17 October 2008

Dear Manoj-da,

In a world torn with conflict and one where every human solution is being shown to be inadequate, the message of Sri Aurobindo is needed like never before – not in a dogmatic or religious form, but as a concrete ray of hope with the power of the sun visible in it. The heavy atmosphere of mental doubt which pervades the mainstream structures of organized academic preparation, are designed to keep out the possibility of a fair hearing to the voice of divine realization which Sri Aurobindo represents. In this atmosphere, strident claims of avatarhood, absolutism, belief in mythologies and miraculous births etc. are just the kinds of things which will help most effectively to marginalize and exclude Sri Aurobindo and his message from credible consideration.

It has been very difficult to penetrate this public milieu, not the least because the structures that control it are so well organized. That Peter has succeeded in having a thorough biography of Sri Aurobindo, giving an exhaustive treatment to his inner life and message through his own words and recorded documents, published and distributed by one of the most reputed academic publishers is already a great achievement, which will ensure that this message will enter the mainstream. But more important, in my opinion, is its careful and strategic representation, putting the modern mind at ease and introducing it to material that would otherwise have been very difficult for it to accept, due to immediate adverse reaction. In reading the book, these lines of Savitri came to my mind:

One lucent corner windowing hidden things
Forced the world''s blind immensity to sight.

Under the circumstances, I have been appalled by the level of ignorance and worse, shown by the ashram “intellectuals” and their cunning attempts to destroy the power and effect of the book and harm the author. Sad to say, their actions have already raised such a cloud that many who may otherwise have been very open to Sri Aurobindo upon reading the book, are clubbing him instead with all the two-penny avatars of modern India. The perpetrators of this situation fail to realize what harm they are doing with their religious zeal.

In this depressing and dismal scenario, your heroic stand has stood out as an example and an inspiration. Irrespective of what can be achieved, I wanted merely to acknowledge my admiration for you, your insight and your courage.

With love and respect,

Debashish

Los Angeles