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Analysis of the response of Sridharan

September 9, 2014
  1. On a friendly advice of Sanjeev, I read the rejoinder of Sridharan to my earlier write-up. On prima facie look I find that its mode and style has revealed his true colors. It is an apt demonstration of how one’s academic training could be misused to serve a dubious cause. His retaliation seems to be his reaction on getting exposed through my factual analysis and has sought in vain to rebut through pseudo-logical arguments in which usually pre-conceived conclusions precede the premises, mostly twisted or fabricated, an art refined by the Sophists of ancient Greece, and expressed in a language that lacks basic civility, a language which would be alien even to a man of culture, leave aside the one who has chosen a spiritual aim in his life. It seems that he has responded not to my analysis but to an imaginary presentation, which has become an occasion for him to target his sharp arrows towards an imaginary opponent that he has found in me. As is said, “यदा यदा मुञ्चति वाक्यबाणम् तदा तदा जातिकुलः प्रमाणम्” [whenever the mouth shoots off the arrow, it leaves a proof of the caste and the clan of the archer]. Thus he on his own has given an indubitable proof, a प्रमाण [evidence] of his real self beneath the appearance of being a devotee, leaving no space or scope for me to add to his self-revelatory exposition. Thus since he himself has already completed my task, then why to waste my breath?
  2. Although he has taken pains to give point by point reply to my analysis, he has conveniently ignored responding to fundamental questions involved in the discussion, and in fact, slipped into venting out frustration through emotionally charged response, which amounts to admitting his inability to meet his critics intellectually. In this context, I am reminded of a saying in Nyayashashtra: शेषम् कोपेन पूरयेत [finally anger may be last argument]. When you are not left with any reasonable option to win a point, the deficiency is filled up by giving expression to anger. Thus a man having the slightest regard for logical reasoning would find that the entire presentation of Sridharan is only an emotional outburst and not an argument. Hence, I do not dare to counter him and join him in verbal duel, as I am no match to him in this art which is usually employed in petty quarrels. I outright admit defeat.
  3. With regard to the suggestion of Sanjeev to ask Sridharan for his identity proof, I believe, there is no need, since it is by now already fully revealed through his act of providing shelter to several miscreants. I suppose the word miscreant is appropriate here as a standard dictionary defines it as ‘an unprincipled person who does something inappropriate or behaves badly’.
  4. While equating the meaning of the word ‘offering’, which is denoted by the word अर्पण [offering] in most Indian languages, being synonymous to ‘donation’, on the basis of its meaning found in a dictionary, Sridharan seems to have conveniently disregarded its normal usage in context of spiritual disciplines and has missed its real import, its distinctive mark that is not covered by the word ‘donation’. Besides, in the spiritual parlors throughout the ages all over the world a real offering does not carry the tag of helping the survival or maintenance of a Guru or his Ashram, while the resultant survival and maintenance is only incidental and not intended. And it is the associated intention that matters in determining the value and significance of an act.
  5. Thus the word offering has a specific meaning and is treated as a means of spiritual growth, because of which the sense of obliging, normally linked with donations is replaced by that of being obliged. This factor makes a fundamental difference. This subtle difference could only be ignored by a person who is quite alien to spiritual discipline. Therefore, an effort to limit the spiritual value of offering on the basis of the testimony of a dictionary, which has failed to appreciate this fundamental difference, only reveals a scant regard for Logic, besides his stance of belittling the status of our Ashram, also of the Mother.
  6. Besides, the mischievous assertion of Sridharan that the Ashram survives on such offerings, gives a further twist to his already confused argument, because accepting an offering does not amount to seeking it. It is well known that the Mother had never sought any such financial help, much less under the cover of offerings, nor has Her Ashram, even after she left the Body. Thus this assertion has succeeded only in revealing his clearly dubious intention to put the trustees in bad light, incidentally also the Ashram, simultaneously trying to justify the indefensible declaration of the lady who was encouraged to make a public declaration that henceforth she would not help the Ashram and instead she would only be helping the people who conduct anti-ashram movement. Yes, they do need help for their survival in their ill-conceived movement intended to damage the reputation of the Ashram, and it appears that some business tycoons also have duly obliged them, might be to serve their own purpose.
  7. Sridharan while pseudo-wisely branding me as an ignoramus has pointed out what he calls ‘a prime error committed by me in applying the early unwritten principles of Ashram life adopted during the bodily presence of the Mother to a later period when She had left the body’. It is well known that when Sri Aurobindo had left body, the Mother had declared that although He had left body, He has not left us. Similarly the Mother too has not left us, even the earth atmosphere, and this Ashram continues to be Her Ashram only, and the early unwritten principles of Ashram life hold good even now. Else the Ashram would lose the raison de etre of its existence.
  8. Regarding the mode of appointing trustees it is well known that The Mother used to choose them during Her physical life time and these trustees used to perform the duty as prescribed by Her. Now the trustees are chosen according to the directions laid down by Her and are performing the same duty with due regard for the early unwritten principles of Ashram life. Thus there is no significant change in the operation of the Ashram trust.
  9. Moreover, during the period that She was physically present amidst us, She had put emphasis on the necessity of developing inner relationship with Her, instead of merely relying upon Her physical intimacy, for the purpose of obtaining guidance in all our affairs, the same emphasis continues to be of prime importance even now. Thus as She is here all the while, although not in body, spiritually the atmosphere of the Ashram and its organization is the same as it was, barring a few physical changes including the provision for better facilities as required with the changing time.
  10. While dwelling upon this real state of affairs of the Ashram and its trustees, I do not claim that these trustees are infallible, none of us is so, but they are certainly amenable to correction as expected even of us. Nor do I ever dream of their replacing the Mother or usurp Her role as our Guru or Head of the Ashram. Even now She is the head and the trustees are Her servants, Her workers who are committed to act in accordance with Her guidance, Her instruments meant to accomplish Her work. I suppose that they are quite aware of this position which has enabled the Managing Trustee Manoj Dasgupata, and even others, to keep balance under the most adverse circumstances.
  11. Hence, It would be a grave blunder to disown those early principles as it would amount to disowning Her and saying Her bye bye, while declaring to the effect: “Dear Mother, now it is no more your Ashram and we would work out here our ideas only, which are much better than yours, because we are much wiser than you, and since we have come to age, since we are now grown up and are not mere children, it is time for you to retire and admit शिष्यात् पुत्रात् पराजय”  [defeated by one’s own student or one’s own son]. Those who have a little understanding of the work undertaken by Her on this Earth know that Her work continues and this Ashram is truly Her Ashram only and would ever remain so and it is only Her consciousness that is our guiding Spirit as was the case when She was here in body.
  12. Sridharan has duly admitted that even during the period of the bodily presence of the Mother there were incidences of dissensions and violation of the Ashram Discipline and the disciple concerned on feeling uncomfortable had left the Ashram on their own. This supports the distinction made in my earlier write-up between inmates and employees of the Ashram. Accordingly even now the same option to leave the Ashram is available to those who feel uncomfortable here in the set up of this Ashram.
  13. Now the five sisters who felt uncomfortable in the Ashram, instead of following this discipline, and leave the Ashram voluntarily, have preferred to invoke the law of the land for getting the desired relief and had approached Law Courts. Thus they have willingly accepted the jurisdiction of Courts, which has made irrelevant for them the jurisdiction of the Ashram and thereby they had virtually ceased to be its inmates. Thus they have agreed, may I say virtually on oath, to abide by the Court Verdict.
  14. Under these circumstances when even the Women’s Council of India found that the woes of these sisters were self-created and the Apex Court of the Country found them guilty while passing an order asking them to leave the Ashram and advising the Ashram of taking appropriate legal measures in case of any disobedience, Sridharan has attempted to precipitate the crisis by supporting them in their move to disobey. Now if Sridharan and his associates had some regard for even the Law of the Land, leave aside Spirituality and even their own conscience, they would have advised these sisters to respect the verdict of the Court and thereby honour their own commitment, and thereafter would have helped them to get settled elsewhere, in case they were tied to them by a chord of sympathy. Instead, in order to protect the unjustifiable interest of these sisters, he and his colleagues are virtually inciting them to stand against the order of the Apex Court. Is it in lieu of the valuable fabricated material provided to this group by these sisters to target the trustees in different Courts?
  15. The Mother has emphasized the necessity of following discipline without which the work of any Institution would be completely jeopardized. Accordingly She had advised to follow the prevalent regulations until the one is adequately tuned to the Higher Consciousness facilitating the operation of the Divine law. As we all know that the word disciple entails discipline and शिष्य [pupil] entails शिस्त [control]. Besides, since we think that eventually this discipline should lead to self-discipline – आत्मानुशासन, that we find here in this Ashram a minimum of regulations with a provision to explore the possibility of self-governance in accordance with the Higher Consciousness.
  16. In contravention of this specific characteristic of this Ashram of the Mother Sridharan on one hand treats those who support them including these sisters as holy cows and stands firmly in their defence, irrespective of their merit, and on the other hand act equally forcefully to discredit the trustees, who are abiding sincerely to the arrangement made by the Mother and maintain their balance even when they had to perform a tight-rope walking. Is this a fault of these trustees that they do not serve the recently acquired dubious interest of this group and get tuned to follow its arbitrary wishes and hence are not deviating from their assigned duty? However, it is quite deplorable that my judicious appreciation and acknowledgement of this role that these trustees have been playing has earned for me a title of ignoramus that is qualified by several derogatory adjectives. It appears that Sridharan and his associates are bent upon creating chaos in the Ashram which would put on stake its identity and very raison de etre of its existence. The pertinent question here is how Sridharan would justify the mode of operation of his group and the goal that is set up and whether all this is in consonance with Mother’s teachings?
  17. I am presenting my views on the website of the ‘Well-wishers’ not with a view to get engaged in a verbal duel with the Anti-Ashram group, which if not overtly but certainly in essence is an Anti-Mother group, although it offers lip service to Her or rather to their image of Her, and win a point over them or vanquish the oppositions. I do not entertain such tall claims. My humble effort is primarily meant to serve the bona fide interest of the well-wishers of the Ashram, including myself, by clarifying the issues that we as the Ashram Community are presently facing so that we really cling to truth and be worthy of being Her Children. However, if this group feels exposed in its foul game it is just incidental and not intended.

– Govardhan Dave

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