A Saint in Prison

Sri Aurobindo

I have spoken of a year's imprisonment.
It would have been more appropriate to speak of a year's
living in a forest,
in an ashram or hermitage.
For long I had made great efforts for a direct vision
of the Lord of my Heart...
But due to the pull of a thousand worldly desires...
and the deep darkness of ignorance, I did not succeed in that effort.
...the Lord destroyed all these enemies at one stroke...
Himself staying as guru and companion in my little
abode of retirement and spiritual discipline.
The British prison was that ashram.
The only result of the wrath of the British Government was that I found God...
The solitary confinement at Alipore was a unique lesson in love.
..I could feel how deep can be the love of a man for all created things...
Even the strange spectacle of prison diet failed to disturb my attitude.
Coarse rice... spiced with husk, pebbles, insects, hair, dirt...
The tasteless lentil soup... with grass and leaves.
What to speak of changing the menu...
it was the same immutable, Eternal from beginning
to end.
Within two evenings it was calculated to impress upon
the prisoner the fragility of this world of maya.