Oct 17, 2014

Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya’s letter regarding Peter Heehs

[Many senior sadhaks of the Ashram rang early warning bells and amply cautioned the Trustees with regard to Peter Heehs and Richard Hartz, the two American editors of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives. Jugal Kishore Mukherji’s [1] two long letters (1 & 2) addressed to the Trustees in 1986-87 have already been published on this site. We now publish a letter of Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya [2] dated July 1987, written in the same context and shortly after Jugal Kishore Mukherji’s letter of June 1987. His letter raises doubts and suspicion regarding the editing of the Archives & Research journal and the revised Edition of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. What is most interesting is that PKB foresaw twenty-one years back the insidious attack of “The Enemy Within”. He wrote the following:

“If the [my] suspicions could be proved they would not remain suspicions, they would become facts. But clever people know how to hide their true colour for a long time. That is why time is considered to be the best judge. So, until then, one should be on one’s guard, watch the suspects, and wait for the time when the truth reveals itself. If it is found that my suspicions are baseless, I shall be, too, happy to correct myself. It gives a very unpleasant feeling to be suspicious about people and things.” [emphasis added]

Well, Time has indeed proved to be the best judge when Peter Heehs revealed his true colours in 2008 with the publication of his derogatory book on Sri Aurobindo. If only the Trustees had paid heed to PKB’s early warning, how much trouble and controversy the Ashram Trustees could have averted, apart from nipping the mischief in the very bud! – Bireshwar]
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Oct 10, 2014

Reply to the Rejoinder of Manoj Das to the Organiser – by Bireshwar Choudury

Manoj Das is the proverbial professor who has sold his soul to the Devil. So his staunch defence of the corrupt Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram does not come as a surprise. He will keep on perorating praise for them because of very selfish ends such as getting the Ashram Trust to pay for his costly medical treatment – he has recently undergone knee replacement surgery and radiation therapy in corporate hospitals unlike the other inmates of the Ashram who are sent to Government Hospitals for medical treatment. He is also the official spokesperson of the Ashram Trust from which he derives enormous benefit from the point of view of publicity, which he cleverly uses to climb the ladder of literary fame. We have recently come to know that many of his stories have been actually picked up from various anthologies, so he does not even deserve the awards that have been bestowed on him.
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Oct 4, 2014

Shiva Responds to Manoj Das's Rejoinder to the Organiser

Shiva’s Hearty Greetings
To Padamshree Prof Manoj-Das-ji
For His Characteristic Tosh Against the Author of “The Enemy Within”

You dismiss Mr Chari’s “The Enemy Within” as a “vomit” of the “nasty and naked lies fed to him by unauthorised hostile elements” – as if Mr Chari had no other sources within and outside for this thesis.

You claim he “swallowed” this “dirt” because he has “never visited the Ashram” – as if by a single visit one robotically “imbibes the spirit sublime dominating its air” and knows all about Sri Aurobindo, Mother, Their Yoga, Their Ashram.

But you are yourself a proof that even after “over fifty years” here one can swallow “nasty and naked lies” fed by elements hostile to Sri Aurobindo, Mother, Their Yoga, and Their Ashram!

For instance:—
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Sep 29, 2014

An Atrocious Biography – by RY Deshpande

|| The Lives of Sri Aurobindo || 
An Atrocious Biography 
is now available on Amazon at

A Preview
An Atrocious Biography by RY Deshpande

[This is a book critiquing Peter Heehs’s The Lives of Sri Aurobindo published by the Columbia University Press, US, in May 2008.]
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Sep 24, 2014

“Well-Wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram” Or League of Lapsed Logicians? – by Shiva

On 15th September, Mr Seshadri Chari’s “The Enemy Within” was published in the Organiser magazine’s issue of September 21, 2014.

This website reproduced it without any comments for readers to judge it on its merits in their own light because it realised that Mr Chari’s whole concern is with India which “is slowly but surely waking up to the virulent and concerted attacks mounted on its spiritual and cultural foundations [the Sanatana Dharma] by pseudo Western scholars in the garb of deceptive academic studies”. It reminds us of Sri Aurobindo’s prophetic words at Uttarpara on 30 May 1908:  “When it is said that India shall rise, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall rise…. It is the one religion which impresses upon mankind the closeness of God to us and embraces in its compass all the possible means by which man can approach God…. When the Sanatana Dharma declines, then the nation declines, and if the Sanatana Dharma were capable of perishing, with the Sanatana Dharma it would perish.” Mr Chari, like Mr Narendra Modi, is working for that rising India of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo.
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Sep 11, 2014

Sridharan Replies to Matriprasad Satyamurthy on the pro-Ashram Trust Nexus

Refer to the Well-wishers’ posting of August 30, 2014 “The Pro-Ashram Trust Nexus!” in reply to our “Connecting the Dots between the pro-Ashram Trust Nexus – Sridharan” (July 28, 2014), which in turn was a reply to the Well-wishers’ “Connecting the dots between the anti-Ashram nexus” (July 4, 2014).

I will not waste my time with the shameless jingoism and empty rhetoric of this particular posting on the Well-wishers’ forum, which is mainly due to the fact that the site is fully backed by the present authorities of the Ashram. Let me come straight to the distinction between the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust that we have always insisted upon. The Well-wishers’ forum is so overawed with the importance of legalities that they seem to forget that the Ashram is supposed to be a spiritual institution. (This is typical of Matriprasad Satyamurthy – secretary of the Ashram Trust, who always talks legal when you want to engage him with spiritual issues. He once told a newcomer to simply enjoy life at the Ashram instead of trying to practise Yoga!) When did we say that the Ashram and the Ashram Trust are two different legal entities? The Trust was of course created by the Mother to take care of the Ashram properties, but only the Mother is authorised to induct and evict persons from the Ashram. According to Clause 7 of the Trust Deed, this matter is left to her “absolute discretion” and no other clause qualifies any other Trustee to undertake this responsibility in her absence! In fact the Ashram Trust Deed, drafted in 1955 shortly after the de facto transfer of Pondicherry to the Indian Union, is framed for the period of her lifetime. Even the possibility of her demise is not mentioned in the Trust Deed and no future contingent arrangements are envisaged in it with regard to the guidance and administration of the sadhaks of the Ashram. For more information on this aspect, read the following article posted on our site. (“Misconceptions about the Ashram Trust Deed.”)
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Sep 4, 2014

The Rationalised Ashramite – by An "Irrational" Ashramite

Roused by the escalating anti-theist refrain of ‘No Religion’ in Auroville (see “The ‘No Religion’ Refrain” posted on this site on 9th August) rationalised Ashramites belittle our offering of incense and prayer at the Samadhi and the photographs of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, our meditations in the Ashram, Playground, etc, as rituals and conventions devoid of spirituality. But meditations at the Matrimandir can also become ritualistic conventions, for while there are no external ceremonies, the symbols of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are built into the very design of Matrimandir and with time meditations there too can become mechanical rituals. The fact is that the unspiritualised mind can never know when any form of external worship is without a living truth behind it, and is not a living spiritual expression of worshipper’s soul. “If worship is done,” says Sri Aurobindo, “as a part of meditation or with a true aspiration to the spiritual reality and the spiritual consciousness and with the yearning for contact and union with the Divine, then it can be spiritually effective.”[1] In reality, therefore, the rationalist’s “No Religion” refrain masks the lower nature’s dread of serious spiritual practice and its clamour for an unrestrained life of animal instincts, nurturing it will ultimately leave no place for devotion and reverence, no place for spirituality, no place for the aspiration of the soul, and finally no place for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother themselves.
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Aug 29, 2014

Response to Govardhan Dave – by Sridharan

Govardhan Dave is perhaps at his illogical best in the recent posting of 19 August 2014 on the Well-Wishers’ forum. Logical analysis was never his strong point, but what concerns me is that he is also an ignoramus on life in Sri Aurobindo Ashram and on the stormy events that have recently occurred there. What is more disconcerting is that he proceeds to write a factual analysis of the controversy with this half-knowledge and with his half-baked mind. This double deficiency makes him indeed a dangerous disseminator of wrong information which gullible strangers might readily believe. Hence I will take the trouble to rebut him instead of dismissing him as a harmless nincompoop who is being used by the Well-Wishers’ forum to shoot over his shoulders. I quote below his so-called analysis with my comments below.
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Aug 22, 2014

Who is Gaining from Legal Battles? – Sridharan

The Well-Wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Forum is active again. This Forum can be considered as the unofficial mouthpiece of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust with Matriprasad Satyamurthy (secretary of the Ashram Trust) and Richard Hartz (controversial editor of Sri Aurobindo’s publications) hiding behind pseudonyms and spewing hatred at what they call anti-Ashram elements. Let me remind you once more that we had made a clear distinction between the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust in our last response to this forum. Therefore the Ashramites who have filed this “new case” are not against the Ashram but the Ashram Trust, which runs the Ashram in the most irresponsible manner. Their demand is to revamp the present administration through a Government intervention without which no structural changes can be brought about in the governance of the Ashram. The changes will ensure transparency and accountability, the utter lack of which is the hallmark of the present setup. The introduction of some democracy into the highly autocratic functioning of the present Trustees would also be a welcome measure. All these demands are fundamental to any institution in modern times and, if the excuse for not conceding to them is that the Ashram is a spiritual institution and not a secular one, then show me these “highly spiritual disciples” among the present Trustees who can guide the Ashram to its spiritual destiny!
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Aug 16, 2014

An Interview with Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya in May 1991 (3)

Interviewer(s): Pranab-da, you said that on the 24th April, 1945 you marched in front of Sri Aurobindo. Where and how was it?

Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya: It was in 1948. It was in the Darshan Room. He was sitting in the Darshan Room and we did the march past in the hall that is above Meditation Hall [downstairs]. We came in by the staircase door that is nearer to the staircase, and then took a round and came out by the other door. Two in a row and we told everybody not to do pranam and all that, as that will spoil the march past. Just turn your head and see. In bhakti, you know, if they did pranam, they would spoil everything (laughter).  So the whole march past took some three or four minutes and we got the advantage of going again for the second time, so we had two Darshans.

Interviewer(s): She said anything after that?

PKB: She liked it very much. Sri Aurobindo was amused, that is what Mother said. There was a little smile on his face, we could see that. And when it was finished, I went and told him that it was over and he gave me a nod. Then Mother told me that the way I had come and said the thing was over was liked very much by Sri Aurobindo.
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Aug 9, 2014

The “No Religion” Refrain – by Baikunth

It has been a long time since the “No Religion” refrain in Ashram and especially in Auroville is becoming louder and louder to the extent of becoming “No Spirituality”. The cry against Religion has now become so belligerent that there seems to be no place left for spirituality, no place for devotion and reverence, no place for the aspiration of the soul, and finally no place for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother themselves. The reason that is promptly given is that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were themselves against the founding of a new Religion, and especially the Mother’s sharp remarks on Religion in the Agenda seemed to have sealed its fate for good, that is, if you believe in the Mother as the final authority in these matters, which ironically becomes again a sort of Religion. So you really cannot disprove Religion by quoting Mother if you adopt a religious attitude towards Mother herself! Either you throw the baby with the bathwater, that is, throw religion out of the window along with its founders, or accept what they say and try to understand the difference between spirituality and religion, and where exactly religion becomes spirituality or how spirituality deteriorates into religion. The problem then becomes complex and you begin to grasp the various nuances, and of course you can give a rational explanation to this highly emotive issue to diehard anti-religionists.
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