from Ulrich Mohrhoff date 13 Sep 2009 09:40 subject Re: what’s up with the Aurobindo site?
Whoever wrote this, PLEASE do not refer to any of the blogs maintained by Tusar Mohapatra as "the Aurobindo site". With his many cross-linked parasitic blogs, this character has achieved an altogether undeserved prominence among Google searches for "Aurobindo". (It's the same technique by which porn site bootstrap themselves upward.) Mohapatra's agenda is political (he's even founded a party!) and is best characterized by this insufferable quote:
The path has been charted out by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo 100 years back. We must follow it, we must tell others to follow it, and we must persuade others to follow it. We have to cajole others to follow it. And if need arises, we must force others to follow it. — Tusar N. Mohapatra, President, “Savitri Era Party”
To set this in proper context, here is quote from a letter by Sri Aurobindo to Dilip Kumar Roy (October 2, 1934):
I don't believe in advertisement expect for books and in propaganda except for politics and Patent medicines. But for serious work it is a poison. It means either a stunt or a boom — and stunts and booms exhaust the thing they carry on their crest and leave it lifeless and broken high and dry on the shores of nowhere — or it means a movement. A movement in the case of a work like mine means the founding of a school or a sect or some other damned nonsense. It means that hundreds or thousands of useless people join in and corrupt the work or reduce it to a pompous farce from which the Truth that was coming down recedes into secrecy and silence. It is what has happened to the "religions" and the reason of their failure. If I tolerate a little writing about myself, it is only to have a sufficient counter-weight in that amorphous chaos, the public mind, to balance the hostility that is always aroused by the presence of a new dynamic Truth in this world of ignorance. But the utility ends there and too much advertisement would defeat that object.
Thank you for your kind attention!
Ulrich Mohrhoff, Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, India Managing Editor, AntiMatters
They’ve been reposting my words (and those of other bloggers) for months. It seemed neutral and polite in the past, but now they seem to be taking a different sort of posture. From out of nowhere there was a first-time editorial comment about SR/OOO as replicating the philosophical errors of the past.
NOW, they’ve reposted my remark about visiting the Aurobindo complex while en route to Pondicherry last year. Yet they’ve posted it next to my critical remarks about treatment of visitors at both the Pyramids of Giza and in Agra, India. I can only assume that the Aurobindo site doesn’t care much about the honor of Giza, so presumably they don’t like the remarks about Agra.
Here’s what I’ll say… India is my favorite country to visit in the world. I’ve been three times, and with good luck I hope to return many more times. It’s a uniquely fascinating place, and must be nearly inexhaustible for the traveller.
And speaking of Agra, the Taj Mahal has to be the most stunning edifice I have seen. I also met nice people in Agra (including some adorable kids on the rail station platform), and ate at a fantastic restaurant there. But there should be nothing shocking about my (fairly mainstream) statement that Agra itself is a basically miserable experience for foreign visitors. It is a stream of endless harassment, and yes, even worse so than at the Pyramids here in Egypt (where I always have to accompany visitors to protect them from the numerous convoluted scams that occur).
In my opinion, Agra was an extra degree worse. At least in Giza you only need to get off the Pyramid grounds for the scams to stop. But Agra is the only time in my life that a hotel desk clerk was trying to hawk services through a relative as I checked in. It is also well known that some restaurants and a hospital in Agra were running a joint scam for a number of years where the restaurants would deliberately sicken tourists with contaminated food, then take them to a clinic that would run up insurance charges– a scam finally uncovered by insurance detectives.
So do go to India, soon and often. If you’re near Pondicherry, you can even take an interesting walking tour of the Aurobindo complex. And the Taj Mahal is of staggering beauty, in case you’re in the north central part of India. But you can safely expect some problems in Agra, which is why many people now prefer to go there on organized bus tours from Delhi. (The problem is that you really shouldn’t miss sunrise at the Taj. I’ve had few more amazing experiences than that, and that alone outweighed all the harassment.)
[ADDENDUM: Perhaps they simply didn't like the expression "the Aurobindo complex," which may have struck them as derogatory. I went back to my travel records to look up the real name of the place, and it is AUROVILLE. My apologies if the longer phrase was the issue. I simply couldn't remember the name. The people there were kindly, and I wish them the best.]