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
The demands were threefold.
- First, that he should be taken out of the Archives and may be sent to teach history in the Ashram School, a proposal that the teachers strongly reacted against when they came to know of it.
- The second proposal was to be more careful in the editing of Sri Aurobindo’s works as already certain unseemly things were published in the Autobiographical Notes.
- Thirdly, that caution should be exercised in future and the book, if possible, should be withdrawn as it is a work of fraud.
By the way, as a sequel to this, certain other simple suggestions were given to those concerned which could have completely avoided all this drama. One of these suggestions was that he should simply mention that this is a work of creative fiction where events in Sri Aurobindo’s life have been sketched out based on certain secondary documents!
This followed by a good prologue mentioning about the human transforming into the Divine, thus opening the higher possibilities for mankind, and a good epilogue that briefly speaks of the completion of the work by the Mother with the Supramental Descent. And of course a small note that all opinions expressed in the book are the author’s and drawn from a sample of his choice. And this entire ruckus would have been avoided.
But Fate willed otherwise and so things got more and more complicated. Vinash kale viparita buddhi, as they say in Sanskrit, the intelligence is clouded and runs counter to truth and light when one approaches the hour of one’s nemesis. Yet let us know that Grace is there for PH and for all and it never fails if he can sincerely turn to Her. Alok Pandey 4.4.2009
date 19 Apr 2009 subject Fwd: Response to IYF
This is my response to the letters being circulated regarding IYFundamentalism (vide attachment to this mail)... These are my own views on the subject and do not represent the official views of the Ashram or of any other group. I do not claim to be an official representative of the Ashram or the Sri Aurobindo community.
With love and goodwill for one and all
By the mere fact of naming the website IY Fundamentalism, the forces of division have opened this possibility. It is to counter that and not for any personal defense or care for reputation that I have chosen to respond after a long silence.
May I ask, in the same vein, why are they arm-twisting the trustees to restore Peter and showing a righteous wrath towards Shraddhalu and others. Why interfere with matters that do not concern you? If they are so concerned about things like fundamentalism and intellectual freedom, why not open an NGO and there will be enough cases within the small community you may be living. As if nobody ever changed their departments or left the Ashram earlier. Why were these self-proclaimed champions of human rights silent then? Is it because it did not interfere with their self-interest? Or is it because they did not care or were unaware. If they wish, a whole list of such disgruntled people can be sent if they are willing to take up the cases.
Besides if you really care for democracy, then the fact is that the majority of ashram inmates do not want Peter in the Archives for sure, many not even in the ashram. Why don’t you come over and take a fresh mandate, and you do the campaigning and see if the results will be any different. So much for your façade and farcical democracy that you claim to champion and uphold. Democratically, you must support people’s verdict and uphold what they say. But what is it that I hear, you seem to be taking up sides with the forces that act in a dictatorial manner, reminiscent of fascism.
If majority sign against Peter’s continuation, and do so willingly and happily and of their own accord, then should it be called democracy or fundamentalism. Or, like you have redefined fundamentalism, you are going to redefine democracy as well, to suit your purposes! That’s convenient, but not true. And why only Peter, - he is indispensable, I am told. Strange that anyone can be regarded as indispensable to Her Work. It is really strange that despite him being involved with such controversies for so long, involving a long drawn court case as well, he is being considered indispensable,…despite respected veterans like Pranab da and Jugal da pointing out his mischief long back, while others could be reprimanded for much lesser transgressions!
Also surprising is the fact that those supporting him are going to any extent to support, even at the cost of the unity of the IY community, at the cost of tarnishing beautiful institutions doing Sri Aurobindo’s Work, at the cost of even the ‘institutional peace and stability’ of the Ashram itself. Some have even gone to the extent of not caring even if the government were to come in and the Ashram embroiled in court cases, yet Peter must be salvaged at all costs!!!
As if whatever the stakes and the choice Peter is more important than the unity of the group, of the work and even the Ashram itself!
All this only adds to the intrigue and if there are no ulterior motives and obvious personal interests, then it does appear as a clear sign that the forces that support him from behind are not simple and ordinary. What else can one say but that there seems to be a spell at work that is making us blind to something so straight and simple and instead dragging the whole thing into twisted lanes and by-lanes of endless debates, accuses and abuses. Or may be Peter is just a tendency and those who support him are simply justifying their own tendency to be critical of Sri Aurobindo and his work. [...]
May Her Light lead us all through all this and Her Love awaken in every heart and faith and gratitude be born where now there in so much doubt, malice and suspicion.
In Her Service
Re: Many Laughs—Humor by Anonymous Mirror of Tomorrow
by RY Deshpande on Thu 30 Apr 2009 08:12 PM IST Profile Permanent Link
Kepler writes: “All biographies are necessarily interpretations and products of the author’s perspectives and biases. This one by Heehs is so styled and constructed that it pleases a certain audience, but greatly offends and troubles another. All might agree that it deserves the prize for ‘most polarizing’.”
Is it The Lives of Sri Aurobindo that has polarized the Aurobindonian world or what is called the IY Community? Is biography the cause of this polarizing or it has shown it up that which already existed, that it rather exposed it?