Friday, September 17, 2010

Loyalty vs. survival

The campaign against the book and its author has now dovetailed into a court case for removing the trustees. The inevitable has happened, the seed of which can be said to have been sowed in the book itself. Questioning the divinity of Sri Aurobindo by the author was the first signal, and deprecating the earlier writer-disciples was clearly confrontational.

Antipathy towards public display of devotional practices and performance of rituals collectively which has condescendingly been termed as religion (and hence, fundamentalism) served as a sound pretext. Instead of rationalizing these within the wide spectrum of Integral Yoga, the tendency to see them as hindrance or even negation became the elite attitude. Thus, the American author had increasingly become enamored of the Esalen and CIIS perspectives.

The more the author was cited by others, the more were the demands of objectivity on him. His loyalties got divided in the process and he estimated the dividends accruing from outside as more in magnitude as well as magnificence. Instead of serving the organization that sustained him for three dozen years, he played into the hands of left leaning activists.

Each sentence and paragraph in the book has been crafted so ingeniously that blaming it becomes difficult to substantiate, yet an informed reader feels slapped in every page; his reverence for The Mother & Sri Aurobindo takes a beating. This pain and anguish, coming as it does from an ashramite, becomes all the more offensive. More so because the book has been sponsored and continues to be supported by the Ashram itself.

The Trust is defending the book to the hilt, the ethic and hermeneutic of which is hard to digest. The book has verily become the pivot of power equations within the Ashram and also in the wider community of the followers of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. The future of various connected institutions spread across the country and abroad is also at stake. The author of the book has eventually become the author of this whole churning.

Predicting the direction of time’s arrow is certainly not easy. But a lot of deception and pretence is coming out of the closet. Let’s not forget that individual self-interest and survival is at play in all these grandstanding and exchange of allegations. But at the end of all this drama what will endure is pure loyalty and love. The end and the means are equally crucial, therefore. [TNM]   

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