25 Feb 2013

Comment on "The Present State of Sri Aurobindo Ashram" – A direct disciple

Dear Editor,

Except to those enslaved to their bare necessities of life – status, position, security, etc – the physical organisation called “The Sri Aurobindo Ashram” has long been materialising Sri Aurobindo’s diagnosis of 19 July 1926 – before its ‘birth’: “All ashramas have a tendency to degeneration. It is due to the incapacity of human nature. Whatever it receives from above, it spoils very soon. As long as the influence of the founder lasts, his teaching remains pure, but then his disciples, who cannot fully grasp it or can only grasp it intellectually, deform the whole thing.” [Conversations, Sri Aurobindo Circle, 1978]

Here is an evocative simile of how and why – in spite of / because of so many direct disciples with decades of ‘Ashram life’ as Mother’s child – that Sri Aurobindo Ashram which was born and organised by the Divine Grace has degenerated to this extent.
                                     Facilis Descensus

In highest heavens the Ganges’ course began;
            From Shiva’s loftiest brow to the white snows
She tumbles, nor on the cold summits can,
            But headlong seeks the valley and the rose.
Thence downward still the heaven-born waters ran.

Say not, “Is this that Ganges? can her place
            Be now so low? Rather when man at all
From heavenly reason swerves, he sinks from grace
            Swiftly. A thousand voices downward call,
A thousand doors are opened to his fall.
 Sri Aurobindo [CWSA-5: 318]

 In spite of our quarterly Kumbh-melas and periodical pageants and displays hauling in tourists by the thousands, in spite of our salesmen churning up speeches and articles and biographies by the hundreds raking in swarms of parasites seeking free quick-fixes & reservations in the New Heaven copyrighted by us, we are rushing farther away than ever from learning Lesson One in Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga: “In the Hour of God, cleanse thy soul of all self-deceit and hypocrisy and vain self-flattery that thou mayest look straight into thy spirit and hear that which summons it.”

Safely ensconced in “all insincerity of nature” we hold up our direct disciple’s identity-cards, ignoring Sri Aurobindo’s warning: “…thou sayest God’s hand will be with me and the Divine Mother near with her gracious smile or succour? And thou knowest not then that God’s grace is more difficult to have or to keep than the nectar of the Immortals or Kuvera’s priceless treasures?... Beautiful is the face of the Divine Mother, but she too can be hard and terrible…. Strive rightly and thou shalt have; trust and thy trust shall in the end be justified; but the dread Law of the Way is there and none can abrogate it.” [CWSA-12:156]

 Unlike the laws of our good old human courts: circumvented and abrogated!

One of the direct disciples


  1. And read the following. And from one who has supposedly come from across the wide seas here to do sadhana! And then he travels to a distant place to make such a statement! And for what purpose? And to justify his obnoxious Lives! which neither has historical merit, nor true scholarship, nor literary qualification, and certainly there is nothing spiritual in it, not even a drop of truth of the kind! And falsification calling "Sri Aurobindo" simply "Aurobindo" who does not exist in the Ashram! It seems to be paid news! And with what intentions? Is it because the visa is hanging in the balance? Probably. But the one question that the sponsors should answer is: What is the work for the Ashram he has been doing during the last one year? The rest could be inconsequential.

    "... Heehs sported questions on his book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” that created controversy and a furor recently. He said that there is a small dissident group in Pondicherry Ashram which is always interested in discrediting the Ashram Trust and capture power and he being a foreigner with greater access to the archives and records and thereafter writing critically, became an automatic target of this dissident group."


    1. Thanks for pointing it out as "paid news" and for the matter-of-fact question:"But the one question that the sponsors should answer is: What is the work for the Ashram he has been doing during the last one year? The rest could be inconsequential."

      This reminds us how an erstwhile inmate—brought up by the Mother and having been of immense utility to the Ashram throughout his life—had chosen lately to pay for his meals at the Ashram Dining Room; shortly before he died, he was brutally intimated by the Managing Trustee that his presence was "nefarious" at the Dining Room. It was a punitive measure for his condemning the ignominious self-styled "Lives of Sri Aurobindo".

      Have you sent it to the Shillong Journal? There is scope to investigate on the Journalist.

      -- A comment from a correspondent via e-mail to me