23 May 2014

The Supreme Court Verdict on the Five Sisters – Bireshwar Choudhury

Three newspapers (Times of India, New Indian Express & Deccan Chronicle) have recently reported the adverse judgement delivered on the Five Prasad Sisters by the Supreme Court of India on the 29th of April 2014. The sisters have been ordered to vacate their present quarters in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, by July 31st. What is however strange is that none of the newspaper reports mention that the Ashram Trust will have to bear the expenditure of the Five Sisters staying outside the Ashram premises! The Ashram Trust will have to pay them a minimum of Rs 29000/ every month (subject to fair review and appeal on account of inflation and other factors as this amount was fixed by the High Court a long while ago) for accommodation, food and other basic necessities of life until the original suit pending in the Pondicherry Court since 2005 has been disposed of.
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16 May 2014

History of the Ashram School (6) – Kittu Reddy

 We shall now go into the details of the points mentioned at the end of the previous article.

1. The first point was Mother’s keenness to introduce the free system from the Primary section to those children who were ready; this was to be done in a graduated manner starting at the age of 7-9 in the section known as Avenir. Almost from the very beginning of December when the interviews began, Mother wanted us to explore the possibility of finding out the children in the Primary section who were ready to use their freedom in the right way. As expected there was some resistance from some teachers and a lot more from parents; there were also some minor misunderstandings among the teachers. Some of them wrote to Mother to explain their position; while Mother appreciated their goodwill, She was firm that this should be started and tried out on however small a scale. Consequently She sent Tanmaya to identify these children and two or three were chosen with Mother’s approval. Here is an extract from the Mother’s talk:
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12 May 2014

GURU NINDA ― by Niranjan Naik

[There is a story behind this article. It was originally written in Oriya for the November 2008 issue of Navaprakash by Niranjan Naik, who was its editor for the last 38 years. The Peter Heehs controversy had erupted around mid-August / September 2008, shocking the devotees and disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The question that figured most prominently in their minds was how an Ashramite could insult the Guru. Niranjan Naik answered the question indirectly in his article without mentioning any names. The November 2008 issue was printed and even bound at the Ashram Press when the matter was brought to the notice of the Ashram Trust. The Managing Trustee, on the advice of Manoj Das, immediately ordered the scrapping of the article and 9700 copies of the magazine had to be redone. The cover pages were torn and the pages of the article were shredded to bits. Luckily, a few copies of the article were preserved, xeroxed and distributed in Orissa where it elicited a highly favourable response. It is in the light of this event that readers of this site should judge the dubious public statement made by the Ashram Trust in 2012 with regard to freedom of speech and belief in Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

The story does not end there. Niranjan Naik was later removed from the editorship of Navaprakash in January 2011 under pressure from Manoj Das. His daily work of carrying the letters and offerings of devotees in Orissa to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s rooms was abruptly taken away from him by Manoj Das Gupta. Even now, he constantly faces harassment by the henchmen of the Trustees in spite of lodging two police complaints. This is the mundane reality of the present Ashram administration. – Bireshwar]
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8 May 2014

The History of the Ashram School (5) – Kittu Reddy

Before we move on to the next part dealing with the meetings with Mother, it is important to mention about another aspect of the project of The Spiritual History of India. Manoj Das Gupta wrote a letter to Mother regarding the project to which Mother replied with a long comment in a conversation with Satprem. We are reproducing the conversation below.

5 April 1967  
(Mother writes a note.) It is an answer to a question. Do you know what I told the teachers of the school? I have been asked another question. Here is the beginning of my reply:  
“The division between `ordinary life' and `spiritual life' is an outdated antiquity.”
Did you read his question? Read it again to me.
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4 May 2014

Analysis of the Preface of Peter Heehs’ The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Bio-2 – part 6) – A Zombified Disciple

Murders in the Land of the Naïve – 8

Heehs wrote Sri Aurobindo: A Brief Biography, OUP, 1989 (Bio-1), The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, CUP, 2008, (Bio-2) & much else in the same vein. Bio-1 was, perforce, subtly devious; Bio-2 is a shameless tour de force of perfidy.[1] His pseudonym ‘Marcher’ is a fusion of his fêted forebears Catherine Mayo (1867-1940) & William Archer (1856-1924), though Marcherism – degrading the Sanatana Dharma & vilifying the greatest children of Mother India – was born centuries them. The entire credit for his thriving at the expense of his subject and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram goes to his Daemon, a special emission of “the falsehood of the mental, vital and physical Powers and Appearances that still rule the earth-Nature”.[2]
All text in Italics is from Bio-1, Bio-2 & their prefaces; all in Roman is mine. I have often interspersed my comments in Roman within Marcher’s text which is always in Italics.
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1 May 2014

The History of the Ashram School (4) – Kittu Reddy

We shall now take up the period from 1968 to November 1973 when the Mother left Her body.

As already mentioned En Avant was started in December 1967. We still had the two separate sections En Avant and Vers La Perfection, functioning separately. However in December 1968, the two sections got united and we had one section called En Avant Vers La Perfection. In the first two years, the responsibility of running these sections were given to Tanmay, Amita and Kittu. Despite the two sections being united, they were still sitting in two separate blocks in the Eastern and Western parts respectively. One revealing incident happened at that time.
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