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, January 16, 2013

Damaru signifies dissolution and creation

The Trust Board of the Ashram Trust is scrambling for damage control following the conscientious resignation of the senior-most Trustee of the Ashram, Albert Patel.
At first the Trustees begged Albert-da not to resign. When they found him adamant, Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee, put great pressure on him to sign a second letter of resignation where he would declare his resignation on grounds of “loss of memory and ill-health”. This is a dangerous trick that he has played with others earlier, but which everyone sees through now. Failing all these options, Manoj Das Gupta has now ordered his men to spread the word that Albert-da is resigning only in March and not before.
Meanwhile the Trustees are in a desperate search to find a suitable successor. But this is not an easy task any more. To begin with, any successor must be someone who will swear personal loyalty to Manoj Das Gupta as against Sri Aurobindo. Some of the names being discussed include Vishweshwar, Chitra Sen and Swadesh Chatterjee who have for long proved their personal loyalties. But the thinking within the Board is to try for a better public profile to soften the widespread criticism.
Two names are being discussed openly: Jhumur Bhattacharya who has been one of Manoj Das Gupta’s preferred girl-friends from his young days at theatre, and whom he has been steadily promoting first as a spiritual figurehead and later as head of the Ashram’s college and its alumni journal, and now as keeper of the Mother’s room. But the dark horse is Meera Gupta whom he had earlier assigned as head of the Ashram’s book distribution agency, and who was recently working overtime organising the Ashram-wide signature campaign to garner support to save the Trustees from going to jail. But therein lies the rub. Although there are enough people waiting to serve the Trustees in their abuse of Sri Aurobindo, none of them is keen to go to jail with them!
Vishweshwar and Chitra Sen are already telling all those who care to ask that they are too old to take up such responsibilities. Swadesh, it is felt, does not bring any value to the Trust Board. Jhumur Bhattacharya is excusing herself saying she already has too many responsibilities. Meera Gupta alone has kept a strategic silence. When asked of her chances of becoming a Trustee, she merely said, “It is for them to decide.” But she did not appear too enthusiastic. After all selling one’s conscience is easier than going to jail for life. Albert-da may well turn out to be smartest of them all.

The Supramental Action (The World, India, Ashram and the Individual) from At the Feet of The Mother Tuesday, 15th January 2013 at Hall of Harmony, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. Duration: 39 Minutes

Articles in Professional Journals and Books Peter Heehs is an independent scholar based in India. He has written or edited nine books and published more than fifty articles.  2011. “The Kabbalah, the Philosophie Cosmique, and the Integral Yoga: A Study in Cross-Cultural Influence”. Aries 11:2 (September): 219-247 (Pdf file available here).
Some of these scholars have made strong claims about influence of Max Theon and his wife on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In their history of the H.B. of L., Godwin, Chanel and Deveney write that Aurobindo and the Mother ‘were very largely inspired by Theon and his wife’. In his dissertation, Chanel goes farther: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother ‘may from many points of view be looked on as disciples of the Theons or in any case as continuers of their work’. In another passage Chanel suggests that the Theons have been denied due recognition by Aurobindo’s followers: The Philosophie Cosmique, he asserts, ‘constitutes one of the essential sources of the teachings of [Aurobindo’s] ashram in Pondicherry, even though this fact is, or was, generally little known or eclipsed’.
What I have written in the preceding sections should be enough to show that these claims are exaggerated. Theon had a good deal of influence on the Mother for three or four years, but he had no direct influence on Aurobindo. Whatever indirect influence he had on him was minor, being confined for the most part to terminology. The Mother may have considered herself a ‘disciple’ of the Theons at some point, but the relationship between her and them was just one of several relationships she had with spiritual-occult figures before she met Aurobindo. She carried over many ideas from the Theons into her collaboration with Aurobindo, but their work together could hardly be called a continuation of the work of the Theons, about whom Aurobindo had no direct knowledge. All in all, the parallels between the Philosophie Cosmique and Aurobindo’s philosophy are interesting but relatively unimportant compared to the enormous influence of the Vedantic tradition of India, which Aurobindo fully acknowledged.
Chanel also notes that it is through the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo ‘that the work of the Theons, that is, the Philosophie Cosmique, is present, though unbeknownst to many, in the world today’. This is true, and it draws attention to what might be called the “multinational” side of the transmission of esoteric knowledge. The Philosophie Cosmique, based in large measure on a form of the kabbalah that took shape in what is now Israel, was developed in France and Algeria during the early twentieth century, but now is scarcely remembered in any of these places. Elements of this teaching are present in the Integral Yoga, a system of thought based largely on the Upanishads that was elaborated in India by an English-educated Bengali and a Frenchwoman of Sephardic extraction. This system of yoga is followed by tens of thousands of people in India, and many hundreds in Europe and North America. Thus elements of an esoteric teaching made a journey from mediaeval Spain to Palestine and then back to Europe, where they were repackaged for dissemination in France. From France they were taken to India, and from India they have begun to make their way back to the West.

Almost every day we went for sadhana meditation in the ashram, which offered a contrast to the brassy worship of the gods in the various temples. Each late afternoon, pilgrims and locals line up to approach the white marble tombs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and kneel in prayer, their arms extended over the tightly woven tapestries of flowers adorning the saints’ resting place, and then silently arrange themselves to practice unity in consciousness beneath the spreading limbs of the emerald green jacaranda tree that shelters the courtyard. Like the sand paintings of the Tibetans, the flowers on the tombs are a graceful expression of beauty and impermanence which reappear in a new design each day.
There we will leave you, then: standing, hands folded and head slightly bowed, before the tomb of Pondicherry’s premier saints. Until next time, we send you our love from Mother India, Robert and Susana 8:35 am Thursday 19 June 2008

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