Friday, April 2, 2010

Bijan Ghose cannot claim that the 1954 edition is the “original” one

From Satheesh S to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" date 2 April 2010 20:03 subject Re: Drawing one’s own conclusions and imposing them on others: the case of one Mr. RYD.
Dear Tusar,

Thank you for your reply. I am replying to your points, but as I am touching upon several of the points that are pertinent and in continuation of the discussion on your blog, I would request you this time to post this message on your blog as well.

I agree with you that thanks to the internet, discussions on the Savitri can be conveniently shared with larger numbers of people. Such discussions on the internet can be carried out in private discussion groups or in publicly open domains. But I would like to point out that when public statements are made, these statements carry with them a certain amount of responsibility.

It is one thing to comment and express one’s opinions publicly on something abstract such as the weather or terrorism. Similarly, one can discuss at length about one’s personal opinions on the qualities of poetry and even do so on the Savitri.

But when dealing with a very specific and technical subject such as the editing and publishing of a monumental and complex work such as the Savitri, one should comment, especially publicly, only if one is fully conversant with the topic.

As far as I know, only a handful of people such as Mr. Nirodhbaran, Mr. Amal Kiran and the people they chose to work with are really in a position to comment on the editing of the Savitri. And whatever they had to convey, they have published in black on white for all to read and study. Other self-declared “scholars”, would evidently be wiser to reserve their opinion and comments, unless they wish to make fools of themselves.

Take for instance the comments made below. It is rather interesting that while I have been perusing once again through the “Supplement to the Revised Edition of Savitri” Mr. Jithendra Sharma and Mr. Harriet mention and appear to complain about the following changes that were made in the line:

“All can be done if the God-touch is there.” (1954)
“All can be done if the god-touch is there. “(New edition)

Now one Mr. Aju Mukhopadhyaya has also joined in and is lamenting as to why the of "god-touch" has been de-capitalized in the 1993 edition. In all these tear-sheddings there is a hint and a suggestion as if the last editors were devilish and de-divinized something from Sri Aurobindo.

However, if these people had bothered to read all the previous editions or in the very least study the Supplement that they just referred to, they would find that from Page 53 of that Supplement that this change is very clear:

“All can be done if the god-touch is there” 
was first published in the 1950-51 edition, referred to by some as the “first/original” and even “sacred” edition. The “g” was small in that edition. 

Then for some reason, in the 1954 edition, presumably an over-enthusiastic or God-fearing proof reader or typesetter hyped up the “G” in “god-touch”, making it “God-touch”. Even I might have made such an error accidentally and it is absolutely an understandable human tendency to refer to God with a “G”.

But for us now the only point worth considering is as to what Sri Aurobindo actually wrote by his own hand. And if he wrote "god-touch" with small "g" - so be it!! Who are RYD or BG of JS or AM or any other person to quarrel over what was right for Sri Aurobindo to do. Unfortunately some persons believe that they know much better than Sri Aurobindo and would like to decide themselves as to what he should have written. And mind you they have never even claimed that they have actually studied the manuscripts of Sri Aurobindo but they still claim that they know as to what Sri Aurobindo wrote and if that does not match with their prejudices then one can always and very safely start calling  names and abusing Dr. Nirodhbaran and Mr. Amal Kiran. I am surprised as to how long this joke has managed to survive.

This error was identified and detected much before the 1993 edition and the original “god-touch” (with “g”) was restored and brought back into the subsequent editions. In fact even in the 1970 Edition – and I understand that there have been court cases filed to declare it as the true version of Savitri - the “g” was small in "god-touch". I also never heard of anyone even raising an eyebrow in 1970 or thereafter, (the period during which The Mother was there and I also I visited the SA Ashram frequently), until the 1993 edition came out. Thus, the original and correct version of “god-touch” was understandably also continued in the 1993 edition.

Thus my little simple study that is based on all the existing published material and that anyone can undertake if someone is really interested to get to the bottom of things and the truth shows that Mr. Bijan Ghose cannot claim that the 1954 edition is the “original” one. Mr. RYD cannot complain that that the text of his “sacred” 1950-51 edition has not been faithfully reproduced in other subsequent editions, including the 1993 edition. And Mr. Jithendra Sharma, Mr. Harriet and Mr. Aju Mukhopadhyaya should do their homework before advising people where “original  texts” of Sri Aurobindo’s works are to be found.

So if such people do not know their subject well, who are they to insinuate and suggest, particularly publicly, that respectable, credible and qualified people such as Mr. Nirodhbaran, Amal Kiran and the SA Ashram management are morons and devilish and did not do their work sincerely?

Irresponsible statements made by such people only show that they want to create some trouble. And why would they do so if they didn’t have an axe to grind or some personal grudges? Well, there will always be some nut-cases around who just do not know how to control their tongues, but then isn’t it better to just pitifully ignore them?

It is also nothing new that every organization and institution has within and around it, its “judas” who pretend to be there to do a great service. But the moment the personal interests (or opinions) of these people are touched and affected, they somehow immediately forget how respectable people should and generally behave; and it only takes an instance for them to show their true identity and character as they start insulting and slandering, just as Mr. RYD did to Mr. Nirodhbaran Amal Kiran and members of the SA Ashram management, and just as the authors of the latest letter posted on your blog has demonstrated.

For, while that letter publicly claims to represent “devotees throughout the world”, I was never asked if I agreed with their views and methods, and for sure the authors of that letter do not represent me. Even though I am not familiar with the issues that are mentioned and I don’t really know personally the people they accuse and am only familiar with some of their names, that letter is a shameful public display of petty and dirty mud-slinging and slandering probably undertaken by some frustrated individual(s), that puts Sri Aurobindo’s devotees and followers to shame. And the people who circulate these letters into the public domains surely have no clue about responsible behavior.

Thus, those interested in constructive discussions will know that you cannot be constructive without being responsible. And therefore, those who are so irresponsible cannot pretend any longer to be constructive. Their intention to destroy all that doesn’t suit them in order to satisfy their own personal agendas is more than apparent. And they are willing to even want to destroy the Savitri, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and even Sri Aurobindo’s ideals with the bigotry that they display. What a colossal waste of time and opportunity that was given to them by our master Sri Aurobindo.
Sincerely, Satheesh.

p.s.: I have also read the posting of one Aurosathya Varta. He can rest assured that the way some of us are, the list of mutual recriminations as "imbeciles " or "morons" would continue to grow exponentially.


  1. Well, you are wrong about the 1970 Edition. It is "God-touch" there.

    Everyone, you included, should check all the editions and be factually correct before writing here... and everyone should keep a minimum level of decency in their language!

    Can't the blog editor enforce decency of language that befits a serious discussion? Or is this blog meant for a slugging contest?

  2. Rest assured that the contest is meant exclusively for practitioners of Integral Yoga. During meditation you observe your consciousness soaring upwards. Here you measure how far it plumbs the depths. Like a vocalist one must be aware of one’s range. After all,

    “He who would bring the heavens here.
    Must descend himself into clay.
    And the burden of earthly nature bear.
    And tread the dolorous way.”

  3. No problem. It is your blog and you can allow the contents to be as abysmally low as you wish and treat it like the "bogs".

    You've even proudly displayed Ulrich Mohrhoff's derisive comment about your blog!

    It is a pity that you quote Sri Aurobindo to justify it.

  4. There is nothing for me to justify; I have just stated the facts. You come to read and even care to comment because Sat-Heehs uses “abrasive language” and Ulrich Mohrhoff's “derisive comment.” Let’s face it; it is the man-bites-dog syndrome. We can’t hide anything from Sri Aurobindo; he knows it well. [TNM]

  5. [John Milbank, the Theological Blogosphere & You: A Pathology from An und für sich by Brad Johnson
    For starters, like most theological bloggers, he is male. Very male, let’s say... Second, there is also the hallmark of Milbank’s style, his abrasive rhetoric, style & attitude. In fact, this is what so many people return to, when called upon to explain their undying interest in him. (E.g., “I don’t agree with what he says, but I love how he handles himself!”) They positively love how feisty he is. He, in short, makes for good blog copy — again, not unlike a fellow blogger, in his case, an A-list theology blogger — you link to immediately, maybe even block quote. (After all, was not your blogroll practically made for abrasive, overblown, unsubstantiated assertions?) Oh, and let’s not forget his occasional deployment of online pseudonymity. No blogger is innocent of that from time to time.]