Friday, January 16, 2009

Unique and irreplaceable expertise gained through thirty-five years of experience

The Genesis of a Controversy
by Angiras on Thu 15 Jan 2009 05:29 AM PST Permanent Link

Upon inquiry, it is found that from the beginning of Heehs’s writing career – that is, for the past twenty years – he has voluntarily given all his earnings from books, magazine articles, speeches, etc. to the Ashram Trust, minus a small percentage to cover his expenses. In the case of books consisting primarily of extracts from Sri Aurobindo’s works, 100% of the royalties go directly to the Trust without passing through Heehs’s hands. He has always repaid the Archives for any xeroxes, printouts etc. that he has made using Archives equipment. He has sometimes asked his colleagues for help in the composition of books. The fees for this work went directly to the Ashram Trust without passing through Heehs’s hands. The persons concerned understood this very well. [...]

Twenty-seven volumes of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO have been finished (including two in the press) and work on most of the remaining volumes is at an advanced stage. This work has involved the meticulous reading of many thousands of pages of manuscripts and early editions of Sri Aurobindo’s works. The original estimate of when it would be completed was clearly unrealistic, but it does not sound as if the project has been “languishing.” It is surprising that members of the Archives would make such an allegation when they surely know how long this work takes. No other department of the Ashram has ever taken up such a huge and demanding project. It is a team effort and if there is a “delay,” no one person can be held responsible. At any rate, R&R seem to have done hardly a fraction of the work that Heehs has done.

The logic of expelling one of the chief editors in order to speed up the process is baffling. According to reliable sources, it is since the expulsion of Peter Heehs that the work is indeed languishing, as this has deprived the Archives of an essential member with unique and irreplaceable expertise gained through thirty-five years of experience going back to the founding of the department. Heehs wrote articles and books in his spare time, but never neglected his work at the Archives. He has spent less time attending conferences, etc., than the writers of most of the letters in this section. [...]

Heehs says that he has never considered writing a book on the Mother (much less would he write one in order to pull her “down... to a low level”). [...]

The allegation of “commercial use” is false. In any case, new rules restricting access to such materials (not only “to him” but in general) have been adopted by the Archives in the last few months. This has been one of the few constructive outcomes of the present controversy. Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

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