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.
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