Monday, April 26, 2010

The congress might contribute to the legal actions taken against Peter Heehs being dismissed

An interview with organizer Rudolf Schmitz-Perrin regarding International Congress 2009 Auroville
Author: Rudy Last Updated: March 31, 2010
From January 5th to 8th, an international congress took place at SAWCHU on the theme of “Spirituality beyond Religions”, a four days programme with about 30 speakers. Here is an interview with organizer Rudolf Schmitz-Perrin. 

Then the theme of ‘spirituality beyond religions’ came to my mind. The Mother had said that in Auroville all religions would be studied, but that there would be no religion in Auroville. She had said, ‘A life divine but no religion’, emphasizing the spiritual teaching : "Spiritual teaching is the teaching of the future - it illumines the consciousness and prepares it for the future realization. Spiritual teaching is above religions and strives towards global Truth. It teaches to enter into direct relations with the Divine." (On Education, CWM, 12:319).
Nowadays there is a growing consciousness, particularly in the West, to go beyond organized religions. There is now a world-wide movement to go to the spiritual roots of any religion. As a result of a sort of “spiritual bankruptcy” in the West (as Woody Allan says in one of his films in his funny but crudely realistic way) people are eager to rediscover the spiritual elements, let go of the rest and go beyond. […]
Let me add in this context my feeling that as pervasive criticisms are the daily bread of living in Auroville, I also feel how many reasons Aurovilians have to counterbalance by rejoicing in what is just there, already, and somehow perfect, and they can be proud of living in a space that is unique on this planet because it already managed to realise one of the Mother’s luminous intentions. In this sense, the congress was highlighting the Light that is shining from Auroville onto the world. 
One day I was driving in France with a very good friend of mine, Thibaud Roy, who knew about my plans to work on this theme. It was on the way from Nîmes to Arles, when he spontaneously offered a sum of money to realize this project. This was a first time experience in my life! Thibaud had never been to Auroville, didn’t know the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, but there was his intution of something going “beyond” the known. I received this free offer as an unexpected blessing and an encouragement. And so I started preparing the event. […]

Some people criticized that I invited so many external speakers. I all know them personally. I tried to involve as many Aurovilians as possible, I have to say that not all of them responded to my invitation. It was my heart’s concern to organise this event of the nascent University of Human Unity in a common aspiration with CIRHU and the Laboratory of Evolution and I am very happy to say that I experienced that we actually do all work together as a research community in Auroville, as unity in diversity and diversity in unity. […]
Can you comment a little bit on the choice of your speakers, as two of them have taken a very explicit stance in the debate around Peter Heeh’s controversial book: ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’?  And why was Peter Heehs not among the speakers?
I got some emails objecting to me inviting Sri Aurobindo scholars who have been involved in the controversy, namely Ananda and Sraddhalu. As I had not taken a stand in this conflict, I thought that the conference might be an opportunity to initiate an open dialogue, to keep talking, yes, since the situation seems totally stuck. As a moderator I was happy about the open and decent discussions that came up as a consequence of their presence. I didn’t invite the author of the book (with whom I had a fair and friendly talk afterwards) as I did not want the four days conference, that had been planned since 2006, to be polarised or monopolised by this issue. This was my personal option which is of course debatable. During the conference I said that I would be willing to organise a panel on the book itself, where people who have read it (who are few) could discuss each issue raised in the book. It was my intuition that the congress might contribute to defreeze the situation so that eventually also the legal actions taken against Peter Heehs will be dismissed, hopefully, as they affect not only the destiny of a controversial  book but his life here in India (visa).
As we were closing the conference, I said that the University of Human Unity is a space for learning and for healing and invited the audience to send their unconditional love in a bouquet of roses that were placed beneath the pictures of Si Aurobindo and The Mother, unreligiously but devotionally, in an aspiration to heal the wound that affects the Sri Aurobindo community worldwide. The lectures delivered at the Spirituality beyond Religions congress can be downloaded at Spirituality beyond Religions link

Comment posted by RY Deshpande Re: RYD’s sly and insidious Method... An Open Dialogue on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

Today it is exactly one year when the idea of a possible dialogue was mooted. It is unfortunate that it didn’t materialise. The positions have now got so much hardened—witness for instance AV Today August 2009, some interviews on the subject—that perhaps only a miracle might work out a miracle.
As there is really nothing confidential in these frank exchanges made in a liberal spirit, on this anniversary of the proposal I'm putting them on the Mirror of Tomorrow. If Rich wishes, he can put his version on the sciy or related sites. ~ RYD

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