27 Nov 2014

Review of “An Atrocious Biography” – Aron Aronite

From the grammatically inaccurate term ‘Lives’ gets unleashed this narrative style of insinuations about Sri Aurobindo – as if the Mystic led double lives, one imagined for him by himself which his followers and the world began believing as well, while the other ‘human aspect’ to be exclusively discovered through this self-appointed and ambidextrous style of writing pseudo history. Deshpande shows how each left handed compliment accompanies a dismissive, negativist, suggestive insinuation about Sri Aurobindo.

In fact only when we read R.Y. Deshpande’s Atrocious Biography, it gets clear how academia and intellectuals get honey trapped by this irreverence towards a Spiritual Stalwart, forgetting the fact that the gems they hurry to attest as scintillating insights are from someone who has no academic grounding, no formal education in history writing and doesn’t even have a post graduation, least of all a PhD in historiography or any mentionable qualifications in any other discipline. If we are to go by R.Y. Deshpande, we are hearing the "brilliant" (!) take of an American ‘taxi cab driver and a high school dropout’ on one of twentieth century’s most profound Mystic, and a Cambridge alumni who was proposed the Noble prize for Literature. 
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20 Nov 2014

The Domestic Bills of the Ashram Aristocrats – by Bireshwar Choudhury

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust pays each inmate of the Ashram a monthly allowance for engaging domestic workers to help them in their daily chores. Recently the minimum wages of domestic workers has been hiked up by the Government to around Rs 150 rupees a day, which comes to around Rs 4500 a month. As the Ashram Trust could not afford to pay the higher wages, it drastically reduced the number of hours of domestic help for the inmates. For example, those inmates who had been sanctioned eight hours of domestic help have now been re-sanctioned only four hours to match their existing allowance. Those who had only four hours have now got only two hours despite, in a few cases, their old age infirmities. But what is really shocking is that the allowances of Jhumur Bhattacharya and Gauri Pinto, two elderly highfalutin ladies of the Ashram, have not been touched at all! Why? Because they enjoy the favour of the present administration and were once upon a time in the early days of the Ashram School “very close to the Mother”, which now seems to be the standard excuse for being thoroughly spoilt.

Guess how much they receive as allowance for their domestic helpers – more than Rs 20.000/ each!
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14 Nov 2014

Forgotten Values and Upholding the Ideal – by the Speaking Tree

These days some of the inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, seem to be living in a fool’s paradise. They think of themselves as sadhaks and sadhikas of Integral Yoga without even knowing what it means. They are buried under the weight of their own ego without letting any opening for the entry of Light. They boast with great pride that our Ashram is a laboratory, the cradle of the new race and think that one fine morning we will get transformed without any personal effort. Yes, no doubt, the Divine Mother with Her infinite compassion has given us a golden chance to participate in this great advent and be in the Ashram in the “Hour of God”. But have we ever introspected to find out whether we are using or misusing this unprecedented privilege?
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9 Nov 2014

Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya on Peter Heehs

Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya: I don’t trust this Peter you know, if he goes out of the archives, then I will be happy. Then I know all our boys will do good work.

He did not give much importance to Sri Aurobindo [in his history of the Freedom Movement in India]. Only twice or thrice he mentioned his name, and the way he is changing the writings of Sri Aurobindo, even the line that could not be read, he has put. I saw afterwards, the line that was not possible to read in Sri Aurobindo’s handwriting, he put his own line. Have you seen that? noticed? It is there that I protested and I don’t trust this man. You have asked a question as to whether I have antipathy towards the foreigners. It is not so. I have many foreign friends. But I want to meet them on the same footing. I don’t want to show my superiority nor would I allow them to show their superiority. If they are arrogant and if they want to show their superiority, I will act. That’s what I have done.
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2 Nov 2014

Strange are the Ways of the Divine! – by Sampdas

Apropos the news about Shri Manoj Das and the Seashore Chit Fund scam reported in this site on the 28th and 29th of October 2014, I felt that by Divine Providence the Orissa Seashore Chit Bounty got channelled back to the flood victims near the Seashore in Orissa. Prompted by my inner voice, I went through the self assessment given by Shri Manoj Das in his reply dated 17 September 2014 to the column titled The Enemy Within in the journal Organiser (dt 21 Sep 2014).

What he wrote angrily there perhaps can be utilised with minor modifications to reflect on the current theme about Sri Manoj Das (MD in short).

While Shri MD in his rejoinder to the Organiser has claimed to be living in Sri Aurobindo Ashram for a little over fifty years, the tail piece in the site wellwishersofsriaurobindoashram which republished the same rejoinder, mentions that he has been an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry since 1973. It is not clear how 1973 to 2014 adds up to 50 years! But possibly Sri Aurobindo’s line in Savitri,  “Which less than zero grew and more than one” has been used in the computation.
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