I came to India (to stay) from France some 25
years ago. Goal of this qualitative jump from West to East was originally
the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, in Pondicherry, but after a few weeks
this jump landed me in Auroville.
In spite of my passion for literary studies and a call for teaching
French, I always had felt a lack of oxygen in the French society.
Strongly attracted by the sun and the south, I had earlier on already
shifted my teaching capacities to Morocco, a beautiful country which
acted as a springboard for the migration to India - as in the end
even Morocco, for all its landscapes and vast spaces, could not
any more provide me with the oxygen I needed…
To the South of the South
I think I heard about Sri Aurobindo and the
Mother for the first time through a book by the late Gabriel Germain,
who had been a long-time teacher (of French, of course) in Morocco.
It was a kind of intellectual autobiography, a very refined one,
in which Sri Aurobindo's 'The Life Divine' and 'Savitri' played
an important part. While reading this book, which happened in the
late sixties, I started to write to the Mother, who sent blessing
packets and inner answers in return. As the inner life was growing,
so did the difficulties in my daily and family life.
Subsequently, Satprem's book, 'The Adventure of Consciousness' acted
as a catalyst, and finally I took the big step. I requested to be
removed from the master list of French teachers and came to the
country where there's even more sun than in Africa, and where the
Sun of Truth, Surya, is present behind a thin veil only, - and which
represents for me, somehow, the South of the South…
Translating Sri Aurobindo's poetry into French
Since then I have been involved in quite a few
activities in Auroville, such as gardening (I remember growing tomatoes
in the Aspiration Farm, long ago) and small scale tree-planting
(the contact with Nature has always been a big help for me), working
at Matrimandir, teaching… But my main activity has always been,
and is becoming more and more, personal writing (poems, essays,
etc.) and translation into French of Sri Aurobindo's poetry. This
last work, which considerably relegated the personal writing of
yore to the background, is quite demanding.. and rewarding, and
almost all my free time is now devoted to it.
There are quite some translations to be done, beautiful texts by
Sri Aurobindo to be grafted on the tree of French language, deserving
to be published.
Translations thus far
The French translations of Sri Aurobindo works
which I have published under the aegis of 'Latin Pen' - a small
publishing house which I have created here, open to all Latin languages
- are so far: 'Savitri', integral translation in 2 volumes
(1991 and 1996); 'Ilion', the epic poem of Sri Aurobindo
about the Fall of Troy (1996); and 'Eric', a Viking drama in five
acts (1996). I should mention here also the translation of 'Beyond
Man', a well-documented book about the integral yoga written
by Georges Van Vrekhem, under the title 'Au delà de l'espèce
Some other translations are waiting for the financial opportunity
to be published: the longer poems of Sri Aurobindo ('Urvasie', 'Love
and Death', 'Ahana', 'The Rishi', 'Baji Prabhou' etc), as well as
'The Guardians of the Light', a beautiful Vedic commentary by Sri
Aurobindo (translation by Surya, Varuna, Mitra, Bhaga, Aryaman).
The French rendering of another book of Georges Van Vrekhem, a biography
of the Mother, 'The Mother, the story of her life', will very soon
As for my personal work: the following books
have been published in Auroville up to now: 'Réelles Utopies'
(essays, paradoxes, novellas), which has found a good amount of
readers. Written in French, it is now also available in English
(but as yet not published) thanks to the very fine translation by
Aurovilian Shraddhavan. 'Houle de terre' (poems), partly
translated (by myself !) into English. 'Prison buissonnière'
(poems), and 'Carnets de route sur place' (Auroville August
'82 - September '83), first volume of a kind of humoristic-lyric-mystic
diary, for the main part still unpublished. It is a diary of someone
travelling 'on the spot' ('sur place'), travelling more within his
inner self than in the world around him.
introduction, poèmes et traductions