A Savitri Encyclopedia

A draft overall concept

When we study the text of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri, it is often interesting to know what has been said about particular words or passages, by Sri Aurobindo himself, by the Mother, by disciples such as Nolini, Purani, Amal Kiran, Nirodbaran, teachers such as Tehmi, Jhumur, Shraddhavan and others, or information from other sources. We may also like to be able to compare different editions or versions of the text, or to know which passages have been illustrated by Huta in the Meditations on Savitri series, and thus recorded by the Mother. It might be helpful sometimes to listen to her recorded readings of those and other passages.

The computer makes it possible to have a full text of the poem, annotated in such a way that a user could easily access, by clicking on a link, any such information which is available in digital form.

This possibility has inspired us to initiate the compilation of a ‘Savitri Encyclopedia’ in digital form, which could be contributed to by many researchers, and added to over time indefinitely.

The starting point would be a digital version of the text of the poem (some of which exist already). Then various contributors could choose the materials which they would like to make available from the various sources.

In each case, it seems, it would be important to choose as a base one particular digital version of the poem (several now exist). All future contributors should use that version as a base.

Then they must see that the material they wish to add is made available in digital form.

A way has to be found to link the relevant materials with the corresponding word, lines or text in the poem.

One could envisage a series of ‘footnotes’ giving a reference to the text of the original material, including a link to a digital source of that material, so that a single click could take the user to that source, wherever it may be stored on the internet (or in ‘the cloud’). Since much of the material already exists in digital form, in many cases this would be not the last, but the first step to be created.

But meanwhile – until there is an editor, or an editorial team – and a central database linking the various materials, a start can simply be made by digitising any suitable material and saving it in an easily accessible and easily convertible form, ensuring that each Comment is clearly connected to the text of the poem by a heading or reference indicating the particular word, line or passage to which it refers, either verbally or using line numbers.