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A remarkable letter

To commemorate the anniversary of this remarkable letter, we publish it here, not in the form of scanned images, in which it was heretofore distributed, but in a form that can be searched, copied, and pasted. Alok Pandey is  a medical practitioner working in the Ashram’s Dispensary and Nursing Home. — AuroLeaks Administrators

“Cling to Truth”

— The Mother

02 July 2010

Dear Trustees,

I was rather surprised (though in a way not so much) on reading your letter in reply to the queries raised by Ranga da and few others. Besides irrelevant digressions, unnecessary allusions, the letter. is a singular exercise in justifying action (or inaction as an action) rather than explaining It. It hardly touches the real issue, simply tries to brush it aside by stating that the book is sub judice and then goes on to cite letters and quotations that support your well-known standpoint. It is hardly an exercise in mutual understanding that one would have expected. What is worse, it seems to make provisions for PH’s return to the Archives. This is what I find dangerous enough and seek to mainly address through this letter. Though I feel, like many other letters and counsels from well-intentioned persons, this will meet the same fate of indifference and all the rest. It is your prerogative though in hindsight, whatever I had written and suggested has proved almost prophetic. Nevertheless whether you read it or not, I must do what I feel inspired to do as part of my niskama karma.

My one and only question is why are you supporting Heehs in this matter and not coming out straight and clear about your honest feelings about the book and its author? Are you under some pressure? Is there something to hide? Or are you seriously subscribing to Heehs’ bogey of ‘objectivity’ and ‘intellectual freedom’. Even a man of little intelligence can see that the book is far from objective, though its devious objective is clear from the very first page. It is a most cunning and deliberate, an ingeniously deceptive work aimed at pulling down the very foundation of yogic life. It represents a clear hostile influence, a diabolic work that is an anathema to all that the Mother and Sri Aurobindo stand for. By remaining silent over it, the Trust lends credence and support, by sympathizing with its author and providing him spiritual justifications we are actually opening ourself and the Ashram to this hostile influence, thereby inviting more and more attacks till one day the Ashram is taken over by beings of the likes of Heehs. Do we want to see this happen?

I hope you do realize that if we allow someone within the Ashram to play and fool around with the most sacred of all things that Sri Aurobindo’s life is, then what consequences may follow? First of all by this one act we shall not just blur but demolish at one stroke the line between the Sacred and the profane and in an inverse way, that is by bringing down the sacred to the level of the mundane and the ordinary. In fact I was little surprise at the preamble of the letter suddenly describing the Trust deed as a sacred document when you have allowed the tampering of Savitri with the little human mind, allowed a psychoanalytic research on Sri Aurobindo’s life through PH’s pen, allowed the most darkened hearts to pollute Their life and Work mercilessly and yet we say that something sacred is. still left, even if it be a legal document. I hope you have seen the mischief that is being done in Autobiographical Notes and the Glossary of terms to Records of Yoga being published as part of CWSA by Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I had pointed this out in my very first letter in 2008 itself. The first book publishes a letter of Sri Aurobindo begging for giving him a chance once again in the famous horse riding test. The second book states that one of the meanings of the term maithunananda (an experience Sri Aurobindo documents in the Records) is ‘spontaneous erotic bliss’! Do you really think so with PH and his team that maithunananda is basically erotic bliss, albeit experienced spontaneously? By allowing such things we not only erode the very foundations of spiritual life on which the Ashram stands but also tacitly approve of anything else that may follow under the name of freedom. It is just the other day that a letter was circulated by a senior and respectable member expressing shock and surprise over Shraddhalu’s letter to the Trust. He had addressed the Managing trustee by the first name without adding a da, a courtesy naturally expected of an inmate and ex-student. that is expected address to you by first name. Yet what is this surprise and anguish compared to what people felt at PH’s irreverent approach to Sri Aurobindo. And yet if he can be condoned then what is there that cannot be suffered. Power, Sex, Money are no doubt the three strongholds of the Asura but where is his base, in his opposition and denial of the Light, in the Falsehood that not only denies Truth but challenges, opposes and imitates its voice as the one authentic truth. This is what PH’s work represents.

Forgiveness is alright at a human level. We forgive our fellow humans since they have natural human failings as all of us do, though the right movement there is understanding. We forgive those hurt us, those who are still struggling with their animal nature. But how do you forgive an Asura (for what else is a man who openly and publicly insults, criticizes and debases one’s own Master in a most ungrateful manner) and who are we to do it even. Even the Divine does not undertake such a formidable task. He either dissolves him or converts him and that too if the Asura is willing. Words like apology and forgiveness do not apply when you are dealing with a diabolic force full of cunning and treacherous motives. He wears an apology on his sleeve and if you indulge in sympathy and forgiveness he will simply dance on your head and make you play to his tune. Is he not already doing so that all of you seem to be echoing his words? I wonder! Besides if he is repentant as you say then why does he not simply withdraw the book by writing to Columbia that he was wrong in his understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s life and it is his opinions and not any objective work as he has expressed in the preface. That is like JK his seeming mentor who went on to publish second edition of the book Kali’s Child with a small note of apology added to it!

Please, at least now, take him out of harm’s way. His presence has already brought so much disturbance, disharmony, controversies, lawsuits and all the rest. Why are you still being indulgent with him? From every angle, spiritual sense, occult sense, ethical sense, rational sense, common sense you should stop supporting him and send him away. Is it worth inviting so much ‘unrest’ for this one man? Let him follow his path (whatever it may be) and exercise his freedom anywhere else. The least that could have been done is to shift him from Archives to some other department, say the DR or the Lake. This is what I had suggested in my first letter. This is besides a practice in the Ashram and would perhaps help him introspect and reflect much more than blindly supporting him. It will also be a concrete indicator of his so-called repentance. In any case a message needs to go out clear and bold that he will not be returning to the Archives ever.

May be this has come as a Grace to help us introspect and realign ourselves. May be you are overdoing your idea of religiosity unable to differentiate between the true spiritual impulse and the supports it needs to grow and express and mere soulless, mechanical ritual and ceremonies. May be you are confused about the difference between intellectual freedom that allows space to each one to think along their own lines of truth and the deliberate and willful misuse of speech to confuse minds, dislodge faith, destroy light.

We also need to realize that with each passing day the Trust is not only losing its credibility but its very raison d’ etrĕ. If it cannot look after even the most sacred of all treasures and is happily willing to hand over the keys to the robber, then what can one say except that one cannot trust the Trust anymore. I am not talking of normal defects of human nature to which the trustees are surely as much prone as anyone else (and it will be foolish fur anyone to expect otherwise) but to such a brazen taking of sides with the detractor who has indulged in perfidy not only with Sri Aurobindo’s Name and Work but also to the legitimate pride of a nation. His stay in the country is gratis and thanks to the Ashram but in this book he speaks so loosely of India and the Indian people. What if someone turns around and asks if you are encouraging, at least supporting anti-national activities? Besides, we must not forget that Sri Aurobindo’s Works are not just a treasure of the Ashram but of India and the world. They are the keys to the future. We are merely their custodians and we cannot play ownership by deciding to hand over its keys to any thief and swindler to play havoc with it, especially when the nature of his actions are proven beyond doubt even in the court of law.

Your saying that no one can hurt Sri Aurobindo, no one can disrespect Him or damage His reputation etc sound hollow in the face of the fact that when one’s own reputation is concerned the Trust moves heaven and earth to safeguard it. Should not one say then that I am in Her Hands and so is the Ashram in Her Hands. How does it matter if a bunch of fools misunderstand us and splash mud to tarnish our splendid names? That would be something, a gesture worthy of the Mother’s child who should be above all insults. Yet even when we have done that in ourselves it does not behoove us as guardians of the Sacred Space to simply turn our backs when an inmate openly and publicly debases Sri Aurobindo, who is the very Soul and Centre of this Ashram, and say that it is not our job since Sri Aurobindo can defend Himself. Strange logic indeed, for would one do that if there was a physical attack threatening the Samadhi or Sri Aurobindo’s Room? Why not say then that Sri Aurobindo can do everything Himself, defend Himself and the Ashram and the world. We have to simply sit and remain inert for that seems to be the current definition of an inner life, a life of inaction and inertia. Just because the attack is subtle, should not one take guard and keep extra vigil? Sri Aurobindo will of course do what He has to do but what about our own dharma in this regard? Is it our dharma to nurture and foster, feed and support, justify and encourage those who are hostile to the Divine, even if it be in the dubious hope that one day they will change? One day, yes but not before doing much unnecessary damage and avoidable delay. To change them is not our task but the Divine’s. It is He alone and their soul’s choice that has a role there. Our work is simply to safeguard the Space, the Work, the Treasure e trusted to us poor mortals by the Grace. The Ashram community that has always unequivocally stood by the side of the Trust and the Ashram is now confused doubting your allegiance towards Sri Aurobindo Himself. It is not at all a good situation and nothing is being done to clear this confusion. The latest letter in fact only adds to it. This is a dangerous situation and cannot be defused by simply blaming those who have openly voiced their concerns about the way the whole PH affair has been handled. Perhaps it reflects the way other affairs have been handled as well leading the Ashram to the doorsteps of courtrooms to settle issues which could have been easily solved through a mutual understanding and dialogue in a friendly atmosphere. After all we are all united in our love for Sri Aurobindo and have come here for that, because this Space is so full of Them, Their touch stamped at every step. Should we not take care to preserve that Sacred Touch that still lingers in this atmosphere or should we allow it to be filled with smoke and dust of our doubting mind and the poisonous fumes of our hostility towards the Divine all in the name of freedom or whatever else. One must know that freedom, whether mental, vital or physical, at the human level is always limited and subject to certain spoken or unspoken frame of rules. These rules may be man-made or God-made for man but they are there to act as a preventive to the excess of egoism to which human beings with an unbridled freedom are so easily prone to. Some understand this frame and respect it; others don’t and have to be reminded of it for the larger good of the collectivity. PH is one such singular instance of constantly disrespecting the frame of others. He needs to be shown his place. That is more likely to do good to him, to his soul and his heart than letting him go on his rampage disregarding the Spirit of the place and the feelings of the collectivity.

I may like to add that we need to respect the Yuga dharma of the Age that is being shaped increasingly under the pressure of the New Consciousness. The age we live in is an age of rapid transfer of information and even if we want nothing can remain isolated for a long time. Children today respect authenticity much more than authority, they love genuineness and honesty and hate hypocrisy and duplicity. The demand of this age is transparency and accountability and there is no exception to that. Even the throne of the most powerful monarchs is not safe since nothing remains hidden these days. We have to respect individuality; we have also to reckon with the collectivity. We cannot simply label those who go against our personal outlook as mobsters and fanatics, looking down upon them with a superior air or an excessive self-importance. Besides, it does not need any courage for an administrative head to impose his will upon others. Though immediately successful, it is very harmful in the long run. The anguish suppressed by force of authority springs up again and again until one day it swells in size and overturns the oppressor. On the contrary it is much more noble and courageous for an authority, especially in the Ashram context, to admit that it has gone wrong and its perception was clouded. One expects the Trust to show that magnanimity and not remain stuck to a position and keep justifying it. We need to remember the story of Bhasmasura and his fate when he turned against his own Creator out of lust for power, for Nemesis follows Hubris and the Pride goes before the fall. You may gauge the extent of pain and anguish people feIt by this one fact that the generally quiet Ashram community is deeply wounded by your indifference. They may not say so openly out of fear but this is the sad fact. The relationship of the Trust with the other members has to be on an equal footing and not of an autocratic ruler with his subjects. We need to also remember that this place does not belong to anyone but to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It is to Them that everything is offered; it is They who give us whatever we need. It is by an association with Their Name that all the respect is given to the Trust and also the members of the community. None of us has any value apart from Them. It is through Her that we are united. If we disrespect Their Presence then everything collapses.

Please do not take me amiss. I am much younger to you all and do not claim to know more than anyone else. Nor do I want any official or administrative position now or in the future. So also I have no personal scores to settle, no grudges or ill will. Let me assure you that this would not some in any way in my future and working relation with you. I do not mean to be disrespectful towards any of you nor do I challenge your wisdom that comes with age. I also assure you that this letter would not come in the way of my discharging the work entrusted to me or in my personal relationships in everyday life. I hope it will be the same from your side as well. But I do believe that children of the Mother should be able to speak out their minds to each other frankly and without duplicity If we cannot do it here then where else would we do it in this world where hypocrisy abounds and falsehood often crowns itself with the emblem of truth!

I have so far tried to act in the highest Light that my soul can see and offer it at Her Feet as my bit in Her Worlds-Yajna. It is now up to you to do what you may and go through the doors of individual and collective destiny and the consequences that follow upon our choice. In the end each of us is responsible only for the choices we make but alas some choices involve the collectivity and influence its course of destiny at least the route it may take if not its finality. For surely the Ashram’s inevitable destiny is to be the cradle of the New Creation but whether this New Birth will be accomplished with much pain and struggle or through a smooth process is the choice we can make. My purpose in this letter is to speak out my mind freely and boldly, not to coerce you into any decision but to inform you of the turmoil brewing outside your zone of comfortable isolation and administrative immunity. The hope in this unpleasant exercise is to find a way to solve the problem internally and with the collaboration of the entire community rather than get into any kind of confrontation that is most unfortunate and unpleasant for any seeker of Integral Truth that has as its footing, the base of Equanimity and Peace and as its crown, the Divine Love and Ananda. If we wish we can still come together and tread the way of Harmony, that is infinitely superior to the way of conflict and crisis.. When Her children are in conflict with each other then it is Her very body that we hurt more than anyone else. But sometimes it is safer to sacrifice a cancerous cell that has outlived its purpose or got out of sync with the central Purpose than risk the health of the entire group-life. I leave it that, not really expecting anything much to come out of it. However I would also be failing in my duty if I did not speak what I honestly feel about the issue. I am sorry if I have hurt you in any way. That is surely far from my intention.

Ever with love and gratitude to Her who leads and shows the way.

In Her Service

Alok

Even should a hostile force cling to its reign
And claim its right’s perpetual sovereignty
And man refuse his high spiritual fate,
Yet shall the secret Truth in things prevail.
For in the march of all-fulfilling Time
The hour must come of the Transcendent’s will:
All turns and winds towards his predestined ends

Sri Aurobindo (Savitri, P. 708)

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  1. A Concerned Observer
    July 20, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Nor do I want any official or administrative position now or in the future.

    Let us suppose, quite hypothetically, that some Asura wants to get a good grip on the “collectivity”. What sort of instrument would he use or prepare for later use? There appears to be no position more (potentially) influential than that of Head of the Ashram’s Dispensary. Our hypothetical instrument is therefore likely to position himself (or be positioned by his asuric Master) as the successor of the present Head of Dispensary. Who wouldn’t want to be in the good books of the One Who Dispenses Health, now or in the future? Who would dare to offend him? Even now he would be likely to give frequent talks to a fawning audience, in which he would lay down the inviolable canon of another fundamentalist religion. The less aware he would be of his subconscious motives, the more candid would be his professed freedom from ambition, and the better suited he would be to fulfill his mission of spiritual corruption.

    The Fiend was visible, but cloaked in light;
    He seemed a helping angel from the skies:
    He armed untruth with Scripture and the Law;
    He deceived with wisdom, with virtue slew the soul
    And led to perdition by the heavenward path.

    Sri Aurobindo (Savitri, P. 207)

  2. Justin Wonderin
    July 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Concerned One, may I carry your speculative vein a bit further? Let us suppose (quite hypothetically) that the Asura who is preparing his instrument is the one whom The Mother called the “Lord of Death”. Wouldn’t he be fascinated by the preservation of life and become a medical practitioner? And wouldn’t he be fascinated too by death and write a book about death and dying? The Lord of Death as Head of the Ashram Dispensary — a chilling prospect!

  3. Your Friendly Asura Next Door
    July 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Why the fuss about who is or is not an Asura? Didn’t Sri Aurobindo disclose in a private note that most of his disciples were Asuras — the bigger the disciple the greater the Asura? See Nolini Kanta Gupta > Volume 6 > On The Brink > p. 21.

  4. Spinoza
    July 26, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    It is clearer than the noonday sun that the real schismatics are those who condemn the writings of others and seditiously incite the quarrelsome mob against the writers, rather than the writers themselves, who usually write only for scholars and appeal to reason alone.
    – Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670)

  5. a proof reader
    September 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Even a man of little intelligence can see that the book is far from objective, though its devious objective is clear from the very first page.

    There seems to be a mistake here. Should it not read: Only a man of little intelligence…?

  6. siva
    September 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I have so far tried to act in the highest Light that my soul can see…

    Until now, I had never heard of a blind soul… looks like we have a first here… because where is the Light in Alok’s ranting??? I don’t know what the others feel, but in Alok I only see an ocean of Darkness and Ignorance.

  7. Satyavan
    September 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Amazing, isn’t it? This charlatan lectures on the psychic being yet has no clue to the difference between true psychic intimations and the clamour of his vital mind.

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