Friday, September 19, 2008

Writing an irreverent book is not a crime

from Tusar N. Mohapatra <> to PP Raghavachary <> date19 September 2008 13:01 subject Re: Protests against Peter Heehs, author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo [4:53 AM]

Dear Raghav,

Thanks for forwarding the attachments, but please clarify whether I can publish portions of them in Savitri Era Open Forum.

You have informed that "Presently there are many protests raised by various senior inmates of the Ashram demanding expulsion of Peter Heehs from the Ashram." But most of the material that I have read so far is by those belonging to the Seminar circuit.

The Board of Trustees of the Ashram is itself an enlightened body, which, if the situation so warrants, can proceed suo motto in the matter. I, therefore, fail to understand the rationale behind this "prayers and petitions" mode adopted by our self-appointed senators. Heehs must have submitted a copy of his book to the Ashram long back, and someone prominent must have gone through it.

The Ashram should first come out with that person's impressions of the book if it is perceived objectionable; and then, if it seeks the opinions of others, then, well, they are free to offer the same. These, in any case, are individual opinions, and hence, should never be made to appear as representing that of the majority.

Frankly, I am not impressed by the stand taken by our learned friends and in their over enthusiasm there is the danger of mixing too many issues. There is the further hazard of many of them not being equipped enough to discern the kind of theoretical complexities involved in voicing such objections.

Writing an irreverent book is not a crime, and therefore, punishing someone for this sole reason is patently illogical. As an author and researcher, Heehs deserves our respect, support, and goodwill and in that we should not be found wanting at this crucial juncture. He is as eminently entitled to his creative freedom, as I am in my own tiny way.

Yours fraternally, Tusar N. Mohapatra [7:40 AM]

1 comment:

  1. I agree!
    It may be disappointing, to find a long time Ashram inmate to write such a superfluous book, full of a "sceptical" attitude, because he seems to bow down to the "authority" of Western scholars, people who do not know that they do not know.

    Mr.Hees may want to belong to the circle of Nobel Prize aspirants, but that's quite out of question if a subject like Sri Aurobindo is
    raised up.

    I really don't like this "biography" of a Yoga master,
    a master who lived an inner life certainly beyond such a "biographical" description!

    It's a crime, O.K.,but a subtle crime.
    But this witch hunt against Peter Hees is itself a crime.

    Sri Aurobindo and The Mother set out high standards. Peter Hees failed with this book..what about the others?? And their deeds? If they had to live up to the same standards they impose on that poor Peter?

    Please! Give me a break.

    Sheer hypocrisy and bigotry!