30 Jul 2012

Letter to the Managing Trustee by Shri Ramsinh Rathwa, Member of Parliament, Vadodara, Gujarat

Namaskar,                                                   16 July, 2012

Jai Bharat. My visits to the Sri Aurobindo Baroda centre for the purchase of art paper during my days as a student of Fine Arts in the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, presented me with the opportunity to become acquainted with the life of Sri Aurobindo. Interestingly, this iconic freedom fighter, philosopher, and yogi stayed in this city for 11 years, serving the Maharaja in various capacities till 1906 when he left the position of Vice-principal, Baroda College, to plunge himself in the revolutionary movement against the British in Bengal. Baroda also happens to be the place where he realised his first major spiritual siddhi.

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27 Jul 2012

Fourth Letter of Bengaluru Study Circle to the Trustees

Dear Shri Manoj Dasgupta,

It may kindly be recalled that you had once raised with the Mother the question of attack of hostile forces (Georges Vrekhem, Beyond Man (2007), p 315) albeit in a different context. That was long ago in 1955 when you were still a student at the Ashram school. We do compliment you on these concerns voiced precociously at such a young age. These hostile forces are still at work of which Peter is a symptom. And isn't it also an uncanny coincidence that the responsibility of leading the fight against these forces of falsehood now rests with you as the Managing Trustee?

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25 Jul 2012

Malice in Wonderland ─ An Observer

However, since a few years, there is a growing malice in this Wonderland. Deliberate efforts are made to avoid transparency, to distort things and maintain double standards. The malice is very deep-seated and the devil seems to be smiling at his own success. Now I am particularly pointing at the two news items titled “MPs seek ashram explanation on Heehs's book”, and “Ashram takes neutral stand on Heehs issue” in the The Times of India  dated 12 and 13 July, 2012 respectively. Both the reports have been obviously drafted with the consent and at the demand of the Ashram Trustees. First of all, the said book has been officially banned by the Indian government and a proper gazette notification has been issued by the High Court of Orissa. Why was the matter not challenged then and taken up now after 3 years? Why is this basic point always evaded in the media? [extract]

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22 Jul 2012

Letter to the Managing Trustee by Shri Balkrishna Shukla, Member of Parliament, Vadodara, Gujarat

Dear Sir,

Sri Aurobindo – a freedom fighter, yogi, philosopher, and seer – through his spiritual writings has comprehensively covered all dimensions of human life. Countless devotees, scattered throughout the world, inspired by these writings and having faith in his Integral Yoga are practising sadhana and endeavouring to lead a higher life in the light of the same.

With utmost reverence the Indian Parliament has enshrined the statues of Mahatma Gandhiji, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Shri Vallabhai Patel and other such eminent personalities in the Parliament House. In a similar manner, the statue of Sri Aurobindo too has been installed there proving to be a source of inspiration to the Members of Parliament and to the citizens of India. Thus, the Parliament, which is symbolic of all Indians, pays too obeisance to Sri Aurobindo.
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19 Jul 2012

Two Comments by an Inmate on “Misconceptions About the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust Deed”


A most essential truth regarding the management of Ashram properties was put in writing by the Mother on 10 February 1933, long before it became one of the key reasons for rushing through the Trust Deed, the way it had to be done:

The Ashram with all its real estate and moveable property belongs to Sri Aurobindo… and if my name sometimes appears…, it is…, a matter of convenience for the papers, since it is I who “manage” everything, but not because I really own them.” [CWM 16:8]

It is most significant that thus informed, Mother’s son AndrĂ©, who could have legally claimed all Ashram estates & properties, remained – in thought, word, & deed, – perfectly obedient to his mother’s gentle warning. Was every Trustee or his/her representative or Dept. Head who had the responsibility to “manage” any, even the most ‘insignificant’ Ashram estate or property, as fully conscious as Mother & as perfectly obedient as AndrĂ© – in thought, word, & deed – that he/she was ‘managing” Sri Aurobindo personal estates & properties & not his own? Whatever the answer(s) may be, those who sincerely believe that both Sri Aurobindo & Mother are as actively present as ever, can rest assured that They know even more fully than any Trustee or representative ever did or do, not only the answer(s) but everything that flowed from it, for ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

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18 Jul 2012

Importance of being an Example ─ Ritwik Banerji

Mother wanted teachers to be living examples in their life. Where shall we find them now? True that one should set the example first before wanting it in others. But now our eyes are focussed on the Ashram and these eyes see Manoj Das Gupta as a liar, a hypocrite and a treacherous and shameless person. He gives protection and shelter to a criminal in the Ashram and is furious when someone raises a finger at him and, posing as a hard task-master, takes disciplinary/punitive action against him/her.

It is high time the world knows what he really means by saying that the book of Peter Heehs is neither "prescribed nor proscribed' and it is for each reader to judge it individually. What emerges from this is:

(1) First and foremost, the other trustees, under the spell and pressure of Manoj Das Gupta, are not at all sincere and open to the truth.

(2) Secondly, unwittingly, the statement is an admission on their part that the book is a betrayal of the Ideals of the Master which the Ashram stands for. Otherwise, why should they leave it to the reader to judge it for himself? The same statement should be equally valid for Sri Aurobindo’s own works such as The Life Divine, etc. which are sponsored by the Ashram. There are so many articles published in Ashram journals. Are they all left to the readers to judge for themselves? Is there no editorial discretion or control exercised over them?

(3) So far neither any reviews nor any extracts from the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo have appeared in Ashram journals and newsletters even while reviews of other books feature regularly. Why? Obviously because the trustees have no guts or face to say that the book is a work of ignominy and villainy.

(4) A few disciples and devotees have courageously taken on their shoulders the task of exposing the nexus behind all this, and they are criticised and opposed like enemies of the Ashram and put to all sorts of inconveniences.

(5) Should one imagine now that Manoj Das Gupta is too great a sadhak of Integral Yoga to abdicate his power and position for anybody else to take over?

Ritwik  Banerjee  
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13 Jul 2012

MPs seek ashram explanation on Heehs’s book

The Times Of India Chennai; Date: Jul 12, 2012;
Bosco Dominique / TNN

Puducherry: The controversy over the biography ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ by US histo­rian Peter Heehs refuses to die down with dissenting views cropping up again over the book. Several MPs across the country have questioned the Sri Aurobindo Ashram trust­ees for not taking any action against the historian.

Sixty-eight MPs, including Union minister of state (inde­pendent charge) for statistics and programme implementa­tion Srikant Kumar Jena, for­mer Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and former chairperson of National Com­mission for Women Girija Vyas, who are of the view that the historian made “denigra­ting and unacceptable re­marks” on Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa, fondly referred to as the Mother, sought clarifi­cation from the trustee for “the mismanagement of the Heehs affair.”

In a letter (dated June 6) ad­dressed to the board of trustees of the ashram, the MPs de­manded an explanation from them for not initiating any ac­tion against the historian de­spite the trustees going on re­cord to say that the book had “crossed all limits of simple de­cency” and in fact “denigrated Sri Aurobindo”. The trustees had later changed their stance on the book. The MPs in their letter, a copy of which has been obtained by the TOI, ques­tioned whether they were “un­der pressure from external agencies”.

Claiming that former col­leagues of Peter Heehs had brought to the trustees’ notice the theft of the ashram’s intel­lectual property the MPs ac­cused them of failing to initiate legal or criminal action against the historian-publish­er. “The assets of the Sri Auro­bindo Ashram belong to the beneficiaries in particular and the public at large and one indi­vidual cannot be permitted to gain financially at the cost of the institution,” they argued.

The MPs said the recent public protests by devotees had brought public attention on their lapses and questioned them what went wrong with the management recently and what steps they have taken to “cultivate internal transparen­cy, democracy and administra­tive reforms”.
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9 Jul 2012

Misconceptions about the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust Deed – From the History Desk

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust Deed was signed on May 1, 1955. The circumstances which necessitated the formation of the Trust were very material, namely the transfer of French India (of which Pondicherry was the capital) to independent India on November 1, 1954. On this date, the transfer that took place was de facto, which means “existing in fact”. It took a few more years for the transfer to be de jure, that is, to be legalised and ratified by both the French and Indian parliaments. This second and final de jure transfer happened on August 16, 1962 – that is why Pondicherry celebrates August 15 & 16, one for the independence of India and the other for the merger of Pondicherry with India. The Ashram Trust was thus formed to safeguard the numerous Ashram properties which were in the name of the Mother, who remained a French citizen. The Mother had requested the Indian Govt to grant her dual citizenship, French and Indian, because she said she was French by birth and Indian by soul and spiritual choice. But the Indian Govt did not concede to her request.

Thus the Ashram Trust deed was not drafted keeping in mind the future of the Ashram. It was primarily meant to protect the properties of the Ashram in the changed political circumstances of Pondicherry, for the Ashram properties might have been even confiscated under the Indian law which had not yet come into force in 1955. The Trust Deed was thus hurriedly drafted and registered at Vanur, which comes under Tamilnadu (formerly Madras State which was part of independent India). The Ashram apparently had to show the ownership of some property in Indian territory in order to be able to register the Trust Deed, so it bought the Lake Estate for the said purpose. [extract]

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6 Jul 2012

Our Ashram Belongs to Sri Aurobindo: who does not know this? ─ Kavita Singh

Now we see that there are two movements here, the first which automatically attracts the second: Heehs’s book rocking the very foundations of the Ashram with Manoj Das Gupta’s sanction to it, and the second movement of protest destabilising the Trustees.

If the Managing Trustee gives sanction to a book that intends to break the very foundations of the Ashram, he naturally draws upon himself and the other Trustees (for we don’t know why they all mysteriously follow him!) their own destabilisation.

In the field of work we have to often carry out things as instructed by those who are in charge, but our work itself, our life, our thoughts and all that we are belong to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and nobody else. We are not subordinates to the person whose instructions we have to obey.

Therefore, though we have to carry out the instructions of the Trustees (which must be in line with what the Mother has chalked out for us), we need not obey them when that means turning our backs to our Gurus. [extract]

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3 Jul 2012

Letter to the Trustees from Sri Aurobindo Centre, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Dear Trustees

We are disciples and devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother from Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

We are deeply pained to see that the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo written by Peter Heehs is not yet disapproved by the Ashram Trust.

It is more than 4 years and the Ashram Trust has failed to act in spirit and action to disapprove the book publicly and officially and remove Peter Heehs from the Archives department and the Ashram.

The book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo written by Peter Heehs is defaming and denigrating the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and twist their teachings. The managing trustee himself has accepted this and issued a statement officially. But the Ashram Trust has not acted yet.

We are disturbed by this fact and hence we undersigned disciples demand the following remedies to be done without fail and immediately.
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