Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sri Aurobindo did not run away from the revolutionary movement

A critique of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs and its ...
The problem is not so much with the likes of Heehs and Doniger. Born in an alien culture, fed by the staple diet of Freudianism or else serving ...

But I have no problem with Peter Heehs or Bratya Basu, the cheeky Bengal tourism minister who, I am sure, would never like to speak about the spiritual dimension of Sri Aurobindo’s retirement from politics, because that is taboo in Bengal, the birthplace of so many great spiritual personalities of India. I fully agree that people have a right to express their opinions, though the ones who keep insisting on free speech are the ones who generally have the worst opinions! However, truth is not simply plurality of opinions and living in a state of profound mental confusion, but what gets established over time despite all negative criticism. Therefore when a playwright courts unnecessary controversy in order to achieve quick fame, the record has to be set right in the public domain by those who totally disagree with him, and especially by those who hold responsible public positions. So when Matriprasad Satyamurthy, the secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, comes up with the following remark in the face of this controversial take on Sri Aurobindo, I do have an objection. The Times of India reports,

Matri Prasad, a Sri Aurobindo Ashram inmate in Puducherry, isn’t closed to the idea of the play. “Everyone should be free to approach the truth in his own way. Why doubt the efforts of a playwright? I understand Bengali, but won’t go the extra mile to watch it.”

To come back to the main issue, what did I expect Matriprasad Satyamurthy, a person holding such an important position in the Ashram, to say? To declare at least the official position based on Sri Aurobindo’s own words, which I have quoted at the end of this piece for the convenience of the readers ― that Sri Aurobindo did not run away from the revolutionary movement, that he was not a coward, and that the Divine commanded him to work not only for the spiritual rebirth of India but of the world as well. That this spiritual work was of far greater importance than the revolutionary movement, due to which he had to concentrate all his energies on it. That in any case he had the inner assurance that India will be free, and that he felt his personal intervention in politics was no longer necessary because there were others to carry forward the freedom struggle. That would have been sufficient and you don’t have to be a learned scholar to state this position!

But what did Matriprasad Satyamurthy say? That “everyone should be free to approach the truth in his own way. Why doubt the efforts of a playwright?” Does he realise the implication of this highly irresponsible remark for somebody in his position? It means that even the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, which is an institution started by the Mother to preserve the spiritual legacy of Sri Aurobindo, does not  know the reason why Sri Aurobindo left the revolutionary movement! An Ashram spokesman is not required to say “that everyone should be free to approach the truth in his own way” – that is best left for the critics of Sri Aurobindo to insist upon when they are confronted with the official view of the Ashram Trust. The official view again is not what the Trustees or the disciples of Sri Aurobindo interpret or misinterpret but Sri Aurobindo’s own views in the matter. So what was the problem in stating Sri Aurobindo’s own position instead of passing such an ingratiating remark on a playwright who is bent upon portraying Sri Aurobindo in the wrong light? But perhaps Matriprasad Satyamurthy really believes that Sri Aurobindo escaped to Pondicherry out of fear than was moved by an inner Adesh!

I never thought that Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade and R.Y. Deshpande have the sole preoccupation of a smear campaign against the Ashram Trust. But judging by the write-ups in the Wellwishers’ site in recent years, the trio (along with Alok Pandey off and on), are attributed as those behind every disturbance in Pondicherry! It is extremely generous of thewellwishers site to pay credit where it is not due and bury their heads in the sand when confronted with the real mischief mongers of the Ashram, viz, those who undermine the very spiritual teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

It is ironical that Shri Jayantilal thought that spiritual issues are before the Courts. Definitely not! Mundane organisational issues such as denial of food, medical facilities, sexual harassment and alienation of Ashram funds and properties are before the Courts, owing directly or indirectly to the whimsical andunaccountable actions of the Ashram Trust. Though the Ashram Trust would like to downplay the number of court cases, it is a fact that these are one too many. More than 160 cases were listed as of June 2008 by a social activist; the number by now would have easily exceeded 200. We need to thus ponder as to why so many voices are raised against the Trust. The answer is all too clear – it is the malfunctioning of the Ashram Trust and the arrogance of the Trustees who are at the helm of affairs. If the situation is not rectified, there is every danger that we as a collective would be consigned to the dustbins of history.

Incidentally there is another mix-up: the Wellwishers site construes  criticism of the misdeeds of the Trustees as criticism of the Ashram. Let us be wellwishers of the Ashram – comprising of the extended family of devotees and disciples of The Mother. We should however not be devotees of the Trustees if they do not serve the cause of The Mother. 

A critique of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs and its ...
May 29, 2012 - Being unwelcome outsiders, we have been studying carefully the comments on what seems be only a social networking site with practically no intellectual content. On following it closely, one gets the impression of a street-show – remember the monkey-man performing on the streets, thrashing himself and the miserable little monkey with a whip, forcing it to do somersaults in front of an audience which throws a few pennies at them. You get the same kind of impression of awe and pity on the SAICE forum. The larger forum witnesses the star-performers in silent awe while Aurofilio Schiavino, Arindam Das, Auroskand Vepari, Ashit Mitra and an occasional lady join the performance. The show generally begins with Filio furiously wielding the whip on Sraddhalu Ranade, Govind Nishar, Dr. R.Y. Deshpande, Dr. Alok Pande or Srikant Jivarajini, making the most insulting remarks on them. These “intelligent” remarks are seconded by more “intelligent” comments, until the conversation reaches a vitriolic climax. The audience then disperses and the star entertainers call it a day with the great satisfaction of having won the battle on the Internet. Surely they have, when nobody even knows about it and people are hardly aware of what they have said except the Ashram “supramental” elite!! Let these Ashram ex-students speak out in the open and let them find out for themselves where they stand on the social or intellectual scale. Let them come out in full public view and dare to face people from outside the Ashram. Right now, the SAICE forum is like a closed room where Kindergarten children raise a big ruckus over who is not on the side of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, because according to these star-performers, everyone faithful to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother has to be faithful to “Sri” Manoj Das Gupta!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Reports on Ashram controversy are vanishing

Jan 27, 2015 - Pol parties demand restoration of facilities to ashram sister ... and not allowing them to enter the ashram to have meditation near the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo.

Political parties and social movements here today urged Lt Governor A K Singh to intervene in the issue of the ashram sisters to restore all facilities enjoyed by the ashram inmates to them.
In a memorandum submitted to Mr Singh, with copies to the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Revenue Secretary and District Collector, the representatives also demanded a financial assistance of Rs five lakh to one of the sisters who was raped when she was in unconscious state on the beach after jumping into the sea to commit suicide.
Explaining in detail the execution of the Supreme Court order to evict the sisters from the Ashram accommodation and the subsequent suicide pact in which two sisters and their mother drowned, they said the apex court order was only to evict them from the ashram accommodation, but was not a denial of their inmateship.
Now the ashram trust was denying all facilities such as food, clothing etc and not allowing them to enter the ashram to have meditation near the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo. More UNI PAB AKM AK1732 NNNN -- (UNI) -- 27MS50.xml

Probe only after full hearing: Supreme Court - The Asian Age-27-Jan-2015
Observing that ordering a probe into the allegations of sexual harassment at Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry without a full-fledged hearing will have serious ramifications, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refrained from passing an order for a probe at this stage.
A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice A.K. Sikri told senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the petitioner Dr Gayathri Satapathy and others seeking such a probe “before we appoint an inquiry committee we want to be sure about ourselves. The moment we say some inquiry committee has to be appointed it has its own ramifications and that will be a disaster for the institution. If necessary, we will do so after the final hearing.”
Earlier, Mr Dhavan pleaded for a probe and said the Centre was also in favour of such a probe. Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the Ashram, brought to the notice of the bench that a similar writ petition was filed in the Madras high court and a probe was ordered to be conducted by a retired Kerala high court judge, T.L. Viswanatha Iyer. The bench then posted the matter for final hearing on March 19.
The Centre in its response to the notice on the petition had urged the court to order a fair probe by a retired high court judge into the allegations of sexual harassment of women and children in Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry. The allegations by the inmates of the Ashram and local MLA include misappropriation of Ashram funds and illegal sale and lease of Ashram properties.

A day after five sisters were evicted from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram-run apartments, on a Supreme Court order, two of the sisters and their mother ended their ...

“Re-induct us into Ashram” - The Hindu-05-Feb-2015 - R. Sivaraman
The sisters, who have been evicted from Sri Aurobindo Ashram premises, claimed on Thursday that they are still Ashramites (members of the Ashram) and should be re-inducted into the Ashram. They declared that they would pursue legal course against the trustees of the Ashram for that purpose.
For the first time since their discharge from the hospital, the surviving sisters have reached out to the media reiterating their claims and accused the trustees of harassing them since 2001.

Jan 18, 2015 - The court was hearing a petition filed by one Gayatri Satpathy, who ...Appearing for petitioner Satpathy, senior lawyer Harish Salve urged a ...
The famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram is under the scanner of the Supreme Court following allegations of harassment of women and child inmates against its members and several other irregularities including misappropriation of funds.
Though the issues had been boiling since 2001, matters came to light for the first time when the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it "favoured an independent enquiry into the affairs of the Ashram".
"In view of the serious allegations about sexual harassment of women and children in the ashram, misappropriation of funds, illegal sale and lease of ashram properties for personal gain by the managing trustee and the trustees of Shri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, through a number of complaints by inmates and local MLA, it is necessary to get a fair inquiry conducted by an independent authority," the affidavit filed by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi who represented the Centre stated.
The Centre's stand is significant as several committees, government agencies and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had probed the allegations and given the ashram a clean chit. The NHRC had even concluded that 'there appeared to be malicious planning behind the complaints'. The court was hearing a petition filed by one Gayatri Satpathy, who sought a judicial probe into the ashram's affairs.
The row dates back to 2001, when a female member and four of her sisters were expelled from the ashram for violation of rules following which they levelled the allegations.
They challenged their expulsion before various forums including a lower court and the high court.
The members took the battle till the Supreme Court, which on December 18, 2014, ruled that they be evicted.
A day later two of them and their mother committed suicide by jumping into the sea. The other three sisters and their father, who also tried to end their lives, were pulled out of the sea by fishermen. Violent protests had erupted against the ashram in the wake of the incident.
Appearing for petitioner Satpathy, senior lawyer Harish Salve urged a bench headed by Chief Justice H. L. Dattu to order a judicial probe into the allegations against the ashram members.
Denying all allegations, senior lawyer Dushyant Dave urged the court not to take into record the Centre's reply. The bench, however, posted the affidavit for a hearing on January 27.

The Indian Express-15-Jan-2015
Accentuating the chances of a judicial probe into allegations of sexual harassment of women and children at the Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry, the Centre ...

The Hindu-09-Jan-2015
As many as 40 volunteers belonging to various Tamil outfits and civil society organisations were arrested when they attempted to picket Sri Aurobindo Ashram ...

The New Indian Express-09-Jan-2015
... activists belonging to twenty organisations led by G Sugumaran of Federation for People's Rights were arrested for attempting to picket Sri Aurobindo Ashram ...

The Hindu-01-Jan-2015
Unknown persons pelted stones at the assets of Sri Aurobindo Ashram on Tuesday night. Such attacks have been continuing after three women who ended their ...

The Indian Express-03-Jan-2015
family suicide attempt, family attempts suicide, puducherry, sri aurobindo ashramGadadhar Prasad (above) put his daughters in the care of the ashram between ...
Another famous ashram in the early part of the 20th century was presided over by ShriAurobindo in Pondicherry. One of his most devoted followers there, with ...

The New Indian Express-22-Dec-2014
... five sisters and their parents in which two of the sisters and their mother lost their lives, Sri Aurobindo Ashram on Monday termed the incident “very unfortunate

Deccan Chronicle-18-Dec-2014
Chennai: A day after the high drama and dramatic suicide attempts on Sri AurobindoAshram premises in Puducherry, two sisters and their mother, all devotees ...
The New Indian Express-18-Dec-2014
PUDUCHERRY: A day after police evicted five sisters from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram following a Supreme Court order, two of them, Rajyashree Prasad (49) and ...

Jan 29, 2015 - Then they go about systematically diluting the work of Sri Aurobindo and the .... four weeks on the matter of the sisters being evicted from Aurobindo Ashram.

Jan 13, 2015 - A well-wisher of Sri Aurobindo Ashram has sent to us a set of key documents that contain volumes of facts and details about the case of the Prasad sisters.ucherry on Thursday.

For the inmates of an institution which strongly believes in the freedom of an individual, the suicide of two sisters evicted from Sri Aurobindo Ashram and their mother has come as a rude shock.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sri Aurobindo: Education, Ethics, and Politics
Peter Heehs - 2013 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Peter Heehs, one of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, is the first to relate all the aspects of Aurobindo's life in its entirety.

Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism

Out of this World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation
An analysis of the central beliefs of the twentieth-century French philosopher considers his influence over his contemporaries while arguing that Deleuze was an "other-worldly" thinker whose assertion of an unlimited creative power was ...

The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal
Joshua Ramey - 2012 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
In this book, Joshua Ramey examines the extent to which Gilles Deleuze's ethics, metaphysics, and politics were informed by, and can only be fully understood through, this hermetic tradition.

A Secular Age
In what will be a defining book for our time, Taylor takes up the question of what these changes mean, and what, precisely, happens when a society becomes one in which faith is only one human possibility among others.

Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India
Less well-known is how India’s own rich knowledge traditions of 2,500 years influenced these men. Vajpeyi furnishes this missing account, showing how five founders turned to classical texts to fashion an original sense of Indian selfhood.

Sri Aurobindo: The Spiritual Revolutionary
They are The Essential Writings Of Sri AurobindoiEdited by Peter Heehs, Oxford University Press), A Sri Aurobindo Anthology(Edited by Makarand Paranjape, Penguin), and India's Rebirth (Mira Aditi, Mysore). The standard biographies are Sri ...

The Perennial Quest for a Psychology with a Soul: An Inquiry ...
Joseph Vrinte - 2002 - ‎Preview
CHAPTER X A Critical Evaluation of Ken Wilber's Commentary on the Refinement of Sri Aurobindo's 'Individual' Integral Yoga Ken Wilber admits that Sri Aurobindohas had and still continues to have a profound influence on his work, and that ...

Dialogue with Death
Rohit Mehta - 1994 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
In the Dialouge with Death the author presents the superb mtsticism of Sri Aurobindo as he has expounded it in his own inimitable style in the exquisite poem Savitri.Savitri is a movemental work in which sri Aurodindo is seen as a yogi and ...

Indian Writing in English: Tradition and Modernity - Page 21
2006 - ‎Full view
2 The Indian Philosophy and Indianism in Sri Aurobindo' s Savitri — Dr. S.K Paul The later half of the 19th century saw the birth in India of several personalities who attained high eminence in diverse fields. Of these, the name of Sri Aurobindo ...

The Religious, the Spiritual, and the Secular: Auroville and ... - Page 80
and his later "spiritual work" ("Fate had cut out Sri Aurobindo for a very different type of leadership."). Aurobindo was thus praised at a variety of levels of government. In his home state, the government of West Bengal established the " Sri ...

Between Jerusalem and Benares: Comparative Studies in ... - Page 256
Hananya Goodman - 1994 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
It is in Savitri that the theme of love becomes most explicit in Sri Aurobindo'swritings:29 Love must not cease to live upon the earth; For love is the bright link twixt earth and heaven, Love is the far Transcendent's angel here, Love is man's lien ...

Neoplatonism and Indian Philosophy - Page 163
Paulos Gregorios - 2002 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Plotinus'. Neoplatonism. and. the. Thought. of. SriAurobindo. John R. A. Mayer " To rest in the apparent and to mistake it for the real is the one general error, root of all others and cause of all our stumbling and suffering, to which man is ...

Thoughts from the Cosmic Field in the Life of a Thinking ... - Page 257
Haresh Patel - 2009 - ‎Preview
Every year, it has been my practice to visit Sri Aurobindo Nivas Memorial at Baroda on October 22 for obtaining spiritual blessings from the Spirit of Sri Aurobindo–Mirra. This year I had read in the local Gujarati newspaper a small news item ...

Human Values and Ethics: Achieving Holistic Excellence - Page 469
Aurobindo, Sri and The Mother; Living Within (Sri Aurobindo Ashram) A.S. Dalal ( ed). 3. Aurobindo, Sri; The Bhagavad Gita (Sri Aurobindo Divine Life Trust). 4. — —; Synthesisof Yoga (Sri Aurobindo Ashram). 5. ——; Looking From Within (Sri ...

A Comprehensive Study of Education - Page 260
Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, occupies a very important position among the contemporary Indian philosophers of education due to his wide knowledge of East and West, ancient and modern system of education. He has presented an integral ...

Nature Of God - Page 46
97 These accounts of the hymn present in outlines some of the main futures ofSri Aurobindo's conception of Saccidananda and Supermind. The three- fourths of the Supreme Being, said to be immortal in heaven, may be taken to represent the  ...

Jouissance as Ananda: Indian Philosophy, Feminist Theory, ...
We see the influence of this sloka in Tagore's lyric play and Sri Aurobindo uses this concept in his philosophy of "supramental consciousness." Sri Aurobindoforegrounds the truth that in order to achieve the highest / Supramental plane of ...