Sunday, September 28, 2008

Some people have even become so embolden as to try and have Heehs ejected from the Ashram itself

Rationalism and the yogic life by Debashish on Sun 28 Sep 2008 12:05 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Since the article on Peter Heehs book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" was pulled off the site by R.Y. Deshpande and with it, all its comments disappeared, I am here re-posting my comment on rationalism and the yogic life where I had tried to contextualize Peter's text and provide an example of a quote from his book which was otherwise being utilized to make the exact opposite point to that which it actually made: ...

Moreover, I agree with Rich that this obscuration has been engineered through partial and decontextualized quotations. In fact, one of the main quotes presented to make a case for the rationalist rejection of inner experience is just the opposite; it provides the grounds for a discussion on the limits of reason and psychoanalysis and the difficulties presented by mysticism, and attempts to arrive at a distinction between pathological and spiritual forms of subjectivity, particularly vindicating Sri Aurobindo's inner coherence and balance. Here I put down the complete quote. I do hope that after reading this, the intent of the author will be more clear and we can put a stop to this barrage of emotional incitement: ...

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by Rich on Sat 27 Sep 2008 10:09 AM PDT Permanent Link

There is a movement of folks in Pondicherry who are so upset by the biography that Peter Heehs has written entitled The Lives of Sri Aurobindo that they have instigated a movement to discredit the author. Some people have even become so embolden as to try and have him ejected from the Ashram itself. The folks who have spurred this on have in the course of their attacks on Mr. Heehs openly distorted his text by decontextualizing portions of it or by a series of selective omissions to make it suit their own interpretation of events that facilitate their own story they wish to tell.

Because of this movement I have decided to post all the portions of the text that have been decontextualized or omitted and reprint them with corrections to demonstrate how the text from the book actually reads in its entire context. The portions of the text that have been lifted to suit the purposes of those with an agenda against the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo are in black, the missing portions of the text that are needed to give the entire context of the narrative are in red. As everyone will see there is a lot of red in the text.: ...

Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by koantum on Sat 27 Sep 2008 08:48 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Thanks, Rich. Very timely. Hopefully it will restore some semblance of sanity. I am reminded of a note written by the Mother and, by her own account, inspired by the New Consciousness of 1969:

Why do men want to worship? It is much better to become than to worship! (Mother's Agenda, April 30, 1969)

As one who wants to become, I read Sri Aurobindo's books when I want to learn about the inner Sri Aurobindo, and I read Peter's refreshingly level-headed biography when I want to learn about the outer Sri Aurobindo. I don't mean this in a mutually exclusive sense. The outer Sri Aurobindo is an integral part of the inner. The hagiographies, which tell us more about their authors than about Sri Aurobindo, are for those who are content to worship — and to worship a figment of their imagination at that. No wonder they get upset if this clashes with reality.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sri Aurobindo has almost vanished from any credible academic discourse. I think he did a fine job

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Rich on Fri 26 Sep 2008 09:11 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Vikas, Of course even discussing controversial issues that concerns someone so dear as ones spiritual master are bound to cause strong reactions in us all. But if we take the opportunity as a test of our equanimity the outcome could even be positive even if we dont necessarily agree it. I dont think it serves any constructive purpose to try and and gather a posse together to cause harm to the author of a work they do not agree with.

But I do think it is important for us to understand the context or the perspectives we are coming to it from which may vary by ones life experience, cultural orientation, temperament, social position, or intention of the work we wish to accomplish. This is really the integral challenge and of course its not a challenge I can have claimed to have mastered in anyway.

But let me address briefly how I understand the problems that arise with matters such as the grain of salt comment (which by the way I think could have been phrased in a better way)

To one who feels Sri Aurobindo had a certain omnipotent perspective well yes it would seem disrespectful.

But the context of the biography is that it was written for a very well respected Academic Press. These publishers will only allow a certain style of discourse that meets a test for an appropriate communicative platform in that arena.

Given the megaproblems with religion (or spirituality) namely that its central claims can not be empirically demonstrated nor can one assume non-believers will buy into pre-assumptions they do not share (aka articles of faith you bring to the table) one must find other ways to address issues.

In fact religious people can be shown to demonstrate a certain intolerance against those who dont buy into their articles of faith. This is why we have secular societies separate religion from state

Sri Aurobindo at this stage in human evolution actual favored the secular state, so it is not a stretch to believe that he would actually favor secular discourse in many contexts. Academic Presses in keeping with this style of secular thought therefore are forced to require that text meet a certain critical standard.

PH's text is meant to address and academic standard and it does so well. Perhaps too well for some folks in Pondi. However, he is not writing for the faithful he is writing for an academic audience.

Now there maybe disagreement if this is needed. But from my perspective it is absolutely necessary. Sri Aurobindo has almost vanished from any credible academic discourse which means many students will never encounter him and his perspectives will not be considered by many people in positions of power (at least outside India)

In fact many folks who may become really interested in IY, I have found to be turned off at first glance because they assume its just another religion.

In fact for many reasons I have addressed on SCIY I feel it is extremely necessary to disseminate Sri Aurobindo's teaching in the wider culture as it provides an alternative vision for our future than our mere disappearance into technology or the machinery of Prakriti

This was actually a central premise for beginning the SCIY project.

Now how is IY to reach the people who maybe able to work for positive change in the world? Well if you think its important to reach them one has to address them in a style that fits with the conventions that have already been established in that arena.

Because the book addresses a secular audience many might take it as disrespectful to Sri Aurobindo that in the book he is not simply credited with having an omniscient position.

But I do not feel anyone reading it from a secular perspective will find it disparges Sri Aurobindo at all. As I said since I knew he was writing in this style it actually enhanced my respect for him.

So IMO as with the grain of salt comment PH is writing from the perspective of the secular historian he must maintain if he is to keep credibility with his audience. Since no one can assume to know the future he has to state -in keeping with the academic style- whether the prophecy made by Sri Aurobindo would come true or not can not be definitely confirmed. If he just claimed Sri Aurobindo could predict the future he would loose credibility with his audience and the project would fail.

Now could he have used a better phrase then taken with a grain of salt, since this phrase could be understood as an invective by some, well maybe so.

But I dont not see that he has had any bad intention. If I speak with children I dont quote from Wittgenstein or Derrida, rather if I want to reach them I choose an appropriate vocabulary. It is my understanding that PH is trying to do that here.

Now some of the more faithful may disagree that this project was even necessary and we can agree to disagree but for reasons I have stated -namely to reach an audience who are crucial for facilitating necessary cultural change who would not otherwise come upon Sri Aurobindo- I think he did a fine job. rich

I am withdrawing from this blog. It is difficult for me to be a spectator in a blog that is hostile to Sri Aurobindo and and the Mother

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Vikas on Fri 26 Sep 2008 02:33 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Rich, I have been reading a few of your postings on this blog. I have a few comments to make on the tone and content of a few of them. The impression I get from your postings is that of an articulate and refined man endowed with a fine intellect. I must confess though some of your posts have been offensive, in bad taste, derogatory and insensitive...

Surely you are aware that the Archives is part of the Ashram and the Ashram is a place of spiritual practice and yogic life. In fact 2) and 3) are considered good foundations in an aspirant on a spiritual quest. Sri Aurobindo writes in the Synthesis of Yoga “ The ideal sadhaka should be able to say in the biblical phrase ‘My zeal for the Lord has eaten me up’ ”. The ideal Sadhak can easily be considered a zealot in one sense. So the attitude in 2) and 3) would not be as ridiculous as you deem it to be. Your sweeping statements ridicule a) spiritual seekers who take an attitude consistent with 2) and 3) and b) the very attitude itself. Then there is the frequent insinuation of the fundamentalism in Integral Yoga, of it having become a religion, to a readership that includes followers of this Yoga. Last but not the least is the slight of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and his followers...

You appear much too learned to slight another’s Guru or pass comments about the Guru that are not very flattering, especially in a blog whose readership and contributors include those who have taken refuge in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I feel it is callous and will result in taunting and inciting the readers - if it has not already. Nor are you oblivious of the fact that the Guru-disciple relation is a most sacred one and given the highest place in Indian spiritual tradition. For the spiritual aspirant it translates into an assurance that

“I may leave my Guru but my Guru will never leave me. I may fall from the Path, return to the din of the world and wallow in its slops for 100 lives, blaspheme all that is sacred – all this and more I may do but She will never leave my side. Each folly of mine will be a stab of sorrow in the heart of Her who is sorrowless but She will never turn away Her face nor cease to mitigate the pains that I must suffer from those follies. Never, Never, Never will She leave me nor cease to guide my heart until Her resplendent heart becomes its permanent abode. God-forsaken and world-forsaken I may be but never Guru-forsaken.”

It is for the last reason that I am withdrawing from this blog. It is difficult for me to be a spectator in a blog that is hostile - even though occasionally - to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I hold no resentment towards you. We can surely differ on our views and opinions on things. Personally I would request you to refrain from such innuendo.

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Vikas on Fri 26 Sep 2008 03:31 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

It would help us to understand the vociferous action, and I daresay, maybe even be sympathetic to it if we kept in mind the deep bond that the disciples/devotees feel for the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The Mother has provided for all their upkeep(physical and in every way) and most of all is the keeper of their souls and well being. It is even accepted by them that Sri Aurobindo's leaving His body was to hasten the realisation in them and upon earth...

My understanding is that the motivating force behind this vociferous attack by the devotees is that "If one is among the disciples, the seekers of this Truth, one has to take sides for the Truth, to stand against the forces that attack it and seek to stifle it." It has nothing to do with PH personally. He happens to be the mouthpiece. But I have to agree with you if you said that it has taken an ugly turn and there is a lot of vitriol (Collateral damage!). Another humble reminder of the stuff we are made of. To clarify, I am only pointing out what I believe to be the reason and force behind this attack and not that this is my whole hearted position and that I agree with them.

Question naturally arises whether PH's bio is hostile to the Truth and an attack "of a subtler kind". If the premise is that PH's bio is hostile, then the action of the devotees - sans the ugly vitriol and personal attacks etc - is seen in a different light and even quite in keeping with their Master's injunction. In any case one can empathise with their position. As far as whether PH's bio is hostile or a compromise with the truth or a partial witholding of it is surely debatable and we are all entitled to our opinions. You might want to know mine because that would also answer in some way your question of my lack of response to attacks on the contents of his book. First there was the sheer lack of time and interest and was reading only very of them. But as I happened to read some excerpts from the book I will admit to becoming a little uncomfortable with the contents to say the least. My next post will address that because this one has already become too long.

"Finally the suggestion is left that somehow either you, Rakesh or the others in the Ashram have more devotion to Sri Aurobindo than do I." Good heavens. All I can say is I dont know this invisible messenger who whispered in your ear the same. Clearly no way did I assume to adjudicate that Rakesh or I or others in the Ashram have more devotion than you do. I will say this though now that you have raised this subject. Devotion is something that flows and takes delight in itself and can very exist without feeling the need to state its credentials "for the record".

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Vikas on Fri 26 Sep 2008 04:31 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

To conclude the previous post. Firstly the fact that Sri Aurobindo clearly stated that it is a cardinal error in the “modern insistence on the biographical and historical, that is to say, the external factuality of the Avatar, the incidents of his outward life” does not help PH. From the excerpts that have been reproduced here, I believe some parts of his biography lends itself to misinterpretations and can even be construed as compromising the truth. I can understand that that may have not been PH’s intent. I am citing only one instance to illustrate why I feel uncomfortable. Take for instance PH’s take on the Cripps’ proposal...

I do feel here an evasion of the Truth “of a subtler kind” to use Sri Aurobindo’s words. In any case if not an evasion atleast a withholding of the Truth. I do take both Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s statements as the truth here. Mind you I am NOT implying intent and that PH did this intentionally. Often we are unconscious of the forces that move us. There are others instances in PH’s biography reproduced in this blog that I similiarly found treading a thin line...

My arriving at this conclusion is not just through the rational process and contents as stated above but just an inner queasy feeling in the solar plexus upon reading many such excerpts. Ofcourse this is subjective and I could be wrong but not anymore than you could be. That is in my opinion not decided by a debate. [7:34 AM 8:19 AM 11:59 AM 8:05 AM 7:55 AM 7:46 AM 7:26 AM 11:39 AM 10:15 AM 7:31 AM 12:27 PM 4:53 AM 11:40 AM]

I have come to learn of an entire Karl Rovian like whisper campaign begun in Pondicherry intent on smearing the reputation of Mr. Heehs

Re: Respect for spiritual master from Srimad Bhagavatam
by Rich on Fri 26 Sep 2008 Profile Permanent Link

Rakesh, With all due respect, I've been reading Shrimad Bhagavatam for 30 years, I am not sure how old you were at that time when I first encountered it but I am very familiar with its position on what you refer to in your post Additionally I have gone out of my way in my posting to state clear without doubt that in the Indian Spiritual Tradition worship of the Guru is entirely proper. Please go back and reread them if you have missed that one. What you seem not to understand is that my references to guru worship concern a discipline in which the founders claimed not to be a religion. My friend as you know Hinduism is a religion so to adopt its practices of guru worship I find a contradiction.

You can disagree with me but again as I have just responded to Vikas I feel it inappropriate just because we may disagree in our interpretations that you make the suggestion that somehow you are more devoted to Sri Aurobindo than I am. And I in fact find I this assertion itself betrays a rather arrogant attitude. In fact we have never spoke personally, nor do you know my intentions as I post from my yoga of deconstruction. In fact for the record my appreciation of Sri Aurobindo whose texts have been my main source of inspiration for over 25 years has only increased as he has become more humanized. If that offends you I apologize but please dont assume that you value Sri Aurobindo and more as a spiritual teacher than I do myself

Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Rich on Fri 26 Sep 2008 Profile Permanent Link

Vikas, Lets see Jyotirmaya Sharma author of Hindutva who I thought wrote a particularly pernicious book accusing Sri Aurobindo (from a leftist perspective) of being a father of Hindu intolerance, in this forum called me a Texas millennial fanatic but I think I like ego-ridden mind with an arrogant and show-off attitude better. Therefore It will perhaps be easiest for those who think I am in any way blaspheming the the founder of IY to just chalk it up to my insanity or megalomania, simply to change the channel and move on. However, to suggest someone's writing appears to be the ravings of an egomanic and then add but I know you are not one, is the same rhetorical tactic as saying oh so I see you dont beat your wife. Even in its denial it already plants the suggestion that something is very wrong.

Whatever my posting my critiques are aimed at institutions, organizations or ideas not ad hominem attacks on people characters. The response to the person who you claimed I was disrespectful to did not attack him personally but rather his idea that before one can work in the Archives one would have to take out a million dollar bond and have to pay up if they every wrote anything with a copyright or could not demonstrate their utter selflessness was to my critical intelligence so bizarre to deserve an ironical response. I find my ironic response neither offensive, in bad taste, derogatory or insensitive, especially in light of the fact that this gentleman and the person who had begun the whole conversation on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo were engaged in a series of increasingly offensive, derogatory attacks against Peter Heehs. Attacks which violated the guidelines of this forum. (And let it be clear it was the poster himself who upon self-reflection pulled the post down, no one else) In fact I have come to learn of an entire Karl Rovian like whisper campaign begun in Pondicherry intent on smearing the reputation of Mr. Heehs. One luminary even refers to him as a “madman”

Vikas I have not seen any posting from yourself that condemn these tasteless remarks directed at Mr. Heehs or do they fit your ABC definition of spirituality? So even if we disagree about matters concerning to Sri Aurobindo, I suggest they be done by debating the ideas in question and leave the personal attacks out of it. In fact if there is such a huff about Peters book rather than be part of conspiracies to have him ejected from the Ashram, and in these conspiracies refer to him a madman, or a charlatan, before descending to the infra-rational why dont everyone like "reasonable folks" (and I know many in the IY disparge reason) who live in a democracy which promotes freedom of expression (all values that by the way Sri Aurobindo championed) just schedule a series of debates or open forums that can open a dialog of the matters which are controversial I would suggest it best be done in at some neutral place like a Centre here, but would open this forum to such honest debates which dont resort to hurling invectives.

Finally the suggestion is left that somehow either you, Rakesh or the others in the Ashram have more devotion to Sri Aurobindo than do I. I in fact find this itself betrays a rather arrogant attitude. In fact we have never spoke, you dont know me, you know nothing of my eternal gratitude to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for positively changing my life. Therefore you know nothing of my intentions as I post from the yoga of deconstruction. In fact for the record my appreciation of Sri Aurobindo whose texts have been my main source of inspiration for over 25 years has only increased as he has become more humanized.

You may disagree with my approach but it is just that two people disagreeing. In the history of any Religion or Spiritual movement becomes overtime inevitably polarized between orthodox and liberal interpretations, this is fact is the crux of this whole conversation and the controversy surrounding the Heehs text. It was my understanding of the meaning of term "Integral" in IY as widening the perspectives of those who follow it to be able to hold contrary positions and work with them. Unfortunately the current heated polarized debate on the matter of Sri Aurobindo's biography speaks to the contrary. Rich

I have no problem with people operating on the premise that Sri Aurobindo was human

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Deshpande's post inflammatory and his invectives offensive

Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—Questions for Mr Objective
by Rich on Wed 24 Sep 2008 04:38 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I take no offense. I speak only for myself. But as a founding editor SCIY I dont have to wait for readers to equal things out. Voicing ones strong opinions or distaste for a perspective is one thing, incessantly attacking a particular individual simply because you dont agree with them is another It does not matter if the individual who was being attacked was Yourself, Deshpande, or Peter Heehs, I would react in kind. This type of behavior is simply inappropriate. (esp. on a forum that purports to address issues concerning integral yoga) Everyone is free to contribute here as they wish, but I draw the line on post which start to approach hate speech, especially those elements of it which are based on serious mis-characterizations of text. (which can be demonstrated)...

Deshpande's post on this subject have progressively become more inflammatory as time passes and his invectives casts at the author of the work in question are now becoming offensive, since they are directed at a specific individual in an inappropriate manner. He, yourself or anyone else may voice contrary opinions to anything on SCIY but please do so in a way that does not become grossly dis-respectful to any particular person. Thank You Rich Reply

Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—One way out
by Debashish on Wed 24 Sep 2008 01:50 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I have no wish to advise on quitting etc. but I do feel that the postings on this topic have been incendiary, lopsided and misleading... Once the intent of the work is lost sight of, misreadings are bound to occur and this is what I believe has happened in this case. However, the tenor of the postings has left little room for discussion, since the assumptions made have been pressed without any openness to the possibility of other interpretations...

Here I put down the complete quote. I do hope that after reading this, the intent of the author will be more clear and we can put a stop to this barrage of emotional incitement: Science, Culture and Integral Yoga 7:26 AM

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Peter Heehs seems to be a split personality who is a devotee and an enemy at the same time

Re: The Lives of Sri AurobindoA Letter from a Professor
by RY Deshpande on Tue 23 Sep 2008 04:30 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I, on my first visit to Sri Aurobindo Ashram in early nineties, was impressed by a rule on the notice board which read, if you do not have anything good to say about a fellow Ashramite, the least you could do is to keep silent. That would be a service to the divine.

Criticism is the autobiography of a critic; Oscar Wilde wrote somewhere. Evolved beings, who experience Divine, write hagiography; the beings of night can muster their own darkness only. The writing reflects the inner nature, dispensation and consciousness of the writer. An event rewritten by Peter Heehs out of the book of AB Purani, illustrates this difference. The original source creates a feeling of divinity and reverence, while the retelling of the same event by Peter Heehs gives a sense of degradation to the reader. In one, you experience the meaning of divine surrender, the other is mawkish. Great beings can only see greatness in others.

I felt shocked to see the excerpts from a book by an Ashramite, by implication a follower of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. In navadhā bhakti, hatred for the divine is also a means for salvation. But the hatred of Peter Heehs for The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Aurobindo in his language, has no such thought in it. PH seems to be a split personality who is a devotee and an enemy at the same time. He could be many more things...

Is it for the Ashramites to compare their Master and objectively evaluate Sri Aurobindo and the Mothers in the light of the statements of a few unsympathetic outsiders? What signal will it send to the outsiders? It will only give them a wrong feeling that the things here are murky from the beginning to end. The message that this Ashram was started by psychopaths who claimed mystical experiences, will diminish the respect for the Ashram and Ashramites in public eye. History, psychology, philosophy, spirituality are the subjects which are read and understood by lay people with the ease of a specialist.

PH has only studied the Appearance and not the Reality. Despite his claim of objectivity, he has no method at hand. Therefore his study of appearances could prove to be a damaging influence on serious academicians, it may permanently bias them. It is only an attempt to pull down and humanise suprahuman lives. It is easy to describe one’s surface life and misinterpret it. That was why Sri Aurobindo had warned about the attempts to write his biography. He lived beyond appearances.

I feel that the people working in the Archives should sign a legal bond for a million dollars to the effect that they will never publish a book on their name or any other name. They will do the job as selfless sadhana. Only those with such purity and dedication should be allowed in the portals of the Archives.

PH in his ambition to win some award had earlier belittled the role of Sri Aurobindo in India’s freedom struggle. He won that award. I fear still worse from him. Why did he not publish his work in India? Because he leads a double life: one, as a sadhak of integral yoga to gain access to materials in the Archives, and the other as an ambitious worldly man to earn fame and money.

The book has demolished the divine persona of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and all what they stood for. I am certain that PH has written his book with full preparation to bid farewell to the Ashram and gather fame and money outside. He should be allowed that.

Sirs, kindly consult all the senior sadhaks who have abundant goodwill and remain in touch with The Mother and Sri Aurobindo about this matter.

Anand Kumar MD, All India Institute of Medical Sciences

***

Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—Questions for Mr Objective
by RY Deshpande on Tue 23 Sep 2008 08:25 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link Some Questions for Mr. Objective from a Friend

The author’s claim to ‘objectivity’ is not only invalid, it again carries an under-current which means; ‘the other biographies have been more of a sentimental devotee type’. Apart from this logic denigrating some well-known biographers whose sincerity cannot be questioned, this statement implies two things:

First, the devotee biographers simply exaggerate certain qualities which are not really there. Now, our Mr. Objective will show us through his objectifying lens how they are wrong, that Sri Aurobindo is really not as great (read as divine) as they make him to be. It also implies by default that his words do not necessarily carry the same absolute authority as it did, that he can be flawed, mistaken and err as most of us human beings do! Well, this strikes the very foundation of yogic life wherein a disciple is supposed to have an implicit trust in the Guru’s words. But our Mr. Objective does not feel comfortable with it.

So he must measure the Master’s stature with his scale and rod with exactness and thoroughness of a tailor and re-stitch his attire for us to see. He must tell us his true size and stature which is less than what the devotee ignorantly believes! Second, what is meant by the word ‘objective’ here,—studying ‘dispassionately’, ‘without any preconceived ideas/beliefs etc’, ‘as someone who studies from outside as one studies an object!’

In any case, it means taking into note and highlighting the most objectively verifiable details. The rest is left to the readers to conclude, whether things like self-realisation, Supermind, etc ‘claimed’ by Sri Aurobindo are true or delusive. He almost stops short of suggesting that they could be considered ‘schizophrenic’ by some.

Who are these some, one may ask? It means focusing much more on the external outer life rather than inner. It means seeing the Illimitable with the small physical mind rather than with the psychic feeling and vision. Here too, our Mr. Objective is quite selective. He seems to be much more interested in producing stray letters, diary notes, some odd comments and questionable observations or reports as ‘objective facts’ and lays much less stress on the much more obvious and glaring facts of the massive correspondence, Savitri, The Life Divine and many many other things. And how about the countless devotees and their testimonies,—blind faith, superstition, sentimentality,—or the historians willful blindness? Is it simply a case of ignorance or a deliberate mischief to underplay few things and insert certain footnotes that would colour the perceptions and give a different hew and taste to the whole thing.

Such a misrepresentation of truth taken out of context or half-quoted and misplaced is one of the standard strategies of the asura in man who falsifies things very subtly and craftily. It is also interesting that this man had already written a brief biography of Sri Aurobindo which did raise a few eyebrows… So, should we wait for a third, even more ‘objective’ biography micro-analyzing (read psychoanalyzing) Sri Aurobindo? AP

There is revolt within the Trust, trustees are divided

nandhi varman has left a new comment on your post "I wholeheartedly support the book: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo":

There is revolt within the Trust, trustees are divided, managing trustee supporting Mr. Peter, others opposing him. Mr. Peter had been expelled by a resolution passed in the Trust board on Monday 22nd September 2008. The Managing Trustee Manoj DasGupta is unaware of this expulsion, or became deaf, dumb, and blind on seeing all other trustees opposing him, having lost majority he should step down but he is shameless, and will stick to office even if he is 99 years old. Posted by nandhi varman to Savitri Era at 5:17 AM, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Indian Sri Aurobindo learnt Indian spirituality much later after being ‘an accomplished westerner’ first

Comment by Debabrata Ghosh on September 21, 2008 ASPIRATION

  • Firstly, none can deny the sufferings and impermanence of this worldly life.
  • Secondly, the bliss and peace of spiritual consciousness attained by yogis and seekers were far superior to the normal and ordinary consciousness of life.

The height of consciousness as evident in the saints, yogis and other extraordinary spiritual persons viz. Christ, Chaitanyadeva, Buddha, Shankaracharya, Sri Ramakrishna was so dazzling, overpowering and enlightening that it was enough for an emphatic assertion of the truth they held and pursued as valid and the consequent conclusion in regard to the falsity of worldly existence. The elites of Indian mind could naturally find no reason to counter this world-shunning attitude and philosophy. It was to be a very natural conclusion that if one was to believe in the existence of God worth his status the world could not have been a reality in his creations. Otherwise the only way to accept life or to accommodate into it lied in material atheism.

The very essence of Indian psyche unlike the Western is spiritual. So a sense of other-worldliness turned to be the natural climate of Indian mind after the most outstanding and brilliant spiritual personalities –Gautama Buddha and Shankaracharya. Actually Buddhism was supplanted by Shankara’s Adwaitaism in India. The very element of ‘doubt’ that goes natural with the Western materialist’s seeking could not get sustenance in the spiritual Indian mind. It was ‘faith’, spontaneous natural faith that determined the life-movements of India. For this no question was prominently possible to counter Mayavada. So ‘the refusal of the ascetic’ had a very natural way in the Indian situation. It was strongly rooted in the Indian psyche. It would not have been possible in the West where spirituality was not the staple food of life what it was in India. It seems to be a very complicated psychological situation and its phenomenon if we compare the two collective groups-Oriental (especially Indian) and Occidental.

When I ponder over the matter personally I think that there was no way out to break this mindset of India. India was what she had to be under the tremendous spiritual influence of Shankaracharya and Buddha. So to pull up India from this Pacific depth of negative spirituality –one required to be rich with all the riches of western culture. Indian Sri Aurobindo learnt Indian spirituality much later after being ‘an accomplished westerner’ first. So the Providence dropped him as a powerful question mark against the three thousand year-old asceticism of India. There seemed to be no way out to convince with another thought –no key could be made available to decode a knowledge otherwise to awaken man to a new spiritual truth- than to express the truth carried in the words of Sri Aurobindo –when he uttered ‘Man is a transitional being’.

This line is the solace to all those who urgently need to be rescued from degeneration and confusion. This historic pronouncement of Sri Aurobindo helped Satprem with the light he was distressingly in need of. It became his life’s turning point. Satprem was the disgusted face of western materialism. He like an Indian also needed to be convinced of a logical course of life’s ultimate destination. In India we needed Sri Aurobindo in order to turn the inherent spiritual inclination towards its proper destination; and in the case of western Satprem, he needed the rational justification of considering life only in terms of spiritual truth. Man had no destination for his life in this world before Sri Aurobindo showed or discovered it.

Man’s existence was precariously hanging in confusing uncertainty. Neither the spiritual Mayavadins nor the materialists were able to secure a place in this universe for man with a dignified face. Sri Aurobindo on behalf of whole humanity declared that man is not finished or depleted in his manhood. He reminded us citing the words of ancient Indian spiritual wisdom that all this is Brahman and that indwelling Brahman in man is a traveller through life. Man is a traveller and he is travelling through evolution. Life in man has yet to attain the status of the divinity already in him and in his journey. Man is not in the last rung of the evolutionary ladder. And for the fulfilment of his life and progressive journey this world –this very earth has been created. Every grain of sand is true as true is the Brahman. Thus Sri Aurobindo came to return to man his cup of divine nectar of immortality and saved him his forgotten glory.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Criminals, habitual offenders and perverts like Peter Heehs have hijacked the Ashram

from PP Raghavachary <raag62@gmail.com> to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" <tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com> date 21 September 2008 21:55 subject Re: Protests against Peter Heehs

Dear Mohapatra,

As I wrote to you that nothing of what we are writing could be termed as confidential, you are at liberty to market it, to put it in your own words.

It is a universally known fact that the Trustees are spineless and only because of their lack of courage, will and guru bhakti that several elements, criminals, habitual offenders and perverts like Peter Heehs have hijacked the Ashram to what it is now from what it was during Mother's time.

The way you support Heehs sounds like you are seriously contesting for a complimentary copy from Heehs with those conflating all allegations, settling scores and for being miffed for not receiving a complimentary copy!

Thanks & regards, PP Raghavachary

***[Spice need not be mistaken for spite] ***

from PP Raghavachary <raag62@gmail.com> to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" <tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com> date21 September 2008 13:10 subject Re: Protests against Peter Heehs

Dear Mohapatra,

1) If one leaves his intellect for a moment and follows the spirit within then and then alone it reveals to oneself that there can not be any severe crime than doing "Gurudroha" and once it is convinced it does not require so much procedural and legal hurdles hang the guilty. Such a drohi is already dead at a spiritual level and it is only to prevent him from doing any furhter harm at other levels that such an excercise of following the procedures are required.

2) Ashram is not a cocoon to take shelter in its narrow meaning, its dimensions are eternal and all who are within the eternity do have locus standii to question something that is happening, if in the process, it sounds marketing for others one cannot help than doing his eternal dharma.

3) There were no confidential correspondences either on Savitri or on Peter's perverse activity but on the other hand these letters were openly and freely distributed and the hue and cry was within the reach of all.

I think I have said enough. with love, PP Raghavachary

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Its questioning spirit, its search for truth leads it beyond its own capabilities

Gagdad Bob said... 9/20/2008 11:59:00 AM Yes, Aurobindo would say -- according to wiki -- that

“the individualistic age of human society comes as a result of the corruption and failure of the conventional, as a revolt against the reign of the petrified typal figure.” He illustrates the occurrence of this stage in Europe beginning with its revolt of reason against the Church and fixed authority and its continuation and blossoming with the growth of scientific inquiry. Through science, a new basis of principles and laws could be discovered and established that were open to scrutiny and logical analysis and reasoning. There were also established the democratic ideals that all individuals had the right to develop to the full stature of their capabilities, and that the individual was not simply a social unit with a social function, but also had unique individual needs, possibilities, and tendencies which should be allowed freedom and opportunity for development. As a part of the revolt against traditional authority, there developed in some regions another intellectual philosophy and political movement, apparently in contradiction to individualism, of the supremacy of the society as a whole over the individual. Sri Aurobindo also analyses the strengths and limitations of this viewpoint, and its relations and opposition to the democratic ideal."

Gagdad Bob said... 9/20/2008 12:01:00 PM BUT:

"The individualistic age culminates in a new intellectual foundation and development in all the spheres of life, but this rational view of the world and the self can only go so far, it cannot reach into the depths of the being. Nevertheless, its questioning spirit, its search for truth leads it beyond its own capabilities, leads it to search for a deeper foundation and a more complete understanding of the mysteries and subtleties of self and world. The subjective age begins when society begins to search for the deeper truths of its existence below the surfaces which the reason has explored and explained in an ordered, but limited sense."

julie said... 9/20/2008 12:19:00 PM

Yep, I definitely have to agree with Aurobindo, then. Especially given that, in a society such as Perry idealizes, I probably literally could not exist. That's one of those sticking points where people who rail against the fruits of modern Western (and specifically American) culture tend to lose me. You just can't make me believe that all the things which led to me and millions of other impossible (at any other time and place in the entire history of mankind) Americans being conceived and surviving to a healthy adulthood (there to become extreme seekers after Truth, Beauty and Goodness in an equally impossible manner) are intrinsically wrong.

Biased train of conversation which denounces the integrity of a fine critical biography

Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—a Controversial Biography by Peter Heehs
by Rich on Sat 20 Sep 2008 05:25 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

As always context makes a big difference because...there is no contradiction in worshiping the guru if you locate yourself in a religious tradition like Hinduism as then one simply is adhering to its practices. But claiming to renounce religion yet keeping its embers burning in the form of avatar worship is simply a contradiction... Although no one is saying its invalid within the context of its tradition to perform guru worshing, something else is troubling in Sri Aurobindo's defense here.

Because one notorious way to avoid or deflect criticism of those who disagree with you is simply by hurling invectives at the dissenters that label them in terms of ones own self-constructed categories (e.g people living in the mental or vital mind). It is no different than Ken Wilber avoiding his critics by labeling them: Green!

This method of discouraging disagreement is simply toxic to examining any truth claims and its quite a common practice among Aurobindo's followers. The inscrutable religion of Aurobindoism is certainly witnessed in this biased train of conversation which denounces the integrity of a fine critical biography in favor of treating the subject as if he were so holy as to be above any critical inquiry whatsoever. One only makes such arrogant claims of privilege for a God,.... rc

***

Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—Objectivity Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by RY Deshpande on Sat 20 Sep 2008 02:11 AM PDT
Profile Permanent Link
Apropos of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and the critical approach adopted by its author, here are some comments from a friend of mine who is a Professor of English and an author of internationally published books. These observations of his are very valid and I thought it appropriate to include them as a part of our discussion. I’m thankful to him for sending these to me and allowing me to put them at the sciy-article of mine. ~ RYD

Critical Method Mr. Heehs's reading of the narrative of Sri Aurobindo is in keeping with a currently accepted practice of reading against the grain. Fair enough! However, his claim of an overriding “objectivity” must also be seen carefully against the prevalent view on the subject. The very choice of a subject of research, for instance, the selection and arrangement of “facts” and “evidence”, all come invariably through the prism of the subjective self of a researcher. Words and comments themselves, including those used by Heehs in his latest book, are not value neutral. The decision to rely on one set of evidence to form one's judgement rather than on some other, is also a deeply subjective act. Rather than claiming the high-moral ground of objectivity, the current practice, especially in the post-colonial context, is to be upfront about one's approach and unpack one's ideological predilections in a self reflexive manner at the outset for the reader to see. This is absent in Peter Heehs's biography of Sri Aurobindo, although he seems to indicate some of his preferences now and then. On the whole, however, one finds that evidence is not offered in a neutral a manner for the readers to judge. Quite the contrary, Mr. Heehs interprets events quite constantly while claiming objectivity. Clearly; he cannot have it both ways.

As a counterpoint, one can see the interesting and insightful manner spirituality, ethics and politics intersect in Chicago-based, post-colonial critic Leela Gandhi's fine and nuanced study of colonialism and the politics of friendship in her path-breaking work: Anti-Colonial Thought: Affective Communities and Politics of Friendship, Duke University, 2006; Permanent Black, 2006. We may contrast this study, part of which deals with the creative encounter between Mirra Alfassa (the Mother) and Sri Aurobindo, with the somewhat prurient account offered by Heehs (pp. 326-327) and come to our own conclusions.

Textual Traditions Every genre (and the biographical mode is one such) must deal with the textual tradition of a given work. And thus, in dealing with a biography of a primarily spiritual figure such as Sri Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi or Sri Aurobindo, one can legitimately use approaches and modes of analysis that are innate and integral to that particular genre. This by itself does not turn the work in question automatically into a hagiographic account. For instance, the distinction between faith and dogma, religion and spirituality that Sri Aurobindo makes in his world view is fundamental to understanding his oeuvres. Peter is thus far off the mark when he asserts as a generalization, “matters of faith quickly become matters of dogma” in deciding about the entire question of Avatarhood. As a general proposition, this seems to be valid, although, in the Aurobindonian context, the distinction is of vital importance. Sri Aurobindo, it must be noted, devotes considerable space in his writings to explain the centrality of faith as distinguished from regression and obscurantism. We may see the truth of this aspect in his essay “True and False Subjectivism” in The Human Cycle. Peter adduces no convincing reasons for dismissing alternative approaches to what is generally considered a purely “secular” or non-hagiographic reading. For instance, there could well be a non-secular and non-hagiographic reading of a spiritual figure. Why are we ruling these out?

Absolute Freedom of a Writer Clearly, this is a myth. While book banning and book burning are abhorrent acts and are counterproductive, every author/editor, it is well known, is bound by trade disciplines, contractual agreements and obligations and copyright regulations. Further, a writer writes in a cultural and political context. His/her affiliations to communities and organizations are often cited as “authoritative” or “authentic” texts by publishing houses. Peter's affiliation with the Ashram's archive, as evidenced in the jacket covers/back page blurbs of his published books, or fliers/ promotional literature, are cases in point. For the very same reason, sentiments of a given community, whether one likes them or not, are also important factors that authors and publishers must take into account. As an insider, one must write with care and sensitivity, and not in a spirit of disdain and dismissal. As a custodian of Sri Aurobindo archive, one is surely expected to uphold the trust bestowed upon one self by the institution.

The Archival Systems Every archive has documents which are categorized: e.g. as sensitive, very sensitive, with public access, with limited public access, or, occasionally, with no access at all. In the present instance at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, no system seems to be in operation. Mr Peter Heehs seems to have treated the Archival holding as personal property. Was specific permission obtained, for instance, while using Purani's diary notes, to cite one example? Not likely. SM

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It makes no sense for us to be arrogant and reject their guidance

Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—a Controversial Biography by Peter Heehs
by rakesh on Thu 18 Sep 2008 04:12 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Thank you RY for putting everything together. It is easy to be a skeptic and a atheist. It is easy not to believe in God. It needs strength and courage to try to sincerely investigate it. It is childish to go only by the visible. Even a child can say God does not exist because its not visible. If we have the courage then we have to investigate the spiritual practices only then will we be able to appreciate the value of a Guru and his achievement. If we cannot understand the invisible and forces above the mind and senses then spirituality is not the subject we have to comment upon.

A seeker goes from the visible to the invisible on the guidance of the Guru and his experience in those realms. It is foolish not to have faith in one's guru teachings once accepted. Results will come in time till then one has to go by faith in Guru's words. We have to experiment and then verify the spiritual experience and guru words if we have the courage otherwise leave this matter alone for others to deal with. We are here to discover the invisible. Everybody knows about things visible no one needs to remind us about it and its often commonplace jargon.

Reply by RY Deshpande on Thu 18 Sep 2008 05:13 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Thanks Rakesh for your encouraging response. The failure of the rational mind to understand spirituality is patently known, nor should spirituality be imposed upon it. If it opens to it, it can be a wonderful instrument of expression and can attain great intuitive heights. The visible is such a small part of the whole thing that it looks almost insignificant and trivial in comparison with the possibilities of the spirit. The strange belief in the minds of these rational people is, only those who have no brains or intellect go to gurus! Isn’t that funny and queer? We are told to go by the visible works of Sri Aurobindo, but even of that how much do we really understand and grasp, and how much of it we implement in life? Very little. ~ RYD

Reply by ned on Thu 18 Sep 2008 06:36 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Regarding this quote: "it is a contradiction (not simply a paradox) to hold on to the forms and ceremonies of past ages that externalizes the Guru for adoration"

But (I can't remember the exact quote, will have to dig it out) Sri Aurobindo said that the guruvada is a valid tradition which only people living in the mental or vital mind reject. We have to understand that compared to sages like Sri Aurobindo the vast majority of us are the equivalent of kindergarteners and it makes no sense for us to be arrogant and reject their guidance just as it makes no sense for kindergarteners to question the findings of philosophy and science until they have reached a certain level of maturity. Of course plenty of gurus are charlatans, and one ought to have the good sense to test the guru before surrendering to him or her.

Reply by RY Deshpande on Fri 19 Sep 2008 05:17 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Thanks Ned. Very perceptive observation. I'm glad you brought the topic of Guruvad here. Sri Aurobindo has written to Dilip Roy extensively about it and I shall be shortly putting those extracts to begin a new and fruitful thread. Respect to Gurus or spiritual teachers is a valid tradition not only in India but through the entire spiritual history and has a deep occult connotation. We have in any number of Upanishads the disciples approaching the Rishi in great reverence. In fact the very word 'Upanishad' conveys also the sense of at the feet of the seer-teacher. RYD

Reply Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo--About Guruvada by RY Deshpande on Fri 19 Sep 2008 07:17 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
[In response to Ned’s significant mention of Guruvada and related matters, here are some letters from Sri Aurobindo addressed essentially to Dilip Kumar Roy; these are taken from Letters on Yoga. ~ RYD]

Friday, September 19, 2008

Communists and some Western people (Catholic or non-Catholic) carry a grudge for Sri Aurobindo

Where the author is commissioned to write what the publisher wants him to write
The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—a Controversial Biography by Peter Heehs by
RY Deshpande on Wed 17 Sep 2008 09:37 AM PDT Permanent Link 11:40 AM 1 comments: Anonymous said...

Peter Heehs is himself a riddle. One wonders what is it that inspires him to write about Sri Aurobindo (not Aurobindo-as Sri Aurobindo himself signed his name with a prefix-'Sri')? He seems to be interested only to discard those who regard Sri Aurobindo as an Avatar. What about Peter's opinion on the content carried in the book -"Life Divine"?

None insists him to accept Sri Aurobindo as an Avatar-including Sri Aurobindo himself-as Peter himself stated. Peter does not have any idea about Avatar-hood as it's believed in India. Even the most eminent Indians of the Twentieth Century did not understand it.

From my experience I have found that the Communists and some Western people(Catholic or non-Catholic) carry a grudge for Sri Aurobindo. But Why? These persons do not care to write volumes on Rajneesh or Sai Baba of Putraparti or even on Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. They are this or that way related to matters spiritual in India. I think it's because -Sri Aurobindo was a born futurist and he belongs to future. And for that matter -many elites who become disillusioned with everything of what life as expressed through the Homo Sapien-species -are drawn to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. So those who are rooted in the vested interest of the conventional LIFE -appear as die-hard enemies of Sri Aurobindo.

Peter does not know that his and for that matter the yardsticks (for Hagiography or research) of the materialist's mind is useless to understand a life and its mission which was nothing but spiritual.

Leave Sri Aurobindo. What does Peter think of Sri Ramakrishna and his contribution in spirituality? Sri Ramakrishna did not write anything himself on any matter. And he never felt it necessary to write about the materialist's confusions as well as spiritualist’s misconception. Then why not are these people are interested in villifying Sri Ramakrishna? The so called intellectuals like Peter Heehs are never comfortable with Sri Aurobindo as he made himself concerned with every aspect of Life.

Moreover -the Catholic Christians and the atheists always turn to abuse Sri Aurobindo in explicit or subtle ways. Peter Heehs falls in the latter category. Why not does Mr Heehs write about the religious fundamentalists-Hindus, Muslims and Christians?

I can not expect Peter Heehs is capable of understanding Indian spiritual matters-leave alone Sri Aurobindo-but I hope that he will not mention the name of Sri Aurobindo without the prefix 'Sri'. I'm not ritualistic about it -nor I'm a religionist with Sri Aurobindo but I love and believe in giving respect to call the spiritual personalities as they wanted it in their lifetime-especially Sri Aurobindo who was very specific about it. 3:48 PM, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The devotees of Ashram have the inborn right to know what happens in the management

nandivarman.rediffiland.com/ Thursday 18 September, 2008 Write to Nandhi Varman
INNER DEMOCRACY IN ASHRAM
AUROBINDO ASHRAM INTERNAL AFFAIRS

[Tusar Mohapatra of Savitri Era Party had publicly acknowledged our efforts in generating awareness about the internal and external affairs of Aurobindo Ashram Trust. As Indian people have the right to information under the Act, the devotees of Ashram have the inborn right to know what happens in the management. It is essential that transparency is promoted in democracy.

In view of the praise showered on us that there are 2 Archives, one of the Ashram and other of ours, we have started to make public all relevent materials passed on to us by devotees, and had requested us to ensure proper democracy with accountability is established in the institution, which they hold in high esteem. The democrat in us made us share the Minutes of the Ashram. The beginning is made today ...... Nandhivarman, the atheist politician]

Meeting held on 10.08.98

Present: Trustees: Harikant-bhai, Manoj, Albert, Vedaprakash, Dilip Others: Dipak, Puru, Matriprasad Dilip informed the Trustees that Mr. Bijoy Mohanty, a well-known advocate has given an opinion regarding Trust matters. He also informed the Trustees that in due course he would communicate to the Trustees the contents of Mr. Bijoy Mohanty’s opinion. Matters relating to the administration of School for Perfect Eye Sight were discussed. Dilip stressed that we should appoint a qualified doctor to oversee the functioning of this department. It was decided that Dilip would explore the possibility of asking Dr. Pani to assume this responsibility. Dipak was asked to give his report on the state of affairs at Navajyoti...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Auroville offers a new definition of self, society and spirituality in a globalized, market-driven world

Auroville: towards a spiritualized society based on integral yoga
Bindu Mohanty — Auroville

The paper seeks to present preliminary findings from a qualitative research project –an interpretive inquiry--that explores how spiritual ideals held by individuals inform the social psychology of Auroville. Based on the spiritual vision of the sage-philosopher, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), Auroville, located in Tamil Nadu, is a growing international town of 1,800 people from over forty countries.

Founded in 1968 by Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator, the Mother (1878-1973), Auroville seeks to aid the spiritual evolution of the earth by manifesting a spiritualized society. Described both as a place for Karma yoga and Integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo, Auroville stands as a remarkable urban experiment that aims to bring about human unity. Its relevance accrues from the fact that Auroville offers a new definition of self, society and spirituality in a globalized, market-driven world that increasingly faces religious turmoil and alienation of the individual self from the society.

This work is a pioneering research project because, as of yet, there is scant qualitative research into the social psychology of spiritual communities. The paper also examines the inadequacy of Western paradigms of social psychology in understanding Auroville. Data collection comprised participant observation of the daily life of the community especially focusing on community meetings, informal conversations, formal recorded interviews, a community survey, and the collection and analysis of written documents such as the community journals. Data analysis was carried out through an open-coding process with the help of the software program, Hyperresarch 2.8. The study examines: the dialectic between the individual and society, particularly in the context of self-identity and social solidarity; lists the inspirations and challenges that individuals face; and points at prevalent shadow issues.

The findings from the study are placed in the context of Sri Aurobindo’s vision of a gnostic or spiritualized society and his and the Mother’s description of the collective dimension of Integral Yoga. Integral Yoga, synthesizing modern evolutionary perspectives with the ancient wisdom of Indian psychology and philosophy, delineates the farther reaches of human nature and society. Auroville is viewed as a practical application and experiment of Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s vision.

Email the author, Ms. Bindu Mohanty, at bindumohanty@yahoo.co.in This paper was presented at theNational Seminar on Indian Psychology: Theories and Models,Bangalore, 26-28 December 2007,which was organised jointly by SVYASA and the ICPR. INDIAN PSYCHOLOGY INSTITUTE home themes authors research integral yoga by the way events inspirations links September 3, 2008 Institute Event: Dissertation Defense by Bindu Mohanty, East West Psychology Department, “Spiritual Ideals and Social Psychology of Auroville: An Interpretive Inquiry,” 3:00 PM-5:00 PM, CIIS Main Building, Room 425; for more information, lsowunmi@ciis.edu California Institute of Integral Studies

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Extremely private, confidential and sensitive material is at his disposal long before others

The Role of Peter Heehs in the Archives??
Sri Aurobindo , Once wrote, while discouraging someone from writing his biography, that he did not want to be murdered in cold print by his disciples. That is exactly what has happened, under the lofty banner of ?Objectivity and Realism???
For a long time, it has been known, to the Archives members at least, that Peter?s attitude to Mother and Sri Aurobindo is at best dubious and very ambiguous. He has on many occasions expressed himself as not being a devotee. In fact he frankly and freely takes pride in his attitude of objectivity towards Sri Aurobindo. For the Mother, his attitude could be described as a shade of suppressed hostility. He has often enough denigrated the devotional attitude of Indians towards Mother and? Sri Aurobindo. At best , for him, they are remarkable human beings: no question of divinity, which is an immature, irrational attitude.
Now he has crossed all limits. His latest book, ?The Lives of Sri Aurobindo? has angered, outraged and revolted most ashramites who have had occasion to read the article in ?Auroville Today?. His book has been released in USA and is not available in India.
The absolute contradiction of calling himself ?a practitioner of the Integral Yoga? and? yet seeing nothing wrong in denigrating? his own gurus, is blatantly apparent to all, provided he agrees to be called a devotee!!!. Is it possible to be a practitioner of the Integral Yoga and yet not accept Sri Aurobindo as a guru?
Peter has been using all the materials and facilities (documents, originals, computers, Zerox, email and even the labour of the sadhaks working there) for his personal work. And all this for selfish, commercial use.? While the work of the COLLECTED WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO, lies languishing for more than a decade, he is occupying himself with writing articles and books, going to conferences and holidays and the work of CWSA is likely to spill over to anything from five to ten years more. Those who have paid the full amount more than a decade ago, are waiting and complaining but it makes not the slightest difference to Peter, who glibly justifies the delay in a most cavalier fashion.
Although we have not yet read the book, the article and the review in ?Auroville Today? is enough to create the impression among the general public that the Ashram is encouraging, or at least permitting one of its own departments to denigrate, criticize and drag down Mother and Sri Aurobindo, not merely to an ordinary human level, but even below that!!!?? ?
We feel it is our duty to record our protest and strong disapproval, if not our utter disgust, at this development. A department of the Ashram pulling down Mother and Sri Aurobindo to a low level cannot be permitted to do so and immediate action is called for to ensure that such a thing is not possible in the future. It seems that he is already collecting materials on the Mother, for another possible book.
It may be pointed out that his own view of objectivity, broad-mindedness, catholicity, cannot be applicable in this case. An outsider writing ill of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in newspapers, or other magazines can do so and we have the right of reply and rebuttal. But when one of our own members indulges in this sort of calumny (it is nothing short of that!!), the situation is totally different and we can certainly do something about it.
The spiritual life demands complete obedience, surrender and faith in the gurus. It is unthinkable to find fault with them, let alone rush into print about their alleged shortcomings. All pretence of ?wide-mindedness, freedom of speech, catholicity of views? becomes untenable in a spiritual life, where these relatively shallow values of an open society are not applicable.
Extremely private, confidential and sensitive material is at his disposal long before others, even in the Archives, have access to it. And he is using all these letters, diaries of sadhaks for his own personal commercial use. The availability of such sensitive documents to him must be put an end to.
In the life of any great man, let alone an Avatar, there is always something that is mundane, common and down to earth. The value of a life does not lie in these things. Rather one has to focus and see the highest achievements that? have contributed to mankind?s forward march. One does not discuss and emphasise the common elements, even if they are true.
A really perceptive biographer will enter the mansion that is Sri Aurobindo?s life and seek out the highest, open-to-sky terrace from where he can glimpse the infinity of a clear, star-lit firmament! He does not go down to the dirty cellar or look for a blockage in the sewage system so that he can gleefully and perversely report it to the world at large.
In his own words, he takes Sri Aurobindo?s yoga ?quite seriously?, not whole-heartedly or with full faith as any self-styled ?practitioner of the Integral Yoga? should do.
Why is it necessary for him to consider other critics? negative comments about Sri Aurobindo?s poetry? Why is it necessary to speak of the ?delusiveness? of Sri Aurobindo?s spiritual experiences?
Peter says Sri Aurobindo ?passed all (his) tests?. Is this an attitude of a sadhak or of an arrogant authority sitting in judgment over One, whose peon or menial servant Peter could not possibly be?
The repeated use of negative comments by others, clearly establishes his veiled antagonism, which he is passing off as ?objectivity, open-mindedness and catholicity?, which is not going to deceive even a child!!!
Action has become imperative and inaction will prove very costly. ?
???? [6:38 PM 6:48 PM]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We can not seek to change the mind of Sri Mohapatra

Tusar Mohapatra on Aspiration Posted by Debabrata Ghosh on September 9, 2008 at 12:04 pm View Discussions

I was sad to read Sri Tusar Mohapatra's aspersion on Sri Chaki's ideas and norms for and behind creaing a community - Aspiration. You all know it and I think there is nothing wrong in Sri Chaki's idea. But Tusar Mohapatra's slant comment on the preamble of Aspiration shocked me. So I commented on it in Savitri Era. I'm posting here both what Sri Mohapatra wrote and my comment thereon for information of the members of Aspiration and their response...

Sunday, September 07, 2008 Chaki's Monkeys and Cows After long contemplation and due deliberation Barindranath Chaki has come out with his version of Three Monkeys. He proposes a hands off approach as to
Political parties
Religions, and
Ashram or Auroville
It will, however, be interesting to watch how far this Lakshman Rekha is not transgressed either in letter or in spirit, and who would decide where does a comment end and criticism begins. With Ashram and Auroville classified as new Sacred Cows, now every word would be under the scanner, and the hermeneutic exercise it engenders has the prospect of an exciting
slugfest. [TNM] 8:15 AM Permalink

Debabrata Ghosh said... Sri Chaki is the best judge as to how he wants to continue with the community he has created unless his writings and activities do not harm any other communities or persons. I think Sri Aurobindo has left many things behind him to think or ponder over than to see how Sri Chaki likes to lead his life and community with good wishes to all. Devabrata quoted only the writings of Sri Aurobindo in response to one's query on the problem of silencing one's mind.

Tusar Babu - is a follower of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and so he has a forum where different persons write on various aspects of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It's a good thing and is a platform for those who are interested in the Master. Many outsiders are benefitted to know many things from his forum. I liked also to associate myself with this admirable works. But I left it because of Sri Mohapatra's association with a Tamil politician. It hurts me if anyone turns to be a die-hard enemy of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville. However I do not like to be drawn to discuss this matter.

What hurts me is Tusar Babu's remarks on Sri Chaki's community. This is not expected from a man who is doing 'Mother's work'. Please let us not put our step in muds. We all here in this world find it difficult to surmount our vices and difficulties for the Force and Light to act through us-through Tusar Babu, Barin Babu, Devabrata etc. Let us aspire and look for higher things. If Barin babu or Tusar babu is wrong in their thoughts - let the LIGHT be allowed to mend them. With my sincerest good wishes to Tusar Babu and all the members of the forum, Devabrata 11:46 AM, September 08, 2008

Replies to This Discussion Permalink Reply by Barindranath Chaki Hello Sri Devabrata Ghosh, I have gone through what Tusar Mohapatra has written and what Sri Ghosh has written in the discussion. First of all, I am thanking you for letting us know what Tusar has written and for praying before the Divine for mending my thoughts...

The Mother has told that the Their Yoga and Teaching is not a Religion and that religion is a thing of the Past. What right has anybody on earth there to name Their Teaching to be a new Religion, when They say that this is not a Religion? ...

Similarly, The Mother asked the Yogi to be away from politics. If one is mistaken if one says that Sri Aurobindo started his practical life in India with politics and he did politics along with Yoga and He did Yoga in the Jail, hence one should do politics with Yoga or politics as Yoga. Any Tom, Dick or Harry cannot be equal to Sri Aurobindo. Anybody cannot swallow poison and remain immortal like Shiva. Everybody cannot create a Gita while in the battlefield...

Mamata Dash has asked a deep question: Who knows? May be he or she has got some order, may be some thing in his or her being should be resolved, which he had not resolved in the past birth. who knows?

May be some follower of Sri Aurobindo may have received some order to bring a political change in India. For that one has to be a Fire, a Whirlwind, and not a mud-slinger. One has to take the people with oneself. If the Force is there, the people will automatically follow him and be with him. One need not start mud-slinging...

Indeed, I am in search one who has such a Force in him or her, behind and above him or her. Indeed, I am in search of some such persons who can rebuild the nation and the World.

OOOOO

If some persons have idea that by creating a new religion or by giving the name of a religion to the Teaching of Sri Aurobindo or by forming a political party in His name, and by criticizing the Ashram or Auroville, one is serving The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, then it is their belief and their way of living. I am least concerned about. I am not going to start campaign against them.

Only, one should be sure of oneself. One should ask: Am I really called by the Divine to this? Have I truly received Her Order for this? Am I really obeying the Divine Force, or acting for the Force of the Asura? Or even, am I opposing the Divine Force? ...

Aspiration aims at aspiring for the Divine, calling the Divine. It does not believe in mud-slinging, I say repeatedly. Some one may criticize, but I cannot stoop low and start criticizing him. One should not start finding loopholes in others’ constructions. And it is not mine alone, it belongs to a group who are its members — who aspire, truly. Barindranath Chaki 9-9-2008

Permalink Reply by Debabrata Ghosh

...the very basic attitude should be to be under true humility while commenting on others. I am sad that Sri Mohapatra thinks that others should accept what he thinks and believes. I fully agree with you and also want that a leader or a party endowed with shakti should evolve to change the face of this suffering nation and the world. But we should not think that we must try to create them. It's simply foolish.

I wonder why some people forget the words of the Mother while founding Auroville that it should not turn to be a religion in future. However - as we have not been given the power to clear off the evils from this world - so also we can not seek to change the mind of Sri Mohapatra. We have not been given sanction for it by the Divine. Till then we should pray and maintain goodwill. Devabrata