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Sraddhalu & Co Vs SAICE alumni – Reg. attacks on Sri Aurobindo and his disciples

July 13, 2013

The following message has been sent to us by a former student of the Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education (S.A.I.C.E.) with request to post on our website. The message is self-explanatory.

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Dear website Editors/Administrators,

As a part of the dialogue that Sraddhalu, Sridharan & Co. had proposed to undertake between their group and members of the S.A.I.C.E. alumni, on 11th July 2013 I had sent the following message to their group. This message has been posted on their website with their comments:

 

Sridharan Replies to Aurofilio of SAICE forum

However, the message that has been posted by Sraddhalu, Sridharan & Co. on their website has been broken up into parts that are accompanied by their comments. In case the readers of your website are interested to read the complete version of my message without comments, you may please post a copy of my message in its entire form which is reproduced here.

Copy of my message to Sraddhalu, Sridharan & Co on the subject on attacks on Sri Aurobindo and his disciples:

Hello Sridharan, Sraddhalu & Co,

This email, addressed to you, is in two parts.

Part 1 is a preamble to my answer to the question you asked me on your TLOSA website, for which you are expecting my answer. I am quite certain that you will not want to reproduce this first part on your website. I am therefore making the work of segregation for you a little more easy. (You may thank me for it ;-))

Part 2 is my answer to your specific question which I suppose and expect that you will publish on a separate post on your website.

Part 1: Preamble to Sridharan, Sraddhalu & Co’s question:

I am pleased to see that at least there is some convergence between us and you and that you are also thinking of adopting my suggestion no. 1 of my email dated 9th July 2013, i.e. to make a separate post for our exchanges. However, this seems dependent on what you consider to be “worthwhile.” According to me the other points I had raised in my email were worthwhile – in fact much more worthwhile than all of the posts that appear on your website – and didn’t deserve to be censured, although I admit that these points would have cast a poor image of yourselves.

But let me focus on areas where we converge and therefore discuss the issue of Sri Aurobindo vis-à-vis the Ashram Trust which I, like you, also consider to be worthwhile.

Let me also ignore the fact that your question about Sri Aurobindo vis-à-vis the Ashram Trust didn’t answer my original question which was addressed to you to start with; i.e. if someone attacks Sraddhalu’s house for example by throwing stones on it, is that person not also attacking Sraddhalu in addition to attacking the house? I had asked you the question first, in order to draw a parallel between your attacks on the Ashram and the hypothetical attack on Sraddhalu’s house, and it was your turn to provide an answer, not ask another question in return!!! But by now I know quite well that you rarely answer questions, preferring to avoid them. Instead of providing a reply, you try to find escape routes by bouncing back other questions in return, a ploy we are all too familiar with, alas. Does your inability to answer questions reveal more than a hint of insecurity and inability to provide valid arguments? Let the readers decide.

Part 2: My answer to Sridharan, Sraddhalu & Co’s specific question:

I, on the other hand, will not shy away and will be more than happy to provide an answer to what you say is your “first” question which is:

“If somebody were to attack Sri Aurobindo in his own Ashram, would it not amount to attacking the disciples of Sri Aurobindo? Why do you think the disciples are so aggrieved?”

I don’t know if you can notice it, but these are two distinct questions in your “question.” I suggest that we deal with one question at a time in order to stay focused. I therefore understand that the “first” question is:

“If somebody were to attack Sri Aurobindo in his own Ashram, would it not amount to attacking the disciples of Sri Aurobindo?”

My answer:

To begin with, your simplistic question has a few major, basic flaws.

Firstly it presupposes that you, me or any other disciple or devotee is in a position to determine, define and judge what consists of an attack on something as vast, complex, “superhuman” or beyond Man, as Sri Aurobindo and all that he represents. I do not think that if someone were throwing mud on the Himalayas, this would qualify as an “attack” on the Himalayas. Moreover, your perception of what Sri Aurobindo is and represents is likely to vary from another person’s perception of what Sri Aurobindo is and represents. For instance, someone who looks at the Himalayas merely as a picture-perfect postcard, a handful of mud could sully that image. For someone else who sees in the Himalayas the infinite, the great, the highest, the purest, etc., a handful of mud cast upon the Himalayas is only a substance that is recycled into the soil and that gets absorbed in the Himalaya’s greatness.

Secondly it also presupposes that Sri Aurobindo is vulnerable to attacks. This supposition means that Sri Aurobindo’s disciples cannot have faith in Sri Aurobindo to save them from attacks from inside or even outside his Ashram. If Sri Aurobindo’s disciples cannot have faith in his protection, I don’t think that they can call themselves his real disciples; but I would say that they may if they so wish, consider themselves to be apprentice, faithless disciples. I am convinced that Sri Aurobindo’s true disciples are those who have complete faith in Sri Aurobindo protection and will therefore never get attacked as they have the Divine’s protection with them, come what may. By the way, this is also what Sri Aurobindo has taught his disciples, repeatedly. So if you think that you are disciple of a Sri Aurobindo who is vulnerable to attacks, please reconsider your position as his faithless disciple.

To answer your simplistic question then, I don’t believe that Sri Aurobindo can be attacked. Attempts to attack Sri Aurobindo may be made, but they will always fail. All disciples that have full faith in Sri Aurobindo will always be safe.

But if you think that Sri Aurobindo is fallible and vulnerable to attacks, please say so now.

However much I may enjoy answering your simplistic question, I need to add that embarking upon a discussion that is based on perceptions and opinions that are entirely subjective will lead no one anywhere. The only purpose such discussions serve is to try to score brownie points, which doesn’t interest me for sure. If brownie points are what you are looking to earn, please help yourself, they are all yours.

But as I am fully aware of the fact that you have the simplistic belief that Peter attacked Sri Aurobindo in his book “The Lives…” and therefore you also have the simplistic belief that his faithless disciples have been attacked by consequence, let us examine the validity of your entirely subjective beliefs and opinions.

For this purpose, let us focus on the facts, because facts help bring about clarity, which I also believe is the need of the hour (instead of perpetually airing heated opinions and misinformation, something that you are quite adept at). Anyone with some familiarity with the issues at hand will agree that your question is a purely hypothetical exercise, which has little relevance with the ground reality and which I doubt is worth pursuing.

To support my position and views, I am providing some unquestionable facts, that are there for all to see, and that establish that there is no basis for anyone to be jumping to conclusions that Peter attacked or denigrated Sri Aurobindo in his book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo”:

Fact no. 1: In the Ashram or among the devotees and “beneficiaries”, there is not an unanimous, educated, informed, objective view, consensus, opinion or belief that Peter’s book denigrates or attacks Sri Aurobindo. What we have are a diverse range of views on Peter’s book.

Fact no. 2: There are several testimonials, made by real people (not by Peter faking to be someone else, while praising his book – a tactic that you guys have used abundantly to promote your opinions), who have read Peter’s book and who have found that it has revealed to them a much greater Sri Aurobindo than was earlier known to them. Others have found that Peter’s book has given them a better, more complete and higher understanding of Sri Aurobindo, his life and work. There is no disputing the fact that Peter’s book has generated a greater interest and understanding in Sri Aurobindo in some people.

On the basis of both these two facts, nobody, including you, is in a position to draw the conclusion that Peter attacked or denigrated Sri Aurobindo. On that same account, there is no evidence to suggest that Peter attacked Sri Aurobindo’s faithless disciples.

If you do not think that what I have presented as facts are indeed facts, please prove me otherwise.

If you do not think that these facts support my position and views, please justify yourself.

You have asked me a question and I have given you an answer that is supported by facts. It is your turn to either prove that my facts are wrong or that these facts don’t support my position and views. Please do not digress and bring in unrelated facts. Stick to these specific points.

Once this specific discussion has been taken to its logical end, it will be my turn to ask you a question and it will be your turn to provide facts to support your views.

Lastly, as an addendum concerning your question and your feeling that some faithless “disciples” of Sri Aurobindo (like some of you) may have felt attacked, i.e. threatened, by Peter’s book, I personally agree that this is a possibility. But this an altogether different topic and discussion that has nothing to do with Sri Aurobindo or the Ashram and can be undertaken separately.

Cheers!

Filio

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– Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram –

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One Comment
  1. Filio permalink

    I had emailed and asked Sraddhalu, Sridharan & Co to add on their website the comment that I was sending them, meant for their post on our exchange (http://www.thelivesofsriaurobindo.com/2013/07/sridharan-replies-to-aurofilio-of-saice_12.html) but they don’t seem to be too keen to oblige. I am therefore posting my comment here:

    Hello Sridharan, Sraddhalu & Co,

    I acknowledge and thank you for posting (a bigger part of) my message on your website:

    http://www.thelivesofsriaurobindo.com/2013/07/sridharan-replies-to-aurofilio-of-saice_12.html

    As you have made me aware of the “large” number (200-300) of readers that your website attracts everyday, and as you say that they usually “make up their minds according to what [you] say” I think that it is very important to give the required time to all of these readers to read, re-read, analyze and process all the points that have been raised by both of us. Those of your readers who “make up their minds according to what [you] say” have in the past demonstrated a limited degree of comprehension. I am thus giving them some extra time to try to understand me also.

    Although I have lots to say in response to your comments, I am not rushing to defend my arguments and will allow a few days to pass by for the benefit of those of your readers who have difficulty in understanding others. Moreover, as I do not have the pressure of a “vote-bank” that is ever thirsty for arguments (or exciting posters on the streets!) that I need to satisfy, I will also avail of this little luxury of extra time that I have and that which you don’t have, alas.

    I’ll be back with a response in a few days’ time. In the meanwhile I will please request you to post this message in the Comments section of our post on your website, so that your readers may be kept informed.

    Thanking you!
    Filio

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