A lesson from Sri Aurobindo


Here's one advantage of the Internet - I can go back and edit what I no longer like. The original entry for this day took a negative view of other writers. It's fine to be frank, but I felt somewhat unclean having carped in such a way. Every writer is a miracle of the human spirit working against the odds. So in writing this entry, I am scrubbing that old one.

The experience recalls one I had after the publication of In Search of the Divine Mother. That book faced a torrent of legal attack, people I interviewed gave me great and cutting dialogue for the book, but I cut it from the published version for fear of the consequences. In one section, however, I allowed that side of me to come to the fore ... my depiction of the Sri Aurobindo ashram. I showed off my eloquence in damming the whole place, suggesting people should step out of their ashram existence and dare t live in the real world. I thought it some of my finer writing.

Some time later I received my first and only vision of Sri Aurobindo. (For those who are puzzled by such sentences, please read my work - it's just the way life is!) Sri Aurobindo was the Indian sage (and coincidentally the writer of Savitri, the longest epic poem in English) around whom the ashram materialized in the early part of the 20th century. He was smiling, so I wasn't being admonished in the way I might have expected. He wasn't condemning the book itself. But he held a finger in the air and wagged it from side to side, and I knew what he was saying. I should not have been proud of myself for my attacks on the ashram. They were cheap shots, and the cleverness of the language was simply me being smug. It is as hard to live in an ashram as anywhere else, requires a great deal of consciousness, and was much more of an achievement than my taking sides against them.

Mea culpa. I shall aim not to be snide in my writings or in these columns again.

Previous entry