11 Jul 2014

Reply to Manoj Das’s Letter to Niranjan Naik – by Sripad Singh

Dear Mr. Das,

I have read your letter of 15.06.2014 to Niranjan-bhai (Niranjan Naik). As you have requested him not to say anything about you, I am interested to reply to your letter because I am thoroughly conversant with the facts of the controversy. Also the nature of your letter demands an answer.

On 10.05.2013 in your article “Last Appeal”, you had said that you will not to write anything more on the present controversy in the Ashram. As you frequently break your own promise and baffle the common devotees and disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, an answer to your letter is therefore badly needed. All your letters like the present one are factually wrong, unsubstantial, discordant, irrelevant and full of unnecessary emotion.

You have written to Niranjan-bhai, “You know a considerable number of malicious writings have been written against me. Some were anonymous and some were with pseudo names. It is the belief of all that you have written all these articles. I am not curious about it. It is a general fact that we cannot escape the consequences of our own actions. I have not done anything that is harmful to you.”

Dear Mr. Das, if you know that everybody reaps the consequence of his own karma, then why do you write again and again such baseless letters full of falsehood, breaking you noble promises to remain silent? I have read so many articles on the Internet (www.thelivesofsriaurobindo.com)  regarding you in which you have been seriously accused. But you have never dared to reply to these accusations. You say you have not done any harm to Niranjan-bhai. I would rather say, “What more harm can you do to him?” I mention below a few examples of the harm caused to Niranjan-bhai by your revengeful actions.

1. As the authorised guardian of Navajyoti Karyalaya after the passing away of Babaji and Prapatti, had you not suggested to Niranjan-bhai to step down from his post of the manager on the evening of 29.05.2006? The next morning, on 30.05.2006, had he not told you to write his resignation on his behalf as he did not know what to write? You did that and he immediately copied it by hand and submitted it to the Managing Trustee. Why did you do so and with whose persuasion?

2. Niranjan-bhai had written a general article entitled “Guru Ninda” for the November 2008 issue of the Oriya magazine Navaprakash, of which he was the editor since its inception in 1970. When the magazine was ready to be released from the Ashram Press, you advised the Managing Trustee Manoj Das Gupta to stop the article. It was done without informing the poor editor.  

3.  You stopped giving your articles in the January 2011 issue of Navaprakash with the demand that Niranjan Naik should be completely dissociated from Navaprakash. You sent word through Ms Jayanti Tripathy, the manager of Navajyoti Karyalaya, that so long as Niranjan Naik is the editor of Navaprakash, you will not contribute to the magazine. Your adorable Lord Manoj Das Gupta fulfilled your wish. So from February 2011, your articles appeared in Navaprakash and Niranjan-bhai was thrown out.  It is worth mentioning that your contribution to Navaprakash from August 2002 was only possible after the passing away of Prapatti and Babaji at the request of Niranjan-bhai.

4. After the passing away of Babaji and Prapatti, the Trustees take all the decisions regarding Navajyoti Karyalaya in consultation with you. Since the time of the Mother Niranjan-bhai used to go daily to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s rooms in order to take the offering and prayers of the devotees of Odisha and bringing back for them the Mother’s blessings, messages and other necessary things. This was also stopped. Even getting the required blessings and messages indirectly from another lady was also stopped.

5. His colleagues in Navajyoti were told to harass and torture him at his workplace so that he will be compelled to leave Navajyoti. They displaced his table, almirah, phone and other things in his absence. They even stole the key of his almirah and took away his cupboard containing messages. Every day they take away the chairs in front of his table, which he has to bring back. They mislead or threaten the visitors who come to see him. They even threatened to stop him from coming to Navajyoti by locking the office door. They could not do so because the matter was reported to the Police. An Ashram gounda (Arupananda) was sent to his office room to beat him up on 21.04.2014 at around 12.10 P.M. In this case also, the police was informed. Niranjan-bhai does not get a copy of the magazines or even his own books written and compiled by him. There are so many other things which need not be mentioned.

6. You had called a meeting of all the Navajyoti members with the Ashram Trust Board with special instructions to the Navajyoti Manager not to inform or call Niranjan Naik to the meeting, as he was protesting against Peter Heehs’ book and the support given to him by the Trustees. The entire meeting was regarding Niranjan Naik. It started with your speech on how you were undergoing sleepless nights since the last four months after getting Niranjan Naik’s reply of  18.10.2010 to your letter in support of Peter Heehs and the Trustees, which you had secretly distributed during the Darshan of 15th August, 2010. After this meeting Niranjan-bhai is not treated well and does not feel that he is a member of Navajyoti. He goes to the Navajyoti office to perform his remaining duties as Mother herself had given him work there.

7. As you yourself have invited the exposure of your evil actions, here is another one. You are a professional writer. You write for name, fame, money and awards. Niranjan-bhai is an inspired writer with no literary background, who started writing only in 1970 when Babaji and Prapatti entrusted him the editorship of the then new magazine Navaprakash with the Blessings of the Mother. He writes for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in Navaprakash and, if any Odiya publishers want to publish his articles, they simply take them from there. But you have been telling them not to publish his articles as if they are not worth publishing. Some of them politely  answered you, “Sir, we want to publish them because people like to read his articles on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s Yoga, which is the whole purpose of the magazine.” Such things happened even before the present controversy of the Ashram when you had a very cordial relation with Niranjan-bhai. Does it not prove that you are a big literary person with a very mean and jealous mind?

8. Dear Mr. Das, all these incidents related to Niranjan-bhai have happened and more are still happening under your guidance of Navajyoti Karyalaya. Yet you write to Niranjan-bhai, “Out of good will for you in the background, I am writing this letter. I have not done anything that is harmful to you.” Have you ever discussed with him about the incidents of harassment, intimidation and encroaching on his right to do Mother’s service? Yet he is not worried about it. You are welcome to do more harm to him in association with the Trustees and Navajyoti Karyalaya workers, as you possess the power and means. He is more worried and hurt by your support of Peter Heehs after you yourself noted down more than 90 objections in his book “Lives of Sri Aurobindo”. You have also helped him to file a case against the Govt. of Odisha in order to withdraw its ban on his book. Niranjan Naik can never accept such hypocrisy of a distinguished Ashramite like you in the matter of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s prestige.

Dear Das, you have written, “The reason for writing this letter is that some people have made remarks... that pain me. The substance of their remarks is that a person who has remained in the Ashram for so many years can blame you so harshly? … The doubt behind their remarks was that it is useless to remain in the Ashram for so many years in the name of sadhana.”

You have very cleverly not mentioned the reason why you were blamed. You only want to create confusion. You have tactfully reversed these remarks which were actually meant for you and your shameless Gurudrohi activities in the Ashram in order to please your present Guru Peter Heehs and your Lord Manoj Das Gupta. All the sensible devotees of Odisha have an intimate relation with Niranjan-bhai and they appreciate his previous and present actions wholeheartedly in spite of being threatened by the Ashram authorities. If there is really any blame, Niranjan-bhai will take it as misguided innocence.

You have written about the spiritual experiences of the inmates of the Ashram which is totally out of context in this letter. I quote the portion, “I know a large number of sadhaks and sadhikas of the Ashram who have a deep inner life. Most of them do not and should not express them. But sometimes the sadhaks or sadhikas have asked this writer the meaning of their supra-sensory experiences or visions according to the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. That signifies their progress and the Divine Mother’s Grace which astonishes this writer.”

This has no relevance here. Perhaps you want to justify the publication of your own supra-sensory experiences in magazines and leaflets to exhibit yourself as a big sadhak. In the February issue of the Oriya quarterly Navajyoti, you have written an article on the centenary of the first meeting of the Mother with Sri Aurobindo. Going out of the way in this article, you have criticised  the inmates who have protested against Peter Heehs’s book and the Trustees who support him. You have also written about your personal experience of the Mother when you first saw her in a Terrace Darshan – this is not at all relevant to the article. As a very few people read Navajyoti, you wrote in brackets below your editorial in the March issue of Navaprakash that everybody should read your article in the February issue of  Navajyoti! You did not stop there. With the help of Navajyoti workers you prepared a small pamphlet of that article and distributed it to Oriya visitors who came for the 29th March Special Darshan of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s rooms. Your eagerness to show that you are an advanced sadhak under the pretext of describing the centenary of the Mother’s first meeting with Sri Aurobindo raised the eyebrows of several devotees. But you know Sri Aurobindo has said, “The difficulty of yoga is not in getting experiences or a subjective realization of the truth, it is in objectivising the truth, that is in making the outer consciousness down to the material an expression of the inner truth. So long as that is not done the attacks of the lower nature can always intervene.” (SABCL, Letters on Yoga, Volume 23, pp 892-93). You have now made Navaprakash a means for the advertisement of yourself and your books. So your irrelevant passage did not serve the purpose at all. It rather exposed your childish way of proving your spirituality by publishing your experience, which is generally forbidden.

Dear Mr. Das, you have written, “Recently a distinguished educationist had come to the Ashram from Bangalore. What you told him regarding me has pained him and me. The gentleman is a very sensible person and sincerely likes the Ashram. With what a healthy expectation he had come to this holy atmosphere! How are you justified to disturb him by blaming an insignificant person like me? I hope you will consider my appeal to desist henceforth from such actions.”

Again this is merely emotion! There is no fact, no substance, no truth in what you say. You have given a completely different twist to this event. The Bangalore gentleman never met you though he had read everything about you and the Ashram on the Internet. He is a long time friend of Niranjan-bhai and loves to read his writings in Navaprakash. He asked Niranjan-bhai why he was no more the editor of Navaprakash and why his writings were not published in it. Niranjan-bhai had to explain him all the facts and your role automatically came to the front. He was astonished to know that a person like you was behind such devious activities. So after going back to Bangalore, he emailed you just one sentence, “Why such unspiritual things are going on in the Ashram?” You talked to him over the phone for an exceptionally long time. But there was nothing substantial in your high sounding words. You kept on insisting that all the accusations were false. So he did not like to listen to your hypocritical way of speaking. You yourself have written in the beginning of your letter that everybody has to reap the consequence of his own action. So why are you so restless? 

You have written, “Some of your friends have taken a tremendous step. They have taken the help of the Court to nullify the Will of the Mother that is the backbone of the Ashram management. As per the ancient Ashram tradition of India, this step is unprecedented, unbelievable and unnatural. To nullify the Will of the founder of any Ashram through the Court is a strange event. Even when the Guru’s presence is not there his / her Will gives excellence to an Ashram. Without that an Ashram can remain, but it cannot be called a spiritual Ashram.”

Mr. Das, such utterances of yours are nothing new. You have fruitlessly uttered the same view on several occasions and got its answer. You still utter it because you have nothing else to say. You present the Ashram Trust Deed as the Mother’s Will only to fool the common devotees and disciples. You know very well that the Trust Deed, written in 1955, is only a legal document which the Mother has signed for the then management of the Ashram. It is not written, prepared or dictated by the Mother herself. The actual Will Mother left for the future management of the Ashram in the form of a tape was stolen from Her Room within a week of her leaving the physical body. That was the Will of the Mother which was recorded in Her own voice. Legal Trust Deeds are always subject to amendment with the passage of time and circumstances.

You are the same person who fought in the Court to justify Peter Heehs’s corrections of Savitri in spite of the Mother’s warning not to change a comma of Savitri. You went to the extent of keeping silent when your lawyer said in the course of his arguments in the Court, “Mother did not read Savitri.” Now you are saying the Ashram Trust Deed cannot be amended and giving it the importance of the Mother’s Will. Everybody understands the motive behind your statement. The motive is to allow the present bunch of Trustees to enjoy the absolute power of the Mother as life-long Trustees. According to you, to change the Trust Deed (which is only a legal document) is unthinkable in the ancient spiritual tradition of India. But to change the spiritual document of the Guru (Savitri) through an American taxi driver and to insult the Guru in his own Ashram through a derogatory book is customary to the ancient spiritual tradition of India. Strange theory, Mr. Das!

You say that the Trust Deed of the Ashram is the Mother’s Will. Let us assume it for the time being. But do the present Trustees themselves respect it? It is written in the Trust Deed that only the Mother can take new Ashramites and only She can remove them if necessary. The Trustees have no power to accept or remove an Ashramite, which they are doing now. The Trustees also have no power to take a new Trustee when the number of Trustees falls below five. According to the Trust Deed, they can do it only during the Mother’s retirement, but not after Her passing away. Again there is no mention of the position of the Managing Trustee in the Trust Deed. So what will you say regarding these gross violations of the Mother’s Will? It is obvious that your assertions are merely opportunistic.

Mr. Das, you have written, “With the result of your totally new and unprecedented effort the future of mankind will surely be affected. If your expedition will succeed, it will mean the end of the spiritual role of Ashram …. I do not believe that you are ignorant about the kind of force that is behind the attack on Mother’s Will. As you are trying to succeed in your effort, I also pray for the failure of your effort.  Let the Divine’s Will be fulfilled. When you are engaged in fulfilling such a high aim which is unheard of in the history of mankind, why are you wasting your time and word-power to blame an ordinary person like me? Henceforth I request you to abstain from it.”

If the effort to reform the Ashram administration is successful, it would surely mean the resurgence of the spiritual role of the Ashram in India and abroad. This role has been completely trampled under the feet of the present Trustees, who are not only themselves under the grip of sex, wealth and power, but also encourage the same vices in others in order to get their support. If the force behind the effort to change the present Trust Deed is really so frightful, then how frightful must be the force that is working behind the senseless insult of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in their own Ashram and by their own disciple! You have very cleverly bypassed this basic issue. Your prayer is therefore ridiculous. Moreover, you have prayed to let the Divine’s Will be fulfilled. So what is the necessity of praying for the failure of the effort of Niranjan-bhai’s group? If that is necessary, will not the Divine Will do it? Again how can you be an ordinary person when all the knavery required to protect and encourage the misdeeds of the Trustees are provided by you and another knave of the Trust office?

Mr. Das, you are not only praying but adopting all sorts of means to make the position of your Lord Manoj Das Gupta as secure as possible, which is necessary for your own security. Some people have even seen you at this ripe age running from Delhi to Odisha with brief cases apparently full of the offerings of devotees. Is this true, and if it is true, can you please explain me the purpose of these missions? You recently attempted to influence some important persons, including  ministers and ex-Governors, with the weight of your titles to put pressure on the Government of Odisha to withdraw the ban on Peter Heehs’s book.

You have written in the beginning of your letter that you have good will for Niranjan-bhai. Niranjan-bhai also has the same good will though not the good relation with you. That will come when you change your stand and fight to recover the lost prestige of the Mother and the Master in their own Ashram instead of supporting impostors like Peter Heehs and Manoj Das Gupta for your own interest. Please ask yourself once: Would you have done what you are doing now if the Mother and the Master were physically present?

Please remember that Niranjan-bhai is not interested to get back his lost privileges and services that were graciously granted to him by the Mother Herself and taken away by your group. He will only be satisfied when the Ashram will be freed from the usurpers of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s power and prestige and continue to fulfil its role for the destined New Age of Mankind.                 

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