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Can Sri Aurobindo Sadhanalaya and the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir Coexist in Ayodhya?


Or, rather can Sri Aurobindo co-exist with Sri Ram? Sri Aurobindo – among the first proponents of the idea and spirit of Nationalism and the Mantra of whose life was the freedom of his nation, about which he said, “When…it is said that India shall rise, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall rise. When it is said that India shall be great, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall be great. When it is said that India shall expand and extend herself, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall expand and extend itself over the world. It is for the dharma and by the dharma that India exists.” Sri Aurobindo gave us the vision of a Divine Life on Earth for which he saw that human unity must be established on the basis of a religious spirit which is most wide and tolerant of all – the Sanatana Dharma. Sri Aurobindo about whom Deshbandhu C R Das – the defense lawyer in the Alipore Bomb Case – said, “That long after this controversy is hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, this agitation ceases, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone his words will be echoed and re-echoed not only in India, but across distant seas and lands.”

Lord Rama – the lord of the heart of all – low or high – who dwells in the heart of every creature and who proclaims through Tulsidas शिव द्रोही मम दास कहावा, सो नर मोहि सपनेहुँ नहिं भावा, can such a one not tolerate – rather he will profusely welcome – Sri Aurobindo’s Presence near him.

When the managing trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, Sri Manoj Das Gupta said that “…it was felt by all of us that Sri Aurobindo Sadhanalaya and the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir can co-exist” he spoke the plain truth as he was under no pressure in responding to the request of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra to swap the Sri Aurobindo Ashram land for some other land or money.

Sri Aurobindo’s sacred relics were installed in the Sadhanalaya in 1989. After the Babri Disturbances of 1992, when the Central Government acquired the majority of the land around the Sri Ram Temple, the Sadhanalaya was deliberately exempted by the then Narsimha Rao Government. In Sri Manoj Das Gupta’s letter referred above, he wrote “There are certain considerations that the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust board must keep in mind when arriving at any decision.

The land for the Sri Aurobindo Sadhanalaya in Ayodhya was donated to the Mother in 1959 with clear intentions on how it should be used specified by the donor in the gift deed. The Mother gracefully accepted the gift appreciating the sentiments of the donor. On accepting the property, the Mother assigned some sadhaks to take care of the property and they took great pains to develop it as an abode for meditation and introspection befitting the purpose of a Sadhanalaya. Recognising the efforts of the sadhaks and the growth of the Sadhanalaya (the only one in UP), the enshrinement of the Sacred Relics of Sri Aurobindo took place in 1989. Due to the presence of the Sacred Relics and the dedication of the sadhaks, a noticeable spiritual ambience has been created.

As Trustees, we are only custodians of the Trust properties. Our role is very clear in that we have to maintain the properties for the original purpose for which the properties vested with the Trust. We also have to take into consideration the feelings of the inmates and devotees while making any decision.

In this regard, it would be pertinent to refer to your plans to have shrines for various Gurus and Sages within the Mandir boundaries – Sri Valmiki Swami, Sri Agastya Muni (who, incidentally, according to French researchers had established Vedapuri at what is now known as Pondicherry) and others which was mentioned.

Our Sadhanalaya, being adjacent to the Mandir, may effectively be seen as another place for spiritual pursuit for devotees and does not appear to us to be contrary to the overall purpose of the Mandir and its glory in future.

In these circumstances, it was felt by all of us that Sri Aurobindo Sadhanalaya and the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir can co-exist.”

But it is very sad to note that some of the people and office bearers associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra do not seem to believe it. They have pressurized the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its management team to submit to their demand and never even utter a word about it. If this sort of pressure or blackmail is suspected or pointed out by any other devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother then it is outright denied by Sri Aurobindo Ashram’s Managing Trustee. The question is can such principles and considerations – as pointed out in the above quoted letter of the Managing trustee – change in such a short time? The answer is very clearly NO! To assert otherwise is pertinently false.

The above is not to lay blame on any one. Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a very-very big family and houses all kinds of people. It is only the Grace of the Mother that enable the Trustees and others responsible for management to perform this daunting task. The local and central government can easily – if they so desire – find loopholes and subject Ashram to irresistible pressure.

It is most sad and unfortunate that the Ram Janmabhoomi people and those in the government supporting them have chosen to defile the presence of Lord Sri Ram by stooping to such narrow-minded and self-destructive actions. If Lord Sri Aurobindo who – as the Mother proclaimed – represents a decisive action direct from the Supreme cannot abide in Ayodhya then there is scant chance that Lord Sri Ram will do so either.

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