Friday, October 30, 2009

Trustees chose to ignore this issue and the reason for this silence is beyond our comprehension

The Book and its Background -- by Alok Pandey
from A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs by Raman Reddy

The Man and his Motives: These motives were never really hidden from Ashram inmates. Right from the beginning, this man has courted controversies, the aim of which has been to raise doubts about Sri Aurobindo’s statements on his own life, his English, his works, his yoga, on the Mother and so on and so forth. All these controversies have landed the Ashram into bitter debates and even legal disputes; they have always been a force of division that have led to a polarisation of opinion along racial and other lines. This of course is due to his ingrained strong bias against India, Indian tradition and culture, and his favouring the Western views of life as superior to any other. This colonial bias is reflected everywhere in his book and raises once again the unanswered but pertinent question, –

  • why is he here in India that he is so critical of?
  • Is it some kind of compulsion?
  • As was rumoured earlier, was he a drug addict?
  • Or was he part of a more sinister design of certain groups whose sole purpose is to denounce and debunk, denigrate and belittle Indian culture and its heroes under the guise of admiration for it?

These adverse theories of Indian culture have been advanced with very strong arguments from Macaulay and Max Muller to even some present day scholars who have come to India and gone back to start their own independent schools without acknowledging the source of their inspiration. We need not go into the details of this U–turn theory. For our present purpose, it is enough to turn our attention on this single person and question his real motives. [...]

All this is directly connected with his intent and cunning nature, the degree of his insensitivity to everything that is around him – the ethos in which he lives and breathes, the country whose culture has accepted him as one of its own, the very soul and spirit of the Ashram that feeds him, whose services he enjoys and whose atmosphere nourishes and nurtures him. This insensitivity is not due to any ignorance, but due to his arrogance and utter disregard and disrespect for everyone else, whom he treats as his inferiors, like some outdated colonialist. His colleagues describe him as vain and arrogant, someone who takes great glee in looking down upon India and its glorious traditions, not by the way of any higher enlightenment but out of superior pride that exults in its self-adulatory and inflated self-esteem.

On more than one occasion, several of his colleagues have approached the Trustees after finding his activities suspicious and feeling that such a person would be unfit to work at the Archives. Not only the average devotee but a disciple of unquestionable integrity (Jugal-da) and the closest aide of the Mother (Pranab-da) voiced their concern to the Trustees about the nature of this man. Several others raised the alarm in a similar vein, among them the well-known exponents of Sri Aurobindo’s teachings and yoga such as Amal Kiran, Nirodbaran, Chotte Narayan Sharma and R Y Deshpande (a few of these articles and letters have been published on this site). Of course, it is strange that the normally alert Trustees somehow chose to ignore this issue and did not pay much attention to it. The reason for this silence is beyond our comprehension, but it only shows the extent of the menace that Peter Heehs is and the degree of control he exercises over the will of others. [...]

Not satisfied with his onslaught on Sri Aurobindo, the writer goes on to attack Indian thought and civilisation as something outdated and lacking in originality, the Ashram community as a bunch of poor imitators who are hardly engaged in sadhana, the failed Indian revolutionary movement and so on. At many places, he attempts to clearly rewrite history by supporting the British as in the case of the partition of Bengal, or taking the side of William Archer – the most biased anti-Indian colonial writer in whose refutation Sri Aurobindo wrote a whole book. [...]

It is this constant deception that underlies his work. He is trying to be someone which he is not, masquerading now as an expert in literary criticism, now as an exponent of yoga, now as an authority in psychology, but all the time his eye is on the one single goal, –to distort and misrepresent, belittle and denigrate Sri Aurobindo, his life and his yoga, Indian culture in general and re-establish once again another form of imperialism – the intellectual supremacy of the West, and prove it not on its own merits but by a selective misuse of documents. It is the relic of a colonial mind at its mischievous best, – to sow seeds of doubt within the Indian mind about its innate abilities and strength, to vulgarise and trivialise the sacred and the great, and to create confusion and division between the Hindu and the Muslim, the East and the West, the devotee and the philosopher.

In fact Peter has hijacked the Sri Aurobindonian platform to project himself as some sort of an authority, a myth that got perpetuated due to his total and unrestricted access to archival sources, thanks to the complacency of the Ashram authorities. He, on his side, not only misused his office to the fullest by theft of intellectual property and academic fraud, but also changed Sri Aurobindo’s own words under the pretext of rectifying certain errors. It is strange that this man, who so vociferously promoted the changes in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri and even engaged the Ashram in a bitter legal battle dividing the devotees over the issue, [...] Alok Pandey November 2008

Multi-poised Unity that has infinite room in it for the diversity of our approaches

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Rationalism and the yogic life
by Debashish on Mon 29 Sep 2008 10:23 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Re. the present flurry of attacks against the book and its author, at the risk of over-simplification, I may add what seems obvious - that differences in cultural psychology between modern western and Indian habitus lies at the foundation of the matter. But with this as basis, certain collective formations have grown up.
On the Indians' side, this has taken the form of an unconscious religiosity whose bane is the self-righteous orthodoxy of worship and the aggressive policing of largely self-created and interpreted myths and whose detrimental effect is that the growth of consciousness is obscured and the non-religious see only a stereotypical structure of hyperbole which they reject even before having a chance to see the solutions which have been offered.
On the westerners' side it is an insistence on "fact" and an analysis of objective facts on the basis of reason and an infants' psychology. This is what has been happening on a large scale in western scholarship of late and it is largely to this audience that Peter's book has been addressed. In doing so, he has naturally offended the Indian sentiments and in anticipating and answering the western analytical framework, has sometimes acknowledged these approaches, which has raised eyebrows.

The problem is that though neither side is sufficiently illuminated, the religious attitude ends up building an impenetrable wall (unless one knows the right passwords for the gatekeepers, such as "avatar", "divine", "surrender", "psychic" and "falsehood of reason") and thus excludes a wider reach of the yoga.
Sri Aurobindo's yoga is for the transformation of the world and unless all the different mentalities and vitalities can see what he has to offer, it cannot achieve its ends. And for this, all these mentalities and vitalities must be spoken to in their own languages. The bridges must be built. If even the attempt is stifled because of pedantic injunctions and through inquisitions and witch-hunts, what future can we expect? DB Reply
Re: Rationalism and the yogic life by koantum on Mon 29 Sep 2008 06:05 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Debashish, You summed up the underlying differences very well.
The sectarian spirit, which has declared jihad on Peter, is a far greater threat to Sri Aurobindo's "image" than Peter's biography, which is no threat at all but a welcome corrective to those childish hagiographies. These jihadis prove to the world that Sri Aurobindo is at the head of a sectarian religious movement. This a disaster.

Re: Rationalism and the yogic life by koantum on Mon 29 Sep 2008 10:14 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Someone objected to my labeling the hagiographies as "childish." That person is right and I apologize. I can only speak of my personal reactions when I read some of those hagiographies many years ago. In comparison to Sri Aurobindo's own luminous writings, I found them painfully limited in their vision and comprehension. I have no such reaction to Peter's book because he deliberately limits himself to the documented externalities of Sri Aurobindo life. Reply
Re: cultural (in)sensitivities Kripal vs. Heehs
Rich on Wed 01 Oct 2008 08:47 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Regards the matter of cultural sensitivities. This controversy has raised the issues of other works, which the Heehs book is being identified with has been brought up by some, particularly the work of Jeff Kripal on Ramakrishna, which is a Freudian psychoanalytic deconstruction of its subject.
I will admit to only reading synopsis of this book and issues surrounding its controversy so will limit my thoughts to the approach that the author took to his subject. And I find Kripal's approach of reducing the traditions of one culture boarders on intellectual imperialism. e.g. Hindu India, to the criteria set forth by another, in this case the Judeo-Germanic that backgrounded Freud
In this example the voice of the Western psycho-analytic tradition assumes a dominate perspective by imposing foreign interpretations on the subaltern voice that in the process denies its integrity
The great historian of Religions Huston Smith wrote in the Harvard Divinity School Bulletin that, "I doubt that any other book — not even those of early, polemical, poorly informed, and bigoted missionaries — has offended Hindu sensibilities so grossly. And understandably, despite Kripal's protestations to the contrary in Secret Talk: The Politics of Scholarship in Hindu Tantrism, Kali's Child is colonialism updated." (Wiki) ^ a b Smith, Huston (Spring 2001). "Letters to the Editor". Harvard Divinity Bulletin 30/1: Letters.
In Fact on p27 in his book Indian Religions Heehs accuses Kripal of dogmatic Freudian interpretations
Although sexuality is discussed in the Heehs book it seemed to me that the author goes out of his way to remind us that it played a negligible role of Sri Aurobindo's life, and the matter held little interest for him. Moreover, although the book is a Western academic style it does seem to be culturally sensitive to the subcontinental traditions and context in which the story unfolds. Reply
Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
Vladimir on Sun 05 Oct 2008 09:07 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Many of our misunderstandings are based on these cultural differences. To go beyond them we should rise to a higher level of consciousness, says the Mother, from where we could see things as they are, in a state of perfect disinterestedness.
Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
Rick on Sun 12 Oct 2008 07:03 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
As I understand it, in responding to an intellectual position taken by another, an approach practiced and favored by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother begins with this premise:
Not only all forms and forces, but all thoughts, chains of ideas and works of reason, have behind them, are ultimately based on some truth. This truth has real existence, in the Absolute and in the Saccidananda and, however changed, diminished, distorted it may have grown from the original, any idea of any coherence derives from some basis in truth. What Sri Aurobindo will often do, in his writings, is express clearly a thought, idea, and chain of reasoning and demonstrate what truth is trying, through such ideas, to be expressed.
There is, for example, some truth in Materialism that is aspiring to be realized in life. Sri Aurobindo will then go to express another truth, which may be at apparent odds with the first (There is a truth in Spirituality that presses to materialize), showing clearly how both truths—may be even multiple truths—are striving for living expression, and he will proceed to suggest a more comprehensive truth that assimilates the principal elements in each, reaching in this way some expanded synthesis only partially contained in the various elements of seemingly contradictory truths. He will do this using perfectly well the outward form of mental reasoning, but applying from behind it a wider view based on a more comprehensive or intuitive mode of perceptive understanding.
What he will NOT do is what we human beings always seem to want to do. We always find ourselves saying: This is wrong! I don't agree, I don't like its expression, it's simply not true; maybe it's a deliberate lie, on the basis of some hostile agenda, but it is most certainly false, pernicious even. I don't accept it and I in fact question the very motives of the person who puts forth this pernicious form of expression.
The Mother said more than once that when we disagree with another person's position, a healthy exercise is to identify with that exponent and their position sufficiently so that we can express their side of the issue. This can be a means to broaden our viewpoint, help us not only relate to the other person but strengthen our mental faculties, our understanding, and if we have enough aspiration, reach a greater truth than ours or the other's alone. [...]
We all have to realize that there are real and still-potent forces that WANT us to clash just as we've been doing, fall into an ambush, so to speak. If we have the aspiration, if we can summon it back, there are greater more conscious forces that are leading, even as we speak, to a multi-poised Unity that has infinite room in it for the diversity of our approaches. Rick Lipschutz Reply

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hyperbolic rant popularized by Tusar Mohapatra that Sri Aurobindo is beyond all concept, system and order

Instead of sticking to facts, Chaki goes spinning off into the same kind of hyperbolic rant popularized by Tusar Mohapatra, that Sri Aurobindo is beyond all concept, system and order. He is beyond the Gods, beyond the Veda and beyond even his own Avatarhood. What we are left with are Chaki’s fanciful and romanticized notions about the actions of the Supermind and his proffer of the Mother’s speculative comments on Sri Aurobindo’s rebirth which even she cautions not to take as the final word.

Chaki’s specious claims about Sri Aurobindo’s rebirth might be compared to a pompous student arguing points with a professor of Calculus, when the student himself has never even bothered to master the principles of elementary Mathematics. The result in both cases is a pretentious and dogmatic assertion of one’s ignorant and uninformed opinion in the face of incontrovertible fact. [...]

It is time to agree with Sri Aurobindo that an INTEGRAL KNOWLEDGE IS THE PATH OF OUR YOGA, not the fanciful speculations of naysayers like Chaki, not the hyperbolic rhetoric of inflated and immature followers that cannot offer real and verifiable facts in support of their claims, only Veda - KNOWLEDGE will suffice. Posted by Robert E. Wilkinson at 7:11 AM Tuesday, October 27, 2009 Commentaries on THE FUTURE REALIZATION

Vishnu, Sri Aurobindo & the Force of a Secret Unity from Circumsolatious by Lori Tompkins

The very next day, on August 8th, Tusar N. Mohapatra (editor of Savitri Era Open Forum) wrote an article titled ‘Sri Aurobindo and the Mother already accomplished the metaphysical victory’:

‘The divine manifestation of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is an unprecedented phenomenon which can't be explained by past mythological instances or received metaphysical formulations. Parameters of perennial philosophy or speculative prophecies like eternal recurrence fall flat here. All talk of the Messiah, the Tirthankar or the Avatar is idle intellectual approximations.’

Mr. Mohapatra is in agreement with others who feel that ‘Sri Aurobindo need not be in the series of Ten Avatars’ and that Thea’s yoga and yogic knowledge are not valid extensions of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s great yoga. [...]

Then a week or so later, on Sri Aurobindo’s birthday, I created and published an image of how Vishnu can be ‘seen’ in the Mother’s Symbol. This image was considered to be blasphemous by Mr. Mohapatra. [See 'Lori Deplored ...']

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dr. Nadkarni worked in this field and we need to continue to do so

Re: The Core Problem by Angiras on Wed 14 Jan 2009 01:09 AM PST Permanent Link
by Rick on Thu 19 Mar 2009 02:24 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Whether firing up the aspiration, or working in the mental field upon the mind of academia, is more important, is not for us to decide. Perhaps both are very important, but their importances resonate differently among us. What seems important to me is this: Thoughts are things. Sri Aurobindo and Mother did a lot of conscious work in various fields, including the field of ideas, thoughts, perceptions; the mental field, the mass mind. Rishabhchand discusses how Sri Aurobindo so changed the substance of the subliminal that our psychic beings now may find it easier to pass unclouded or less clouded into a more integral approach; to fulfill the natural aspiration of the soul to divinize life. He also opened up the way beyond the thought mind to regions that are more spiritual though still mental regions.
Before Sri Aurobindo, as Rishabhchand points out, when the soul or psychic being was realized, the general tendency was almost exclusively devotional—to live in the divine presence, but rather statically, and not so much to engage with life or transform the mind, vital, and body; more quietistic. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother actively engaged with many other fields of the forces in which we live and that act upon us, clearing away a great deal of subliminal and subconscient debris—also, they linked subplane to subplane, building bridges with the aim eventually of a connected whole spanning all.

It seems to me that these fields are of great importance in conditioning our responses, our thoughts, even our inner inspirations. And none of the fields are completely shut up in themselves. Academics deal not only with other academics and the need to publish and pursue an academic career—rather, they affect all the students who pass their way. Let’s remember the great effect of Frederic Spiegelberg at Stanford; many took his courses and came out with a whole new approach, aspirations they didn’t know they had, changed life-courses; minds and hearts freed up to seek beyond the reductive.

I see SCIY as an active part of this effort. I don’t see, either, a tremendous dichotomy, between bhakti and jnana, as they complement and nourish each other. I see some connection between SCIY and the some of the open-ended work of Nolini who engaged with the world-mind, the world of science and academics and books modern to his time; but who also was a great devotee, whose devotion grew greatly the longer he lived.

I am personally interested in the problem: How do we build a bridge between a more open, less reductive viewpoint, and the materialist view with its exclusive faith in reason—and that being mostly the reason of the physical mind. There seems to be some gap, some lack of linkage, that we haven’t got to, some bridges we need to build or, at least, add to a portion of the spans that already exist. It’s not a matter of proselytizing towards some religion, but of opening a way so that the human mind, really the whole human being, can link up, and more effectively connect, with a more conscious way of knowing and experiencing.
Dr. Nadkarni worked in this field and we need to continue to do so. AntiMatters journal, the SCIY website, and the publication of works attempting to engage with the academic mind, for example, are a step in that direction. So many blocks stand in the way; to remove those blocks is an authentic need. Reply Rick Lipschutz Previous: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Next: The Strange Case of Dr. M and Mr. S

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Practicality is part of the spiritual program and discipline

Re: India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part Y Mirror of Tomorrow
by narendra on Wed 14 Oct 2009 03:09 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

From Mother's and Sri Aurobindo's writings we can identify following three significant lines of progress which Nature will pursue for India: 1. Schooling in Practicality. 2. Unification of Indian sub continent. 3. Freedom from falsehood of asceticism and rise of true spirituality.

Whether one movement will be independent and completely precede the other or they would mutually collaborate would depend on the precedent conditions necessary for these movements to reach their logical fulfillment. Logically it is practical for Indian sub continent to stop infighting and establish a loose confederation so maybe to that extent it is incumbent for States to become practical. In case States don't consciously choose such a line then maybe circumstances will force confederation by such political and regional instability and insecurity that the countries are forced to form a confederation as the only option for survival. Indians are unlikely to make a conscious effort to train themselves in practicality unless either forced by circumstances or they are seized by some spiritual movement like Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's where practicality is part of the spiritual program and discipline. Reply

by narendra on Wed 14 Oct 2009 03:45 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

The IT and the dot com revolution in India may not have much value for Indian cutting edge excellence directly but has an immense value to its service in empowerment of the middle class of India and for wealth accumulation. The huge capital accumulation which IT has achieved and the business opportunities that internet and IT provide without the stifling controls of government have fired the entrepreneurial spark among Indians. I am very hopeful that this spirit of enterprise is going to drive India into realms of innovation and excellence if it stays free of government controls. It would be absolutely fantastic if this spirit of enterprise enters into rural areas and helps towards micro level empowerment.

Unless our national self-determination does not translate on the micro level to individual dignity of life, full opportunities for freely determining one's future's possibilities and freedom of self-expression and responsible citizenship the Nation will not progress. India's progress since independence has been slow on this account. Under the conditions of democratic political setup and Indian complexity of demography a decisive resolve and achievement of micro level empowerment by the government does not appear to be probable. Instead non-government initiative appears to be more likely to drive this movement. There are some shining individual examples of such work in water harvesting, education, small-scale enterprises and agriculture. There are some great possibilities in some government schemes like NREGA which can build village assets by using village labour to empower at the village level and if this can move out of its current road-fixation into water reservoirs, community assets and services etc it will be a big boost to India. There are some signs of enlargement of scope of Panchayats also which is very desirable. Up until now Panchayats were being used only for executing last mile of development work in the villages but now there is limited participation in the planning phase of development works. Hopefully villages can become long-term viable and self-supporting communities. Andhra Pradesh has made tremendous progress in this direction.

In general there are many obstacles to rural progress like the soical-complexes, lack of dignity of labour, irresponsibility towards community assets, illiteracy, poverty, lack of innovative and informed approach towards agriculture, depleting water resources, tamasic dependence on government and lack of self-application to their problems. Reply

by narendra on Thu 15 Oct 2009 02:22 AM IST Profile Permanent Link
India's loss of contact with its psychic happened by the systematic "cut off from the roots" policy of British as is suggested by Mother in the below quote. [...] Reply

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We really have to come out of the falsehood of Gandhi's example

Re: India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part Y Mirror of Tomorrow by narendra on Tue 13 Oct 2009 09:03 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

1. One of the greatest falsehoods afflicting India is the mistaking of Gandhi's asceticism with India's spirituality. This falsehood not only resides in the western perception of India but afflicts most Indians as well. A direct progeny of Gandhi's brand of asceticism was the idea of appeasement of Muslims. Partition of India is the living symbol of this falsehood. So we really have to come out of the falsehood of Gandhi's example to be that of spiritual accomplishment from which to draw inspiration.

The Mother in her conversations has identified the partition of India as the biggest obstacle in its fulfilment of its spiritual destiny and agreed absolutely that hypocrisy of "Gandhi's India" has to go. [...]

2. [...] This recognition by Indian Government of India's spiritual genius and mission "as a leader in the ways of the spirit and a friend and helper of all the peoples" within the very fabric of our constitution is critical and most essential so that Indian government can plan all their action, focus, education, institutions, structures and policy accordingly. This official conversion will go a long way in reorienting India back on its path of the sphere of activity that it derives its deepest delight, its highest rapture and fire this nation to its original vitality. (Maybe an essay on Indian Constitution specially focussing on Preamble could be taken up here.) [...]

3. India should really start a sincere and thorough reflection on its last 60 years to evaluate itself as to how it measures up to the opportunity it had and the reasons which hindered its true and optimal progress. This process of audit of national life is essential to come to the point where we can really reorient ourselves. [...]

4. India's spiritual effort failed to consummate in supramental realisation and the alternative solution of Nirvana became the only option. Consequently the life of this nation was sucked dry of dynamic delight by the ascetic conditions of spiritual life. India was weakened to a point to suffer conquests and then cultural exile inflicted by the evil genius of Thomas Babington Macaulay who institutionalised "cutting India from its roots" as a state policy. Finally India suffered the Falsehood of asceticism and freely chose after Independence to indirectly continue the policy of "cutting India from its roots".

So here we are rootless people trying to find roots in America! Incidentally Mother had seriously wondered the possibility of American occupation of India as one of the lines whereby the world can move towards its spiritual destiny with the lesson of 'practicality' for India to be learnt but then she thought it to be too painful for India and too time consuming. So maybe the kind of cultural colonisation by America of India that we see today could be a means of accomplishing the lessons that are supposed to be learnt without the side effects! [...]

5. The issue regarding the lack of Indian accomplishments in Science, Sports, Academics etc. through Indianness is very telling about our loss of roots. And we cannot just will those achievements. Indian soul has a certain uniqueness and it supports by provisioning a certain unique rasa of life, a special joy in activities. This apparently is sought in giving expression to spiritual realities.

  • But how can a true body and mind of Indian scientist find its very deep joy in a science which has no mention of spirit?
  • A sportsman any delight in mastering body without the conscious spiritual impulse?
  • A poet brood find delight in spiritless externalities where his mind and body are limited in its possibilities of pure sensual rasas but crave for spiritual touch?
  • Without this essential element of training in Indian-soul-environment how can any perfection be achieved in an Indian way by an Indian?

I am inclined to believe that for such achievements to come through regularly on a national level the conditions of an Indian soul environment are necessary. The fields of expression have really opened up with so many new platforms- for example where earlier there were just paintings now we have in addition cartoons, comics (where Word is also part of the picture), motion-comics, movies etc- and it is only expanding. With internet whole new possibilities of expression and training have opened up. Maybe we will see mini Indian ecology systems coming up where Indian training is possible for different fields but for that lot of pioneers have to do a lot of work. [...] Reply

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vested interests of those who refuse the Vedic Line of Avatars

How is Rejecting Sri Aurobindo as an Avatar of Vishnu
in the Best Interest of the Integral Yoga Community?

On 27 June 2008 Barindrinath Chaki wrote an article titled ‘Sri Aurobindo and Avatar-hood’. It was republished on Savitri Era Open Forum by Tusar N. Mohapatra with the title ‘Sri Aurobindo need not be in the series of Ten Avatars’. The gist of the article is as follows:

‘A few persons have said that Sri Aurobindo was the ninth Avatar of Vishnu. And it is also further claimed by them that He has again been reborn in the year 1963 and is the Tenth Avatar of Vishnu. These claims are not true…. Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have never and nowhere stated that He was an Avatar of Vishnu. As The Mother has stated, Sri Aurobindo is an emanation of the Supreme. Vishnu is an aspect of the Supreme, according to the Indian mythology.… Sri Aurobindo need not be in the series of the Ten Avatars.’ – Barindrinath Chaki

Mr. Chaki posts a handful of quotes of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to ‘prove’ his assertion (stated as fact) that Sri Aurobindo could not have been the 9th Avatar of Vishnu, nor could he be reborn as Kalki, the 10th avatar of Vishnu.

This absolute assertion and the evidence used to support it is pale and unconvincing in light of Sri Aurobindo’s unparalleled role as the seed or catalyst for a global evolutionary shift towards the full Supramental Manifestation. It is also pale and unconvincing in light of the several volumes written by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet on the matter. Chapter 9 of her latest book Secrets of the Earth – Questions and Answers on the Line of Ten Avatars of the Vedic Tradition, actually addresses Mr. Chaki’s emphatic rejection of Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood as well as Peter Heehs’ statement that no one alive today could prove the matter conclusively. The entire book is relevant towards developing an understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood and rebirth, but it is the 9th and final chapter which addresses the vested interests of those who refuse to consider that the Vedic Line of Avatars is an evolutionary reality – an eternal dharma that has been brought out of the realm of myth and restored in our own age through the life and yoga of Sri Aurobindo.

On this matter Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet has recently written:

‘Why is it that certain people, while pretending to be devotees of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo should protest so loudly that Sri Aurobindo is NOT an avatar – without even having studied the proof? I have given extensive proof. I have explained in detail Vishnu's method of avataric descent in multiple texts. I have explained in detail the mechanics of the supramental evolution and its irrefutable cosmic formulas, given out by Sri Aurobindo himself. What is to be gained by 'devotees' who reject Sri Aurobindo as an avatar of Vishnu? This question demands to be answered. All true lovers of Sri Aurobindo should join and in one voice ask these deniers WHY. Because it is not just an idle doubt expressed on their part. It is an active, relentless campaign, no less strident or vocal for lack of knowledge of the Dasavataras. At least we can see exactly who these deniers really are. Their arguments remain suspiciously hollow.’

It is a really good question.

  • When offered such thorough and ample proof, WHY are certain devotees or practitioners of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga so absolutely and obstinately adverse to him being included in Vishnu’s Line of Ten Avatars?
  • What is the real basis of the aversion?

From what I have seen the arguments presented in no way portray a curiosity or quest for the truth of the matter. The arguments rather reveal a blanket refusal to consider Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood. Why would any sincere student of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother refuse to consider and research this possibility, especially given that Sri Aurobindo’s Siddhi Day in 1926 consisted of Krishna or Krishna consciousness descending into his body. Krishna of course is the 8th Avatar of Vishnu.

  • Why do Mr. Chaki and others who toe the same line believe it is in the Integral Yoga community’s best interest to disassociate Sri Aurobindo from the Hindu tradition of Vishnu’s Dasavataras?

Lately I have been studying Sri Aurobindo’s symbol with its ascending and descending triangles bound together by a square which houses a lotus resting on seven waves. The Mother clearly describes this 9 petal lotus as ‘the Avatar of the Supreme'. It is the center of the ‘perfect manifestation’ which is presumably the Supramental Manifestation which Sri Aurobindo incarnated to establish. What I do not understand is how Mr. Chaki and others can miss this very prominent indication of Sri Aurobindo’s true position. Mr. Chaki writes that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother ‘never and nowhere stated that He was an Avatar of Vishnu.’ Well who in the world is indicated in his own symbol as ‘the Avatar of the Supreme – the lotus’ if not Sri Aurobindo, whose very name happens to mean ‘lotus’ (aravindha) in the Sanskrit language? How is it missed that ‘the Avatar of the Supreme’ is one and the same as the Avatar of Vishnu, whose names include parameshvarah – the Supreme Lord, as well as aravindaksha – Lotus-Eyed One.

Is it believable that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did not understand the lotus as a well recognized symbol of Vishnu the Supreme Lord, and that they did not actually mean to convey via the symbol that Sri Aurobindo was actually ‘the Avatar of the Supreme’? A 9 petal lotus would certainly be an ingenious symbol for the 9th Avatar of Vishnu, the Supreme Lotus-Eyed Lord of the Cosmos, especially if his parents happened to have named him ‘lotus’. I for one do not imagine that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were ignorant of these profound subtleties and correspondences . There is ample proof that the Mother knew exactly what Sri Aurobindo had accomplished, not only during his life as the 9th Avatar, but after his departure and return as the 10th. It is all 'written' methodically in the plan she gave of the Inner Chamber (see Chronicles of the Inner Chamber).

But, similar to the persistent campaign to dislodge Sri Aurobindo from his position in the Line of Ten Avatars, the ruling camp at Auroville destroyed (or have attempted to destroy) all the means the Mother gave to recognize and affirm his avatarhood by that plan. Those who protest the loudest against Sri Aurobindo’s avatarhood, like those who support the distorted dimensions of the Mother’s Temple in Auroville, have (for whatever reasons) taken up the onerous life purpose to deny the terms of the Supramental Manifestation as it has actually presented itself, as it has actually unfolded. If they understood the methods the new creation utilizes for its self _expression, this denial would be impossible.

Readers who wish to learn about, rather than simply reject, how Sri Aurobindo fits into the evolutionary scheme of avatarhood and how his rebirth is known should read Secrets of the Earth, The New Way Volumes 1, 2 & 3, Chronicles of the Inner Chamber, and The Hidden Manna, all by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet. Thereafter an intelligent exchange would be possible.

Related Links & Blog Posts:
The Mother’s description of the significance of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol from the Sri Aurobindo Society website
‘Shed emotional bonding with past religious icons’ by Tusar N. Mohapatra
‘We read the exact year and month of Sri Aurobindo’s return to this earth’ by Robert E. Wilkinson
‘Sri Aurobindo and the Lotus’ by Lori Tompkins
‘Waving the Flag of Cosmic Ignorance in the Face of Sri Aurobindo and the Vedic Tradition of Avatars’ by Lori Tompkins

from Lori Tompkins to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" date11 October 2009 21:29 subject a submission for SEOF - Circumsolatious Sunday, October 11, 2009 Sri Aurobindo - the Lotus and the Avatar Posted by Lori Tompkins at 9:12 AM Labels: , , , , ,

Whether the whole exercise was simply self-projection and self-promotion

The main topic of the August 2009 issue of Auroville Today deals with how to introduce Sri Aurobindo to those with no background in the yoga or spirituality. Some people suggest that the attempt should not be made, arguing that if an individual is ready he or she will discover Sri Aurobindo for themselves. Others believe it is valid to create some kind of bridge to Sri Aurobindo's work for those who might otherwise not come upon it or not want to read it.

Four people offered their reflections: Georges van Vrekhem; Sachidananda Mohanty; David Hutchinson; and Manoj Das. They all have a deep knowledge of Sri Aurobindo's works and have been involved, at some time or another, in writing books or editing magazines which introduce him to a wider world. Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > Current issue August 2009


Oct 10, 2009 This book is the cause of all my dismay -- a sonnet by R.Y. Deshpande
The present sonnet by Deshpande was prompted by the four interviews that have appeared in the August 2009 issue of Auroville Today. These interviews, preceded with a brief introductory note by the Editor, are related with the highly controversial Lives of Sri Aurobindo published more than a year ago. The intention behind the drill was to build bridges between the opposing camps. While there is a general façade of balance and fair-play in these presentations by the authors, the essence of yogic and spiritual attainments of Sri Aurobindo never comes out with any degree of convincingness.

Instead, everything is more or less reduced to human level, and one wonders whether the whole exercise was simply an aspect of self-projection and self-promotion. Nowhere any strict academic discussion about the claims and failings or inadequacies of the biography are examined. That it calls Savitri as a “fictional creation” has been strangely—or was that purposely?—overlooked by these experts. That makes the entire business somewhat one-sided, if not suspect. The sonnet has in its own way given vent to these aspects, but it is professionally necessary to go into the details. ...full text... Posted by Raman Reddy at 10/10/2009 09:55:00 AM

Sri Aurobindo wrote about restoration of Vedic truths and ancient architectural forms

Robert has left a new comment on your post "Sri Aurobindo is more than his works, prose or poetry":

Mr. Deshpande is a scientist by profession no doubt acutely trained in the art of empirical observation and reductionist logic. But when this kind of scientific logic is applied to what may or may not be implied in Sri Aurobindo’s major works it falls flat. Let me simply remind Mr. Deshpande of what Sri Aurobindo DID include in his works vis-à-vis Science and the limitations of its method:

"Science has missed something essential; it has seen and scrutinised what has happened and in a way how it has happened, but it has shut its eyes to something that made this impossible possible, something it is there to express. There is no fundamental significance in things if you miss the Divine Reality; for you remain embedded in a huge surface crust of manageable and utilisable appearance. It is the magic of the Magician you are trying to analyze but only when you enter into the consciousness of the Magician himself can you begin to experience the true organisation, significance and circles of the Lila." The Valley of the False Glimmer

This describes to perfection the limitations of Deshpande’s view and why he is unable to rise above a surface crust of appearances in Sri Aurobindo’s work. It also explains why he chooses to hide behind a wall of impenetrable dogma refusing to discuss the deeper issues that are indispensible to and provide access to the Supramental revelation. Orthodoxy, whether scientific or metaphysical is a dead thing. It cannot EXPLAIN and it cannot APPLY. It can only ASSERT and make arrogant unsupported declarations the likes of which we find in the postings of Despande and his colleague Paulette. When, for example, a point was made in one of my recent postings about the sacred architecture of the Mother’s temple plan, there was no willingness to entertain even the slightest discussion. Deshpande’s response was:

“If by “the sacred architecture of the Mother’s original temple design” you mean Matrimandir at Auroville, then it looks you are bringing your pet issues by a sleight of hand and the Mirror will not entertain them. Any further comment related with the matter will be deleted." RYD

Having read Mr. Deshpande’s blog I find that he is a knowledgeable man. I would expect that he may even be aware of Stella Kramrisch's classic study on the Hindu Temple and the Shastras on Sacred Architecture that have preserved the Vedic knowledge even through the darkest periods of India’s history. What he condescendingly refers to as my ‘pet issue’ is simply an insistence that we respect that tradition and what Sri Aurobindo wrote about the restoration of the Vedic truths and the ancient architectural forms that contained them. But instead of discussing this important knowledge with the openness and good will that the Mother demanded of anyone who would rightly call themselves a true devotee of Sri Aurobindo, we see an arrogant and dogmatic dismissal. He is simply above accountability and clearly agrees with one of his supporters who wrote, ‘how dare you design a ‘test’ for the scholarship of RYD!’

What can one say to this kind of righteous indignation but remind you of Sri Aurobindo’s warning about the keeping of scholars:

“…As the Veda had passed from the sage to the priest, so now it began to pass from the hands of the priest into the hands of the scholar. And in that keeping it suffered the last mutilation of its sense and the last diminution of its true sense and dignity.”

In response to what Mr. Deshpande wrote about imposing one’s view on another, it is most certainly NOT a question of different perceptions for different contexts and individuals. This is simply more of the nonsensical relativism of the old religious consciousness that Sri Aurobindo came to correct. The Supramental Realization is free from doubt, self-evident and absolute. It is a ‘Future Realization’ based on a knowledge and precision which can be verified through an act of seeing otherwise what would be the point? Posted by Robert to Savitri Era Learning Forum at 12:46 AM, October 11, 2009

The Hindu: Engagements: In Bangalore Today
Veda and Upanishads in the Light of Sri Aurobindo: Discourse by R.L. Kashyap, Sri Aurobindo Complex, Sri Aurobindo Marg, J.P. Nagar I Phase, 6 p.m.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I am surprised by your audacity to design a 'test' for the scholarship of RYD

Savitri: the Light of the Supreme A comment has been posted in reference to an article titled: A strange comparison
Comment posted by: Robert E. Wilkinson
date 4 October 2009 22:20 Comment permalink: Deshpande writes:
…There cannot be anything more preposterous, laughable than such an unsubstantiated observation when it comes from one who claims himself to be a researcher. Can there be anything more ridiculous than that?
I wouldn’t be too quick to ridicule Peter Heehs. When one observes your writings from a particular height it is clear that you are just as clueless as he is. You obviously have no understanding of the occult process that Savitri represents and failing that most of your considerable analysis of Sri Aurobindo’s deeper meaning falls into the category of mental speculation. To be fair I have not read all of your postings but my reading of some of the more important subjects like the mechanism of an India’s renaissance leave a great deal to be desired. But let us stick to the subject at hand, Savitri. Indeed, as you say, there is something goldenly housed in the myth expressing things which are extremely recondite but these sublime Vedic realities may only be understood through a process of yoga as Sri Aurobindo explains:

“The perfect truth of the Veda, where it is now hidden, can only be recovered by the same means by which it was originally possessed. Revelation and experience are the doors of the Spirit. It cannot be attained either by logical reasoning or by scholastic investigation… [Sanskrit text]…‘Not by explanation of texts nor by much learning’, ‘not by logic is this realisation attainable.’ Logical reasoning and scholastic research can only be aids useful for confirming to the intellect what has already been acquired by revelation and spiritual experience. This limitation, this necessity are the inexorable results of the very nature of Veda.” Sri Aurobindo – The Life Divine

Given your pretentions of authority I think it only fair to ask if you have acquired a direct experience of the Truth-consciousness? And if so, what can you tell us about the Vedic sacrificial year as Sri Aurobindo describes below in his “Secret of the Veda”?

“…In other words, it is when the nine-months’ sacrifice is prolonged through the tenth, it is when the Navagwas become the ten Dashagwas by the seven-headed thought of Ayasya, the tenth Rishi, that the Sun is found… but what is meant by the figure of the months? For it now becomes clear that it is a figure, a parable; the year is symbolic, the months are symbolic. It is in the revolution of the year that the recovery of the lost Sun and the lost cows is effected, for we have the explicit statement in X.62-2… “by the truth, in the revolution of the year, they broke Vala”…’

‘The expression in the hymns, daso maso ataran, indicates that there was some difficulty in getting through the full period of ten months. It is during this period apparently that the sons of darkness had the power to assail the sacrifice; for it is indicated that it is only by the confirming of the thought which conquers Swar, the solar world, that the Rishis are able to get through the ten months…’

‘I hold for you in the waters the thought that wins possession of heaven by which the Navagwas [nine] passed through the ten months…’ (V.45-11)

‘This victory is won in twelve periods of the upward journey, represented by the revolution of the twelve months of the sacrificial year, the periods corresponding to the successive dawns of a wider and wider truth, until the tenth month secures the victory…What may be the precise significance of the nine rays and the ten is a more difficult question which we are not yet in a position to solve.” Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda
  • I am compelled to ask if you have ever considered the twelve chapters of Savitri as describing these twelve periods of the ‘upward journey’?
  • Do you appreciate, for example, that the Rig Vedic Myth which Sri Aurobindo is describing is the same story of the evolution of human consciousness as that contained in the Zodiac?
  • When you read Book Eight of Savitri, the Book of Death, does it ever occur to you that its deeper symbolism might parallel the 8th sign of the zodiac - Scorpio, known from antiquity as the sign of Death?
  • Do you have the slightest understanding of the 10th Month/Sign Capricorn, in which Sri Aurobindo tells us, ‘the Victory is secured’?
  • Do you know for instance that Capricorn is India’s ruling sign, that its ancient hieroglyph known as ‘the name of God’ overlies exactly the body of Akhand Bharat?
  • Are you even aware that the entrance into the sign Capricorn known as the Makar Sankranti was prescribed by the Rishi as the most auspicious time in the year when the collective energies of the entire Hindu Samaj could find access to that ‘Victory’?

If you cannot answer these questions, I would suggest that you might exercise a little humility before holding someone else up to ridicule. Robert Wilkinson

A comment has been posted in reference to an article titled: A strange comparison Comment posted by: narendra
date 5 October 2009 00:35 Comment permalink:

As a matter of fact it is you who is too quick to ridicule RYD. And that too unwarranted.

RYD's conclusions have been derived through a comprehensive analysis and intellectual honesty of highest standards.

His logic is that the proposition of PH of Savitri being a “fictional creation” is false as PH has fraudently misrepresented Sri Aurobindo by quoting him out of context and also there is a direct mass of evidence in the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that Savitri is NOT a fictional creation. So either you are advised to please go through the material to satisfy yourself of the basis of the conclusion or avoid attacking a person who has gained respect through his works and intellectual honesty and not through his claims to that effect.

Regarding PH I myself am greatly pained by the anguish of the devotee. And I am sure RYD to be similarly anguished but it is the measure of his restraint and intellectual honesty that it has only expressed itself in rigorous intellectual dissertation.

I am surprised by your audacity to design a 'test' for the scholarship of RYD on Savitri inspite of all his fruitful and helpful production of original material. Nevertheless I am tempted to comment on it. You are making certain assumptions which are inbuilt in your question which may not be necessarily true. It appears that you are looking at evolution to be set and fated in a more or less mechanical way and as if Savitri is obliged to follow its lead. The Lordship of the Divine and the Divine's consent seems to be compromised. The Supreme Being seems to be bound by Time and his astronomical framework. There may be hints of thematic similarity between structure of Savitri and the astrological framework owing to common spiritual basis but there is no rigid tie. The astrological configurations are only indicative of ripeness of circumstances for realization of certain possibilities but are not determinative of them.

It is Divine Will which is determinative. Savitri is the story of the yogic effort and the consequent Boon and the Supreme Consummation. There is nothing automatic about this: because Scorpio is past and Sagittarius is obliged to follow would mean that Death is obliged to die? On the contrary there is a decisive conclusion of an extreme effort towards realization of this result and Savitri is the actual biographical account of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother towards realization of that possibility.

Please show some respect to this Temple of Savitri and its respectable Priest.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We read the exact year and month of Sri Aurobindo's return to this earth

A comment has been posted in reference to an article titled: The birth of the Avatar
Comment posted by: Robert E. Wilkinson
date 7 October 2009 20:20 Comment

Of course there are signs as well as a large body of objective evidence which allows the Avatar to have his mission confirmed not by the sentimental, emotional and subjective experiences of his devotees, but rather the Cosmos becomes his credentials. God supports His supreme Realizer by the cosmic harmonies of His universal manifestation, the script written in his very body. Indeed if this is veritably the Supramental Manifestation, which is the ultimate reconciliation of Spirit and Matter, that ‘spirit’ must unveil itself unquestionably in the workings of the material kingdom which is the extension of its own truth-essence. This Vedic Divine Measure was the very essence of the Mother’s original plan for her Temple and its sacred dimensions contained the entire story of these sacred incarnations written in the language of Supramental Time. For those with eyes to see, one may observe all of the significant dates of the Supramental Creation recorded for all time in the Globe and Pedestal.

At the top of the Pedestal, which is to bear Sri Aurobindo's symbol, we find the date: 1950, the very year which Sri Aurobindo left his body. The exact center of the Pedestal and the "Power Point" of the entire Matrimandir, which happens to also coincide with the center of the lotus of his symbol when constructed properly... is 1956, the year of the Supramental manifestation. At the base of the Pedestal, the center of the room where horizontal diameter meets verticle axis in the center of the Mother's symbol carved in stone, we read the exact year and month of Sri Aurobindo's return to this earth. Every single dimension of this miracle of sacred architecture has been described in irrefutable detail by Thea - Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet in her numerous books and articles. But these as we know have been systematically rejected by the powers that rule in Auroville and the Ashram and banned from the official list of titles.

So one would have to say no, it is not the modern mind, the modern age which draws a thick veil over the intuitive faculty of ours prevents seeing such signs. It is the mental ego of the instrument that refuses to see even when shown preferring instead to arrogantly assert its own authority on matters far beyond its abilities. And what is the result? Men who talk and sleep. For how can one possibly present a true interpretation of Savitri when one has missed its central theme… the rebirth of Sri Aurobindo exactly as he predicted.

A comment has been posted in reference to an article titled: The birth of the Avatar Comment posted by: Vikas
date 7 October 2009 21:00 Comment permalink: "....but rather the Cosmos becomes his credentials. God supports His supreme Realizer by the cosmic harmonies of His universal manifestation, the script written in his very body.".

Interesting thought and nicely expressed....