Why the Wendy Doniger episode is not a free speech issue? – By Sandeep Balakrishna - [*There are some excellent articles on the Wendy Doniger issue in email circulation now. This is one of those which I would like to share and even aggressi...1 week ago
Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
In view of the fact that multiple anonymous comments in a thread make confusing reading and it becomes difficult to track who is telling what and to whom, only comments bearing some name/pseudonym/identity will appear in future. [TNM 011110 SEOF]
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
from Satheesh S email@example.com to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" firstname.lastname@example.org date 31 March 2010 14:53 subjectRe: Drawing one’s own conclusions and imposing them on others: the case of one Mr. RYD.
Thank you for your reply and for forwarding other comments. As I am unsure about the procedure for simply posting messages directly on your blog, I am sending this message to you. You may of course post this message on your SEOF blog at your own discretion and as a continued expression of honest opinions.
Regarding the editing of the Savitri, we are all of course likely and entitled to have our personal opinions regarding a variety of issues and it may also be that we may and may not agree with each others' opinions.
Mr. Jithendra Sharma states that he prefers that “It will be good to have the first edition of ‘Savitri’ exactly as it was published.” But one would therefore wonder what about typographical errors such as in the line “Each part in us desires itsb asolute”… found in the 1950 edition? Is it “good” to preserve such blatant and disturbing errors in the text of all future editions or reprints? Are these typographical errors more “sacred” according to Mr. RYD than the corrected text “Each part in us desires its absolute”… published in the subsequent editions?
Mr. Hugh Highins might also opine "according to his own sensibilities", which are evidently subjective and personal, that the 1993 edition of the Savitri could be improved. He may also go a step further and express his personal wish of his need for what he calls a “critical edition” prepared by what he calls “impartial scholars”.
But one would wonder, how does Mr. Hugh Higins define or judge what is a “critical edition” and who are “impartial scholars”? Does he have names in mind, excluding his own if he is impartial, that are more qualified, enlightened, critical and impartial than Mr. Nirodhbaran and Mr. Amal Kiran and the several others involved in the editing of the Savitri, including those from the SA Ashram management?
And moreover, why should someone like Mr. Hugh Highins be taken seriously by anyone and particularly the SA Ashram management or the editors of the Savitri when he precipitates to express his wishes and blurt out his opinion while admitting that he has not bothered to read the “Supplement to the Revised Edition of Savitri” which might very well contain the answer to all his queries and might also relieve him forever from the apparent disorder in his throat that makes him feel like things are being shoved down it?
Maybe, some others might prefer footnotes and annotations to satisfy their restless and doubting minds. Whereas those who trust the editors as well as the SA Ashram management, might find such footnotes clumsy and disturbing, unnecessarily making the edition more voluminous and tedious to read and handle; they may simply be happy with and trust whatever is decided by the SA Ashram management and the editors that they appoint.
And some others still, might even go one step further and opine that the 'look and feel' (brown oxidized paper, colour and quality of ink used, type of binding, etc.,) of all future editions of the Savitri should be exactly like the 1950-51 editions. And somebody else might want future editions of the Savitri to be printed on golden-pink sheets of paper because it evokes the mantric mood of the poem better.
Thus, I cannot stop from wondering in dismay whether some of those readers of the Savitri who are busy criticizing one aspect or the other of the various editions seriously believe that it is really important that the authorities of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram should publish customized and personalized editions of the Savitri to fulfill the whims and fancies of each and every reader? Where does and will such a folly end?
Is such a folly and obsessive quest for the fulfillment of one’s personal wishes driven by any measure of rationality? Or is it plainly and clearly driven by the series of unfulfilled personal agendas of a few that seem to converge in the same direction of criticism and attacks?
Because, isn't it only reasonable and logical that one should be comfortable reading ANY of the published versions of the Savitri knowing that the publishers, editors, typesetters, printers, proof-readers, etc., of the SA Ashram, which is the only unquestionable, trustworthy and legitimate publisher of the Savitri, have all along done what was humanly possible to them to come out with their best attempt to reproduce the most authentic, perfect and authoritative version of the Savitri?
I do not think that anybody denies the fact that there may be scope for improvement in the last (1993) edition of the Savitri. Who knows, there may be unintentional human errors even in the 1993 edition of Savitri. That is possible, just as there were unintentional human errors in the 1950-51 and 1954 and 1970 editions. But from that did the Sri Aurobindo Ashram management (unlike Mr. RYD) ever abuse those responsible for the earlier editions? Not that I know of, and that, according to me is decent behaviour - knowing that unintentional human errors are always possible.
But I find it atrocious that Mr. RYD should suggest that the SA Ashram management and Mr. Nirodhbaran and Mr. Amal Kiran have knowingly allowed the introduction of “errors” in Savitri for their own pleasure or did so due to a lack of interest, commitment, vision, enlightenment and now as some others suggest even impartiality and a lack of critical sense. This is ridiculous, absurd and leaning towards the perverse.
So if people like Mr. RYD think that the way of going about the business of editing of the Savitri is to rake up controversies (or in the name of freedom of speech make sarcastic comments that the SA Ashram’s editors shove their decisions down people’s throats or as I have also learnt drag the SA Ashram authorities to court) in order to try to impose their preferences or try to stamp their self-declared superiority on others, as though their judgment, understanding, vision, enlightenment, partiality, etc., is better than that of others, then it is more than obvious that this doesn’t help the cause and only distracts from the central issues of the Savitri and preservation of Sri Aurobindo's works.
But, whether one agrees or not with Mr. RYD, or Mr. Jithendra Sharma, or Mr. Hugh Highins, or the editors of the Savitri or the SA Ashram management, or myself is not the point.
The point is that when someone like Mr. RYD draws his own conclusions and tries to impose them on others, by using sly means that I believe are unworthy of a long-serving member of an institution such as the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, let alone that of a decent human being, and by publicly insinuating that respectable people, members and fellow-seekers such as Mr. Nirodhbaran and Mr. Amal Kiran were "morons" (and doing so by misusing "The Mother's" quotes out of context), and commenting on what he considers the un-enlightened management of the SA Ashram and editing of the Savitri, and by making numerous other slanderous personal attacks publicly, and trying at all costs to stamp his self-declared superiority over others, then such actions warrant an honest action against him.
Mr. RYD may want to believe that his levels of intuitive-perception, enlightenment, aspiration, realization, devotion, commitment, etc., etc., are superior to those of the members of the community he volunteered to join, and I have no problems with that. But if he does so publicly and at the expense of those people and things that matter to me and many others like me, he should then not be surprised that an honest appraisal of his behaviour and opinions is "hurled" at him.
Lastly, I am quite certain that we will all agree, that those whose spiritual development and growth has attained levels that are sufficiently elevated to absorb that which is contained in Sri Aurobindo's 'Savitri', will not fuss, particularly publicly and slanderously, about the small number of inevitable human errors that may find their way into any printed material. And those who prefer laying emphasis on the inevitable short-comings and human errors of others, are evidently more preoccupied about themselves, their Egos and their opinions rather than with the absorption of what is contained in works such as the Savitri. So if people like Mr. RYD enjoy the public parading of their self-declared superiority, let them then also demonstrate, with actions that match their words, to which of these two categories they would prefer belonging.