Sunday, May 31, 2009

They have found themselves on the losers’ side of globalisation

Raman Reddy said... The mischief was not so evident in 1988 when Amal Kiran wrote his rebuttal, though the seeds of it were present. But the mischief is very evident now in this biography. One can therefore, to a certain extent, generalise. This is not to deny that Heehs' work has nothing positive. It is because his defendants keep trying to defend him by not mentioning his objectionable points that we keep emphasising them. Finally, all said and done, you cannot get away by saying that he insulted the Master only a few times. May 31, 2009 2:42 PM

Raman Reddy said... Dear Vishwanath, I cannot post the original contents of the manuscript because it is not under my control. But we checked it and found Heehs' wording pretty faithful to the contents of the original. But I would discredit the original itself, because it is a tertiary source, not even a secondary one. It is, as I have recently written in "Are We Religious Fundamentalists?" posted on 31.5.2009, something that Purani noted down of what Nolini told him. Purani himself was not there in Sri Aurobindo's house during this period. He came a little later. Even Mother has some adverse remarks in the Agenda on Purani's notations of Sri Aurobindo's talks. It shows the unreliability of the whole evidence, on which such an edifice of falsehood has been built. May 31, 2009 9:14 PM

May 31, 2009 "Are We Religious Fundamentalists?" by Raman Reddy In fact, if anything has been followed with almost a religious fervour even though it was not imposed, I would say it is physical education, having myself grown up at the Ashram with an overdose of basketball, running and swimming, with the result that I suffer, like so many of my colleagues, from sports related injuries.

  • Now which diehard secular fundamentalist would call these activities religious? [...]

The attitude of these over-confident intellectuals on the SCIY forum is to question everything without realising that their very questioning is foolish, because there is no spiritual foundation to it.

  • Has anybody there sufficient spiritual development to be able to question the fundamentals of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s Yoga?
  • Has anybody found his or her psychic being or has some awareness of the various levels of consciousness above the mind that Sri Aurobindo has written about?
  • Even admitting a legitimate need for questioning, is Yoga only a matter of debate and comparative study of spiritual disciplines without prior spiritual experience?
  • And what is wrong with those who would rather confine themselves to what Sri Aurobindo has written and not give credence to the Freudian interpretations of a dishonest researcher?
  • How do they suddenly become blood-thirsty fundamentalists? [...]

Now, this attitude is reminiscent of the colonial days and the British Raj rather than reflective of the mind of a globalised spiritual community. In fact, I suspect that part of the fury of Heehs’ friends is due to the fact that they have found themselves on the losers’ side of globalisation... Posted by Raman Reddy at 5/31/2009 03:10:00 PM Labels: , , ,

I first met Father Bede in 1978 and kept visiting his ashram until his death

from Paulette to date 31 May 2009 11:36 subject comments and clarifications Respected Sir,

After discovering that you have reproduced in your blog some paragraphs that I have posted in “Mirror of Tomorrow” regarding the prosecution of Peter Heehs’s (the information was forwarded to me by Debashish Banerjee), I started reading some postings in “Savitri Era Open Forum”. I don’t know how to post it myself, but I wish to reply to the following:

“CG, you are headed in the right direction. The idiots who edited the Centenary Publications of Aurobindo's writings (in all probability non-Indians) make the disclaimer that Aurobindo himself distanced himself from his earlier writings. Only Hindus outsource their heritage. Radha Rajan 21 May 2009 [ 7:46 AM ]”

I was so indignant when I read such lines as preliminary to the reading of “Bande Mataram” that I went to the Ashram Archives asking for an explanation. The reply I got was that such disclaim was the only way to go ahead with the publication of the political works of Sri Aurobindo, hampered by a group of Indian disciples, and particularly a renown Aurobindonian. I was shown two large files with the complete documentation…

I don’t know if you feel quoting this, but I have already written in my personal letter to RY Deshpande, which he asked me to post as “Archetypal Images and Symbols” in “Mirror of Tomorrow”:

“It is a fact that over the years there has been a consistent attempt by a certain category of people to bypass or altogether suppress all that does not fit into an artificially constructed image of the guru-avatar. A most disquieting example was the fight to prevent the publication of Vol.1 of the Centenary Edition, Bande Mataram. The person defeating all such attempts was Jayantilal Parekh: a sensitive artist whom the Mother had turned into the guiding force behind the publication of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library. As you certainly know, Jayantilal was also the founder of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives in 1973, assisted by a team of which young Peter Heehs too was a member. One day, at the Archives, I was shown two huge files containing the full documentation of the controversy whom Jayantilal withstood and won. It was one of the darkest days in my life. I was shown that there was a movement to suppress Sri Aurobindo’s own writings, the very same writings which had made of him a national hero about whom all Indian children learn in their schoolbooks, and because of which he was considered the enemy number one of the British Empire and charged with sedition. I had already been informed about the same in Auroville when, before quitting the Laboratory of Evolution of which I was a member, I came up with a last stenciled compilation about the ‘nationalist’ Sri Aurobindo—like the previous ones, to be distributed for free to the community.”

So, it is the other way around. When I came from Italy my first readings were about the nationalist Sri Aurobindo. As for Peter Heehs, he has turned into the most outstanding living scholar on the nationalist Sri Aurobindo. Not only having his books published by prestigious publishers, but even displaying an exhibition on the subject that filled up the whole Exhibition Hall, and which was so commending that it was displayed again last fall, in spite of the raging controversy on “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo”.
Also, regarding the following:

Sri Aurobindo is another one of those people whom traditionalists find completely unacceptable
Cosmo-Drama and the Reality of Time from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob
One anonymous commenter thought I was trashing non-dual mystics such as Sri Ramana Maharshi. However, one would really have to distort what I said to arrive at that conclusion. One would have to have an agenda -- a narrative even -- and be playing a role in a drama with me as bad guy.
Bear in mind that I said quite clearly that I was not using his example for the purposes of criticism but comparison. My only point is that his acosmic, impersonal, and ahistorical mystical view is not reconcilable with Christianity, as traditionalists apparently believe. In other words, in no way can we suggest that Christ was nothing more than a non-dual mystic, even the "highest" one; nor can we say that Ramana Maharshi was the only begotten son of God. The two points of view might both be worthwhile, but they cannot be said to convey the identical truth.
Yes, I disagree with Schuon on the equivalence of revelations. What can I say? I've said many times that Schuon wouldn't even like me, let alone agree with me, even though I absolutely hold him in the highest regard, our differences notwithstanding.
I am actually very interested in the reconciliation of Eastern and Western religions (cf.
Henry LeSaux/Swami Abhishiktananda). After all, I am again not arguing Christianity from the inside out, but from the outside in. I am coming toward it from a neo-vedantic tradition.”

Given his interests, I am surprised that the writer doesn’t refer to Father Bede Griffiths (Swami Dayananda), a Benedictine monk and missionary who became the head of Shantivanam Ashram, near Tirucirapalli, founded by Monchanin and Le Saux. While Le Saux kept struggling with himself until his death to reconcile Christianity and Advaita, Griffith is the most effulgent example of the two melting into one. The author of many books, participating in international symposiums gathering the brightest minds along with most outstanding spiritual personalities, endowed with an encyclopedic knowledge, Bede Griffith was both a saint and a scholar. He used to read Sri Aurobindo daily, for years; his correspondence with Udar Pinto and Amal Kiran (Sethna) has been published.

The following is taken from the Wikipedia:

““Although he remained a Catholic monk he adopted the trappings of Hindu monastic life and entered into dialogue with Hinduism. Griffiths wrote twelve books on Hindu-Christian dialogue. Griffiths' form of Vedanta-inspired Christianity is called Wisdom Christianity.
Griffiths was a proponent of
integral thought, which attempts to harmonize scientific and spiritual world views. In a 1983 interview he stated,
"We're now being challenged to create a theology which would use the findings of modern science and eastern mysticism which, as you know, coincide so much, and to evolve from that a new theology which would be much more adequate."
Griffiths died at Shantivanam in 1993. The archives of the Bede Griffiths Trust are located at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.””

I first met Father Bede in 1978 and kept visiting his ashram until his death.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nietzsche and Sri Aurobindo by Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu and Dr. Archana Nayak

SAVITRI 28 May 2009 by Hrushikesha Mohanty For nearly last one month I'm reading a Odia book 'Atimanaba: Sambhabana and Pratisurti – Nietzsche and Sri Aurobindo” by Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu and Dr. Archana Nayak. It's a fantastic scholarly book on two philosophers who dealt with the ...

Bubli said...
one thing i cannot believe about future is that : man conquers death and becomes immortal. And even if he becomes immortal, i don't think this world will be any better place than it was now.. On the other hand, i am afraid that this immortality could possibly raise the immorality level and further deteriorate the society .. we can safely arrive at this conclusion becoz we always see people who are unwilling to attempt things becoz they see life as fleeting and nothing is permanent/eternal. For many, it is true that glory is like a ripple that spreads in the pond; it spreads and spreads unceasingly only to disappear in the next moment.But when ppl become immortal, they might easily attempt for glory. And we all know that the paths to glory are stained with blood (most of the times). [[ .. this is just what i am thinking right now, and my opinions are subject to change any moment; so , no offences whatsoever : ) ]] May 28, 2009 4:53 AM

Dr. Debajyoti Mukhopadhyay said...
I thoroughly enjoyed this article entitled "Savitri" written by my friend, Prof. Mohanty. India's true strength lies in its old age tradition. Modern world might offer temptations of its materialistic achievements, but the hidden treasures of Indian tradition offer us many such practices and beliefs which help forming our self, providing nourishment to our soul. "Savitri" is written in such a lucid manner that it offers a vivid description of the traditional practices. May 28, 2009 7:58 AM

Let all students and teachers of Sri Aurobindo’s school of thought resolve that they would not lose heart

Renaissance man of India Deccan Chronicle May 30th, 2009 By Jagmohan

On the centenary day — May 30, 2009 — of Uttarpara speech, let all students and teachers of Sri Aurobindo’s school of thought resolve that they would not lose heart on account of current dismal scenario and would work with a renewed sense of mission to ensure that the vision of the great prophet of the 20th century is fulfiled. Undoubtedly, the task is Herculean, the goal is distant and would take a long time to traverse. But let us not forget that even the longest journey begins with the first step. Jagmohan is a former governor of J&K anda former Union minister 1 2 3 next › last » Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 1:25 PM

Sri Aurobindo’s Opposition Why the Indian establishment resisted him, MANGESH V. NADKARNI The Indian Express Thursday, March 21, 2002 12:17 PM

E Pluribus Unum by Lori Tompkins The Vedic realization of the One that is equal to the Many has been recalled by Indian sage Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950):. ‘We see that the Absolute, the Self, the Divine, the Spirit, the Being is One; the Transcendental is one, ... 12:17 PM

Ramesh Chandra Mallick alleged that the book had levelled baseless allegations and imaginary descriptions as well as defamatory remarks

Orissa HC stays non bailable warrant against controversial US writer 5/27/2009 IndlawNews

The vacation judge of Orissa High Court, Justice R N Biswal, today stayed execution of non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against the controversial US writer Peter Heehs and author of book titled ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ The vacation judge also stayed further proceedings in the matter pending before the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) court of Barbil in Keonjhar district till disposal of a criminal miscellaneous jurisdiction petition now pending before the High Court.

One Ramesh Chandra Mallick, a Barbil-based teacher of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Integral Education, had filed a criminal case in local JMFC court stating that he had received a copy of the book in February this year. Mr Mallick alleged that the book had levelled baseless allegations and imaginary descriptions as well as defamatory remarks on spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo, describing him as ‘coward’ and ‘liar’. The petitioner contended that he was deeply hurt by reading the descriptions on Sri Aurobindo.

The JMFC of Barbil on May 8 last rejected the US writer’s prayer for dispensing his personal appearance during trial as guaranteed under Section 205 of CrPC and issued an NBW against him, directing the writer for his personal appearance in the court on July eight. The court even directed that Peter Heehs could not be represented by a lawyer. Taking cognizance of a criminal miscellaneous jurisdiction petition filed by Peter Heehs, the vacation judge of the High Court today issued notices to the state government and Mr Ramesh Chandra Mallick to file counters to the petitions filed by the US writer and adjourned the case to be heard after four weeks.

The US writer’s counsels had moved the High Court seeking to quash the lower court’s order and recall the NBW issued against the writer. Although the book has not been published in India, there was a plan to publish the contentious book in India by Penguin India Publishers. At least three cases were filed against the writer, one in Orissa High Court seeking ban on publishing the controversial book in India and two criminal cases each in the lower courts of Cuttack and Barbil. UNI

Friday, May 29, 2009

The court even directed that Peter Heehs could not be represented by a lawyer

A comment has been posted in reference to an article titled: Archetypal Images and Symbols—by Paulette
Comment posted by:
Paulette Comment permalink: Comment subject:

I am afraid that, if you are convinced that “The JMFC of Barbil on May 8 last rejected the US writer's prayer for dispensing his personal appearance during trial as guaranteed under Section 205 of CrPc and issued an NBW against him, directing the writer for his personal appearance in the court on July eight. The court even directed that Peter Heehs could not be represented by a lawyer.” is the right way to proceed – no bail, and no lawyer! Isn’t this a matter for the Strasburg’s Parliament of Human Rights? – we have come at the end of the journey.

Comment posted by: Paulette Comment permalink:

“…the Orissa High Court has stayed the arrest warrant and the latest news is that the judge who ordered the non-bailable arrest warrant and refused to allow him[Heehs] to be represented by a lawyer has been transferred from this court for his decision by a high court bench.”

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Andre Viozat murdered in Auroville

National Book on Aurobindo: NBW against author stayed
Thursday, May 28, 2009 The Hindu

Cuttack: A non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against American writer Peter Heehs for his controversial book on Sri Aurobindo was stayed by the Orissa High Court on Wednesday.
Notice to petitioner
Taking cognisance of a criminal miscellaneous jurisdiction petition filed by Mr. Heehs, the court issued notice to the Orissa government and petitioner Ramesh Chandra Mallick of Barbil to file a counter affidavit to Mr. Heehs’ petition.
Indicating that the petition was likely to be disposed of at the admission stage, the vacation court of Justice R.N. Biswal adjourned the case to be heard next after four weeks.

French industrialist honcho hacked to death Times of India - New Delhi, India Frenchman's killing stuns Auroville 28 May 2009, 0457 hrs IST, TNN

PUDUCHERRY: A French industrialist, Andre Viozat, 66, who settled in Auroville nearly four decades ago, was hacked to death in his 13-acre farmhouse on Wednesday. The murder sent shock waves across the international township in suburban Puducherry where more than 1,300 foreign nationals from 35 countries have made their home. Andre’s body was found on the lane leading to his house inside the sprawling farm. Police sources said some unidentified persons managed to enter the farmhouse, ‘Turiya’, tied the French man’s hands and legs after sprinkling chilli powder in his eyes. He was then hacked to death with sharp weapons inflicting wounds on his neck and head. Andre married an Indian woman Chandrika Krishnan from Kerala. However, they were separated four years ago and Chandrika now lives with their daughter Savithri in Puducherry. The couple had sought a divorce and a case is pending in court.

The police said the culprits damaged the surveillance cameras inside the farmhouse and also attacked a pet dog of the Frenchman. "We have begun investigations from all possible angles," inspector A Sabibullah said. Inquiries with Andre's neighbours revealed that the Frenchman taught mathematics in France and Africa before reaching India inspired by the teachings of Sri Aurobindo in 1971. He built huts for residents of Auroville and a poultry farm. He set up a factory to manufacture electronic leather-measuring machines and sprayers to paint leather. The firm was initially established as a part of Sri Aurobindo Society but was separated later. He was also instrumental in establishing another unit to manufacture ozone generators. He taught mathematics at Lycee Francaise during his early days of stay here to fund his industrial units. "He was a perfectionist and a hardworking man. He was always engrossed in work," said a neighbour.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The disclaimer that Aurobindo distanced himself from his earlier writings

Election 2009: The BJP got what it deserved – III Abandoning Kurukshetra before the war is won Radha Rajan 20 May 2009

Very well written and inspiring. For Aurobindo's later political inaction, there must be an explanation linked to the arrest and trial that led to his exile and to his brother's execution. Is it true that Sri Aurobindo agreed to retire from politics in exchange for freedom? Mira Alfassa Richard, the Mother, when she later built up the Ashram around him seems to have directed all his activities and energies towards spiritual, universal pursuits, away from nationalist interests and militancy. CG 21 May 2009

CG, you are headed in the right direction. The idiots who edited the Centenary Publications of Aurobindo's writings (in all probability non-Indians) make the disclaimer that Aurobindo himself distanced himself from his earlier writings. Only Hindus outsource their heritage. Radha Rajan 21 May 2009 [ 7:46 AM ]

Election 2009: The BJP got what it deserved – IV RSS – unwilling parent Radha Rajan 22 May 2009

Dear Smt. Radha Rajan, I read all your articles about BJP's election debacle. I must say rarely have i seen such incisive and clear analysis. I am a SwayamSevak since childhood and couldn't agree with you more about the RSS and the direction it has taken. You have written what was in my mind. There is a sizable section of the Sangh that refuses to recognize the need for political power. And now they don't talk of Hindutva any more. Shri Sita Ram Goel saw this attitude of the Sangh early on and even wrote lucidly about it in "How i became a Hindu". You have done a great service for the Sangh and the larger Hindu society through these articles. Many thanks. Sincerely, GuruCharan Guru Charan 22 May 2009

While agreeing with Guru Charan that Smt. Rajan's "incisive and clear analysis" is a breath of fresh air, may I request her to be a bit careful with the details while depicting events in the life of Sri Aurobindo. [TNM] Tusar N. Mohapatra, President, Savitri Era Party, Ghaziabad. Tusar N. Mohapatra 27 May 2009 7:46 AM

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spiritual perspective on social psychological processes to complement the social-identity theory

Dear friends,
Please find below the announcement for the conference on Indian Psychology, which the Department of Psychology, Delhi University, is organising from 1-4 October.
There is only limited accommodation, so if you're interested, don't wait too long!
You'll find the registration form at the end.
All communication regarding this conference may be addressed at: Dr. Suneet Varma,
Warm regards,
Matthijs Cornelissen
National Conference on "Psychology, Culture and the Ideal of Human Unity" Oct.1-4, 2009 6:01 PM

Friday, May 22, 2009

Savitri Era Party is uniquely suited to play a strong leadership role in resolving this Heehs controversy

2 comments: (Hostpro Hosting) Kyyiv, Kiev, Ukraine, Anonymous said...
If this is the case, then Savitri Era Party is uniquely suited to play a strong leadership role in resolving this Heehs controversy. Under your able leadership, Savitri Erans should organize a march on the Ashram to highlight the issue. 4:12 AM, May 22, 2009
Tusar N Mohapatra said...
You are right. But how can there be a march by Anonymous entities? [TNM] 8:35 AM, May 22, 2009


4 comments: eternal child said...
Dr manmohan singh is the most honest, sincere, and BESt person to lead the i feel your comments of him as a puppet Primeminister are not the Right views on this Historical turing point of history....for zindia India will ussher ain a New Age under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh. 11:23 PM, May 20, 2009
Tusar N Mohapatra said...
The point is Sonia Gandhi is the leader and not Dr Manmohan Singh. [TNM] 12:41 PM, May 21, 2009
eternal child said...
All that is done in the Universe It is Divine through His Shakti is behind all action...but He is veiled by His YogaMaya and acts throgh the Ego of the Jiva in the lower Nature....Don~t you see that It is Her Will that God has given the Power to Dr Manmohan singh to Act in the Right Spirit....though He has made Soniya the means(Power) to fecilitate Dr Manmohan singh.. 11:10 PM, May 21, 2009
Tusar N Mohapatra said...
I guess my criticism too falls within "All that is done in the Universe." [TNM] 1:17 PM, May 22, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sri Aurobindo is another one of those people whom traditionalists find completely unacceptable

Cosmo-Drama and the Reality of Time from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob

One anonymous commenter thought I was trashing non-dual mystics such as Sri Ramana Maharshi. However, one would really have to distort what I said to arrive at that conclusion. One would have to have an agenda -- a narrative even -- and be playing a role in a drama with me as bad guy.

Bear in mind that I said quite clearly that I was not using his example for the purposes of criticism but comparison. My only point is that his acosmic, impersonal, and ahistorical mystical view is not reconcilable with Christianity, as traditionalists apparently believe. In other words, in no way can we suggest that Christ was nothing more than a non-dual mystic, even the "highest" one; nor can we say that Ramana Maharshi was the only begotten son of God. The two points of view might both be worthwhile, but they cannot be said to convey the identical truth.

Yes, I disagree with Schuon on the equivalence of revelations. What can I say? I've said many times that Schuon wouldn't even like me, let alone agree with me, even though I absolutely hold him in the highest regard, our differences notwithstanding.

I am actually very interested in the reconciliation of Eastern and Western religions (cf. Henry LeSaux/Swami Abhishiktananda). After all, I am again not arguing Christianity from the inside out, but from the outside in. I am coming toward it from a neo-vedantic tradition. Or perhaps "tradition" is not the correct word, since Sri Aurobindo is another one of those people whom traditionalists find completely unacceptable. Schuon never mentions him by name, but you can tell when he's referring to him, because he always snarls when doing so. Same with Teilhard de Chardin. For Schuon, they might as well be Deepak. [...]

A brief aside: one of the reasons I am able to embark upon this adventure in Christianity is that Sri Aurobindo cleared the way by converting the non-dual mysticism of advaita vedanta into an adventure in cosmic evolution, very much analogous to Christianity. Indeed, the best book on Aurobindo is called The Adventure of Consciousness, the point being that consciousness has a purpose and a vector. Aurobindo immediately saw the implications of Darwinism, but placed it in a much wider context of what we might well call Cosmo-Drama.

In turn, the B'ob came along and wrote a book called One Cosmos Under God, which endeavors to tell the entire story of the cosmos in four acts, plus an ainsoferable overchore and underture. But the point is, it is a story; it is a drama, a narrative, a bangography. It even begins with One's upin a timeless...

The Cosmic Who- and Whydunnit from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob

As mentioned yesterday, I both agree and disagree with Schuon and Aurobindo about the role of evolution in the cosmos. In short, the former dismisses it too lightly, whereas the latter elevates it to too high a place. For while I agree with Aurobindo that this is an evolving cosmos, I disagree with him that there will ever be a species "beyond man."

Atheists: No God, no reason, just whining koantum
Postsecular Interrogations: AsiaSource Interview with Talal Asad Debashish

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The compliment reveals itself to be a back-handed one

Active Omissions: A Review of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Manoj - Annotated by Debashish
by Debashish on Sat 16 May 2009 05:32 PM PDT Permanent Link

Manoj, an Aurovilian, has penned a short review of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo which has appeared in The Mirror of Tomorrow website. Since the ideas and feelings expressed here are characteristic of a segment of readers, we have thought fit to reproduce this review with annotations. Manoj praises the book for its empirical data but clears those who see "malicious intentions" in it from "blame" after affirming "These interpretations reveal more of author’s inner workings than the object of investigation." He then points to a number of "active omissions" by the author, but in the process, himself perpetrates the most obvious omission by forgetting to mention that those he "cannot blame" are actively supporting persecution of the author and book banning.

AntiMatters new issue alert
from Science, Culture and Integral Yoga™ by koantum
The 8th issue of AntiMatters (Vol 3 No 2) is now online.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It would be interesting to know what our biographer himself actually believes (Nib (national Internet Backbone)) RYD has left a new comment on your post "Skewed law of Karma": Apropos of this comment, let me draw attention to the posting Sri Aurobindo and the Cripps Proposals of 1942 on the Mirror of Tomorrow as follows:

… what do we have in The Lives of Sri Aurobindo? In it we have the following about what would have happened if the Proposals had been accepted: (p. 392)

Many believe that the partition of India might have been averted if the various parties had learned to work together in a wartime national government… As K.M. Munshi wrote in 1951, “Today we realise that if the first [Cripps] proposal had been accepted, there would have been no partition, no refugees and no Kashmir problem,” [opines P Spear]. Such judgments after the fact have to be taken with a grain of salt; but the possibilities that might have opened if the Cripps proposal had been accepted are among the great unanswered questions of modern Indian history.

If these are aspects of “many believe…” it would be interesting to know what our biographer himself actually believes. But unfortunately his intuition about the matter acquired from the scholarly study of the primary documents has not entered anywhere in the discussion. If the biography is not just a handbook of facts, then there is an expectation that he gives us certain clues about the entire course of events and the subsequent happenings, happenings of a disastrous kind. To state that these judgements “have to be taken with a grain of salt” is itself an act of uncritical judgement, as a friend of mine points out, and quite frankly not very flattering to Sri Aurobindo; it does little justice to his concerted efforts to have the Cripps’s offer accepted.

More seriously, how are we to square the assertion that such judgements “have to be taken with a grain of salt” in the wake of the Mother’s stating unequivocally that “there would have been no division” had the Proposals been accepted? Historical presentation from the inner Aurobindonian circle has yet scope to put all these in the right historical perspective. Let us hope that one of these days this will happen—unless one says that it is the credulous who believes in what the Mother had said; that would be the end of the course of the perceptive thought itself. RYD Posted by RYD to Savitri Era at 4:41 PM, May 12, 2009 [8:00 PM]

Satprem should be given the respect he deserves

Nirodbaran, Amal Kiran and Udar Pinto vis-à-vis Satprem
By Anurag Banerjee

A few weeks ago some articles published in Mother India (the monthly magazine published from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram) reached my hands almost accidentally. Those articles published more than two and a half decades ago caught my attention as it involved the four sadhaks whom I admire with all my heart. They were Nirodbaran, K. D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran, Udar Pinto and Satprem. Among them I had the good fortune of interacting with Nirodbaran and Amal Kiran and receiving their blessings. The articles penned by Nirodbaran, Amal Kiran and Udar Pinto were in response to certain claims of Satprem and though almost twenty eight years have passed since the publication of these articles their relevance still remains intact.

In the eleventh volume of Mother’s Agenda, on 9 September 1970 the Mother speaks to Satprem about Sri Aurobindo’s physical withdrawal:
“I was conscious (and it was frightful) of all that he physically suffered. And it was one of the most difficult things to bear. (The Mother’s voice was choked with pain) …As if…physically…And our physical unconsciousness beside it and the kind of physical TORTURE he went through. It was one of the most difficult things, most difficult.
“The torture which he bore and we took so lightly as if he felt nothing. It was one of the most frightful things.”
And Satprem adds the following comment in the footnote:
“‘We insisted on dangerous remedies…’ admits one of the doctors who attended upon Sri Aurobindo. (Nirodbaran, I am here.) Sri Aurobindo refused—once. Mother refused. Then they said nothing farther. ‘He knew’, notes one of the doctors, ‘that [these remedies] would be of no avail and he emphatically ruled them out, but as we had not the insight nor the proper appraisement of the value of words when they are clothed in the common language we are habituated to use, we insisted on the dangerous remedies in which we had faith and confidence.’ Let us note that the same phenomenon will be repeated in the case of the Mother.”

Therefore Satprem concludes that the Mother, during her last days, was ‘dealt with exactly as Sri Aurobindo had been.’
Nirodbaran, whom Sri Aurobindo considered not a doctor but his servitor and whom he had chosen as his scribe, reacted strongly to Satprem’s comments. In his article published in October 1981 he writes: “My confusion and pain arise from the fact that he appears to imply that we gave dangerous remedies, thus causing torture to Sri Aurobindo’s body against his consent. He mentions that Sri Aurobindo refused, the Mother did the same and then they said nothing farther. The last phrase would mean that without their permission or taking it for granted we applied the remedies. But in my booklet I have very clearly stated that only with their explicit consent we started the treatment… Satprem’s final sentence, which drags the Mother’s illness into the picture, leaves me in no doubt that there is a hostile insinuation throughout.” (Mother India, p. 564)

Let’s now read what Nirodbaran has written in his Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo about Sri Aurobindo’s illness and the ‘explicit consent’ given by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo regarding the treatment of Sri Aurobindo:
‘One day we came to notice that Sri Aurobindo’s urination had increased in frequency…The urine was examined and found to have an excessive amount of sugar with a trace of albumin. I reported the result to the Mother in Sri Aurobindo’s presence and said, “It looks like diabetes.” The Mother sharply reacted, “It is not diabetes.”…The Mother, however, reduced considerably the amount of starchy food, particularly rice and sweets for which Sri Aurobindo seemed to have a liking…I was asked to examine the urine every week and apprise him of the result. In a few weeks’ time it became sugar-free but the frequency did not altogether disappear. Sri Aurobindo too had noticed it. It made me suspect mild prostatic enlargement…I consulted [Dr. Prabhat Sanyal] and at my request Sri Aurobindo saw him. After an enquiry he confirmed my suspicion, but added that it was just at the initial stage. He told Sri Aurobindo of the nature, course and complications of the disease, ultimately operation being the only radical cure. After a few months, on Sanyal’s second visit, Sri Aurobindo told him emphatically, “It is no more troubling me. I have cured it.”…During his last months the symptoms of prostatic enlargement reappeared and began to increase slowly…urinary symptoms were worsening and now a trace of albumin was detected…Then acetone appeared, a grave signal…[in the week following the Darshan of November 1950] The symptoms grew more serious and a partial obstruction to the flow of the urine made us think of medical intervention. When it became complete and was causing distress, Dr. [Satyabrata] Sen and we had no other alternative but to pass a catheter, much against his will. It was followed by immediate relief…Sanyal [after meeting Sri Aurobindo] told the Mother that there was a mild kidney infection, but nothing serious… On 1st December, some improvement was noticed; the temperature was normal…Next evening the temperature shot up… [Sri Aurobindo] was indrawn with his eyes closed. Later Sanyal expressed a desire to use some drugs in order to fight the infection. The Mother warned him against the use of any violent drugs or drastic methods not only because Sri Aurobindo would not like them, but they would be, on the contrary, positively harmful. “He will work out whatever is necessary. Give some simple medicines,” was her instruction.

‘On 3rd December, the temperature again dropped to normal…In the afternoon…the temperature shot up, respiratory distress showed itself for the first time. Sri Aurobindo refused to take any liquid. At the Mother’s persuasion he sipped some fruit juice and immediately lapsed into a trance. Almost the whole day he remained in that condition…[On 4 December] Since midday the symptoms were on the increase, particularly the breathing difficulty; urine output definitely diminished. That was an alarming signal. We decided to make a thorough blood analysis. Sri Aurobindo consented after a great deal of reluctance…Dr. Nripendra and I hunted out the laboratory assistant [of the General Hospital]; he took some blood from Sri Aurobindo’s imperceptible vein. The punctures were painful to the sensitive body which was getting transformed. The result of the examination staggered us. All the signs of imminent kidney failure and nothing to be done! As a last resort we had to give him some drugs.” (pp.260-275)

In his article Nirodbaran explains why he had used the word ‘torture’ that led to the creation of Satprem’s footnote: ‘It is true that I have used the word “torture” there, having been then in an emotional state of mind and strongly influenced by my knowledge of the great sensitivity of Sri Aurobindo’s body where even a mosquito-bite would cause a red swelling. But all that was done had the Mother’s and the Master’s consent.’
And he adds: ‘Another point: when the Mother speaks of the “physical torture” that Sri Aurobindo underwent, does she at all mean that it was the doctors who inflicted it? Satprem’s linking his footnote with that word suggests this to us. But she cannot mean it. For it is not only we who saw the physical torture which Sri Aurobindo suffered and which had nothing to do with the doctors: the Mother herself saw it. On the other hand, Satprem never saw it. Sri Aurobindo’s suffering was indeed intolerable. It surely forms part of the Mother’s statement about him, his work and his achievement, which is engraved on the side of the Samadhi. The statement includes the words: “Thou who hast suffered all….”(Mother India, October 1981, p. 564)
Nirodbaran also narrates two ‘painful episodes’ of Sri Aurobindo’s last days which he witnessed:

‘Sri Aurobindo had two periods of acute distress. One was when the urine stopped. It made me run at midnight to Dr. Satyavrata Sen. The other time was when Sri Aurobindo was suffering from acute breathing difficulty so much so that he asked me twice, “Nirod, do something.” In the first case, the obstruction of the urine was relieved by a catheter and, in the second, Sri Aurobindo withdrew himself into the inner consciousness and thereby obtained temporary relief from the suffocating respiration; but as soon as he would come to the surface it would show itself with all its acute symptoms. However, when he moved from the bed to the sofa, before he called for the commode, we were astonished to see that he was breathing in a normal way and it gave us no small measure of joy. For we thought a miracle had happened, and hoped for further miracles. But alas, it was only a short respite and as soon as he came back to the bed the breathing distress renewed itself. He then plunged within and remained so most of the time till he passed away.

‘In the last days Dr. Sanyal arrived and saw that the condition was taking a serious turn. It was then that he proposed to use medical remedies with complete sanction from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. And what he did was the utter minimum that was necessary.’
And he puts forward a question: ‘Even if the medical resort be considered torturous, could anyone, seeing the suffering before his very eyes, humanly remain passive and abstain from any action to give prolonged relief by temporary discomfort?’ (Mother India, pp. 564-565)
Thus Nirodbaran refutes all the allegations made by Satprem that Sri Aurobindo was tortured by his disciples. And regarding the phrase “the same phenomenon will be repeated in the case of the Mother,” he writes: ‘I take it to mean that the Mother was also subjected to torture by the doctors. I inquired from one of the closest attendants of the Mother how far she had been given painful treatment. Strongly refuting any allegation of torture, he said that there were two periods of gravity in her illness. In the first one, Dr. Sanyal was treating her with oral medicines, but when there was no improvement Dr. Bist was called in and a great change was the result of what he gave her by mouth. In the second period there was no question of the application of medicines at all.’ (Ibid., p. 565)

We all are aware that Sri Aurobindo had deliberately left his physical body to hasten the manifestation of the Supramental in the earth-atmosphere. She would tell Amal Kiran and Satprem several times that Sri Aurobindo didn’t ‘succumb’ to death; let’s quote what she had said on the said subject on 28 December 1950: “Our Lord has sacrificed himself totally for us…He was not compelled to leave his body, he chose to do so for reasons so sublime that they are beyond the reach of the human mentality.” The following words of the Mother also reveal that Sri Aurobindo had taken the decision to withdraw without informing the Mother:
‘I told him: “If one of us must go [to fulfill the yoga of supramental descent and transformation], I want that it should be me.’—“It can’t be you,” he replied, “because you alone can do the material thing.” And that was all. He said nothing more. He forbade me to leave my body…After that—this took place early in 1950—he gradually let himself fall ill. For he knew quite well that should he say “I must go,” I would not have obeyed him and I would have gone. For according to the way I felt, he was much more indispensable than I. But he saw the matter from the other side. And he knew that I had the power to leave my body at will. So he didn’t say a thing—he didn’t say a thing right to the very last minute.’ (Georges Van Vrekhem, The Mother: The Story of Her Life, pp. 369-370)
And again: ‘You see, he had decided to go. But he didn’t want me to know that he was doing it deliberately. He knew that if for a single moment I knew he was doing it deliberately, I would have reacted with such violence that he would not have been able to leave. And he did this: he bore it all as if it were some unconsciousness, an ordinary illness, simply to keep me from knowing—and he left at the very moment he had to leave.’ (Ibid., p. 370)

Coming back to Nirodbaran’s article: he concludes his article by pointing out certain instances which appeared to him as a ‘flagrant breach of confidence’ and a ‘deliberate disobedience which is an unpardonable action on the part of a disciple.’ Here are the main points:
(1) Satprem had published some talks which the Mother had asked him not to show the light of the day by justifying the reason as “we considered it right.” Nirodbaran asks: ‘Can a disciple justify himself in this manner? Could it be alleged that, because the Mother was no longer in her body, matter forbidden by her can be published?’
(2) Certain confidential remarks and opinions of the Mother about disciples and people, nations, institutions and politics which were meant to be kept private were published; thus there had been a breach of confidence on Satprem’s part.
(3) The footnotes provided by Satprem carried his ‘snap-judgments without any assessable evidence.’

In response to Nirodbaran’s article, Udar Pinto penned a brief article that was published in December 1981. After congratulating Nirodbaran he went on to provide to the reader the following information:
‘I may draw attention to a fact which is not generally known. The first copy of the transcript of The Mother’s tape-recorded talks used to be kept in safe custody in Her own room and, pointing to the place where it was, She gave instructions to some veteran disciples not to let anything be published without careful scrutiny as to what was suitable or not for publication. This copy disappeared from The Mother’s room and what was meant to belong to the Ashram Trustees is no longer there.’ (p. 712)
Amal Kiran corroborated Udar’s statement in an article penned by him and published in April 1982. He wrote: ‘…the Mother had explicitly asked André [her son] to edit the Agenda. Evidently she had confidence in André and not in Satprem…The basic negative side is that [Satprem] has not attended to the Mother’s wish that André should read and judge things. To avoid this wish from being carried out he managed to take charge of the typed copy of the Agenda which used to be kept in the Mother’s room and towards which she had pointed when giving André her instructions. When the basis is an absolute falsehood, what you call the positive side is bound to be a specious splendour.’ (p. 257)
He also added that the Agenda in itself is ‘a divine gift to the world’ but ‘we cannot forget the ambitious and unfaithful hands that are offering it to us—not only with those parts included but also with malicious and misguiding footnotes.’ And he pointed out: ‘Then there is the question of fairness in the editor. On the strength of some tapes and letters, I have been assured of subtle manipulation and even of certain talks cut out because they were complimentary to a person who has fallen from grace in Satprem’s eyes. The spirit behind the Agenda is very far from being admirable. That is why Nolini [Kanta Gupta] refuses to encourage it and not just because Satprem has not let the Trustees have a hand in it.’ (pp. 257-258)

A few words in defence of Satprem wouldn’t be irrelevant. From extremely reliable sources the author of this article has come to know that the allegation against Satprem regarding the removal of the papers from the Mother’s room is absolutely untrue. It must be noted that Satprem and Sujata Nahar had met the Mother for the last time in her room on 19 May 1973. From 20 May onwards no one was allowed to meet the Mother. So how could one remove the papers (let’s not forget that the Agenda consists of around 6000 pages) from the Mother’s room if they had no access to it? For the sake of argument it can be claimed that they had removed those papers through some other people’s aid; but even that is not possible because the Mother’s attendants were always present in her room, thus making the task impossible. And moreover, is it possible to remove 6000 pages from a room without anyone coming to know about it?
Satprem was desirous to publish the Agenda from the Ashram. Accordingly Sujata had submitted the proposal to Nolini Kanta Gupta on 24 December 1973. Satprem had also written to the managers of the Ashram Press about the publication of the Agenda in January 1974. If he had submitted the proposal of publishing the Agenda in December 1973 then it is implied that he was in possession of the papers from a much earlier date. Therefore the claim of Satprem removing the papers is nothing but falsehood.

Towards the end of his article, Amal Kiran wrote: ‘It is not my intention to show Satprem as all black. I knew him very well for years, I have known his difficulties and his good points and I am sure the Mother has given him some genuine spiritual experiences. But I am afraid they have gone to his head and have failed to touch with refining fire the outer being, the lower part of him to which the Mother’s reference can be traced in the Agenda itself. And the Agenda has been turned by him into a powerful means of self-aggrandisement and self-advertisement: he uses it to make himself out to be the one and only apostle of the Mother.’ (p. 258)
At the same time let’s read what the Mother had told Satprem: ‘So, mon petit (my child), don’t worry. You are SURE, sure not only to advance but to reach the goal.’ (Mother’s Agenda, 5 February 1961) And again: ‘In any case, one thing: never forget that what we have to do, we shall do; and we shall do it together because we have to do it together…’ (Ibid., 11 February 1961) And once again (on 10 January 1973):
‘Satprem: We’ll try to go with you to the end.
Mother: Oh, you…(After a silence)You will go to the end.’

And Satprem did reach the end. Not only did he reach the Supermind but he also fixed the supramental consciousness in his physical consciousness. This is a rare achievement in the yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Therefore all that can be said is: Satprem should be given the respect he deserves.
So if Satprem was wrong in claiming that Sri Aurobindo was tortured by his disciples in the name of medical treatment then so are the others who claimed that he had removed the transcripts of the Mother’s conversations with him.


Born on 13 October 1984, Anurag Banerjee is an essayist, biographer, poet and researcher. His first book, Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey was published in December 2006. He wrote the biography of Dilip Kumar Roy at the age of twenty in 2005 and translated 100 poems of Sri Aurobindo into Bengali at the age of twenty-one in 2006. His published works include Nirodbaran: The Surrealist’s Journey (2006), Achinpather Dibyapathik (2008), and Debotar Shrom (2008). Anurag Banerjee
Amal Kiran on the Mind of Light
André Morisset
Aspects of Amal Kiran
Attaining immortality
Datta (Dorothy Mary Hodgson)
Dilip Kumar Roy
Dr. Govindo Gopal Mukhopadhyay
Krishna Chakravarti
Nirmal Singh Nahar on Satprem and Sujata
Prithwi Singh Nahar
Rijuta (Patricia Noonan)
Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Place
Suresh Chandra Chakravorty (Moni)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sri Aurobindo must take his share of the blame for the partition and the bloodletting (Ntt America Inc) California, San Diego, United States, Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Skewed law of Karma": OPEN LETTER TO SCIY - I have a question for all those support the book. Could SCIY editors or contributors please respond or answer?.

As SCIY has shown unstinted support and admiration for the book and since they have read the book thoroughly, I hope they answer this and help people like myself to understand their position. I personally have a problem with some of the statements made about Aurobindo. My questions hold for each such statement.

Lets take for eg where the author states that Aurobindo refused to see the problem of communalism as a political issue and tried only half-heartedly to bring the Muslims into the movement and hindsight shows that Aurobindo was negligent in this regard and must therefore take his share of the blame for the partition and the bloodletting that accompanied it (even though this bloodletting and partition would most probably have happened anyway.).

This is what the author states and I was rather alarmed. I know very little of Indian history but I do know that Aurobindo has been regarded as having great political foresight, insight and acumen to have missed this obvious communal problem. In any case its quite something to hold him responsible for the bloodshed and the partition. It is quite damning. I hope its not true. That is a huge failure of Aurobindo. On this subject (of his being responsible for the partition and the bloodshed) I would like to know which of the following positions you hold (each supporter might answer differently). Either

1) All of you actually hold this to be true- Aurobindo must be held responsible for the partition and the bloodshed. It follows also that you have no problem that a disciple states this publicly(especially given that there is also much that is stated positively about him).

2) You do not believe it to be true. It follows that you feel its still ok for a disciple to state this publicly(especially given that there is also much that is stated positively about him).

3) You are not sure, but Aurobindo is most probably guilty. It follows that despite being not 100% sure you still think its ok to state it publicly that Aurobindo must be held responsible.

I cannot think of any other possibility. Which one is it? Could you please let me know? Noel Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era at 1:34 PM, May 11, 2009 (Ouk-llu) England, Bath, United Kingdom, Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Inappropriateness of speaking in the same breath o...":

What I want to understand is how Carter Phipps got all our website URLs related to this controversy??? Maybe Ulrich or someone at SCIY gave it to him. The lawyers of heehs are at work behind the scenes. Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Open Forum at 8:26 PM, May 10, 2009 (Chariot Limited) Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Rebellion against religion bears responsibility fo...":

How then does one explain all the slaughters done in the name of religion prior to the 20th Century? Especially the slaughters and collective psychosis that engulfed most of Europe with the Counter-Reformation--the catholic vs protestant wars of religion. Posted by Anonymous to Evergreen Essays at 4:33 PM, May 11, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jeffrey Kripal has tried to resurrect the tantric Ramakrishna

goethean Says: November 27th, 2006 at 10:48 am Open Integral

For some time, I have seen Wilber’s theory as an attempt to synthesize Ramana and Zen on the one hand with Aurobindo on the other. Of course, readers can differ on whether or not his synthesis is successful. Since Aurobindo sees his own theory as coming from advaita, this tension (between absolute unity and earthly reality) is already in Aurobindo.

Personally, I have been thinking about Ramakrishna as the origin of most of 20th century Indian thought. (remember that Vivekananda appeared to Aurobindo in Alipore jail. also, look up ‘Ramakrishna’ in Aurobindo’s 3 vol. letters on yoga. I will quote the pertinent passage here when I can.)

Ramakrishna’s main accomplishment was to synthesize vedanta with tantra. Ramakrishna scholarship is full of deep problems, most obviously the division between the Ramakrishna Mission’s puritan expurgated reading of RK and Jeffrey Kripal’s perhaps excessively sexualized reading of him. but I am convinced that Aurobindo’s unique genius owes something, and perhaps quite a bit, to the 19th century illiterate Bengali genius.

goethean Says: November 27th, 2006 at 3:23 pm Open Integral
[it seems that each biographer presents their own respective agenda, rather than trying to understand Ramakrishna himself.]

It’s actually more complicated than that. Kripal says that Ramakrishna gave vedantic, non-sexual teachings to his monastic students, including Vivekananda, who were teenage boys, and more tantric teachings to his married “householder” students. The Ramakrishna Mission, which descends from the monstic disciples, thus perpetuates the vedantic aspect of RK’s teachings which is what was taught to their predecessors. Kripal has tried to resurrect the tantric RK.

This, of course, horrified the Ramakrishna Mission and many Bengalis (Indian sexual mores being rather Victorian) who don’t want RK seen as a pervert despite the fact that there is some indication in the Bengali text that RK had some non-normative sexual desires. I’m convinced that RK’s tantra has been suppressed, especially in translation, since the beginning.

Re: The Post-human, Evolution and the Avatar by Debashish on Sat 25 Nov 2006 12:56 PM PST Permanent Link

And where has Sri Aurobindo (or the Mother) said that his work is dependent on the Vedanta? His interpreting the Veda, the Vedanta and the Gita does not make his work dependent on these. Where possible, he has also coined a new language. The Life Divine does not mention avatar or the sacrifice of the Purusha (as far as I know). If other works do, we must take it that these concepts are handy to express what is important to his experience and would have taken many more volumes of words otherwise.

Again, the essence of “incarnation” as understood in Christianity does not find any representation in the Indic idea of avatarhood. But Sri Aurobindo sees some truth in the idea and brings it out in Savitri. It is deatable whether his work can be called Vedantic at all (particularly if one was to take the Mother’s formulation of it). November 27th, 2006 at 10:06 pm

alan kazlev Says: November 28th, 2006 at 6:30 am Open Integral
Goethean, thanks for the clarification re the two interpretations of Ramakrishna.
From the SCIY article quoted by Tusar:

[The Life Divine does not mention avatar]

I didn’t realise this. But I looked up the index of my copy and to my astonishment the word “avatar” isn’t listed. But reference to the concept of avatar is found in talks and in letters to devotees. Although very interesting that Sri Aurobindo chose not to speak of this in LD. Perhaps he was only talking to his disciples and devotees with language and concepts they would understand, but which are not relevant to his own mighty synthesis.

richard Says: January 27th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

An interesting story about a close disciple of Sri Aurobindo, Dilip Kumar Roy. Dilip was going through a dry period. He was trying very hard but no matter how long he meditated he felt he wasn’t making much progress. With the permission of his spiritual master Sri Aurobindo, Dilip Kumar Roy took a visit to Arunachala to visit the Ashram of Ramana Maharshi. Here he felt a tremendous peace in his meditation, revitalised he went back to the Sri Aurobindo ashram very grateful for the experience. Dilip Kumar Roy was a great seeker who was one of the most beautiful and soulful singers of devotional music. Open Integral

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nether mysteries (At&t Internet Services) Minnesota, Minneapolis, United States, Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "If one Peter Heehs is pardoned today, a thousand w...":

May I request the author or a competent editor to go through and fix any errors in the text. For eg., in God's Labor, it is "nether mysteries" and not "newer mysteries". Perhaps elsewhere Columbia University Press is meant and not Cambridge University Press? Posted by Anonymous to Aurora Mirabilis at 8:38 PM, May 09, 2009 (Comcast Cable Communications Inc) Illinois, Lombard, United States, goethean has left a new comment on your post "There is also Jeffrey Kripal whose analysis of Ram...":

"Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas." ---Alfred Whitney, "Essays on Education" Posted by goethean to Savitri Era Open Forum at 8:20 PM, May 09, 2009

Tusar N Mohapatra has left a new comment on your post "There is also Jeffrey Kripal whose analysis of Ram...":

Thanks goethean and welcome. I expect from a person like you a detailed examination of the issue and then it would be easier to draw apposite inferences. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra to Savitri Era Open Forum at 8:28 PM, May 09, 2009

There is also Jeffrey Kripal whose analysis of Ramakrishna is outrageous and preposterous (Tacomalink Llc) Washington, Seattle, United States, Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "This book is not a disciple's homage to his master...": Mr Kepler, I thought it was fairly clear.

You write "But devotee's hurt feelings cannot be the only issue of importance.". Of course this is quite obvious. Note though how you have dismissed this summarily. But clearly the author's hurt is of immense importance because that is being continuously harped upon. I think this is a double standard. Read Mr Carlson's note. He wrote

"....Having no other knowledge of Heehs history at the Ashram how do you think that sounded? An author having property, and body attacked before throwing a court case on him for writing a book?"

Are the devotees any lesser human beings that their tears, shock, disgust, grief, psychological pain and violence is to be disparaged or of no importance while the authors' is of the utmost importance? I agree with you the emotions and sentiments are not the issue. I am only drawing your attention to the double standards of SCIY. I am assuming that we are mature and intelligent enough to sift through the dust arising from this imbroglio and settle our focus on the root of the problem which is the book and its content. And if we focus on the book and its contents the issue becomes fairly straightforward and clear.

You continue "If much of that hurt was caused by erroneous claims about what the book actually says, then there are also issues of devotion to the truth.". Your "if" is disingenuous because I believe that from the data before us, one ought to be able to easily see that the book is questionable at best. People are entitled to their opinions about the book. Clearly no one ought to have issues with that. However when there is evidence that supports and points to probable errors in the biographical details and events related to Aurobindo, even probable distortions, data-manipulation, then it warrants a closer perusal and a cautious approach. And yes there is a plethora of such evidence.

You and I are not residents of the Ashram nor do we work in the Archives to dismiss these allegations as imaginative fancy arising out of a personal vendetta against the author. There is also evidence that suggests that the author used hearsay data over Aurobindo’s written autobiographical statements. Further there is solid evidence that the author has been up to this sort of “mischief” for many years and senior members have objected in writing against his “mischief”. There is also Jeffrey Kripal whose analysis of Ramakrishna is outrageous and preposterous. All this is enough to warrant at least a suspension of the publication of the book until we know for sure that there is no distortion, falsification and erroneous presentation etc. I believe anything less that will be unfair to Aurobindo and also not serve the interests of Truth.

Finally, even though devotees’ hurt feelings ought not to matter, its not always appealing to the higher and deeper in us to be the cause of emotional, psychological violence to others in our community, even though unintended. But here again if you read the first few pages of the book it seems the author was cognizant of the repercussions of his work. I am really not impressed by the author nor by the book. I am glad that the courts in India decided to stop the publication of the book even though arguably not for the best reasons. The book ought not to have been published in the US. Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Open Forum at 9:08 AM, May 09, 2009

Boycott the AUM conference this year as it will degenerate into a fundamentalist free-for-all

Re: Filio's response to Sraddhalu on the SAICE list
by Prapanna on Fri 08 May 2009 10:56 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I do not know of any efforts to deprive Sraddhalu and Alok of entry visas to the USA to attend the AUM conference. However, if that were done, I personally would have no problem with it. In fact, one reason I am not going to AUM this year is that I don't want my attendance to justify their presence and their campaign against PH. The only reason to attend AUM this year would be to try to engage them in a dialogue, but it is quite clear they would not be open to an honest and open discourse. I don't want to go to AUM only to be shouted down by a vociferous minority. So, I am saddened to say, I think it is appropriate to boycott the AUM conference this year. The organizers could have surely chosen less divisive speakers, or at least could have additionally invited other speakers who could offer a different perspective. But, alas, they did not. I am concerned that this AUM will degenerate into a fundamentalist free-for-all, with little or no free discussion about this controversy...

Let us not ascribe to them asuric qualities and diabolic intentions. Let us not seek their incarceration or the banning of their written works. Public rebuke and reprimand, and the fundamentalist label, however, does not arise to these levels of impropriety and are entirely justified in this case, IMO.

I applaud the efforts of the moderators of the IY Fundamentalism blog, Aurofilio's efforts on the SAICE list, and everyone who have stepped up to counter this obvious fundamentalist attempt to co-opt the work and teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for what I believe (speaking for myself) are less than noble reasons. Reply

by Tony Clifton on Fri 08 May 2009 08:46 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Ned, while I understand what you are trying to say regards protecting the reputation of SA/M, the reality of what you are proposing is to institutionalize censorship or create a thought police whose purpose would be to prevent someone from exercising their rights of free thought and free speech, and more importantly from following their own swabhava/swadharma that may be contrary to those of the larger group. To me the setting up of any censorship authority or committees to decide good taste is entirely contrary to the spirit of IY. That is an action that defines a Religious authority, Reply

by Debashish on Fri 08 May 2009 10:08 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

As you well know no two persons' spiritual progress or its needs are alike. Not are any two persons' temperaments, psychological compositions, psychic qualities or goals in life or seeking. How can you then ask for general answers to such questions? Who would give such answers? And what would be the use of such answers?

You see my drift - whoever gave such answers would be claiming to be "Mr. Everyman" and the only use of such answers would be the facilitation of a cult with lists of "do's" and "don'ts" and a structure of authority to enforce them. This is the reason that the field of Indian spirituality, at its best, has insisted on adhikara-vada - the right of the individual to follow his own path to spiritual growth and not the right of individuals or majority or minority groups to police the thoughts or feelings of others. DB Reply

by ned on Fri 08 May 2009 08:35 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I agree that the letter being critiqued contained lots of distortions and inaccuracies, but should we not consider that perhaps those things were partially the result of the author being attacked and called a "fundamentalist" on an Internet website? I know that if there was a website calling me out by name and labeling me a fundamentalist, it would rile me up emotionally and probably make me lose my balance to some extent. I cannot label the anti-Heehs phenomenon as being "fundamentalism" across the board. Every individual who has taken a position against PH or the biography is not a religious bigot. I think we have seen some violent psychological reactions, which can't be excused, but more than fundamentalism what I think has been on display is conventional moralism. The "fundamentalist" tag is too harsh a label imho. Reply