Sunday, May 31, 2009

They have found themselves on the losers’ side of globalisation

Raman Reddy said... The mischief was not so evident in 1988 when Amal Kiran wrote his rebuttal, though the seeds of it were present. But the mischief is very evident now in this biography. One can therefore, to a certain extent, generalise. This is not to deny that Heehs' work has nothing positive. It is because his defendants keep trying to defend him by not mentioning his objectionable points that we keep emphasising them. Finally, all said and done, you cannot get away by saying that he insulted the Master only a few times. May 31, 2009 2:42 PM

Raman Reddy said... Dear Vishwanath, I cannot post the original contents of the manuscript because it is not under my control. But we checked it and found Heehs' wording pretty faithful to the contents of the original. But I would discredit the original itself, because it is a tertiary source, not even a secondary one. It is, as I have recently written in "Are We Religious Fundamentalists?" posted on 31.5.2009, something that Purani noted down of what Nolini told him. Purani himself was not there in Sri Aurobindo's house during this period. He came a little later. Even Mother has some adverse remarks in the Agenda on Purani's notations of Sri Aurobindo's talks. It shows the unreliability of the whole evidence, on which such an edifice of falsehood has been built. May 31, 2009 9:14 PM

May 31, 2009 "Are We Religious Fundamentalists?" by Raman Reddy In fact, if anything has been followed with almost a religious fervour even though it was not imposed, I would say it is physical education, having myself grown up at the Ashram with an overdose of basketball, running and swimming, with the result that I suffer, like so many of my colleagues, from sports related injuries.

  • Now which diehard secular fundamentalist would call these activities religious? [...]

The attitude of these over-confident intellectuals on the SCIY forum is to question everything without realising that their very questioning is foolish, because there is no spiritual foundation to it.

  • Has anybody there sufficient spiritual development to be able to question the fundamentals of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s Yoga?
  • Has anybody found his or her psychic being or has some awareness of the various levels of consciousness above the mind that Sri Aurobindo has written about?
  • Even admitting a legitimate need for questioning, is Yoga only a matter of debate and comparative study of spiritual disciplines without prior spiritual experience?
  • And what is wrong with those who would rather confine themselves to what Sri Aurobindo has written and not give credence to the Freudian interpretations of a dishonest researcher?
  • How do they suddenly become blood-thirsty fundamentalists? [...]

Now, this attitude is reminiscent of the colonial days and the British Raj rather than reflective of the mind of a globalised spiritual community. In fact, I suspect that part of the fury of Heehs’ friends is due to the fact that they have found themselves on the losers’ side of globalisation... Posted by Raman Reddy at 5/31/2009 03:10:00 PM Labels: , , ,

I first met Father Bede in 1978 and kept visiting his ashram until his death

from Paulette to date 31 May 2009 11:36 subject comments and clarifications Respected Sir,

After discovering that you have reproduced in your blog some paragraphs that I have posted in “Mirror of Tomorrow” regarding the prosecution of Peter Heehs’s (the information was forwarded to me by Debashish Banerjee), I started reading some postings in “Savitri Era Open Forum”. I don’t know how to post it myself, but I wish to reply to the following:

“CG, you are headed in the right direction. The idiots who edited the Centenary Publications of Aurobindo's writings (in all probability non-Indians) make the disclaimer that Aurobindo himself distanced himself from his earlier writings. Only Hindus outsource their heritage. Radha Rajan 21 May 2009 [ 7:46 AM ]”

I was so indignant when I read such lines as preliminary to the reading of “Bande Mataram” that I went to the Ashram Archives asking for an explanation. The reply I got was that such disclaim was the only way to go ahead with the publication of the political works of Sri Aurobindo, hampered by a group of Indian disciples, and particularly a renown Aurobindonian. I was shown two large files with the complete documentation…

I don’t know if you feel quoting this, but I have already written in my personal letter to RY Deshpande, which he asked me to post as “Archetypal Images and Symbols” in “Mirror of Tomorrow”:

“It is a fact that over the years there has been a consistent attempt by a certain category of people to bypass or altogether suppress all that does not fit into an artificially constructed image of the guru-avatar. A most disquieting example was the fight to prevent the publication of Vol.1 of the Centenary Edition, Bande Mataram. The person defeating all such attempts was Jayantilal Parekh: a sensitive artist whom the Mother had turned into the guiding force behind the publication of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library. As you certainly know, Jayantilal was also the founder of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives in 1973, assisted by a team of which young Peter Heehs too was a member. One day, at the Archives, I was shown two huge files containing the full documentation of the controversy whom Jayantilal withstood and won. It was one of the darkest days in my life. I was shown that there was a movement to suppress Sri Aurobindo’s own writings, the very same writings which had made of him a national hero about whom all Indian children learn in their schoolbooks, and because of which he was considered the enemy number one of the British Empire and charged with sedition. I had already been informed about the same in Auroville when, before quitting the Laboratory of Evolution of which I was a member, I came up with a last stenciled compilation about the ‘nationalist’ Sri Aurobindo—like the previous ones, to be distributed for free to the community.”

So, it is the other way around. When I came from Italy my first readings were about the nationalist Sri Aurobindo. As for Peter Heehs, he has turned into the most outstanding living scholar on the nationalist Sri Aurobindo. Not only having his books published by prestigious publishers, but even displaying an exhibition on the subject that filled up the whole Exhibition Hall, and which was so commending that it was displayed again last fall, in spite of the raging controversy on “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo”.
Also, regarding the following:

Sri Aurobindo is another one of those people whom traditionalists find completely unacceptable
Cosmo-Drama and the Reality of Time from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob
One anonymous commenter thought I was trashing non-dual mystics such as Sri Ramana Maharshi. However, one would really have to distort what I said to arrive at that conclusion. One would have to have an agenda -- a narrative even -- and be playing a role in a drama with me as bad guy.
Bear in mind that I said quite clearly that I was not using his example for the purposes of criticism but comparison. My only point is that his acosmic, impersonal, and ahistorical mystical view is not reconcilable with Christianity, as traditionalists apparently believe. In other words, in no way can we suggest that Christ was nothing more than a non-dual mystic, even the "highest" one; nor can we say that Ramana Maharshi was the only begotten son of God. The two points of view might both be worthwhile, but they cannot be said to convey the identical truth.
Yes, I disagree with Schuon on the equivalence of revelations. What can I say? I've said many times that Schuon wouldn't even like me, let alone agree with me, even though I absolutely hold him in the highest regard, our differences notwithstanding.
I am actually very interested in the reconciliation of Eastern and Western religions (cf.
Henry LeSaux/Swami Abhishiktananda). After all, I am again not arguing Christianity from the inside out, but from the outside in. I am coming toward it from a neo-vedantic tradition.”

Given his interests, I am surprised that the writer doesn’t refer to Father Bede Griffiths (Swami Dayananda), a Benedictine monk and missionary who became the head of Shantivanam Ashram, near Tirucirapalli, founded by Monchanin and Le Saux. While Le Saux kept struggling with himself until his death to reconcile Christianity and Advaita, Griffith is the most effulgent example of the two melting into one. The author of many books, participating in international symposiums gathering the brightest minds along with most outstanding spiritual personalities, endowed with an encyclopedic knowledge, Bede Griffith was both a saint and a scholar. He used to read Sri Aurobindo daily, for years; his correspondence with Udar Pinto and Amal Kiran (Sethna) has been published.

The following is taken from the Wikipedia:

““Although he remained a Catholic monk he adopted the trappings of Hindu monastic life and entered into dialogue with Hinduism. Griffiths wrote twelve books on Hindu-Christian dialogue. Griffiths' form of Vedanta-inspired Christianity is called Wisdom Christianity.
Griffiths was a proponent of
integral thought, which attempts to harmonize scientific and spiritual world views. In a 1983 interview he stated,
"We're now being challenged to create a theology which would use the findings of modern science and eastern mysticism which, as you know, coincide so much, and to evolve from that a new theology which would be much more adequate."
Griffiths died at Shantivanam in 1993. The archives of the Bede Griffiths Trust are located at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.””

I first met Father Bede in 1978 and kept visiting his ashram until his death.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nietzsche and Sri Aurobindo by Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu and Dr. Archana Nayak

SAVITRI 28 May 2009 by Hrushikesha Mohanty For nearly last one month I'm reading a Odia book 'Atimanaba: Sambhabana and Pratisurti – Nietzsche and Sri Aurobindo” by Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu and Dr. Archana Nayak. It's a fantastic scholarly book on two philosophers who dealt with the ...

Bubli said...
one thing i cannot believe about future is that : man conquers death and becomes immortal. And even if he becomes immortal, i don't think this world will be any better place than it was now.. On the other hand, i am afraid that this immortality could possibly raise the immorality level and further deteriorate the society .. we can safely arrive at this conclusion becoz we always see people who are unwilling to attempt things becoz they see life as fleeting and nothing is permanent/eternal. For many, it is true that glory is like a ripple that spreads in the pond; it spreads and spreads unceasingly only to disappear in the next moment.But when ppl become immortal, they might easily attempt for glory. And we all know that the paths to glory are stained with blood (most of the times). [[ .. this is just what i am thinking right now, and my opinions are subject to change any moment; so , no offences whatsoever : ) ]] May 28, 2009 4:53 AM

Dr. Debajyoti Mukhopadhyay said...
I thoroughly enjoyed this article entitled "Savitri" written by my friend, Prof. Mohanty. India's true strength lies in its old age tradition. Modern world might offer temptations of its materialistic achievements, but the hidden treasures of Indian tradition offer us many such practices and beliefs which help forming our self, providing nourishment to our soul. "Savitri" is written in such a lucid manner that it offers a vivid description of the traditional practices. May 28, 2009 7:58 AM

Let all students and teachers of Sri Aurobindo’s school of thought resolve that they would not lose heart

Renaissance man of India Deccan Chronicle May 30th, 2009 By Jagmohan

On the centenary day — May 30, 2009 — of Uttarpara speech, let all students and teachers of Sri Aurobindo’s school of thought resolve that they would not lose heart on account of current dismal scenario and would work with a renewed sense of mission to ensure that the vision of the great prophet of the 20th century is fulfiled. Undoubtedly, the task is Herculean, the goal is distant and would take a long time to traverse. But let us not forget that even the longest journey begins with the first step. Jagmohan is a former governor of J&K anda former Union minister 1 2 3 next › last » Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 1:25 PM

Sri Aurobindo’s Opposition Why the Indian establishment resisted him, MANGESH V. NADKARNI The Indian Express Thursday, March 21, 2002 12:17 PM

E Pluribus Unum by Lori Tompkins The Vedic realization of the One that is equal to the Many has been recalled by Indian sage Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950):. ‘We see that the Absolute, the Self, the Divine, the Spirit, the Being is One; the Transcendental is one, ... 12:17 PM

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spiritual perspective on social psychological processes to complement the social-identity theory

Dear friends,
Please find below the announcement for the conference on Indian Psychology, which the Department of Psychology, Delhi University, is organising from 1-4 October.
There is only limited accommodation, so if you're interested, don't wait too long!
You'll find the registration form at the end.
All communication regarding this conference may be addressed at: Dr. Suneet Varma,
Warm regards,
Matthijs Cornelissen
National Conference on "Psychology, Culture and the Ideal of Human Unity" Oct.1-4, 2009 6:01 PM

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sri Aurobindo is another one of those people whom traditionalists find completely unacceptable

Cosmo-Drama and the Reality of Time from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob

One anonymous commenter thought I was trashing non-dual mystics such as Sri Ramana Maharshi. However, one would really have to distort what I said to arrive at that conclusion. One would have to have an agenda -- a narrative even -- and be playing a role in a drama with me as bad guy.

Bear in mind that I said quite clearly that I was not using his example for the purposes of criticism but comparison. My only point is that his acosmic, impersonal, and ahistorical mystical view is not reconcilable with Christianity, as traditionalists apparently believe. In other words, in no way can we suggest that Christ was nothing more than a non-dual mystic, even the "highest" one; nor can we say that Ramana Maharshi was the only begotten son of God. The two points of view might both be worthwhile, but they cannot be said to convey the identical truth.

Yes, I disagree with Schuon on the equivalence of revelations. What can I say? I've said many times that Schuon wouldn't even like me, let alone agree with me, even though I absolutely hold him in the highest regard, our differences notwithstanding.

I am actually very interested in the reconciliation of Eastern and Western religions (cf. Henry LeSaux/Swami Abhishiktananda). After all, I am again not arguing Christianity from the inside out, but from the outside in. I am coming toward it from a neo-vedantic tradition. Or perhaps "tradition" is not the correct word, since Sri Aurobindo is another one of those people whom traditionalists find completely unacceptable. Schuon never mentions him by name, but you can tell when he's referring to him, because he always snarls when doing so. Same with Teilhard de Chardin. For Schuon, they might as well be Deepak. [...]

A brief aside: one of the reasons I am able to embark upon this adventure in Christianity is that Sri Aurobindo cleared the way by converting the non-dual mysticism of advaita vedanta into an adventure in cosmic evolution, very much analogous to Christianity. Indeed, the best book on Aurobindo is called The Adventure of Consciousness, the point being that consciousness has a purpose and a vector. Aurobindo immediately saw the implications of Darwinism, but placed it in a much wider context of what we might well call Cosmo-Drama.

In turn, the B'ob came along and wrote a book called One Cosmos Under God, which endeavors to tell the entire story of the cosmos in four acts, plus an ainsoferable overchore and underture. But the point is, it is a story; it is a drama, a narrative, a bangography. It even begins with One's upin a timeless...

The Cosmic Who- and Whydunnit from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob

As mentioned yesterday, I both agree and disagree with Schuon and Aurobindo about the role of evolution in the cosmos. In short, the former dismisses it too lightly, whereas the latter elevates it to too high a place. For while I agree with Aurobindo that this is an evolving cosmos, I disagree with him that there will ever be a species "beyond man."

Atheists: No God, no reason, just whining koantum
Postsecular Interrogations: AsiaSource Interview with Talal Asad Debashish

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Satprem should be given the respect he deserves

Nirodbaran, Amal Kiran and Udar Pinto vis-à-vis Satprem
By Anurag Banerjee

A few weeks ago some articles published in Mother India (the monthly magazine published from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram) reached my hands almost accidentally. Those articles published more than two and a half decades ago caught my attention as it involved the four sadhaks whom I admire with all my heart. They were Nirodbaran, K. D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran, Udar Pinto and Satprem. Among them I had the good fortune of interacting with Nirodbaran and Amal Kiran and receiving their blessings. The articles penned by Nirodbaran, Amal Kiran and Udar Pinto were in response to certain claims of Satprem and though almost twenty eight years have passed since the publication of these articles their relevance still remains intact.

In the eleventh volume of Mother’s Agenda, on 9 September 1970 the Mother speaks to Satprem about Sri Aurobindo’s physical withdrawal:
“I was conscious (and it was frightful) of all that he physically suffered. And it was one of the most difficult things to bear. (The Mother’s voice was choked with pain) …As if…physically…And our physical unconsciousness beside it and the kind of physical TORTURE he went through. It was one of the most difficult things, most difficult.
“The torture which he bore and we took so lightly as if he felt nothing. It was one of the most frightful things.”
And Satprem adds the following comment in the footnote:
“‘We insisted on dangerous remedies…’ admits one of the doctors who attended upon Sri Aurobindo. (Nirodbaran, I am here.) Sri Aurobindo refused—once. Mother refused. Then they said nothing farther. ‘He knew’, notes one of the doctors, ‘that [these remedies] would be of no avail and he emphatically ruled them out, but as we had not the insight nor the proper appraisement of the value of words when they are clothed in the common language we are habituated to use, we insisted on the dangerous remedies in which we had faith and confidence.’ Let us note that the same phenomenon will be repeated in the case of the Mother.”

Therefore Satprem concludes that the Mother, during her last days, was ‘dealt with exactly as Sri Aurobindo had been.’
Nirodbaran, whom Sri Aurobindo considered not a doctor but his servitor and whom he had chosen as his scribe, reacted strongly to Satprem’s comments. In his article published in October 1981 he writes: “My confusion and pain arise from the fact that he appears to imply that we gave dangerous remedies, thus causing torture to Sri Aurobindo’s body against his consent. He mentions that Sri Aurobindo refused, the Mother did the same and then they said nothing farther. The last phrase would mean that without their permission or taking it for granted we applied the remedies. But in my booklet I have very clearly stated that only with their explicit consent we started the treatment… Satprem’s final sentence, which drags the Mother’s illness into the picture, leaves me in no doubt that there is a hostile insinuation throughout.” (Mother India, p. 564)

Let’s now read what Nirodbaran has written in his Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo about Sri Aurobindo’s illness and the ‘explicit consent’ given by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo regarding the treatment of Sri Aurobindo:
‘One day we came to notice that Sri Aurobindo’s urination had increased in frequency…The urine was examined and found to have an excessive amount of sugar with a trace of albumin. I reported the result to the Mother in Sri Aurobindo’s presence and said, “It looks like diabetes.” The Mother sharply reacted, “It is not diabetes.”…The Mother, however, reduced considerably the amount of starchy food, particularly rice and sweets for which Sri Aurobindo seemed to have a liking…I was asked to examine the urine every week and apprise him of the result. In a few weeks’ time it became sugar-free but the frequency did not altogether disappear. Sri Aurobindo too had noticed it. It made me suspect mild prostatic enlargement…I consulted [Dr. Prabhat Sanyal] and at my request Sri Aurobindo saw him. After an enquiry he confirmed my suspicion, but added that it was just at the initial stage. He told Sri Aurobindo of the nature, course and complications of the disease, ultimately operation being the only radical cure. After a few months, on Sanyal’s second visit, Sri Aurobindo told him emphatically, “It is no more troubling me. I have cured it.”…During his last months the symptoms of prostatic enlargement reappeared and began to increase slowly…urinary symptoms were worsening and now a trace of albumin was detected…Then acetone appeared, a grave signal…[in the week following the Darshan of November 1950] The symptoms grew more serious and a partial obstruction to the flow of the urine made us think of medical intervention. When it became complete and was causing distress, Dr. [Satyabrata] Sen and we had no other alternative but to pass a catheter, much against his will. It was followed by immediate relief…Sanyal [after meeting Sri Aurobindo] told the Mother that there was a mild kidney infection, but nothing serious… On 1st December, some improvement was noticed; the temperature was normal…Next evening the temperature shot up… [Sri Aurobindo] was indrawn with his eyes closed. Later Sanyal expressed a desire to use some drugs in order to fight the infection. The Mother warned him against the use of any violent drugs or drastic methods not only because Sri Aurobindo would not like them, but they would be, on the contrary, positively harmful. “He will work out whatever is necessary. Give some simple medicines,” was her instruction.

‘On 3rd December, the temperature again dropped to normal…In the afternoon…the temperature shot up, respiratory distress showed itself for the first time. Sri Aurobindo refused to take any liquid. At the Mother’s persuasion he sipped some fruit juice and immediately lapsed into a trance. Almost the whole day he remained in that condition…[On 4 December] Since midday the symptoms were on the increase, particularly the breathing difficulty; urine output definitely diminished. That was an alarming signal. We decided to make a thorough blood analysis. Sri Aurobindo consented after a great deal of reluctance…Dr. Nripendra and I hunted out the laboratory assistant [of the General Hospital]; he took some blood from Sri Aurobindo’s imperceptible vein. The punctures were painful to the sensitive body which was getting transformed. The result of the examination staggered us. All the signs of imminent kidney failure and nothing to be done! As a last resort we had to give him some drugs.” (pp.260-275)

In his article Nirodbaran explains why he had used the word ‘torture’ that led to the creation of Satprem’s footnote: ‘It is true that I have used the word “torture” there, having been then in an emotional state of mind and strongly influenced by my knowledge of the great sensitivity of Sri Aurobindo’s body where even a mosquito-bite would cause a red swelling. But all that was done had the Mother’s and the Master’s consent.’
And he adds: ‘Another point: when the Mother speaks of the “physical torture” that Sri Aurobindo underwent, does she at all mean that it was the doctors who inflicted it? Satprem’s linking his footnote with that word suggests this to us. But she cannot mean it. For it is not only we who saw the physical torture which Sri Aurobindo suffered and which had nothing to do with the doctors: the Mother herself saw it. On the other hand, Satprem never saw it. Sri Aurobindo’s suffering was indeed intolerable. It surely forms part of the Mother’s statement about him, his work and his achievement, which is engraved on the side of the Samadhi. The statement includes the words: “Thou who hast suffered all….”(Mother India, October 1981, p. 564)
Nirodbaran also narrates two ‘painful episodes’ of Sri Aurobindo’s last days which he witnessed:

‘Sri Aurobindo had two periods of acute distress. One was when the urine stopped. It made me run at midnight to Dr. Satyavrata Sen. The other time was when Sri Aurobindo was suffering from acute breathing difficulty so much so that he asked me twice, “Nirod, do something.” In the first case, the obstruction of the urine was relieved by a catheter and, in the second, Sri Aurobindo withdrew himself into the inner consciousness and thereby obtained temporary relief from the suffocating respiration; but as soon as he would come to the surface it would show itself with all its acute symptoms. However, when he moved from the bed to the sofa, before he called for the commode, we were astonished to see that he was breathing in a normal way and it gave us no small measure of joy. For we thought a miracle had happened, and hoped for further miracles. But alas, it was only a short respite and as soon as he came back to the bed the breathing distress renewed itself. He then plunged within and remained so most of the time till he passed away.

‘In the last days Dr. Sanyal arrived and saw that the condition was taking a serious turn. It was then that he proposed to use medical remedies with complete sanction from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. And what he did was the utter minimum that was necessary.’
And he puts forward a question: ‘Even if the medical resort be considered torturous, could anyone, seeing the suffering before his very eyes, humanly remain passive and abstain from any action to give prolonged relief by temporary discomfort?’ (Mother India, pp. 564-565)
Thus Nirodbaran refutes all the allegations made by Satprem that Sri Aurobindo was tortured by his disciples. And regarding the phrase “the same phenomenon will be repeated in the case of the Mother,” he writes: ‘I take it to mean that the Mother was also subjected to torture by the doctors. I inquired from one of the closest attendants of the Mother how far she had been given painful treatment. Strongly refuting any allegation of torture, he said that there were two periods of gravity in her illness. In the first one, Dr. Sanyal was treating her with oral medicines, but when there was no improvement Dr. Bist was called in and a great change was the result of what he gave her by mouth. In the second period there was no question of the application of medicines at all.’ (Ibid., p. 565)

We all are aware that Sri Aurobindo had deliberately left his physical body to hasten the manifestation of the Supramental in the earth-atmosphere. She would tell Amal Kiran and Satprem several times that Sri Aurobindo didn’t ‘succumb’ to death; let’s quote what she had said on the said subject on 28 December 1950: “Our Lord has sacrificed himself totally for us…He was not compelled to leave his body, he chose to do so for reasons so sublime that they are beyond the reach of the human mentality.” The following words of the Mother also reveal that Sri Aurobindo had taken the decision to withdraw without informing the Mother:
‘I told him: “If one of us must go [to fulfill the yoga of supramental descent and transformation], I want that it should be me.’—“It can’t be you,” he replied, “because you alone can do the material thing.” And that was all. He said nothing more. He forbade me to leave my body…After that—this took place early in 1950—he gradually let himself fall ill. For he knew quite well that should he say “I must go,” I would not have obeyed him and I would have gone. For according to the way I felt, he was much more indispensable than I. But he saw the matter from the other side. And he knew that I had the power to leave my body at will. So he didn’t say a thing—he didn’t say a thing right to the very last minute.’ (Georges Van Vrekhem, The Mother: The Story of Her Life, pp. 369-370)
And again: ‘You see, he had decided to go. But he didn’t want me to know that he was doing it deliberately. He knew that if for a single moment I knew he was doing it deliberately, I would have reacted with such violence that he would not have been able to leave. And he did this: he bore it all as if it were some unconsciousness, an ordinary illness, simply to keep me from knowing—and he left at the very moment he had to leave.’ (Ibid., p. 370)

Coming back to Nirodbaran’s article: he concludes his article by pointing out certain instances which appeared to him as a ‘flagrant breach of confidence’ and a ‘deliberate disobedience which is an unpardonable action on the part of a disciple.’ Here are the main points:
(1) Satprem had published some talks which the Mother had asked him not to show the light of the day by justifying the reason as “we considered it right.” Nirodbaran asks: ‘Can a disciple justify himself in this manner? Could it be alleged that, because the Mother was no longer in her body, matter forbidden by her can be published?’
(2) Certain confidential remarks and opinions of the Mother about disciples and people, nations, institutions and politics which were meant to be kept private were published; thus there had been a breach of confidence on Satprem’s part.
(3) The footnotes provided by Satprem carried his ‘snap-judgments without any assessable evidence.’

In response to Nirodbaran’s article, Udar Pinto penned a brief article that was published in December 1981. After congratulating Nirodbaran he went on to provide to the reader the following information:
‘I may draw attention to a fact which is not generally known. The first copy of the transcript of The Mother’s tape-recorded talks used to be kept in safe custody in Her own room and, pointing to the place where it was, She gave instructions to some veteran disciples not to let anything be published without careful scrutiny as to what was suitable or not for publication. This copy disappeared from The Mother’s room and what was meant to belong to the Ashram Trustees is no longer there.’ (p. 712)
Amal Kiran corroborated Udar’s statement in an article penned by him and published in April 1982. He wrote: ‘…the Mother had explicitly asked André [her son] to edit the Agenda. Evidently she had confidence in André and not in Satprem…The basic negative side is that [Satprem] has not attended to the Mother’s wish that André should read and judge things. To avoid this wish from being carried out he managed to take charge of the typed copy of the Agenda which used to be kept in the Mother’s room and towards which she had pointed when giving André her instructions. When the basis is an absolute falsehood, what you call the positive side is bound to be a specious splendour.’ (p. 257)
He also added that the Agenda in itself is ‘a divine gift to the world’ but ‘we cannot forget the ambitious and unfaithful hands that are offering it to us—not only with those parts included but also with malicious and misguiding footnotes.’ And he pointed out: ‘Then there is the question of fairness in the editor. On the strength of some tapes and letters, I have been assured of subtle manipulation and even of certain talks cut out because they were complimentary to a person who has fallen from grace in Satprem’s eyes. The spirit behind the Agenda is very far from being admirable. That is why Nolini [Kanta Gupta] refuses to encourage it and not just because Satprem has not let the Trustees have a hand in it.’ (pp. 257-258)

A few words in defence of Satprem wouldn’t be irrelevant. From extremely reliable sources the author of this article has come to know that the allegation against Satprem regarding the removal of the papers from the Mother’s room is absolutely untrue. It must be noted that Satprem and Sujata Nahar had met the Mother for the last time in her room on 19 May 1973. From 20 May onwards no one was allowed to meet the Mother. So how could one remove the papers (let’s not forget that the Agenda consists of around 6000 pages) from the Mother’s room if they had no access to it? For the sake of argument it can be claimed that they had removed those papers through some other people’s aid; but even that is not possible because the Mother’s attendants were always present in her room, thus making the task impossible. And moreover, is it possible to remove 6000 pages from a room without anyone coming to know about it?
Satprem was desirous to publish the Agenda from the Ashram. Accordingly Sujata had submitted the proposal to Nolini Kanta Gupta on 24 December 1973. Satprem had also written to the managers of the Ashram Press about the publication of the Agenda in January 1974. If he had submitted the proposal of publishing the Agenda in December 1973 then it is implied that he was in possession of the papers from a much earlier date. Therefore the claim of Satprem removing the papers is nothing but falsehood.

Towards the end of his article, Amal Kiran wrote: ‘It is not my intention to show Satprem as all black. I knew him very well for years, I have known his difficulties and his good points and I am sure the Mother has given him some genuine spiritual experiences. But I am afraid they have gone to his head and have failed to touch with refining fire the outer being, the lower part of him to which the Mother’s reference can be traced in the Agenda itself. And the Agenda has been turned by him into a powerful means of self-aggrandisement and self-advertisement: he uses it to make himself out to be the one and only apostle of the Mother.’ (p. 258)
At the same time let’s read what the Mother had told Satprem: ‘So, mon petit (my child), don’t worry. You are SURE, sure not only to advance but to reach the goal.’ (Mother’s Agenda, 5 February 1961) And again: ‘In any case, one thing: never forget that what we have to do, we shall do; and we shall do it together because we have to do it together…’ (Ibid., 11 February 1961) And once again (on 10 January 1973):
‘Satprem: We’ll try to go with you to the end.
Mother: Oh, you…(After a silence)You will go to the end.’

And Satprem did reach the end. Not only did he reach the Supermind but he also fixed the supramental consciousness in his physical consciousness. This is a rare achievement in the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Therefore all that can be said is: Satprem should be given the respect he deserves.
So if Satprem was wrong in claiming that Sri Aurobindo was tortured by his disciples in the name of medical treatment then so are the others who claimed that he had removed the transcripts of the Mother’s conversations with him.


Born on 13 October 1984, Anurag Banerjee is an essayist, biographer, poet and researcher. His first book, Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey was published in December 2006. He wrote the biography of Dilip Kumar Roy at the age of twenty in 2005 and translated 100 poems of Sri Aurobindo into Bengali at the age of twenty-one in 2006. His published works include Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey (2006), Achinpather Dibyapathik (2008), and Debotar Shrom (2008). Anurag Banerjee
Amal Kiran on the Mind of Light
André Morisset
Aspects of Amal Kiran
Attaining immortality
Datta (Dorothy Mary Hodgson)
Dilip Kumar Roy
Dr. Govindo Gopal Mukhopadhyay
Krishna Chakravarti
Nirmal Singh Nahar on Satprem and Sujata
Prithwi Singh Nahar
Rijuta (Patricia Noonan)
Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Place
Suresh Chandra Chakravorty (Moni)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nether mysteries (At&t Internet Services) Minnesota, Minneapolis, United States, Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "If one Peter Heehs is pardoned today, a thousand w...":

May I request the author or a competent editor to go through and fix any errors in the text. For eg., in God's Labor, it is "nether mysteries" and not "newer mysteries". Perhaps elsewhere Columbia University Press is meant and not Cambridge University Press? Posted by Anonymous to Aurora Mirabilis at 8:38 PM, May 09, 2009 (Comcast Cable Communications Inc) Illinois, Lombard, United States, goethean has left a new comment on your post "There is also Jeffrey Kripal whose analysis of Ram...":

"Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas." ---Alfred Whitney, "Essays on Education" Posted by goethean to Savitri Era Open Forum at 8:20 PM, May 09, 2009

Tusar N Mohapatra has left a new comment on your post "There is also Jeffrey Kripal whose analysis of Ram...":

Thanks goethean and welcome. I expect from a person like you a detailed examination of the issue and then it would be easier to draw apposite inferences. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra to Savitri Era Open Forum at 8:28 PM, May 09, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Today is Sujata-di's second death anniversary

On Satprem and Sujata: An Interview with Nirmal Singh Nahar
By Anurag Banerjee

Nirmal Singh Nahar belongs to the Swetambar Murtipujak Oswal Jain sect. Born on 28 July 1922, he is the fourth son of Prithwi Singh Nahar and elder brother of Sujata Nahar. He received his early education at Santiniketan where he stayed with his family from 1929 to 1935. He did his schooling from South Subarban Branch School where he was initiated to the student movement. He raised the national flag in the school building and as a result he was transferred to South Subarban Main School where along with other students he raised funds for flood relief work and handed the money to Subhash Chandra Bose. In 1943 he joined the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and worked in the Cazanove garden where he started rice cultivation till 1946; then he joined the Book Sales Department of the Ashram. In 1947 he joined Reuters Associated Press of India and Press Trust of India as their special correspondent. In 1951 he left the Ashram when he was declared a persona non grata by French India Government and an arrest warrant was issued for exposing French misrule in India as a journalist. He joined the Bengali daily Jana Sevak as its chief reporter after returning to Calcutta. In 1964 he promoted Haldia Scooter Project in collaboration with Armachie Harley-Davidson SPA, an Italian firm. He is a member of Governing Council of All India Sri Swetambar Murtipujak Jain Tirth Raksha Trust and The Mother’s Institute of Research (New Delhi). He was also a Founder-member of Sri Aurobindo Bhavan (Calcutta) and a member of West Bengal State Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Celebration Committee in 1971. He is also the author of the book Sri Aurobindo: His Birth Place.
On the occasion of the second death anniversary of Satprem and Sujata Nahar, I had interviewed Nirmal Singh Nahar in which he had shared his reminiscences about them. What follows are the questions I had put to him:

What are your earliest recollections of Satprem? How and when did you meet him?

When Charles François Marie Baron came to Pondicherry as its Governor Satprem, who was then known as Bernard, was the First Secretary to the Governor and Information Officer. Just next to the Government House there was an annexe where Satprem’s office was situated. He was a chain-smoker at that time and charminar was his preferred brand. During that time as a journalist I was introduced to him. In 1964 when I went to Pondicherry for the first time after 1951, I was re-introduced to him by Sujata. At that time the Mother was regularly giving him interviews; he was recording her conversations which later became Mother’s Agenda. After the Mother left her body Pranab said certain things which were absolutely rubbish because in Mother’s Agenda, there were certain instructions related to the Mother’s cataleptic trance which might look like death. Since I used to go to the Samadhi regularly I could hear Pranab saying, “This happened to the Mother, that happened to the Mother” and so on. This was soon after the Mother’s passing away. I don’t exactly recall what he had said in detail but I had informed Satprem what Pranab was saying as Satprem wanted to know about it. At that time Satprem, Sujata and I used to go to the beach for a walk. Afterwards when Satprem and Sujata went to Nandanam—Deer House—we used to meet there. What happened next is known to all. They left Pondicherry and started living at Kotagiri. At Kotagiri I met him a couple of times. I have stayed there for a few days as well.

During the period between 1964 and 1973 when the Mother was speaking about her sadhana and was telling Satprem about the development of his own sadhana, did you interact with him regarding the nature of the yoga he was doing?

No, I was unaware of any details. This was because I was not interested. I didn’t even know what Sujata was doing. I was busy with my life and so were they with theirs. I also didn’t know that Abhay Singh [his youngest brother and an Ashramite since 1940] was in-charge of so many departments of the Ashram. I knew that he was looking after the Workshop mainly.

Was the Agenda the sole reason for the conflict between the Trustees and Satprem?

Yes, because there are a few adverse comments made by the Mother on the Trustees in the Agenda particularly on Navajata. All these comments they wanted to edit and Satprem had strong objection about it. He argued that not a single line of what the Mother had said should be edited. And this is all recorded in the cassettes and still it is available in the Mother’s voice. So the question of superimposing anything on the Mother’s Agenda does not arise.

Was Sujata-di also expelled with Satprem?

No, Sujata was not expelled. Only Satprem was expelled.

But did anyone in the Ashram protest when Satprem was expelled?

Many had protested but I don’t know who they were. But the main protest came from Sir C.P.N. Singh. Abhay Singh knew who among the Ashramites had protested.

But what about the confidants of the Mother like Nolini Kanta Gupta, M.P. Pandit who knew Satprem well? Did they also remain mum?

Neither M.P. Pandit nor Nolini-da were the Mother’s confidants at that time. Only Pranab was the sole in-charge. All the others were mere puppets. Even the Mother’s son André was dictated by Pranab what-to-do and what-not-do and he obeyed. No one could utter a single word in front of him. It was only when all the preparations were complete and a new dress was put on the Mother that Nolini-da was informed of the Mother’s passing away. There was no scope for anyone to do anything. When Satprem asked the people to take the Mother’s body back to her room no one listened to him. Pranab could never tolerate Satprem. Nolini-da too couldn’t say anything. Pranab had told very clearly that he didn’t want to listen to anything. It is recorded in the cassette. [See Mother’s Agenda, Volume XIII, 7 April 1973]

Tell us about their life from 1978 onwards, that is, after they settled at Kotagiri.

Initially, we had no contacts for several years. I started visiting them after many years. Sometimes I used to receive Sujata’s letters. Satprem didn’t write. Only when he sent me books did he pen a line in them. I started visiting probably from the 1980s or 1990s. I didn’t go straight to Kotagiri. I went to Coimbatore and Sujata came there with Micheline for a few hours. Then once I went to Mysore with my wife and stayed there for two days; then we proceeded to Pondicherry. And subsequently it was like this that we used to go to Pondicherry every year and on our way back we used to go to Kotagiri and from Kotagiri back to Calcutta. In those days Satprem used to tell me about his sadhana and the difficulties he was facing. He was very much perturbed to see the deteriorating political scene of India. And he always insisted that this has to be broken completely, shattered like this [gesture of hitting the left palm with the right fist]. Three or four years before his passing away, since he was not keeping well we were advised not to go there because Sujata used to look after him and she could not assign any time to anything else.
The family members of Monsieur Baron used to come to meet Satprem. He was held in high esteem by them. He was highly respected in France. After his leaving the body, France and other European countries gave a lot of publicity to him but no publicity was given in India.

What sort of difficulties did Satprem face in his sadhana?

The same type of trouble that the Mother used to face.

And how did he conquer them?

That I do not know.

Didn’t he reveal it?


Did Satprem face any difficulties from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram after leaving it?

Oh, yes. They had a spy system. As it is revealed in the Notebooks [Notebooks of an Apocalypse], he was in Dehradun and the notice of his expulsion was served to him when nobody was supposed to know that he was there. For several years Satprem and Sujata stayed in France, they went to America also. After coming to Kotagiri, the reports revealed that they were in Kotagiri. It was known to J.R.D. Tata, C.P.N. Singh and few others who became the Trustees of Mother’s Institute of Research in Delhi.

How did you witness the development of Satprem’s sadhana?

He was always in deep concentration. Sometimes he would walk with his hand resting on my shoulder for support but most of the time it was Sujata who supported him. This was because he was unable to take care of himself. He was not aware of his physical well being. And sometimes he used to sit on the doorstep; we used to sit there and he used to talk or simply meditate. Near a bush in the lawn of their house was a small Shiva-lingam which he used to worship regularly. And there was an idol of Ganesha at the entrance; everyday in the morning he used to go and offer some flowers to it.

In 2006 Satprem had sent a note to Kireet Joshi in which he wrote: “I have reached the goal.” What was the goal that he referred to? Was it the completion of the process of physical transformation or fixation of the supramental consciousness into his physical consciousness?

That I don’t know. Previously also he wrote to me that he had achieved the goal. What I know is that the supramental Light had come into his body. In his entire body there was a peculiar radiance. That I’ve observed. The way he used to walk showed he had no physical knowledge about his own body that’s why Sujata had to look after him.

Tell us something about Sujata-di’s sadhana?

Sujata was very silent about her sadhana. She had reached a very high level in sadhana. But she never revealed it except what she had said in her private conversations. She would narrate some of her experiences and those revealed that she had reached a very high level. We could understand that her consciousness was on a very high level. The supramental consciousness was present in her but she used to live in such a simple manner and she could adjust herself so well that it had to be seen to be believed. She had profound compassion and that used to come out.

In November 2006 I had received a letter from Sujata-di in which she wrote about Satprem: “He is deep in his new experiences…as he follows the footsteps of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.” But within five months we learned about the passing away of Satprem followed by Sujata-di. Please tell us what you know about their last days.

Satprem did not fall ill. He had completely lost consciousness about his physical being. He himself didn’t know what he was doing. That’s why Sujata had to look after him day and night because the condition was very intense for the last six months before he passed away. Sujata didn’t have even a wink of sleep. If she had gone to bed at night, suddenly Satprem called out “Ma Douce” (my dear) so naturally she had to look after him constantly. Gradually her health deteriorated and she too became bed-ridden. According to my nephew Pratip who saw her before her death she was not in a condition even to be moved to a hospital and she was not very conscious. My sister Suprabha and Pratip were the last ones whom she spoke to.

Didn’t you have a talk with her?

No, we didn’t have a talk. Almost a month and a half before Sujata passed away, when I had rung her up accidentally she had answered the telephone. That was the last time we spoke to each other. We just exchanged pleasantries. Before she left her body she was in a semi-conscious state for several days. I was in Palitana at that time. I used to ring up everyday and inquire about her health. I returned to Calcutta on 3 May 2007. Next day in the morning Suprabha told me that Sujata had left.

What happened to the mortal remains of Satprem and Sujata-di?

In Land’s End, that is, in the lawn of their house at Kotagiri, both Satprem and Sujata were buried side-by-side near the bush where the Shiva-lingam was placed.

Tell us something about the role Sujata-di had played in the sadhana of Satprem.

In one sentence I can say: Without Sujata Satprem was incomplete. And without Satprem Sujata would not have perhaps achieved so much. Basically Sujata had a beautiful soul since her childhood which developed under the Mother and Pavitra and then it bloomed in the company of Satprem.



What follows is a brief description of the last days of Satprem and Sujata Nahar that was reported to me by Shrimati Suprabha Nahar, youngest sister of Sujata Nahar and Shri Kireet Joshi:

Two months before Satprem left his body he had said: “The work is done.” His end came on the morning of Monday 9th April 2007. The last word he uttered while taking his breakfast was: “MA.” He was helped by the lady who looked after him and Sujata Nahar to get up from the bed and sit on the sofa kept near the cot. When she went to remove the curtains so that the morning light could enter the room, she heard two guttural sounds. She came to Satprem and saw that he had left his body in the sitting position with one eye closed and the other eye looking at a photograph of Sri Aurobindo. The following night his body was laid to rest in his garden.
Sujata Nahar was already bed-ridden when Satprem left his body. She had stopped talking and would only indicate whether she would take the liquid food or not that was given to her. Occasionally she called: “Ma, Ma.” On 4 May 2007, exactly twenty five days after the physical departure of Satprem, she was reading a passage from Mother’s Agenda (20 April 1966, re: Anousuya’s demise). Afterwards she was given some water to drink which she took and soon after she left her body.
Born on 13 October 1984, Anurag Banerjee is an essayist, biographer, poet and researcher. His first book, Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey was published in December 2006. He wrote the biography of Dilip Kumar Roy at the age of twenty in 2005 and translated 100 poems of Sri Aurobindo into Bengali at the age of twenty-one in 2006. His published works include Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey (2006), Achinpather Dibyapathik (2008), and Debotar Shrom (2008). Anurag Banerjee
Amal Kiran on the Mind of Light
André Morisset
Aspects of Amal Kiran
Attaining immortality
Datta (Dorothy Mary Hodgson)
Dilip Kumar Roy
Dr. Govindo Gopal Mukhopadhyay
Krishna Chakravarti
Nirmal Singh Nahar on Satprem and Sujata
Prithwi Singh Nahar
Rijuta (Patricia Noonan)
Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Place
Suresh Chandra Chakravorty (Moni)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Trivial “hagiographies” by Diwakar, Keshavmurti, Pramode Kumar Sen, Rishabhchand, Sisirkumar Mitra never counted for Heehs-the-Great

A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs
committed to objective, academic, respectful and honest discussions
Apr 26, 2009
Objective History in Four Lessons by Prithwindra Mukherjee
[Dr Prithwindra Mukherjee has recently been awarded the Chevalier in the Order of Arts & Letters by the Ministry of Culture, France (2009). An expert on the pre-Gandhian Indian revolutionary movement (1893-1918), and author of a PhD thesis supervised by Raymond Aron, he points out errors galore in Heehs' so-called scholarship, especially with regard to Bagha Jatin (Jatin Mukherjee), who was Dr. Prithwindra's grandfather.] INTRODUCTION

A recent enterprise in the West is to discredit India’s spiritual message by a vulgar and charlatan process of psychoanalysis, reducing age-old images of sanctity into clinical cases of sexual perversion, libelling spiritual experiences as “subjective (…), only hallucinations or signs of psychotic breakdown. Even if not, do they have any value to anyone but the subject ?” [1] While exploring Sri Aurobindo’s political career, drawing benefit from the light and shade of the secret societies that had cropped up under the Leader’s radical influence, one such biographer took himself to be the dispenser of the Destiny presiding over Indian historiography and suppress some significant militants, while ushering into limelight minor or undeserving dramatis personae.

In The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs, singling out blatant instances of such a dishonest manoeuvre that are directly related to a topic on which I have been working since 1955 – pre-Gandhian freedom movement in British India (1893-1918) – I bring them to the notice of interested readers. The book was to be re-printed by Penguin India in November 2008, before it was stopped by a red signal from the Orissa Hight Court. Some of the conclusions, as mentioned in the petition are: “Aurobindo’s character, life, writings and thoughts did not hold integrity”, “He possesses a morally loose character”, “his claims to spiritual expression and realization [are] questionable and irrelevant” and that “his spirituality emerges from a streak of inherited madness.” [2]

LESSON I “Hagiographers deal with documents the way retouchers deal with photographs.” [3]

LESSON II “Biographers must take their documents as they find them.”[13]

LESSON III (This split) “marked the end (sic!) of the Bengal secret society. The groups in Calcutta that survived acted alone and without vigour.” [21]

LESSON IV “(Biographers) have to examine all sorts of materials, paying as much attention to what is written by the subject’s enemies as by his friends, not giving special treatment even to the subject’s own version of events.” [51] [...]

Let us not forget, however, that in The Lives a similar feat of compassion, on p.390, had led Heehs-the-David to deign cite only once his redoubtable Goliath of a “biographer” : K.R.S. Iyengar.[55] Several others, less fortunate, have been deprived of this immortality : trivial “hagiographies” by Diwakar, Keshavmurti, Pramode Kumar Sen, Rishabhchand, Sisirkumar Mitra never counted for Heehs-the-Great. Similarly, henceforth deciding to strip Jatin Mukherjee of all possible credit, The Lives has scrupulously dropped all references to such publications as by Arun Chandra Guha[56], Jadugopal Mukherjee, Uma Mukherjee. Unable to resist the temptation of including Sri Aurobindo’s timely advice to Bhupendra Kumar Datta (which determined the Jugantar attitude towards Gandhi in 1920), Heehs has overlooked my publications before finding a second-hand reference.[57] He has altogether kept clear of the track of Yogendra Vidyabhushan who had accommodated Sri Aurobindo in 1903 and had arranged for Jatin Mukherjee’s meeting with him. According to Hemendraprasad Ghose (K.D. Ghose’s nephew and Sri Aurobindo’s colleague on the Bande Mataram staff), Jatin led the Jugantar movement for over a yuga [twelve years].[58] [...]

Biographical Notes: Better known as dreamer of human unity and founder of an integral yoga aiming at the Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) was, unanimously, father of a militant nationalist politics which helped the Congress Party wriggle out of its Moderate and loyal practice of petition before demanding a self-rule (Swaraj). Labelled as Extremists, the trio Lal-Bal-Pal [68] supported this revolutionary turn. In 1905, the entire country rose against the Government’s decision to divide Bengal into two provinces in order to minimise the Bengali influence in the colonial administration. Sri Aurobindo seized this opportunity : in addition to an open challenge of boycotting everything British and of passive resistance, he added the dimension of a secret society crowning the movement with an armed insurrection. In 1910, he retired to Pondicherry for concentrating on experiments in spiritual living. In 1914, a French disciple joined him and was recognised as The Mother of the Ashram that developed around them. Source: Prithwindra Mukherjee, The Asianists’ ASIA, Vol.5 (2008)

Bagha Jatin is a loving nickname people gave to Jatindra Nath Mukherjee (1879-1915), a fearless revolutionary leader. As a college student, desirous to be a monk, Jatindra had approached Vivekananda and had learned that even an honest family man can lead an ideal life : engaged in social relief, under the Master’s influence, he came to work for India’s political freedom as an indispensable condition for man’s spiritual progress. Among founders of secret societies, he took a creative part in Sri Aurobindo’s nationalist programme since 1903, inventing the ‘Extremist’ Jugantar movement.[69] While awaiting shipments of German arms on the coast of Orissa, he was surrounded by a detachment of armed police. Promoting the revolutionary endeavour from the phase of individual martyrdom to the guerrilla, he with his four associates fought and fell in 1915, leaving behind them suitable conditions for an imminent mass movement. Source: Prithwindra Mukherjee The Asianists’ ASIA, Vol.5 (2008)

Jayantilal Parekh was born near Surat in 1913. His father was a banker. Jayantilal had an inborn artistic talent. After a year in the Bombay School of Architecture, he entered the art school of Vishwabharati (founded by Rabindranath Tagore) as a student of .Nandalal Bose. While travelling the South in Tagore’s entourage, he visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. After finishing his course in Vishwabharati in 1935, he settled in the Ashram where - along with work of different sorts,- the Mother encouraged him to continue drawing and painting. Jayantilal played a significant role in the development of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, and was the guiding force behind the publication of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library. In 1973 he established the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, which continues the work of preserving and publishing the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In 1995 he initiated the publication of the Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo. In January 1999 he died of a cancer. Jayantilal quietly produced lasting results. Source: Peter Heehs in The Mother’s Lasso, an Internet site

Peter Heehs, after a brief college life, lived in a New York Yoga centre as a stock boy and taxi driver. He reached Pondicherry in the early 1970s. Asked by Jayantilal “to collect material dealing on the life of Sri Aurobindo, to organise his manuscripts and prepare them for publication.” Making full use of this springboard, Heehs gained momentum as historian, while preparing a so-called authentic biography of the most revered contemporary spiritual figure : Sri Aurobindo. His motivation behind this enterprise becomes obvious when we are told that the very first and warm review of this “biography” was published by one notorious Jeffrey Kripal who seems to be a personal friend of Heehs’. Source: Peter Heehs, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

Jeffrey Kripal's 1995 book from University of Chicago, Kali's Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna was a psychoanalytic study of the Bengali mystic Ramakrishna. He argues that "Ramakrishna’s mystical experiences...were in actual fact profoundly, provocatively, scandalously erotic." The book Kali's Child …caused intense controversy among both Western and Indian audiences which still persists unresolved. The deductions of the book Kali's Child have been disputed and argued to have been built on mistranslations, distortion of sources, misuse of tantra, misuse of psychoanalysis and Hermeneutics. Source : Wikipedia

Prithwindra Mukherjee (Historian, Musicologist, Poet, Philosopher) :*Born : Calcutta, 1936. Brought up : Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry (1948-1966).*Studies : (a) “Higher Course”, Pondicherry (1958); (b) Docteur d’Université, Paris Sorbonne (1970); (c) Docteur d’Etat, Paris (1986). *Experience : (a) Teaching languages & literature at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education; (b) Lecturer on Indian Civilisation, University of Paris-INALCO (1974-78); (c) Lecturer on Indian Philosophy, University of Paris XII (1978-81); (d) Part-time Research Scholar at Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient, Paris (1971-81); (e) Author-Producer of Features, Radio-France (1973-81); Full-time Research Scholar at National Centre of Scientific Research, Human & Social Sciences (1981-2003). *Publications: more than 50 books, 350 articles & papers in Bengali, French & English. 12 LPs & CDs, 2 Documentary Films. *Distinctions: (a) French Government Scholarship (1966-70); (b) Fulbright Scholarship (1981); (c) Medal from the Society of Encouragement to Progress, UNESCO (1983); CNRS Bronze Medal, Paris (1986); Sri Aurobindo Award from the Governor of West Bengal (2003); CNRS Special Medal (2003);Chevalier in the Order of Arts & Letters, Ministry of Culture, France (2009).