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Friday, March 27, 2009

Sometimes Kumudben admonished it gently and then it became silent

The Inhabitant of Balcony Street
By Anurag Banerjee

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother both were very fond of animals, especially cats and dogs. In Champaklal Speaks, we have read how the Mother used to prepare a pudding of which she would keep aside a small portion in a dish and add milk to it and stir it till it became liquid. Then it was served to the cats. Sri Aurobindo too kept fish ready for them by removing the bones for their convenience. Nolini Kanta Gupta writes in his Reminiscences:

“The style in which these cats were treated was something extraordinary. The arrangements made for their food were quite a festive affair; it was for them alone that special cooking was done, with milk and fish and the appropriate dressings, as if they were children of some royal family.” (p. 78)

The stories of the Mother’s cats Kiki and Bushy are still quite well-known in the Aurobindonian circle. Kiki, who was a special creature, used to meditate. The Mother has also said that Kiki used to go into a trance where it stayed for hours and had visions as well. Difficult to believe, isn’t it? But it is a fact. Often it used to occupy Sri Aurobindo’s chair during the daily meditation and no one could remove it from the chair. Sri Aurobindo never disturbed the cat and sat on the little border place that was vacant. Goldie, the Labrador of Lakshmibai (a sadhika) ran quite freely in the first floor of the Ashram main building (where Sri Aurobindo’s apartments is situated) and entered Sri Aurobindo’s room as well.

Gauri Pinto has recalled in one of her conversations that when her Dalmatian named Beauty gave birth to her pups, the Mother took them to Sri Aurobindo’s room; one of them whom the Mother named Beau kept on gazing at Sri Aurobindo instead of playing like the others. We’ve also read letters of Sri Aurobindo where he speaks about treating Ojas and Tejas (the two oxen of the Ashram) with more kindness and instructing the receiver of the letter not to put ring in their nose or to hit them.

I have also heard from Vasanti Rao about a cat that was quite different from the other cats which lived in the house where Vasanti-di stays. It never stole food or disturbed others for food; if something was offered to it only then did it eat. When the mating time came it showed no interest in it.

From the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother we have come to know that even animals have vital beings and psychic elements. Coming back to Kiki once again, the Mother has said that it wanted to be a human being so when it met with an untimely death a portion of its vital being was reincarnated in a human being. The Mother has said about him: “It was a cat doing yoga…to become a human being.”

Coming to my own experience, I had the opportunity to see a dog which was very special and extremely different from the other ones of its species. It was in August 2007 during one of my visits to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Whenever I found time I used to sit on the footpath facing the balcony from where the Mother gave Darshan for thirty years. For those who do not know, that street is known as the ‘Balcony Street.’ There was a dog that loitered in the Balcony Street. It was just like any other street dogs and had a yellow skin. Whenever I visited the street, I saw it there. When I sat on the footpath, sometimes it used to come and sit near me and sometimes it just walked in the street.

It was a very quiet creature but at times it used to get violent and would chase some cyclist or pedestrian who passed by and they used to run swiftly to protect themselves. I found it quite interesting when I observed that it never barked at those who were elderly people or ‘real’ sadhaks of the Ashram. Not all but certain local residents and at times some students of the Ashram School were its targets. As soon as those at whom it barked moved out of its sight, it ceased barking and became sober. But at times its anger became limitless and uncontrollable and it went on barking even the departure of its ‘target’. Then sometimes Kumudben admonished it gently and then it became silent. And it received a gentle pat from her. Its silence was noteworthy for I felt as if it knew the purity of the place.

For a number of days I observed its behaviour. One day I told someone who was a student of the Ashram School and is now a resident of Pondicherry about that dog. He told me that even he had noticed its behaviour and he claimed that he knew the reason. One evening, both of us sat at my fixed place. The dog was there as usual moving beneath the balcony. We were observing it. It did not bark at all at everyone who passed by the street. But when a young Tamil boy came on his bicycle, it started barking aloud and began to chase him. That boy who almost fell down cycled fast and fled. After he left it became silent once again.

Then again it began to bark at a young girl who got so frightened that she screamed aloud and ran back towards the direction from where she came. After a while my companion asked me: “Did you understand anything?” I answered in the negative. He said: “This dog gets vibration. When some people pass by this place with certain bad thoughts, like that of sex, etc. it barks at them as it is able to feel and catch their thoughts. But it never barks at the sincere sadhaks and sadhikas because it knows who is a genuine practitioner of the Integral Yoga.” Then he called the dog to him; it came and received loving pats from him and it sat with us for sometime until it found its next target.

Initially I found it difficult to accept whole-heartedly what my companion had said about that dog but afterwards when I observed it minutely I could no longer disbelieve him. And it became a ‘special attraction’ to me. My companion told me later (even I felt so) that the present birth of this dog would be its last as an animal; there is a strong possibility that it would be reborn as a human being.

When I visited Pondicherry this year during the February Darshan, I did not see that dog at the Balcony Street. Some other dogs were there but not my ‘special attraction’. And during the three weeks I spent there not even once did I see it. Its absence pained me to some extent. Who knows whether it is alive or dead! I missed it dearly because I admired it for its receptivity and sensitivity. To me, it was much more sincere than those people (not all but some) who claim to be sadhaks but they do anything but sadhana. They nurture the demands of the lower vital and does not give any effort to bring their psychic being in front. Hypocrisy is something that is absent in animals and perhaps that’s why Sri Aurobindo and the Mother loved them so much.

One of the senior and most dedicated sadhikas of the Ashram had told me once: “The Mother’s presence is so strong that even the sinners can feel it.” By living in the Balcony Street for a considerable period and by living in the vast presence of the Mother, the dog must have had received the touch of the divine gift of realization and revelation. Since the manifestation of the Supermind in 1956 a new world has taken birth and this new world will give rise to the new species. And I strongly feel that it will certainly be among those who will constitute the new species after it takes birth as a human being for its future can be predicted on the basis of the present course of its evolution.

***

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 Arjava Aspects of Amal Kiran Attaining immortality Avatarhood Dilip Kumar Roy Krishna Chakravarti Nishtha Pournaprema Prithwi Singh Nahar Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Place Suresh Chandra Chakravorty (Moni) 4:12 PM

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The sun is setting, and Matrimandir as well as Townhall are in orange light

LIVE NOW Written by Radio Team Wednesday, 25 March 2009

We are broadcasting live the experience of Kailash from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram about the early days of Auroville with particular regards to the relation with UNESCO, the International Zone Pavilions and the University of Human Unity. Kailas is talking to a nearly full Conference Room right now. The sun is setting, and Matrimandir as well as Townhall are in orange light.It is still hot from the sun shining all day, and the sound and wind of the ventilator lies in the conference room too.

Weekly Schedule
Written by Radio Team
Saturday, 21 March 2009
This week we are broadcasting :
Holger and Léonard - Jours# (new)
The German Pavilion, Dreamcatchers and L'Avenir - Sustainable Planning Forum - Presentation of results (new)
Dr. Catherine Henry-Plessier - De l'intelligence émotionnelle au chemin de l'Eveil (new)
Joss - Newcomer Reception #3 (new)
Yves Duteil - Live Music at Satsanga - Pondy (new)You can listen to these by checking the broadcasting schedule here.

Renewable energy resources
Written by Elaine Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Tency, head of the Auroville Centre for Scientific Research, talks about the future possibilities for sustainable energy resources. He believes that it is necessary to move away from the current systems of bio-gas, wind and solar because they only work on an individual level and mean that the community still have to rely primarily on the conventional state grid energy. He believes that thermal energy is the only renewable resource that would be available on a more widespread level in this climatic zone in the future. The harnessing of this energy is what he is currently working on and trying to gain co-operation with.

Pranab, we should stir ourselves before things cross the brink

I first came to the Ashram for the April darshan of 1942, Dada recounted one day.
At that time I was struck by an energetic, slim, fair you man. He was always walking up and down in the Ashram busy in his work. I asked an elderly sadhak who he was.
I learnt that he was a Konkani and that his name Madhav. He had been visiting the Ashram for some time. Each time he stayed for a few days at the Ashram. He would help Nolini-da in his secretarial work. That's why I used to imagine that he was the assistant secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
In 1947 when I came to the Ashram for good he had permanently settled here.
Page-58
In the beginning I didn't have any contact with him. Sometimes we would meet because of some work. But I always felt as if a true bond of friendship was growing between us.
Very soon the Mother brought me close to him. And my time at the Ashram was spent very happily. During this period I had the occasion of seeing him from close quarters thanks to various kinds of work. I came to know that he was an able administrator, a capable worker, a good writer, a great scholar and a sadhak of a high order. He served the Mother ways.
A long time ago in 1936 my father sent my photo to the Mother. Madhav-ji used to keep a file of all the sadhaks. In 1947 when the Mother heard from me about this photo that had been sent She asked to see it and told Madhav-ji about it. Within ,five minutes he got the photo and handed it to the Mother: , I was personally quite astonished to see how organised with these files of the sadhaks and how well he kept them.
At times I used to write something on some subject or another. And I would go to Madhav-ji with these writings for any necessary correction. He would go through them very sympathetically with great care. With just a few changes he would infuse life into my writing. He never changed my style or thought. It was quite an amazing style of correction really.
He had a very sharp mind and an extraordinary memory. I observed he would serve the Mother in a state of great inner calm in a spirit of self-consecration.
Towards the later part of his life he would on his own initiative travel in India and abroad doing the Mother's work. That was the reason why his presence and influence in the Ashram work diminished and slackened a little. His health too deteriorated to quite an extent.
And then when he came back to the Ashram and started leading a secluded life, I felt he was no more as energetic as before. I would feel sorry for him. But he continued to do the Ashram work with the same earnestness and care.
He always kept in touch with me as he had a certain sympathy for me. I had a long correspondence with him about the present condition of the Ashram.
Madhav-ji is no more in our midst. The Mother's beloved child has gone back into Her arms and he is at eternal place.
We all know that there is a constant battle between the divine and the undivine forces. The divine forces are trying to establish the divine kingdom on the earth and the undivine forces are doing everything to try and block that from happening.
Personally I very deeply feel that all our elders who are leaving us one after the other were all of them very able generals and brave soldiers in this great divine battle. Like courageous soldiers giving themselves up to God they fought the battle and ended their life doing so. Madhav-ji was a front-ranking general among these. Let us hope that we are capable of realising all the objectives and winning that victory for which all of them put in all their life and endeavour and sacrifice.

***

What we need is a True Leader

In the fast approaching 21st century, the pressures for change are mounting both within and without at a speed that baffles us many a times, and brings with it seemingly unsurmountable problems, chaos and disorder. Our organisation is no exception. The crisis becomes more acute when the direction and guidance provided by present leadership is as confusing. We took up this subject in our Editorial "Crisis of Leadership' and asked Pranab-da to throw some light on the present phenomenon in his own column.

The response was a valuable correspondence between Sri Madhav Pandit and Pranab-da, both leaders in their own right and in their respective fields carrying influence and impact which is more than evident. This hitherto unpublished correspondence we felt could well give us some food for thought.

Madhav-ji,
Two days back, I heard your tape-recorded speech, and I fully agree with you. In our Ashram collective life there is no true unity.
For a long time I have been feeling it. Once I told the Mother that our ideal was unity in diversity. There was plenty of diversity in the Ashram. But the Mother had not yet succeeded in bringing unity in it. She remained silent and said nothing.
I understand that unity can come in two ways. One, the ordinary way, when collectivity faces a common danger. Then, for mutual safety and security men forget their little ego and self interest momentarily, come closer and work for the larger interest.
The other way is, when men transcend themselves, have at least the psychic realisation and their consciousness is tuned with a Higher Truth, they rise above ego and desire, and true unity in collectivity takes place.
Once the Mother told me that if She were to pick from the Ashram population those who come only for the Truth, She would get only a handful of them. Most of the people had come because it was convenient to stay here. This She said as early as 1947. Since then the situation has further deteriorated
If the majority of us had come only for the Truth, the picture would have been different. At least, if the elders amongst us who are running the organisation had the true realisation, they could surely lead us to a better understanding, and as a result there would be better unity in our collective life.
All the qualities you mention in your speech which favour better unity, such as love, understanding, fellow-feeling, comradeship, compassion, tolerance, patience, etc., are psychic qualities, and how can they come from people who have an ordinary consciousness?
I feel that what we need badly in the Ashram at the present hour is a truly good leader. We do not have any leader amongst us. It is true that the Mother's and Sri Aurobindo's consciousness pervades the Ashram atmosphere and they are guiding each aspirant according to his or her capacity and aspiration. But the presence of a true leader amongst us on the material plane will make a big difference.
I am always praying to the Mother to send us a true leader, who would guide us in our day-to-day activity and help us to achieve the ideal set before us by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
Pranab
2.11.91

Ashram
6.11.91
My dear Pranab,
I thank you for your warm, constructive and live response to my plea for promoting a minimum sense of oneness in the Ashram. I agree with you on every point. What you write about the Mother 's approach clarifies many things.
There is, however, one point on which I feel differently. To have a single leader here is not on the Mother 's programme; this has been my perception even before She withdrew from Her body. What is required is a collective leadership in keeping with the demand of the present Evolutionary Force. We must strive and build up a wise, upright, large-visioned leadership in tune with the Mother 's Consciousness. To that end, I suggest that a core body-not exceeding three must be first formed, with the door open for a larger circle to be formed later. This core group must be essentially a spiritually oriented body exerting itself to see that the collective life of the Ashram keeps to certain well-defined norms. It should be its duty to draw the attention of the Board of Administration When lapses occur or threaten to occur. Its role must be constructive from an objective, impersonal angle.

Pranab, we should stir ourselves before things cross the brink. Let us accept our bona fides and yoke ourselves to this sole purpose of arresting disintegration which is raising its ugly head and, building up a required confidence among our colleagues. Can't we make at least a beginning now?
With love
Yours Madhav

19.11.91
Dear Madhav-ji,
I have read your letter dated 6.11.91. Such a prompt reply to my letter within minutes is possible only for a person like you, who have a sound intellectual and spiritual background.
But our differences remain as regards one man's leadership.
I do not believe in collective leadership. The term itself seems be a misnomer. I believe that it has been borrowed from modern western thoughts, which arose out of a fear of giving birth to dictators or autocrats.
Whatever group or committee we make, the final decision has to be taken by one man. Then where is the scope of collective leadership? The leader may have advisors, helpers, executives, etc, but the true leadership finally rests on one man only.
If we probe into history, we shall never find an example where collective leadership solved any problem of man. It can serve as a stop-gap arrangement, temporarily, as it happened after the murder of Julius Caesar by forming the triumvirate.
Successful kings, explorers, scientists, reformers, political religious leaderships, are all one man's show. And our tradition of Avatars, spiritual leaders and the existence of Guru vadas are all examples of singular leaderships.
Your comment, to have a single leader here is not on the Mother's programme, is true as long as the Mother with us in Her physical body. But after Her Mahasamadhi the situation has to be viewed from a different angle.
It is my firm conviction that in the present Ashram set- up, only a man having Supramental Realisation can handle effectively all our Ashram problems, and help us to march towards our goal of Integral Transformation. Any other efforts, done in a human way, will only add to the confusion already existing and are bound to end in abject failure.

It is better to wait with patience and see how things develop. the Mother has told us that the Supramental Force works quietly, in a most normal and natural way.
In the meantime, let each of us execute our responsibilities as sincerely and as well as possible, aspiring for the Mother's Guidance and waiting for the arrival of a Supramental Leader.
With loving regards,
Yours affectionately,
Pranab

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The present administration is or feels powerless to arrest degeneration and deviation

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28.11.91
My dear Pranab,
I thank you for your characteristically generous response to my letter. Agreeing with you that we have to wait in patience, I wanted to let matters lie there. But of late there is a feeling that I must amplify my thinking.

First let me assure you that there is no question of diluting the tradition of the Guru. It is understood that for all time to come Sri Aurobindo and the Mother will continue to be the Gurus for every one taking to the path of Integral Yoga. There cannot be a successor to the Mother. When Dakshinapada asked Her (unwisely) in the early fifties: 'Sri Aurobindo has left us, one day you also will leave us. Then who is to lead us?' She replied: there will be no need for it, the Truth will guide. So the Guru continues to look after the spiritual aspect of our life.

The question is of the general life of the collectivity which is formed as the material base of their operations. It is no use saying—as is being done—'Mother will do'. It is sheer shirking if not escapism. There must be some arrangement to see that the Teaching is properly applied, the Ashram develops on the right lines so that the Ideal is not deformed in its translation. Looked at from this angle there is a deplorable hiatus between what should be and what is. The present administration is or feels powerless to arrest degeneration and deviation. It has not the will to face the blackmail, the threat of non-cooperation that looms large. They know what is right, what should be done, but find it expedient to let things drift under the plea that the Mother alone can do it.

Illustratively we may point to the steady deterioration in the standards of the Education Centre; a few elements hold the progress at ransom. Talent, initiative, originality, are stamped down. the Mother, in Her own life-time, deplored the fall in standards at the Centre; things are much worse now. Why should it be so? Where is the boldness that is required in such pioneering efforts?

The Mother had practically stopped new admissions at a particular stage and asked us to tell people to go to Auroville if they wanted to stay here. She had Her own way of screening entrants. In the absence of that insight, the trustees had wisely decided that we do not need to expand, admissions were to be made only in exceptional circumstances. But that policy has been given up. Apart from that there has been an increasing invasion of non-ashram elements crowding the ashram environs and straining our Services. Some of us warned die authorities to keep back this invasion but it fell on deaf ears.

Today every third person in the ashram community is a non-ashramite, freely drawing upon the Services with his money-power, putting genuine sadhaks at a disadvantage. Some of the departments have been converted into private fiefs. Vested interests are forming and holding up the healthy development of the ashram life. Superannuated individuals rule the roost with the result that youngsters are denied opportunities. One has to wait for the incumbents to die before hoping for any change for the better.

This is only to illustrate the areas where things have got to be urgently rectified. A supramental being is not required to organise and run the life of what the Mother called 'this small world'. In any case, the supramental being is something far, far off. It is not going to be in our life-time. Are we to wait and watch developments helplessly?

It is here that the role of collective wisdom steps in. Since we do not have—nor is there a prospect—anyone of outstanding higher consciousness who will be accepted by all in general, if not by every one, we have to fall back on a pool of a core of minds and hearts who are essentially spiritual in their motivation, impersonal in their dealings, capable of holding to the Mother's LOVE in all conditions. Once the unit is formed the Mother's Force is sure to vitalise it and function boldly and uncompromisingly. In the actual working there can be no question of superiority or position of eminence. Within the group the select persons forsake their individuality and function only in the greater interests of the collectivity. Naturally X prevails in one matter, Y in another and Z in still another. One person need not always be the deciding factor. With enough humility on the part of all, the premium will be on achievement of the whole than getting one's way through. The higher the consciousness the more the humility and readiness to look from the standpoints of others.

Well, Pranab, I have done for the moment. I have trodden many a path in these matters and have acutely realised where and how I could and should have done vastly better. But lost opportunities do not come again—at any rate in the same form. I have a deep feeling that the Mother is offering us opportunities to vindicate the truth of Her life.
With much love,
Yours affectionately,
Madhav

Dear Madhav-ji
I thank you very much for your letter dated 28.11.91 and for trying to put a little sense in my blunt head with your valued arguments, being moved only by your sense of extreme goodwill. But I am absolutely convinced that in the present set-up of the Ashram, nobody can do anything except a Superman.

All the malpractices and movements of the lower nature prevalent in the Ashram, that you mention in your letter, are nothing but the play of the ordinary human consciousness, in which man dwells at present. It has plagued humanity with multifarious problems and made man extremely miserable throughout the ages. Wise men tried to find out various solutes. The East approached through inner pursuits and ultimately found out an escape through philosophic and spiritual culture; and Western people, through their practical mind, took the outer approach and ended in materialism. But the problem of man is not solved.

Just then, Sri Aurobindo came and told us that nothing will change the fate of man unless he is transformed integrally and emerges into a better species by the radical change of his consciousness, and that is possible only when he realises the Supramental Consciousness. That is why the Mother and Sri Aurobindo worked throughout their life to establish the Supramental Consciousness in the earth's atmosphere.

Once the Mother told me that however you fight with darkness you can not move it. But just light a candle and the darkness is removed. In the same way whatever we try to do through a rational set-up, as regards our organisations and plannings, it will produce no result unless we acquire the Supramental Consciousness.

My question is—Is the majority of the people in the Ashram trying to work for the Supramental Consciousness seriously and sincerely? How many of us have a clear picture of our real problems and the method for dealing with them? Only the reading of the Life Divine or Savitri and doing regular pranams at the Samadhi will not help much. Hours of deep study and meditation, working like a donkey from morning till night will mean nothing. It needs something more. On the other hand, we see so much of pretence and hypocrisy in the name of a Spiritual life.

Madhav-ji, you say that Superman is not needed to steer the Ashram and its people in the right direction. I am tempted to suggest that please do and show us what you say is true. You say that the Supramental being will come only after many many years, when we shall be no more on the face of this world. But I feel that the leader comes only when there is a pressing need and demand in the world for man's relief from his miseries, and the Superman has to come now because never in man's history has there been so much of chaos and confusion in his life.

Our new leader must come with so much power and such a personality that his physical presence itself will be sufficient to make man do the right thing in the right way. It holds good in the cause of the world, India and the Ashram.

I an extremely sorry that I have to write all this to convey my feelings to you, who are my elder, who are greater than me in every respect and possess all this knowledge. But I have only tried to express my mind, which speaks what it feels.
With loving regards,
Yours affectionately,
Pranab

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Udar can rightly be hailed as the architect of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Udar, One of Mother’s Children: A Review
By Anurag Banerjee

The birth centenary commemoration volume of Udar Pinto titled Udar, One of Mother’s Children is one of the most significant books to have come out from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram (the publisher is Sri Aurobindo Udyog Trust) in the recent past. The book is not exactly a biography of Udar Pinto (1907-2001) but it is a chronicle of the journey of the one who can rightly be hailed as the architect of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The word ‘architect’ is not used in its literary sense but literal sense for Udar was indeed the one, who as per the instructions of the Mother, built up the most important departments of the Ashram from scratch.

To us, who did not get the chance of meeting him or knowing him personally but knew him only as the brain and strength behind Golconde, Harpagon, Physical Education Department etc., this book comes as a huge surprise for courtesy this book we are now able to know what a genius we had amid us till December 2001. Udar narrates, in the words of Udar Pinto himself as well as some of the prominent members of the Ashram community, how the various departments like Senteurs, Honesty Engineers and Contractors and Handmade Paper to name a few took birth and shape under his direct supervision.

He was the one who was chosen not only to design and build the furniture in Sri Aurobindo’s room or the new room of the Mother situated on the second floor of the Ashram main building but also to design and construct the Samadhi where the physical remains (not mortal remains because nothing was mortal about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother) of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother rests under the Service Tree.

The book also depicts his association with the Precast Concrete Works, Watch Repairing Department, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, New Horizon Sugar Mills, Ashram Nursing Home, Ashram Theatre etc. but also portrays exceedingly well his role and involvement in the growth of the Ashram itself. While reading the book the reader would be compelled to ponder what the present Ashram would have been without him.

The book also illustrates the unique relationship Udar had with the Mother and portrays several noteworthy memories of his life with her. For instance, when he had asked the Mother for some financial assistance to start Harpagon, she gave him just a rupee. Despite being a new inmate of the Ashram he could understand the significance of that one rupee and he took it as a compliment. He was one of the most trusted and efficient lieutenants of the Mother and to be candid, he was the most powerful and creative instrument of hers. This book, which has around four hundred photographs, is handsomely designed but its real wealth lies in the ocean of information it provides.

The book also speaks of Udar, the man and his quest. It begins with his first Darshan of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in 1937 and eventually his association with the Ashram which he joined soon after. It also throws light on the unknown shades of his personality; for instance, Udar as an actor. Apart from the thousand and one responsibilities and duties that he had on his shoulders, he also worked as the Mother’s secretary and also represented Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the United States, Europe and Canada in 1972 during the birth centenary celebrations of Sri Aurobindo. His lectures, which were extempore in nature, were exceedingly well received. As an octogenarian, he began to learn Sanskrit and also memorized Savitri whose dictation he had heard from Sri Aurobindo himself which the latter did to Nirodbaran, his scribe.

In a letter to Dilip Kumar Roy, Sri Aurobindo has written: “To me the ultimate value of a man is not to be measured by what he says, nor even by what he does, but by what he becomes.” Udar’s multi-faceted personality, skills and absolute dedication for the Mother’s works had made him one of the brightest stars in the welkin of the Ashram. It is difficult to judge who was greater—Udar, the man or his achievements—but this book is certainly a testimonial of the statement which can be proclaimed in the words of Rabindranath Tagore (translated by Dilip Kumar Roy):

“You are, sire, greater than all you achieve
And so your life’s rich chariot time and again
Leaves far behind all your resplendent feats.”
***

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
Arjava
Aspects of Amal Kiran
Attaining immortality
Avatarhood
Dilip Kumar Roy
Krishna Chakravarti
Nishtha
Pournaprema
Prithwi Singh Nahar
Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Place
Suresh Chandra Chakravorty (Moni)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

RH still has full access to Archives and they have blessings from MDG

from PP Raghavachary <raag62@gmail.com> date 22 March 2009 07:13 subject Fwd: We cannot rest content on Peter & His Ghost Richard

Peter's Ghosts should not be taken for granted. I am conscious of deceptive appearance of RH. In the guise of calling themselves as textual editors and historians, it is this very RH in the year 1998, who confessed before me that it is the PH that is the culprit of all such objectionable changes that were sought to be made in Savitri. He said " I raised all these objections in the Archives but I lost the battle with Peter." Today he is on the side of PH and makes serious attempts to bring back Peter to Archives!

We should not forget that RH still has full access to Archives and they have blessings from MDG. [Criminals, habitual offenders and perverts ...]

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The writings of Peter Heehs seem palatable to Leftist sentiments

Saturday, September 13, 2008 Hullabaloo against Heehs before the presumable release of an Indian edition of his book from Tusar N. Mohapatra <tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com> date 13 September 2008 10:07 subject Re: Fw: expel peter
On the contrary, what I suspect is that this entire hullabaloo against Heehs is an orchestrated hype before the presumable release of an Indian edition of his book. Otherwise, why were these people silent all these months? No one was saying even a word all these years. At Savitri Era, however, we have gone public since 2006. [TNM]

[Somehow, the publications and archival activities of the Ashram seem to be secretive. Very little information passes out and very late. We hear nothing about pre-publication programme. The Archives is sitting over a huge stock of historical data and Savitri Erans are eager that they see the light of the day as soon as possible. Thursday, September 28, 2006 3:08 PM]

[These curious disclaimers by one who has been at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives and Research Library for years is simply baffling. Why this split identity? If he lacks the courage of conviction and ducks not to bear the cross, then who’d represent the Ashram? The irreverent tenor of the terse sentences Heehs crafts in his books in order to secure his credentials as an unbiased scholar feels like to pierce as if with a spear. Thursday, December 21, 2006 11:55 AM]

[It is a matter of regret that the Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo is nowhere near its completion. One doesn't know how many more years will it take or what is the progress with respect to different volumes. The subscribers are totally in dark. It is astonishing why a simple letter is not issued every quarter or so.

In the absence of authentic editions scholarship suffers, while those who have access go on to publish books and articles by leveraging their privilege. In the meantime, questions as to the published volumes are being raised. It is a pity that such restrictive practices are tolerated in a democracy like India. Saturday, July 14, 2007 9:27 AM 5 comments Links]

[The writings of Peter Heehs also seem palatable to Leftist sentiments… Scholars presenting their own independent lines of thought are a welcome phenomenon. But that should be in an open and straightforward manner instead of operating from the hiding as a Sadhak or a Devotee. Certain positions like access to the Archives also spawns many undesirable advantages and lends legitimacy and authority to certain voices, which otherwise should have attracted appropriate scrutiny or peer review. Fear of possible persecution silences many.

The hagiographical era has obviously passed by. The vision of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo will have to survive on merit amidst competing ideologies. Accordingly, more and more critical and polemical writings would be published in the days ahead. It is important, therefore, to identify our writers by their political affiliations, so that we are not uncritically swayed away by their rhetoric. Tuesday, August 28, 2007 3:18 PM]

[Evidently, Heehs does not have any Archimedean point as a historian nor can he claim to have transcended the barrier of Sri Aurobindo's injunctions against biographers. But his pretensions to objectivity get vitiated due to liberal doses of presumption and resentment that he has chosen to intersperse the speech with. Thus, it is as much difficult to accept the speech as pure history as to look at Sri Aurobindo’s life merely as a linear progression. Sunday, March 23, 2008 7:46 AM]

[Peter Heehs has disowned Sri Aurobindo… Such candidness is certainly welcome, but it puts a question mark on his integrity of continuing as an official of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in a responsible capacity. Tuesday, August 05, 2008 11:21 AM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 10:08 AM 0 comments Links

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Legal wrangle over ban on ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ written by Peter Heehs

Other States - Orissa Row over book on Aurobindo takes a turn Correspondent CUTTACK:

The legal wrangle over ban on publication and circulation of controversial book titled ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ written by US writer Peter Heehs took a different turn on Wednesday when the counsel for the writer told the Orissa High Court that the petitioner has not withdrawn her petition. HC moved
A Balasore-based woman Gitanjali Bhattacharya had moved the HC seeking ban on the publication of the book as it contains defamatory and perverse comments on Sri Aurobindo’s character, life, writings and thoughts.
But last month it was decided that the petitioner would withdraw her petition as both state government and Union government have taken steps to ban the publication of the book in India. However, when there was no response from the Central government over the ban, the petitioner told the HC that she would not withdraw the petition. The Hindu Thursday, Mar 19, 2009

No steps to ban defamatory book on Sri Aurobindo: Centre
Published: March 19, 2009 Cuttack (Orissa), Mar 18

Centre has not taken any step to ban the publication and circulation of a controversial book by an American author on Sri Aurobindo, its council told the High Court today.Centre&aposs counsel told the court that despite promising, there had been no instruction from Centre yet and sought two weeks to file the counters.
The bench of Justice I M Qudusi and Justice Kumari Sanju Panda directed the Centre&aposs counsel to obtain instructions and adjourned the case for next hearing on April 7.
Balasore-based Gitanjali Bhattacharya, who moved High Court seeking ban on the publication and circulation of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo"written by American author Peter Heehs, did not withdraw her petition citing government did not take steps to ban the book despite promising in HC.
Orissa government had told the court that an enquiry by special branch police indicated that the book had defamatory remarks against the spiritual leader.
However, the writer&aposs counsel P K Ray also argued in the court over the maintainability of the case, giving four grounds to back his claim.
Last month, it was decided that Bhattacharya would withdraw her petition as both state government and Centre promised to take steps to ban the publication and circulation of the book in India. Source: PTI

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Vivekananda tried to assimilate all currents, which made his philosophy very unclear

Home » Swami Dayanand Saraswati
DAYANANDA AND VIVEKANANDA: a few points of difference
Submitted by BHAVESH MERJA on Sat, 2009-03-14 06:15.

Dayananda gave four Vedas the highest importance. Vivekananda gave more importance to Udanishads and his teacher's (Ramkrishna's) thoughts and beliefs.
Dayananda taught and worshipped One Almighty Formless Omni-present God. Vivekananda practiced and taught worship of idol of goddess Kali and Sri Ramkrishna.
Dayananda believed that his teacher Swami Virajananda was a great extraordinary teacher of Sanskrit grammar, but he was a man, a mortal, and not God. Vivekanada believed that his teacher Ramkrishna was God himself.
Dayananda was against all sorts of anti-Vedic talks and superstition. Vivekananda made many compromises and accepted all forms of belief and worship.
Dayananda rejected incarnation theory. Vivekananda believed it and also tried to establish that his teacher was the latest and most perfect incarnation, greater than Sri Rama and Sri Krishna.
Dayananda was against British rule in India and he worked to make India free. Vivekananda contributed nothing significant in this matter.
Dayananda was pure Vedic personality. Vivekananda was total sum of so-called Hinduism.
Dayananda was believing in Vedic traitvad of eternally existing three fundamental entities: God, Soul and Matter. Vivekananda was monist (adwaitvadi of Shankaracharya's school) with a few modifications of his own. He tried to assimilate all philosophical currents, which made his philosophy very unclear.
Dayananda never visited any foreign country. Once Prof Max Muller proposed him to visit England, but he replied him that - "I wish to visit England, but still people of my country think that I am an atheist ! So let me make my countrymen realize that if I am an atheist, what sort of an atheist I am! Thereafter only, I may think to visit England." Vivekananda stayed in foreign lands for years.
Dayananda was against meat eating and shraddha of dead persons. Vivekananda believed in such things.
After taking Sannyas Dayananda never met his family and visited his birth place. This is not true in case of Vivekananda.
Dayananda was a man of fighting spirit throughout his life, up to his last breath - in words of Sri Aurobindo "an eternal worrier" and "a soldier of Light"! On other hand, if one very carefully go through Vivekananda's letters and correspondence (patravali) he will definitely realize that frustration and disappointment is apparently seen in his last phase of life.
There are many such salient differences between these two great men. There are many similarities too. = Bhavesh Merja

125th BALIDAN DIVAS AT AJMER › Sh bhavesh ji, Namaste, I Submitted by Anand Bakshi on Sat, 2009-03-14 12:59.
Sh bhavesh ji, Namaste,

I may add one more important point - Swami Dayanand ji spent years togather in search of TRUTH, during which he left no known Yogi, Sadhu, Sanyasi, Tapasvi, Math & Mathadhish through out the land of Bharata, through jungles, mountains, rivers and their original resources i.e., Himalayas, Gangotri, Narmada, Kashi, Mathura etc., etc. till he found the TRUTH. He was a great Tapasvi, a great Yogi and a great BRAHMCHARI. I don't think Swami Vivekanand did make such a great effort & search before he could arrive at the TRUTH. Swami Dayanand ji had achieved the state of Samadhi which made him completely fearless, that's why he could take up the flag of TRUTH against worst of odds. We don't find such a marvellous and fearless personality in thosands of years except like Shiva, Rana Pratap & Guru Govind Singh ji. He was also a great Refomer Like the Adi Shankaracharya. Dhanyawad Anand