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Alok Pandey’s spa

Intercepted from an ongoing discussion on Auroconf, during which Alok Pandey has been doing his usual (ranting, complaining, declaring he’ll be silent, ranting again, etc.) and getting a lot of honest push-back.

Hello All,

This e-mail is in continuation of the observations I made earlier that touched upon the issues related to reconciliation and dissociation.

This issue – as most disputed issues do – evokes a mixture of personal and impersonal responses. As I am quite certain that the personal responses are of little interest to this collective I am deliberately splitting this message in two parts.

Part A deals with the impersonal issues that I suppose concern and might matter to the larger collective and I’m therefore openly sharing this here.

Part B, deliberately separated and placed further below as a post-scriptum, is regrettably being included just because Alok Pandey has chosen to lower this discussion to personal levels and also to address some of the false accusations (that I am stalking him!!!) that he has made publicly on this forum. This clear demarcation of content is deliberately highlighted here so that those readers on this forum that are not interested in this second part of the response can conveniently skip it and are therefore not inconvenienced by it.


The personal & the impersonal – the individual & the collectivity:

In this current controversy, conflict and dispute that has arisen under the pretext of the book “The Lives”, it is very clear that the lines between the personal and impersonal and the individual and collective have not only become blurred, but they have been squarely trampled over. In fact, Shraddhalu + 4 + Alok Pandey and a small handful of disgruntled individuals have unilaterally decided that their personal opinions, views and positions are the only ones that matter and that They now represent the larger collective.

With the display of such behaviour and actions, it is more than evident that all their actions amount to nothing less than the invasion, violation and hijacking of the collective space; in this instance a sacred collective space that is shared by all of us and those who are devoted to and/or follow and share Sri Aurobindo?s and The Mothers vision and philosophy, both within the Ashram and around it.

It is not that the Ashram collective has not seen controversies, conflicts or disputes in the past; there is in fact nothing new in this. Take for instance the example of Dilip Kumar Roy during Sri Aurobindo’s and The Mother’s time. Though a member of the Ashram, he despised The Mother and even went all the way to Jawaharlal Nehru* with the request to take over the Ashram management, away from The Mother(!).

*The Mother – The Story of her Life, by Georges van Vrekhem, pages 216 -217 and in particular pages 369-371 or the reference quoted from the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru – External Affairs p. 530.

More recently in the 1980s, the restorative works undertaken on Sri Aurobindo’s poem Savitri at the Sri Aurobindo Archives caused a stir when a couple of the senior members of the Ashram such as Jugal Kishor Mukherjee objected to some of the changes, particularly when his suggested changes were not being accommodated; other factors that determined the basis of his objections are better left unsaid. The Savitri issue was even fully exploited by disgruntled individuals (many of whom also form part of this group of litigants) who even went to court and lost the case. And then there was Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya (a.k.a. Dada = big/elder brother) who almost ran his own institution within the Ashram.

BUT, the big difference during those “conflicts” was that the differences that existed were never let to invade the collective space and the sacred collective Dharma was always respected (at least to a large extent). And so Dilip Kumar Roy quietly left the Ashram, Jugal Kishore Mukherjee withdrew and handled his disgruntlement and differences personally, and Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya ran his institution within the larger Ashram institution with an impeccably demarcated boundary and also to his credit never invaded or disturbed the collective space in spite of all his personal differences.

But presently, the current generation of disgruntled members of the Ashram who for some time rode on the back or hid in the shadows of seniors like Jugal Kishore Mukherjee or Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya (mostly to exploit them) have now been left exposed. Their only hope, chance of success and survival is therefore to strike now in a desperate attempt to establish themselves as the new (even bearded!), self-proclaimed sages and visionaries of our collective.

Dissociation & reconciliation:

These disgruntled members of the Ashram are evidently not here to look for a real reconciliation. They are here to dictate terms and if they don’t succeed to do so, to create trouble until they succeed. In this context, who is someone like Alok Pandey at all to shout from the roof top and to opine arrogantly that Ashram Trustees should resign/retire (though he would probably prefer the expression “kicked out”) when they reach the mature and wise age of 75? or in all likelihood every time that those like Alok Pandey fancy that they should resign? Who is he to demand and suggest that a certain inmate of the Ashram that he doesn’t like should be “shifted” out of the Ashram (to Auroville, as though Auroville is Alok Pandey’s preferred disposal site for  bad Ashramites!)?

There is therefore no reconciliation possible with such individuals because they DO NOT respect and value the collective – they are not there to serve the collective; they are merely there to use the collective for their own limited ends – and this clearly shows in all of their past and present actions, including what they propose for the future.

All that these people want is power and importance and by trying to accommodate them in a process of reconciliation, one only falls prey to their game plan. Because if there has to be a process of a so-called reconciliation, they will be given the space and importance that they have been striving for; in other words they will be given the negotiating power that they have been desperately scheming and craving for.

These self-appointed representatives of the collective DO NOT deserve any such attention and are therefore best ignored. If there was even an iota of something spiritual in their endeavor it may have showed in something positive, if not during the first few months at least after a period of almost 3 years now. But on the other hand, their actions have only brought about disharmony, division and encouraged the spreading of falsehood (c.f. TLOSA Handbook).

These people will of course try to divert the blame for the mess that they have created and try to blame the book “The Lives”  as well as the Ashram management for not acting against it, for the current state of affairs. But in their blind pursuit of their personal agendas, what they fail to realize is that the book “The Lives” has instead clearly exposed their ugly underbelly and that they and their personal agendas are now fully exposed.

In fact, it is for the first time in the Ashram’s history that these self-appointed visionaries, gurus and preachers are getting the treatment that they deserve, and the best is that this is happening without anybody doing anything much about it, because their grief and their troubles are entirely self-inflicted. (Isn’t grief and self-pity after all directly proportional to the size of one’s ego and self-importance?). And in this regard, whether the book “The Lives” is good or bad, it has clearly served its collective purpose in exposing this cartel of preachers and pseudo-spiritual visionaries.

So the least that we can do, is to take some distance from them and dissociate ourselves from their purposeless, counter-productive and self-defeating actions (lest we get dragged into and carried away by their folly), and those who want to help them can even try to make them aware of their regrettable state of affairs.

In conclusion therefore, all that the Ashram management can really do is to go about its business  as usual, without coming in the way of an individual’s efforts for growth (or self-destruction as some have clearly chosen), and with a sense of utter dismay only hope that someday these characters will learn to become wiser, knowing that this is not the first time that this will happen and maybe it is not the last either.



PART B: Response to Alok Pandey

Accusation of Stalking:

–          Please give me one instance of when I have stalked you. For the sake of the record, our first exchange on a common forum was on the SAICE Facebook Group. Someone added my name to the SAICE Facebook group in Oct. 2010. When did you join the SAICE Facebook Group, before or after me? Our first exchange took place months later, some time in Dec. ’10 and we exchanged 1 or 2 messages at the most. Is this called stalking?

–          Following our exchange on the SAICE Facebook Group, I was the one to invite you to join the SAICE Yahoo Group so that a dialogue could be held between some of us and you and those whom you are associated with (SR+4+x). You joined the SAICE Yahoo Group on your own will. You eventually stopped communicating on the SAICE Yahoo Group because you ran out of valid arguments. Is this called stalking?

–          I decided to re-join the Auroconf list after years of absence because Surendra and others had (indirectly) suggested it to me a month or so ago which I eventually chose to do when I learnt about Surendra’s initiative. I was immediately greeted with your response to him. And what I find is that you are continuing where you left when you last appeared on the SAICE Yahoo Group: i.e. politely raving and ranting against members of the Ashram, particularly those in the management without ever substantiating your claims. Is this called stalking?

In conclusion, if my interactions with you make you feel like you are being stalked, then what you are doing to Peter Heeh’s and some of the members of the Ashram management would make the inquisition and burning of people at the stake look like a treatment at a spa. I can understand that people with self-inflicted guilt-complexes feel that they are being pursued and stalked, but in such cases I cannot help it.

Not knowing me personally:

I am glad that I amuse you even though you do not know me because I thought that strangers made you feel as though you were being stalked. However, I must say that you bewilder me when you feel pursued just because I have responded to comments that you have chosen to make on public and open forums. Because has it ever occurred to you that the Public Domain or Open Forums consists of strangers? Has it ever occurred to you that when you chose to speak to and address strangers, they may differ with your views, and the stronger your views are, the stronger some of the opposite responses are likely to be?

Or are you just too used to a one way mode of communication, evidently emanating from you (or as you appear to believe the Divine within You) to the rest of a mute world that lies prostrate below you, eager to swallow all that you dish out? If you are under the illusion that you have earned your credentials by preaching some clearly pseudo-spiritual stuff to an innocent, naive and well-meaning group of individuals who attend some of your lectures with the hope of receiving something of Sri Aurobindo – because people like you make them believe that Sri Aurobindo is beyond their grasp – then this should certainly serve you as a wake up call to remind you that Sri Aurobindo is larger and more complex that you think and maybe hope. And that all those who subscribe to Sri Aurobindo’s views, do not necessarily subscribe to yours.

So if the big wide world (including the smaller Auroconf list) appears to have turned to be a somewhat hostile environment, you might want to reconsider whether after all you are really in a position to dictate your terms out there. And if that makes you feel stalked in particular, you might feel safer to remain confined within the comforts of your coterie.

Facts & anonymity:

Do I need to know who Columbus was in order to know that the world is round?

Similarly, do I need to know who the Anonymous Devotee is if his analysis (and not opinions) correspond with what is true, whether one likes it or not?

You may have liked that the world should be flat or square or that the Anonymous Devotee praised you instead, but unfortunately for you FACTS are not determined by personal preferences.



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