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A betrayal of Sri Aurobindo

It was expected. We have been branded “Western supermacists” (sic) who “have chosen to make a shameless display of their uncouth and arrogant boorishness in an attempt to fan the flames of divisiveness and racial prejudices.”

In point of fact, those of us who were born in the Western hemisphere have chosen to come to India not least because of our deep admiration for Her past greatness and in order to take part, within the limits of our abilities, in the realization of Her true destiny, which is “to be the Guru of the world” (Words of the Mother I, page 358). [Or is this what it means to be a Western supermacist (sic)?]

It does not matter who we are. If those who have so branded us speculate about our identities, it is because they prefer ad hominem attacks to “objective, academic, respectful and honest discussions” (haven’t we read this somewhere?).

Paulette has requested us to publish her response to being suspected of involvement with our site. Addressing RYD (whom she suspects to be the mastermind of the anti-Western smear campaign), she writes:

Respected Sir,

It did not enter my mind that appealing to caturvarnya’s equality of all varnas in their divine service to society, and to the Bhagavadita stressing that the perfected man embodies the qualities of the four varnas, that Adi Shankara bowed to the candala recognising Shiva, and that, as Sri Aurobindo observes, according to the sanatana dharma, even atheism and agnosticism are a path, I could be labelled as a Westerner supremacist etc.

Without commenting on the degree to which Richard Hartz is involved with our site — though we would be glad if he were more involved than he actually is — we wish to point out that he has learned the Bhagavad Gita by heart in Sanskrit, some 30 years ago, and that he reviews it periodically to keep it fresh in his mind, the last time on a long flight back from the States four or five years ago. There are verses and passages that he lives by all the time. (No, the anonymous author of this post is neither Richard nor a mind reader. I merely got an email from him.)

Can you say this about yourself, Govind? We can guess what your response will be: knowing the Gita by heart is part of the Western missionary’s thorough training for his task of enlightening the superstitious savages of the East. We also know what your next accusation will be: that we are calling the great people of India superstitious savages. Your kind always seems to know much better what we mean or imply than we do ourselves.

Responding to a certain General Editor’s reference to a “foreign taxi-driver”, we gave to a painting of Sri Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra the label “A native taxi-driver“. Surprisingly and thankfully, you did not object to the “taxi-driver” part. Our crime, as you see it, is an attempt “to shame an Indian/Hindu” by referring to him as a native. Pray tell us, what in your dictionary is the antonym of “foreign”? In our dictionary it is “native” (or “domestic” — would you have liked this better?). And if you check the meaning of “native” you will find that its use is in no way demeaning. Or do you think that the expression “a native Indian” is demeaning while the expression “a native Scot” — the dictionary example — is not?

The only way to respond to such preposterous hysterical utterances as the one we quoted above the painting of Lord Krishna, is to laugh. If our reference to the Divine Charioteer was deliberately incongruous, it was to highlight the extreme incongruity of that utterance. We are certain that Lord Krishna, who surely shares Sri Aurobindo’s sublime sense of humor, will forgive us our impertinence. Alas, his fundamentalist devotees are less likely to do so. When someone wrote to the Mother, “I pray to you to save India from the Indians,” She replied with the same sense of humor, “Yes, it seems rather necessary” (Words of the Mother I, page 355). “It’s a pity,” She exclaimed on another occasion (Mother’s Agenda, February 15, 1967), “men have too little sense of humor! Otherwise we could have great fun. It’s a wonderful remedy.” As She said in our last post’s quotation,

All that comes to me from people who have dedicated their lives to “spiritual life,” people who do a yoga in the traditional way, who are very solemn, who see adversaries everywhere, obstacles everywhere, taboos everywhere, prohibitions everywhere, oh, how they complicate life … and how far they are from the Divine!”

This brings us to the real issue. The sinister aim of Govind, Deshpande, and Co. is to dilute the force of Sri Aurobindo’s message by reducing it to a footnote to the Indian religious traditions of the past. They mean to achieve this by casting themselves as the Devas and us as the Asuras in a cosmic struggle between the religious traditions of India and the rationalism of the West. What drops out of the picture is the real Sri Aurobindo, along with the fact that He rejected both the rationalism of the West and the religious traditions of the East. “The traditions of the past are very great in their own place, in the past,” he wrote in a letter to Dilip Kumar Roy (Sri Aurobindo On Himself, SABCL 26, page 122). There can hardly be a greater betrayal of Sri Aurobindo than annexing him to the traditions of the past.

  1. Ajay
    May 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    It was said somewhere that the thing that hostile forces and asuras hate the most is humor. This might explain why Govind, Deshpande, Sraddhalu, Alok and Co. are always either whining and sulking. Because each time they (are made to) look at themselves they discover that they are the embodiment of ridicule which plunges them into an even deeper state of depression in which humor cannot penetrate. In such a conducive environment therefore the hostile forces and asuras find the best shelter.

  2. auroleaks
    May 10, 2012 at 7:15 am

    The “Western supermacists” (sic) have now become “Western chauvinists”.

  3. Anton
    May 10, 2012 at 7:56 am

    The courageous anonymous soul Govind is living in White Plains New York IF we have to believe his mini profile. Is his kettle boiling over on a “foreign” gas stove while calling the pot black?

  4. Might-is-Right
    May 12, 2012 at 12:00 am

    So this great son of India does not even live on Indian soil 🙂 What is it about NRI patriotism? I love India from the bottom of my heart, just don’t ask me to live there! What these hypocrites see when they look at themselves in the MIRROR is a mystery 😀

  5. auroleaks
    May 13, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Ajay :

    It was said somewhere that the thing that hostile forces and asuras hate the most is humor.

    …as I have always said, with the enemies that want to scare you or want to sadden you or want to worry you, the only thing to do is laugh in their faces, that’s all. You get angry? They’re happy, they say, “He’s angry” – no, no. You hit out? They escape, they’re like jelly, it doesn’t affect them. But when you laugh in their faces, they are really annoyed! That’s the only thing: to make fun of them. Their stories may scare babies, but not us. — Mother’s Agenda, July 10, 1965


    Satprem: I feel a bad destiny hangs over me.

    Mother: No, that’s not true! […] Quite the contrary, the course I saw [for you] recently is an increasingly beneficial influence over people through your writing, and something – I told you about it – which is spreading and is going to have an action everywhere. But of course the devil doesn’t like that, so he tries … (gesture of claws). Ah, you should look straight at him and laugh – stick your tongue out at him like a naughty boy. — Mother’s Agenda, June 9, 1971


    All depression and gloom is created by the hostile forces who are never so pleased as when throwing on you a melancholy mood. […] Therefore, face your troubles joyously, oppose with invariable cheerfulness the obstacles that beset the road to transformation. The best means of routing the enemy is to laugh in his face! You may grapple and tussle for days and he may still show an undiminished vigour; but just once laugh at him and lo! he takes to his heels. A laugh of self-confidence and of faith in the Divine is the most shattering strength possible—it disrupts the enemy’s front, spreads havoc in his ranks and carries you triumphantly onwards. — Collected Works of The Mother, Questions and Answers 1929-1932, p. 139

  6. auroleaks
    May 14, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Here we respond to the relevant parts of an unpublished comment submitted by “Truth”.

    @Auroleaks – Why have you “Banned” my first comment? Please step back and observe that you are restricting my “Freedom of Speech”.

    You do have a sense of humor. Ask your buddies, who ran the terminated and now run the reincarnated Mirror of Tomorrow (Govind, Deshpande, and Co), how many comments they have “banned”.

    Mr Ajay said – “It was said somewhere that the thing that hostile forces and asuras hate the most is humor”. I read through all of Mothers excerpts posted in your comment and I read them a few times so that I completely try to see your point of view. Your first statement “It was said somewhere….” is FALSE. Essentially it has NEVER been said and you are reading into Mother’s comments to make your point. All of Mothers excepts listed are inaccurately used and do NOT mean that Asuras hate humor.

    They hate humor when it is directed at THEM. Nothing upsets them more than not being taken seriously.

    In your first quote itself Mother states “You get angry? They’re happy”, which means dark forces do get happy and potentially enjoy humor.

    Being happy when they can make someone angry, hurt, or upset is one thing. Enjoying humor is quite another. True humor is not intended to hurt but only to point out the ridiculousness of something. If it’s our own ridiculousness we may get the point and join the laughter (the divine option) or we may get offended (the asuric option).

    What was the consequence of posting Sri Krishna’s picture as a “Native Taxi Driver”. Devotees of Sri Krishna got Angry, but who got happy? Were you and/or Auroleaks happy when Govind and others got angry?

    Decidedly not. We find it most deplorable that people get angry, hurt, or upset and thereby make the Bad Guys happy. Would Lord Krishna approve of his devotees getting angry, hurt, or upset? Obviously not, since it makes the Bad Guys happy.

    “If men took life less seriously, they could very soon make it more perfect. God never takes His works seriously; therefore one looks out on this wonderful Universe.” (Sri Aurobindo, Essays Divine and Human, p. 432)

    All the individuals against the book are only fighting as they believe the book is factually incorrect and has the power to instill doubt.

    It has never been shown that “the book” is factually incorrect. All we have seen is lies, lies, and more lies. As to the power to instill doubt, it is only the lies about the book that may have this power.

  7. auroleaks
    May 17, 2012 at 7:12 am

    In his latest Hindustan Times Blogs post, Gautam Chikermane writes:

    Since we have relegated the arduous task of thinking — that key determinant that differentiates man from beast — to our leaders, we need to accept its consequences as well…. our leaders have taken one more step towards strengthening the idea that in India crushing artistic, literary or scholarly expression is par for the course. Everything, from gods to men, has to be sanitised to fit into a narrow prism defined by vested interests. If you have a problem with anyone on any issue, raise it here — a ban is guaranteed.

    Shiv Visvanathan … wrote in The Economic Times. “I think the great Indian disease is political correctness as a new strain of hypocrisy. It goes well with sycophancy. To think Ambedkar belongs only to the Dalits is a travesty of history. To embalm him in political hypocrisy insults the courage of man. To deny him laughter, self reflexivity is the bigger crime.

    The bigger issue … lies in the intents of power mongers wanting to use any man, thing, idea, icon, beast, group to serve their political ends. In this case, some Dalit leaders claimed that Ambedkar is a god and as such the cartoon was blasphemous. By making Ambedkar a god, the blasphemy charge can be legally brought in. Whether Ambedkar can be called a god is an issue nobody is daring to question.

    This incident is not very different from the way a small group of people want to convert the teachings and ideas of Sri Aurobindo into a religion. While the Supreme Court has rightly veered to the contrary as far back as in 1982, the attempt by a few to push Sri Aurobindo into a religion just refuses to end. In a new case they have sought a ban on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, a deeply insightful biography of one of India’s most articulate, liberal, grounded, evolved spiritual leaders.

    The intolerance with facts or a differing view has seen India become the banning capital of the world — biographies of Mahatma Gandhi (Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India), Sri Aurobindo and now Babasaheb Ambedkar … are not acceptable. Only hagiographies (idolising biographies) will be allowed to be published and sold in India. Trouble is, the option to reject men as gods is not an option for the peaceful people wanting to go about their business of truth or faith; it is enough that a handful of power peddlers do the dirty work of deciding who is a god and who’s not for them. Thinking is dead and dying with every passing day; these are indeed dark times for those daring to undertake this risky activity.

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