From: alok pandey To: Gadadhar Mishra Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 9:28 PM Subject: Re: Fw: Letter from Orissa to Sraddhalu Ranade, Raman Reddy, S. Ramanathan, and Niranjan Naik
Dear Gadadhar ji
Thanks for forwarding me this letter. Following the dharma of the internet age, I am responding to it. Since I do not know the address of the concerned persons, kindly send it across to them.
I am also attaching one of my recent letters to the editor of AV Today. I thought that since they so much care for intellectual freedom, it would get published but they turned it down. loving regards Alok
I am in receipt of your letter through the rounds on the internet. I have chosen to respond to it for two reasons. First and foremost, I feel inwardly inspired to do so. Secondly, I feel it is a very one-sided story of things and therefore one must know the other side to keep the balance right. Let me assure you I am not trying to sway any opinions but simply present the other side of the story for the readers who must have received this letter. Let me also add at the very outset two things clearly. I am, like you, not in favour of court cases, not only this one but also any other and feel immensely sorry to see the number of cases heaped on to the ashram. Besides the fact that cases do not solve any problem (if any they increase it), it means a lot of money drainage for the ashram and no one can be happy about it. Having given a deep enough thought to this problem, I have come to the conclusion that what we lack as a group is Unity and unity cannot come without the sense of fraternity and equality in our dealings. But most of all Unity cannot come about unless we are clear about what or who is the center of the collectivity that has gathered and grown around the Integral yoga. Is it some kind of a mental ideal such as intellectual freedom or else some select persons or even the institution? Or is it the Divine Persona of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that brings us all here together? As far as I understand, the one sutra that we can never afford to forget even if we forget all else is, - “the Mother, - to open to Her with faith and devotion.” It is on this basis and background or lets say our common meeting ground that I venture to write this letter to such stalwarts. Secondly, lest I am also charged with some ambition and vested interest, let me hasten to add (and I have said so earlier as well), I should not be made any administrative head in any department, let alone bother about the trusteeship etc. This is my word and promise to you.
Your letter is interesting but reads like a double-edged weapon. It advocates reconciliation but the tone is rather accusatory and almost threatening. Things like 'leave the Ashram' and 'ambitious' etc is not going to help. If the concerned persons are serious about a true reconciliation then instead of writing letters it may be better if they advice to the concerned authorities to call all the dissenting members and sit with them and discuss in a free and frank atmosphere all the differences and possible fall-outs. Given the fact that there is a major issue that has divided the concerned persons and the trust board itself, it may be wise to have a fair discussion with other senior members or else in front of the entire ashram community. We need to take people into confidence and not begin to adopt a confrontationist approach. If all of us meet with goodwill and without hiding anything with no other concern except Truth and our love for Them, I do not see why there should be any problem at all. It can be as simple as that. This at least is my understanding of how the Mother's children should resolve differences. Unfortunately much water has flown since the last two years and the only response that the members received was a cold indifference. Not even an acknowledgement that these persons also meant well! Is this the way responsible elders behave with the younger ones!
After all what is it that has been asked for. First, a clear and bold statement regarding the book, not a diplomatic semi-political, semi-legal stand that politicians are experts at but the voice of a child of the Mother who is not afraid of Truth, the kind of thing Dada said. Second, a clear statement or action that PH is not going to the Archives again. The first statement would help some of us work towards withdrawing the book from
. The second would ensure the safety of the sacred documents. Are these suggestions unreasonable? What verdict Time will pass is for Time to witness. For us, we must act in the present and based on the very highest we can conceive of. The result is in God’s hands, not ours. Columbia
Let me add that it is not just a question of the book being good or bad. Any book or for that matter anything in the world will always have a variety of responses. People love cheap novels and dirty literature...perhaps even the majority, so should we allow it in the Ashram? They love Michael Jackson's dance. Should we then teach it at the Ashram? What if a teacher actually wants to teach it and says that Moonwalk step is very graceful? The issue is that the Ashram is a special place and is meant for certain purpose. Should the Ashram respect that purpose or just give in to some kind of a new age sentiment? My simple question to all my elders is, - is it alright for an inmate, let alone someone handling the sacred documents almost as an in-charge, to write a biography or publish an article on the Mother and Sri Aurobindo with such a critical and condescending attitude, in this irreverential and disrespectful tone? If you say it is alright then I would ask then what is wrong if some members go against the Trust and disrespect them. The elders cannot be greater than the Master? And if you say no he should not, then I would ask why then did our MT write an 18 page letter justifying his action and almost clearing him while passing the blame to those who raised the alarm.
I would also like to note that this is not the first act of the man. There are quite a few of his mischief that we all have recounted several times. Even with regard to the book, he has used persons, resources, material and facilities of the Ashram Archives to write this book. If you want, I have a whole list of it. Why this special preferential treatment to him who is clearly defying the very foundation of spiritual life? Is it that those who are supporting the man, share his views in some way? And what views.....'the Mother thrived on ceremonies', 'Sri Aurobindo married for sensual gratification'. Just because people like it, do you endorse it too. If so then why do you come to the Ashram and go to the samadhi for pranam and pray to Her. Faith, you may say. PH will call it a dogma and our MT will call it sentimentality and religion. Then why not close everything and say pack up and go home since God is within and the samadhi is only a block of stone? What a nonsense in the name of intellectual freedom, what crass falsehood and we do not feel ashamed standing shoulder to shoulder with such men. How do we face Her everyday, I wonder! Yes the court case is bad and I say it openly, it is not the way to solve any problem but tell me honestly (leave the opinion of others) would the Mother like this book? Would She like our diplomatic hypocritical stand, our allegiance with falsehood, our support to a man who has stolen His words to do this to Him, his disrespectful approach towards Sri Aurobindo and our sheltering him. Would the MOTHER LIKE IT? - I ask of our elders who have lived so close to Her and had the rare Grace and privilege of Her close contact. Please tell me, is this how She would like us to treat Sri Aurobindo's Name, His life and Work? I don’t know I am learning so many new things about the yoga these days.
You have said that many of the persons who raised this alarm have been swayed by the out of context extracts circulated by one person. Well, I know what you are saying, but let me tell you I have read the book six times and know what poison and betrayal lies in it. Let me also add that I have been trained in the field of psychology and thereby can pick up certain things such as the Freudian analysis better than many others. Besides I have unfortunately kept myself updated enough to know what people like JK stand for who are endorsing the book on its flap. By Her Grace, I have also been able to read the entire works of Sri Aurobindo, the complete set of the Mother, all the volumes of the Agenda, the complete works of Nolini da, Champaklal ji, Pavitra da, Nirod da, Dilip Kumar Roy as well as almost all the major biographies on the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, many other things aside. I openly challenge / invite anyone to come and discuss with me any aspect of the biography openly, alone or in public. So lets not talk about some liking the book and some not. Falsehood does not become truth just because more people like it. Nor is it a good advice to let evil pass since often good comes out of evil. What else is courage but that which stands up for whatever is true and good and beautiful. And what is man without courage and love but a self-seeking animal.
You say that nothing should be changed that the Mother has given us and it is therefore sacred. Here I completely agree. Now, may I then request you to revert Savitri to the original, at least as the Mother read out. Can we reprint it afresh and at least not touch the portions that She has read out already. Can we respect Her at least that much? Or we mean to say that She read it wrong, while our brothers at the Archives know it right. The spiritual rule is to accept what the Master says even if the whole world and human logic contradicts it? But here as I said I am learning new things! Again, can you also request to take away the Records of Yoga since the Mother obviously never intended to be published. Most of all can you explain to me where religion ends and spirituality begins. I ask this since it is being repeatedly said that all this is religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, nothing else. I had learnt that one must practice equanimity when someone insults us but stand up always for what is True. There is even a letter of Sri Aurobindo to Sahana di in this regard that you must have read since it was widely circulated, in context of course. But now our elders are teaching us (by example) that you must remain quiet when your Master is being insulted or falsehood is being propagated but react sharply if someone personally insults you or your friend. At least this is what is being taught to us by actual actions. So I am a little confused whether to believe Sri Aurobindo or those who claim to be the standard flag bearers. Can you throw some light on this issue as well?
Nevertheless, we agree upon one thing and it is this that there should be no court case against the trustees. They have to be kept above the law at a sacred pedestal. I have no problems with that. Outside we do this all the time; we always please the administrative authorities and keep ourselves on to their right side. No problems in doing that here as well if that can make life a little smoother. Besides it is good in a way so as to keep the discipline of the place in good order. I am quite willing to talk to those who have gone to the court as well to retract the case if possible. I have only one request for the moment. You have written, and I quote, “Peter has been divested of all his assignments in the Ashram”. Can you assure this and back it up with something written? If that can be done then the matter may be very easy to solve. I am really serious about this. If this is not just one of those diplomatic statements meant to confuse the reader then surely there is hope for reconciliation. Mind you I am not even speaking of his leaving the Ashram or the country etc, simply just one thing (but in written), that PH will not be returning to the Archives anymore. My concern ends there. What happens to the trust is not my business or of any concern to me.
To me this is not a conflict between religion and spirituality or between the East and the West but between the fast collapsing world of mental maze and the slowly emerging world of the straight psychic response. It is the struggle between the old world represented by all that PH brings in his book, twisted falsehood, scientific objectivity, materialistic view of the spiritual effort, reason mocking at faith and so on and so forth. This is old story. The new idea that is springing forth is the sense of the true, of the good and the beautiful that men can know and feel within their soul and must act according to that and not according to mental opinions and legal advices. But right now the struggle is there and that is what we are witnessing in all this, - the end of a whole mental way of seeing things and the emergence of the new psychic vision of truth.
Well I have responded in the spirit of camaraderie to my gurubhais who have walked the path with me for so long. Some of you must also have had the exceptional privilege of Her Darshan. But before I close I can’t help making just one small observation. It is about that phrase from Savitri, "An idiot hour destroys what centuries made". It is spoken by the queen and therefore represents the voice of the Ignorance. We cannot, for instance quote a line from Death’s speech and say that Sri Aurobindo says so since it is there in Savitri. A more suitable quote would be the voice of Wisdom echoed through Narad’s words in response to what the queen says. In fact, incidentally this follows right after the anguish expressed by the queen where she speaks of the ‘idiot hour’, hence the double relevance: […]
With love and gratitude towards Her
Her child Alok
PS: I will wait for your response about the time and place where all of us can sit and meet and resolve differences together, as you have suggested and I completely agree.