Nov 27, 2014

Review of “An Atrocious Biography” – Aron Aronite

From the grammatically inaccurate term ‘Lives’ gets unleashed this narrative style of insinuations about Sri Aurobindo – as if the Mystic led double lives, one imagined for him by himself which his followers and the world began believing as well, while the other ‘human aspect’ to be exclusively discovered through this self-appointed and ambidextrous style of writing pseudo history. Deshpande shows how each left handed compliment accompanies a dismissive, negativist, suggestive insinuation about Sri Aurobindo.

In fact only when we read R.Y. Deshpande’s Atrocious Biography, it gets clear how academia and intellectuals get honey trapped by this irreverence towards a Spiritual Stalwart, forgetting the fact that the gems they hurry to attest as scintillating insights are from someone who has no academic grounding, no formal education in history writing and doesn’t even have a post graduation, least of all a PhD in historiography or any mentionable qualifications in any other discipline. If we are to go by R.Y. Deshpande, we are hearing the "brilliant" (!) take of an American ‘taxi cab driver and a high school dropout’ on one of twentieth century’s most profound Mystic, and a Cambridge alumni who was proposed the Noble prize for Literature. 
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Nov 20, 2014

The Domestic Bills of the Ashram Aristocrats – by Bireshwar Choudhury

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust pays each inmate of the Ashram a monthly allowance for engaging domestic workers to help them in their daily chores. Recently the minimum wages of domestic workers has been hiked up by the Government to around Rs 150 rupees a day, which comes to around Rs 4500 a month. As the Ashram Trust could not afford to pay the higher wages, it drastically reduced the number of hours of domestic help for the inmates. For example, those inmates who had been sanctioned eight hours of domestic help have now been re-sanctioned only four hours to match their existing allowance. Those who had only four hours have now got only two hours despite, in a few cases, their old age infirmities. But what is really shocking is that the allowances of Jhumur Bhattacharya and Gauri Pinto, two elderly highfalutin ladies of the Ashram, have not been touched at all! Why? Because they enjoy the favour of the present administration and were once upon a time in the early days of the Ashram School “very close to the Mother”, which now seems to be the standard excuse for being thoroughly spoilt.

Guess how much they receive as allowance for their domestic helpers – more than Rs 20.000/ each!
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Nov 14, 2014

Forgotten Values and Upholding the Ideal – by the Speaking Tree

These days some of the inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, seem to be living in a fool’s paradise. They think of themselves as sadhaks and sadhikas of Integral Yoga without even knowing what it means. They are buried under the weight of their own ego without letting any opening for the entry of Light. They boast with great pride that our Ashram is a laboratory, the cradle of the new race and think that one fine morning we will get transformed without any personal effort. Yes, no doubt, the Divine Mother with Her infinite compassion has given us a golden chance to participate in this great advent and be in the Ashram in the “Hour of God”. But have we ever introspected to find out whether we are using or misusing this unprecedented privilege?
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Nov 9, 2014

Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya on Peter Heehs

Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya: I don’t trust this Peter you know, if he goes out of the archives, then I will be happy. Then I know all our boys will do good work.

He did not give much importance to Sri Aurobindo [in his history of the Freedom Movement in India]. Only twice or thrice he mentioned his name, and the way he is changing the writings of Sri Aurobindo, even the line that could not be read, he has put. I saw afterwards, the line that was not possible to read in Sri Aurobindo’s handwriting, he put his own line. Have you seen that? noticed? It is there that I protested and I don’t trust this man. You have asked a question as to whether I have antipathy towards the foreigners. It is not so. I have many foreign friends. But I want to meet them on the same footing. I don’t want to show my superiority nor would I allow them to show their superiority. If they are arrogant and if they want to show their superiority, I will act. That’s what I have done.
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Nov 2, 2014

Strange are the Ways of the Divine! – by Sampdas

Apropos the news about Shri Manoj Das and the Seashore Chit Fund scam reported in this site on the 28th and 29th of October 2014, I felt that by Divine Providence the Orissa Seashore Chit Bounty got channelled back to the flood victims near the Seashore in Orissa. Prompted by my inner voice, I went through the self assessment given by Shri Manoj Das in his reply dated 17 September 2014 to the column titled The Enemy Within in the journal Organiser (dt 21 Sep 2014).

What he wrote angrily there perhaps can be utilised with minor modifications to reflect on the current theme about Sri Manoj Das (MD in short).

While Shri MD in his rejoinder to the Organiser has claimed to be living in Sri Aurobindo Ashram for a little over fifty years, the tail piece in the site wellwishersofsriaurobindoashram which republished the same rejoinder, mentions that he has been an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry since 1973. It is not clear how 1973 to 2014 adds up to 50 years! But possibly Sri Aurobindo’s line in Savitri,  “Which less than zero grew and more than one” has been used in the computation.
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Oct 29, 2014

Why did Manoj Das keep mum in June 2013 with regard to the Seashore Chit Fund scam?

[It is not that Manoj Das did not know earlier about the chit fund scam of the Seashore group, the literary wing of which he was the adviser and for which he received one lakh rupees a month. Now he throws up his hands imploring the Heavens for justice and donates all that he has received to the Odisha Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, but what did he do when the Seashore group was publicly exposed as early as June 2013, one and a half year ago? Why did he keep mum at that time? And why did he continue to receive his honorarium? And why does he now create such a big scene as if he never knew anything about it? The following post, written by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak on 17 June, 2013, shows the nexus between writers like Manoj Das and corrupt business tycoons, who use the services of the former to establish their own credentials in the general public in order to draw unsuspecting investors to their fraudulent companies. – Bireshwar]

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Eminent journalist Prasanta Patnaik has, in his column in Sanchar, exposed such a thread in the matter of economic offenses committed by Prasant Das and his Seashore group of companies that every Oriya who prides in his/her language, writers and scribes, feels ashamed.
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Oct 28, 2014

Manoj Das and the Seashore Chit Fund Scam

[Manoj Das is in the news again for the wrong reasons. This time it is for his association with the scam tainted chit fund company run by the Seashore group in Odisha. As usual he has pretended ignorance and donated the money that he received from the Seashore group (10 lakhs) to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. But is not that simply an eyewash to exonerate himself? Who will not “offer” or “donate” the money when the law finally catches up on him? We reproduce below some of the news items that have been posted on the web. – Bireshwar] 

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Oct 24, 2014

Why Sell the Soul for a Mess of Pottage? – by Sampdas

The brief factual Aide-Memoire on the ongoing debate on the book of Peter Heehs titled “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” could serve to focus on the fundamental issues concerning not just the Sri Aurobindo Ashram commune at Pondicherry but also the extended Ashram body of devotees, disciples and followers of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo – living in India as well as overseas.

Though a large majority of people are aware that there is trouble and mudslinging between those critical of Peter Heehs and those who defend him, the surprising thing is that both the groups have their epicentre at Pondicherry. The fact that the problem has taken a larger dimension about the way matters are handled by the management of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram leaves us in no doubt that all is not well over there.

For the purpose of clarity it is worth mentioning that all who have turned to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are sadhaks – though not necessarily living physically in the precincts of the Pondicherry Ashram in buildings hired or otherwise. And the Ashram consists of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and all those who have accepted them as embodiments of the Divine or as spiritual guides on the path of Integral Yoga, and who reach their offerings in physical or monetary form to the Masters through the Ashram Trust. Consistent with this fact, the Ashram Trust exists basically for providing the administrative and managerial support to look after the interests of The Mother, Sri Aurobindo, as well as to assure the basic necessities of life to the Ashram inmates and meet with the requests of the followers of the Masters for correspondence, reaching Blessings to them and logistics for their stay etc. The Ashram Trust (with the exception of The Mother) is neither a team of spiritual leaders nor its Trustees are spiritual successors to The Mother.
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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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