Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
HVK Archives: Aurobindo Ashram in knots

Aurobindo Ashram in knots - The Indian Express

T Manivannan ()
16 February 1997

Title : Aurobindo Ashram in knots
Author : T Manivannan
Publication : The Indian Express
Date : February 16, 1997

Long simmering internal problems in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a
spiritual institution teaching integral yoga, have now spilled over
to the public arena with matters being brought to court by a
section of its inmates.

The Ashram - a revered institution with a large following of
devotees - is at the centre of a messy legal battle with a group of
its sadhak-inmates, over the issue of an association formed by them
and its subsequent decision to expel some of them from the Ashram

A local civil court, which heard the petitions from the
newly-formed Sri Aurobindo Ashram Inmates' Association and four
others against the expulsion of four inmates by the Ashram Trust on
February 11 passed interim orders directing the Ashram management
to maintain the status quo as it stood prior to January 4, till the
disposal of the original suit.

However, with the Ashram management yet to comply with the order,
the four expelled members have moved against the Ashram for
contempt of court. Issuance of notices to the Ashram management on
the contempt petition was also ordered. The arguments on the
petition were heard on Friday but the orders were reserved for
February 18.

The four Ashram inmates - Srikant Jivarajani, Bailochand Parida,
Dilip Agarwal and Kamal Dora -were expelled by an order of the
Board of Trustees of the Ashram on January 4. The orders charged
them with "acts of indiscipline" and withdrew all the facilities
and amenities accorded to them with effect from January 5,
including work in the Ashram departments.

The legal battle between the Ashram and the Inmates' Association
revolves around two issues. The first issue, taken to the court in
the original suit filed by Association President Narayan Swain, a
resident of the Ashram for 31 years, involves declaration of the
Ashram Inmates' Association as legal and valid. He said the
Registrar of Companies (cited as the third respondent in the suit)
had refused to register the Association under the Societies
Registration Act on the ground that the Association should get a
consent letter from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

In its counter, Ashram managing trustee Harikant C Patel prayed for
dismissal of the suit as the Ashram was "in no way concerned" with
the formation of the Association or the refusal of the ROC to
register the Association.

However, the Registrar of Companies, in his counter, has stated
that he sought the views of the Ashram trustees regarding the
registration of the Association as the name of Aurobindo Ashram was
sought to be used.

The provocation for the forming of the association is the
disenchantment among the inmates of the Ashram over the "lack of
transparency, accountability and democracy" in the running of the
Ashram. The Ashram management however remained tightlipped on the
causes. Management sources told The Indian Express that the
expulsions were related to the maintenance of discipline in the

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements