19 May 2015

Did Sri Aurobindo Lie in the Uttarpara Speech? – Extract from Jugal Kishore Mukherji’s Letter

[The following extract from Jugal Kishore Mukherji’s first letter to the Ashram Trustees in June 1986 shows that Matriprasad Satyamurthy (the present secretary of the Ashram Trust) has been colluding with Peter Heehs for a long time. Peter Heehs was then editor of the Ashram’s Archives and Research magazine in which he first published his “great discoveries” on how Sri Aurobindo was a coward, on how he played a double game with the British police, on how he lied to the public with regard to instructing his lawyer Chittaranjan Das who defended him in the Court, etc, etc. This particular extract deals with the last distortion – that Sri Aurobindo continued to give advice to Chittaranjan Das in the Alipore Bomb Trial despite what he said in the Uttarpara speech on having left everything to God during his year-long confinement in Alipore Jail! – Bireshwar Choudhury]

At times, in the pages of our Journal Archives and Research, accounts of events given by some sundry persons are made use of in order to prove Sri Aurobindo wrong!! Sri Aurobindo’s own spiritual statements are controverted and are sought to be proved false – and that, too, on the authority of our young friend MATRIPRASAD! Too strange to believe? – Yes, so is it. Let me explain. 
Subject:  Sri Aurobindo’s giving instructions or not to his Counsel Chitta Ranjan Das

Here is what Sri Aurobindo himself has to say about the matter. After his release from year long detention in the Alipore jail, Sri Aurobindo delivered his famous Uttarpara Speech on 30th May, 1909. In course of this speech, while referring to his trial proceedings in the Court, Sri Aurobindo clearly stated:

“When the trial opened in the Sessions Court, I began to write many instructions for my Counsel as to what was false in the evidence against me and on what points the witnesses might be cross-examined. Then something happened which I had not expected. The arrangements which had been made for my defence were suddenly changed and another Counsel stood there to defend me. He came unexpectedly, – a friend of mine, but I did not know he was coming. You have all heard the name of the man who put away from him all other thoughts and abandoned all his practice, who sat up half the night day after day for months and broke his health to save me,  – Srijut Chittaranjan Das. When I saw him I was satisfied, but I still thought it necessary to write instructions. Then all that was put away from me and I had the message from within, ‘This is the man who will save you from the snares put around your feet. Put aside those papers. It is not you who will instruct him. I will instruct him.’ From that time I did not of myself speak a word to my Counsel about the case or give a single instruction, and if ever I was asked a question, I always found that my answer did not help the case.  I had left it to him and he took it entirely into his hands, with what result you know.” (Centenary Volume 2, pp.546. [Underlined by Jugal]    

Years later Sri Aurobindo, writing of himself in the 3rd Person, confirmed the same spiritual truth of the matter. Here are his own words:

“In the Sessions Court the accused were confined in a large prisoners’ cage and here during the whole day he (Sri Aurobindo) remained absorbed in his meditation. Attending little to the trial and hardly listening to the evidence. C.R.Das, one of his Nationalist collaborators and a famous lawyer, had put aside his large practice and devoted himself for months to the defence of Sri Aurobindo who left the case entirely to him and troubled no more about it; for he had been assured from within and knew that he would be acquitted.” (vide Sri Aurobindo on Himself, Cent. Ed.  p.34. Underlined by me – Jugal)

So, this is the truth as revealed by Sri Aurobindo himself and this the spiritual explanation behind Sri Aurobindo taking little interest in the later stages of the trial proceedings; and all of us, children of Mother and Sri Aurobindo, have all along accepted it to be so.
But now our Archives and Research journal has sought to re-examine the question and has devoted a full page and a long footnote to come to the astounding conclusion:

“Sri Aurobindo continued to give advice to his lawyers throughout the trial period.”
 (See Archives and Research, December 1982, p.230) 

And what basis is there for Peter to arrive at this preposterous discovery which turns Sri Aurobindo into a deliberate liar? – Oh, according to the writer of the Archives, our MATRIPRASAD remembers to have had a conversation with Nolini-da in July or August 1982 in course of which Nolini-da reported to have made a statement like that and ‘Matriprasad says’ Nolini-da confirmed the same on Sept.15 !!

The writer of Archives expresses “thanks to Matriprasad for this and other pieces of information from Nolini-da.” (See Archives and Research, Dec. ’82, p.230 footnote)

“Thanks”, indeed, for the credit of proving Sri Aurobindo wrong! I wonder what our MOTHER would have thought about this sort of sacrilegious writing in our own Ashram journal! Alas, our most revered brother Nolini-da is no longer there in his body to consult him. Otherwise I would have gone to him and brought the matter to his notice. From my close personal acquaintance with Nolini-da, spread over more than thirty years, I can testify to his utter reverence for all Sri Aurobindo’s utterances and statements. And, to cite him, of all persons, against what Sri Aurobindo himself has unequivocally said!! Oh! 

And what a funny explanation is offered by the Archives journal to account for the apparent contradiction between the two statements of Sri Aurobindo and the observation of Nolini-da:

“Nolini-da clarified that when Sri Aurobindo put his defence into Das’s hands – or rather into the hands of the Supreme Lord using Das as his instrument – it was an inner movement and this did not prevent him from taking a detached outward interest in the affair.” 

What a clever play with words! I humbly ask: Did Nolini-da really say so to Matriprasad? Even if it is proved that he really said so, my humble question is this: Should our own journal Archives be a forum to cite a disciple, however great he may be, to controvert Sri Aurobindo’s own written statements???

The climax is still to come. The learned writer of the Archives and Research goes on to incorporate a historical instance to prove the point! He states in mock seriousness:

“One is reminded of a well-known anecdote of Napoleon. Asked why he spent so much time planning if he believed in the power of Fate, he replied that it was fated that he should plan.” (Archives and Research, Dec. ’82, p.230 footnote)

Oh! How wonderfully we ourselves, disciples and children of Sri Aurobindo, through the pages of our own journal, are making our Guru Sri Aurobindo a laughing stock before the reading public!!!!

(Extract from Jugal Kishore Mukherji’s Letter dated 22 June, 1986 to the Trustees)

Comment by Bireshwar Choudhury: Matriprasad Satyamurthy’s second hand reporting of Nolini Kanto Gupta’s testimony against his own Master can hardly satisfy any test of authenticity. How can Matriprasad remembering accurately the date and time of what Nolini Kanto Gupta told him make the information authentic? Has he recorded it on tape? Has he noted it down in the presence of a third party? He has not!

Secondly, Nolini Kanto Gupta passed away on 7 February, 1983, and by August 1982 if not earlier, he was bed-ridden and was often in a semi-conscious state. This medical fact itself will de-authenticate the hostile testimony of Nolini Kanto Gupta.

Finally, even if Nolini Kanto Gupta said what Matriprasad reports, there is every likelihood of him making errors in the recollection of an event which happened more than 70 years back. On the other hand, there is every likelihood that Sri Aurobindo was right, not only because he delivered the Uttarpara speech only 14 days after his release from Jail on May 6, 1909, but because it pertained to a most important stage of his sadhana and life.  If in spite of these reasons one still gives credence to the glib explanations of Peter Heehs and Matriprasad Satyamurthy, then it can only be on the basis of accepting that Sri Aurobindo told a blatant lie in public out of sheer conceit and spiritual hypocrisy!

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