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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Radha Rajan needs to study more about foreign women



Foreigners like Heehs have made base/baseless insinuations regarding the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Please do not be like that foreigner. Also denigrating patriots and yogis is falling into divide and rule trap - bigger issue is for concentrating on the good work that needs to be done to make Bharat great again. I have nothing more to add to this converstaion and conclude with Sri Aurobindo's words : ‘No apeings or distorted editions of Western religious modes, no Indianised Christianity, no fair rehash of that pale & consumptive shadow English Theism, will suffice to save us.’



Foreign women in the lives of important men during a very critical period in the nation's history is a fact. Aurobindo is not the only person I have mentioned. The two women I failed to mention were Hope Cook and Sonia Gandhi.



Tsk tsk you are digressing. Journalists are not intimate companions or partners in the lives of important men in public life. How much do you know of the tragic and lonely life of Aurobindo's wife Mrinalini?



Shri Sunkal, we all grow up idealising some people and idealising people is far superior to being raised with no reverence for anybody or any institution. Yes I have read the correspondence; being a woman myself I am affected deeply by the truth (not just correspondence where anything may be written) of her lonely and neglected life. She was just 14 and Aurobindo was 29 when he married her. His life was already set along a certain pattern, along a definite path. For a man of his brilliance, at the age of 29 he ought to have known marriage is not for him. And pl dont drag in my views of others into this article. The point I am making is this - the presence of foreign women, and not just in Aurobindo's life, should atleast trigger some thinking among Hindus. 
And Sir, where Sri Sarada Ma's picture hangs alongside that of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, it is not Mrinalini's picture which hangs by the side of Aurobindo but that of Mirra Alfassa. And in several homes, there is picture only of Mirra Alfassa and not even that of Aurobindo. They all knew the Hindu psyche well - we tend to make Sisters and Mothers of all women without question.



We have not had as brilliant a political thinker as Aurobindo but this is the pre-1907 Aurobindo. I have read every word of his writings between 1893-1907. But sadly, after 1907 through his much acclaimed Uttarapara speech he beat the retreat from his Kurukshetra. I persoanlly, and this is my personal eveluation of Aurobindo, nothing he said after 1907 had any impact on Hindus or the enslaved Hindu nation. And the comparison with Modiji is totally inappropriate. Auribindo married a young girl of 14 and I know the demands he made of her. At 14 a girl wants a normal married life with a normal man. 
And unlike Modiji who has always lived like a sanyasi, Aurobindo had Mirra Alfassa and not his wife as close companion in the ashram. The lady is supposed to have exercised total control over the ashram even in Aurobindo's lifetime. And as for Aurobindo's fierce and fiery Hindu nationalist writings, some foreigner in charge of the publications carried the wholly gratuitous remark that Aurobindo rejected and distanced himself from his earlier writings.



The political point here being we are so porous anybody can penetrate. We have so internalised this vasudeiva kutumbakam thing that we have lost all sense of discrimination about who is 'us' and who is 'them'. It is not what agenda Mirra Alfassa or Miraben had but that our uncritical acceptance of the presence of foreign women in the lives of important men made it possible for Teresa and Sonia Gandhi to invade us like cancer. And as for 'Indian' spirituality I dont know what you mean. What really is Indian spirituality? Mira Alfassa was an occult practitioner of Turkish origin. She was also Jew. The theosophists Madame Blavatsky and Olcott also came to India because of this Indian spirituality. Anne Besant the daughter of a Christian missionary was also a theosophist attracted to this "indian" spirituality. J Krishnamurti was under the thrall of the theosophists before he decided to do his own thing. 
Let me ask my critics here a pointed question - how Hindu is the Auroville commune today and how Hindu are the inmates of the ashram? It was possible for Leela Samson to de-Hinduise Kalakshetra because Rukmini Arundale born into a Tamil Brahmin family married George Arundale a theosophist. It is a pity that the comments to this article on J&K are Aurobindo-centric instead of focussing on the very important points made about how J&K continues to test Hindu resolve.



I think the Author needs to study more about the 'foreign women' in the lives of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo before equating them with Sonia Gandhi or Edwina Mountbatten! There is nothing in the writings or actions of either Sister Nivedita or Mother Mirra that should 'alarm' us. Instead they can and should be seen as Individuals with a natural bent of mind towards Indian Spirituality and way of living rather than as foreigners with some hidden agenda. Please take this as constructive criticism and try to verify before painting everyone with the same brush.

Most certainly, there is another way of reading Aurobindo’s life. It could be quite enlightening to bring in another reading here offered by another significant hermeneutical thinker of India, Prof. J.L. Mehta, who takes Aurobindo’s own statements about his life as an authentic rendering of its truth. He treats them as more meaningful beginning of his life’s story… On this reading, what Nandy considers as being lost, that is, Aurobindo having lost to the West, Mehta considers it as a mere adventuring of the self to the Other, experiencing it in all its otherness as its own part. For indeed, Mehta works with a hermeneutical insight as far as human understanding is concerned…

Depicting the complexity of a hermeneutical life as that of Sri Aurobindo, in which he arrives at an understanding of himself and that of the West as part of each other, Mehta locates this understanding emanating from the Vedantic as much as from a Heideggerian sources. He brings in Heidegger to illustrate the interesting relationship the self has with its other, a position which Aurobindo spawned by living out the kind of existence he did. Aurobindo’s life came with a certain kind of depth where any stark differences between the self and the other simply got dissolved.


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