A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs committed to objective, academic, respectful and honest discussions Apr 23, 2009
Alok Pandey's Reply To Angiras
PH himself writes in his poem, published in the 2004 anthology, curiously named, Devotion, that he does not seek the Mother but a place for rest and relaxation, not the higher bliss but sex and sensation, etc. etc. These traits are the exact hallmark of an Asuric nature: first, that he confuses the mental, vital, physical ego for the soul, and their desires as his true needs, second, he is full of doubts and hostile to the Divine, and gives by his mind a twist to His work. I wrote this in an impersonal way concerning the kind of work that this book seems to represent. It is not a permanent judgment on him or his life but as a strong word of caution to our sleeping seniors.
Angiras: At a time when the world is plagued with proliferating fundamentalisms, surely the followers of Sri Aurobindo should be capable of better things than to imitate the worst that others are doing.
Why is this question of fundamentalism being raised? PH has a track record of writing and courting controversies concerning Sri Aurobindo – a host of them over decades. He has sat over judgment on Sri Aurobindo’s Adesh, forwarding his apparently more rational theory over Sri Aurobindo’s own statements; then in the Savitri changes, on the issue of Pondicherry being called Vedapuri, so on and so forth, and despite so many feelers and suggestions supported by sound arguments by well-known Ashram inmates whose calibre cannot be doubted – men who are deeply respected for their qualities of the head and the heart, such as Jugal-da and Amal Kiran – he yet goes on and on and none of his friends ever advise him to stop this nonsense. So he becomes more and more belligerent and arrogant – there are so many examples of it that if I quote all of them, it would become mud-slinging.
So one day someone had to pull on the reins and cry halt to his mental aggression and tendency to plunder and desecrate a sacred space. Yet, even then, no one heeds it, and he continues to be unabashedly supported by some ‘broad-minded’ persons who are more concerned to look pleasant in the eyes of others than to do what is true and correct. He hides behind these ‘experts’ and yet none tell him to look into his soul and see what is going on there. Fresh chances and suggestions are given to rectify the situation amicably, but he becomes more stubborn, unyielding and manipulative. So when the world-forces strike back in just defence, his friends start immediately shouting, “Look, here are fundamentalists!! Look at these jehadis! Look at these narrow-minded persons!”
It means that so long as we quietly gulp down your nonsense, you find us good chaps. But you can, over the years, taking advantage of our weakness, slowly enter our house, occupy it, and even claim to be greater than its owner – in this case, Sri Aurobindo – and sit in judgment over Him. So the moment we wake up and raise an alarm and call the guardians who are caught sleeping, you start calling us names!!!
What would you do if someone entered your own house? Just because this is the house of the Lord, it does not concern you? You conveniently say that He can take care of Himself, why bother about it and spoil relations with my friends! But when your own house is being burgled, you find it perfectly justified to raise a hue and cry and to call your friends. Strange one-sided logic indeed!!!
It means the only way of keeping harmony is to accept that PH has nothing to do with the disturbance created in the atmosphere!! He has only written a book, after all, with good intentions to woo the academia. We have to accept it all and live harmoniously, because you say so. But if we speak up, you will charge us with sedition and for creating disharmony. Sounds like the days of the British Raj!
Alok: 5. It is also interesting that this man had already written a brief biography of Sri Aurobindo which did raise a few eyebrows. Was it just a feeler? What impelled this second biography? And what would prevent a third one, - has he not already conceded that he has more material but did not/could not put it as it may be considered 'objectionable'. Angiras: Again Pandey lets his fantasy run wild.
What is the fantasy in it? Has he not written earlier doubting Sri Aurobindo’s own statements about his life? Jugal-da’s letters and Pranab-da’s letters of the eighties are all fantasies? What white lies are these! Alok Pandey 4.4.2009
Recents Posts ▼ 2009 (13) ▼ April (6) Introduction to this Site
Alok Pandey's Reply To Angiras
The Theme of Evolution in Sri Aurobindo’s Writings...
About Immersed Attention and Revelatory Speech
Sri Aurobindo's Sevenfold Prose Style
Sri Aurobindo was unable to restructure his articl...
► March (6)
A Review by Raman Reddy of The Lives of Sri Aurobi...
Alok Pandey's comment on Heehs (27.03.2009)
In Defence of the Extracts
Hail to "Angiras"!
Ranganath's reply to Angiras
Orissa Govt tells High Court to ban Heehs' book
► February (1)
Defamation of Sri Aurobindo's character and Heehs'...
► 2008 (28)
► December (2)
Frequently Asked Questions
List of Categories for Labelling Posts
► November (12)
Background facts which set a context for this book...
Sri Aurobindo and the Future of Humanity—a Comment...
The Avataric Work: Towards the Intermediate Race
Instruments of Higher Knowledge
A Question of Hagiography and Biography
The Divisive Nature of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
An Entry from Record of Yoga
A Key Statement about Integral Yoga
Some Responses to Stock-Taking
All Life is Yoga—A Brief Sketch of Sri Aurobindo’s...
The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs—a Contro...
► October (12)
Commentary on the book ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobind...
R Y Deshpande's analysis: Ascent to Supermind (Pp ...
Manasi Pahwa's correspondence: Letter #3 from Mana...
Manasi Pahwa's correspondence: Letter #2 from Pete...
Manasi Pahwa's correspondence: Letter #1 from Mana...
Background to this Book
Page 054: Romantic interludes
Page 246: Freudian Analysis of Spirituality
Page 245: Record of Yogic Failures
Page 199: Fanatical, dangerous, mad
What You Can Do
Narad's Letter to the Ashram Trust
► September (2)
Letter of Alok Pandey to the Ashram Trust
Ananda Reddy's letter to the Ashram Trust
Angiras speaks of Cold Storage entries in his arti... - Mar 21
It is said that common sense is the most uncommon ... - Mar 19
Ranganath’s brief replies (sometimes one-line punc... - Mar 19