Suppressing the individual voice for the collective good: A conversation on integral yoga with Alok Pandey & RY Deshpande Tony Clifton Sat 13 Jun 2009 09:42 PM PDT [...] Here is what Paulette had to say and her consored comment, followed by the relevant comment trail leading to these events: The moment I commented on the Indian partition -- Muslims, Avatar of India, sanatana dharma -- Alok Pandey has made Deshpande close the issue! Not only that, Deshpande has also deleted my latest posting, replying on Kripal to Pandey and another one!!!
Supriyo, I have glued together clarifications that have already appeared, here and there, in reply to comments to my first article, “Archetypal images and symbols”, and also in the Auroville and Auroville International forums: Peter Heehs had already condemned Kripal for his way of proceeding and conclusions in one of his books, “Indian Religions”. In that (already quoted) extract, commenting about “sensationalism” Heehs writes that there is no evidence to support Kripal’s views on Ramakrishna, and that ““Kripal himself admits that his interpretations are often "speculative””. This excludes any interest in being acknowledged by Kripal, whose approach Heehs has labelled as “rather dogmatic Freudianism” or, for that matter, to work with him on a book analyzing Sri Aurobindo’s sadhana from a Freudian, I would rather say, post-Freudian perspective.
Kripal has briefly met Peter elsewhere but never came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram or even to Pondicherry . He has no interest in Sri Aurobindo’s “Record of Yoga” or in writing any book on Sri Aurobindo. This has been publicly confirmed by Michael Murphy, one of the two founders of Esalen, whose open letter to SCIY commences so: ““Rumors that I asked Jeff Kripal to write a "Freudian" study of Sri Aurobindo are completely false, and Kripal has no intentions to do so.”” It is Michael Murphy who, upon reading Kripal’s book on Sri Ramakrishna, immediately invited him to Esalen; the culmination of all this was Kripal’s book on Esalen. It is Michael Murphy who has a direct connection with Kripal – not Peter Heehs. Regarding Kripal's endorsement on the back of Peter Heehs's book, Peter has personally clarified to Debashish Banerji that he had not asked for it: the publisher got it and used it. Debashish also commented that, technically speaking, endorsements on the back of books are not necessarily chosen by the author, particularly in the case of major publishers such as the Columbia University Press. It is my intention to ask Peter to clarify whether he is aware of certain statements by Kripal on Sri Aurobindo. However, given the emergency situation, I have decided to wait for more peaceful times before raising questions. I wish to add that I have attended two meetings, in the premises of the Centre for Indian Culture, Auroville, where Michael Murphy announced his intention to sponsor a book that, starting from the premises of Sri Aurobindo’s records on yoga, he saw it as a strategy to make Sri Aurobindo world-renown as the supreme pioneer of the bodily transformation. This is what Michael Murphy was so enthusiastic about – and not the projections, going around now for months, which demonize Peter Heehs as colluding with Kripal and other eventual post-Freudians as well! A posting in the Internet went so far as fantasizing Sudhir Kakar (the heavy-weight post-Freudian psychologist) being in a sexual-Freudian-anti-Aurobindo conspiracy!
Aster Patel, Rod Hemsell, Ananda Reddy and his wife Dipika and all others who, like me, attended those two meetings, are fully aware of Murphy’s intents. However the proposal raised strong reactions (also from me) and it seems that the idea was ultimately dropped. I don’t remember that the name of Kripal was at all mentioned; in fact, I never heard about Kripal until recently, and only because of the controversy. Moreover, a “Freudian study” by Kripal or anyone else was definitely never announced. The Kripal issue raises several questions. Instead of stating, “Michael Murphy’s interest in Sri Aurobindo may be genuine”, why doesn’t Sraddhalu acknowledge Murphy’s responsibility in sponsoring Kripal’s book on Esalen (contrarily to Alok Pandey, who does it)? I too do not doubt Murphy’s sincerity – from within the perspective of the culture he belongs to, given that he has largely contributed to shape the Esalen movement. But, as a corollary, this raises the question of a new, dubious way to relate to yoga, emanating from a culture born in the sixties and which, particularly in the USA – Europe being much more politicized – heralded as major signposts the psychedelic movement and the so-called ‘sexual revolution’. The motifs and raison d’être of such a culture cannot be ignored or undervalued; they mark a historical turning point. But, ultimately, what is the relationship between this and yoga, particularly Integral Yoga – if there is any at all? This is where we stand, eschewing the real debate. Paulette