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A documented history of the Prasad sisters’ campaign against the Ashram

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram have made available the following documents pertaining to the suicide sisters’ “beyond belief” campaign against the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.

  1. Report of the Enquiry Officer at the High Court of Chennai dated 24/10/2002. This report details Hemlata Prasad’s gross misconduct and indiscipline, justifying the action taken against her by the Ashram Trust.
  2. Judgment of The Judicial Magistrate at Pondicherry dated 23/11/2004. Concludes that Hemlata Prasad’s charges of having been defamed, harassed, and sexually assaulted are baseless, full of contradictions, and made with mischievous intent.
  3. Report of the Fact Finding Enquiry Officer A.V. Nagarajan (Government of Pondicherry) in the matter of complaints among the residents in Ambabhikshu House and certain other Ashramites dated 10/1/2005. This report concludes (1) that the complaints filed by the Prasad sisters against members of the Ashram residing in the same apartment block were false, malicious and motivated, and that (2) the complaints against the Prasad sisters filed by numerous members of the Ashram and co-residents of said apartment block were true and serious. The report clearly establishes that “the undesirable demeanour of the five sisters [renders] them unsuitable for being inmates of the Ashram.”
  4. News report dated Jan 2005 of the Enquiry conducted by the National Commission for Women (NCW) into the  allegations of sexual harassment made by the Prasad sisters. The NCW did not submit a copy of its report to the Ashram. As this independent news report states, the allegation made by the Prasad sisters are false and there “appears to be malicious planning behind the complaints.”
  5. Enquiry Report of the National Human Right Commission, New Delhi, dated 12/4/2005. Concludes that the complaints filed by Arunashri Prasad  against several members of the Ashram are completely baseless, and that there is no ground for any human rights violation in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
  6. Order of the Madras High Court dated 21/6/2010 ordering the Prasad sisters to find accommodation outside of the Ashram premises.
  7. Second Order of the Madras High Court dated 3/8/2012 ordering the Prasad sisters to find accommodation outside the Ashram premises.
  8. Order of the Supreme Court dated 29/4/2014 ordering the Prasad sisters to vacate their premises and the Ashram by 31st July, 2014. This order was issued after the Prasad sisters had challenged the High Court’s order of August 2012. It is here that the Prasad sisters hired India’s topmost law firm in a final, desperate attempt to win their case. Considering that all along the Prasad sisters had stated that their financial position was weak, someone must have bet heavily on this case against the Ashram. The order shows that the Ashram prevailed.
  9. Affidavits of undertakings dated 7/5/2014, signed by the Prasad sisters, assuring the Courts and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram that they shall vacate their premises in the Ashram by 31st July 2014 as ordered by the Supreme Court.
  10. Order of the Supreme Court dated 9/12/2014 issuing an arrest warrant for the Prasad sisters for their contempt of court, for not having vacated their premises in the Ashram as agreed by them in their sworn affidavit of undertaking.
  11. Letter by the Prasad sisters to the Trustees dated 15/12/2014 threatening to commit suicide. This letter also contains the explicit threat of (1) holding all those people whom they would name in a suicide note responsible for their deaths and (2) causing adverse repercussions forthe Ashram in the event of their deaths.
  12. Ashram Trust’s letter to the Superintendent of Police dated 15/12/2014 informing the Police of the Prasad sisters’ suicide threat and asking the police to take all precautions to protect the sisters from causing harm to themselves and others.
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Prof. Manoj Das’s letter to the Organizer

September 30, 2014 3 comments

organizer

 


 

Dear Sir,

Greetings from Pondicherry

Not only have I been living in Sri Aurobindo Ashram for a little over fifty years, but I have also been entrusted at different times with the responsibility of writing regular personal columns in India’s major newspapers such as The Hindustan Times, The Times of India and The Hindu, apart from newspapers in my mother-tongue, Odia. But rarely in my career either as an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, nor as a free lance columnist had anything shocked me so much as the item “The Enemy Within” in the Opinion column of the esteemed Organiserdated the 21st of September, 2014. No less was my shock to see the author sporting his credential as a former editor of the Organiser. God forbid!

Has Mr. Chari the courage to swear by the name of Organiser, if not Mother India, that he had visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, if not to imbibe the spirit sublime dominating the air which may be beyond his aspiration,but at least to verify the credibility of the nasty and naked lies about the Ashram offered to him before he swallowed them? The book by Heehs was of course only a ploy to vomit out on the absorbing newsprint the dirt he was fed with, but can he swear by the truth that had read the book? Can he also swear by the truth that he had atleast asked the Ashram authorities or sought a clarification whether they had something to say about this matter?

It is not unusual for any spiritual institution to attract attacks from some hostile elements. In our times their zeal becomes redoubled because of the media’s propensity for such stuff and because of the unfortunate activities of some pseudo-spiritual institutions. But, surely, we expected better sense from your journal!

I assert that during my half-century in the Ashram I have never come across a single instance of violation of human rights and the other sins your author has attributed to the Ashram. I assure you I keep my eyes open and had there been any such instance, I would have surely acknowledged it to you. Following the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the Ashram runs with the minimum of rules; each inmate had joined the Ashram out of his or her free-will and is free to leave it at any time. The Ashram does not have even a compound wall around it; its residential houses and departments are scattered all over the town. Lady-inmates play a leading role in so many of its activities and the possibility of sexual abuse can hardly be imagined in its atmosphere.Its accounts are audited by premier agencies and are always certified to be clean.

In order to appreciate the Ashram we have to remember the philosophy behind its foundation. Sri Aurobindo visualised man as an evolving being; the time was coming for mankind to be transformed into a Supramental race. In other words Sri Aurobindo’s yogic vision embraced the destiny of humanity as a whole. Hence the Ashramis not an assembly of ascetics, but it represents numerous specimens of mankind, including an ambitious few who try to sabotage it from within while painting others as “enemy within”. The truth is, whoever is here for Sadhana is taken care of by the Mother’s Grace; whoever does not live an inner life is bound to feel restless and, if he is unfortunate, will become a prey of maddening forces of falsehood. The Ashram is not to be judged on par with ordinary social association – it is presided over by the Divine Mother. Either I accept this basic truth or I don’t. If I don’t, the wide world outside is there for me. Anyone who is unhappy here due to their own frustrated inner ambitions and desires is free to leave this place at any time.

Mr. Chari has referred to a few periodicals (Tehelka included) in which over the years some stray critical articles were published. But why not – if Organiser could publish such a blatant exercise in falsehood? A reference has also been made to CNN-IBN conducting a so called sting-operation. But the statement clearly avoids stating that the channel management realised that the so-called sting was fake journalism, and the said program has never been telecast.

We can easily guess the sources that have provided the “author” with the stuff, for the stock is familiar enough. The sly motive to draw the Prime Minister’s attention to it is poor and pathetic.

Coming to the book in question, I am not at all concerned here with Wendy Doniger or Jeffrey Kripal, whom the author has mischeivously and perversely clubbed with Peter Heehs. Peter Heehs cannot by any means be equated with these persons. Nevertheless, Heeh’s book is not published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram; the Ashram channels do not sell it. Many readers like the book – and they include not only noted intellectuals, but also genuine admirers and devotees of the Master and the Mother. If some do not like it, that is fine. The Ashram has no business to ask anybody to read it or prohibit anybody from doing so. There may be errors in the book, at certain places the author’s style of narration may be disliked by some (my style of writing is also not in tune with that of the author’s), but that does not justify the propaganda carried on through quotations taken out of context. If at all harm could be done to Sri Aurobindo, it is these fake enthusiasts who have done it.

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is indeed a home for tens of thousands of seekers spread all over the world. It should not be treated so casually – at least by a journal of your status.

I trust that you will be broad and kind enough to publish my rejoinder in full, even if it is bitter, and not be partial towards Mr. Chari simply because he was your former editor.

Thanking you,

Sincerely,

Prof Manoj Das

Sri Aurobindo Ashram,

Pondicherry

(The writer is a renowned bilingual creative writer who writes in Oriya and English. He is the recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award Fellowship, Padmashree and Saraswati Samman. He has been an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry since 1973.)

100

This, by the way, is Auroleaks’s 100th post!

Light and Darkness

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment
Dear Fellow Trustees,

It has come to my knowledge that certain mischievous rumours are being circulated in the Ashram community and on the Internet by vested persons with regard to my desire to resign from my position as a trustee.

In our meeting on Monday, 7th January, 2013, when you had all come to my residence, I had already expressed to all of you my reasons for wanting to step down from my position. I wish to reiterate in writing now that the only reason I would like to resign is because of my advanced age and increasing physical incapacity. Under the Circumstances, it is only proper that I step down and make way for someone who would be able to take up this responsibility in due course. Continuing to carry the burden of this obligation would not be fair to my physical condition .

Kindly do not pay heed to persons who are spreading perverse rumours to the contrary, and please enlighten those who are spreading such lies.

You had requested me during the meeting held on 07.01.2013, whether it would be possible for me to continue holding my office until the end of February, which is sacred for us due to the Mother’s Birth Anniversary. I shall surely accede to your request and I hereby inform you once again that my resignation may be accepted on 28.02.2013. I had also signed the Minutes dated 07.01.2013 wherein I had confirmed that my resignation may be from 28.02.2013

Finally, I wish to thank each one of you for the love, affection, and respect you have given me all these years that we have worked together. I will always cherish the warm and harmonious relations we have shared.

With kind regards,

Albert Patel

10.1.2013

View the original letter

Dear Fellow Malcontents,

The Trust Board of the Ashram Trust is scrambling for damage control following the conscientious resignation of the senior-most Trustee of the Ashram, Albert Patel.

At first the Trustees begged Albert-da not to resign. When they found him adamant, Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee, put great pressure on him to sign a second letter of resignation where he would declare his resignation on grounds of “loss of memory and ill-health”. This is a dangerous trick that he has played with others earlier, but which everyone sees through now.

Failing all these options, Manoj Das Gupta has now ordered his men to spread the word that Albert-da is resigning only in March and not before.

Meanwhile the Trustees are in a desperate search to find a suitable successor. But this is not an easy task any more. To begin with, any successor must be someone who will swear personal loyalty to Manoj Das Gupta as against Sri Aurobindo….

But therein lies the rub. Although there are enough people waiting to serve the Trustees in their abuse of Sri Aurobindo, none of them is keen to go to jail with them! …After all selling one’s conscience is easier than going to jail for life.

Albert-da may well turn out to be smartest of them all.

With vicious disregard for Truth,

Sraddhalu Ranade and diverse aliases

15.1.2013

Albert-da’s resignation: Bulu clarifies

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Recently some of our readers were blessed with an email from the “General Editor” of CHOLATLOSA (the Central Hub Of Lies About TLOSA) screaming “Enough of Falsehood – Ashram Trustee resigns!”  It went like this (abridged to minimize the production of stomach acid): This morning saw high drama in the Board of Trustees of the Ashram Trust. In the general backdrop of the ongoing Probe of criminal actions of the Trustees … Their well-wishers and advisors have warned them repeatedly that if they do not solve their problems in-house they will surely end up in jail. And their time is not far … under pressure of his own conscience, this morning Albert Patel, the senior-most Trustee of the Ashram Trust, submitted his resignation to the Trust Board… The email included three congratulatory comments from the insufferable RY (“Bye Bye”) Deshpande.

On January 17, 2013 Bulu posted the following message to the SAICE Alumni Yahoo Group. (See here and here for context)

Dear A.,

While you are finding out the real facts behind Albert-da’s letter of resignation, I too have carried out my little exercise doing the same. In fact I met Albert-da this morning at his office and was greeted by his usual bright smile; the same unchanging smile that I am used to since I had known him as a little kid in green group…

I told him the purpose of my visit and wanted a private audience with him. He said I could ask him whatever I wanted and that there was no need of a private audience. I told him about the disturbing rumours floating about surrounding his unexpected resignation.

“What rumours?” He asked.

“All sorts” I replied “It is alleged that you have objected to the SAAT’s stand on Peter’s TLOSA, the court case as a result, the managing trustee’s high handedness etc.” I said

“Oh you mean the rumours being spread by Sraddhalu on his website? They are all rumours and totally false. They are trying to divide the board of trustees by their actions but they will fail.” He said

“But then why did you resign? To some people it seemed very abrupt” I said

“Look, I am 90 years of age and my physical health is taking its toll; that is why I thought of it (resigning). There is nothing very abrupt about all this. Besides, my letter of resignation has not been accepted by the board of trustees so I am still continuing in my full capacity as a trustee” He said

“Some people say that your letter was very short and curt and feel that there must be more to it” I said

“Everyone is free to speculate whatever they want to, I can’t stop that. You have known me since you were a little kid, was I ever a man of many words???” He said

“Albert-da, you have clarified all the questions I have raised. Could I, with your permission, share it with others?” I asked

“Of course” He said emphatically. A man of few words indeed…

As I was turning to go, he called me back, drew out a blessings packet with Sri Aurobindo’s photo from his purse and gave it to me.

“Don’t be so worked up, He will take care of all these things. Leave it to Him” He said with his ineffable smile and a twinkle in his eyes…

As I walked out, I felt tangibly that a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. There was new spring in my steps and an unassailable confidence that the people who specialise in spreading falsehood about Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and the Ashram or their evil collaborators in far off continents can never ever succeed.

Cheers

Bulu

Pope Vijay’s Proclamations

September 30, 2012 5 comments

Recently we have been posting a lot about the Sri Aurobindo Society, and some of our posts were rather serious. It’s time for some comic relief. Today is the fourth anniversary of Vijay Poddar’s immortal letter to Manoj Das Gupta about The Lives of Sri Aurobindo.

There is general agreement among students of Integral Yoga Fundamentalism that this is the most ridiculous document ever written by a hardcore IY fundamentalist. Sraddhalu Ranade is unparalleled for his inspirational impudence, Alok Pandey for his self-assured stupidity, but Vijay Poddar (a.k.a. Vijay bhai) beats them both by his ability to combine infantile irrationality with hysterical self-righteousness.

Vijay’s letter was written at a time when he still enjoyed some respect for his mental and moral qualities, and as a result some people took it seriously at the time. Four years of behind-the-scenes maneuvering and the occasional prophetic utterance have so lowered him in public esteem that few people take him seriously any more. As the smokescreen of his rhetoric has dissipated, the matter under study has become more and more clear. So it is a good time to look at Vijay’s famous letter again.

Our friends at IY Fundamentalism have published the text of the letter along with the warning, “Readers are cautioned that this unannotated document contains false assertions.” Our purpose here is not to disclose all the distortions, half-truths and sheer lies that are crowded into Vijay’s letter, but simply to dissipate the haze a little more so that people will be able see the letter for what it is, and perhaps have a few laughs along the way.

Vija Poddar begins by saying that yet another letter on the subject is uncalled for but decides to write one anyhow because he has thought “a long time” (a week? a month? – it could not have been more than that) about the issues involved. He then asks whether the Mother would be happy to receive (whatever that might mean) the book “with all that has been written in it about Sri Aurobindo and Her.” He does not give an example of what has been written, and does not seem to know himself. He has, he admits, just read “some of the things which are written” (in other words he had read Raman Reddy’s distorted Selections). Nevertheless, he considers himself illumined enough to answer on the Mother’s behalf. The answer (of course) is No. He then tells the Trustees to follow his example. If it turns out they aren’t worried about the book they haven’t read, they should put his letter aside. But if they are ignorant enough to form an opinion about something they haven’t read on the basis of gossip and fragments, they should go ahead and read the rest of his 2700-word letter.

There follows a rigid logical demonstration: Columbia University Press (on the jacket flap, Vijay bhai!) asserts that the book is by a competent author, therefore (!!) the Ashram is responsible for the book. Therefore the Ashram must publicly disown the book, stop the printing of the Indian edition, and stop the distribution of the American edition!!! The book (which, again, neither Vijay nor the trustees had at that point read) cannot  be revised. It has to be banned completely and banned immediately!!!! This ridiculous conclusion is the one that Vijay has been repeating, like a broken record, for the last four years – but nobody has listened to him!

(Well, somebody did, namely Gopal Bhattacharjee, Jayant Bhattacharjee, and Geetanjali Jain Bhattacharjee. Question: At whose instructions did these people initiate legal proceedings in various parts of India against a book the Trustees were not bothered about but Vijay was definitely bothered about. Perhaps only Vijay knows.)

Vijay Poddar then puts on the robe of the Prophet: the book, he says, is a product of “a very hostile and evil force.” What can be done? Well, pass that idea along to the ashram’s licensed expert in hostile forces, Dr. Pandey-monium (a.k.a. the Doctor of Demonology), and let him rave about it for four years.

Vijay’s logical demonstration then continues: (1) Sri Aurobindo cannot be harmed by a book, (2) nothing we human beings can do can help or hinder things, (3) therefore the Trustees (all of whom are human beings) must act and act now now now ­– certainly before anyone has had a chance to read the book.

The problem, Vijay bhai, is that in the intervening four years, hundreds of people have read the book and, guess what, the vast majority of them were not bothered by it at all. Scholars, professors, writers, government ministers, ashramites, ex-students – all found the book to be wonderful, or okay, or at any rate not “denigratory.” What then, Vijay bhai?

Well, of course, Vijay asks the Trustees to hold a meeting where Vijay (who has still not read the book) can tell everyone that they should publicly disown it. And when the Trustees say no, Vijay himself, as de facto head of the SAS, declares that the SAS “strongly disapproves of the book”. But alas, nobody gives a damn.

Poor Vijay bhai! What can he do now? What can his henchmen Gopal Bhattacharjee, Jayant Bhattacharjee, Geetanjali Jain Bhattacharjee do? They have tried the High Court of Orissa, they have tried the High Court of Madras, they have tried the Lieutenant-Governor, now they are trying the Asst. Collector of Puducherry. And still nobody is doing what Vijay wants them to do!!! Poor Vijay bhai!!!!

We said we were writing this to provide a little comic relief and we hope that our readers have been amused. But now we have to introduce a little bit of seriousness into this post. Vijay will recall that the Supreme Court of India instructed the Sri Aurobindo Society in 1984 that the work of Sri Aurobindo was not and could never be a religion, and therefore the SAS had not right to claim the constitutional rights granted to religious bodies, as it was trying to do. That was more than thirty years ago, Vijay bhai. Surely you have read the Supreme Court judgment.

It would appear that he has not. One does not have to be a graduate of Knowledge to realize that Vijay’s letter and Vijay’s Statement are nothing but religious proclamations. Yes, Vijay considers himself a Shankaracharya, a Mullah, a Pope! But nobody is paying attention!!! Better be careful, Vijay bhai, if you go on with your religious babbling, the Supreme Court of India might have to step in again.

An appeal to the Sri Aurobindo Society

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Once Jayant Bhattacharjee and his pal Sraddhalu Ranade (at the Collector’s office represented by his mother and sister) had teamed up with MLA Ashok Anand, it was only a matter of time that the Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram would receive a letter from the Office of the Deputy Collector (Revenue) North, Puducherry, directing them to display a notice where it will be seen not only by bona fide members of the Ashram but also by most visitors to the Ashram.

This notice, signed by A. Vincent Rayar, Dy. Collector (Revenue) North-cum-Sub-Divisional Magistrate (North), and dated September 17, 2012, makes known that said MLA has submitted a memorandum to the District Collector, Puducherry, “alleging against the Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust of various irregularities on their part such as denial of basic constitutional rights of Ashramites, financial mismanagement, denial of security for women inmates who have spoken against sexual harassment and victimization, illegal sale and lease of Ashram properties etc.”

The notice further makes known that “the undersigned is conducting an enquiry on these allegations and any Ashramite interested to disclose any information on the issue, may approach the undersigned with necessary details”.

We do not need to stress that these allegations are a pack of monstrous lies, told by disgruntled miscreants bearing grudges against the Ashram Trustee because their ludicrous demands had not been met or because they had been reprimanded, expelled from, or refused admission to, the Ashram for unacceptable behavior.

We do not need to stress that all that the Trustees can be justly accused of is trying to preserve a modicum of sanity among members of the Ashram and disciples and devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

We do not need to stress that this notice, if displayed where it will be seen by most visitors to the Ashram, is bound to cause profound distress among devotees and disciples and to plunge the public image of the Ashram far deeper than the adolescent sewer-pipe rants of the Sri Aurobindo Society’s star orator could.

This is the time for the Sri Aurobindo Society to put its considerable clout to good use and publicly and explicitly condemn such heinous attacks on the Trustees.

This is the time for the Sri Aurobindo Society to come to the defense of the Ashram Trustees, to begin with by making known to Dy. Collector A. Vincent Rayar the mendacious nature of these allegations.

This is the time for the Sri Aurobindo Society to once and for all clear itself of the suspicion that members of their Executive Committee are in league with those who are attacking the Ashram Trustees in this outrageous and despicable manner (what with EC member Gopal Bhattacharjee being the father and father-in-law, respectively, of two of the most malicious agitators against the Trustees).

If the Society fails to do so, this suspicion will have been confirmed.