16 Feb 2014

The Literary and Literal Manoj Das ― by Sricharan Singh

Has Manoj Das any occult or spiritual vision of these forces or are these only the products of his fertile literary brain? In this context, the remark of the respected Odiya sadhak late Babaji Sri Ramakrishna Das, who had a profound occult vision, is worth mentioning. About 35 years ago, when a sadhak went for some work to Babaji’s room near the Ashram, Babaji asked him, “Have you seen who has come to my room just now?” The sadhak replied, “Yes, I saw Manoj babu was going out.” Then Babaji told him, “When that person entered my room, I saw a dark force entering my room.” The sadhak was astonished. But after 35 years he found out how true was Babaji’s vision! [extract, read full article below]
The Literary and Literal Manoj Das ― Sricharan Singh

Once upon a time there was a man in a rural area whose name was Nityacharan. He used to preach high moral principles. People regarded him as a great man of moral principles and expected that one day he would bring a lot of reform in their uncultured locality and that common men would be very much benefited by him. In course of time this expectation came true. Nityacharan appealed to the Government to launch a revolution against the use of intoxicants in the locality. The Government readily granted help for this noble purpose. Nityacharan started an office with a big signboard “Anti-Intoxicant Society”. He got a lot of money from the Government in the name of this Society. He was respected as a great ideal man by the people.

Days passed by. Nityacharan became very popular and stood in the election for the post of MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) and won it with massive support. Afterwards he became the Health Minister of the State and got many awards for his social service. The activity of his Society expanded. Several workers started working there. During the day they preached abstinence citing lines from moral literature emphasising the evil effects of intoxicants. But at night, to the horror of people, the same workers secretly sold wine, opium and other intoxicants.

Some courageous people asked the Minister Nityacharan, “Sir, your office signboard claims that you are running an anti-intoxicant society. During daytime the activities of your Society match its signboard, but at night it is the very opposite! And you are a Minister of Health. How is this possible, Sir?” With a sweet smile Nityacharan replied, “What is the harm, Sir? During daytime I follow the ideals and principles of my institution. But at night, in my personal time, I follow my individual ideals and principles. My name also has two parts: Niti + Acharan. The first part Niti observes the institutional ideals; the second part Acharan follows my individual ideals. Institutionally I am anti-intoxicant, but individually I am pro-intoxicant. Individual behavior need not follow institutional behavior!” People were astonished to listen to such wonderful arguments of the Health Minister to justify his double standards. But they could not argue further as Nityacharan was a well established person with many awards to support his reputation.

In this context Prof. Manoj Das’s instance comes to my mind. As he is a renowned scholar and at the same time a Sadhak in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, people expect to be inspired by at least a high moral standard in him, leave alone his spiritual conduct. But these people are always disappointed when they constantly find double standards in his conduct.

I have come to know from reliable sources that recently he wrote a letter to some Oriya ladies who have complained about him staying with his wife in the same house, which is contrary to the rules of the Ashram. Manoj wrote to them in frenzy, “Listen …. I hang my head in shame when I remember that you hail from my home state, Odisha. I have known thousands of Odiya mothers and sisters. They are so noble, so good! How on earth you … have become so filthy and diseased in your minds?”

The statement reveals that his literary figure is full of praise for the dignity of Odisha, Odiya people, and especially the women of Odisha. This is his loud utterance. But in action, he is the very opposite. In 2010 a young Odiya lady was sexually harassed by the Manager of a guest house of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and the concerned authorities did not pay any heed to this emotionally shattered weeping lady. When the matter was reported to the Odiya admirer Manoj Das, he reacted as if his heart was broken to pieces and proclaimed, “This is a very serious crime that demands immediate investigation and the victim should be given proper protection and justice.” But moments later when the face of his Lord Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, appeared before him, his emotional gas evaporated. He did nothing, because if he had acted, then his Lord and his Lord’s henchman (the guest house Manager) would have been in trouble. He therefore accepted his Lord’s decision that the victim (Odiya girl) should either bear the molestation or concede to the sexual solicitations of the Manager, or go back to Odisha where she could find work in a Sri Aurobindo Centre or Integral School. The lady’s Dining Room food was stopped and she was removed from the Odiya Nilayam guest house. Finding all avenues of survival closed, the lady returned helplessly to Odisha. This happened in front of the Odiya admirer Manoj Das, who is considered to be one of the chief advisers of his Lord Manoj Das Gupta.

On a different occasion, when another Odiya girl of the Ashram who was very intimate with Manoj Das and his wife, complained about sexual harassment by her departmental head, the same Manoj Das consoled her saying, “These things happen in the Ashram, but you have to adjust with such kind of behaviour. Otherwise how can you continue to stay in the Ashram!”

These are only two well-known complaints to Manoj Das. There are several complaints to him not known to people in the Ashram. Yet on 13.11.2013 Manoj Das writes to his literary friend Dr. Kartikeshwar Patra, an ex-MP from Balasore, “I am here in the Ashram for more than half a century. I have never witnessed anything which can be called as sexual harassment. If any weakness has taken place, immediate appropriate remedial action has been taken!”

On 27.02.2012 during a Dharna in front of the Grace Office (nicknamed Disgrace or Case Office) against the corrupt Trustees, the senior Trustee Dr. Dilip Datta (nicknamed Dr Death) and his daughter Shoma openly insulted Odiya protesters by shouting at them, “You bloody Odiya devotees, you stupid Odiyas.” When the question was raised in the Odisha Assembly regarding this blatant racial abuse, the Odiya admirer Manoj Das immediately rang up the leaders of the political party and discouraged them from pursuing the matter. This is his way of serving his false Lords, the Ashram Trustees.

It is to be noted that Manoj Das often says, “Though I am born in Odisha, I do not feel myself like an Odiya.” Why is Manoj Das embarrassed to be an Odiya? Does he feel himself more worthy of respect by not being identified as an Odiya? Or is it some ploy to show some kind of fake universality?

Manoj Das writes, “I challenge these disgusted gentlemen / ladies to name one MP whom I met for this purpose”. In the same paragraph he writes, “Upon one such trip … I met a Minister, an acquaintance of mine who is elected MP from my native home constituency. We discussed over tea several issues and naturally the signatures obtained with systematic efforts by the ‘Singhs’ against the Trust figured in our discussion.” After denying that he met any MPs in this matter, he goes on to admit in the same paragraph that he met an MP-cum-Minister! Such is the duplicity of Manoj Das.

Manoj Das claims he is the first person to find out more than 90 highly objectionable, factually wrong and harmful passages in Peter Heehs’s controversial book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo”. But when he found his false Lord Manoj Das Gupta was not prepared to criticise Peter’s book, he turned around and declared, “Everybody has freedom of speech. One can write the biography of anybody. So the protest against Peter is bound to fail.”

Manoj Das once advised an Inmate, “You know very well that each difficulty we face here is a chance for taking a forward step in the sadhana and the solution lies in our consciousness, not in any outward victory. It is the Mother who presides over our sadhana and destiny. If somebody has done wrong to me, if at all, he will face the spiritual consequence. I need not be over anxious about that, I need not run to a Collector or an MLA.” But Manoj Das himself goes to the police, the Courts and politicians even for small things like a conflict regarding his brother-in-law’s property. To rescue his Lord Manoj Das Gupta from trouble, he will meet VIPs not empty-handed but allegedly with briefcases and use his popularity as a writer to convince them.

When his Odiya friends write to him asking why the Ashram guest house Managers intimidate devotees who have protested against Peter’s abuse of Sri Aurobindo, Manoj Das replies, “The Ashram never indulges in vindictiveness.” Then he writes in the same paragraph, “If the Ashram has enforced any prohibition today, it may be withdrawn tomorrow.” He cunningly uses the word “Ashram” in place of the “Trustees”. A bunch of five Trustees do not comprise the Ashram!

When he writes “Ashram does not indulge in vindictiveness”, he means “Trustees are not vindictive”. But Manoj Das knows very well that the Trustees have been brutally vindictive (sometimes on his advice) with innumerable inmates and devotees. Manoj Das knows well that the Trustees have served legal show-cause notices to more than seven inmates for participating in a Dharna to protest against Peter Heehs’s abuse of Sri Aurobindo. Furthermore Prof. RY Deshpande, Radhikaranjan Das, Vishnulalit Singh, Sraddhalu Ranade, Abala Mohanty, Sudha Sinha, Niranjan Naik and others have been dismissed from their service to the Mother because they spoke out against the anti-Guru activities of the Trustees. Several other inmates have been denied of their facilities in the Ashram. Trustees have sent the Police to the Dining Room to snatch the food of devotees who were eating and dragged them to the Police Station for no other reason than to have dared to question their wrong actions! Yet Manoj Das pretends as if nobody knows these things, and he continues to lie blatantly, hoping that eventually his lies will replace the truth that all can actually see!

No doubt Manoj Das is a well-known literary person. But he is a totally frustrated editor. Towards the last part of his life, he wanted to enjoy the post of an editor. So through his false Lord Manoj Das Gupta he dislodged Niranjan Naik, the Editor of the well-established Odiya monthly magazine Navaprakash, and became its unofficial editor while putting a dummy editor in front. When he was accused of this mean act he wrote, “I had nothing to do with the earlier editor’s departure from his task.” But his false Lord, the Managing Trustee, Manoj Das Gupta, wrote a letter stating that he took this action in consultation with “the noted Odiya writer Padmashri Manoj Das (a fellow of the Sahitya Academy, winner of Saraswati Samman and various other national literary awards”). The “noted Odiya writer” went on to demand the earlier editor’s departure and forced his early removal by boycotting the journal and stopping his article in the January 2011 issue of Navaprakash.

When the objection of staying with his wife in the Ashram was raised, Manoj Das furiously wrote back, “You have chosen to try embarrass, humiliate and shame others through this nastiest of questions, cannot think, the level of animal consciousness where you are, how painful it is for us to respond to you”. But when Peter Heehs wrote that the relation between the Mother and Sri Aurobindo was romantic, the same Manoj Das said, “Everybody has the right to freedom of speech, and so Heehs can express his views freely and nothing should be done about it.” So according to Manoj Das, the freedom of speech is only applicable in case of insult to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo by an American taxi-driver. But when it is applied to criticise his own actions, it becomes the nastiest thing and an act of animal consciousness! Surely this must be the inspiration of the diamond-bright, shining spiritual force in the sole possession of Manoj Das.

Manoj Das’ latest attempt is to influence important persons, including ex-Governors, with the weight of his titles and put pressure on the Government of Odisha to withdraw its ban on Peter Heehs’ book! In his view only Peter Heehs, M.D.G. and his sycophants, and Manoj Das himself are the vehicles of the diamond-bright shining spiritual forces. But those who protest against their misdeeds are possessed by pitch dark hostile forces. One such instance can be taken from Manoj Das’s letter on 13.11.2013 to his literary friend, ex-M.P. Dr. Kartikeshwar Patra. In the 3rd paragraph of his letter he has written “But the lady you mentioned was completely possessed and controlled by dark forces.” This lady is none other than the late Kumud-ben, the personal attendant of the Mother and caretaker of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s rooms.

Again in the 5th paragraph of his letter, Manoj Das has written, “Those whose appeal and request inspired you to take some steps are very cunning and their clever use of Sri Aurobindo’s name has naturally influenced you. But unfortunately they have become weapons in the hands of dark forces. Many really bright, intelligent and scholarly people can also be controlled by dark forces. But these poeple also can be controlled by dark forces. But these people who are influencing you can never claim to be in the same league.”

Has Manoj Das any occult or spiritual vision of these forces or are these only the products of his fertile literary brain? In this context, the remark of the respected Odiya sadhak late Babaji Sri Ramakrishna Das, who had a profound occult vision, is worth mentioning. About 35 years ago, when a sadhak went for some work to Babaji’s room near the Ashram, Babaji asked him, “Have you seen who has come to my room just now?” The sadhak replied, “Yes, I saw Manoj babu was going out.” Then Babaji told him, “When that person entered my room, I saw a dark force entering my room.” The sadhak was astonished. But after 35 years he found out how true was Babaji’s vision!

In his public statements, Manoj Das claims credit for exposing 90 perverse passages in Peter Heehs’s book, but in his private actions, he goes out of his way to promote the very same book that abuses his Guru. He follows the fine example of Nityacharan, whose institutional behaviour differs from his individual behaviour. Thus Manoj Das’s literary behaviour totally differs from his literal behaviour and his pompous words never match with his actions.

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