Friday, June 03, 2011

Sradhhalu’s beard


In the meantime Pandit Nilakantha wrote an article in Oriya about his mustache titled "Mo Nisha", that created a havoc among the conservative Bramhins of the locality. The aggressive conservatives set fire in the school house twice.]

[Amrita - Sri Aurobindo Ashram Nirodbaran (Translated from Bengali original) Home>E-Library>Disciples>Amrita>Birth Centenary>In Memory Of Amrita> Page–75
There is an interesting anecdote regarding his tuft. Sri Aurobindo had deputed a couple of boys to cut off his tuft. Coming from a traditional Brahmin family, Amrita considered it a sin to cut it off. So, he managed to maintain its honour by escaping here and there. One day while he was fast asleep, it was cut off by Nolinida. Along with it the boundaries of his staunch orthodoxy too were destroyed.
But the real benefit of this sacrifice was his liberation from marriage. It seems that Amrita's father was so depressed by this incident that he had to cancel his confirmed marriage proposal. Therefore it has to be concluded that having foreseen the possibility of a terrible tragedy, Sri Aurobindo did his best to get rid of Amrita's tuft.]

Sradhhalu’s beard continues to be the butt of much ridicule. Beards are next to normal in Ashram environs and hence it is intriguing why it turns a red rag for a chosen few. They are perhaps peeved that the beard, undeservedly, imparts an illusory aura of a Guru or a Yogi. If that is the case, then it involves what is signified and not the signifier per se.

More seriously, ensuring unhindered growth and thriving of strands of human hair in public space within a religio-spiritual ecosystem is a collective responsibility, the political dimensions of which echo, not only animal rights but also, survival of several plants producing sundry oils and gels. Therefore, a particular sensitivity in matters material can go a long way in unknotting transrational deadlocks. [TNM]  

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