Friday, March 12, 2010

Drawing one’s own conclusions and imposing them on others by Hartz and Heehs

Re: Sri Aurobindo’s Marriage—a discussion by Raman Reddy pertaining to a few aspects in context of the latest biography published by the Columbia University Press by RY Deshpande on Thu 11 Mar 2010 07:39 PM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link
Yes, they should be made available. But will that happen? I wonder, in the present circumstances. You are also right that document maintenance and document interpretation should be handled by respective experts and authorities.
When about 25 years ago Savitri-revisions were being discussed, I’d given an example of how the Niels Bohr Archives was organised at
Copenhagen. That could have been a good model at that time. But my suggestions were pooh-poohed. In retrospect, it seems that the Ashram Archives was established for the exclusive benefit of the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. No wonder, again, it is sealed for others. In that sense, this author could be said to be the founder of the Ashram Archives.
Today’s world is a different world, with the impressive presence of the Internet. If the Ashram management is serious, which I again wonder, these documents should go on the Internet. A team of dedicated workers and volunteers should be organised specifically for this purpose. The greatness of management would lie in it. Will it be shown? If that happens perhaps there won’t be court cases, at least in this regard. I’d written an article presenting some of these ideas related with Savitri, though in a somewhat different manner, and given for publication in the Ashram’s monthly Mother India. I’ve not heard anything about it in spite of a lapse of a few years, and one or two soft queries. It will therefore a vain and frustrating hope if the present article by Raman Reddy will at all be published by this monthly. ~RYD 
Reply by RY Deshpande on Fri 12 Mar 2010 05:11 PM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link
I’d been suggesting right from the beginning to go by the Savitri-edition that was published during Sri Aurobindo’s time. Part One consisting of the first 3 Books and 24 cantos was out in September 1950 before Sri Aurobindo’s withdrawal on 5 December 1950. The other two parts, Part Two and Part Three with 9 Books and 25 cantos, in a single volume came out in May 1951. This should also mean that the second volume had already gone to the Press much before December 1950. These two volumes should be treated as the authoritative or if you like the ‘sacred’ text of Savitri.
Re-examination of various drafts of the Epic belongs to the category of scholarly work and carries another sense with the mental entering into it in a major way. That scholarly approach has a different status, and must be presented for scholarly studies in a systematic organised manner. That has never been done by Hartz and Heehs. Drawing one’s own conclusions and imposing them on others who have no access to the drafts can never be a part of the objective scholarly pursuit; just because one happens to be in ‘possession’ of the manuscripts/drafts does not give one wisdom to arrive at decisions. In fact these decisions amount to appropriation of rights and therefore highly suspect. Enlightened management is expected to be alert about such possibilities, but the whole thing looks just amateurish, and that’s the pity. Some of the aspects of editing were presented by me ten years ago in the introduction to Perspectives of Savitri. But who cares to read them and act upon them? Nirodbaran and Amal Kiran were aware of my views and arguments, but they had kind of lost all interest in this respect, of Savitri-editing. So, we can’t really say that they had their approval for the Revised Edition. ~ RYD Reply
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