Home > serious posts > The Great Impostor: Mother on the Sri Aurobindo Society

The Great Impostor: Mother on the Sri Aurobindo Society

Some statements of the Mother from her Agenda:

March 4, 1961:

the Sri Aurobindo Society [is] a strictly external thing, organized by businessmen to bring in money — EXCLUSIVELY. That is, they want to put people in a position where they feel obliged to give (so far they have succeeded and I believe they will succeed). But this has nothing to do with working for an ideal, it is COMPLETELY practical. “But your name is there as President of the Sri Aurobindo Society,” they said. My name is there to give an entirely material guarantee that the money donated will really and truly be used for the Work to be done and for nothing else; it’s only a moral and purely practical guarantee. These people aren’t even asked to understand what Sri Aurobindo has said but simply to participate.

April 25, 1961:

They [the Sri Aurobindo Society] have put together a brochure saying, “We will facilitate your relations with the Mother”!! Luckily, the draft was sent to me. I said, “I do not accept this responsibility.” I agreed to be President because money is involved and I wanted to be a guarantee that all these people who make propaganda don’t put the money into their own pockets for their personal use; so I agreed to be President — to guarantee that the money would really go to work for Sri Aurobindo, that’s all. But no spiritual responsibility; I have nothing to teach to anyone, thank God!…

I received the draft of the Sri Aurobindo Society’s brochure to be distributed among all disciples, all society members, in order to “encourage” them. Well, that was the last straw! Oh, the most asinine propaganda! And plump in the middle of a bunch of other things (which had nothing to do with me), I come across this: “We have the great fortune to have the Mother among us, and we propose to be the intermediary for all who wish to come into direct contact with her”! They wanted to print this and distribute it, just like that! So I took my brightest red ink and wrote: “I do not accept this responsibility, you cannot make this promise.”…

The Sri Aurobindo Society people had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the spiritual life when they began; they didn’t at all present themselves as a ‘spiritual group’ — nothing of the kind; they were people of good will who volunteered to collect money to help the Ashram. So I said, “Very well, excellent” and as long as it’s like that, I’m behind it. Leaflets can be handed out — whatever people like; it’s enough if their interest is aroused, if they know there is an Ashram and that it needs some help to go on. But that’s all. It has nothing to do with yoga or spiritual progress or anything of the kind — it was a strictly practical organization….

But then, they [the Sri Aurobindo Society] began posing as … almost as teachers! Luckily, the draft of their brochure was brought to me. I said, “Nothing doing. If you want to talk to people, tell them what you like, it’s all the same to me, but I am not publishing this. What you have written about me is not to be printed and you are not to distribute it. I’m not in the picture. My name, the fact that I am president, is simply to give my guarantee that the money won’t go into the pockets of those who collect it but will be used for the Ashram, the running of the Ashram, and that’s all. And on this basis alone I give my guarantee. I am in no way going to help people imagine they are doing a yoga!” It’s absurd…. People imagine that by the simple fact of being here they become disciples and apprentice yogis! But it’s not true.

During the course of this conversation reference was made to a letter by Sri Aurobindo. The following is an extract from it:

I don’t believe in advertisement except for books etc., and in propaganda except for politics and patent medicines. But for serious work it is a poison. It means either a stunt or a boom – and stunts and booms exhaust the thing they carry on their crest and leave it lifeless and broken high and dry on the shores of nowhere – or it means a movement. A movement in the case of a work like mine means the founding of a school or a sect or some other damned nonsense. It means that hundreds or thousands of useless people join in and corrupt the work or reduce it to a pompous farce from which the Truth that was coming down recedes into secrecy and silence. It is what has happened to the “religions” and is the reason of their failure…. (October 2, 1934,  On Himself, Cent. Ed.Vol. XXVI, pp. 375-76)

Although the Sri Aurobindo Society began as a fund-raising organization for the needs of the Ashram and Auroville, this “strictly external thing”, which had “nothing to do with working for an ideal”, would, after Mother’s passing in 1973, declare itself the “proprietor” of Auroville, under the pretext that Auroville land was purchased in the name of the Society. In their attempt to take over Auroville they employed violent means, forcing the Government of India to intervene. The Society then contested the Government’s decision in a legal process, claiming to be a religious organization. This was eventually settled in the Indian Supreme Court. The Society lost the case, and the Supreme Court Judgement not only divested it of all claims of management and “ownership” of Auroville, but discredited it as a trustworthy representative of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s work. The verdict of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India on 8 November 1982 made it clear that “there is no room for doubt that neither the Sri Aurobindo Society nor Auroville constitute a religious denomination and that the teachings of Sri Aurobindo only represent his philosophy, not a religion.”

The Executive Committee of this impostor Society has now “come to the conclusion” that The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs

at many places, presents facts and information based on unreliable sources and contains misrepresentations and distortions of the life, work and yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The book also puts down other biographies written by scholars and devotees, which are certainly not hagiographies and have inspired a large number of devotees, seekers and scholars.

To those who still think for themselves we wish to point out  that “hagiography” literally means “biography of a saint” and has no derogatory connotation. Here is what Heehs wrote:

The genre of hagiography, in the original sense of the term, is very much alive in India. Any saint with a following is the subject of one or more books that tell the inspiring story of his or her birth, growth, mission, and passage to the eternal. Biographies of literary and political figures do not differ much from this model. People take the received version of their heroes’ lives very seriously. A statement about a politician or poet that rubs people the wrong way will be turned into a political or legal issue, or possibly cause a riot. The problem is not whether the disputed statement is true, but whether anyone has the right to question an account that flatters a group identity. Aurobindo has been better served by his biographers than most of his contemporaries have….

“Books that tell the inspiring story”, “Aurobindo has been better served by his biographers than most of his contemporaries have” — can this be called “putting down other biographies” of Sri Aurobindo? Obviously not.

It would also help if someone would specify the “facts and information based on unreliable sources” and “misrepresentations and distortions of the life, work and yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother”. Put up or shut up! All that this coterie, which wants to take over the Ashram and includes members of said Executive Committee, are able to offer is misrepresentations and distortions of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo.

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  1. The Public Ashramite
  2. auroleaks
    May 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    When some organisations claim that the religious sentiment of an entire community had been hurt by a book, “the media’s first reaction should be to investigate the claim. Which organisation is making the claim, which fraction of the community has been hurt, and more than that, are there factions within the organisation that are using the book as ammunition to attack other factions?,” [Romila] Thapar, Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University, said in a lecture at the 12 convocation of the Asian College of Journalism on Thursday, which was observed as World Press Freedom Day. — The Hindu, 4 May 2012.

  3. auroleaks
    May 20, 2012 at 11:16 am

    …it [the Sri Aurobindo Society] has nothing to do with yoga or spiritual progress or anything of the kind — it was a strictly practical organization. […] Luckily, the draft of their brochure was brought to me. I said, “Nothing doing. If you want to talk to people, tell them what you like, it’s all the same to me, but I am not publishing this. What you have written about me is not to be printed and you are not to distribute it. I’m not in the picture.

    This impostor society now writes on its website:

    A dynamic application of spirituality to life and all its activities is what we are trying to achieve at Sri Aurobindo Society. …
    We invite you to join us in our efforts to work towards an integral perfection of man, both as an individual and a collectivity. It is the Society’s aim to bring together all those who want to contribute to the advent of a new world where human unity will blossom in the midst of a harmonious and organised diversity. …
    Sri Aurobindo had delivered the divine message. It was the task of the Mother to give it a concrete shape and to carry this vision of a new awakening to all corners of the world, to people who await the call. In 1960 she founded the Sri Aurobindo Society. …

    We have omitted nothing between “people who await the call.” and “In 1960 she founded…”!

  4. Narad
    June 11, 2014 at 7:50 am

    … and yet they waste money that people donate in the name of The Mother. saving street dogs and paying huge salaries to so called volunteers who do nothing… thankfully they were all kicked out of the dining hall… impostors ….

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