Saturday, September 27, 2008

I am withdrawing from this blog. It is difficult for me to be a spectator in a blog that is hostile to Sri Aurobindo and and the Mother

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Vikas on Fri 26 Sep 2008 02:33 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Rich, I have been reading a few of your postings on this blog. I have a few comments to make on the tone and content of a few of them. The impression I get from your postings is that of an articulate and refined man endowed with a fine intellect. I must confess though some of your posts have been offensive, in bad taste, derogatory and insensitive...

Surely you are aware that the Archives is part of the Ashram and the Ashram is a place of spiritual practice and yogic life. In fact 2) and 3) are considered good foundations in an aspirant on a spiritual quest. Sri Aurobindo writes in the Synthesis of Yoga “ The ideal sadhaka should be able to say in the biblical phrase ‘My zeal for the Lord has eaten me up’ ”. The ideal Sadhak can easily be considered a zealot in one sense. So the attitude in 2) and 3) would not be as ridiculous as you deem it to be. Your sweeping statements ridicule a) spiritual seekers who take an attitude consistent with 2) and 3) and b) the very attitude itself. Then there is the frequent insinuation of the fundamentalism in Integral Yoga, of it having become a religion, to a readership that includes followers of this Yoga. Last but not the least is the slight of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and his followers...

You appear much too learned to slight another’s Guru or pass comments about the Guru that are not very flattering, especially in a blog whose readership and contributors include those who have taken refuge in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I feel it is callous and will result in taunting and inciting the readers - if it has not already. Nor are you oblivious of the fact that the Guru-disciple relation is a most sacred one and given the highest place in Indian spiritual tradition. For the spiritual aspirant it translates into an assurance that

“I may leave my Guru but my Guru will never leave me. I may fall from the Path, return to the din of the world and wallow in its slops for 100 lives, blaspheme all that is sacred – all this and more I may do but She will never leave my side. Each folly of mine will be a stab of sorrow in the heart of Her who is sorrowless but She will never turn away Her face nor cease to mitigate the pains that I must suffer from those follies. Never, Never, Never will She leave me nor cease to guide my heart until Her resplendent heart becomes its permanent abode. God-forsaken and world-forsaken I may be but never Guru-forsaken.”

It is for the last reason that I am withdrawing from this blog. It is difficult for me to be a spectator in a blog that is hostile - even though occasionally - to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I hold no resentment towards you. We can surely differ on our views and opinions on things. Personally I would request you to refrain from such innuendo.

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Vikas on Fri 26 Sep 2008 03:31 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

It would help us to understand the vociferous action, and I daresay, maybe even be sympathetic to it if we kept in mind the deep bond that the disciples/devotees feel for the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The Mother has provided for all their upkeep(physical and in every way) and most of all is the keeper of their souls and well being. It is even accepted by them that Sri Aurobindo's leaving His body was to hasten the realisation in them and upon earth...

My understanding is that the motivating force behind this vociferous attack by the devotees is that "If one is among the disciples, the seekers of this Truth, one has to take sides for the Truth, to stand against the forces that attack it and seek to stifle it." It has nothing to do with PH personally. He happens to be the mouthpiece. But I have to agree with you if you said that it has taken an ugly turn and there is a lot of vitriol (Collateral damage!). Another humble reminder of the stuff we are made of. To clarify, I am only pointing out what I believe to be the reason and force behind this attack and not that this is my whole hearted position and that I agree with them.

Question naturally arises whether PH's bio is hostile to the Truth and an attack "of a subtler kind". If the premise is that PH's bio is hostile, then the action of the devotees - sans the ugly vitriol and personal attacks etc - is seen in a different light and even quite in keeping with their Master's injunction. In any case one can empathise with their position. As far as whether PH's bio is hostile or a compromise with the truth or a partial witholding of it is surely debatable and we are all entitled to our opinions. You might want to know mine because that would also answer in some way your question of my lack of response to attacks on the contents of his book. First there was the sheer lack of time and interest and was reading only very of them. But as I happened to read some excerpts from the book I will admit to becoming a little uncomfortable with the contents to say the least. My next post will address that because this one has already become too long.

"Finally the suggestion is left that somehow either you, Rakesh or the others in the Ashram have more devotion to Sri Aurobindo than do I." Good heavens. All I can say is I dont know this invisible messenger who whispered in your ear the same. Clearly no way did I assume to adjudicate that Rakesh or I or others in the Ashram have more devotion than you do. I will say this though now that you have raised this subject. Devotion is something that flows and takes delight in itself and can very exist without feeling the need to state its credentials "for the record".

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Vikas on Fri 26 Sep 2008 04:31 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

To conclude the previous post. Firstly the fact that Sri Aurobindo clearly stated that it is a cardinal error in the “modern insistence on the biographical and historical, that is to say, the external factuality of the Avatar, the incidents of his outward life” does not help PH. From the excerpts that have been reproduced here, I believe some parts of his biography lends itself to misinterpretations and can even be construed as compromising the truth. I can understand that that may have not been PH’s intent. I am citing only one instance to illustrate why I feel uncomfortable. Take for instance PH’s take on the Cripps’ proposal...

I do feel here an evasion of the Truth “of a subtler kind” to use Sri Aurobindo’s words. In any case if not an evasion atleast a withholding of the Truth. I do take both Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s statements as the truth here. Mind you I am NOT implying intent and that PH did this intentionally. Often we are unconscious of the forces that move us. There are others instances in PH’s biography reproduced in this blog that I similiarly found treading a thin line...

My arriving at this conclusion is not just through the rational process and contents as stated above but just an inner queasy feeling in the solar plexus upon reading many such excerpts. Ofcourse this is subjective and I could be wrong but not anymore than you could be. That is in my opinion not decided by a debate. [7:34 AM 8:19 AM 11:59 AM 8:05 AM 7:55 AM 7:46 AM 7:26 AM 11:39 AM 10:15 AM 7:31 AM 12:27 PM 4:53 AM 11:40 AM]

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