Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hartz bares his heart


from Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com to bcc tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 28 August 2011 14:48 subject   RICHARD HARTZ joins PETER HEEHS in blaming Ashram Trustees for TLOSA Disaster and Abuse of Archives Dept
Richard Hartz joins Peter Heehs in blaming Ashram Trustees for TLOSA Disaster and Abuse of Archives Dept

Justice is blind and cannot see body language. Thus, unlike the Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust who relied on this perceived blindness to escape the Law and were erroneously using sign language and were calling it “dignified silence”, Peter Heehs has been speaking up aggressively and cutting his losses. He has, as already known to all, filed memos in the Orissa Court holding the Trustees responsible for his perverse “research” and the debacle and fallout of his offensive and illegal book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (TLOSA).
Now Richard Hartz, a long-time associate of Peter Heehs at the Archives of the Ashram, and the principal co-conspirator in the crime that is TLOSA, has jumped in and joined the chorus in blaming the Trustees.
In an open letter dated 25th August 2011 to his dwindling, shaky and jittery supporters who are increasingly questioning the wisdom of TLOSA and discussing its withdrawal, Hartz writes:

“I have been in Pondicherry the whole time and my perception is based on what I have experienced here, not on the discussion on internet forums where the situation has been different. In early October 2008 the Managing Trustee described the Ashram as a "seething cauldron." This was no exaggeration. At that point I was almost the only person in the Ashram who had tried to defend Peter, apart from Manoj Das Gupta himself who heroically stood his ground in refusing to expel him. (He did, however, ask him to withdraw from the Archives until things return to normal, which so far shows no sign of being likely to happen.) It is hard for me to relate my memory of this phenomenon to the "healthy doubt against an excessive intellectuality" you speak of. If there was a comparable outburst of collective hysteria in support of PH, I never heard about it. At least it didn't happen here.

… The basic question raised by the Lives controversy is whether a member of the Ashram can be allowed to write for an academic audience in terms acceptable to that audience. (As you suggest, I could have written a book that might have offended no one, but CUP would never have published it.)

… In agreement with Sri Aurobindo's own description of the Ashram as a laboratory, it is officially recognized by the Government of India as a research institute for purposes of tax exemptions on donations from devotees. This fact is important for understanding how the Lives came to be written in the way it was, because it is part of the reason why Peter Heehs was encouraged to write and publish academic articles which could be listed in the Ashram's reports on its research activities, submitted annually to the government. Despite his lack of formal credentials, he succeeded in getting these papers published in a wide range of academic journals. That meant, of course, adapting his style of writing to academic expectations … . Since his publications were being regularly cited in the Ashram's official reports, he was led to believe that this activity, even if it drew criticism from some quarters, was consistent with the aims of the Ashram. To a certain extent, his downfall resulted from his doing too well the work he had been assigned and encouraged to do.

I hope this will shed light on the question of whether or not it was appropriate or acceptable for a person in Peter's position to write the book he did.” 

In other words Hartz is revealing that Columbia University Press (CUP) “would never have published” a book which “offended no one” given Heehs’ “lack of formal credentials” and the resulting limited saleability. Therefore Heehs had to write an “offensive book” in order to make it saleable to CUP and the public, and the Ashram Trustees “assigned” this work to him and “encouraged” him.
This stunning volte-face by Richard Hartz, the first public admission holding the Trustees of the Ashram responsible for encouraging and misguiding Heehs in the disaster that is TLOSA, is a watershed moment. The reference by Hartz to Heehs’ downfall is also telling.
This turn of events is being brought about by the now-public information that CUP will shortly file papers in the Orissa court against orders detailing the role of the Ashram Trustees in supporting, aiding and endorsing all that is wrong with TLOSA. This much CUP will certainly do to absolve itself of the serious charges it is now faced with, not least among them, Heehs’ allegation that he was erroneously labelled “Founder” by CUP and is not personally liable for this serious legal, moral and criminal lapse.
Each failure raises the threshold of the next potential success and there comes an inflection-point where the pain of loss is too great to pursue any further potential gain. Does Manoj Das Gupta understand this? We do. Truly, Prof Kamal Das 28 August 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Campaign of malice and defamation against Sri Aurobindo

From: caurant@msn.com
To: profkamaldas@gmail.com
Subject: RE: link please
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 12:34:39 -0400

Dear Prof Kamal Das,
 
I am not so sure that Peter Heehs actually refused to have this article downloaded. The statement was rather ambiguous and it was unclear whether it was the Psychohistory Review that gave the statement or the website (http://www.researchgate.net/publication/11731087_Genius_mysticism_and_madness) where I was looking for the article. Perhaps Peter Heehs was never asked for permission, I really don't know.
 
With best regards,
Jeanette Caurant
from    Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com to      bcc tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date    20 August 2011 10:36 subject   MDG & PETER HEEHS BAR ACCESS TO " GENIUS, MYSTICISM, AND MADNESS"
From: Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com Date: Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 2:53 PM Subject: Re: FW: link please To: Jeanette Caurant caurant@msn.com
Dear Ms Jeanette Caurant, Bonjour!
Your very reasonable request serves to further underline and lay emphasis on the campaign of malice and defamation being carried out against Sri Aurobindo by the Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in collaboration with Peter Heehs!
Why the need to bar access to the article in question? If there is nothing wrong, then Peter Heehs and the Trustees should print hundreds of copies of the article and distribute these freely to all concerned in order to dispel any misgivings or doubts!
I strongly recommend that you and your friends meet or write to Mr Manoj Das Gupta and demand that he make copies available to all concerned as access to this article is your fundamental legal right as a beneficiary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, wherever you may be in the world!
It is advisable that you obtain a copy of the article from Peter Heehs, Manoj Das Gupta, the Archives Dept at Puducherry or even the Govt Of India in order to ensure authenticity of the document. With Best Wishes, Truly, Prof Kamal Das

On Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 6:41 PM, Jeanette Caurant caurant@msn.com wrote: Dear Prof. Kamal Das,
I have been unsuccessful in obtaining a copy of the full article “Genius, Mysticism, and Madness”, written by Peer Heehs which was published in the Psychohistory Review in 1997. I tried to obtain it through Psychohistory however there is a note stating that Mr Heehs had not given permission for it to be downloaded.  I would appreciate it if you would give me the link to the full article, or send a file to me. Thank you, Jeanette Caurant Kkk

Jeanette Caurant has left a new comment on your post "The shame of 1997": Posted by Jeanette Caurant to Savitri Era Open Forum at 7:52 PM, August 17, 2011 Dear Tusar Mohapatra,
Could you please provide a link to the full original Heehs' article. Psychohistory states that he has not given permission for it to be downloaded. Thank you. Jeanette [Highland, New York, United States]

Jeanette Caurant says: Mar 12, 2010 at 10:17 AM
It is mentioned that “In the center of the community, both geographically and physically, is a massive spherical gold-plated structure called the Matmandir, or Temple of the Mother.”
What is not widely known is that the Mother gave Her plan for the Matrimandir with exact measurements to those responsible to build according to that plan. The Matrimandir that stands in Auroville today was NOT build according to the Mother’s specifications and therefore is not the highest expression of Sacred Architecture we could have known. For more information on this you can go to http://www.matacom.com

Sunil has left a new comment on your post "Subjugating Jugal": Posted by Sunil to Savitri Era at 11:37 AM, August 20, 2011
Yes Subhas we see Heehs is your Guru. And it bothers you much when his damaging approach and lower vital twisted motives are questioned by people who are doing sadhana. But that is not your concern as we can see who your Guru is, and whose worship you are committed to. But this is Sri Aurobindo Ashram and it is not a name it is a living Power working on the whole earth and beyond, but what would you know about that when your Guru is we know who. Sunil 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Heehs in the streets

from Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com to bcc tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 16 August 2011 08:29 subject  DEMAND FOR EXPULSION OF PETER HEEHS FROM INDIA: PUBLIC POSTERS IN PONDY ON 15th AUGUST, 2011. 5 attachments Download all attachments   View all images  

Monday, August 15, 2011

More people should join to condemn this

From Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com to ajum24@yahoo.co.in,   prithwin.mukherjee@gmail.com, tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 15 August 2011 12:03 subject COLLECTIVE ANGUISH AND INDIGNATION
Dear Mr Aju Mukhopadhyay,
1. I thank you for your mails and assure that thousands of people across the world share your shock, anguish, indignation and frustration.
2. While Peter Heehs' criminal nexus with Manoj Das Gupta aimed at defaming and denigrating Sri Aurobindo can be traced back to the late 1980s in the immediate aftermath of Manoj Das Gupta's illegal and fraudulent elevation as a Trustee, things have come to a painful pass after the publication of TLOSA.
3. I attach herewith an Information Handbook which will serve as an initial primer for the whole controversy at hand. As you will see for yourself, all documents referred to and attached are genuine and mostly of origin from various Govt. Departments concerned and easily accessible in the public domain.
4. Kindly also visit www.TheLivesOfSriAurobindo.com for a detailed expose of factual distortions in the book compiled by senior scholars, historians and professors. I shall also forward to you right away additional relevant material for your perusal.
5. I would be delighted to provide further clarification/information should you deem it necessary.
Truly, Prof Kamal Das.

from    aju mukhopadhyay ajum24@yahoo.co.in to        "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com cc   "profkamaldas@gmail.com" profkamaldas@gmail.com date    14 August 2011 22:18 subject   Re: Ashram Trustees to Govt of India: "Sri Aurobindo was Psychotic and Mentally Unstable"
Dear Tusar M,
Not just posting, I  wanted to know from Prof Kamal Das as to why when it was known not taken up with all earnestness, why does he report so late to all for information, it is already very old. Does he have the document with him or can he refer to the site or mag or book where this piece has been recorded for references? I am sending him copy of this mail for his reply please. Certainly, if this is true, I can only add that it is beyond the writer's capacity or privilege to so charge a writer who is infinitely more powerful than him. Thanks
Aju Mukhopadhyay

from    aju mukhopadhyay ajum24@yahoo.co.in to        "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date           14 August 2011 22:29 subject        Re: Ashram Trustees to Govt of India: "Sri Aurobindo was Psychotic and Mentally Unstable"
Oh so? How then someone addresses him and writes that he was in the board when all this happened? However, I feel that more people should join to condemn this and should take actions too. Best
Aju Mukhopadhyay

from    aju mukhopadhyay ajum24@yahoo.co.in to        "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date           15 August 2011 12:02 subject        Re: Ashram Trustees to Govt of India: "Sri Aurobindo was Psychotic and Mentally Unstable"
Thank you- interesting but really these are very serious as  there must be a motive as from an enemy- a dogged effort to prove that Sri Aurobindo's works and Integral Yoga were pseudo things- as they do not understand they feel others too are like them. And to patronize or support such efforts too spring from similar motives. Though the spread of the master's yogic progress cannot be gauged easily among those left,  most of them gone and even among those remained, mostly new comers, holding the other things of the establishment; seems mostly lost in the barren field. But more and more it is proved that things and beings beyond matter peeps through the solid mass as the key to understand, penetrate them, the solid material world. Those who maintain themselves as materialists are proving themselves just children. But in the case cited it is surely not academic enquiry but motivated with some purpose. If you like you can add it in the blog.
Best, Aju Mukhopadhyay 

from    RENU MEHRA renuarya.mehra@gmail.com to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 15 August 2011 20:05 subject       Fwd: Ashram Trustees to Govt of India: "Sri Aurobindo .....
Respected Tusar Mohapatra ji,  Namaste !!!
Your  'detached' reviews of the latest Savitri Era: - blogspot 'news' seems ‘blasphemous’ and why publicise this news? This section of 'news seems like a case of  'sensationalism of Media ... .  any strong  reactions then i would like to quote from Maharshi Aurobindo's writings in Letters on Yoga' :--
"The Divinity acts according to another consciousness, the consciousness of the Truth above and the Lila below and Divinity acts  according to the needs of the Lila , not according to men's ideas of what it should do or should not do. This is the first thing one must grasp , otherwise one can understand nothing about the manifestation of the Divine."
In either cases, The Faith in the workings of the Divine Mother's divine knowledge. light, and peace be with yourself  ...?
with due regards, (from a  devotee) Renu Mehra.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why not a movement to throw the enemies of Sri Aurobindo out?

From aju mukhopadhyay ajum24@yahoo.co.in to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com cc "profkamaldas@gmail.com" profkamaldas@gmail.com date 13 August 2011 22:17 subject Re: Ashram Trustees to Govt of India: "Sri Aurobindo was Psychotic and Mentally Unstable"
Dear Tusar Mohapatra,
I have not seen your blog in this respect but have just read this by Prof Kamal Das. May I know a little about Prof Das - are all documents on the basis of which this has been written in his possession? If this is fact, all the people in the institution named after Sri Aurobindo are fed and do whatever, prosper materially, live comfortably at the cost of Sri Aurobindo mainly for devotees pay on trust, in his name and for devotion to the Mother. If the main pillar of the Ashram was a lunatic why anything like ashram in his name with his ideals exist? When they believe him to be so why and on what right will they possess and spoil his life long works? Why not others possess them, why not the entire works be preserved as national property? Why a few who have usurped the institution on  which they thrive will still have control over it? as it seems that they are the most harmful enemies to such properties? 
These are questions which come to a sane man's mind who find Sri Aurobindo's works as sane, 100% rational, poetry and prose of super value without an iota of insanity or anything else. Will prof Das and you answer- if true really why not a movement would begin to throw the enemies of Sri Aurobindo out of an institution in his name, running for his works to spread and teach people? These are at this point questions put before you for you have brought this to our notice- written and posted by you. 
Sincerely, Aju Mukhopadhyay 

from    Prithwindra Mukherjee prithwin.mukherjee@gmail.com to     "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date           14 August 2011 12:01
subject            RE: Ashram Trustees to Govt of India: "Sri Aurobindo was Psychotic and Mentally Unstable"
Bhâi Tusar, This bit of further news is sickening.
Is there no possibility of interning this perverted Don Quixote with his Sancho busy fighting dexterously with the shadows of their own detracted mind? Can nobody get hold of them, seat on a donkey and carry them to the coarsest of public pales?
Anxious to know the immediate steps taken by the inmates. Best wishes. Prithwindra Mukherjee

from    Jitendra Sharma aurofrance@gmail.com to         "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date           13 August 2011 23:00 subject       Who is this Professor Kamal Das?
Who is this Professor Kamal Das? He should come out of the mysterious shadows and introduce himself properly with his real address and phone number, as I do. Until then, please ignore him and do not publish any posts from him.                                                    - Dr. Jitendra Sharma

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The shame of 1997": 
Strange that this is appearing now, when for quite a few years the true Professor Kamal Das was himself part of the S.A.A.Research Board. And almost always got away with his hocus-pocus magic sessions. Why is he waking up now? Why did he not protest then? Would be interesting to know how far he has proceeded with his research on artificial intelligence? He was allowed, in good faith, to interact with every visiting dignitary and on every occasion he spoke about some weird and vague research into artificial intelligence. Strange why no one has ever thought of expelling him from the Ashram - esp after his BMW phase of existence and the media house fiasco! Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Open Forum at 9:52 PM, August 13, 2011 [In view of the fact that multiple anonymous comments in a thread make confusing reading and it becomes difficult to track who is telling what and to whom, only comments bearing some name/pseudonym/identity will appear in future. TNM 011110 SEOF]

[The Psychohistory review: Volume 26 books.google.co.in1997 - A subeditor on the newspaper Aurobindo edited once noted in his diary: "Babu Aurobindo Ghose is an extremely strange man. And I suspect a tinge of lunacy is not absent from him. His mother is a lunatic. And it is not at all strange....]

The shame of 1997


from    Prof Kamal Das  profkamaldas@gmail.com to      bcc tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date    12 August 2011 22:29 subject   Ashram Trustees to Govt of India: "Sri Aurobindo was Psychotic and Mentally Unstable"

Ashram Trustees to Govt of India“Sri Aurobindo was ‘Psychotic and Mentally Unstable’”

Shocking!
In a shocking revelation, it has now come to light that the Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram led by Manoj Das Gupta have submitted to the Government of India, that original research carried out at the Ashram’s Archives proves that Sri Aurobindo was “psychotic and mentally unstable with a pronounced affliction of lunacy”.

In the Ashram’s Annual Report of Research Activities submitted to the Government and dated 1997-1998, on p.26 the Trustees have cited as “original historical research” an article of some 30 pages by Peter Heehs titled “Genius, Mysticism, and Madness”. This article, written by Peer Heehs as part of his work at the Ashram Archives, was also published in the Psychohistory Review in 1997. Evidently, it matters little to the Trustees that the Ashram Archives was not created for the purpose of denigrating Sri Aurobindo but for preservation of his manuscripts. Nor does it matter to the Trustees that Peter Heehs, being a school dropout, has absolutely no formal training, degree or experience in any field whatsoever, leave alone complex subjects such as psychology and psychohistory.

In this article Heehs attempts to “prove beyond reasonable doubt” that Sri Aurobindo’s genius and spiritual achievements and realisations were the unreliable consequence of mental instability coupled with psychotic and lunatic affliction. Extracts and Excerpts from “Genius, Mysticism, and Madness” by Peter Heehs […]

Thus by deliberate decontextualisation and distortion, Sri Aurobindo’s sublime spiritual experiences have been equated to the ravings of a madman, and presented to the Government of India as original research of the Ashram! 
The Canary Sings
The blame-game and the end-game always go hand in hand and play out in tandem. Peter Heehs, right from his early days of unemployment and taxi driving in New York up to his criminal collaboration and nexus with Manoj Das Gupta, has always been a survivor. 
With the end-game very much underway and criminal charges and imprisonment and deportation staring him in the face, Peter Heehs has begun singing to the authorities in the hope of absolving himself by blaming his powerful benefactors. 
On page 7 point 5 of his affidavit filed in self-defence in the Court of Orissa, Peter Heehs has clarified that he is not the Founder of the Ashram Archives, and has blamed the publisher of the book stating that the false claim was made by Columbia University Press“who made here an inaccurate statement”, and therefore it is they who must pay for the crime instead of him. 
Continuing in the same vein, and in the same affidavit filed in Court, on page 67, he cites this very article titled “Genius, Mysticism, and Madness” as evidence that the Ashram Trustees have supported him, guided him and even endorsed his findings relating to Sri Aurobindo’s insanity by having this article submitted to the Government of India as original research carried out by him at the Ashram as part of his official work at the Archives. The idea is not to sink alone. The idea is to blame Manoj Das Gupta and Columbia University Press for all his crimes and try to get away in the process. However, that will not happen as neither MDG nor CUP will sacrifice themselves to save Heehs. 
Questions to Manoj Das Gupta
·         Do the donations to the Ashram made by thousands of sincere devotees have to be spent on this type of work aimed at defaming and maligning Sri Aurobindo?
·         Why does the Ashram Archives have to constantly explore the subject of lunacy and mental instability with regard to Sri Aurobindo? Are there no other worthwhile subjects available for research? And why spend so much time and energy in perverse research when many of the major writings of Sri Aurobindo are still lying unpublished and the new Collected Works is a full twelve years behind its schedule of publication?
·         How can tax concessions and benefits granted by the Government of India to an institution in Sri Aurobindo’s name be abused in this blatant and shameless manner to denigrate Sri Aurobindo and belittle the intellectual and spiritual achievements of the Mahayogi?
·         How much longer will you continue to defy the inmates of the Ashram and continue to promote and support the insult and denigration of Sri Aurobindo in complete defiance of law and the minimum required loyalty to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother?  
Truly, Prof Kamal Das

[The Psychohistory review: Volume 26 books.google.co.in1997 - A subeditor on the newspaper Aurobindo edited once noted in his diary: "Babu Aurobindo Ghose is an extremely strange man. And I suspect a tinge of lunacy is not absent from him. His mother is a lunatic. And it is not at all strange....]

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I have dearly paid as a victim of conflicts and clay-hurling


From Prithwindra Mukherjee prithwin.mukherjee@gmail.com to      "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date           11 August 2011 15:08 subject RE: Have Auroville's Failures made it a Danger to India and the World?
Bhâi Tusar,
Many thanks for Robert's article.
In the midst of sophisticated discussions that are cropping up, here is someone who is not afraid of thinking with his heart.
Having been intimately connected with the French team of Auroville promoters in the 60s and attentive to the frustration of volunteers from the "other" teams, I have dearly paid as a victim of intestine conflicts and clay-hurling, before stopping to consider myself as an indispensable missionary  of the New Consciousness.
Maintaining my faith firm, I have a conviction that  in spite of all his gentleman-like compassion, Sri Aurobindo is a personified vajra (thunderbolt) of the Spirit : knowingly or unknowingly whosoever chooses to rub up the wrong way is sure to learn the Natural Law of perishing thunder-struck. A consummate connoisseur of the Occult, the Mother was far from ignorant of the incompatible forces that she maintained in equilibrium; she has not lost control of them and will triumph over their momentarily centrifugal lust to rule.
Let go. Let God.
Prithwindra Mukherjee 

from    Robert E. Wilkinson robtw@sprynet.com to       "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date           11 August 2011 01:51 subject        Have Auroville's Failures made it a Danger to India and the World?
Namaste Tusar,
This essay is being sent out to past and present members of the Auroville Advisory Council as well as educators, writers, and students throughout the world who have distinguished themselves as supporters of the incomparable work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. For many of you this will be a painful confrontation and for others, a breath of fresh air. What will be made clear is that THE TIME HAS COME for an end to the stultifying dogma that has reduced the most important spiritual work of the age to an arrogant, fundamentalist, and elitist cult. Because of the dogged refusal of the Auroville elites to engage in sincere and honest discussion of issues essential to the revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s knowledge and mission, the conversation is being widened to include members of the larger human community who have been harmed by their failures and who are within their rights, as we are, to demand an open and transparent accounting. 
In the Service of Truth, Robert E. Wilkinson

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lives war: 2007 - 2011

Peter Heehs is writing a biography of Sri Aurobindo due to be published next year
A couple of weeks ago, our Savitri study group in Manhattan had the privilege of meeting Peter Heehs, a historian who is writing a biography of Sri Aurobindo due to be published next year. Peter Heehs is also the author of a paper entitled The uses of Sri Aurobindo: mascot, whipping boy, or what?, and a wonderful little book called Nationalism, Terrorism, Communalism.
In both the paper and the book, he thoroughly investigates all the allegations of Sri Aurobindo having been an “extremist” or a “Hindu supremacist” and shows that they simply do not hold water.
Peter was quiet and unassuming, and I really enjoyed meeting him... Meeting Peter Heehs fromThe Stumbling Mystic by ned Matagiri Thursday 13 December 2007 10:11 AM

Peter Heehs reading & booksigning for The Lives of Sri Aurobindo on June 19 at 7 pm... This special event will be introduced by Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy. One of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, Heehs is currently a member of the editorial board of the Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo. [11:30 AMSay what? Fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, biography, mystery ... San Francisco Chronicle, USA - SF Reads from "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo." 7 pm Thurs. The Booksmith, 1644 Haight St. (415) 863-8688. Thursday, June 19, 200812:12 AM

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: Some devotees of Sri Aurobindo might be put off by Peter’s academic tone in this biography. After all, he never calls Sri Aurobindo an “avatar” or anything like that in it. Indeed, Peter paints Sri Aurobindo as humanly as he possibly can in this biography (which was partly because he wanted a university publisher in order to reach a wider audience, and partly because that’s his style — to be measured and detached)... Peter Heehs’ The Lives of Sri Aurobindo from The Stumbling Mystic by ned Monday, July 21, 2008 8:40 AM, 11:17 AM, 11:06 AM 

Re: Rationalism and the yogic life by ned on Sun 28 Sep 2008 07:31 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Personally, I met Peter in New York and at Lodi and heard him speak about his book. He's a very nice person and clearly worked hard on this biography. He's also very knowledgeable. His approach is a little too rationalistic for me and I do think that there were portions of the book where I thought he "sold out" too much to a Western audience (e.g. at one point he says that maybe all these experiences are hallucinations or schizophrenic breakdowns).
But overall, I liked the biography because it describes the human personality of Sri Aurobindo and in an odd way that strengthened me in my sadhana. It made me think that if Sri Aurobindo could rise from his "human self" to the greatness that he eventually attained, there is great hope for all of us. Monday, September 29, 2008 7:51 AM

As for the Peter Heehs controversy I have no personal stake in it nor do I care much about the emotional reactions people are having to his biography. He has his opinions and my faith in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is strong enough to not be affected by such trivial things. I do find it really sad that people who are *supposed* to be "spiritual" are resorting to such petty reactions and even to violence against Peter, if that's the case. It only shows the lack of actual spiritual experiences -- when you start having experiences you stop reacting like this. 12:00 PM 

BAN THE BAN Calcutta Telegraph - Saturday, July 30 , 2011 Politics and play: Ramachandra Guha. 
However, Heehs is gently sceptical of the claim that Aurobindo possessed supernatural powers. “To accept Sri Aurobindo as an avatar is necessarily a matter of faith,” he writes, adding that “matters of faith quickly become matters of dogma”. This understated, unexceptionable statement drove the dogmatic followers of Aurobindo bananas. 12:03 PM 
With only the blind to lead the blind the ignorance and toxicity of the community grew progressively worse. This fact was recently highlighted by the controversial book written in 2008 by Peter Heehs entitled The Lives of Sri Aurobindo.  In the pages of this shameful text the author reduces his Guru to a ridiculous caricature and de-contextualizes his life and work in virtually the same manner that the Mother’s disciples systematically destroyed her temple.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guha toes the Heehs' line - another book


from    Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com bcc tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date  3 August 2011 20:29 subject            Fwd: RAMACHANDRA GUHA: RIGHT SPIRIT - WRONG FACTS! Forwarded message
From: Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com Date: Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 3:30 PM Subject: Re: RAMACHANDRA GUHA: RIGHT SPIRIT - WRONG FACTS! To: Ramachandra Guha ramachandraguha@yahoo.in

Dear Mr Guha, 
1. There is no anger and animosity, only a simple statement of facts, namely: 
a. The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs is not a book but a crime punishable under sections 295A and 153A of the IPC, 1860 (45 of 1860) as declared in the Govt. Notification No 1612/C Dated 09-04-2009. 
b. Peter Heehs is an accessory to crime or a petty criminal if you will, under the very same sections.

2. Crimes and criminals are not dealt with by writing books but in accordance with the law of the land, which fortunately operates outside your universe of shallow moral grandstanding and statesmanship of convenience. 
3. Arundhati Roy was right about you. We don't wish to embarrass you any further and rest our case.
Truly, Prof Kamal Das.

On Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:32 PM, Ramachandra Guha ramachandraguha@yahoo.in  wrote:
Dear Mr Das,
  The anger and animosity, the viciousness and the vituperation, in your mail is unbecoming of a man who carries the title 'professor' and who is an admirer of Aurobindo.
  There is only answer to a book-- another book. If you and your colleagues have sufficient moral and intellectual courage, then have the case against Peter Heehs withdrawn, let his book be circulated, and publish and let your book be circulated too. Till such time as you do so, I can only conclude that you  have no moral or intellectual case to stand on. with best wishes
R. Guha    

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dharna in Puducherry against Ashram Trustees


from Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com bcc tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 
2 August 2011 22:15 subject Fwd: Fw: PHOTOS 4 attachments 11:05 PM 2 comments
PHOTOS OF 2ND SUCCESSFUL DHARNA BY PONDICHERRY PUBLIC 
AGAINST ASHRAM TRUSTEES 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Peter Heehs has stolen the research of his colleagues


From: Prof Kamal Das profkamaldas@gmail.com Date: Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 1:04 PM Subject: RAMACHANDRA GUHA: RIGHT SPIRIT - WRONG FACTS! To: ramachandraguha@yahoo.in

Dear Mr Ramachandra Guha,      

1. This has reference to your piece 'Ban the Ban' in The Telegraph on the 30th of July, 2011 and specifically to your comments/ views on the proscription of the book, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs.

2. It is surprising and unfortunate that a person of your standing and repute has made such facile, irresponsible and flippant remarks about 'hyperactive courts' and 'dogmatic devotees' without proper research and understanding of the matter.

3. We would like to believe that you have been misinformed, and in a genuine attempt at setting this wrong right, submit the following facts:

  • The proscription of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs has little to do with freedom of expression and is all about academic fraudulence, intellectual property theft, copyright violation, impersonation and criminal factual distortion with malicious intent.
  • The scope of the fraudulence in the book involves, inter alia, factual distortion, entirely concocted quotations, out-of-context quotes, presentation of perverse speculation as actual facts, deliberate suppression of evidence contrary to the author's thesis, etc. all of which is structured to harm Sri Aurobindo's image. Kindly visit www.TheLivesOfSriAurobindo.com for a detailed expose of factual distortions in the book compiled by senior scholars, historians and professors.  
  • Peter Heehs has never been in charge of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives as you wrongly claim, and has multiple cases pending against him in various courts for impersonating as the "founder of the Ashram Archives" when in fact he was only one of 40 proof-readers/ researchers there. Heehs has now conveniently accused Columbia University Press for wrongly having labelled him as the 'founder of the Archives' for the promotion of  the book and the matter is sub-judice.
  • Peter Heehs has stolen the research of his colleagues at the Archives for the publication of this book and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust has initiated disciplinary action against him in this regard. Additionally, Heehs has used substantial content in the book without proper permission in gross violation of the Ashram's copyright. Heehs has apologized in writing for this but the matter remains sub-judice.
  • With regard to the case filed in Chennai against extension of his visa, kindly be advised that the grounds for that case were the gross violation of the visa terms namely, non-reporting and non-payment of taxes due against income earned in India and gross mis-conduct as evidenced by criminal cases and arrest warrants pending against him. For the record, Mr. Peter Heehs is currently in India without appropriate legal permits.
  • While anybody is welcome to their definition and understanding of scholarship, the reality is that Peter Heehs is a school drop-out, with no formal training or qualification in any discipline whatsoever. While this should not disqualify or deter anyone from attempting to comment authoritatively on a spectrum of subjects ranging from literature to freudian analysis of the works and lives of extraordinary figures of our times, it is incumbent on the recipients of this unsolicited package of pseudo-history and speculation, to be circumspect and not fall prey to what is essentially a con-trick from a small-time crook.
  • Kindly note that in addition to the order of the Honourable High Court of Orissa, the Government of Orissa, acting on the request of the Home Ministry and in tandem with it, after due process of law, promulgated the Gazette Notification dated 09-04-2009, thereby making the proscription of the said book in the territory of India, de jure, effective from the date of notification. The gazette notification is attached herewith for your convenient perusal. 
  • The Gazette notification states, inter alia that the said book:       
§  “Promotes communal disaffection affecting public peace and tranquillity”
§  “The book depicts wrong and distorted facts on the life and character of Sri Aurobindo, which is clearly blasphemous”
§  “The book contains absurd, irrelevant and self-made stories, which do not have any scriptural support and has caused widespread indignation among the devotees”
§  “The writings portrayed in the book have seriously hurt the sentiments of the apostles of Sri Aurobindo and the said book, with deliberate and malicious intention has insulted the religious beliefs of millions”


4. The devotees of Sri Aurobindo have no objection to Peter Heehs and his ilk plying their trade in any part of the world including India as long as they do so without fraudulent credentials, misleading associations, malicious speculation and voyeurism and calling it research, history and authoritative biography. 

5. While, no icon, least of all an intellectual and spiritual giant like Sri Aurobindo, is likely to be affected by the shenanigans of petty roadside criminals, it must be understood and appreciated that reputation is a construct of the human mind and is consequently vulnerable to deliberate and unchallenged misinformation. Therefore the need to stand up and fight.

6. In view of the above, it would not be unreasonable to expect that you will take action to set the record straight with The Telegraph, and failure to do so would constrain us to reluctantly agree with Arundhati Roy's assessment of you, as a 'cricket historian who has missed the boat.'

Truly, Prof Kamal Das
Gazette Notification from Govt of Orissa on 9.4.2009.pdf