Monday, January 07, 2013

Office bearers of Sri Aurobindo Society should quit Ashram

Machiavelli decoupled power from faith and Montesquieu pleaded for separation of powers. Adam Smith sought to keep commerce free from all encumbrances. But mankind is yet to arrive at an admirable combination of these prescriptions. No perfect recipe can be said to have been hatched even after multiple revolutions. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, on the other hand, have worked for a paradigm shift. The Five Dreams Manifesto broadcast on the eve of India’s independence outlines a definite blueprint for the future of humanity.  

Apart from the Ashram, The Mother has set up several other organizations and blessed many educational as well as commercial ventures. The purpose of all these was to popularize an alternative source of inspiration for meaningful social intercourse. The modality chosen was to stretch the ambit of High Culture to their Spiritual peaks. The uplifting message touched many and a movement arose but the needed purity is not to be had within a year or two. And hence the necessity of diligent spadework involving the global network of devotees and admirers.

Though created as an offshoot, the Sri Aurobindo Society has long functioned as an adjunct of the Ashram. By being inmates, the office bearers of the Society play a double role that, like bigamy, tends to be inimical to the interests of the Ashram. The society, with its clout and outreach, cultivates patronage leading to psychological scission and segregation among the Ashramites. Role hybridity generates irreverence and critical attitude that proves to be subversive to the homogeneity and cohesiveness of the Ashram. On the other side, being tied to Ashram's apron strings, the Society is deprived of the independence and the required initiative for achieving the full potentials of its mandate.

Without any first hand experience of the inside functioning of both the organizations, it can safely be said out of just common sense that the office bearers of the Sri Aurobindo Society should quit the Ashram. Alternatively, they should resign from being office bearers and allow others to steer the organization founded by The Mother to the fruition of its clear goals. The principle of transparency and accountability is a must and should not be applicable selectively. Once it finds a foothold in Puducherry and Auroville, we can surely turn our gaze to the formidable regional satraps.

The Mother, for practical reasons, stipulated that the inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram shouldn't participate in active politics. The Ashram, thus, is exclusively meant for practice of Integral Yoga. But, since publishing is a major activity of the Ashram and some of its members are into writing, it involves politics to a certain extent. The place of Sri Aurobindo in the evolution of politics in modern India is significant and he has left behind considerable amount of writing on political theory as well as prophecy.

The establishment of Auroville, itself, is a testimony to the attempt to create innovative models of collective living and giving shape to age old political ideals dreamt by savants across cultures. In his broadcast of August 14, 1947, Sri Aurobindo even goes further to propose a World Union. Thus, both – the political or the collective as well as the individual sadhana – aspects must proceed side by side so that an integral portrayal of the legacy of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is presented. This dual concern is perhaps best conveyed by Savitri Era which has been independently stimulating the public sphere since Y2K. [TNM55]

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