29 Feb 2012

Book row: case registered post-scuffle

The Hindu


The Grand Bazaar police have registered a case against a woman and some unknown persons in connection with the scuffle that took place at a protest organised by a few residents of the Aurobindo Ashram demanding action against the author of a book on Aurobindo.

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Book controversy takes an ugly turn

The Hindu

PUDUCHERRY, February 28, 2012

A few Aurobindo devotees stage dharna alleging that it has distorted the facts.

The issue over the controversial book on Sri Aurobindo took an ugly turn when a few of the devotees who were staging dharna outside the Ashram Trust allegedly tried to “prevent” one of the seniormost members of the Trust from entering the office and “snatch” files from his possession. Police personnel posted near the dharna site prevented the two groups from entering into a scuffle.
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Pondy Ashram Devotees Slam Book on Sri Aurobindo

Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, 27 February 2012

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram here is facing an embarrassing turmoil with a section of the inmates and devotees launching a three-day protest against the trustees of the ashram for their alleged failure to take action against inmate and US author Peter Heehs for making “denigrating” remarks against Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in his book, ‘The lives of Sri Aurobindo’.

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Three-Day Silent Protest Against the Trustees' Support for Peter Heehs

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20 Feb 2012

Application for Permission for Silent and Peaceful Protest of January 1-6, 2012

[The following application to the Pondicherry administration for the silent protest of January 1-6, 2012 was made by a few inmates of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Six of these inmates received show-cause notices from the Trustees. Why? Because they were bold enough to sit for a silent and peaceful protest against the inaction of the Trustees with regard to Peter Heehs. So what makes the Trust inactive in one case and super-active in another? That is a million dollar question! In any case, this application, which has a very good summary of events that have led to the present crisis, was attached to the show-cause notices of those inmates who signed it.]
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18 Feb 2012

The Ashram Management’s Fear Psychosis -- Ranganath Raghavan

[Why are the trustees so frightened of publicity? Why this nervousness? Who generally exhibits this kind of fear psychosis? Those who have things to hide and who are afraid that the truth will go against them! Those who stand for truth should not fear anything; they should not fear publicity of their views.(extract)] [more...]
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16 Feb 2012

Trust Replies to Prof. Kittu Reddy

  More of Sabre Rattling than Disciplinary Action
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The Gagging of Vijaybhai -- Kartik Srinivasan

Dear Ajit Reddy et al (including Matriprasad and Debashish, for approving the letter),

Your note to Vijaybhai is strange to say the least. It exposes your frequent tendency to make specious arguments and apply double standards to suit your personal interests and objectives. Let me elucidate by quoting from portions of your note:
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15 Feb 2012

The Nexus Between Some Ex-Students and Matriprasad

[The following emails were posted by mistake in the SAICE forum by a group of former students, who have been vociferously supporting Peter Heehs’s book. These leaked emails expose the nexus between Arimdam Das, Ajit Reddy, Bulu, Filio, Gautam Chatterjee and Matriprasad (the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust’s secretary) and Debashish Banerji (infamous for his highly critical remarks on Sri Aurobindo Ashram).
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14 Feb 2012

Trustees Cancel Vijay Poddar's Talk

The Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram called off Vijay Poddar's talk on the Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs. Rattled that the talk may expose the book to a larger audience in the Ashram, the Trustees requested Vijay Poddar to cancel his presentation. The talk would have created a greater awareness on the book both from the point of view of its malafide intention and dubious scholarship. It would have made a large number of Ashramites look askance at the Trustees regarding their exact position vis a vis the book. Do they support it or not? Do they approve of it or not? If they do, why don't they declare their praise and admiration for Peter Heehs. And if they don't, why don't they condemn it outright? Why this duplicitous silence! And why gag the efforts of one of the most intelligent students of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Centre of Education to throw light on it? Vijay Poddar happens to be a senior teacher at the SAICE apart from holding a position of authority in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Society, which has hundreds of centres in India and abroad. Both Ashramites and devotees and disciples from outside Pondicherry hold him in great esteem and would have been  glad to know his opinion on the book that has rocked the Ashram since the last four years. His opinion need not be officially accepted by the Trustees, but why curtail his freedom of expression, especially when they themselves don't know what to say, think or do!

Bireshwar Choudhury
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10 Feb 2012

Six More Show-Cause Notices Served by the Trust

[This is the notice issued to Varun Pabrai by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. The same has been served to five others who participated in a silent protest against the Trustees' inaction with regard to Peter Heehs and his book "Lives of Sri Aurobindo". The same strong reply of Prof. Kittu Reddy has been sent to the Trustees for all the six inmates of the Ashram. The message that comes across is that the inmates of the Ashram have no right to protest but Peter Heehs has the full liberty to criticise and denigrate Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in their own Ashram.]

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3 Feb 2012

Ranganath Raghavan's Response to "A Declaration of Solidarity"

To Jay Raichuria and Meera Gupta (Sabda)

To anyone reading your “Declaration” casually and superficially, it will appear to contain very sound reflections and plausible ideas. But a closer scrutiny will reveal  that the words are high sounding without  solid content. We are having a closer look at your declaration  in a more deliberate manner  and these are my reactions. 

“The nature of the attack against the Ashram…”  

 1.   It is NOT an attack against the Ashram, it is a peaceful protest by some of the Ashramites and devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother against the non-action (or rather active support) of the management, against an offender who, even while being an Ashramite, thinks it is admissible, even justifiable to find fault with the Guru. This is absolutely inadmissible in any spiritual life, specially so in the Indian tradition.

“The Ashram Trust has done nothing to deny or hamper either of these interconnected aims. None can say that the environment in the Ashram is not conducive to or does not facilitate the practice of their own sadhana. That should be our primary concern.”

2.  Not true. Several members of the Ashram have been removed from their usual work, thus interfering with their normal functions. This has been done often for petty egoistic reasons, allowing the members to draw the conclusion that to insult Sri Aurobindo is admissible but to criticize other Ashramites is punishable. What could be more foolish than this!! Besides, we may say that individual sadhana is not the only purpose in the Ashram. The collective sadhana is equally important and this imposes many responsibilities on the management which they have to discharge with great care and equity. Removing members from their work spots on relatively flimsy grounds does not seem to meet the requirements expected of the trustees.
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2 Feb 2012

Ashram Trust Issues Show-cause Notice to Prof. Kittu Reddy

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