M. P. Pandit (14 June 1918 – 14 March 1993) was a spiritual author, teacher and Sanskrit scholar. For several decades, he was a secretary of the Mother (Mirra Alfassa) of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He wrote numerous books and articles on the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, on social and political thought, science, philosophy, religion, mysticism, and the classical texts and spiritual traditions of India.
Birth and origin
Madhav P. Pandit was born in Sirsi, a small town in Karnataka. His family belonged to the community of the Gowd Saraswats which had migrated from Kashmir to various parts of India. His father was a wealthy and reputed lawyer who engaged himself in manifold social activities.
Childhood and education
Pandit grew up in a deeply religious Hindu family. When he was still a small child, his mother started taking him every day in the early morning to a temple where he spent his time in devotion and contemplation, which prepared and influenced his later spiritual path. All his life he was to keep some traditional customs such as Pranām.
His father wanted him to become a lawyer, following the family tradition. Therefore, he sent him to the best schools and additionally arranged for private tutoring in English, Sanskrit, mathematics and sciences. After his immatriculation Pandit continued his studies at Karnatak College in Dharwar.
Sundarrao, one of Pandit's brothers, was in close touch with Ganapati Muni, a well-known disciple of Ramana Maharshi, who was an eminent Sanskrit scholar and poet. Even at young age Pandit came to know him as well as his student Kapali Sastry, who was to become Pandit's tutor over time. Sastry was a great scholar of the Vedas and Tantras and taught Sanskrit at a school in Madras. Later on he became a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, joining the Sri Aurobindo Ashram where he translated some important texts of Sri Aurobindo into Sanskrit as well as into the South Indian languages Tamil and Telugu. He passed on his manifold knowledge to Pandit, giving him advice and support during his education and on his spiritual path.
Joining the Sri Aurobindo Ashram
One day, while spending some time in the library of his brother, Pandit by chance discovered an article on Sri Aurobindo and felt spontaneously attracted towards the name and the photo of the freedom fighter and yogi. Subsequently, he started a regular correspondence with Kapali Sastry in Pondicherry and developed increasing interest in spiritual literature. He studied works on Ramakrishna and read the Collected Works of Swami Vivekananda, but eventually turned more and more to Sri Aurobindo and his writings.
In April 1937 for the first time he travelled to Pondicherry where Kapali Sastry arranged for his meeting with the Mother, which touched him deeply. However, following the advice of his brother, and encouraged by the Mother, he first went to Bombay in order to complete his academic studies with a bachelor's degree in economics. Thereafter, he was free to move to Pondicherry and became a member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1939, at the age of 21.
Life in the Ashram and lecture tours
Having joined the Ashram, Pandit concentrated intensively on integral yoga and the work given to him. Over time he developed his literary capacities, translating works of Kapali Sastry from Sanskrit and writing a large number of books on philosophy, yoga, the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother or on Mantra, Tantra, Veda and the Upanishads. He always tried to use a clear, simple language in order to reach many readers. In his title Mother and I he later on reported on his frequent personal meetings with the Mother as her secretary and on the numerous topics he discussed with her. In his small books How do I begin and How do I proceed he presented some concrete hints for the practice of integral yoga.
After the Mother had left her body on 17 November 1973, he continued his activities as before, writing his correspondents that her presence and love persisted. In 1976 he started undertaking foreign travel in order to spread Sri Aurobindo's message abroad. Several times he went to the U.S. and to Europe, gave lectures and interviews or organized seminars and conferences. He regularly informed his readers about his manifold experiences in his Service Letter. However, he declined to be regarded as a "Guru" and once said in an interview in Florida that this whole ideal was old fashioned now and not any more appropriate. The knowledge that was kept secret formerly, was today freely available, he said, and everyone would be in a position to run his own life and think for himself.
After a serious illness, Pandit departed on 14 March 1993 in a clinic in Madras. When the next day his body was kept for public's view at his residence, a large number of friends and admirers came to pay homage to him.
- P. Raja (1993), M. P. Pandit. A Peep into his Past. Pondicherry, Dipti Publications
- S. Ranade (1997), Madhav Panditji. Pondicherry, Dipti Publications
- "Bases of Sadhana", Dipti Publications, c/o Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-40-X
- "Bases of Tantra Sadhana", Dipti Publications c/o Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, WI ISBN 978-0-941524-02-5
- Commentaries on Sri Aurobindo's Thought Vol. 1
- Deathless Rose
- Dhyana (Meditation)
- "Dictionary of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga" (compiler), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-74-4
- "Gems from Sri Aurobindo First Series" (compiler), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin
- "Gems from Sri Aurobindo Second Series" (compiler), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-73-6
- "Gems from Sri Aurobindo Third Series" (compiler), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-16-0
- "Gems from Sri Aurobindo Fourth Series" (compiler), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-17-9
- "Gems from the Tantras ( Kularnava) Vol. 1" (compiler), Ganesh & Co., c/o Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-45-4
- "Gems from the Tantras Vol. 2" (compiler), Ganesh & Co., c/o Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-46-2
- Heart of Sadhana
- How Do I Begin?
- How Do I Proceed?
- Japa (Mantra Yoga)
- "Kundalini Yoga", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-50-7
- Legends in the Life Divine
- Life Beautiful
- Lights on the Tantra
- Mystic Approach to the Veda & the Upanishad
- "Occult Lines Behind Life", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-35-3
- Pandit in America
- Pitfalls in Sadhana
- Selected Works of M.P. Pandit Vol. 1 Sri Aurobindo
- Selected Works of M.P. Pandit Vol. 2 The Mother
- Selected Works of M.P. Pandit Vol. 3 Yoga
- Selected Works of M.P. Pandit Vol. 4 Traditions
- Selected Works of M.P. Pandit Vol. 5 The World
- Spiritual Life Theory and Practice
- "Sri Aurobindo and His Yoga", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-25-6
- "Sri Aurobindo on the Tantra" (compiler), Dipti, c/o Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 81-7509-039-1
- Thoughts of a Shakta: Yogishananda Natha
- "Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-44-2
- "Vedic Deities", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-45-0
- "Vedic Symbolism" (compiler), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-30-2
- "Wisdom of the Gita, First Series" (compiler), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-72-8
- "Wisdom of the Gita, Second Series" (compiler, from Sri Aurobindo), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-75-2
- Wisdom of the Upanishads (compiler)
- "Wisdom of the Veda", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, ISBN 0-941524-55-8
- "Yoga for the Modern Man", Dipti, c/o Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, ISBN 0-941524-13-2
- Yoga in Sri Aurobindo's Savitri
- "Yoga of Knowledge", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, ISBN 0-941524-23-X
- "Yoga of Love", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, ISBN 0-941524-16-7
- "Yoga of Self Perfection", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, ISBN 0-941524-20-5
- "Yoga of Transformation", Dipti, c/o Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, ISBN 81-7509-010-3
- "Yoga of Works", Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, ISBN 0-941524-21-3