from Govind Rajesh to email@example.com date,
29 July 2010
subject My response to Raghu
Following is my reply to Raghu. Please remove my e-mail address:
The mein kampf analogy is misleading. Hitler was not a sadhak of the Ashram. The right analogy should have been, "what if some Sadhak would have published a book praising Hitler and attacking Sri Aurobindo's stand?". Forget about expelling individual disciples, even when Sri Aurobindo was appraised of rumors that some Sadhaks were supporting Hitler He said that He was ready to close down the Ashram if the Sadhaks wanted. So what would His reaction have been in the case someone had "gone public" with their support? Banning the book, and/or throwing the hostile element out of the Ashram are both certainly within the realm of possibility and would have been consistent with His position.
About the Mother's tolerating such behaviour there is even less chance. Since you are quoting the Mother's description of Sri Aurobindo as a gentleman there is one more quote of Hers which you need to consider where she has said that although Sri Aurobindo was a gentleman She herself was not. Please remember that it was NOT the Mother's or Sri Aurobindo's primary objective to uphold YOUR liberal values and conform to YOUR system of political correctness, but to do a certain Work which They over and over stressed would not be helped by Sadhaks taking the liberty (yes, liberty) to doubt or, worse, to criticize and judge or, worst, give a distorted picture to the world at large. Once again, go back and try to see with an unbiased eye what was the expectation that Mother Sri Aurobindo had of the Sadhaks when it came to public pronouncements about Them and Their Work. If your liberal ideology is opposed to totalitarianism, fascism, communism and religious fanatcism that does not mean that Sri Aurobindo was oppposed to them unconditionally. In that you are simply projecting your own value systems on Him and getting the whole thing muddled up. Just to give you an example, Sri Aurobindo has supported even dictators and their dictatorship in certain conditions. If memory serves me right he has also had good things to say about communism relative to other ideologies. Yet here you are, bent upon making a liberal ideologue and fanatic out of him in your own mould.
The only scenario where one can be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that Sri Aurobindo would NOT have supported banning the book is if He were prepared to tolerate anything and everything from Sadhaks or, as I have put it, "anything goes". So if that is not your premise then you need to reject your premature conclusion and take your challenge back. My challenge to you, however, still stands. Show me where a sadhak who has publicly cast doubts or critically judged, even disparaged, Sri Aurobindo's Life and Work was either admitted into or allowed to remain in the Ashram holding those views. You are sure to come up empty. There are, on the contrary, several instances where people have had to leave. Hence, Auroman's statement that either the book should have been rejected by the Author or he should have been expelled from the Ashram. If you are as "familiar" with Ashram life as you say then this should be known to you. It is a basic expectation of any sadhak. Given this fundamental violation of Ashram norms and the obstruction put up by Asharm authorities, some Ashramites have chosen to take legal action, as a result of which the sale of the book has been prohibited by the government. In a civil society it is quite normal and commendable for citizens who have greivances to approach the law for redress. What is so disturbing or hard for you to understand here, particularly since you have established your domicile in what is arguably the most litigious society in the world? I really wonder why this should bother you so much and what for all this moral grandstanding and these baseless proclamations of intellectual self-superiority.
In fact, if you care to examine your own position critically you will see that it is you who are committing the fallacy of false choice. Even if, for argument's sake, we agreed with you that Sri Aurobindo espoused liberal values, still, HE WAS NOT BOUND BY THEM. So, at least in His case, there is nothing that necessitates any course of action or inaction. And that is precisely what Auroman has been trying to explain to you, but to no avail.
Even ordinary humans who define and bind themselves to liberal values draw the line somewhere. Even in your great "liberality" I doubt if you would give a free hand to someone who, posing as your good friend, comes in to your house and starts denigrating you and passing critical judgment on you in front of your own children. You would be within your rights to throw him out and, if he persists, then you would be well within your rights to take legal action against him to get him to stop. This is not a false choice. It is simply a rational choice.