Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juvenile wrangling and unwarranted belligerence

About a dozen regulars are currently running the discussions over at SEOF. Most of them prefer to be anonymous or pseudonymous. This is quite strange. Many of them might be professionals who are not officially permitted to air free opinion in public. But this dual allegiance also brings in warped thinking and unwarranted belligerence. 

The Heehs imbroglio is only a minor symptom of a much wider malaise involving the management of the Ashram, the administration of Auroville, the functioning of Sri Aurobindo Society, and the ownership of thousands of institutions named after The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. Besides, major players like Cuttack, Kolkata, and Delhi pursue their own separate agenda and cultivate independent followings.

Financial indiscretions are easily cloaked and the whistle blowers are generally eased out. What is needed, therefore, is the courage to face these facts and forthrightness to divulge such transgressions. Otherwise one turns an accomplice in these misdeeds masquerading as spirituality. SEOF facilitates such exposes and it is the responsibility of the contributors and participants to maintain civility as well as seriousness.

The divinity of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and their role in history are open questions. Perceptions differ widely and admirers and adversaries galore. A rationalist wrestling with a devotee on this score is therefore an absurdity. Such conversations can become fruitful if the participants disclose their identity and personal beliefs. Dialogues are best fostered in a climate of mutual respect.    

Savitri Era Party defends the rights of the readers to read what Heehs has written, but maintains that Heehs has no right to write what he has written. Further, all published writings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo has become a contested domain. A more transparent editorial process has to be put in place, but relevant priorities can be thrashed out through honest online discussions. Such constructive approach is essential now instead of the entertaining juvenile wrangling adorning the pages of SEOF. [TNM] 

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