7 Feb 2010

Rich Carlson calls the “Court Diary” a “Slanderous Document”

I don’t know if we should take those who celebrate The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and defend its author with any seriousness at all. I’m yet to see, even after year and a half of publication of the book by the prestigious Columbia University Press any worthwhile academic study, full-length or short, bringing out its claimed gainful contributions to the vast body of literature that already exists around Sri Aurobindo. Its author says that Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri is a “fictional creation” which makes the whole thing suspect. This is particularly so when we have the Mother declaring Savitri as “the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s vision”. If we go by her, we will be dismissed as gullible, a credulous lot who have no minds of their own. In arrogant contrast to what the Mother says, the tyros’ Lives makes it a travesty of the entire spirituality. But what are the credentials of the author or his irrational buddies to speak about this? None. Our concern is not really with the “Court Diary” but with this biography which is the cause of all the dismay. I don’t think anybody is keen to drive the matters to the Court if the Lives is given a deserving and desirable burial. Let’s hope it will happen.

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The Truth is known only when all is seen

Let me first reproduce in the following a note I’d sent on 30 January 2010 to Paulette and Mauna at Auroville. I’d been in correspondence with Paulette for quite some time exchanging several e-mails everyday and meeting personally once in a while. This exchange fetched a rich yield of information and I believe we enjoyed as well as profited by it. In this free and frank exchange there were of course some unpalatable observations also. But these were ignored. My forwarding the “Court Diary” to her was an aspect of this friendly exchange. But it was entirely her decision to post it on the Avcompatforum. I’m sad that it has caused so much furor.

About Mauna: Here is what Paulette had written about her in one of the e-mails. “Mauna: An Aurovilian since 1971, she has served as AVI representative for Auroville, as a member of the Entry group and of the Auroville Council, was in the Matrimandir secretariat, looks after the Av mass mail communications, is a member of Outreach (Av communication with the medias and outer agencies) and regulates the subscriptions to the AVI compatforum (for residents and long terms Av and Avi associates only) and its clear flow of information.” ______________________________________
Let me first reproduce generally the note dated 30 January 2010 I’d sent to Paulette and Mauna. It has the link with the sciy and iyf postings dealing with the topic:

http :// www.sciy .org/2010/01/24/ the-lies-about-the-lives-of-sri-aurobindo/

http :// iyfundamentalism .info/j/ content/view/136/188/

The sciy link introduces the case of “Court Diary” as follows: “... a new front for battle has opened up. In this instance Mr. Heehs visa and right to stay in India are under attack. ... What follows is the deconstruction of a recent report by R.Y. Deshpande regards Mr Heehs appearance in court to defend his Visa. ...”

This is Rich Carlson attributing the report to RY Deshpande. What was sent by me as an e-mail forward has been changed to a “report by RY Deshpande”. In polite language I’ll only say that this is distortion. My e-mail to Paulette, reproduced in the following, gives the entire picture.

The sciy page also says the following: “We sent the document to Peter Heehs, who provided important factual clarifications on what actually took place, as well as a copy of the court order.”

One of the points in the Court Diary is the following: “Matriprasad came in with Peter Heehs’ counsel and the Ashram’s counsel, and was seen giving them instructions along with Peter Heehs.” Based on “factual clarifications” provided by Peter Heehs the links state: “This is a lie. Matriprasad (a member of the Ashram) was not present.”

Clarifying his position, Matriprasad writes to Paulette: “In that particular article (I do not know who wrote it because it carries no name of the author) there is a reference to one Matriprasad, which given the context should in all likelihood refer to me. However, I am completely at a loss to understand as to how someone could possibly identify me when I was nowhere present during the said so-called court proceedings.”

This statement by Matriprasad, however, needs to be looked into with some attention. It might be true that he was not present during the “court proceedings” anywhere there. But was he present there before the proceedings commenced? If he was, then was he in the Court cafeteria when the proceedings were in progress? or else had he left the Court premises at some point of time? His statement needs proper clarification.

Apropos of the Court Diary forward, I’d written earlier to Paulette: “If this is a misrepresentation, let someone who has an authentic version post it on the forum.”

This has not yet happened. I still maintain that position.

Here are the three latest e-mails I’d sent to Paulette:

[1] I'd received the said "Court Diary" as independent e-mails from a couple of my contacts. It was not a question of my believing it or not, but here was something which could not be dismissed. I now understand that the "Diary" was actually written by one who was himself present in the Court. You may say that what is presented in it is his version, which also means that there could be another version. But I'm yet to see another version; instead what is seen is a "confutation" which does not really impress me much. If my opinion has any value, I'll not go by any of such versions even if they are claimed to be from persons who were present in the Court. The question is: who is going to decide the veracity of these reports? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s time only which will come out with the answer. In the meanwhile, I might continue to remain not unconcerned but informed about these goings-on. The Truth is known only when all is seen: (Savitri, pp. 256-57)

All here deformed guards there its happy shape,
Here all is mixed and marred, there pure and whole;
Yet each is a passing step, a moment's phase. …
The little Mind is tied to little things. …
Our reason only a toys' artificer,
A rule-maker in a strange stumbling game. …
The world she has made is an interim report
Of a traveller towards the half-found truth in things
Moving twixt nescience and nescience.
For nothing is known while aught remains concealed;
The Truth is known only when all is seen.


The Truth is known only when all is seen.

[2] You have absolutely every right to believe or not to believe anyone you like, and I don't have to tell it to you or to anyone else. Therefore in the same spirit you would perhaps like to confirm from the Managing Trustee of the Ashram if anyone apart from the lawyer was present in the Court on behalf of the Ashram. Whether it should be done or not is your decision.

[3] Does it not occur to you that it will be an irresponsible act on part of the Ashram not to have sent its representative to the Court when it was an involved party mentioned in the writ petition? I don't care what others say, and so I wanted you to confirm from the Managing Trustee himself directly, if he had sent anyone to the Court in this connection. Never such a thing is done without such a representative, leaving everything to the lawyer when one is seriously involved in the matter. But if this has really happened I call it an irresponsible act. Please check.

~ RYD
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I wanted to know whether my e-mail presenting the above details was posted on the Avcompatforum. On 1 February 2010 Mauna wrote back to me as follows: “As a number of compat subscribers started objecting regarding the continuing stream of messages pertaining to this unfortunate affair, your message was not sent to the compat list, but only to some individuals who had expressed specific interest.”
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On 3 February 2010 Paulette posted the following on the Avcompatforum:

Savitra wrote the following: “Just because we point out a Big Lie does not mean we claim to have the whole truth ‘on our side’. No peaceful conciliation is possible so long as certain parties feel no hesitation to use violence and lies to achieve their ends. Even Mother told us that She could not work with us if we continued to tell lies. Was She taking a side when She said that?”

This hit me on the stomach because, whenever humans claim to be the prophets of truth, a big shadow lurks behind (in Integral Yoga, the evil persona), and the prophet(s) turn immediately into the very opposite of the professed truth. Holy inquisitors and prophets of truths abound in all camps, history keeps repeating itself. The immediate proof is that while Savitra was writing this, from the opposite camp this handwritten message from the Mother was circulated, also hitting me on the stomach:

1966: Let us serve the Truth—the Mother

Where is “the Truth”, which both parties claim, both of them in a most violent language?

There are two issues. One is fundamentalism, with all that follows; but the other is that very serious legal infractions have been perpetrated. It is certainly not with militant arrogance that a solution can be patched up. For the sake of all parties involved, let’s stop claiming “the Truth”, neither camp has it. Let’s face the shadow and collective shadow, offer it to the Mother and work it out, whatever camp we belong to (or no camp).

I have always been aware that serious legal matters were at the stake but, because of the virulent language from both camps, I ended up believing that these too were fabricated. Alas, they are not. Deshpande has sent to me and a few others a text that, if one survives through the customary attacks and jargon, presents original letters and court documents unmistakably clear. If anyone wishes to go through this, contact me; Mauna too has received the whole.

My subject at the university was history; my first paper was “The collusion between Fascism and grand capital”. Please let’s behave like historians, honoring integrity, impartially assessing documents and facts, without prejudices, without projections, without ‘isms’ and ‘truths’ and reciprocated slaughtering. The situation is extremely grave; if there is any hope to sort out this mess it is by honestly admitting what’s wrong, on both sides, and do the best we can to find a way to stop further destruction.
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http ://www.sciy. org/2010/01/24/ the-lies-about-the-lives-of-sri-aurobindo/

When Rich Carlson writes that the “Court Diary” is a “slanderous document provided by Deshpande”, I expect him to give us his approving version which he never has. It looks, he has been consistently refusing to do it. Why? But I’m not interested in the answer any more. Things have moved far ahead, and they have moved pretty fast. The miraculous Plankton has done the trick,—and thanks to the little Plankton.

But let me close the present post with the following comments which appear on the Mirror of Tomorrow. These are pertaining to The Lives of Sri Aurobindo.

http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org/blog/_archives/2010/1/7/4422539.html

[1] I don’t know if one should really take them—those who celebrate this book and defend the author—with any seriousness at all. I’m yet to see, even after year and a half of publication of the book by the prestigious Columbia University Press any worthwhile academic study, full-length or short, bringing out its gainful contributions to vast body of the biographical literature that already exists around Sri Aurobindo. I would tend to agree with the suggestion that the only answer to it is to write a biography by exploring the occult-spiritual depths of the “inner myth” that it holds for us. Until then it is all a polemical debate, of no avail, perhaps of no consequence even in the intellectual undertakings, certainly in matters spiritual.

[2] Is Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri a Fictional Creation? which is what the author of the clumsy Lives wants us to believe, that it is a “fictional creation”.

http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org/blog/_archives/2009/9/4/4310409.html

But we have the Mother declaring Savitri as “the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s vision”. If we go by her, we will be dismissed as gullible, a credulous lot who have no minds of their own. In arrogant contrast to what the Mother says, the tyros’ Lives makes it a travesty of the entire spirituality. But what are the credentials of the author or his irrational buddies to speak about this? None. I’d proposed to Rich Carlson to discuss in an open forum the Lives paragraph by paragraph and page by page. But he shirked. I don’t think I’ll be interested to do it anymore with him or his colleagues. The best they can do is to read hundreds of posts and comments that are present on the Mirror of Tomorrow if they are professionally keen to advance their understanding of things. My concern is not with the “Court Diary” but with this biography which is the cause of all our dismay. I don’t think anybody is keen to drive the matters to the Court if the Lives is given a deserving and desirable burial. Let’s hope it will happen.

RY Deshpande

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