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Demeaning the “native taxi-driver” God – Govind Nishar

by on May 8, 2012

Demeaning Sri Krishna

The above image is from a site (link) operated by a handful of Western chauvinists associated with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, including one Aurofilio Schiavina and Richard Hartz, both posting anonymously. In this particular post they demean Sri Krishna, labeling him “a native taxi-driver” (click on the image to enlarge it and see the underlined label and tags at the bottom). Another Westerner complicit in this act of cultural defacement is one Paulette from Auroville who, in comments on the same post, tries to stigmatize critics of Peter Heehs with the taint of caste discrimination, the last resort of any self-superior Westerner out to shame an Indian/Hindu or a “native” (as they have referred to Sri Krishna here) into silence. Peeved at repeated reminders of Peter Heehs’ background as a New York cabbie these handful of bad apples have chosen to make a shameless display of their uncouth and arrogant boorishness in an attempt to fan the flames of divisiveness and racial prejudices.

This is yet another unsettling demonstration of the fact that Heehs and his supporters hold nothing sacred except for their own egos and rights, which includes the right to offend, demean and desecrate the cultural, religious and historical symbols and figures of the “natives” whom they seek to enlighten with and convert to their superior Western liberal values. To get to that promised land they will gladly erase the backward Yogic “fundamentalism” which, according to them, needs to go the way of the chaturvana and the Dodo. In an instance of the white racist pot calling the native kettle black, anyone protesting their bullying or critical of their cultural/intellectual insensitivity, indecency and insulting offensiveness is labeled a “Xenophobe” by this lot. A logical consequence of this line of thought would be that Sri Aurobindo and all others who stood for India’s freedom from British and Western domination would have to be condemned as xenophobes for their “narrow-minded” rejection of materialistic Western values and culture, and their “bigoted” adherence to India’s spiritual and yogic values and culture.

Perhaps these supremacists have forgotten that Western civilization, a good “idea” in theory as per Mahatma Gandhi, has just barely been able to subdue (largely, yes, but still only partially) its millenia-old fixation on the White skin, and that to this very day Western societies demand of any foreigners, for e.g. African-Americans in the U.S.A, who want to live in their midst as “equals”, that they submit to a thorough Europeanization/Westernization, religious, political, intellectual and cultural.

India, on the other hand, has since her very birth stood for diversity of languages, beliefs, religions, cultures, sub-cultures, races, traditions, nations, political systems, philosophies and intellectual culture. By openly mocking, ridiculing and demeaning the cherished symbols and figures of their host country these few, in no way representative of the vast majority of other Westerners in the Aurobindonian collective, have proved to be not only xenophobes themselves but parasitical xenophobes at that.

Govind Nishar

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17 Comments
  1. RY Deshpande permalink

    Sri Aurobindo once spoke of Hitler having the soul of a London cab-driver. His description is well-portrayed by him in The Dwarf Napoleon:

    A tortured channel, not a happy vessel,
    Drives him to think and act and cry and wrestle.
    Thus driven he must stride on conquering all,
    Threatening and clamouring, brutal, invincible,
    Perhaps to meet upon his storm-swept road
    A greater devil—or thunderstroke of God.

    It seems it is under the shadow of a Titan’s robe stretching from New York to Pondicherry we are moving. Very wise people of the time were puzzled as to how the Allied War could be called Dharma Yuddha, the War of the Righteous. On 29 July 1942 Sri Aurobindo wrote: “… it is a struggle for an ideal that has to establish itself on earth… for a Truth that has yet to realise itself fully against a darkness and falsehood that are trying to overwhelm the immediate future.” And again, “Duryodhana, if alive, might complain indignantly that the comparison was a monstrous and scandalous injustice to him and that he never did anything like what Hitler had done.” When will Berlin and Nuremberg mark the end of the dreadful chapter? Who knows? Who knows? certainly not Debashish Banerjees and Ashish Nandys and Pratap Bhanu Mehtas who say that The Life Divine is an extension of the Isha Upanishad. It is the child who prays to the Mother for sweetness and love and beauty and joy, cries for truth and strength and inalienable peace and harmony.

  2. vishwamitra2 permalink

    In this whole affair, what is revealing is that NONE of Heehs followers has come out in the smallest way to support Mother and Sri Aurobindo. NOT one of them has publicly said that he or she is dismayed by even a single false potrayal (and there are many of them in the book) of Sri Aurobindo by Heehs or that they feel uncomfortable with the disdain that Heehs, Carlson, and Hutchinson have shown towards the Mother. Not one! Yet, many of these individuals proclaim that Mother and Sri Aurobindo (and not Heehs!) are their “heroes” and “Gurus” (or sign off with “in their light”, “in their service” etc), and materially and spiritually feed off the ashram and city that Mother created. There are others among them who use Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s philosophy, ideas, and words, for their self-advancement (in more ways than spiritual) and self-aggrandizement (to wax on sciy and to write books and blogs!). Not only do they all appear ungrateful to Mother and Sri Aurobindo, they seem to have offered their services to Heehs unquestioningly and uncritically, and supported him to the hilt without the slightest nuance or condition. If all this wasn’t bad enough, they sought and received the support of people such as Romila Thapar who know little if anything about Mother and Sri Aurobindo and only think poorly of them.

    Assuming that these ‘devotees’ have a mind of their own, and they value basic human virtues of loyalty, gratitude, and honesty/truthfullness in themselves and in others, each of their acts is a betrayal of Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

  3. Govind permalink

    The courageous anonymous souls, Schiavina and Hartz, behind the smear-portal called “Auroleaks” have the following to say in their defense:

    Responding to a certain General Editor’s reference to a “foreign taxi-driver”, we gave to a painting of Sri Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra the label “A native taxi-driver”. Surprisingly and thankfully, you did not object to the “taxi-driver” part. Our crime, as you see it, is an attempt “to shame an Indian/Hindu” by referring to him as a native.

    For no conceivable reason whatsoever (what we would normally call “irrational”) these geniuses jump to the unbelievable conclusion that calling Sri Krishna a “taxi-driver” was not a problem and only calling him native was. Secondly, In what must be a first time in the history of humanity a painting and not a person has been called a “A native taxi-driver” with apparently no reference whatsoever to the person in the painting doing the driving. It takes a special kind of convoluted mentality to come up with that sort of a farcical excuse. But a few paras down this untenable nonsense is discarded for the plain truth.

    If our reference to the Divine Charioteer was deliberately incongruous, it was to highlight the extreme incongruity of that utterance. We are certain that Lord Krishna, who surely shares Sri Aurobindo’s sublime sense of humor, will forgive us our impertinence. Alas, his fundamentalist devotees are less likely to do so.

    In keeping with their track-record of pusillanimous knavery they stick to their hit-and-run tactics, hurling abuse from behind veils of anonymity and, when caught in the act and called to account, start backtracking and rationalizing their offensive and degrading remarks as harmless fun from some well-meaning but irresponsible teenagers. If these cowardly weasels were to post a picture of Draupadi calling her a native nymphomaniac or sex-worker would that be an instance of “sublime sense of humor”? After all if Sri Krishna who rode a chariot of war into battle without getting any kind of payment for his services, purely out of a sense of his love for the world, for mankind and for Dharma, can be insulted as a “taxi driver” then a queen who married five great men at the same time without asking for anything in return, purely out of a sense of duty, can be humiliated in equally derisive terms by these sleaze-peddlers. Frankly we have nothing to forgive these people who are only poisoning Sri Aurobindo’s Ashram with their “sense of humor”. But alas, the Divine, in whose hands is the forgiving, does not share their sleazy sense of humor… by definition.

    Still will these brave souls be open to using Manoj Das Gupta’s photo and labelling him “a native Fuhrer” to “highlight an incongruity”? Or is it that a Manoj Das Gupta is to be held above mere Avataric sorts like Sri Krishna and Sri Aurobindo? That seems to be the core operating principle, or Dharma as we would call it, of the chamcha brigade. Surely such edifying humor would tickle the humorous fancies of the trustees who would immediately see the nature of the incongruity and beam down sunny smiles on their obedient children?

    In a remarkable parallel it must be noted that during the time of the Mahabharata Sri Krishna and Draupadi were often insulted and jeered at by villains using near-identical abuses… including cowherd, trickster etc. In what they must now regret as a Freudian slip of “epic” (literally) proportions these professional calumniators have ended up making it look like they are playing the very same roles in this sordid drama that jeering sleaze-mongers such as Shakuni and Dusshasana had played in that great conflict. Oh, I’m sorry I was only highlighting the incongruity.

    In defense of Richard the following irrelevancy finds mention: Without commenting on the degree to which Richard Hartz is involved with our site – though we would be glad if he were more involved than he actually is – we wish to point out that he has learned the Bhagavad Gita by heart in Sanskrit, some 30 years ago, and that he reviews it periodically to keep it fresh in his mind, the last time on a long flight back from the States four or five years ago. There are verses and passages that he lives by all the time. (No, the anonymous author of this post is neither Richard nor a mind reader. I merely got an email from him.) Can you say this about yourself, Govind?

    My response is a simple one. A person who “lives by” some “verses and passages” “all the time” generally never makes a display of that fact to others. Perhaps the verses of the Gita that such people live by are those uttered by Duryodhana and Dhritarashtra, which, although few, contain a more than adequate exhibition of their own self-concern and self-regard.

    Finally let us come to Paulette who confesses that “It did not enter my mind that… I could be labelled as a Westerner supremacist etc.” I find it even more amazing that it did not enter this very same mind that she was commenting on a post which labeled Sri Krishna a “native taxi driver”. There were no objections from her and no opposition, only agreement and an attempt to stick it to the fundamentalist “native” by playing the caste card. Whether or not she is a Western chauvinist like the rest, she seems more than happy to play the obliging cheerleader, and that’s bad enough.

    Let us also not ignore the attempt by these chauvinists to hijack Sri Aurobindo in the following words:The sinister aim of Govind, Deshpande, and Co. is to dilute the force of Sri Aurobindo’s message by reducing it to a footnote to the Indian religious traditions of the past. They mean to achieve this by casting themselves as the Devas and us as the Asuras in a cosmic struggle between the religious traditions of India and the rationalism of the West. What drops out of the picture is the real Sri Aurobindo, along with the fact that He rejected both the rationalism of the West and the religious traditionsof the East. “The traditions of the past are very great in their own place, in the past,” he wrote in a letter to Dilip Kumar Roy (Sri Aurobindo On Himself, SABCL 26, page 122). There can hardly be a greater betrayal of Sri Aurobindo than annexing him to the traditions of the past.

    While pretending to reject Western rationalism these habitual liars at the very same time worship, revere, defend and promote a work and an author that ruthlessly envelope and obscure the real Sri Aurobindo in this very same Western materialism. Fundamental Yogic/Spiritual practices like silencing one’s mind, eliminating ones personal desires and personal ego, purifying oneself of one’s lower human nature and things like Psychic devotion, uncritical faith in the Guru and a total, unquestioning self-giving all are bundled up, denounced and attacked as religion. Why? Simply for the reason that these things go against Western values of absolute egoistic self-expression and self-assertion and because on the basis of these yogic and spiritual values their infallible Western prophet of rationalism and materialism, author of their immaculate holy book, is exposed to be an unscrupulous, two-faced traitor who has betrayed his Guru and militated against the Ashram where he has luxuriated in ease and security for the past four decades.

    And then they promote their Western chauvinist agenda by equating Western materialism with Indian spirituality… claiming that both had been REJECTED by Sri Aurobindo. Let me reproduce for their benefit the fourth of Sri Aurobindo’s five dreams which should give the lie to their claims “Another dream, the spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun.India’s spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice.

    There. It is part of Sri Aurobindo’s Work for India’s tradition, her teaching (referred to collectively as Veda), her psychic and spiritual practice (Yoga), to enter the world, in particular the West. These Western chauvinists, however project their own narrow-minded rejections and prejudices on Sri Aurobindo, and claim that He rejected these same traditions and, even worse, by doing exactly the opposite, demand that Indian spiritual traditions, blackened by them as “religious” in order to justify their assault on them, be supplanted by Western liberal and materialist values and culture. In doing so they are engaging in open and vigorous hostilities against Sri Aurobindo’s Work.

  4. RY Deshpande permalink

    A ban on the Bhagavatgita was sought in Russia on the ground that it promotes terrorism in an open way. Here is a brief intro about it taken from the Wikipedia:

    The Bhagavad Gita trial in Russia or the Bhagavad Gita court case in Russia was the trial of the Russian edition of Bhagavad Gita As It Is initiated in June 2011 by the state prosecutor’s office in Tomsk, Russia on charges of religious extremism, based on an assessment of the book by scholars of Tomsk State University, which concluded that Bhaktivedanta Swami’s translations and commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita incite religious, social, and racial intolerance.

    At the first hearing the federal judge Galina Butenko found the Tomsk University assessment inadequate and commissioned another assessment from Kemerovo State University, postponing the verdict until December 28, 2011.

    In mid-December 2011 the trial caused a storm of highly critical publications and comments in the Indian, Russian, and international media, as well as on social networks. The outrage was followed by a groundswell of multi-partisan political support in the Indian Parliament and an official statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna, harshly criticizing the proposed ban as “patently absurd” undertaking of “ignorant and misdirected or motivated individuals”. The overwhelmingly wide negative response to the trial forced Russian officials to offer apologies to India, promising the necessary remedial measures to prevent the ban. The trial also sparked public protests and legal actions in India against the proposed ban and drew harsh criticism of the intellectual community in Russia. Leading Russian scholars publicly denounced the perpetuation of the trial, appealing to President Dmitry Medvedev and Premier Vladimir Putin for intervention and warning them of the trial’s negative consequences for India-Russia relations and for Russia’s international reputation.

    On December 28, 2011, the judge dismissed the court case, a decision lauded by the communities both in India and Russia. On January 26, 2012, the Tomsk prosecutor’s office filed an appeal against the judge’s ruling, but on March 21, 2012, the appeal court dismissed it, upholding the lower court’s verdict.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagavad_Gita_trial_in_Russia

    Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna’s harsh criticism about the proposed ban as “patently absurd” undertaking of “ignorant and misdirected or motivated individuals” will at least equally apply to the worthies who have no hesitation in calling Sri Krishna a “native taxi-driver”. But there is something more to it than this absurdity. It is farcical, ludicrous, silly, irrational, illogical, ridiculous, non-spiritual if not anti-spiritual. And it was this “native taxi-driver” who had put the Gita in the hands of Sri Aurobindo when he was an undertrial prisoner in Alipore Jail. And so on. This is a greater and not-so-subtle an attack on the Indian tradition and culture, on the Indian spirituality itself. Much needs to be corrected, nay destroyed, in this terribly unbecoming context.

  5. vishwamitra2 permalink

    Western liberal or conservative: their methods and motivations/ideologies may be different but they both want to dominate others. No surprise that Heehs and company are intolerant of alternative views and would like to shut people up or convert those who oppose them. They have tried to “give a dog a bad name and then hang him” and that’s why they started their fundamentalism blog and tried to defame everyone as religious fundamentalists. In that way there is no difference between what some of them are trying to do to “natives” in India and what others already did to “natives” elsewhere. There is a sprinkling of local collaborators like the “supremacists” you refer to who have a lot to lose by not keeping the status quo intact. And they are all being marched by Heehs, hartz, or sciy (Debbie-da and Richie-da in particular, each of whom fancies himself to be the new Derri-da).
    Obviously, they have a highly exaggerated opinion of their own sense of humor which, to all others, would only seem to be ribald at best. If they think it’s one big joke to knock down Sri Aurobindo and Krishna, we can only conclude… like Heehs, like chelas. Their betrayal is without end

    • Govind permalink

      The humor shtick is an insincere lie. If there is any characteristic that can basically define Heehs and those who are leading the charge on his behalf or have been recruited to defend him with one Ashram lollipop or another, it is that they are compulsive liars. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to know that labeling Sri Krishna a “taxi-driver” is a mean and hurtful insult to a lot of people, not just Hindus or Indians but also to every sincere devotee and disciple of Sri Aurobindo who takes Him at His Word when He calls Sri Krishna His “double”. It is something designed to offend and cause grief. In fact their very defense proves it because they are just reacting to, rather getting back at, others who are trying to expose Heehs’ utter lack of academic qualifications (e.g. in authoritatively subjecting Sri Aurobindo to posthumous psychoanalysis) by drawing attention to his thoroughly unimpressive background.

      The second characteristic of these people is that they are cowards. Call them out on their malicious garbage and they will scurry into the shadows using one excuse or another which will ultimatley boil down to “I didn’t mean it” and demand leniency like petulant little children (remember most of these jobless busybodies are well into their 40s or 50s or 60s) whose words ought not to be taken too seriously. But it does not help them a bit. In this instance their excuse of humor, one that they often use btw, makes them look like psychopaths who point a gun at you or anti-social luddites who first spit on your face (or someone you love like Sri Aurobindo or Sri Krishna) and then turn around and say “I was just making a point”… or “it was all just a big joke”. Then they demand that Sri Krishna or Sri Aurobindo or the Mother or the Divine should take the trouble to just wipe off the spit and submit to their arbitrary notions of “sublime sense of humor” by laughing it all off… even asking for some more perhaps.

      If you want a demonstration of a similar sick sense of humor then take a trip to the campus of some seedy college where eve-teasing mawalis hang around to pass lewd comments at helpless girls. Catch anyone of these sickos by the collar and wave a fist in his face and he will begin his defense with the excuse that he was just having some harmless fun… while all the time he really meant every word of the disgusting comments he was passing.

      Additionally, of course, taking direct aim at Sri Krishna conforms to their track record of Western chauvinism. That, I think, has been their biggest mistake in this episode. Only mean-spirited parasitical xenophobes who have an itch to offend “native” sensibilities could have chosen that target with such glee and abandon. Of course, the lip-service that they have tried to pay to India as “guru of the world” and what not is more contradictory and insincere transparent foliage that covers little of their shameless and crudely mean-spirited intentions, any more than such covering helps Heehs in leveling the barbs he directs at Sri Aurobindo in the immaculate book of books. The acting fools nobody, babes in their cradles included.

  6. RY Deshpande permalink

    Let us just see a verse from Namdev, an uneducated thirteenth century Marathi saint-poet who sums up the entire relationship between Krishna and Arjuna in one terse phrase: on the battlefield he who watched over Parth, that is Arjuna, let that Parthasarathi, the Charioteer of Arjuna, put his hand on my head and take me under his protection. The entire cultural history of a nation is presented in a powerful relationship between Man and God, Nara and Narayana, and it is that which is attacked by these know-nothing half-educated students who vaunt their superiority in a crowd of equally know-nothing, who stupidly call General Bakshi a “Joker”, without realising the point he was making about the hard discipline required for any academic presentation. What qualifications they have to say that, except the foolish things received by them from The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, forgetting all that they might have acquired from the Centre of Education? Here are some quick examples from a dictionary about the ignoramus lot: One—Education is one of those things where every ignoramus and his brother is an expert. Two—For someone who claimed to be mixed race, you are about as much of a white ignoramus as they come.

    But, more importantly, here is a culturally rich and rewarding anecdote connected with Namdev: “Once, all the Saints like Dnyaneshwar, Nivruttinath, Sopandev, Muktabai, Namdeo, Chokhamela, Visoba Khechar, etc had congregated at Saint Goroba’s house in Terdhoki. As instructed by Saint Dnyaneshwar, Saint Goroba tapped each saint’s pot (head) to find out who was spiritually mature. The reference to the pot being tapped is because Saint Goroba was a potter and him being selected for the test shows his own spiritually maturity. On testing Saint Namdev, Saint Goroba expressed his opinion that Namdev was still immature, which was backed by Saint Muktabai. Miffed by this, Namdev complained to the Lord himself. But the Lord advised him to accept the guidance of Visoba Khechar and Namdev acquired a Guru. He accepted Visoba Khechar as his ultimate Guru, through whom he actually saw the form of God.” [Wikipedia]

    To say Krishna was a “native taxi-driver” is to dismiss Sri Aurobindo himself. It also amounts to saying that the Mother was under a terrible illusion when she told that one whom she was calling Krishna was none other than Sri Aurobindo himself. A whole tradition of Indian spirituality is discredited, is under severe attack from termites, the ever-living ever-growing ever-progressing Indian tradition which continuously gets enriched in the spiritual fire of its practitioners. There is nothing retrograde or fundamentalistic in this onward march of Indian values that constitute the quality of the Indian soul. On the other hand, this naiveté, this imbecility of the know-nothing ought to be destroyed, because it takes us back to the dark ages of other time.

  7. RY Deshpande permalink

    Angry MPs say won’t tolerate insult to Lord Krishna: Hindustan Times, 20 December 2011:
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/newdelhi/Angry-MPs-say-won-t-tolerate-insult-to-Lord-Krishna/Article1-784661.aspx

    But here are peddlers and street-hawkers of Integral Yoga who call Krishna a native taxi-driver! Glory be to them!

  8. Govind permalink

    I think that’s precisely the point. Let them hurl as many offensive remarks as they please. Long live freedom of expression. The problem is not so much the insult itself as much as the “incongruity” (to borrow a word from our friends) between verbal professions of yoga and fidelity to Mother Sri Aurobindo on one hand and openly mocking Them on the other. For every devotee and disciple of Theirs the dividing line between Sri Krishna and Sri Aurobindo is a very thin one, almost non-existent, based purely on statements of Mother Sri Aurobindo. For me personally the impression is reinforced given the remarkable parallels in the life of both the Avatars separated by thousands of years.

    So we are not going to demand that the “leaky faucets” take down the offensive page. Indeed the more such hurtful crudities they hurl at the Divine and His lovers the more they reveal their true narrow-minded and bigoted hatred for all things native or “religious” (in their perverted parlance). The more casual, care-less and insensitive the remark, the more will awakened “natives” with a modicum of self-respect, and their true non-native brothers and sisters from all over the world, recognize these people for the parasitical xenophobes that they are… living in Sri Krishna/Sri Aurobindo’s country/ashram and kicking dust in His face.

    Only people of their own demented supremacist ilk, or with serious problems of their own will take sick pleasure in such barbarity. Hopefully this second sort will also then take the trouble to express their camaraderie with this lot via comments on these derogatory posts and expose themselves as the arrogant and self-superior xenophobes that they themselves are. They think they are bravely and audaciously clawing at the Divine’s Visage or Image, while all the time what they are really doing is ripping to shreds the masks off their own faces.

  9. A few characteristics of Heehs’ followers (oops supporters!):

    a. A terrible suspicion of all things Hindu (use “Indian tradition” in polite conversation). This manifests itself in the need to dis-engage Sri Aurobindo from the Indian tradition by whatever means possible. Let’s draw clear, sharp lines between Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (mutually exclusive either or sets). Example: Heehs’ paper on Hinduism and Sri Aurobindo.
    Of course in it’s extreme manifestations, this soon descends into equating anything Hindu/Indian with fascism and Nazism (the whole works!). Example:
    i. Any of Richard Carlson’s writings where the word Hindu comes up.
    ii. David Hutchison’s fears that the Ashram was being turned into a Vedic fundamentalist hotbed (whatever that means). In one of his emails, he was terribly concerned that Mother’s commentary on the Dhammapada would be made obscure. Such sublime fears, I tell you! Too bad he hasn’t bothered to follow those commentaries himself where the first line itself mentions how hatred isn’t solved by hatred.

    b. Self-image of enlightened rational beings successfully engaging with post-modernism and secularism though needing constant approval from peers. Examples:
    i. Debashish “Indians can’t read” Bannerjee.
    ii. Richard Hartz (In his talk at Fundamentalism and the Future, one couldn’t but help wondering if he thought of himself as the enlightened doctor of Satyajit Ray’s movie he kept referring to.)

    c. A gross distortion of what Integral Yoga is.
    i. SCIY is full of this, though the most laughable of these was when Carlson wrote in an obituary of Howard Zinn (“People’s History of the United States”) that he was doing a kind of Yoga. Anyone, of course, who shares a left-radical view of the world and/or is a howling political animal is a de-facto Yogi.

  10. aurotruth permalink

    I had posted the below response on Auroleaks, which was NOT posted by them.

    Calling Sri Krishna a “Native Taxi Driver” is not humorous neither does it prove the point that Peter has no real background as a historian. It is in bad taste and for people who consider Lord Krishna Divine it is quite hurtful. This is sincerely a below the belt attack and hopefully you can take a moment to step back and see it.

    “The sinister aim of Govind, Deshpande, and Co. is to dilute the force of Sri Aurobindo’s message.” Seriously???? Do you even believe that?? Please open your eyes.
    You and others are promoting TLOSA and Peter, while on the other hand Govind, Deshpande, and co are promoting books and knowledge of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. How are they diluting their message?

    I personally do not care about the book TLOSA nor do I care about Peter, but I do care about The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. All the people against the book are only fighting as they believe the book is factually incorrect and has the power to instill doubt.

    STOP your personal attacks on individuals and keep the conversation civil.

    The Quote posted on Auroleaks blog applies to all of you as well. Please remember that you too are part of a herd and have gone mad in herds trying to support a single book. Please give that a thought (if you have the ability to step back)
    “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one. — Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841

    Mr Ajay – “It was said somewhere that the thing that hostile forces and asuras hate the most is humor”.

    Where is this said? Also can you please define humor? A joke for one culture, people, race can be quite hurtful to another culture, people, or race, as evidenced by the “Native Taxi Driver” comment on Sri Krishna.

    Mr Might-is-Right – Sons of India don’t have to live in India. This is quite an old school of thought that people have to stay in their native land to do good for their country. Welcome to the 21st century.

  11. aurotruth permalink

    One more post by aurotruth on the smear-portal auroleaks.

    @Auroleaks – Why have you “Banned” my first comment? Please step back and observe that you are restricting my “Freedom of Speech”.

    Mr Ajay said – “It was said somewhere that the thing that hostile forces and asuras hate the most is humor”

    I read through all of Mothers excerpts posted in your comment and I read them a few times so that I completely try to see your point of view.

    Your first statement “It was said somewhere….” is FALSE. Essentially it has NEVER been said and you are reading into Mother’s comments to make your point. I hope you can see that.

    Let go of your EGO for a couple of minutes and stop trying to score brownie points. All of Mothers excepts listed are inaccurately used and do NOT mean that Asuras hate humor. In your first quote itself Mother states “You get angry? They’re happy”, which means dark forces do get happy and potentially enjoy humor.

    Let us take a real world example of what Mother has stated “You get angry? They’re happy, they say, “He’s angry””. You = Devotees & They = Asuras/Dark Forces is my understanding.

    What was the consequence of posting Sri Krishna’s picture as a “Native Taxi Driver”. Devotees of Sri Krishna got Angry, but who got happy? Were you and/or Auroleaks happy when Govind and others got angry? Do you see the similarity between Mother’s quotes and your doings?

    Nowhere in Mothers excerpts does she suggest that Asuras hate humor the most. Asuras do want Devotees to be in a melancholy mood and not happy, which does NOT mean what you suggest. Do you want Govind, Deshpande, and co to be in a melancholy mood? (Please try to see this point)

    “..a laugh of self-confidence and of faith in the Divine is the most shattering strength possible”. I am definitely laughing as Mother has suggested, but that does not mean I cannot speak up.

    I am NOT calling you or anybody else an Asura, but you are calling other Devotees exactly that. I am simply showing the fact that these dark forces work in mysterious ways and even you can be under their influence. The best you can do is reach out to The Mother AND surrender (let your EGO go). Else you will never have the capability to see the other persons point.

    All the individuals against the book are only fighting as they believe the book is factually incorrect and has the power to instill doubt. THAT IS ALL. We love The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and do not want falsehood to spread in the name of “Freedom”.

    — Truth

  12. Agree with aurotruth here.

    I want to add a disclaimer that regardless of whatever Hartz may have said on that one occasion, I have admired much of what he has written. (As an example, his essay on Neibuhr’s prayer was very illuminating.)

    Also, I think it’s important to remember that none of us are perfect, at least I know I am not. While we may criticize others for their perceived biases, it’s important to maintain at least some of one’s limitations and limited views.

    Also, if I may say so, there may indeed be a “legitimate” (if that is the right word) critique of Indian culture from a Western perspective. Everyone is born with a certain Swadharma, and my Swadharma may not be yours. The Swadharma of certain Westerners (and indeed some Indians), may not agree with many of ways Indian tradition approaches Truth and the Divine. Who are we to close the doors (as if we can) to the Divine to them ? What we can instead critique and acknowledge is that due to the power structure (in politics and ideas) that exist, there is a certain tendency to think that Western perspectives are superior or closer to the truth by default. (This is one of the reasons why I admire Rajiv Malhotra’s works which focuses on exactly these power structures.)

    Regarding the others whom I have name-called, I once again want to state and remind myself mostly that it is their ideas which I critique from my own (however limited) perspective, and hope to remember that the Divine is within them too.

    • Govind permalink

      That is very beautifully said. We must at once make it clear that we abjure all personal animus. After all Richard Hartz, despite his views regarding a “native tax-driver”, has not had any hand in writing that book and to my knowledge at least he has never said a word against Mother Sri Aurobindo. I would have preferred to keep these opinions to myself but then look at the entire chakra-vyuha of name-calling, labeling and malicious character-assassination with which these very same people, with Richard’s behind-the-scenes participation, have surrounded Alok, Sraddhalu and others whose only crime has been to voice their pain at the betrayal of Mother Sri Aurobindo and to oppose the tabloid gossip-monger, liar and pseudo-historian as far as possible within the bounds of Ashram’s communal existence and, only when they were left no other way, legally in court and democratically but still respectfully via a silent protest.

      While Sri Aurobindo has been maligned by this traitor and back-stabber as just another human being, a freak of nature (i.e. genius), and all His lovers branded as fundamentalists… we cannot continue to limit ourselves solely to those words and actions that our softer and gentler sides acquiesce to, although I agree that this must be as far as possible the dominant part and approach. At this late point in the game, however, it has now been made abundantly clear to everyone that playing nice will only be taken as a sign of weakness by these aggressive supremacists, the power-mad managing trustee, his servile henchmen, and rabid attack-dogs, all of whom have a single point lust for dominating others and eradicating all opposition.

      One more point that I wanted to add…

      “Also, if I may say so, there may indeed be a “legitimate” (if that is the right word) critique of Indian culture from a Western perspective.”

      Most definitely so. In fact healthy criticism from outside quarters is a blessing, although in harsh disguise 🙂

    • vishwamitra2 permalink

      It appears that haartz has thrown in his lot completely with Heehs. He might be supporting heehs as friend and as someone who agrees with heehs that such a book needed to be written for a “western readership” and is happy with heehs portrayal of Sri Aurobindo. If he is fully behind heehs, I would not like to be blinded by his past writing to ignore his present actions. We shoudnt hate anyone or believe that we are flawless and have the monopoly on the Truth but we do have to decide where our allegiances lie here and if needed oppose the actions of even those we may admire or call friends and relatives. I agree that we have to be careful of how we react.

  13. Govind permalink

    Thank you Vishwamitra2. That is a very balanced analysis. What I have observed over the last four years is that despite their different motivations and points of departure all the players of the United Heehsian Front (UHF) are basically focused on just one tactic… which is to tar everyone that is opposed to Heehs as a fundamentalist. Notice that they no longer do much by way of defending Heehs. This part of the battlefield they have already tacitly vacated and ceded to their oppnents. It has always been a forward, offensive strategy of attacking opponents of the book, but now it is almost exclusively so. Given the more “integral” approach of the anti-TLOSA, we have generally stayed focused on critiquing the book. Attacks against Heehs or his supporters as a group we have abstained from, only because we care about the Ashram and the unity and cohesion of the collective. But as I stated in my earlier comment, instead of reciprocation we have been met with escalation. Our reluctance has been seen by these people not as a chance for rapprochement but a weakness to be exploited to the hilt… basically the philosophy is that if my enemy does not lift his hands against me I will not put down my own but use the opportunity to lay a few more quick ones on him.

    The three parts of the UHF army are as follows:
    1) Center: With Heehs himself and his die-hard supporters who have affinity to him and are tied by personal bonds of affection and intimate relationship. They will always support him from the background even if they don’t engage with anyone openly. The other two parts are deployed more in front. They are
    2) Left-wing: These are ideologically committed to the whole Left/Liberal Westernization agenda and they have been the most vocal of the three thus far. However, beyond making a lot of noise they do not have much real power which rests with the third part of the army
    3) Right-wing: This is a right-wing fascist brigade of black shirts, storm-troopers and hired mercenaries on the payroll of the managing trustee whose agenda is the introduction of a new governing structure and power dynamic into the Ashram. It’s aim is to centralize all authority and power in one man, whoever occupies the managing trustee kursi. Remember that this has never been the case in the Ashram after Mother’s passing since there have always been multiple competing power centers that effectively acted as checks and balances on each other. But with the passing of Pranab-da an unprecedented opportunity has opened up for MDG to launch a Coup d’Etat and become the sole autocrat of the Ashram, something that has never been sanctioned by the Mother.

    Normally the freedom-loving leftists and the fascist rightists should be opposed to each other an initially they probably were, for e.g read Rich Carlson’s snide and derisive poem against Ashramites. But both have made a cynical calculation to come together to defeat into permanent silence if not destroy completely their common enemy… sincere Sadhaks of Mother Sri Aurobindo who will brook no adverse or unkind word against Guru and Parents in Their own home which also happens to be the one set of people reckless and audacious enough to thwart the Coup d’Etat by the Managing Trustee.

    The most vocal and the virulent of these, the maha-rathis are those that straddle multiple camps. But by definition the left and the right cannot overlap so there is nobody who is in all three at the same time

    Paradoxically the right-wing, from which Heehs derives all legitimacy, power and even influence in the media and academia is also the most vulnerable, because in an image of the chess-board it relies on the sole presence and preference of one individual… the King. Check-mate and the whole thing collapses. And in the absence of this powerful right-wing down goes the rest. If the Ashramites meekly consent to be crushed under the jack-boots of the Sturmabteilung of their newly self-appointed autocrat then it will be said by future generations that they only deserved what they were willing to tolerate silently and submissively, either out of fear for the consequences or in return for past or prospective favors.

  14. aurotruth permalink

    3rd comment by aurotruth on the smear-portal auroleaks. This too, no doubt, like the previous ones, will be censored by the paragons of Freedom of speech

    @Auroleaks – Thank you for appreciating my humor, but why have you “Banned” my first & second comments? You are still restricting my “Freedom of speech”.

    My posts are fairly simple to understand and I haven’t called any individual names or used any bad words? What is the fear? Do you NOT believe in “freedom of speech”? Is it only that some can write, while others should be restricted. Why should it matter if Mirror of tomorrow bans or does not ban?

    If you believe in unlimited Freedom of Speech then your action of banning is hypocrisy. If you believe that my statements cause any sort of doubt in your readers mind or that my statements are false and you ban my comments then you should have the courage to see why others do not appreciate spreading falsehood through books or any other medium?

    All individuals against the book are only fighting as they believe the book is factually incorrect and the book has the power to instill doubt. Individuals who are standing up to the author & TLOSA are only doing so because they love The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and nothing else. Remember that fact. That is the real truth and nothing else. Anything that says otherwise leads you away from the facts and into falsehood and once you step into falsehood there is no end to what that power will make you do.

    Auroleaks – you talk as if you know lord Krishna. “Would Lord Krishna approve of his devotees getting angry, hurt, or upset? Obviously not, since it makes the Bad Guys happy.”

    Lord Krishna is my Guru, my father and you calling him a “Native Taxi Driver” is hurtful and wrong. You need to stop giving justifications for this heinous act. You might be right that Lord Krishna would NOT want me to get angry, but in the true yogic spirit he might ask me to pick up a bow and arrow and fight as he instructed Arjuna. I would advice you not to try and think like Lord Krishna or like The Mother or Sri Aurobindo because neither you or I can. The earlier you accept this fact the better.

    “It was said somewhere that the thing that hostile forces and asuras hate the most is humor” is not the same as “They hate humor when it is directed at THEM”. You are changing your own words. But even if I were to assume you meant the second statement, then that is not the crux of the meaning of Mother quotes.

    What The Mother is saying in those excerpts (in my opinion) is that in the face of adversity, when someone or something is trying to sadden you or scare you, then “A laugh of self-confidence and of faith in the Divine is the most shattering strength possible—it disrupts the enemy’s front, spreads havoc in his ranks and carries you triumphantly onwards”.

    Your “Native Taxi Driver” post has pointed out NO ridiculousness and was NOT humorous but instead was hurtful.

    I recommend you NOT take this PH issue so seriously. Just drop it and you could very soon make it more perfect.

    “If men took life less seriously, they could very soon make it more perfect. God never takes His works seriously; therefore one looks out on this wonderful Universe.” (Sri Aurobindo, Essays Divine and Human, p. 432)

    –Truth

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