Friday, February 03, 2012

Step down - no matter whether the book is right or wrong

A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs: Prof. Kamal Das's Response to Ramchandra Guha: Dilip Kumar Roy - Jan 9, 2012 04:10 PM

I am an ordinary devotee, not an Ashramite. I am one among the thousands of devotees of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo who reside in locations far from Pondichery, but who see the the Ashram as their spiritual sanctuary, the place to withdraw from the hustle bustle of ordinary life. The place to soak in some of the vibes of Peace and calm and strength. And return with a feel of the Mother's love. I suppose this is one of the purpose why the Ashram exists, unless you say that the Ashram exists for Ashramites only. We step in to the Samadhi compound with reverence and come out with Peace. And try to live that Peace in the outer world and our families that we return to. That is all of our 'Sadhana'. We are ordinary and for us the Ashram is a hallowed space. If the ordinary devotee's word counts for anything, here is it:

Its painful and suffocating to hear of the debate and the division that the book has caused. If this debate or even controversy were to happen in a academic forum outside the Ashram, then there would be no pain. Its happening in its hallowed precincts. As an ordinary devotee, I would ask how did things come to such a pass? I would ask Aurobindo Ashram Trust members, the Trustes to introspect and decide whether they should step down - no matter whether the book is right or wrong - but owning responsibility that a damaging and bitter controversy has erupted and this has hurt the Mother's work - and the ordinary devotees' sense of the sacred.

I claim no rights, I have no vote, no authority. For the Ashram, I am a 'visitor'. For me the Ashram is a hallowed space I retreat to for reconnecting with my depths. That's true of thousands of other devotees. The controversy has hurt us. I hope those in authority will listen to our anguish and introspect. I have not read the book. I may never read it. Or I may. The concern here is that a controversy has erupted - a damaging, distressing and a very distracting controversy, not a healthy one. Pranams at the Mother's Feet,
Dilip Kumar Roy

Bhâi Tusar,

I would like to inform you that on last 10 December 2011, I sent a word to Mr Ramachandra Guha ( without
expecting any reply from him. Here are some relevant passages :

"On last 27 May, on the occasion of launching officially my biography Bagha Jatin (NBT) by the Hon'ble Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee, I had been informed that you were not available. I regretted it.

Having been under the impression that Sri Aurobindo did not much matter to you, I come across, however, your apologia for the much criticized biography by Peter Heehs, who belongs to the same group of detractors of Indian spirituality as Jeffry Kripal & Co.

"Unless you have any special reason for helping Heehs expanding his empire (opening his access to the Anandabazar Patrika group, for instance), I would request you to go through the accompanying article I wrote with a view to prove how fragile is his "objectivity" as
historian: ("

Warm regards. Prithwindra Mukherjee

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