I think the reviewer is merely pointing out the dangers of "mental idolatory", which is a very real possibility with two spiritual giants like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (of whom I consider myself a devotee). The fact of the matter is that anything we might say about their occult activities is pure mental speculation until we also become fully conscious of our divinity.
Writes V. Chidanandam: 'A certain person wanted to publish a magazine and sought Sri Aurobindo's advice. Sri Aurobindo was reported to have said to him, "What is it you want to publish? your ignorance?"' ;-) By all means, people ought to publish what they know about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, but with the awareness that they are publishing their ignorance for the most part. ;-)
It is also true that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother never made a big deal about their significant occult abilities. As Sri Aurobindo notes: "Great saints have performed miracles; greater saints have railed at them; the greatest have both railed at them and performed them."
Nevertheless, this book is useful if one wants to piece together the details of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's lives, and view them in the larger context of what was going on in the 20th century, with the caveat that mental speculation is no substitute for spiritual realization. And Georges van Vrekhem is an excellent writer and had access to a lot of information about these two spiritual teachers.
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 8:40 AM 11:17 AM Lives war: 2007 - 2011
Indeed, Tusar, I'm in complete agreement with you. There just has not been anyone in history who comes even close to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in terms of their vast vision. I would say they are the only truly integrally realized avatars to have graced this planet.
Thanks Ned for expressing the obvious, which as you have observed in a number of online forums, people are reluctant to accept. Alan and you, of course, invariably insist on the experience aspect of the Integral Yoga and that is certainly the most important facet; but a general appreciation in respect of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo is sorely missing, and that is not going to improve as long as we the followers remain ambivalent.
You must, further, have realized that the opposition to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo arises out of a concerted resistance that has neither any intellectual rigour nor democratic ethos. So, it is only apparent that we too face them with comparable means. I am happy to spot you after a long silence as The Mother has endowed you with the power of eloquence. Let’s strive to be her instrument in the best possible way and the victory will be ours.