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An Account of Prof. Manoj Das’s views: Part 2

July 14, 2012
We reproduce a note of clarification from “AKD” that was submitted as a comment on 2012/07/13 at 7:40 pm | In reply to BK Karan. Highlights (bold, underline, italics) added by us.

“Experience is like a comb which comes to you when you are already bald!”

Dear Friends,

Today (13.07.2012) in the forenoon I read a letter written by one BKK in your esteemed blog. Since BKK’s questions were pointed at Prof. Manoj Das, it took me time to contact him. I seek the favour of your site to convey my reply to the said correspondent and others interested. I am replying to BKK point by point.

1. The question contains elements that are too subjective and unwarranted. Manoj Babu was not “restless” despite his illness. He did not wish to “discuss over the issue” with the young man.

The fact is this: Manoj Babu somehow held the young man in question in affection and he had great faith in his potentiality. The young man was an office-bearer of an educational institution which was expected to project the ideals of the Master and the Mother. Manoj Babu wished that this young man should keep himself out of a controversy which to him appeared absurd. Even then he first sought the young man’s permission to speak to him over a controversial issue and he wanted a promise from the young man that he should keep it confidential, because Manoj Babu was against advising anybody. He did not wish to be known as an adviser. When the young man promised to abide by his condition, all Manoj Babu asked him was if he had read the book. The young man said that he had not read it. Manoj Babu’s advice was limited to this: Please do not participate in the signature campaign without reading the book yourself and forming your own opinion.

Well, Manoj Babu admits that he made a blunder. That is all. But, his agony is not regarding the young man. He wonders if the age of solemn promises between persons had ended. If a young man – he is not so young as not to understand the implication of his action – who is a devotee and who holds a responsible post could so easily violate his promise, it surely raises some disturbing fundamental questions. Manoj Babu also fails to understand what the young man gained by betraying Manoj Babu’s faith in this matter so callously. His audience must have been confused, and formed some vague idea that Manoj Babu had done something bad! How did it to help the young man’s cause. Manoj Babu repeatedly told me that he regrets taking this step “on his own initiation”, as BKK rightly put it. But from the content of his dialogue with the young man it should be clear that he did not try to impose anything on him. It was a sheer gesture of goodwill for somebody on whom he had faith and whom he wanted to be better-informed.

2. Answer to this question is contained in the first. Manoj Babu indeed regrets violating the Mother’s advice on advising anybody out of one’s own initiative. The young man’s conduct has been an experience to him. He regrets that it came too late in his advanced age. He repeated to me one of his favourite epigrams: “Experience is a comb which comes to you when you are already bald!”

3. The signature campaign practically meant a move against the Ashram. It is not enough to say that the Ashram is “the most sacred institution”. If one really believes it to be so, one should not indulge in such activities before ascertaining the Ashram’s point of view. Are we to believe that all those from whom the signatures were collected had read the book in question? Suppose the Ashram obliged the young man by acting accordingly to his view. If tomorrow another group collects a few thousand signatures hailing the book, should we expect the Ashram to reverse its action?

We should understand that the Ashram must take a stand keeping in mind greater and higher factors than public meetings and signature campaigns. Such strategies may be applicable to other institutions, but not to one which is based on spirituality and more so the world-covering vision of Sri Aurobindo. A wrong doer does not become right because of number of people, nor vice versa. At least there should be some organisations like the Ashram Trust which must not be cowed down by vote, politicians, media or similar pressures.

4. Manoj Babu and I agree with the first part of your observation. (Manoj Babu says that he will be sad to lose a friend like Acharya or the young man – but he does not know why he should lose them. They can stick to their views. He does not mind.) There is no harm in anybody appearing “like follies instead of friends” of somebody. (Did you mean foes? Oh no. Manoj Babu does not look upon anybody as his foe.)

But coming to the second part of the observation, the smoke is in us and we cannot breath fresh air in the Ashram unless we have got rid of it through our own surrender to the Mother’s Light. No signature campaign, no court, no warning from politicians can clear the smoke that is within us, fanned by our ignorance and ego. For your information, Ashram inmates, barring a few, and visitors continue to breathe fresh air in the Ashram. They are not obsessed by Peter – or the image of Peter which BKK seems to dread.

Your comment that a drop of poison poisons the entire water tank is a wise one. But that simile does not hold good in this case. No Peter Heehs can spoil yours or any body’s sadhana which is a matter of strict relationship between your inner self and the Divine.

Finally, I must say that the future generation of devotees and admirers would laugh at the childish vanity which some of the devotees of our generation hug with such zeal.

Thanking you.
A Devotee and a Well-Wisher


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  1. Selvam permalink

    “The young man was an office-bearer of an educational institution which was expected to project the ideals of the Master and the Mother”: ‘young’ as seen from Manoj Babu’s age point.
    Basic in good education but even more so in Science is starting research from primary sources. If a director or an institution that awards PhD degrees becomes a “political” activist purely based on hearsay he is definitely the wrong person for the job. University students need good examples, not just empty lectures.

    • permalink

      No Mr. Selvam,

      The Director who is PhD is a very competent persons . He gives genuine PhDs of very high value. He has informed the University Grant Commission that he can give a valid PhD as that has to be read as “Peter heehs Denunciations” Can anyone compete with him??

  2. BK Karan permalink

    “Experience is like a comb which comes to you when you are already bald” – A very nice quote quoted by Prof. Manoj Das. If such an experience comes so late for a world famous personality and story teller like Prof. Das [who have undoubtedly thousands of beloved readers & followers including the young man even today] , then why blame an unknown young man of Bhubaneswar who happened to be of half the age of Prof. Das 14 years ago, when they both were introduced to each other?

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