Thursday, June 21, 2012

Worst flavors of Fundamentalism and Extremism.

The Puducherry Court granted an interim injunction on 20 June, 2012 restraining the Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram from disturbing and stopping Dr Radhikaranjan’s Sanskrit and Biology classes in the Ashram School… This is the first time in the history of the Ashram School that a teacher had to go to the Court to seek justice. 

Auroleaks Carel June 15, 2012 at 9:49 am | #7 Dear Parvati, First of all, thank you for your appreciation of Auroville Today.
Then on the Peter Heehs controversy. As you are aware, after our review of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and the interview with Peter, we have only once given an extensive overview of the ongoing difficulties when the court case against the Ashram trustees was started. We have not touched the issue since, though we follow it closely. Like you, we are very happy that Peter’s residential permit has been extended – but we are sad that it is for only a year.
You criticize Auroville Today for not having informed its readers about this. We would like to explain the position.
Auroville Today is not like an Indian newspaper which is at liberty to challenge or criticise the government, as was done in the Peter Heehs issue. Our objective is to give information on Auroville issues, which of course include those about Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. It was from this perspective that we published the review, the interview and the article on the court case against the trustees.
For the Indian press, the issue is the freedom of individuals to express their views, even if those views are criticised by small but powerful lobby groups. The Peter Heehs issue closely followed the Salman Rushdie affair, who was ‘advised’ not to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival and whose speech through video link from London was cancelled after Indian Muslim activists threatened to use any amount of violence in order to stop Rushdie’s voice being heard. It followed the ban in Gujarat of Joseph Lelyveld’s book on Gandhi; the removal of A.K. Ramanujan’s study of the Ramayana from the syllabus of the Delhi university; and the death in exile of artist M.F. Husain who had been attacked by Hindu fundamentalists with a rash of lawsuits and attacks on him and his work. There are other cases too where the Indian government has not protected the writers and artists.
Now consider Auroville Today. The power of the Government of India to evict a foreigner from India is absolute, in the sense that the foreigner cannot go to court to challenge the eviction process. This Auroville learned in 1996, when the government refused to extend the Residential Permit of an Aurovilian who had been living and working in Auroville for over 20 years and served a Leave India notice to him to leave the country within 15 days. He went to court, only to learn that the government has the absolute and unfettered right to expel foreigners from India – the government is not even obliged to give any reasons for its decision. In the course of time, more Aurovilians have been expelled, and reasons were never given. As foreign editors of Auroville Today, this forces us to deal with our publication extremely carefully, and we do not comment on Indian issues.
We are happy that Peter’s visa has been extended, but are sad that it is only for a year. This means that the entire issue may come up again in another year. We hope that during this year, an appeal verdict will cancel the court order against Peter’s book, for then there are no grounds for the Government of India not to grant him a normal visa extension. Moreover, such a verdict would also clear the case against the Ashram. With kind regards, for Auroville Today - Carel

This book is a wonderful proponent of meticulous research and intellectual honesty that will go a long way in establishing a tradition of holistic understanding of Sri Aurobindo as spiritual seeker, a revolutionary leader, a poet and a visionary. To expel Heehs from this country would be nothing short ... their understanding of Sri Aurobindo and his yoga. 6. Several debates have already taken place in many internet forums where the book has been discussed threadbare.

Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram - May 25, 2012 We are well-wishers of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and believe that those who: […]
Inspired by several of the blogs that have recently been created to expose those who are doing all of the above, we too have created this blog to share the views, opinions and information that comes our way. Well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram 6 Jun 2012
There are several well-wishers of Sri Aurobindo Ashram who have been exposing the flaws in the positions and arguments of those who have been the most vociferous critics of the Ashram and of its administration. ... Some of the SR's [Sraddhalu Ranade's] pack members who had free access to SAICE Alumni [a closed internet discussion forum for SAICE alumni] in the recent past (and still have), beat a very hasty retreat when their blinkered views were challenged ...

About Peter Heehs My name is Peter Heehs and I am a historian based in Pondicherry, India. My historical work falls into four main categories: studies of the life and thought of Sri ... New start Posted on June 1, 2012 by Peter Heehs
For five or six years this site was hosted by Microsoft Office Live Small Business, a free service that allowed me, a writer with no knowledge of website creation, to put up some basic information about myself and my publications. Office Live Small Business gave up the ghost in May 2012, so I moved to a new host and rebuilt the site on the WordPress platform. Many thanks to Alec Heehs of Watermark Studio for helping with this transition.

Groups in the Integral Yoga - A sociology of Integral Yoga - David Hutchinson 1998. 
Distributed Communitarians: This group is both very similar and very dissimilar to the ashram-ites. They are connected to the Internet, and have imbibed something of its ethic of open information flow and absolute equality of authority.  The notion of one teacher is less important; rather, they see each person as contributing some special wisdom and insight.  Their notion of the flow of spiritual influence is somewhat like that of distributed computing, where authority and knowledge are *not* centralized, but rather distributed around the globe. Home page - Spiritual Contents

The Internet Era has facilitated the dissemination of information. However, this phenomenon has also facilitated the spreading of inaccurate and even deliberately misleading information.
In our Aurobindonian collective, we have benefited largely from the availability of information and material related to Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, their work, the institutions that they created like the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville and also by bringing together the larger Aurobindonian collective.
However, in recent times the internet has been increasingly used – or misused one may say – to spread inaccurate and even deliberately misleading information particularly to malign, attack or discredit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and even sections of the Aurobindonian collective.
But more often than not, these acts are done not so much as acts of freedom of expression or to create awareness, but they are clearly designed to promote a certain individual’s or a small group’s personal opinions, beliefs, motives and agendas.
The recent times have therefore seen an increase in websites, blogs, internet fora, etc., that have been disseminating and propagating information that is either blatantly false or deliberately misleading and inaccurate or that slyly sow the seeds of doubts in people’s minds. This is done in order to create Myths that over time tend to establish themselves as beliefs that take the appearance of “Truths”, which these personally motivated individuals or groups exploit for their limited ends.
This website therefore wishes to provide information that is required to weed out and dispel all the myths and misinformation that have been created over time. This is done with the hope and intention to help those who are interested to find and create a more balanced, reasonable and truthful atmosphere within the Aurobindonian collective.
We are not suggesting that the institutions that Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have established, such as the Sri Aurobindo Ashram or Auroville, are free of problems or cannot be criticized. Everyone is free to poke their nose into the internal affairs of these institutions or criticize them to their heart’s content if it so pleases them.
But we are of the opinion that the manufacturing of non-existent problems that are born out of myths and falsehoods – more often than not mischievously planted by individuals or groups that have personal agendas to execute – and the unjustified and baseless criticism that is publicly propagated to wrongly influence public opinion is unethical, immoral and unacceptable.
For instance there is a considerable amount of confusion that has been generated around the editing of Sri Aurobindo’s poem Savitri. Because the issues concerning the editing of the Savitri poem are complex, these issues have provided a fertile ground for the creation of myths and related controversies that have been used to the hilt to exploit people’s sentiments.
But more often than not a common sense approach to understand and evaluate the issues however complex is all that is required. Therefore, the issues presented here will be analyzed with the use of supporting information as well as with a good dose of common sense. Because common sense like a gust of wind can easily bring down the top-heavy edifices of Myths and Falsehoods which like a house of cards can quickly come crashing down.
Finally, we are well aware of the fact that “a lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Lies therefore tend to have a head-start over Truth, and they can travel around world much faster these days with the help of the internet. But we also know that when Truth has put on its shoes, it’s only a matter of time before it catches up, overtakes and outlives the fast but short-lived lies, even if these have a head start of a few decades.
Truth has now certainly put on its shoes, is well warmed up and ready to give the mischievous creators of lies and myths a good run for their money. As is oft repeated “Cling to Truth!” Administrators. Introduction to Dubious Websites:
As the internet is becoming increasingly accessible to a larger number of people, a plethora of websites, blogs, internet discussion groups, etc., related to Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the larger Aurobindonian collective are also ever-increasingly springing up. As a result of that a large amount of information on these subjects and related matters is being propagated through cyberspace.
While many benefit from the availability of such information, there is however a flip-side to the ease with which information, especially inaccurate, erroneous and even deliberately misleading information can be created and diffused on the internet.
Because like in everything else, there are a few individuals or small groups of like-minded people who are more interested and keen to promote their personal ideas, views and opinions as well as their personal agendas and interests, which more often than not go contrary to the ideology that they claim to espouse.  In fact, such individuals land up using an ideology – to which they may have an affinity or dedication – also as a prop to promote themselves. While lip-service is given to the ideology, it is in reality given a back seat as their personal preferences take over, determine and drive all their actions.
The evident and inevitable outcome of the mixing of ideologies with personal preferences is: confusion. This is made worse with the deliberate creation and diffusion of misinformation with the intent to confuse and muddle issues. Thus unfortunately in recent times, the names of Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, The Sri Aurobindo Ashram as well as the Aurobindonian collective have found themselves surrounded by rumours, myths, even blatant lies all designed to promote an individual’s or a small group’s personal preferences.
As the internet has provided a convenient platform for the diffusion of all kinds of information, this blog attempts to verify, analyze, demystify and critique some of the information, especially that which is dubious, inaccurate, misleading, biased, etc., that is being propagated on some of the websites and blogs that associate themselves to Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Aurobindonian collective.

The Integral Yoga Impostor Definition: one who publicly postures and professes to be a practitioner of Integral Yoga for the purpose of self-promotion especially by deception, while contradicting and undermining the core values of the Integral Yoga.
This website identifies and documents those who have publicly demonstrated themselves to be Integral Yoga Impostors; i.e. those who in the name of Sri Aurobindo and his Integral Yoga have publicly, actively and deliberately gone contrary to the values and principles of the Integral Yoga in order to pursue, promote or enforce their personal, exclusive, and limited aims. Background:
During the last decades, several Integral Yoga Impostors gradually but systematically entrenched themselves in the business of Integral Yoga. They painstakingly cultured and nurtured a following, expanding their reach or demarcating their territories, either in the form of Integral Yoga centers, websites, blogs, or mailing groups.
In spite of their differences, the Integral Yoga Impostors found it convenient to form a cartel of sorts that would allow each of them to trade their common merchandise of miracles, myths and fantasies in order to concoct a new formula of “Integral Yoga” which they could control and use as their personal commodity.
There were however a few thorns that remained irritatingly stuck in the fragile sides of these Integral Yoga Impostors. First and foremost the exclusive approach and pursuit of the Integral Yoga that they professed was antithetical to the Integral Yoga as laid out by Sri Aurobindo, the founder of this yogic approach.  Secondly, the seats of Integral Yoga, viz. the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville would not tow the line of these Integral Yoga Impostors or participate in or endorse their games of deceit or personal ambition.
Moreover, many of those who privately practiced the Integral Yoga felt that the increasingly rigid grip of the Integral Yoga Impostors over the Integral Yoga was becoming stifling and oppressive. Instead of a vibrant integration of yogas, the Integral Yoga Impostors were turning the rich spiritual landscape of Integral Yoga into the dull uniformity of a monotonous and organized devotion, religion or sect.
While it is acknowledged and accepted that there is nothing wrong in the use of devotion and religiosity in the practice of Integral Yoga, the rejection of all other forms of practices or approaches by the Integral Yoga Impostors was not only antithetical and contrary but also detrimental to the very basis of Integral Yoga.
That the veil of deceit of the Integarl Yoga Impostors was bound to be fragile became obvious when just one book - Peter Heehs’ The Lives of Sri Aurobindo shook and shattered their deceitful facade as well as expose their entirely un-integral approach to yoga and spirituality.
This publication firmly rocked the fragile base of the Integral Yoga Impostors as it deconstructed the merchandise of myths, fantasies and miracles with which these impostors conducted their trade. Additionally, the biography meticulously attempted to reconstruct and strengthen the foundation of the Integral Yoga as chronicled in Sri Aurobindo’s life.
One by one, but in rapid succession, the true character of each of the Integral Yoga Impostors got revealed as they scrambled to protect their trade by launching assaults on Peter Heehs, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville. Agitated demands for banning Peter Heehs’ book, the orchestration of campaigns for misinformation, slander and personal attacks, the staging of violent protests on the streets, inciting members of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville to create an environment of hate, distrust and division, legal actions towards attempts of a hostile take-over of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville and much more have all been and still are on offer by the Integral Yoga Impostors.
In so doing, the Integral Yoga Impostors did not hesitate for a second to contradict and undermine the very principles of the Integral Yoga that they were pretending to profess all this while. It soon became obvious that the brand of “Integral Yoga” that was being peddled by the Integral Yoga Impostors had instead all the worst flavors of Fundamentalism and Extremism.
But their acts of deceit are now exposed for all times to come. This website therefore chronicles and documents how each of these Integral Yoga Impostors took an active part in the abuse of the principles of Integral Yoga for their own personal gains, while in effect contradicting and undermining the values that they are posturing to profess. Editors.

A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... 25 Dec 2008 by General Editor - On the contrary, PH and his supporters are conducting a vicious campaign on the internet to malign anyone who criticises the book. They have not, so far, responded to academic criticisms in honest ...
A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... 17 Mar 2009 by Raman Reddy - In any case, let me just mention here that Angiras [Alok Pandey's Angry-on-us] complains elsewhere that he cannot do full justice to his thoughts because of the limited access of Internet he has been provided with. What a pity, that a free thinker should be ...
A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... 19 Mar 2009 by Raman Reddy - The Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Website (SCIY: has started serialising the letters of those who first brought to the attention of the Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram the highly controversial biography of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. One writer and ... And may I know why do you hide behind a pseudonym, as if you do not have the courage to reveal your identity to your readers on the Net?” I begin to wonder ...
A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... 26 Apr 2009 by Raman Reddy - In The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs, singling out blatant instances of such a dishonest manoeuvre that are directly related to a topic on which I have been working since 1955 – pre-Gandhian freedom movement in British India (1893-1918) – I bring them to the notice of interested readers. The book was to be re-printed by Penguin India in ..... Source: Peter Heehs in The Mother's Lasso, an Internet site. Peter Heehs, after a brief college life, lived in a New York ...
A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... 19 May 2009 by S Ranade - In return we have only received ad hominem abuse and insult from Heehs' group, IYF, SCIY, and through every possible internet forums that Heehs' abusive friends have got on to. The choice of SCIY as their ...
A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... 28 Aug 2011 by General Editor - 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 ... “I have been in Pondicherry the whole time and my perception is based on what I have experienced here, not on the discussion on internetforums where the situation has been different.
A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... 9 Nov 2011 by General Editor - That Sri Aurobindo's teachings have spread far and wide and that he is read more on the internet than all the study circles conducted by us is less known. That Sri Aurobindo today is a global phenomenon and the Managing ...
A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... 29 May 2012 by General Editor - The audience then disperses and the star entertainers call it a day with the great satisfaction of having won the battle on the Internet. Surely they have ... Right now, the SAICE forum is like a closed room where Kindergarten children raise a big ruckus over who is not on the side of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, because according to these star-performers, everyone faithful to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother has to be faithful to “Sri” Manoj Das Gupta! Here are a few ...

Kamal says: November 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm Well said! It is just a handful of people who have some personal problem or the other who are creating all this problem in the SA Ashram. And just because they have a computer at home and an internet connection they think that they are omnipotent. Many people are fed up with all their nonsense. It’s high time they stop! at 12:01 PM

The Unravelling of the Auroville Cult 13 Aug 2009 by Robert E. Wilkinson - What we are seeing today in Auroville and its internet propaganda machine, 'Savitri Era', are the final throes of decades of usurpation of Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's work by an Aurovillian mental elite who, for over thirty ...

Sri Aurobindo's Radical Social Vision: the Possibility of Telepathic ... 9 Sep 2011 by Tristan Gulliford - Featureteaser: Aurobindo Ghose (also known as Sri Aurobindo) was a Bengali mystic, poet, political activist, and social theorist. What would society look like if Aurobindo's views, methods, and ... One could argue that the Internet, particularly in the form of recent social networking websites, is already functioning as a crude pseudo-telepathic superstructure of human thought and information exchange. José Argüelles discusses this possibility in his book Time and the ...

In the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where men and women worked and lived side by side, all disciples were enjoined to forgo sexual intercourse so as to conserve and redirect sexual energies towards spiritual illumination. However, human nature being what it is, the .... In everyday life, people frequently engage in pseudo-interactions with women (e.g., through the phone or the internet) or anticipate interacting with a woman later on. The goal of the present research was to ...
In his poem Savitri (all of which was composed before 1950), Sri Aurobindo seems to have anticipated what the advent of television would bring to humanity. He wrote in his poem… On the dark background of a soulless world ... study of its kind in the West by University of Leeds psychologists…Lead author Dr Catriona Morrison, from the University of Leeds, said: “The internet now plays a huge part in modern life, but its benefits are accompanied by a darker side. ” ...
In the chapter Ladder of Self-transcendence in the Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindooutlines this gradual evolution from the barbarian to the philistine and then to the person of culture and intellect. The final stage of this evolution begins when the joys of phenomenal life .... 1) Begin by reducing frivolous conversation, controlling food intake and reducing the indulgence in TV, Internet, movies, etc. 2) Choose a powerful Mantra to chant. Bhakti (devotional chanting) is ...

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