subject A case where the Mother engaged in censorship
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As I said before, it is possible to pick a quote to justify any kind of action. What action must be undertaken depends on the soul in question. FWIW, I have enclosed a situation where the Mother engaged in censorship.
(From K.D. Sethna. Our Light and Delight, pp 205-207, Chap 21 The Mother's Attitudes and Actions)
A man in Bombay who had been once a devotee had become sceptical and sarcastic. He was contributing a series of commentaries on an Upanishad to Mother India. The articles were appreciated very much. I had kept the man's personal attitude apart from my judgment of his writing. As long as the writing bore no trace of the attitude, I could afford to be impersonal. The Mother came to be told of his attitude and the several unpleasant things he had said. She knew also that his series was appearing in Mother India.
She raised the topic with me one afternoon. I told her how much the articles had been admired and that they had no tinge of his critical approach to the Mother's workings. She very calmly heard me out. Then she expressed her wish that we should not seem to support the man by publishing his work. I inquired whether I could be allowed to run the series to its end and then forswear publishing anything else by the same hand. She paused for a minute and said: "It is best if we stop just now."
I could see that there was no personal feelings involved on her part. Actually, I had noticed in the past that complaints had been made to her about somebody or other's hostile remarks against her and the proposal had been made that she should take steps against that person. She had said:
"As the remarks are about me, I can't take any stand. If they were about Sri Aurobindo, I would certainly act." On the present occasion her decision must have had behind it some insight into occult forces which might harm either me or the readers or else the Ashram's general work. Obviously, through my backing of the article the hostile elements were drawing sustenance. Purely literary principles have little validity where the battle between the illumined future and the obstructive past is concerned. I put aside the impersonal editor in me and acted as the obedient disciple.
It was a test for me over and above its being a lesson to the writer of the commentaries. There cannot be a compromise in such matters. But, of course, as the Mother's talk with me indicated, everything has to be done without personal animosity. A wide and wise serenity has to be at play in all decisive moves.
I dare say the Mother's move was even for the benefit of the writer himself — a quiet criticism which was an act of Grace to stir his soul to come forward again. And I am told that before his premature death he did turn to the Mother once more.
While I am about the subject of Mother India in relation to the Mother's wishes, I may touch upon the hints she gave me of what Mother India should never stoop to. Once a coworker offered the suggestion that we should ask our readers their reactions and their expectations, so that we might increase our periodical's popularity and be more successful. No doubt, the co-worker had no insistence in his suggestion and was as willing as myself to accept the Mother's ruling in every respect. But somehow the Mother came down with a pretty heavy hand. She must have intuited a non- Aurobindonian force putting out its tentacles from behind the coworker's innocent inquiry. She wrote to me: "Let us become as vulgar as we can and success is sure to come." (16-1-1965)
We were a little taken aback and I pursued the topic by seeking her views on what changes the journal might undergo without falling below standard. She was again un- compromising: "No — I have no superficial views on the subject — and what I could say would not fit the 'new spirit' of the journal. Let me out of all this, it is better." (17-1-1965) One point, however, she clarified by adding the next day: "All that is done with the purpose of pleasing the public and obtaining success is vulgar and leads to falsehood. I enclose a deeper view of the subject. Blessings." The deeper view was expressed in a Message of hers that we should want to please neither ourselves nor others but only the Lord.