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Some views about the S.A.S.

August 31, 2012

We have received a compilation of statements that some alumni of the SAICE have uttered regarding the “Plea” that was recently issued by the Sri Aurobindo Society (S.A.S.) on their website. We believe that the alumni of the SAICE have a fairly good understanding of the issues concerning the anti-Ashram Trust movements and we wish to share some of their views with our readers. As we have not taken the permission of the authors of these statements before reproducing them here, we are not indicating their respective names. We have however verified the authenticity of these quotes against the original emails and vouch that they are genuine.
The statements below do not always follow a thread or the order in which they have been stated.

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“Strange and interesting message.

As I read it, the first part alludes to the misrepresentations in the campaign against the Ashram – I’d like to think. Is it not?

I actually don’t see really the doomsday part of things though, and nor do I think Mahakali could be too bothered by all this – surely she has more compelling matters to attend to. I think the whole controversy is becoming an annoying noise in the background. I am sure it is very vexing for those directly involved and must test their patience. But for the rest of us – pfffh! A few disgruntled folks have gone to court against the Ashram, some others have also impleaded themselves on the side of the Ashram and now matters will take their own course. So we should all be sitting back, and letting matters progress there. This is all part of life now, and we live in a litigious society.

Actually for all these aggrieved parties who have gone to court, where is the need for dharnas? They have already taken recourse to the law. Now by engaging in all such theatrics, they are in fact showing immense disrespect to a process of law they have themselves initiated. The police in fact should not allow further disruptions of public life for these reasons. For the same reasons, I see no need for any talks as well. Where is the need to talk when the parties have already chosen their method of redressal?

Despite this din (and other literal noise) around the Ashram….it still remains an oasis of peace, as I felt last time I was sitting there by the samadhi while outside I heard a car go by blaring ‘We will, we will, rock you…’. So we should all just go on with our lives, and let the lies collapse under their own weight. Perhaps SAS’s position as bystander has therefore been quite wise after all – and they have so many interesting projects to devote resources to so not sure they should bother with the talks.”

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“If maintaining ones image is at all an issue, SAS should be the one to be concerned, not the Ashram. More and more, people with a little insight are valuing and appreciating the principled and clear stand taken by the Ashram visa vie this controversy. Unlike Society, the Ashram is not dictating what should be read or not read, it is not imposing its views through announcements and statements or invoking the wrath of MahaKali on those not thinking in a prescribed manner. Neither have the trustees of the Ashram succumbed to the temptations of becoming gurus unlike some of their counterparts in the SAS.

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo gave everyone in the Ashram the freedom to grow according to his or her own nature and pace, even allowed people who did not accept them to continue living here. It is to the credit of the Ashram that it is trying to preserve this foundation of freedom which is essential for a true spiritual growth. We should be happy that it has not yielded to the pressure of people who are attempting to shape the Ashram according to their limited, narrow and distorted views.

SAS should seriously introspect and decide whether interfering with Ashram’s affairs and tampering with this foundation of freedom is the right way forward for them.”

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“I don’t know whether there is really such a tearing need for a solicitation or whether SAS is dying for it from us. If solicit we must, we should ask SAS to clear the mess they have created in the first place and get on with life.

Mother has clearly delineated the reason d’être and the function of SAS in the agenda (could someone post that please?). So let them explain why are they engaged in activities that are contrary to the objectives set by the Mother?

You think Mother would have really approved the vicious campaign and falsehood unleashed against the Ashram by the son (as well as the son’s wife and the wife’s mother) of a sitting executive member of SAS? Organisational protocol dictates that the member in question should not only resign from the executive committee but also from his primary membership.

Shameless or not, the member continues to hold his position in the EC with or without guilt/ with or without remorse; and what does the august, conscientious, courageous executive committee do? Sit quietly and pretend as though nothing has happened or worse, shed crocodile tears…

You think Mother would have approved SAS platform being used for pressure tactics against the Ashram trustees and for falsehood mongering by SR in Bombay? Or advertising and soliciting sale of clandestine publication of Savitri?

To me it would appear that SAS has some people in position and power who are more interested in distorting Truth then promoting it. How else do you explain their overwhelming penchant for turning Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s teachings into a religion? How else do you explain their primitive bigoted reflex for issuing fatwas on their website and in print?

They bend over backwards and extend full support to the very people who were behind manhandling Dilip-da, a senior Trustee of the Ashram; now they have the gall to issue a farce of a plea, full of sanctimonious hocus pocus, stale hypocrisy and gyan? If they are really as serious and sincere as they would like us to believe, let them start practicing what they preach. If they have made a mistake, let them admit it first instead of invoking Mahakali. If introspection is what they seek let them do it; establish for themselves why they were so foolishly blind when the writing was soclear, clear, clear on the wall. That way hopefully they can rid themselves of some of their hypocritical myopia acquired over time, perhaps even avoid falling in the very pit they have been digging…

The only course of action for us now, or at least for me, is inaction. Take a comfortable ringside seat in the circus with a packet of roasted peanuts in hand and see Mother’s action at work… believe me if She really needs us for Her work, She will make us break into a sweat…so don’t worry…”

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“Very right, my question too: > what exactly is meant by “all sides” calling a halt <.
The point still remains: how do we get SAS to issue their official stand on the misadventures of SR&Co.?”

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“I am not sure if I understand the following statement:

“Let all sides call a halt—we owe it to the Mother.”

While we all owe it to The Mother I fail to see what exactly is meant by “all sides” calling a halt! Some of us have been maintaining for a while now that there is only one side which has created the conflict and is persisting with the conflict – the side of SR& Co. To elucidate consider the following:
1. SR& Co. have asked for Peter’s expulsion from the ashram
2. SR& Co. slapped false cases on Peter in the courts of Orissa
3. SR& Co. manipulated government machinery to have the book banned in Orissa
4. SR& Co. launched signature campaign and politicized their movement against the book, Peter and the ashram Trust
5. SR& Co. went public with their dissent and launched internet campaign against the book, the author and the ashram Trust
6. SR& Co. have sought to impose their opinion on the book on others by all means
7. SR& Co. have gone to the court against the Trust seeking dismissal
8. SR& Co. sat on dharna and created ugly scenes around the ashram
9. SR& Co. called for a Press Conference in hotel Atithi, spread malice against the Trustees and called for their dismissal
10. SR& Co. mobilized devotees from outside the ashram and externalized the issue
11. SR& Co. have sought help from politicians and bureaucrats to intervene in the ashram’s internal affairs

Calling upon “all sides” is trying to be holier than thou. “Introspection” and “talking” sound hollow. This is not the first time that this type of absurd suggestions are being made. Even with blinkers on one can see who is the aggressor and who is merely trying to defend. Given the above actions from SR& Co. one may ask, what is there to talk about and whether any amount of talking will stop them from pursuing their agenda? And SAS presenting themselves as a helpless bystander has probably come too late in the day. A real bystander would just keep quiet and not take any stand not to mention go public with his stand. In this case SAS has already taken a stand on the book and has spared no effort in making their view known to the world. Further, apart from being conspicuously silent on the court case and dharna which has cast doubts in the minds of people, the following actions of SAS appear to be less than friendly towards the ashram.
1. Branches/study circles were allowed to accuse the Trustees and write threatening letters, even asking them to consult members of SAS for decision-making. SAS did not bother to either clarify or issue a disclaimer.
2. SAS allowed its premises to be used for publicizing SR’s hate-talk in Mumbai. No body has heard how and why this happened.
3. SAS allowed its publication to carry the advertisement of Helios Books’ Savitri (published by Gitanjali Jain Bhattacharya). SAS has not clarified if they hold this version of Savitri to be the true version and that whatever the ashram has published as “tampered”.

… While one need not dig into SAS’s problems in the past and pass a judgement one way or the other most may quite legitimately feel that here was an occasion for SAS to rise to the occasion and be seen to be on the right side of history.”

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“I do think SAS executive committee should clarify their position vis a vis the litigants especially as one of them is the son of a current member. This is giving it a very bad name and their ambivalence is only fueling speculations in many quarters (including several branches of SAS) that the litigants are encouraged with moral and material support directly by some of executive members of SAS.

The current member’s son is alleged to be a key player in the truth clinging camp: his wife has filed the case in Odisha, his mother-in-law from Chennai, he has been actively financing (the figure of 1 crore has cropped up several times in different quarters) the case against the trustees of the Ashram in Pondicherry, he is said to have hired goons from West Bengal and Odisha for the farce in February 2012. Has a great reputation for telling lies and his most intelligent recorded utterance that catapulted him to some fame is “Can you hear me Sagarika? Can hear me Sagarika? Can you hear?…” ad nauseum moronicum…

Clarifying their stand on this touchy issue in no uncertain terms would not only clear the air between the organisations that Mother created but hopefully brink back some luster to SAS’s fast eroding credibility.”

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“This reminds me of the stand on the PH book declared by SAS (Sri Aurobindo Society); does anybody know what is their stand wrt the SR&Co’s court case against the trust, and what their action; whether it has been officially communicated to all their branches, centres and study circles, and posted on their website?
Have they then declared too their disapproval, displeasure and no-truck with the litigants? had that happened (pl correct me if I am wrong), many events like the Palkiwala sponsored Mumbai SR talk might not have happened!
Is SAS supporting the trust’s line of action? Most have taken sides for or against the book, many for and a few against the trustees, but few have declared their understanding, concurrence or express support for the trust’s line of action, especially their ‘silence’ and ‘no-dialogue’ with the litigants. Why? I am compelled to ask: do the senior sadhaks in SAS not understand why the ‘silence’ or simply prefer not to voice their unconditional support?
SAS [ … ] must share with us their thoughts and declare to all their members and centres their irrevocable support for the Trust and its line of action. And if there are differences amongst such senior sadhaks (!!!), what might they be and why?”

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“Regarding what the lawyers did on behalf of SAS is unpardonable in my opinion [in Society’s case against Auroville]. Can one compromise one’s core values for some cheap material or legal gains? Don’t you see it as a deep betrayal??? I would much rather lose the case than do such a thing…

Secondly, if this was not SAS’s intention, has it ever issued a clarification later to say that they do not consider Sri Aurobindo’s teaching to be a religion but legal exigencies forced them to take such a stance? I suspect they haven’t…

Thirdly, we need to see the role of SAS today. The more I see it in action today, the more I see an overarching tendency towards unmitigated religiosity… All this stuff of reading Peter’s book in Mother’s room to decide its veracity is nothing but a symptom of this deep malaise.

Fourthly, one has to understand that Mother is not just the President of SAS alone, She is more… She is the Mother of the Universe and all that transcends it. So by definition, She is also the Mother of all the Asuras, Rakshasas and Pishachas; but does this fact make them less open to falsehood? Less prone to fights against Her? I don’t think so…

Similarly, does Mother being its president make SAS a holy cow?…”

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“…the lies perpetrated to centers outside of Pondicherry is not just SR & Co’s doing, unless the other individuals and organizations involved in doing just that are already part of the same shareholding structure. I am sure if you take [S’s] suggestion and go down the path of approaching some of these study-centers outside of Pondy, the loose (or tight) network of “grab power through TLOSA” will reveal itself. As they say in any investigation – “follow the money”…. May be yours will not be an investigation but still it is best to call a spade a spade. The different people involved and their occasional speeches (albeit from the ramparts of their homes) or their dictates to their areas of influence needs to be understood if you are to have any impact in influencing the centers. Sometimes the white (dress) is not so white nor the black (beard) not so black, what lies underneath are the “Fifty Shades of Grey” (that should get book burners all excited I suppose)…”
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– Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram –

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8 Comments
  1. auroleaks permalink

    Mother has clearly delineated the reason d’être and the function of SAS in the agenda (could someone post that please?)

    http://wp.me/p1idOv-5o

  2. an observer permalink

    Hmmm… so after all this drama the cat is now finally out of the bag… it is getting more and more clear that it is the SAS that is behind all the hostility against the Ashram… the SAS condemns Peter’s book without giving any substantial reasons… Gopal Bhattacharjee and his son Jayant use the SAS networks, e.g. in Orissa and finance goons – they are going about saying that they have allocated Rs. 1 Crore for this activity – to create trouble at the Ashram just as the SAS hired goons in those early days in Auroville to attack Aurovillians by breaking into their homes at night and smashing their jaws with iron bars… the SAS devotees like the ones in Mumbai at the Palkiwalas are used to create and mobilize anti-Ashram elements (and funding!) … the SAS welcomes, nurtures and provides asylum to all the anti-Ashram elements starting from Sraddhalu Ranade, Alok Pandey, Deshpande, Kittu Reddy & other Reddys… the SAS sponsors and publicizes a spurious and dubious edition of Savitri published by Helios Books (Gitanjali’s and Jayant’s publishing house) to ensure that the controversy around the Savitri keeps burning… and there’s so much more than hasn’t surfaced yet … did the Mother say that the SAS was meant to help the Ashram??? … the SAS, instead of helping the Ashram has certainly been helping itself, build it’s own empire … but over time it has also developed an insatiable appetite for more and it is now trying to gobble up the Ashram … history repeats itself they say … they tried to takeover Auroville and they failed … they are trying to takeover the Ashram … oh! how they are failing … someone said: “money can’t buy you love!”

  3. daksha permalink

    this is strange,
    now sas is being written against by both pro and anti heehs and saat factions. on their respective sites.
    it is now an evil according to every faction.
    so what does one make out of it.

    • suresh permalink

      All that is left now is for members of the SAS to write and come out against their own Chairman and executive committee. It is very well known that the stand of the Chairman and of some of the members of their executive committee, particularly with regards to the SAS’s position on PH’s book and the SAAT has not reflected the views of a large number of members of the SAS. Many in the SAS have appreciated PH’s scholarly work and have upheld the wise position of the SAAT.

      The SAS chairman and his cronies’ self-goal is certainly not appreciated by other members of the SAS who have worked very hard to make the SAS what it is today. Will the sane members of the SAS allow their chairman to drag down this institution just because those holding powerful positions have personal scores to settle with the SAAT???

  4. daksha permalink

    this is further to my previous comment on sas.
    sas like others has the freedom to make their own call and conclusions on this issue.
    everyone now seems to find fault with sas. lots of what is written here and everywhere against sas is not fully correct.
    how about leaving them to do their work. even if one may not agree with it and their approach.
    they too, do good work.

  5. suresh permalink

    >> how about leaving them [SAS] to do their work. even if one may not agree with it and their approach.
    they too, do good work.

    Dear Daksha, I would agree with you wholeheartedly … but the SAS can’t have it both ways!!! If it wishes to interfere in the affairs of others and behave like the Aurobindonian Moral Police Force, it is likely to draw its deserved share of flak. Let the SAS mind it’s own business, everything will fall into place.

  6. Rajeev permalink

    The SAS should get rid of Gopal Bhattacharjee from its executive committee. He is the father of Jayant Bhattacharjee who is Sraddhalu’s close aide and financier in all their attacks against the SA Ashram. Till the SAS doesn’t get rid of such nefarious characters from their organization the SAS shall always be tainted. Or does it suit VP to have such people around???

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