Madal the Child
- A disciple book I have thoroughly enjoyed is Vidagdha's *Madal the Child*. It will melt your heart. I cannot recommend it enough. It is a series of essays about Sri Chinmoy's early childhood. You could say the book "connects a lot of dots" for me about Guru's life growing up. Guru's stories are liberally quoted and there are quotes from his brothers and other sources. The stories are seamlessly woven together with multiple references and the addition of Vidagdha's historical perspectives and explanations. The passages are enlightening, poignant, and amusing. The reader hangs on every detail, immersed in imagining what it must have been like for our "little Guru."
An unexpected treat for me was further insights about Guru's oldest brother, Hriday. How, at age 21, in 1932, to the extreme distress of his family, he sneaked off on a journey of more than 3,000 miles to join the ashram of a spiritual master he had never seen. He was completely dedicated to becoming God-Realized in that incarnation. What must it have been like for him to be spending what Guru describes as, "hundreds of hours in front of the shrine always occupied, working here and there, studying the Vedas" when, "In comparison to him, we were just jokers." I was in tears, reading Guru's descriptions of tears falling on his exam papers after being treated as an outcast at school when his mother died. It was Hriday who rescued him from his torture. Hriday took him out of the school and brought him to study with him at a school where he was Headmaster. As Guru was only a year old when Hriday moved to the ashram, it was the first time, Guru spent a significant amount of time with Hriday. Eventually, in 1943, in response to the unfolding of World War II and safety concerns, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram decided to accept a few children and open a small school. Hriday applied for special permission to bring Mantu and Madal with him to the ashram, and permission was granted.
You can read quite a few of the essays in the book at Vidagdha's website:
From the back cover of *Madal the Child*:
"How did an Indian village boy who loved climbing trees, playing with his pet monkeys nd dogs, roaming in the jungle and sitting in on cases being conducted in the High Court, grow up to be one of the most beloved spiritual Masters of the modern era?
"In this series of essay, the writer recreates many scenes from Sri Chinmoy's carefree childhood years when he was known as Madal ---the kettledrum--- including some dramatic moments when he seemed to face certain death and was saved by some stroke of divine intervention.
"The writer also pays tribute to Hriday, Madal's eldest brother, who left the family circle at a tender age to join an Ashram in the south of India, thousands of miles away. Following the death of Madal's parents, Hriday would bring all his brothers and sisters out of the war-torn region to join him in that sanctified abode.
"Madal was only twelve when he left his little village and all his childhood pastimes behind to immerse himself in a life of prayer and meditation."