Friday, August 30, 2013

Sri Aurobindo Ashram under judicial inquiry

Sri Aurobindo Ashram trust welcomed the Madras High Court's order appointing a retired judge of Kerala High Court to hold an inquiry into the allegations of harassment of women inmates besides misappropriation of funds by the trustees. "We are happy with this order. We are never afraid of facing any inquiry. We were concerned with the unfair and partisan manner in which the inquiry was sought to be conducted by the district collector," said a representative of the trust. ~By Bosco Dominique, Puducherry ToI

Monday, August 26, 2013

Democracy can rescue Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Redant3August 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM If the Trustees had nothing to fear or hide from an investigation as they claimed recently, why did they bring a stay in the High Court to stop the Pondy admin from probing their activities???

Why is the Govt afraid of acting against Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust? Many of the Ashramites are blissfully ignorant of the political tsunami that is building up round the corner, and which will soon strike them before they realise what is happening, even as they continue to sing hosannahs to Sri Sri Manoj Das Gupta for his wonderful administration of the Ashram! –Sridharan
If the change cannot be brought about from within, then it has to come from outside, or by a combination of both methods, one helping the other. But sooner or later the change has to come! -Baikunth
Read also: 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sri Aurobindo Ashram attacked

Peter Heehs ‏@peterheehs - now Attack on Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry by stone-throwing crowd chanting slogans from 12.10 p.m. today. Situation still unclear.

Volunteers of the Thanthia Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) today attacked the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram here in connection with the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. The attack was said to be a sequel to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee reportedly supporting Sri Lanka in the Eelam Tamils issue. The vounteers, who took out a procession, barged into the Ashram and damaged the flower pots placed near the Aurobindo Samadhi and also ransacked the office and damaged the glass panes of the office. Meanwhile,Puducherry Dalit Sena General Secretary Sundar and a few others were arrested when they attempted to vandalise the Rajiv Gandhi statue.

A group of pro-Tamil activists today barged into the Aurobindo Ashram, damaged furniture and smashed ...

General EditorMarch 21, 2013 at 10:07 AM Anonymous Comment:
I would not be surprised if there is a similar fishy deal with Peter Heehs with the Ashram Trust because of which he gets such unstinting support from Manoj Das Gupta. There was already at one point of time a leaked email of Heehs about "Money Matters" going about on the Net. All this talk of neutrality and freedom of speech would be then merely a cover-up for a secret transfer of cash! There should be a thorough investigation of all foreign contributions to the Trust.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Science today preserves the feeling of the sacred

In the last century Sri Aurobindo wrote of our times in a style similar to what we find in both the Old and New Testaments. In his short prose piece, The Hour of God, written some time in the first quarter of the last century, he gave a warning to nations to be prepared because the ‘hour of the unexpected’ had arrived. It is timely to re-examine his piece in the light of recent happenings. The Hour of God indicated that the time of ‘fulfilment’ was near, but only after what Sri Aurobindo foresaw as a possible apocalyptic upheaval. Indeed, the First and Second World Wars justified his warning. Have we reached a similar turning point that requires the descent of a Godhead in the form of the War God, as he is described in The Revelation as well as the last Avatar of Vishnu?

India will become the spiritual leader of the world, as India’s Great Sage, Sri Aurobindo, had predicted nearly a century ago: And one is tempted to shout in the ears of all those “secular”, cynical, westernised, Indians of today, the eternal mantra: Ah, we are coming back again full circle to the wonder that WAS India, the India of the Vedas and the Upanishad, which A.L. Basham, the best-selling author of “The Wonder That Was India”, criticised as being militant and politically disunited. But the truth was that they were united in their diversity, that it was much more democratic and allowed much more freeplay and freedom, individually and collectively, than the India of today allows. Let us again reread history, let us look at India, not through the Western prism, but with the ancient wisdom that She has bestowed upon us.
But for that India has to succeed in her attempt to liberalise her economy, it has to learn to decentralise the heavy hand of its Government in Delhi, it has to rewrite its Constitution, which it adapted blindly from the British, it has to re-indianise her education methods, reform her political system, which has made a mockery of democracy… In one word, She has to become a superpower on par with any western nation. Then, when She will have the respect and the attention of the West, can Her message of spirituality and the ancient wisdom of santanam dharma, once again shine forth and bring down a New World to this beleaguered planet, which is on the brink of self-destruction. François Gautier Ph: 0413 2622209 / 9811118828 February 14, 2013

Some Thoughts On Darwin Day CRI Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Aravindan Neelakandan - 3 Comments 
A cosmic vision as unveiled by science today preserves the feeling of the sacred that we see in the scriptures of humanity but transcends the visions of deities which claim to be creators and sole custodians of the ultimate truth. Evolution shows us the value and wonder of life. The value of life we see around us – the result of billions of years of organic evolution – provides us with an ethics that compels us toward the preservation of nature and a resource sharing that unites us across petty national barriers into one planet. The codes of Hammurabi, Moses, Muhammed and Manu never achieved such wonderful heights and spiritual depths as the codes which the vision of the web of life, as revealed by science, compels us to live by for our survival as a species. Perhaps it was there in our heritage too – as reflected in the traditions of mother goddess which we inherited from our paleolithic ancestors, which manifest in the words attributed to Chief Seattle.

Skanda - 2 days ago Idea of evolution is not just "consistent" with Vedantic idea but is inherent in Hindu knowledge. The sequence of Avataras as Sri Aurobindo notes is an emphatic expression of evolution. The anti-evolution of ISKCON does not emerge from veda pathasala either. ISKCON is Hinduism's abrahamic version in many ways.

Comment on Sri Aurobindo on Nationalism by Sandeep Peter Berger in his book “Many Globalizations” says people develop layered identities. On the inside, they remain attached to their birth culture while on the outside, they adopt the global consumer culture.

Comment on What is wrong with promiscuity? by Sandeep Porn is causing major distortions in the masculine psyche in other countries as well. The Internet has really unleashed the floodgates of hell. This window to hell was opened in the US in 1957 when obscenity laws were rescinded in the historic Roth vs United States court case, where a smut peddler was given free speech protection.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Damaru signifies dissolution and creation

The Trust Board of the Ashram Trust is scrambling for damage control following the conscientious resignation of the senior-most Trustee of the Ashram, Albert Patel.
At first the Trustees begged Albert-da not to resign. When they found him adamant, Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee, put great pressure on him to sign a second letter of resignation where he would declare his resignation on grounds of “loss of memory and ill-health”. This is a dangerous trick that he has played with others earlier, but which everyone sees through now. Failing all these options, Manoj Das Gupta has now ordered his men to spread the word that Albert-da is resigning only in March and not before.
Meanwhile the Trustees are in a desperate search to find a suitable successor. But this is not an easy task any more. To begin with, any successor must be someone who will swear personal loyalty to Manoj Das Gupta as against Sri Aurobindo. Some of the names being discussed include Vishweshwar, Chitra Sen and Swadesh Chatterjee who have for long proved their personal loyalties. But the thinking within the Board is to try for a better public profile to soften the widespread criticism.
Two names are being discussed openly: Jhumur Bhattacharya who has been one of Manoj Das Gupta’s preferred girl-friends from his young days at theatre, and whom he has been steadily promoting first as a spiritual figurehead and later as head of the Ashram’s college and its alumni journal, and now as keeper of the Mother’s room. But the dark horse is Meera Gupta whom he had earlier assigned as head of the Ashram’s book distribution agency, and who was recently working overtime organising the Ashram-wide signature campaign to garner support to save the Trustees from going to jail. But therein lies the rub. Although there are enough people waiting to serve the Trustees in their abuse of Sri Aurobindo, none of them is keen to go to jail with them!
Vishweshwar and Chitra Sen are already telling all those who care to ask that they are too old to take up such responsibilities. Swadesh, it is felt, does not bring any value to the Trust Board. Jhumur Bhattacharya is excusing herself saying she already has too many responsibilities. Meera Gupta alone has kept a strategic silence. When asked of her chances of becoming a Trustee, she merely said, “It is for them to decide.” But she did not appear too enthusiastic. After all selling one’s conscience is easier than going to jail for life. Albert-da may well turn out to be smartest of them all.

The Supramental Action (The World, India, Ashram and the Individual) from At the Feet of The Mother Tuesday, 15th January 2013 at Hall of Harmony, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. Duration: 39 Minutes

Articles in Professional Journals and Books Peter Heehs is an independent scholar based in India. He has written or edited nine books and published more than fifty articles.  2011. “The Kabbalah, the Philosophie Cosmique, and the Integral Yoga: A Study in Cross-Cultural Influence”. Aries 11:2 (September): 219-247 (Pdf file available here).
Some of these scholars have made strong claims about influence of Max Theon and his wife on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In their history of the H.B. of L., Godwin, Chanel and Deveney write that Aurobindo and the Mother ‘were very largely inspired by Theon and his wife’. In his dissertation, Chanel goes farther: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother ‘may from many points of view be looked on as disciples of the Theons or in any case as continuers of their work’. In another passage Chanel suggests that the Theons have been denied due recognition by Aurobindo’s followers: The Philosophie Cosmique, he asserts, ‘constitutes one of the essential sources of the teachings of [Aurobindo’s] ashram in Pondicherry, even though this fact is, or was, generally little known or eclipsed’.
What I have written in the preceding sections should be enough to show that these claims are exaggerated. Theon had a good deal of influence on the Mother for three or four years, but he had no direct influence on Aurobindo. Whatever indirect influence he had on him was minor, being confined for the most part to terminology. The Mother may have considered herself a ‘disciple’ of the Theons at some point, but the relationship between her and them was just one of several relationships she had with spiritual-occult figures before she met Aurobindo. She carried over many ideas from the Theons into her collaboration with Aurobindo, but their work together could hardly be called a continuation of the work of the Theons, about whom Aurobindo had no direct knowledge. All in all, the parallels between the Philosophie Cosmique and Aurobindo’s philosophy are interesting but relatively unimportant compared to the enormous influence of the Vedantic tradition of India, which Aurobindo fully acknowledged.
Chanel also notes that it is through the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo ‘that the work of the Theons, that is, the Philosophie Cosmique, is present, though unbeknownst to many, in the world today’. This is true, and it draws attention to what might be called the “multinational” side of the transmission of esoteric knowledge. The Philosophie Cosmique, based in large measure on a form of the kabbalah that took shape in what is now Israel, was developed in France and Algeria during the early twentieth century, but now is scarcely remembered in any of these places. Elements of this teaching are present in the Integral Yoga, a system of thought based largely on the Upanishads that was elaborated in India by an English-educated Bengali and a Frenchwoman of Sephardic extraction. This system of yoga is followed by tens of thousands of people in India, and many hundreds in Europe and North America. Thus elements of an esoteric teaching made a journey from mediaeval Spain to Palestine and then back to Europe, where they were repackaged for dissemination in France. From France they were taken to India, and from India they have begun to make their way back to the West.

Almost every day we went for sadhana meditation in the ashram, which offered a contrast to the brassy worship of the gods in the various temples. Each late afternoon, pilgrims and locals line up to approach the white marble tombs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and kneel in prayer, their arms extended over the tightly woven tapestries of flowers adorning the saints’ resting place, and then silently arrange themselves to practice unity in consciousness beneath the spreading limbs of the emerald green jacaranda tree that shelters the courtyard. Like the sand paintings of the Tibetans, the flowers on the tombs are a graceful expression of beauty and impermanence which reappear in a new design each day.
There we will leave you, then: standing, hands folded and head slightly bowed, before the tomb of Pondicherry’s premier saints. Until next time, we send you our love from Mother India, Robert and Susana 8:35 am Thursday 19 June 2008

Monday, January 7, 2013

A representative system for selection of trustees with restricted tenure

Enough of Falsehood – Ashram Trustee resigns! from Critique of The Lives Jan 7, 2013 This morning saw high drama in the Board of Trustees of the Ashram Trust…
Overwhelmed by the circumstances and under pressure of his own conscience, this morning Albert Patel, the senior-most Trustee of the Ashram Trust, submitted his resignation to the Trust Board, and walked away from the Board meeting. RYD - January 7, 2013 9:07 PM Congratulations, Albert-da!

Letter of Kittu Reddy, Ranganath Raghavan & Sumita Kandpal to Manoj Das Gupta on 2 July, 2010 To Manoj Dasgupta
We thank you for the letter dated 21-6-10 containing the reply to our questions…
15. You have mentioned that the Trust Deed is a sacred document and that you are humbly discharging your duties in letter and spirit. We are sorry to say that we do not agree with you on this issue. Your actions and conduct in the last 20 years or so are not in keeping with this.  On the contrary you are using the Trust Deed as an instrument to keep absolute power in your hands without any accountability.
16. The present situation in the Ashram is very disturbing and precarious. The discontent among Ashramites with the Trust management is very wide-spread and many among them may resort to inviting outside intervention. It is quite possible that government intervention may occur. This would certainly not be desirable.
Keeping this in view, we would request you to please act with responsibility and understanding. Apart from the demands already made by Pranabda regarding Peter Heehs, we request you to initiate the changes needed in the Trust Deed, which having been drafted more than half a century ago, is not fully relevant to our present conditions. The changes suggested are as follows:
a)    Restrict the tenure of office for trustees to a fixed limited period.
b)    Set up a legal mechanism for the selection of trustees, based on a representative system.
c)     Ensure transparency and accountability in the administration of the Ashram.
If these suggestions are accepted, a dialogue could be started between you and a selection of senior sadhaks of the Ashram.
This process will pre-empt all possibility of government intervention. But if these suggestions are not accepted, the consequences may be very serious for the future existence of the Ashram. It would be best to solve the present problems within the Ashram community itself. If we fail to do this, there are dark days ahead for us. Kittu Reddy Ranganath Raghavan Sumita Kandpal. Posted by General Editor at 1/06/2013 11:43:00 AM

Ned used to blog as spiritofnow initially. She was writing about her personal concerns occasionally referring to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo before she formally launched The Stumbling Mystic with more or less similar content and style. Ned (Nehdia Sameen) passed away on June 15, 2012.  

Office bearers of Sri Aurobindo Society should quit Ashram Machiavelli decoupled power from faith and Montesquieu pleaded for separation of powers. Adam Smith sought to keep commerce free from all encumbrances. 
Ambivalence mires Sri Aurobindo Ambivalence pertaining to Sri Aurobindo in the public mind persists for a plethora of reasons. Bengal renaissance is a lengthy and complex subject
The Mother & Sri Aurobindo: 1893 – 1973 Sri Aurobindo returned to India in 1893 and this is the 120th year. The Mother passed away in 1973 and that is 40 years back.
Ashram doesn't own the teachings of Sri Aurobindo Numerically, the members of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry are a miniscule among the devotees of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo
The sovereignty of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are Supreme Divine. Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother. There is no further scope to argue about this 
Purity and prosperity The tag, “a realised person” has a great value in India. The person is understood to be acting directly under the light of his Self or Spirit Economic paradigm of Sri Aurobindo Ashram needs scrutiny All said and done, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry today represents a lived reality that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Bankim’s Anandamath
A case for Integral Education Religion is a collective affair with a liberal sprinkling of festivals. Celebrations, obviously, are happy and colourful occasions
Savitri Era entering the tent Mike is right. “Just put up some pictures of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in your house” and that’s the first ritual. But wait! Reverse the order
Heehs can easily say to err is human “The intersection of religion and nationalism remains an unresolved issue,” wrote Mohanty in Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader (Rutledge: 2008 & Rimina’s first assignment)
Sri Aurobindo advocates a religious ethos for nationalism Tweets 23 Dec - @satyamevajayate Reciting Savitri and reading The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo is perhaps the best means for spreading sanity and harmony. 23 Dec - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty May the youth of my country follow the words of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo instead of chasing quick-fix solutions in Rajpath and India Gate.
Savitri Era Religious Fraternity It appears that I am the only one so far in favour of Savitri Era Religion. Founding a new religion is not an easy task RC is right in catching discrepancies in The Mother's utterances, but he must understand the balancing act she had to perform in the face of multi-pronged resistances. 
No online evaluation of experiences But how all the Heehs’ hounds so uniformly accede to Das Gupta’s divine right to rule for ever is something beyond comprehension.
Auroville is sinking into paranoia of insecurity and aloofness The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, in their role in history, stand for human unity… Appointment of an Odia trustee is being resisted tooth and nail. 
The Mother & Sri Aurobindo infuse a thought revolution Tweets 1h - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have inaugurated a new epoch to break free from the shackles of the past and its prohibitions.
Integral Yoga is no uniform potion But non-linear Integral Yoga Ontology and its spiral evolution paradigm is more prone to post-modernist rapprochement with tentativeness, contingency, and uncertainty of interpretation.