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).
 On the 13th of February, the day the Trustees cancelled Vijay Poddar’s talk, Ajit Reddy sends to Debashish Bannerji for correction the draft of a letter addressed to Vijay Poddar. The latter finds one crucial error in the text and forwards it back. The mail is then forwarded by Aurofilio to Matriprasad who has already arranged for the cancellation of the talk and is thinking of damage control after the cancellation. On the 14th of February, after the huge disappointment of so many Ashramites on hearing that the talk has been cancelled, the final version of the letter is sent by Ajit Reddy & Co to Vijay Poddar.

I summarise in my own way the contents of the letter. It starts with a great opening sentence “a book is an inanimate object”. (Whoever wrote this should be given the Nobel prize for literature and science combined.) It continues by saying that a book gets animated by the importance you give it; that the Lives is a good book and has brought many people closer to Sri Aurobindo; that in the case of Vijay Poddar and in many other cases, this inanimate object has animated hot discussion and disgust; so please don’t transfer that negative feeling to others; instead convert the disgust into enthusiasm for the book and you will also go closer to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, notwithstanding the fact that the book is derogatory of them. Wonderful argument! I leave it to the reader to judge the merit of this argument!]


Ajit,

Thanks for passing this along. It looks good. A small error: In point 1, “...inanimate object with any life or influence” should be “inanimate object WITHOUT any life or influence.”

Hoping for the best,
Debashish


From: ajit reddy <ajitgreddy@.....in>
To: Auroskanda <SAICE@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012 9:26 AM
Subject: [SAICE] Fw:

----- Original Message -----
From: ajit reddy
To: Auroskanda
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012 10:56 PM
Subject: [SAICE] Fw:

 
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Aurofilio Schiavina <aurofilio@......com>
To: 'Matriprasad' <matri@......net>
Cc: 'ajit reddy' <ajitgreddy@......in>; 'Gautam Chatterjee' <creation@......net>; 'arindam das' <arindam_pdy@......in>; 'Ashit Kumar Mitra' <kassarr@......com>
Sent: Monday, 13 February 2012 3:44 PM
Subject:

Hello Matribhai,

After I spoke to you I have drafted this e-mail that I thought that we could send Vijay-bhai. Due to the shortage of time available I haven’t discussed it or sent it to the others before sending it to you.

I am aware that there many issues and as many ways to address this problem, but this is what I could think of. It may sound a bit argumentative in the beginning, but is meant to pave the way for the rest. Of course any improvements/suggestions welcome.

I spoke to Ajit before and the idea would be to have this (or a modified letter) signed by Ajit, Gautam, Arindam, Bulu, myself and sent to Vijay-bhaiby e-mail with Cc. to Manoj-da. Once sent we could forward it to the SYG.

Pleas let us know.
Thanks.

P.S. For the others. Matribhai said that he had classes till 4 pm and would be able to see this only after that. If in the meanwhile you want to suggest changes to Matribhai please go ahead.

Dear Vijay-bhai,

We have received an SMS which states: “VIJAY VHAI is going to speak on Ph book on Tuesday at his residence at 840 pm. All are welcome.”

This SMS is being circulated both within the Ashram as well as publicly outside of it. We understand that this is an invitation to all to attend a talk delivered by you on Peter Heehs’ book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo”. Even though we are aware of the fact that you have been a critic of Peter’s book - as you have made this public in the past - we do not wish to prejudge the content and purpose of your talk. But given the timing of your talk - the time when members of the Ashram are fighting a legal litigation against the trustees in court for this very book - we are writing to you about this invitation and to share some of our views and concerns with the hope that you please re-think your proposition.

Please sincerely consider some of our points below:

1) A book is an inanimate object which contains information that is presented in it by it’s author. A book starts getting a life when people start using that book; until then it remains just an inanimate object with any life or influence. Similarly, the ideas that are contained in a book also have no power until they are used by the people who come into contact or use those ideas. It is therefore people who give a life to a book and it is also they who determine the life of that book

2) Peter’s book “The Lives…” that was released towards the end of 2008 has been used by different people, in many diverse ways. But what stands out most is that some people have used the book to come closer to Sri Aurobindo and understand him better and some others have used the book to prove that Sri Aurobindo was being denigrated. We believe that except for Sri Aurobindo, none of us will know who is right and who is wrong and that this matter should be left to him alone, especially in the absence of a clear-cut consensus.

3) We, as children and followers of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, as students of their unique institution, the Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education (SAICE) and as children who have grown up virtually as part of Their Ashram, have been taught that we should always seek positive outcomes from our thoughts, actions and lives. Negative influences should instead be ignored if not even converted into positive ones. This approach has helped us in our lives and we are ever grateful to both Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, the SAICE, Their Ashram and all those who have imparted to us these values which guide us in any part of world and during any time of our lives.

We are therefore appealing to you, a follower of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, a member of the Ashram and a teacher at the SAICE, to ensure that you desist from encouraging further negativity in yourself, in those who wish to hear your talk, in the Ashram as well as the larger collective in the sole interest of creating the proper environment so that positivity not only emerges but firmly takes root among us. Practically speaking, we believe that a positive outcome would be one that would help the reconciliation of all involved, brining all together in unity and harmony.

But if instead your talk is meant to carry a message of negativity, towards anyone or anything, we are of the opinion that you would be going contrary to the very values that Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Their Ashram and the SAICE have imparted to us and we would therefore kindly request you to consider this before doing so. Moreover, the timing of the delivery of such a negative message – during a related on-going legal litigation in court – would even appear to have a malicious intent and design.

Dear Vijay-bhai, we therefore kindly request you to consider our message.

Sincerely,



On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 5:38 AM, ajit reddy <ajitgreddy@.....in> wrote:
 
I inadvertently sent a work in progress version of our letter to Vijay-bhai. Here is the final version of our appeal.



Dear Vijay-bhai,

We have received an SMS which states: “VIJAY VHAI is going to speak on Ph book on Tuesday at his residence at 840 pm. All are welcome.”

This SMS is being circulated both within the Ashram as well as publicly outside of it. We understand that this is an invitation to all to attend a talk delivered by you on Peter Heehs’ book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo”. Even though we are aware of the fact that you have been a critic of Peter’s book - as you have made this public in the past - we do not wish to prejudge the content and purpose of your talk. But given the timing of your talk - the time when members of the Ashram are fighting a  litigation against the trustees in court for this very book - we are writing to you about this invitation and to share some of our views and concerns with the hope that you please re-think your proposition.

Please sincerely consider some of our points below:

1) A book is an inanimate object which contains information that is presented in it by it’s author. A book starts getting a life when people start using that book; until then it remains just an inanimate object without any life or influence. Similarly, the ideas that are contained in a book also have no power until they are used by the people who come into contact or use those ideas. It is therefore people who give a life to a book and it is also they who determine the life of that book

2) Peter’s book “The Lives…” that was released towards the end of 2008 has been used by different people, in many diverse ways. But what stands out most is that some people have used the book to come closer to Sri Aurobindo and understand him better and some others have used the book to prove that Sri Aurobindo was being denigrated. We believe that except for Sri Aurobindo, none of us will know who is right and who is wrong and that this matter should be left to him alone, especially in the absence of a clear-cut consensus.

3) We, as children and followers of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, as students of their unique institution, the Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education (SAICE) and as children who have grown up virtually as part of Their Ashram, have been taught that we should always seek positive outcomes from our thoughts, actions and lives. Negative influences should instead be ignored if not even converted into positive ones. This approach has helped us in our lives and we are ever grateful to both Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, the SAICE, Their Ashram and all those who have imparted to us these values which guide us in any part of world and during any time of our lives.

We are therefore appealing to you, a follower of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, a member of the Ashram and a teacher at the SAICE, to ensure that you desist from encouraging further negativity in yourself, in those who wish to hear your talk, in the Ashram as well as the larger collective in the sole interest of creating the proper environment so that positivity not only emerges but firmly takes root among us. Practically speaking, we believe that a positive outcome would be one that would help the reconciliation of all involved, bringing all together in unity and harmony.

But if instead your talk is meant to carry a message of negativity, towards anyone or anything, we are of the opinion that you would be going contrary to the very values that Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Their Ashram and the SAICE have imparted to us and we would therefore kindly request you to consider this before doing so. Moreover, the timing of the delivery of such a negative message – during a related on-going  litigation in court – would even appear to have a malicious
 intent and design.

Dear Vijay-bhai, we therefore kindly request you to consider our message.

Sincerely,

Arimdam Das      Ajit Reddy       Bulu         Filio      Gautam
 

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