Friday, May 4, 2012

Vijay Poddar’s aging memory

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Vijay Poddar, the self-appointed chief ideologue of the Puducherry Center or “Head Office” of the Sri Aurobindo Society (S.A.S.) is following his father’s tradition of placing personal preferences before institutional interests and of manipulating and pulling strings from behind the scenes in order to influence the public with his personal opinions.
Navajata, Keshav Dev Poddar, whom the Mother with much hope and optimism would call “my faithful”, was instead quick to betray the Mother not long after she had passed away when – to serve his personal preferences – he dragged the S.A.S. in his attempt to reduce Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s spiritual work to that of a religion. Navajata regretfully implicated the S.A.S. in a sordid court case (S.P. Mittal Etc. Etc. vs. Union of India, 1982 ) in which he sought to convert Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual teachings and philosophy into a religion that would be controlled by the S.A.S. That his attempt failed seems to have slipped out of Vijay Poddar’s aging memory.
Barely thirty years later, when with much difficulty the S.A.S. was starting to regain some of its deeply scarred credibility, Vijay Poddar has demonstrated that genetic bondage is stronger than spiritual integrity. The S.A.S.’s recent announcement of its disapproval of the book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” by Peter Heehs, publicly reveals and exposes Vijay Poddar’s inherent propensity to place personal preferences before institutional interests.
In stark contrast, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust (S.A.A.T.) chose to neither proscribe or prescribe the said book –  even though individual Trustees in their personal capacities may or may not have expressed their critical or favorable opinions on the book  - thereby choosing to uphold the teachings, philosophy, principles and values of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Vijay Poddar, who has publicly voiced his criticism against the S.A.A.T. has instead chosen to uphold his personal preferences over the S.A.S.’s largest interests as envisioned by the Mother.
Because there is indeed absolutely no justification, moral, ethical and particularly spiritual, more so in relation to Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s Integral Yoga for the decision that Vijay Poddar has thrust upon the S.A.S.’s Executive Committee. The only justification for taking such a position is to satisfy Vijay Poddar’s publicly known position vis-a-vis Peter Heehs’ book, which besides being an approach which is undoubtedly limited, dogmatic and un-Aurobindonian, is obviously influenced by the politicking initiated by Navajata.
The many members of the S.A.S. who have chosen to associate themselves with this institution have done so because of their devotion towards Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. They would wish to follow the S.A.S.’s motto which was given by the Mother herself: “To know is good, to live is better, to be, that is perfect.”
Instead, Vijay Poddar has once again chosen to go against the very spirit and grain of the Mother’s motto given to the S.A.S., preferring to substitute it with his own dogmatic and hypocritical approach: “Not to know is good, pretending to live is better, and if you can’t be, succumb to the imperfect.” In other words, if Vijay Poddar is unable to understand, live or be according to the Mother’s vision, all others should follow the path that he has chosen to tread.
Finally but not insignificantly, that Vijay Poddar has chosen to publicly align himself with the most despicable and hostile lot of anti-Ashram elements that the Aurobindonian collective has ever seen – most of whom are frequent and privileged speakers at the S.A.S. – when their chips are down, gives a clear indication of what lies ahead of the S.A.S. under the ideological leadership of Vijay Poddar’s personal preferences. Admins.


  1. Contrary to what you say, the real anti-ashram personalities now are Peter and trustees who choose to support that book, in complete dis-regard of the data-based resentment of thousands of devotees, disciples and ashramites.
    Are you not aware of the forceful suppression of individual opinion by the trustees in the recent history?
    In that context, the belated stand taken by Sri Aurobindo Society as a respected body, is a sign of some sanity in the thinking of responsible people at Pondicherry, and this is widely acclaimed, in spite of your comments to the contrary.
    We request you to throw some light on the text of the letter by trustees on 14 April 2012 to secure an extension of Peter's visa.

  2. Like the SAS, H Acharya seems to believe that upholding the principles of bigotry, narrowness, censorship, etc., is being true to Sri Aurobindo. But it is not surprising if he chooses to dismiss the several (and increasing) positive reviews that Peter's book and work has been receiving both in India and the world.

  3. Perhaps to be smarter enough PH not knowing his slavery to so-called mental objective analysis has only proved himself as a perfect prototype of ‘thinking animal’! He denying Sri Aurobindo who deals with evolution of consciousness proves his incapacity to fathom Sri Aurobindo the realised Master of supermind or gnosis as Upanishads depict? His shrewd plan to brainwash and blackmail readers must finally fail and the castle of cards he built with ‘Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ would collapse soon.