Religious fundamentalists are on the rise and that is bad for our societies. Most people will agree on this. Yet few examine who religious fundamentalists are. Obviously, such persons would want to stick to the fundamentals of their religion. They want to live a life that is advocated in their holy books and would please their God. Now, since religious fundamentalists pose a problem, does it mean that the fundamentals of religions are bad for our societies? Let’s look at the three biggest religions:
May 26, 2015
May 19, 2015
[The following extract from Jugal Kishore Mukherji’s first letter to the Ashram Trustees in June 1986 shows that Matriprasad Satyamurthy (the present secretary of the Ashram Trust) has been colluding with Peter Heehs for a long time. Peter Heehs was then editor of the Ashram’s Archives and Research magazine in which he first published his “great discoveries” on how Sri Aurobindo was a coward, on how he played a double game with the British police, on how he lied to the public with regard to instructing his lawyer Chittaranjan Das who defended him in the Court, etc, etc. This particular extract deals with the last distortion – that Sri Aurobindo continued to give advice to Chittaranjan Das in the Alipore Bomb Trial despite what he said in the Uttarpara speech on having left everything to God during his year-long confinement in Alipore Jail! – Bireshwar Choudhury]
At times, in the pages of our Journal Archives and Research, accounts of events given by some sundry persons are made use of in order to prove Sri Aurobindo wrong!! Sri Aurobindo’s own spiritual statements are controverted and are sought to be proved false – and that, too, on the authority of our young friend MATRIPRASAD! Too strange to believe? – Yes, so is it. Let me explain.
May 13, 2015
SRI AUROBINDO, PARTHASARATHY IYENGAR AND PONDICHERRY
[For those who have publicly displayed their spiritual insensitivity and ignorance of the facts relating to Sri Aurobindo’s life, Amal Kiran’s article should be an eye-opener. The article was first published in the Mother India issue of May 1988, pp. 305-310 and later in Aspects of Sri Aurobindo (2000), pp. 196-204. It is a rejoinder to Peter Heehs’ interpretation of the Adesh (divine command) that Sri Aurobindo received in 1910 to go from Calcutta to Chandernagore, and then from there to Pondicherry. The discussion is subtle and abstract and even Amal Kiran says that at first he “was inclined to agree broadly” with Heehs. But he changed his mind “on a closer inspection” when he realised the deeper implications of the author’s presentation of the event in the Archives & Research issue of December 1987. For the consequences of whether you agree or not with Heehs’ presentation (as also in the recent case of his book) are tremendous. Either you conclude that Sri Aurobindo ran away in fear of being arrested by the British police or that the Divine commanded him to escape in order to make him undertake in Pondicherry the much greater work of the supramental transformation, of which he was perhaps not aware at that point of time. In both cases, the outer actions remain the same, but the motivations behind become totally different.]
May 3, 2015
Matriprasad Satyamurthy’s Remark on a Controversial Take on Sri Aurobindo’s Life – by Bireshwar Choudhury
This is with regard to the news story titled “Bengal minister’s Aurobindo play sitting on a time bomb / Controversial Take On Guru’s Exit From Freedom Struggle” published in The Times of India (Mumbai edition) on 25 April, 2015. The controversial take is stated in the following manner:
“Did Rishi Aurobindo ‘run away’ from the freedom movement?”
“Standing behind prison bars, Hemchandra bursts out in anger: “You (Aurobindo) have saved yourself but history won’t forgive you.” In another scene, Aurobindo’s brother Barin says: “Why did I tell my brother’s survival lies only in mixing religion with politics? Little did I know he’d give up politics and take refuge in religion.”
Apr 25, 2015
It is no surprise then that the Wellwishers of the Ashram Trust, knowing too well which side of the bread is buttered, have no qualms about keeping quiet when Sri Aurobindo himself is derated, but take up cudgels and loudspeakers on behalf of the Trustees. The guidepost for them is that those who question the wrong actions of the Trust are necessarily heretics and their actions are blasphemous. However, on their part, they are prone to take the easy path of “we see no wrong, we hear no wrong, we speak no wrong” on the actions of the Trust. They expect that wrongs against the Divine and sadhaks be not addressed at all by chanting the rhetoric, “the Trustees can do nothing wrong and people should accept everything that they do with the non-questioning maxim of conduct that “thou shalt not think or reason or question the Trustees even if they are wrong.” Their fundamental fallacy owes to the misplaced identification of the administrative outfit of the Ashram Trust with the Ashram itself. [extract – read full article below]
Apr 19, 2015
The problem is not so much with the likes of Heehs and Doniger. Born in an alien culture, fed by the staple diet of Freudianism or else serving the cause of a militant Church, they are true to their dharma not caring about what the world may say about them. But what about us Indians who neither read nor think for themselves? Look at what happened with the Heehs issue.
Apr 17, 2015
There you have it. Weird Hindu doomsdays. Sex-crazed kings. Cruel gods. Men marrying dogs. Phalluses everywhere—some erect and some flaccid. Ladies and gentlemen, we finally have an alternative history of Hinduism. And yes, left uncontested, in all likelihood these are the “insights” a whole new generation of students and researchers might learn, internalize, and cite in future scholarly works. [Extract – read full review below]
Apr 12, 2015
On 14th March the League of Lost Logicians a.k.a. Well Wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram reproduced “The Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its Administration”, an article published in Mother India in June 2001, which was “explicitly written in the backdrop of adversely critical articles that were being planted by anti-Ashram elements in the various newspapers and journals in order to malign the Ashram”, by which it means the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust (SAAT) of the day. The article, more rightly a brochure, was undoubtedly compiled-written by the self-appointed ‘archivist-scholars’ of the Archives & Research Department set up by Jayantilal Parekh and since it was based on his viewpoint, it was hung round his neck.
Apr 7, 2015
[Article approved by Sri Aurobindo and first published in Mother India on May 27, 1950]
Recently a well-known leader of the scheduled classes, announced his desire to embrace Buddhism because of the lot of the “untouchables” in Hindu society - a lot which seemed to him a pointer to a lack in Hinduism of the sense of human brotherhood. He also declared that if Hinduism bore the caste system for several centuries it had failed “to yield anything substantive”. According to him, Buddhism stands in striking contrast to this religion.
What shall we say to these highly “allergic” criticisms?
Apr 2, 2015
March 29, 2015, 6:00 am IST Narayani Ganesh in Treasure Hunt | India | Times of India
Vamsee Juluri, professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco, speaks up for the anonymous Hindu who, he says, was silent all those years of colonial rule only to be criticized as an ‘oppressor’ post-Independence. His new book ‘Rearming Hinduism’ seeks to restore to the millennia-old faith its intellectual heritage by reintroducing Hinduism to Hindus. Juluri tells Narayani Ganesh that foreign ‘experts’ have only contributed to the misconceptions
Mar 27, 2015
[So much for freedom of speech in Oxford University, UK! This reminds us very much of the double standards in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. Peter Heehs is made the mascot of freedom of speech by the Ashram Trustees while Dr. R.Y. Deshpande and Radhikaranjan Das are summarily dismissed from the Ashram School for being frank and outspoken! – Bireshwar]
Oxford University bars Dr Subramanian Swamy & Rajiv Malhotra
Cancels lecture on "Indias Economy" & "Revisionist History"
The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
‘We are stunned that a leading British University that should be championing free speech and freedom of thought, has taken such a cowardly decision.
Mar 22, 2015
Jayantilal Parekh’s article “The Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its Administration” posted on the Well-wishers’ site is rather outdated. It applies perhaps to the first two decades of Ashram life after the Mother’s passing away in 1973, but certainly not to the next two decades, and especially to the present situation. Given the undeniable fact that the Ashram is going through a process of deterioration of values and motivations, we can hardly keep justifying all that happens here under the name of spirituality and Integral Yoga! How long are we going to repeat that “the Ashram is the cradle of a new world” and “not a religious monastery” in order to justify our human frailties? The question therefore is of the proportion of sadhana and human weaknesses, of when and how much their precarious balance tilts to the wrong side rather than a clear definition of what exactly qualifies us for the Ashram life. What I mean is that everybody in the wide world knows that “staying in the Ashram despite human weaknesses so that one day we can outgrow them” is different from “staying in the Ashram in order to fulfil our physical propensities and make the best of the facilities provided by the institution for that very purpose”.