6 May 2009

Jugal Kishore Mukherji’s Second Letter to the Trustees in 1987

[The is the second of two letters. The first is here.]

[After Jugal Kishore Mukherji wrote his letter to the Trustees in June 1986, Jayantilal Parekh, former head and founder of the Archives Dept. of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, wrote a letter to the Trustees in defence of Peter Heehs’ research and the publication of his Archival Notes in the Archives and Research magazine of the Ashram. Jugal Kishore Mukherji then wrote a second and final letter to the Trustees in June 1987 on the same matter, referring frequently to portions from what he called J.P.’s Statement (Jayantilal Parekh’s letter), after which he kept silent. Heehs got away with Jayantilal solidly protecting him not because he approved the former’s opinions, but because he needed him for the material organisation of the Department. Later, Jayantilal warned Heehs to be careful in whatever he writes because he would have to face one day the results of his actions. The slow wheel of Karma caught up with Heehs twenty years later, in 2008.]

After one long year, since my last communication to you dated June 15, ’86, I am constrained to approach you once again with a rather heavy heart; ‘heavy heart’, because I never imagined that I would have to plead my case again after the lapse of one year. I thought, when I wrote to you my last letter, that with a little goodwill and understanding on everyone’s part, the problem raised could be adequately solved to the satisfaction of all concerned. But, our human nature being as it is, that was not to be. And my optimism has proved to be infructuous.

A few days back, Brother Manoj has shown me a copy of Jayantilal Parekh-da’s statement issued on 4.6.87. In this comprehensive omnibus statement J.P. has touched upon many a problem he has faced in course of his long association with the Ashram publishing work. Inter alia he has referred to some of my objections and misgivings given expression to in my previous communication to you and has sought to brush them aside as of no consequence. But I am sorry to state that none of my basic queries have been satisfactorily answered. As a matter of fact, after a very careful and sympathetic perusal of the relevant portions of J.P.-da’s statement, I am more convinced than ever before that some of the fundamental principles and attitudes governing the writing of the Archival Notes in the journal SRI AUROBINDO: Archives and Research should be changed in the wider interest of our loyal service to Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I crave our indulgence to make clear in this present communication the rationale of my anxious feeling and conviction. Otherwise, a cursory reading of J.P.’s statement will convey the not so right impression in the unwary reader’s mind that all my points have been conclusively answered, when, in truth, they have not been so.

I keep mum here about all other issues raised by other persons and alluded to by J.P. in his statement. I am solely concerned with P.’s [Peter’s] observations and conclusions as embodied in the Archival Notes. While writing this second letter of mine, I have no wish to engage in any sort of literary polemic nor to score any points in debate. I do not want to lose sight of the main points while debating over small details. Far from indulging in rhetorics and innuendos, I would limit myself only to the fundamentals and basic principles. My sole objective in writing this second letter as a reply to J.P.s statement is to keep the record straight and bring once again to your kind attention my well-considered misgivings and objections as regards certain traits of the Archival Notes. If the Archives and Research would not have been our Ashram journal published under the editorship of one of our venerable Trustees, I would have kept my sorrows to myself and would not have bothered you in any way.

At the very outside I would like to clear one misunderstanding. It is as regards the text published in Sri Aurobindo and His Ashram. It was a deplorable slip on my part. I myself became aware of my oversight some time after I drafted my letter. I tender an unqualified apology for this avoidable lapse. …Now to the other points:

(1) J.P. affirms in his statement (para 7): “I firmly believe that whatever authentic material we can collect about Sri Aurobindo’s life would be of great value in the course of time. …We tried to carry it forward with more meticulous care and detailed information.”

My only objection is that these ground rules of ‘authenticity’, ‘meticulous care’ and proper verification are NOT being always observed in course of the Archival writing. I shall instance my conclusion a little later on.

(2) J.P. writes: “We have given reference to one Parthasarthy who met Sri Aurobindo in July 1909 and who suggested that it may be better for Sri Aurobindo to shift to Pondicherry where he would get the necessary quiet, and also avoid the persecution of the foreign government agents.”

My comments: How authentic is this information? Neither Sri Aurobindo himself, nor Moni-da (Suresh Chakravarty), nor Purani-ji or Nirod-da in their recorded talks with Sri Aurobindo, nor even Dr. K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar in his massive 800-page biography of Sri Aurobindo, even for once mentions this significant information. And now, so late in the day, we are asked to accept this as part of Sri Aurobindo’s life-history solely on the basis of the testimony of Parthasarthy’s brother-in-law, brought to light in 1959, fifty long years after the reported “suggestion”. This piece of news cannot be admitted as true in all its details, unless it is properly checked and rechecked by other independently verifiable sources. J.P. remarks: “There is no reason for us to doubt the story.” I humbly say: the writer of the Archival Notes may not have any reason to doubt. But surely that is not sufficient to include this as Sri Aurobindo’s new life-material. More about this later on.

(3) J.P. states: “When in Chandernagore Sri Aurobindo got the command to go to Pondicherry it was to this Parthasarthy that he wrote the letter and sent it with Suresh Chakravarty.”

I very much doubt the veracity of this information. Reasons for my doubt will be given below.

J.P. continues: “When Suresh Chakravarty reaches Pondicherry the letter was given to Srinivasachary, as Parthasarthy was away from home.”

This, too, in my humble opinion, does not seem to be true to facts. I shall presently explain.

In the Archival Notes (vide April 1985, p.121) it is written: “The writer of Parthasarthy’s life-sketch asserts convincingly (convincingly to whom? To the writer of the Archival Notes? Or to other competent persons in the Ashram? – This is my query – Jugal) that this letter of introduction was ‘addressed to Parthasarthy Ayengar, C/o ‘India’, Pondicherry’. Parthasarthy was out of town the day Moni arrived, and the young Bengali was received by Srinivas Acharya. Since the addressee was absent, Moni said that the letter “should be regarded as being addressed to whoever was in charge of ‘India’ at Pondicherry. Srinivas Acharya opened the letter and learnt of Sri Aurobindo’s plan.” (Archives and Research, Vol. 9, No. 1, p.121)

This flowery account hardly seems to be true and cannot be allowed to form a part of future biographies of Sri Aurobindo. The reasons are as follows:

(i) Nobody, including Sri Aurobindo, has mentioned this fact before. It is only the brother-in-law of Parthasarthy, who tells this story in his ‘foreword’ to a small book published in 1959.

(ii) J.P. writes: “He (Sri Aurobindo) saw through (Dr.K.R.Srinivasa Iyengar’s) biography (of Sri Aurobindo )” (Statement / para 8) . And this is what Dr. K.R.S. Iyengar has to say about the issue in question:

“In the meantime, Suresh Chakravarti (Moni) – who had been asked by Sri Aurobindo to proceed to Pondicherry in advance and make some arrangements for his stay – had left Calcutta by train on 28 March. …He carried with him a letter of introduction to Srinivasachariar, a sterling Nationalist, who was bringing out India… It was thought that Srinivasachariar and his friends would be able to make suitable arrangements for Sri Aurobindo’s stay at Pondicherry. On arriving there on 31st March 1910, Moni duly met Srinivasachariar with the letter.” (Sri Aurobindo: A Biography and a History by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, 4th edition, pp.358-‘59)

Please note in Dr. Iyengar’s account the expressions “letter of introduction to Srinivasachariar” and “duly met Srinivasachariar with the letter”. Where is Parthasarthy here? Letter of introduction to Parthasarthy? Simply because he was out of town, the letter was delivered to Srinivasachariar? And from now on all these elements will form part of Sri Aurobindo’s biography – perhaps in a later edition of Iyengar’s book too, on the basis of the assertion made in the Archival Notes of our own Ashram journal!

(iii) Now, Moni-da (Suresh Chakravarti), who was the main actor of the episode, in his reminiscences mentions Srinivasa Acharia by name, and not even once Parthasarthy in this connection. His account, as published in the Bengali monthly Prabasi in 1945-46, was fully approved by Sri Aurobindo. This is what Nolini-da (N.K.G.) has to say about Suresh’s narration of events of that time:

“What Sureshchandra Chakravarti has written in Prabasi is not without the knowledge of Sri Aurobindo. There is absolutely no scope for any doubt in this matter. Sri Aurobindo has stated that the account as given by Sureshchandra is totally true.” (Nolini Kanta Gupta in Prabasi, Phalgun 1352)

Peter is quite aware of the inconsistencies of the two accounts, the account given by Moni (Suresh Chakravarti) and that given by the brother-in-law of Parthasarthy. He comments in his Archival Notes (April 1985, p. 121): “This account (by the writer of Parthasarthy’s life-sketch) disagrees with Moni’s own version, which states that Sri Aurobindo’s letter was to be given to Srinivas Acharya.”

And yet J.P. asserts:

“There is no reason for us to doubt the story (about Parthasarthy)”. He even taunts to say: “This book (by the brother-in-law of young Parthasarathy) was published in 1959 (when Peter was hardly eleven years old), before Suresh Chakravarti’s book was published by the Ashram…”

No, Jayantilal-da, Suresh’s narration was printed in Prabasi and Galpabharati in 1945-46 long before 1959, although Moni-da’s articles came out in a book-form after he passed away in 1951.

And be it carefully noted that Suresh’s account was heard and approved by Sri Aurobindo himself, as per the written testimony of Nolini-da as quoted before.

And yet the writer of the Archival Notes asserts elsewhere; in another connection; “his (Suresh’s) article was written without consulting Sri Aurobindo” and “Sri Aurobindo was not available for personal consultation with any of his disciples in 1944. I (Peter) have not been able to find any correspondence between Sureshchandra and Sri Aurobindo on the matter. I do not believe there was any.” (Archives and Research, December 1984, p.234).

This is an instance of logical fallacy. As if without any written correspondence, Sri Aurobindo could not be “consulted” by Sureshchandra!

Then, let me quote in full, what Nolini-da wrote in 1946 with the explicit approval of Sri Aurobindo:

“Since some time a very clever attempt was being made by a certain type of people to indulge in the propagation of untrue facts about Sri Aurobindo. Having read those things Sureshchandra sought to bring to the notice of the reading public events and facts which were really true. And he published his account with the approval of Sri Aurobindo.”

“What Sureshchandra Chakravarti has written in Prabasi is not without the knowledge of Sri Aurobindo. There is absolutely no scope for any doubt in this matter. Sri Aurobindo has stated that the account as given by Sureschandra is totally true.” (Nolini Kanta Gupta in Parabasi, Phalgun 1352, also in Bartika, April 1946)

So, this is what Nolini-da writes and Sri Aurobindo fully approves about the authenticity of Suresh’s account. On the other hand J.P. writes: “Parthasarthy died young in 1929. He was a great scholar and it was while publishing his translation of the Gita that his brother-in-law mentions some of the facts of his life in the preface of this small book.”

Now my humble submission is this: Whose version of events should we accept as true? Sureschandra’s as certified by Sri Aurobindo and Nolini-da (in his written statement)? Or the version as given by the brother-in-law of Parthasarthy?

And, yet, our Archival Notes printed in our Ashram journal gives publicity to an assertion like this: “The writer of a life-sketch of Parthasarthy has asserted that Sri Aurobindo’s choice of Pondicherry as a place of refuge was the result of a suggestion made by the Tamil youth.” (Archives and Research, April, 1985, p. 120)

And this unauthenticated so-called “suggestion” is being handed down as a piece of historical research requiring some significant amendment in the so-far-well-established narration of an important phase of Sri Aurobindo’s life!

Sri Aurobindo repeats again and again that “The Divine speaks to us in many ways and it is not always the imperative Adesh that comes. When it does, it is clear and irresistible, the mind has to obey and there is no question possible, even if what comes is contrary to the preconceived ideas of the mental intelligence. It was such an Adesh that I had when I came away to Pondicherry.” (Letters on Yoga, Vol. 22, p. 40)

Now, my simple question is this: Why to detract from the sublime value of Sri Aurobindo’s Adesh by introducing an unnecessary, doubtful and spurious element like someone’s brother-in-law’s “assertion” of a not-so-authentic “suggestion” contributing to Sri Aurobindo’s decision to come to Pondicherry? This is not the proper course to take for the Archives journal.

And this is one of the most serious flaws in the whole affair of the writing of the Archival Notes. Someone is examining the documents, new or old, coming to his own subjective-objective evaluations and conclusions, printing these in our Ashram journal and passing these on to the future generations as authentic history. It matters a lot because the subject of research is Sri Aurobindo, his life and his action.

May I humbly ask you to ponder over the implication of this situation?
I am afraid all future biographies of Sri Aurobindo will include these three pieces of spurious information: (i) one Parthasarthy suggesting to Sri Aurobindo… (ii) Sri Aurobindo sending Moni (Suresh), with a letter of introduction, to young Parthasarthy and not to Srivaschariar as reported by Sureshchandra, and (iii) Sri Aurobindo’s decision to proceed to Pondicherry not because of an imperative Adesh but at least partly due to the non-existent “suggestion” made in 1909 by a South Indian youth.

And this is what pains and puzzles me. And this is a very serious negative potential of the Archival Notes in one of its traits.

J.P. remarks in his statement (p.22): “We have nothing to worry on this count, or to be unnecessarily touchy and sensitive in small things” (in the last but two paras of the statement). “Small things”? – no, they are not small things at all, where Sri Aurobindo is concerned. We have no right to alter details of Sri Aurobindo’s life, unless these are called for on unimpeachable evidence.

(4) Subject: Whether Sri Aurobindo continued till the end giving instructions or not to his Counsel Chittaranjan Das during his court-trial.

Here is a glaring instance of how an excessive preoccupation with the attempt to pounce upon any shred of ‘evidence’ and ‘testimony’ to contest established statements of Sri Aurobindo, can lead the ‘historical and scientific researcher’ away into a blind alley.

With regard to the past events and occurrences of his life, Sri Aurobindo clearly stated: “It would be only myself who could speak of things in my past giving them their true form and significance.” (On Himself, see the page on the reverse side of the prefatory Note)

And when in the past a controversy arose around the question of ascertaining the veracity or otherwise of certain facts of Sri Aurobindo’s life, our Nolini-da with the consent and approval of Sri Aurobindo himself, issued a written statement which was published in Prabasi and Bartika (in 1946, Bengali 1352) under the caption Sri Aurobindo Prasange. Here is a relevant passage from that statement of Nolini-da:

“Since some time, in various periodicals and journals, verbal debates are raging concerning some events of Sri Aurobindo’s life. Even the eye-witnesses are not being able to come to any consensus. In this case I too am an eye-witness, my name too has been dragged in – my evidence too is needed.

But, what Sri Aurobindo himself has to say about the events of his own life is the crux of the matter – and that should definitely settle the question.

But if there is someone who cannot trust even Sri Aurobindo’s word, if that does not conform to his own position – well, in that case, I am constrained to declare that the malady of such persons is altogether incurable, and my statement is not meant for them.”

So, this is our Nolini-da with his total reverence for Sri Aurobindo’s words. And our Archival Notes, on the basis of some oral information, cites this Nolini-da to controvert now Sri Aurobindo’s own written statements repeated more than once over the years!

J.P. writes in his statement: “Our Professor, knowing Nolini-da as well as he does, does not believe that Nolini would say anything of that sort.” Then J.P. adds: “I myself asked Matriprasad recently about this whole episode with reference to Nolini’s remarks and he told me that he stands by what he reported to Peter.”

Why one, a thousand Matriprasads’ oral assertions will not draw me away from total acceptance of Sri Aurobindo’s own statement, unequivocally made, in so many words, soon after his release from detention, again repeated years later in equally forthright terms.

And that’s why I wrote in my previous communication: “So this is the truth as revealed by Sri Aurobindo himself and this the spiritual explanation behind Sri Aurobindo taking little interest in the later stages of the trial proceedings; and all of us, children of Mother and Sri Aurobindo, have all along accepted it to be so. But now our Archives and Research journal has sought to re-examine the question and devoted a full page and a long footnote to come to the astounding conclusion: ‘Sri Aurobindo continued to give advice to his lawyers throughout the trial period.’

And what basis is there for arriving at this preposterous discovery which turns Sri Aurobindo into a deliberate liar? - Oh, according to the writer of the Archives, our Matriprasad remembers to have had a conversation with Nolini-da in July or August 1982 in course of which Nolini-da is reported to have made a statement like that and Matriprasad says Nolini-da confirmed the same on September 15. (Archives and Research, Vol. 6, No.2, p.230)

In my previous communication I expressed my anguish in these terms: “Alas, our most reversed brother Nolini-da is no longer there in his body to consult him. Otherwise I would have gone to him and brought the matter to his notice. From my close personal acquaintance with Nolini-da, spread over more than thirty years, I can testify to his utter reverence for all Sri Aurobindo’s utterances and statements. And now to cite him, of all persons, against what Sri Aurobindo has himself said!”

And my humble question is this: “Should our own journal be a forum to cite a disciple, however great he may be, to controvert Sri Aurobindo’s own written statements?” I humbly ask J.P.: “I beg for a clear reply to my anguished question. Please do not confuse the central issue with verbiage and sophistry.”

(4/A) In J.P.’s statement, the justification of the above-mentioned deplorable position adopted by Archival Notes is preceded by a long list of so-called instances of Sri Aurobindo’s ‘forgetfulness’.

May I ask: What’s the suggested implication of this cataloguing of Sri Aurobindo’s ‘memory-lapses’? Is it being suggested that Sri Aurobindo might have forgotten what he actually did during the Trial proceedings??

Then J.P. states: “I do not believe there is any harm in pointing out these small errors of dates and mix-up of events.”

Also: “The quotations from Sri Aurobindo about his memory, given above, should also help us in adopting the reasonable attitude to these statements.” (ibid., para 8)

My humble query: Does this really amount to correcting a small mix-up of events? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then, in that case, let God protect us!

And what is meant by ‘adopting the reasonable attitude’? – This is what Amal-da (K.D.Sethna) has to say about the question:

“Small slips of memory as regards dates and even sometimes the sequence of events – these may be pointed out and set right in the cause of scientific biography. But where Sri Aurobindo has written about his inner life or else on external events in which he took a prominent part, we can reasonably assume that he is right and that evidence from others to the contrary is mistaken. Thus when he says that he got an inner command not to give instructions to Das and that he obeyed it, we cannot dare to fault him. He may have been seen talking to Das on occasions up to the end of his detention, but this would not mean, as Nolini and others think, that he was giving legal instructions. We may refer to Nolini’s and others’ “evidence” but firmly reject it on the grounds at which I have hinted… Other people’s different reports may be taken as interested misrepresentation or just erroneous impression. Sri Aurobindo should be allowed to know what he did.

“If Sri Aurobindo were present, he would have had the chance to decide whether the contradictory opinions have any value. He is not there to defend himself against those who would prove him wrong. Wherever he has been quite emphatic – by reason of his direct personal knowledge of his inner life or what took place in the outer – we should not in his absence set aside his testimony.”

So, this is from Amal-da. And let me quote once again Nolini-da’s own view about the matter: “What Sri Aurobindo himself has to say about the events of his own life is the crux of the matter – and that should definitively settle the question.” (For the full passage, please see p. 4 of this present communication.)

May I ask now in utter humility: Whom to believe now? – Sri Aurobindo himself or the researcher of the Archival Notes? I ask, but in my mind the heart, there is no doubt about what the correct answer should be.

And this is what I object in the Archival Notes. Let the ‘elders of the Ashram’ decide.

(4/B) J.P. states: “There are a number of things in Sri Aurobindo’s writings about himself, or in reported talks with him, which are not factually correct. …In Sri Aurobindo’s talks reported by Nirod, there are quite a few statements where the date or some such small detail is not correct. …In one place Sri Aurobindo mentions that he left England in February 1893, but actually he left in January 1893 and reached Bombay on 6th February 1893. …In 1924 Sri Aurobindo states that he has ‘clean forgotten’ his life in ‘Kiledar’s Wada’ with Dinendra Kumar Roy around 1900… Sri Aurobindo himself has made it very clear in several statements about his own memory or complete forgetfulness of events.”

My comments on the above remarks of J.P.: (i) One cannot and should not base oneself on the ‘talks’ to establish a debating point and say emphatically that “Sri Aurobindo has made it very clear” or “he (Sri Aurobindo) himself describes it in the following terms”. These talks, whether recorded by X or Y or Z, are not claimed to possess verbatim accuracy; they give a rough picture of what the particular recorder remembers Sri Aurobindo to have said.

I can cite instances and instances where different versions of Sri Aurobindo’s selfsame talk, as recorded by X or Y or Z, vary widely in their content and implication.

And as regards the unreliability of the ‘recorded talks’ of Sri Aurobindo, let me cite here one glaring instance that occurs in the very passage reproduced by J.P. himself to drive home a point. Puraniji is reporting Sri Aurobindo as saying:

“I had to apply for a passport under a false name. The ship company required a medical certificate by an English doctor. (I say, not at all. – Jugal) After a great deal of trouble (Not at all. – Jugal.) I found out one. (Presumably ‘an English doctor’. – This too is not correct – Jugal) and went to his house.” [Evening Talks, p 550, Talk dated 12.12.1938]

In the space of 2 or 3 lines, 3 factual errors. And we want to shove off these to Sri Aurobindo himself and not to the scribe who may have inaccurately reported! Therein lies my objection. And what is worse, these ‘talks’ are being used, quoted, requoted to establish some cherished point of the debater. As, for example, J.P. asserts: “…Sri Aurobindo himself describes it in the following terms”. Again, “in one of the reported talks with Sri Aurobindo, he clearly mentions…”

Please note the emphatic expression: “himself describes”, “clearly mentions”, etc.

Because of this inherent unreliability – and not merely in small matters, as J.P. avers, but as regards points with serious import, too – that I expressed in my earlier communication my sense of uneasiness whenever I find these ‘talks’ being taken as authoritative documents to settle some point of Sri Aurobindo’s life and teaching.

What is regrettable, our Archival Notes freely used these ‘talks’ as ‘weapons of offense and defense’ to re-open some settled question and engage in polemical debate.

N.B. – I have alluded to a few factual errors creeping in into the passage from “Evening Talks” as recorded by Puraniji and reproduced by J.P. Here is what actually happened.

(a) First Moni-da’s (Suresh Chakravarti’s) narration as approved by Sri Aurobindo: “the authorities of the ship intimated that no passenger can be allowed into the ship unless medically examined; also that the medical examiner did not stay in the ship, the doctor lived in the city. ...The two, then, (Sri Aurobindo and Bijoy) took down the doctor’s address and reached there that very evening.”(Smritikatha, 1962, p. 131)

(b) Now, here is how Dr. K.R. Srinivasan Iyengar narrates the event in his massive biography of Sri Aurobindo:

“the problem was for Sri Aurobindo and Bejoy Nag to get their medical certificates. It being late, the doctor had left the port and returned to his house. Accordingly they went to his residence in Chowringhee at about 9.30 p.m.” (A Biography and a History, 1985, p. 358)

So, you can see, not ‘any English doctor’ but ‘the ship Company’s doctor’. Also, not ‘finding out one English doctor after a great deal of troubles’ but ‘noting down the address of the company doctor and going to his residence.’ More need not be said about the basic unreliability of the recorded talks as authoritative documents to be quoted in favour of or against any position.

(4/C) So, I say, one should not try to catalogue instances of Sri Aurobindo’s memory-lapses culled from these fragmentarily and casually recorded talks and conversations of Sri Aurobindo.

But, apart from this point, I dare say that small errors as regards dates and houses on one side and on the other, Sri Aurobindo not remembering whether he went on (or not) advising his Counsel Das till the end of the trial, do not, in my humble opinion, fall in the same category. So, we cannot doubt Sri Aurobindo’s explicit statement by considering it as a possible instance of ‘forgetfulness’ on Sri Aurobindo’s part.

For, there is a very serious danger inherent in this sort of psychological explanation. Once you take up this position that Sri Aurobindo was prone to making errors, the flood-gates open wide for any researcher to attribute any type of inaccuracies and inconsistencies contributed by our own ingenuity and miscomprehension to the ‘memory lapses’ of Sri Aurobindo.

Let the ‘elders of the Ashram’ judge whether it is advisable to question Sri Aurobindo’s credibility through the Archival Writings in our Ashram journal.

(5) Subject: Peter’s expressions being used to describe Sri Aurobindo’s action

J.P. writes in his statement: “Some people seem to be offended that words like “escape” are used in reference to Sri Aurobindo’s going to Chandernagore or Pondicherry. …I do not think there is any derogatory sense in the use of words like “secret” or “escape” in the case of a revolutionary, even if he is Divine in inner reality.”

So, Sri Aurobindo was a mere ‘revolutionary’ in 1910? His life in Alipore jail, his life during his stay at Motilal’s at Chandernagore – was not Sri Aurobindo already a Mahayogi at that time? And ‘divine’ only ‘in inner reality’? What was Sri Aurobindo then in his outer life? ‘I pause for a reply.’

Second point: J.P. has asserted that there is nothing derogatory in the use of expressions like “secret” and “escape”. Here I am sorry to point out J.P. has taken recourse to a very well-known logical fallacy. He has dexterously lumped together the two words “secret” and “escape” and asked, by implication, for a straight reply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, where no single reply is possible. In Logic this is known as ‘Informal Fallacy of Complex Question’.

It is like asking someone: “Have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or No?” or, “Do you still smoke? Yes or No?” or, “Have you by now given up your evil ways? Yes or No?.” Questions of this sort do not admit of a simple “yes” or “no” answer because it is not a simple or single question but a complex question which consists of several questions rolled into one.” (See Introduction to Logic by Irving M. Copi).

Copi cites many fallacious questions of this sort and advises: “The intelligent procedure in all such cases is to treat the complex question not as a simple one, but to analyse it into its component parts. Take, for example, the question “Are you for the Republicans and prosperity, or not? Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’!” There are clearly two questions involved: one does not presuppose a particular answer to the other. It is quite conceivable that the two questions hidden under a single shell have different answers. (Irving M.Copi. op. cit., chapter on “Informal Fallacies”)

So, following the prescription of the logicians, I analyse J.P.’s “secret” or “escape” into its two separate components and answer:

There is nothing derogatory in using the expression “secret”, but there is something surely hurtful if one employs it in connection with ‘our Lord’ Sri Aurobindo, expressions like “escape”, “fled to”, “absconded”, etc. – and that, too, frequently. That’s why in my previous communication I had stated:

“While describing his departure from Calcutta to Chandernagore, then from Chandernagore to Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo always uses expressions like “going to”, “proceeding to” “departure to”, “on his way to”, “left for”, etc. But Peter flings expressions like “Sri Aurobindo’s escape to Chandernagore… like his later flight to Pondicherry”. ...When Sri Aurobindo says that he went into “secret residence”, our brother expresses the same fact by saying that Sri Aurobindo “absconded”, Sri Aurobindo “fled to Chandernagore in great secrecy”. Instances can be multiplied…”

Then I added: “Perhaps there is a basic difference between the psychological approach of an Indian and that of a Westerner towards one’s Guru. …But is that sufficient alibi why our own Ashram journal should indulge in such irreverent expressions when more sober expressions are available for the purpose? Please give some consideration to this question.”
My query still stands unanswered.

Please note that even in the passage from Puraniji’s Evening Talks as quoted by J.P. in his statement, Sri Aurobindo is reported to have said “I arrived in Pondicherry” and not “escaped”.

J.P. justifies the use of the above-mentioned irrelevant expressions like “escape” by saying: “Sri Aurobindo’s divinity and his divine guidance are inner movements and when we describe his outer activities we have to use the language which describes the outer movement correctly.”

So, in the case of Sri Aurobindo, “escaped”, “absconded”, “fled”, etc. – are these the correct linguistic expressions to describe his outer activity? I beg to differ.

J.P. queries: “When Sri Krishna’s escape with Rukmini in his chariot is referred to no devotee of his seems to be offended. Why should Sri Aurobindo’s devotees protest?”

I wonder whether J.P. seriously wants us to answer his question. Does he really want us to model our behaviour and feelings on the patterns set by others’ devotees and not as Sri Aurobindo’s?? Here is a relevant passage from Sri Aurobindo.

When a disciple wrote to Sri Aurobindo inter alia: “I think Krishna did not always speak the exact truth and his half-lies always provoke an understanding smile in all who listen to his stories”, Sri Aurobindo retorted:

“I do not remember any lies or half-lies told by Krishna, so I can say nothing on that point. But if he did according to the Mahabharata or the Bhagawata, we are not bound either by that record or by that example.” (Letters on the Mother, Cent. Vol., pp. 275 )

(6) J.P. states: “What Peter has attempted (in the Archival Notes) is a historical approach, an intellectually based work of a scientific enquiry. This does not mean that it has no sense of faithfulness and devotion to Sri Aurobindo. However, this approach, as all mental approaches, has its limitations and possibilities of error.” ( p.16)

“Has its limitations and possibilities of errors” ? – Yes, many at times very serious. Hence our humble appeal to discontinue this type of venture with misplaced ‘historical-scientific’ zeal – especially when the subject is Sri Aurobindo himself and the journal is our own Ashram periodical of which the editor is one of our Trustees.

“An intellectually based work of a scientific enquiry”? – Here are the most valuable and considered opinions of two of our respected elders? Amal-da ( K.D.Sethna) and Nirod-da.

Here is a relevant extract from a letter addressed by Amal-da (K.D.Sethna) to the writer of the Archival Notes:

“I am not a hagiographist and would like to be as much of a scientific biographer as I can – but with a single yet significant proviso. I should not forget, I am a disciple of Sri Aurobindo first and foremost and have to be alive all the time to the extraordinary greatness of the subject of my biography.

Face to face with the hagiographical attitude which I don’t like, there is often the temptation to shock it and one of the unfortunate means is to pick holes in the subject of its blind adoration. Some holes are perhaps bound to be picked since even the Avatar works under certain unavoidable limitations. Small slips of memory as regards dates and even sometimes the sequence of events – these may be pointed out and set right in the cause of scientific biography. But where Sri Aurobindo has written about his inner life or else on external events in which he took a prominent part, we can reasonably assume that he is right and that evidence from others to the contrary is mistaken. … I think you have to take care that the anti-hagiographical imp in you does not make fetish of “scientific biography” and tend to un-focus anywhere the insight you have into the spiritual nature and stature of Sri Aurobindo.

I don’t believe your admirable role of a scientific biographer will suffer eclipse if this insight is permitted to play on the proper occasions.”

And here is how our Nirod-da opines about the same question:

“Re. Peter: He came to see me after reading J’s criticism. Our main point was as regards the principle he has taken up. I couldn’t naturally accept his contention (nobody will) that he is first a biographer, then anything else. To say the least it is absurd, irrational, unspiritual. If he sticks to his tenet, it will be risky…”

I think Amal-da’s and Nirod-da’s words, as reproduced above, will make abundantly clear to any unbiased disciple of Sri Aurobindo why I object to certain facets of this overzealous tendency to write a “scientific biography” of Sri Aurobindo.

Mother once wrote to someone: “It is natural that you should approach him (Sri Aurobindo) with a reverence due to the Master of Yoga.” (Centenary Volume 16, p. 247).

And about the greatness of this ‘Master of Yoga’ Mother remarked: “Who can understand Sri Aurobindo? He is as vast as the universe…” (Ibid., p. 310)
And here is how Mother feels about the sublime grandeur of Sri Aurobindo:

“You see, I lived – how many years? Thirty years, I think, with Sri Aurobindo – thirty years from 1920 to 1950. I thought I knew him well, and then when I hear this, I realise…” (Mother makes a gesture as if to indicate a breaking of bounds)
(February 16, 1972; quoted on p.vi of Nirodbaran’s Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo)

Such being the situation, it hurts us all deeply when we find that, in the name of writing a “scientific biography”, one seeks to find “external and physical explanations” for everything sublime in the unfoldment of the life-history of Sri Aurobindo. Not only that; at times, Sri Aurobindo’s actions and credentials are being minutely analysed and evaluated with the puny search-light of our sense-bound intellect. And the results thereof are being given publicity in our own journal!

I dare say Sri Aurobindo’s actions and the true reasons operative behind these actions are altogether inscrutable to the petty human mind with limited vision and still more limited comprehension. So why to seek out ‘external explanations’ plausible to our ignorant judgment?

In this connection I cannot but recall an incident that occurred in 1950 just after Sri Aurobindo left his physical body. One of the seniormost disciples (I refrain from mentioning his name here), who dwelt in the Ashram since 1926, sought to explain Sri Aurobindo’s passing in terms of some external factors and printed a leaflet incorporating his findings. When Mother came to know of it, she became utterly displeased and wrote to the disciple concerned:

“I was painfully shocked when I heard the translation of the leaflet you are distributing here in the Ashram. I never imagined you could have such a complete lack of understanding, respect and devotion for our Lord who has sacrificed himself totally for us. …Sri Aurobindo was not compelled to leave his body, he chose to do so for reasons so sublime that they are beyond the reach of humanity. And when one cannot understand, the only thing to do is to keep a respectful silence.” (reproduced in Champaklal Speaks, p. 249 )

Mother’s admonition in conjunction with Amal-da’s and Nirod-da’s words as quoted above cannot but make us aware of the serious risks involved, so far as Sri Aurobindo is concerned, if the zeal to write his “scientific biography” is not kept within proper bounds.

In the process of rewriting a “scientific biography” we may unwittingly do some damage in spite of all our basic sincerity. Did not Sri Aurobindo warn us? – “Neither you nor anyone else knows anything at all of my life, it has not been on the surface for men to see.” (On Himself: Foreword)

Also, in another allied situation: “As for the Mother’s attitude, you have to look within to know it; if we look from outside, you will not be able to understand it.” (Letters on Yoga, Parts Two and Three, p.858)

And we have already alluded to the following words of Sri Aurobindo: “It would be only myself who could speak of things in my past giving them their true form and significance.” (On Himself. Foreword)

Under these circumstance what we, the disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, should do is to adopt a humble approach to Sri Aurobindo’s life with all the requisite devotion and discretion – and not pry it with a mere intellectual lens. And excessive preoccupation with writing a “scientific biography” of Sri Aurobindo will, I fear, do more harm than good.

And, it is not so easy after all to write a proper biography of a Mahayogi like Sri Aurobindo. Jayantilal-da himself, in his statement, has alluded to a famous remark of Sri Aurobindo. J.P. writes: “We know Sri Aurobindo’s opinion about the biography of poets and yogis, and his famous saying that he did not want to be murdered in cold print by his disciples.”

We have to be extra-cautious so that we may not unwittingly do the same what Sri Aurobindo feared. While refuting some of the ‘wrong facts’ attributed by interested persons to Sri Aurobindo’s life, Moni-da (Suresh Chakravarti) admonished the so-called biographers in such terms which echo almost literally Sri Aurobindo’s ‘fears’. Here are his words:

“Let me say something about writing biographies. Ninety-nine per cent of people think that writing a biography is a very ease affair. …But while attempting to write someone’s biography, a writer has every probability of turning into a ‘murderer’. …and the person about whom the biography is being written may have to pray: ‘O God, please protect me from the hands of my devotees!” (Smritikatha, p. 41)

So far for pointing out the risks involved in the attempt to write a “scientific biography” of Sri Aurobindo – if the attempt is stretched to its farthest limits. Now let me proceed to the discussion of another point.

(7) Subject: Whether Sri Aurobindo met Sister Nivedita after he suddenly decided, on the strength of an imperative Adesh, to leave Calcutta for Chandernagore.

In my earlier communication I had mentioned how, against written statements of Sri Aurobindo, repeated many times, that he did not see Sister Nivedita on his way to Chandernagore, our Archives journal is obstinately bringing forward a “reported” statement of Sri Aurobindo, said to have been orally uttered by him, to contradict his repeated written assertions. Although the recorder N. [Nirodbaran] insists that “Sri Aurobindo’s words were not recorded correctly” (Archives, vol. 8 No.2, p. 232), the writer of the Archival Notes sticks to his opinion: “I believe the mistake here was not in the recording, but in the telling (by Sri Aurobindo)”. (Ibid., p.232 )

Not only that. Further on, the writer of the “Notes” claims: “I (Peter) have shown that all the difficulties of interpretation come from discrepancies between Sri Aurobindo’s and Ramchandra (Majumdar)’s accounts. …It comes down finally to a choice between Ramachandra (Majumdar) and Sri Aurobindo.” (Ibid., p. 234)

And who is this Ramachandra Majumdar? Here is what our Nolini-da writes about the quasi-total unreliability of Majumdar’s memory. In course of a statement, issued with the explicit approval of Sri Aurobindo, Nolini-da writes:

“In course of a long rejoinder to Sureshchandra (Chakravarti)’s narration, Ramchandra Majumdar has tried to demonstrate vaingloriously that even in his advanced age his power of memory has remained intact. Indeed, his memory-power is so wonderful that he has retained in his mind, although in a distorted form, not only the recollection of what happened in the past, but a distinct and definite image of what never happened – that too is clearly imprinted in his mind! As a matter of fact, the account given by him contains so much ornamentation, exaggeration, mistakes and errors that with the materials afforded by him one can easily construct a very excellent hair-raising fictional biography of Sri Aurobindo.” (Sri Aurobindo Prasange in Bartika, 1946 )

Moni-da (Suresh Chakravarti), too, has given a detailed enumeration of Majumdar’s memory lapses on pp. 79-99 of his “Reminiscences” (Smritikatha). The curious reader may go through those pages to be convinced of the total unreliability of Ramchandra Majumdar as a witness.

And, according to Peter, the writer of the Archival Notes, Sri Aurobindo has to be first subjected to scientific scrutiny, before his veracity is established as against the evidence of a total non-entity like Ramchandra Majumdar! And this investigation and its findings are published in our Archives journal!

Because of the undesirability of this type of scientific-historical research as applied to Sri Aurobindo, I wrote in my previous letter: “My humble entreaty: Let outsiders speak whatever they want to speak about Mother and Sri Aurobindo; it is their affair. Let us not join their ranks and employ our own journals … to subject Them to criticism. That will be, to say the least, the height of ingratitude.”

To this J.P., in his statement, rejoins: “If an Ashram journal should avoid publishing it, by all means stop it. But I am sure, dividing the world between “our Ashram journal” and “outside” is not going to help much …”
I keep mum. Let the ‘elders of the Ashram’ decide whether J.P.’s comments adequately meet my point or not.

As regards re-opening in our Archives journal (Dec.1984) of the already settled question of whether or not Sri Aurobindo met Sister Nivedita on his way to the ghat, J.P. states: “the point Peter is trying to bring out in his article… In this enquiry he re-examines the entire evidence again with additional references.”

My humble submission: (i) Why to re-examine the question de novo, when Sri Aurobindo has himself answered the question and that too, not once but at least 5 times?

(ii) “Additional references”? – But what additional references are needed to justify or otherwise Sri Aurobindo’s own statement repeatedly made?

J.P. asserts: “We have no right to question why he does it. He has taken this up as his work.”

Is this an adequate answer to my question? Yes, I admit we have “no right” to question P.’s [Peter’s] personal opinion or judgment privately entertained. But as soon as these are given open publicity in one of our Ashram journals, edited by one of our venerable Trustees, every sincere Ashramite has an honest right, nay duty to bring the matter to the notice of the Trustees, and the Trustees, on their part, if they deem it fit, have every right to point out the same to the writer concerned. I leave it to the wisdom of the Trustees to judge me in this regard.

(8) Subject: About the publication of the Archival Notes:

J.P. says in his statement: “The Archival Notes he (Peter) has been writing are part of the archival work and that is why they are published in the Archives’ journal. At one point I realised that some of the things he was saying might be either contradicted or found unacceptable in the manner they were expressed.”
Yes, therein lies our objection. As I wrote in my earlier letter: “I have no personal bias against anyone… As a matter of fact, I have the greatest admiration for Peter’s literary capabilities, dedication to work and editorial meticulousness. Only, certain mental attitudes, which hurt the feelings of us all, the Indian devotees of Sri Aurobindo, are creeping into his writings and these are being published in our Ashram journal. Therein lies my objection.” Then J.P. continues: “At one point I told P. that in all future Archival Notes he must put his initials and also make it clear to the readers that the views expressed are not necessarily these of the publishers (Sri Aurobindo Ashram).”

My comments: The problem is not so simple as that. Mere insertion of the initials P.H. will not and cannot serve the purpose. Because, I am constrained to repeat my refrain again, it is an Ashram journal and the editor is one of our own Trustees. And that gives the stamp of authoritative credibility to the views expressed.

As per the advice of J.P., in the Archival Notes published in April 1983, the following note was inserted by Peter (I presume, once for all):

“Any historical narrative must be written from a particular view-point, and, however much the writer observes the ground rules of objectivity, this view-point must necessarily be subjective. Evaluations, judgments and conclusions, explicit or implicit, have to be made at every step. The writer’s reasoning must, of course, be supported by a detailed documentation. The references given in the footnotes to these Notes will enable readers to turn to the sources and, after study, to form their own conclusions.”

The underlined portions in the above statement made by P. make abundantly clear the high potential for misjudgment and misplaced conclusions that this type of “historical-scientific” research may lead us to. My considered opinion still stands: When the subject concerned is Sri Aurobindo himself, our Ashram journal cannot and should not be freely used for unbridled publicity of these subjective “evaluations, judgments and conclusions, explicit or implicit” impinging on some fundamental episodes and truths of Sri Aurobindo’s life, especially when these “evaluations, judgments and conclusions” are, at times, based on some second-hand or third-hand or even spurious documentation. I express my opinion. Let the ‘elders of the Ashram’ judge.

J.P. goes on to assert in his statement: “The researcher and the writer should have the basic freedom to pursue his work and line of thought.”

I say ‘no’, when the subject concerned is Sri Aurobindo, the writer concerned is an Ashramite and the journal concerned belongs to the Ashram. Given the conjunction of all these three factors, the freedom cannot be unlimited.

J.P. continues: “There may be differences of opinion or erroneous conclusions and other defects, judged from a different angle. …Those who would like to contradict must give their findings and conclusions in writing with the necessary arguments which may even be printed in the Archives journal in keeping with the problems discussed.”

Our Ashram journal would publish polemical arguments and be the arena of wordy duels around our Lord Sri Aurobindo???

I say: No, no, never. Our Archives journal should on no account be turned into a forum of debative disputations with Sri Aurobindo as the theme. Would our Mother have ever liked this sort of proposal? Let us search our hearts and seek a reply.

And here is what Sri Aurobindo himself wrote when a possible situation of this sort loomed in the past; I quote here the relevant portion of his long letter:

“If I allowed your exposition of the matter to be published in one of our own periodicals, I would be under the obligation of returning to the subject… to re-establish my position and would have to combat…” “But I do not like the idea of one of our periodicals being the arena for a wrestle of that kind.” (Letters on Yoga, p. 208)

So, let us once for all drop the idea of a debate concerning Sri Aurobindo.

My final conclusion about these Archival Notes:

Let Peter have his freedom of thoughts, let him entertain his personal opinion and judgments, but, if these are controversial, let these not be printed in the Archives journal. Because, once these are published there – in a paper owned by the Ashram and edited by one of the Trustees – these views and opinions transcend the confines of personality and are bound to acquire, in course of time, the halo of authenticity. Let us be careful in time. The damage thus done cannot be undone in future.

You may please consult our responsible seniors like Amal-da, Nirod-da and Arindam-da on this point and seek their views.

(9) As regards the nature of my earlier communication to the Trustees:

J.P. comments in his statement: “If the historical approach is abhorrent to some, it would equally be abhorrent to others to read this tract of religious haranguing with its constant refrain of “our Lord” and “we the children of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother”.

I could not imagine that there could be Guru-bhais who would take me to task for calling Sri Aurobindo as “our Lord” and ourselves as “the children of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother”. Be that as it may, taunting remarks like “religious tract”, “religious piety” or “priest of mediaeval Europe” do not hurt me at all.
However, J.P. should have remembered that my previous letter was not a public document (as the Archival Notes are) but a personal letter addressed to three of our respected Trustees among whom Manoj D.G. and Paru P. count as two.

And Manoj and Paru? – I have always considered them as my own brother and sister, I have known them from their early adolescence, with them I have the deepest personal bond, and before them I can always express myself with utmost candour. While talking to or writing to Manoj or Paru, – not once, not twice, but a hundred times, – I may permit myself the use of expressions like “our Lord” (in connection with Sri Aurobindo) and “we the children of Mother and Sri Aurobindo” (while referring to ourselves). If that sounds abhorrent to some, I can’t help. I feel proud to use such expressions which translate my genuine feelings in the matter, even if these are repellent to others.

(10) About the possible control of the Archival writing:

J.P. writes: “In the last thirty years or more members of the ashram have written many things in full freedom with no holds barred. It would be impossible to control or direct this tendency now by a supervisory board and, I think, it is good that it is not possible.”
Let the Trustees and ‘the elders of the Ashram’ decide this question.

(11) J.P. assures: “Ten Peters put together with all the historical research and findings of inaccuracies and slips (‘Inaccuracies and slips’? Whose? Sri Aurobindo’s? – Jugal) cannot damage it. We have nothing to worry on this count, or to be unnecessarily touchy and sensitive in small things.”

“Small things”? – Where Sri Aurobindo himself is concerned, I do not consider these as “small things” at all. A careful perusal of this present letter of mine and of my previous communication dated June 15, ’86 will, I hope, make it clear to you that at times very serious issues are being reopened in connection with Sri Aurobindo.

“Nothing to worry”? – I am not so sure about that – especially because, as I have already mentioned, certain not so desirable traits are getting manifested in these writings and these Archival Notes are being issued to the reading public through our own Ashram journal. Therein lies my misgiving.

May I be permitted, in this connection, to draw your attention to one unhappy trend with serious doctrinal consequences? I feel very much anxious about it. Now, please consult the section (12) below.

(12) “Inner” and “Outer” in relation to Sri Aurobindo:

In the Archival Notes a new theology is being subtly but persistently introduced, seeking to draw a distinction between the “inner” Sri Aurobindo and “outer” Sri Aurobindo, between his “inner” action and “outer” action, between his “inner” motivation and “outer” motivation. This has a very serious implication – if not checked in time. It is no longer a question of mere “dates and houses”, it involves the direct interpretation of Sri Aurobindo.

Let me cite here two instances from the Archival Notes which make me very uneasy, because once we start explaining differently the so-called “outer” and the so-called “inner” Sri Aurobindo, there will be no end to possible misrepresentation. Sri Aurobindo warned his disciples once against what he called “the peril of a hostile Maya” which pushed some disciples to make a distinction between “the inner Mother” and “the outer Mother” and find some opposition and contradiction between the actions of the two. The curious reader may read pages 1058-59 et al. of Letters on Yoga (experiences of the Inner Consciousness)

Here is the first extract from the Archival Notes: “...apparent contradiction between the two statements of Sri Aurobindo and the observation of Nolini-da… When Sri Aurobindo put his defence into Chittaranjan Das’s hands – or rather into the hands of the Supreme Lord using Das as his instrument – it was an inner movement and this did not prevent him from taking a detached outer interest in the affair.” (Archives and Research, December 1982, p.230)

I have already discussed the incongruous character of this sort of explanation under Section 4 of the present letter. So I need not say anything more here.

Now, the second extract from the Archival Notes printed in the latest number of the Archives journal (April 1987, p. 124):

“There is no reason to disbelieve Dutt’s claim that the “experiment” referred to in the letter was the Delhi bombing. A certain type of human intelligence, however, may have a hard time reconciling Sri Aurobindo’s remark (as inferred from Arun Dutt’s assertion – J.) with the many solicitous references he made in the Record of Yoga to the injured Viceroy’s condition. Certain entries, e.g. that of 15 January, show that Sri Aurobindo used his spiritual will (Aishwarya) to promote the healing of Hardinge’s wounds. The contradiction between the two attitudes is of course only superficial. This is not a matter that the historian of external events need concern himself with, but it may be suggested that Sri Aurobindo could well have approved of the attempted assassination as a matter of political expediency, while deprecating it from an occult or spiritual point of view.” (Peter in Archival Notes, April ’87 p.124)

Well, the less said about this type of far-fetching ingenuous explanation, the better. I humbly request you to consult on this question and seek the considered views of AMAL-da, NIROD-da and ARINDAM-da. I shall accept whatever they say.

To my perception there are no two Sri Aurobindos, one “inner” and the other “outer”, with two different motivations for two different simultaneous actions, one on the “inner” plane and the other on the “outer” one. Sri Aurobindo, is One and Indivisible. He always acts from one consciousness – spiritual-divine, from one motivation – spiritual-divine whether for “outer” activity or for the “inner” one. His ways and actions may appear to us inscrutable; but for that we should not try to create, through our limited investigation, contradictions and inconsistencies in his conduct and action, and then seek to “explain” them away as belonging to two different planes with two different standards and motivations.

At least our own journey should not indulge in this risky venture. This is my humble opinion. Let the elders decide.

I have come to the end of my long dissertation; a long one, only to demonstrate that none of the basic points I raised in my previous communication have been satisfactorily met in J.P.’s lengthy statement. My questions still stand unanswered.

I heartily invite anyone to meet my points with well-reasoned arguments and not merely brush these aside with metaphysical platitudes and logical subterfuges or by calling me names.

I have fulfilled my duty by bringing before your kind notice all that I had to say as regards certain flaws in the writing of the “Archival Notes”, especially in the ‘guiding principles’ behind this writing. Now I must keep silent. I do not propose to engage myself in any further polemical writing in this connection. For, if more than thirty pages of my reasoning have not been able to substantiate my points, more writing will never do.

Besides, I am quite happy in my work with the boys and girls of ‘KNOWLEDGE’ – with the sweet little children of Mother and Sri Aurobindo.
J.P. proposes at the end of his long statement: “If the elders of the ashram should wish to stop the publication of our Archives journal, or the historical Archival Notes only, they should feel free to do so.”

I humbly leave it to the wise discretion of the Trustees. Whatever be their decision, I shall gladly accept it without the slightest reservation in my heart. Ultimately,

In the service of the Mother & Sri Aurobindo,
Yours for ever
June 14, ’87

1 comment:

  1. I find this letter quite instructive. The exchange between JKM and JP seems to foreshadow the Pro-Lives/Anti-Lives debate raging at present. And on the same rational vs. devotional lines, including the name calling!