The Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram website which follows closely our site has recently done some “remarkable investigation” and announced how it has “connected the dots” between the so-called anti-Ashram nexus. Let me first remind these “highly intelligent sleuths” that Sri Aurobindo Ashram (Pondicherry) is different from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust (Pondicherry). The Ashram Trust was created by the Mother in 1955 for protecting the assets and properties of the Ashram, whereas Sri Aurobindo Ashram spontaneously began in 1926 when Sri Aurobindo gave “the spiritual and material charge” of his disciples to the Mother after the Siddhi Day. The Ashram is the spiritual institution and the Ashram Trust is only a legal body, whose administration has at first gradually and then rapidly deteriorated in recent times after the passing away of its Gurus. A section of the Ashramites are extremely unhappy with the corrupt and dictatorial functioning of the Ashram Trust and have therefore gone against it in various legitimate ways. They have not gone against the Ashram itself nor do they want to destroy the Ashram from the face of this earth, as the supporters of the Ashram Trust would like the ignorant public to believe. The solution to this rudderless present situation of the Ashram without any spiritual heads, or rather with the present Trustees who always get into loggerheads with anybody who differs from them, is an alternate system of fair and democratic governance. If this is difficult to understand and highly objectionable, then I think we have to set the clock back and go back to pre Magna Carta days.
28 Jul 2014
25 Jul 2014
[Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya (1922-2010) was one of the closest attendants of the Mother and the Director of the Physical Education Department of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. Physical Education is taken very seriously in the Ashram, far more than what most people would expect in an institution dedicated to spiritual growth. Literally all the members of the Ashram have a daily routine of physical exercise interspersed with work and meditation. All the students of the Ashram School have compulsory physical education every day for an hour and a half. The Dept. of Physical Education is thus very well-organised and pools the talent of more than a hundred voluntary captains, coaches and helping instructors, without mentioning those who maintain its numerous grounds for playing football, basketball, hockey, volleyball and other games. There is also enough infrastructure for the regular practice of Athletics, Swimming, Gymnastics and even Combatives. Competitions are held every year in which older Ashramites vie with the young students of the Ashram School. Ashram records are timed with stop watches, carefully measured with tapes, and systematically noted down. These are then databased and preserved for posterity so that you can get an analysis of your athletic performance twenty years back at the touch of a button. One would actually wonder as to whether the Ashram is a Yogic or a sports institution! But no, in the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, sports can be turned towards Yoga, and the perfection of the body can become a Yogic ideal. At the same time, physical health undoubtedly imparts a great stability to life, whether you choose to do Yoga or not.
18 Jul 2014
Manoj Das suffers from an uncontrollable itch to put down his critics. It would have been so much better had the writer’s itch channelised itself in a more fruitful manner in his own realm of creative writing. But I have been told that from the last decade or two his literary creativity is ebbing in inverse proportion to his mounting desire to be honoured by all sorts of awards. The last big award he successfully managed to canvas for was the Padma Sri award, accorded by the Govt. of India in 2001. Now I suppose he is eying for the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. But what is he doing at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, and how does the Ashram help him in his enterprise?
No, he has certainly not thrown fame to the winds to attain the Supramental Transformation or even to achieve a Yogic poise! If he had really done so, why would he rush out for a fresh round of self-promotion each time he receives an invitation from literary circles? Why would he criticise other awardees who have outshone him in literary output and perhaps deprived him of the award that he might have won instead? And why is he so keen on saving his reputation which has recently plummeted in his home state of Orissa after this site published the less known details of his activities in Pondicherry?
11 Jul 2014
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.
5 Jul 2014
Sri Aurobindo’s intellect was influenced by Greek philosophy.
[SRI AUROBINDO's Correction:] Very little. I read more than once Plato’s Republic and Symposium, but only extracts from his other writings. It is true that under his impress I rashly started writing at the age of 18 an explanation of the cosmos on the foundation of the principle of Beauty and Harmony, but I never got beyond the first three or four chapters. I read Epictetus and was interested in the ideas of the Stoics and the Epicureans; but I made no study of Greek philosophy or of any of the [? ]. I made in fact no study of metaphysics in my school and College days. What little I knew about philosophy I picked up desultorily in my general reading. I once read, not Hegel, but a small book on Hegel, but it left no impression on me. Later, in India, I read a book on Bergson, but that too ran off “like water from a duck’s back”.