Tag Archives: the mother

ABOUT INSULTING THE MOTHER

Leaflets distributed in #JNU. Have a look. You should reason like this: “if anything derogatory is published about Allah, such as a cartoon showing him with a rocket launcher in his head dress, not only Muslims go down in the streets and riot, but the cartoonists are brutally assassinated. Intellectuals then say: “yes it is wrong to murder in the name of religion, but dont you think that if you insult a billion Muslims , some retribution is bound to come”…
All right, let us reason this way about #Hindus: “if you insult a billion Hindus worldwide by demeaning the Mother ‘Durga, which by the way is the Power aspect of the Divine Shakti) and one or two guys are just slightly beaten-up, + one or two thrown in jail for a few days, does it no show that Hindus are the most tolerant people ont is planet and that there is plenty of freedom of speech in India”?
Spread the message to newspapers, intellectuals, to your Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP’s and Mla’s, who have no clue on how to defend themselves. francois

A Fatherhood More Equal?

Outlook India
In exalting Gandhi, we’ve elbowed Sri Aurobindo into the shadows
Francois Gautier on Sri Aurobindo
In this time of elections, the Congress has again claimed ownership to the Father of the Nation. But is the Mahatma, whose tremendous personality cannot be denied, indeed the architect of Indian independence, as most history books, Indian and western, are claiming?
The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Columbia University Press, May 2008), a recently released biography by the American Peter Heehs, sheds new light on Sri Aurobindo’s role as a leader of the Congress. Not many people know that originally, the Congress was created in December 1885 by an Englishman, A.O. Hume, with the avowed aim to “allow all those who work for the national (read British) good to meet each other personally”. Yet, between 1906 and 1910, Sri Aurobindo was not only demanding outright independence from the British, but he also re-enacted Krishna’s message in the Bhagavad Gita by allowing his brother Barin to manufacture bombs in his own house and secretly endorsing early assassinations of select Englishmen. Compare this to the Mahatma, who only asked for independence in 1940—and that because he was against cooperating with the British in their war efforts against the Nazis.
Heehs writes: “Sri Aurobindo never ceased to believe that Indians had the right to use violence to topple a government maintained by violence.” This enormously important aspect of Sri Aurobindo’s life, of protecting dharma, of standing for what is good and true and noble, by force if necessary, is today ignored and not applied to the enemies of modern India. Many of today’s disciples of Sri Aurobindo and his companion, the Mother, would rather sweep this aspect of his life under the carpet. Thus, someone has slapped a court case against Heehs in Orissa, thereby stopping the book from being published in India.
Heehs also dwells on the famous Uttarpara speech, in which Sri Aurobindo, after one year in Alipore jail, clearly defines what he calls the Sanatana dharma: “Something has been shown to you in this year of seclusion, something about which you had your doubts and it is the truth of the Hindu religion. It is this religion that I am raising up before the world, it is this that I have perfected and developed through the rishis, saints and avatars, and now it is going forth to do my work among the nations. When, therefore, it is said that India shall rise, it is the Sanatana dharma that shall rise.”
If we, in France, had a great man such as Sri Aurobindo, who comes out in the Heehs biography not only as a revolutionary and a yogi, but also a tremendous philosopher and peerless poet, we would cherish him endlessly. His poetry would be taught to children, his philosophical works would be part of the university curriculums, books would be written about him, museums would be built…. In fact, France’s outspoken ambassador in India, Jerome Bonnafont, is an ardent admirer of Sri Aurobindo’s political works.
But today, amongst Indian politicians (apart from Dr Karan Singh, a scholar on Sri Aurobindo), everybody quotes conveniently from Gandhi, although nobody applies his ideals of charkha, non-violence, khadi and birth control by sexual abstinence. No journalist ever mentions this extraordinary yogi, whose sayings of one hundred years ago are still one hundred per cent relevant today. Not only is he absent from schools and universities, in some manuals written by the Congress, he is branded a ‘terrorist’. Shame on India!
Somnath Chatterjee, who has been made an icon by the Indian media in spite of his sitting on the cash-for-votes scam, has built an Indian history museum at the Parliament annexe. In this museum, the history of India more or less starts with Ashoka (because he was supposedly Buddhist), jumps to Akbar (who is glorified beyond measure) and finishes with Subhash Chandra Bose, Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.Not one mention of Sri Aurobindo or even Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Isn’t it time Indian history is rewritten?
Heehs’s book can be used to rectify some of the major injustice done to Sri Aurobindo, the true father of Indian independence, who prophetically said about Pakistan in 1947: “India is free, but she has not achieved unity, only a fissured and broken freedom. The whole communal division into Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of a permanent political division of the country. It is to be hoped that the Congress and the nation will not accept the settled fact as for ever settled…. For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled; civil strife may remain always possible, possibly even a new invasion and foreign conquest.” How prophetic!

Auroville, the City of Dawn

Auroville, the City of Dawn
Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 12, 2001
The project of Auroville is now thirty-three years old. This city, a few kilometres north of Pondicherry, was born of a dream that the Mother (1878-1973) had in 1967: There should be somewhere upon earth a place that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world, obeying one single authority, that of the supreme Truth.

It was also directly inspired by Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), India’s great yogi, philosopher, poet, revolutionary and prophet of man after man: “The final dream is a step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solutions of the problems which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and dream of individual perfection and a perfect society…” Thus, in February 1968, in the midst of a severely eroded plateau extending eastward to the sea, young people representing 124 nations and 23 Indian states each placed a handful of earth from their countries in a simple lotus-shaped urn: a gesture symbolising the start of the international township. The Charter of Auroville was then read by the Mother herself: Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages. Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual search for a living embodiment of an actual human unity.

The beginnings were auspicious: money poured in from many countries keen to have a role in the shaping of Auroville; the UNESCO took a keen interest in the project; journalists and television crews from all over the world came to report about the City of the Future; and the Government of India lent active support to the budding township. One million trees were planted by the early pioneers, dams were built to stop the rain water from running into the sea; and beautiful buildings, which were revolutionary for their times, sprang up from nowhere, such as the Last School and the Sanskrit School.

Thirty-three years later, what is the assessment? Well, certainly many hopes have been belied. Instead of the 50,000 population that the Mother had envisaged, there are only about 2000 full time Aurovillians; the development of Auroville has been severely curtailed because of lack of funds, and many of the ambitious buildings lie unfinished, although, money is starting to trickle in again. The pioneers of yesterday, clad only in loincloth, have been often replaced by executives with laptops. And the cultural, social and economic gap between the 5000 villagers living in city area and the Aurovillians, many of whom come from affluent western countries, has never been fully bridged, although the standard of living of the villagers has considerably gone up because of the work generated by Auroville.

Yet small hesitant steps have been made: the circulation of money has been reduced to the minimum between Aurovillians; it has been ensured that those who are in charge of running the City are chosen by consensus and have limited tenures; communities, such as Verite (Truth in French), have managed to evolve an interesting blend of collective sharing with a living spirituality; Auroville has also become one of the few green areas in Tamil Nadu and ecologists from all over the world come to study the city’s forest and water management. And above all the `Matrimandir’, the Mother’s House, an extraordinary 100-foot-high elliptical sphere resting on four pillars sunk deep into its foundation, where in the inner chamber lies a sphere of pure crystal, 70 cm. in diameter, illuminated by sunlight channelled from an opening at the top of the chamber, stands today as Auroville’s spiritual centre.

It is no coincidence that the project of Auroville is happening in India with its tradition of tolerance and encouragement to all kinds of experiments, regardless of their unorthodoxy. Indeed, today the Government of India is once again actively helping Auroville, a positive development. For Auroville’s greatest virtue is to show that there is still, in this world engulfed by uniformity, globalisation, MTV and Coca Cola, a place where men and women of goodwill are attempting to live differently, to evolve novel ways of controlling money and power. This is why Auroville deserves our respect and help.