurag: The Alipore Bomb Trial Judgment (2010), Sri Aurobindo: His Politiacal Life Activities (2010), Sri Aurobindo on Ethics (2011), Ananya Nishikanto (2011), Sujata Nahar: Loving Homage (2011), Sri Aurobindo and Rabindranath Tagore (2011), The Mother: The Birth and Growth of a Flame (2012), The Alipore Bomb Trial: Selected Documents (2012), Sri Aurobindo's Intergral Vision of Life (2012) and Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him (2013). In April 2011 he was awarded the 'Nolini Kanta Gupta Smriti Puraskar' by 'Srinvantu' and Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata.
On the occasion of Sri Aurobindo's 135th Birth Anniversary in 2007, I had started interviewing a number of individuals who had the extraordinary fortune of having the Darshan of Sri Aurobindo. Such individual – whose numbers are decreasing every year – were peivieged and blessed souls for not only had they seen Sri Aurobindo but Sri Aurobindo too had seen them.
The interviewees of this book had settled in Sri Aurobindo Ashram their early years and grown up in loving was a distant figure whom they could see only four accessible to all. But Sri Aurobindo was a distant figure whom they could see only four times a year, that is during the Darshan days in the months of February, April, August and November. Yet almost every interviewee had some special anecdotes to share about Sri Aurobindo which he/she had either heard or personally witnessed. I always felt that such anecdotes and the experience of seeing Sri Aurobindo should not remain hidden from seekers and be recorded and published for the benefit of posterity. So, following my request, the interviewees had shared with me not only their enlightening reminiscences offered at the Lotus Feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
As I have already mentioned, I had begun interviewing these blessed souls from August 2007. But it took me for than half a decade to meet with all the interviewees and conduct the interviews. By the time I put the seal of completion to Sri Aurobindo As We Saw Him, some of the interviewees like Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, Nirmal Nahar, Kiran Kumari, Prof. Arabinda Basu, Bani and Dolly Mutsuddi had passed on to the Beyond. I would always regret the fact that I never got the opportunity to personally gift copies of this book to the departed interviewees who had showered infinite love and affection on me. But the delightful memories of these interviews would always remain engraved in my heart.
In this book reader would come across the names of several well-known and lesser known sadhaks and sadhikas of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. For his benefit, a brief-sketch of most of them has been added at the end of the book. I take the opportunity to thank Ms. Sudha Rani of Sri Aurobindo Ashram for providing me with the life-sketches of Mrityunjoy Mukherjee, Dr. Satyendra Thakore and Sisir Kumar Mitra. Through these interviews I have come closer to Sri Aurobindo amd the Mother. I sincerely hope that by reading this book the reader too would have a personal Darshan of Sri Aurobindo and come closer to His lotus feet.
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