Letter from Professor A to Savitri Devi – 8 August 1974
8 August 1974
Dear Savitri Devi,
I was so happy to receive your good long letter yesterday, but horrified at the terrible experience you underwent on March first, plus the grievous loss of your precious personal possessions. It was also heartrending to hear of the grievous economic difficulties you have encountered this year. I am so thankful that I have got in touch with you at this time, and sorry it was not some time sooner. Fortunately I can take care of the present financial crisis, the enclosed check will cover $200 for your printer, $200 to recover your ear-rings, and $100 for miscellaneous expenses to keep you going until your salary resumes in September.
Alas! If only I knew more people who shared our ideals and had money to spare — just a few at least. The fact is I don’t know any of the faithful who are not seeking funds for the Cause, which for some reason has never managed to attract the support of many people with funds. So I cannot foresee how the whole amount necessary for completing the printing of your latest work may be accomplished, but I will say it must be accomplished, as your life and thought have inspired so many of us and must yet inspire far more. At any rate I am now doing what I can do, as I can withdraw what you need now from my savings, and I hope that this amount will take care of the immediate problem in every way.
However my concern for your well-being cannot rest there, and since for some reason you have found yourself in the terrible situation you describe in your letter, I must give some thought to tomorrow. My heart is delighted that I am in a position to serve you in some way. Still you must know that the amount which I am sending was not measured by its insignificance to my economy, but by your present egregious need. It was measured dollar by dollar, as one with limited resources must measure . . . as a lone wanderer traversing a desert must measure his water mouthful by mouthful. So now what of your future? If your need soon recurs, and I find myself unable to furnish even small amounts, then I have merely delayed the inevitable, perhaps without really changing anything. (It distresses me truly to be thinking in this calculating way — but the plain fact is that if I needed $500 right now, I know of no one in the world who would [or could] furnish me it — other than my daughter, whose limited savings I would never touch until she really has resources.) My financial situation is quite comfortable now, but for reasons I need not enter into here, things may change in the near future in such a way that what savings I have become extremely important.
Thus it would be extremely gratifying to me if I could know that as a result of a mere bookkeeping operation, your printer would be paid and proceed with his work, you would recover your ear-rings (and guard them most carefully), and you would have every day an ideal diet so as to remain in perfect health, that you would manage your salary so as to have sufficient savings to carry you thru each summer, and that a method would be found to pay the rest of the printing cost for Memories and Thoughts of an Aryan Woman. Is there any good reason why all this cannot happen?
I am gradually approaching a tender and delicate matter — isn’t there a German expression about a cat circling the hot milk? Something like that. Speaking of cats, you must recall that I too am an ardent lover of the whole family (one other thing we have in common). You told me on the day we met (was it July 29th?), while frying a fish for my lunch, that it was the first time you had cooked fish (or was it lunch) for anyone but a cat. Needless to say, I felt extremely honored. And one that you mentioned during our rambling conversation was that when you lived in Montbrison, you would go around each day to various places, leaving meat (of good quality, I think you said) for various cats of the town you thought might be hungry. I thought that was most beautiful. And your book, Long-Whiskers . . ., which I loved. I glanced thru it again yesterday and saw where, at the end of Chapter One, we meet a woman who “had never seen or heard an animal in need of help without doing all she could for it.” I feel the same impulse you do in this respect. And one of the greatest — certainly the purest love of my whole life was for the cat who shared five of my young years. I have never had a cat of my very own since Striped was killed (by a car — I may tell you more of this in a later letter). The reason is that my life-style is such that I cannot afford a cat the devotion one deserves. I felt there were extremely important things for me to devote myself to, and that I would live a mobile life. The second part of it at least has certainly been so.
After reading in your letter that you “have been suffering from dysentery (on account of eating cheap things that don’t agree with me) for weeks” I could not but wonder if you had been trying still in more straightened times to maintain the life-style so beautifully described in Long-Whiskers . . . If so, then I find myself confronting an enemy — for any person who harms Savitri Devi without a very good reason is my enemy. And far more than that, is he not by logic an enemy of One whose only goal was to save us all? Now we are in my opinion one of the most endangered species, along with the Siberian Tiger, the Blue Whale, and the American Eagle. Our resources are extremely slender in every way. We cannot afford luxuries.
I love cats as much as I could love any being. I never meet a cat without speaking to her, and petting her if it is her list. There are few stray cats to be seen where I live, but if there were I would as a rule never offer them anything but what I would throw out otherwise. Or if I did, and found that it cost as much as one dollar per month, I would feel guilty since there are causes involving the very survival of species, not to mention divine values, which could well use $12 per year from me. And the cat genus, as you must know, is one of the least endangered on the face of the earth, among higher creatures. Nor is it conceivable that they would ever run out of food, since rats are at least as survival-prone as cats, if not more so. On another tack, the Cat (Felis libyca domestica) can contribute nothing to preservation of the many other species of beautiful creatures, nor to our preservation. Our victory, contrariwise, will ensure the preservation of all beautiful creatures, as well as to the future birth of the most beautiful of all, the perfect human. (Or who knows? maybe it will turn out to be the perfect dolphin, or tiger — not on the ‘mere’ animal level, but on the godlike lever which we humans were supposed to attain.)
Perhaps I am digressing, perhaps not. Back here on earth, I would like to know how much of your resources, in terms of rupees each month, have been spent on the care and feeding of others than yourself (especially cats) during the past two or three years in order to make a determination (for us both) about the relationship between such activities and your present unhappy situation. If the amount averages less than, say, 3 rupees per month, then I owe you a humble apology, and can only offer in defense for my rudeness my too literal acceptance of the portrait of Heliodora. If on the other hand it is somewhat more than 3 rupees, I shall find you imprudent; between 10 and 20 rupees, irresponsible; more than 20 R., in my opinion would constitute a crime.
In the latter case, I would regret that you have had a devil (my enemy) in you which caused all this trouble. I would ask you to exorcize it if you have not already done so. And no longer being under the control of that devil, I should think that you with your simple life and modest needs would find it possible to save enough during the school year to carry you across the summer gap, and still take adequate care of your health — which of course is of first importance.
You, being Savitri Devi (or Heliodora), may well have a spiritual requirement for the companionship of a cat — which I can well sympathize with. If you have a cat of your own which you are allowed to keep in your room, I am willing to provide for its support, provided that the amount required is no more than $2 per month (US). I should think that would be a rather tidy sum for cat-food in India, though it should be cat — and not human food, and some scrounging from butchers, etc. (as we did when I was young) should be a normal part of it. You might even be able to keep two cats on that amount, which would be fine. However I will not admit of more than two as part of the bargain, since I am sure that would be inviting trouble.
To qualify for this “cat fund”, I shall have to have your word as an Aryan and in His name that (1) the fund will be spent on the one (or two) cat(s) who live with you and for no other purposes, (2) none of your own monetary or property resources, however acquired, will be expended on any animal, nor on any person other than yourself, except for amenities for occasional guests (human); exceptions to this provision may be made in extreme emergency, with relevant details being reported immediately to the funder.
Continuation of this funding is contingent on faithful observance of provisions (1) and (2) above. In any case it will not continue after the termination of my present employment (which may well be for several years yet, though nothing is certain these days).
If does not pleasure me to write to you in this way. It is quite a hard job, and several drafts have been discarded. Nor is the present one at all satisfactory. However I trust you will perceive my intention, however inadequate and inappropriate my mode of expression may become. What I should like so much to accomplish is to make it possible for you to live well and to serve a Cause that needs you sorely.
Yes, “God is great” as you say, and while I have no way of knowing how He works in human affairs, I would like to think that He has chosen me in your hour of dire need. Let us thank Him together in any case for this good fortune, and hope and pray for further favor for us and above all for our just, noble, and Holy Cause.
May this letter find you in the best of health, and no problems which the enclosed will not solve.
P. S. In anticipation of your concurrence I hereby earmark $9 of the $100 miscellaneous for the cat fund, covering half of August, and all of the remaining months of the year.