Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heehs dared to outdo Hussain

[Comment posted by RY Deshpande:  making obscene paintings of goddesses.] 

The utility of secularism in normal life, and particularly, in governance is indisputable. So pervasive is its impact that even the NDA rule had to adjust itself to its demands. At the other extreme, unfortunately, we find Hussain’s indefensible act of overstretching the limits of freedom and tolerance. He might have settled for a solution to his personal predicament but the whole polity continues to fester. The sublimity of art and the primacy of creative freedom both took a beating; the secular ethos of the nation was maimed irretrievably.

Heehs dared to outdo Hussain. With the kind of reputation that he had painstakingly built up over the years, his objective school of scholarship would have gone places. The backdrop of a renowned spiritual institution would have accorded him an added aura. But he squandered all that in a trice. Consequently, scholarship suffers, research gets a bad name, and the courage of digging out facts is jeered at. Heehs himself is to blame for this demoralizing effect. For, begetting a single bastard child is enough to spoil the toil of an entire life time. [TNM]    

Wideness, humility and spirit of service

[They should not rule over the Ashram or its inmates. Ideally, sadhaks of wide minds and open hearts, they should serve the interests of the Ashram community as a whole. If they do not have the requisite wideness, humility and spirit of service, they are unfit for this function. -- Sraddhalu 28.7.2010 Reply to Manoj Das from Sraddhalu Ranade 3:21 AM]

This stipulation assumes that some would be more equal than the others. How persons of such caliber from within the community itself who qualify and can be elected/selected/nominated/co-opted as Trustees is the moot point. The modalities need to be spelled out, so that fresh ideas about fair administration of the Ashram flow in. 

Decentralization and distribution of portfolios also is an important facet of an efficient administration. This facilitates specialization as well as accountability leading to adequate appraisal and supervision. Developing suitable infrastructure for such structural modifications should be a priority. Representation of women and innovations like the Citizens’ Charter or Ombudsman etc. could be incorporated by and by. [TNM] 

American Savitri Eran

 “Something that is beyond man is happening,” Mr. Beck told the crowd, in what was part religious revival and part history lecture. “America today begins to turn back to God.”]

So said Glenn Beck at his rally this weekend. And as I reflect on this rally, treating it as a symptom of our current historical circumstances, I wonder if there isn’t a way in which he is right. This thesis, that it isn’t about politics, but rather about God, sounds remarkably like Hegel’s description of Stoicism and Unhappy Consciousness in The Phenomenology of Spirit. …
In suggesting that it is not about politics, but about God, Beck seems to be suggesting something similar. His point seems to be that so long as we strive to change our social and economic world, so long as we try to take our fate in hands through political engagement, we are doomed to frustration. Far better, he says, to turn away from the earthly world of politics and place our lives in the hands of God.]

Savitri Erans hold the clue to the Beyond Man domain and they must gear up to steal a march on the traditional players. [TNM]

Restore discernment and balance

RV is terribly perturbed over “the narrowness and stupidity of persons like Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade and Alok Pandey, who unfortunately have lost of all discernment and balance in this issue of the book.” He is eminently entitled to his own opinion and we welcome him to the discussion. He may, however, enlighten the readers by mentioning a couple of names who he thinks are endowed with wideness and wisdom. Further, he can cite certain examples of his own work so that his capability and credibility can be easily judged. [TNM] 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Talk politics

Our reverence for Sri Aurobindo translates for many to an unhealthy disregard for Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar et al. and the political principles they upheld. Not being enamored of philanthropy, most of us turn insensitive towards human misery and exploitation. An idealized view of the India Reborn makes us indifferent of the present political realities of the country and the complexity of our Constitutional provisions. Lack of sensitizing of contemporary political concerns of the country leaves most of us unaware of subtle political imperatives. A drastic reorientation is, therefore, needed in order to make good and responsible citizens of us. [TNM] 

Liberating vision for BJP

The RSS under the present leadership is busy rewriting the old rules. Not only has it reined in the BJP but also morphing it into a youthful organization. Ideological flexibility is the order of the day and joining hands with the Left or the Congress on pragmatic considerations no longer raises any eyebrow. What the BJP could not achieve all these years is, finally (and ironically), coming from the RSS. All this, no doubt, is in response to the Rahul effect, but the urgency with which the makeover has been implemented is really admirable.

This was essential as BJP is keen to bolster its national presence and portray itself as the only alternative to the Congress. But it lacks an icon who could bestow it the much needed respectability and credibility. Sri Aurobindo, here, fits the bill perfectly through whom the obscurantist past of the party can easily be hived off. So it needs another deft move by the RSS in its self interest. [TNM]

Last chance for Das Gupta to avoid ignominy

[I condemn Peter’s book, … I reject Peter’s book as a biography. -- Manoj Das]

These two phrases severally constitute expressing severe disapproval and we must take them at face value. All that Das says besides is part of the larger debate and can be fine tuned subsequently. This itself is a great victory and we congratulate Das for this forthright advisory. It is surprising, however, why this is being seen with suspicion and derision.

Be that as it may, Das Gupta has lost one of his last few props in the bargain. Now lame and desolate in his lone lane, he better calls it a day as soon as possible. [TNM]        

Savitri Era is the most versatile and vibrant of all religions

[Rahul Gandhi can't be all things to all people Daily News & Analysis OPINION > Editorial -  Monday, Aug 30, 2010 In what was probably his most political speech till date, he praised the tribal people of Orissa for standing up to the bullying ways of a large corporation ... Over the past few years, Rahul Gandhi has emerged as a charismatic youth leader, and his appeal seems to cut across caste, class and ideology. … But as he emerges evermore in the public sphere, he will have to make some hard choices on what he really wants to be. He can’t be all things to all people.]

one has to draw a line regarding certain active omissions and factual distortions in the book which warrant action rather than tolerance.]

Savitri Era Religion has had a chequered career thus far. Each person was happy to define it according to his sweet will till Heehs brought the matter to the brink.  One has to draw a line therefore as it can't be all things to all people for ever. And in this context, perhaps the foremost principle is that we can’t compromise with the premise of the old and established religions.

Savitri Era Religion has attracted appellations like synthetic or integral, but that does not mean amalgamation. Having presence in almost all countries of the world, it is the most versatile and vibrant of all religions, but at the same time it has its distinct identity and set of practices. There is absolutely no need to be apologetic about them, and the more we prefer to come out in the open about our religious choice, the better will be the prospect of our young religion. [TNM] 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Manoj Das is silent on SCIY

From Seth17279@aol.com to tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 7 July 2008 08:40 subject Sri Aurobindo, Stephen Phillips book, Heehs biography 
Seth Farber, Ph.D. New York www.sethHfarber.com Dear Tusar, … I have been reading Sri Aurobindo off and on since 1980 and have been strongly influenced and inspired and en-couraged by his perspective. …
Have you reviewed Heehs book yet? I just read it with keen interest. What a excellent book. I have a few quibbles. First he overlooks Savitri which has autobiographical as well as philosophical significance. Obviously judging from Savitri, Aurobindo was a man who had some experience of romantic love – as well as the tragedy of death. One must conclude that this tragedy impinged upon his own life. Can one also not conclude that Aurobindo had “fallen in love” with Mira Richard? How else can the kind of union Aurobindo asserted he had established with the Mother be attained?
And we know that relationship had a profundity greater than mere sexual love and affection about which Aurobindo was dismissive. Aurobindo’s response to Paul Richard which Heehs reports (for the first time, I think) that if the Mother wanted he would marry her (!!!) is indeed provocative. Strange that Heehs leaves it dangling–it is hardly consistent with the usual relationship between guru and disciple–although Heehs' no comment seems to imply (with Aurobindo) that it is. Quite remarkable. Don't you think?
In the light of these omissions it is not surprising, albeit disappointing, that Heehs also omits a discussion of the idea of physical immortality that is connected, I submit, into the idea of romantic love. In the kingdom of death love is doomed. Is this not the meaning of Savitri for modern man/woman? Have you read Vladimir Solovyov whose ideas seem to parallel Savitri?
Aurobindo was correct: an biography of him had to remain strangely incomplete because so much about this enigmatic figure remained below the surface – as even Heehs’ excavations have confirmed. I look forward to any thoughts you may have on my musings above. Thanks for your website… Namaste. Regards, Seth www.sethHfarber.com Monday, July 07, 2008 10:15 AM]

[The Genesis of a Controversy Annotated by Angiras
A two-page document, "The Role of Peter Heehs in the Archives," was submitted to the Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram around the beginning of September, 2008. This was perhaps the first definite act of hostility in what quickly grew into a full-blown campaign against Heehs. It was soon followed by several longer and in some cases even more virulent letters which were widely circulated to mobilize opinion and force the Trustees to take action. …
This document, headed “The Role of Peter Heehs in the Archives,” was circulated anonymously and is undated. It has been attributed on some websites to Ranganath Raghavan. Ranganath is reported to have given a letter (presumably this one) to the Trustees around the beginning of September 2008 along with Raman Reddy, the compiler of the “Extracts,” who is also a member of the Archives; “we” in the letter probably includes Raman.] 

Despite their pretensions, I dont think the Heehs crowd was ever interested in intellectual debate over the matter.  They (especially Texas Tom!) just took out their guns and started shooting like Rambo (without the justification). From the beginning (for a long time and even now for the most part), it's the "fundamentalists" who have taken great pains to explain their position. It was the "fundamentalists" who tried to reason and went to great lengths to be conciliatory. The "intellectuals" in contrast were not amenable to debate then and they are not open to debate now. They have essentially declared the 'liberal' version of "you are either with us or against us" which is just as pernicious as its conservative counterpart!
On the positive side, it is clear that the book is now sufficiently suspect and will never be considered reliable on its own.

We are where we are because of what Heehs and Carlson have done.  They have reflected the virulent viewpoints and attitudes of specific people in the US academy and the Indian left that are very hostile to SA, India, and all Indians but especially the Hindus.]

Cultural and other differences of background do exist that have influenced the debate and must be examined.  But these have only been used by SCIY to create a false divide and ill-will from the very beginning perhaps at the instigation of Heehs - their warning to Westerners living in Pondy and Auroville is an example.
Real open-mindedness, humility, and restraint are what are needed and the political baggage that some of Heehs most vocal supporters bring with them must be jettisoned if we have to move forward.

At the very beginning of all of this, the SciFi people indicated that they saw Heehs book as something that would preempt the psychoanalysts and answer many of their questions.  Of course, Heehs himself may have also had other reasons for writing it.  They also saw it as something that would help spread Sri Aurobindo's message in the West. …
The SciFi people are so cocksure that they are unwilling to see the contradictions that pepper their theories much less admit that there are clear merits in the opposing arguments.

What SCIY offered in Heehs defense is called ex post facto justification.  Peter writes for his own intellectual pleasure and his defenders pretend that it is part of his service to the Master!!  The reality is that the psychoanalysis in this book is abridged from his 1997 paper "Genius Mysticism and Madness".  One must look at the previous work to see the train of thought.]

“I reject Peter’s book as a biography. I appreciate the anguish it has caused. You know very well I am not any less anguished. I assert that this sort of book should not be written and should not be published again even if corrected at some places because it is written at a level of consciousness that does not deserve to handle as sublime a subject as Sri Aurobindo’s life.” …
“I condemn Peter’s book, but I also reaffirm my conviction that far greater harm has been done by those who attacked the book and the way in which they did it—making mountain of a molehill.”]

But Manoj Das’s presenting it at this stage of developments gives one also the impression of him adjusting his sails to the strong winds that are blowing today. He is a politician at the core, and this is perfectly understandable.]

The SCIY site has vanished now and the day to day debates can never be reconstructed. After two turbulent years one has to rely upon whitewashed history and whatever the adjudicators say. That is the way of the world. But the Ashram insiders very well know what the truth is and surely it will never die. [TNM] 

Love for the hoi polloi

Although Puducherry is located near the sea shore, many in the Ashram feel as if they are on a hill top, at least, that is the attitude they nurse towards the hoi polloi. Creating a cocoon that ‘we are special’ is, of course, a defense mechanism to ward off continual attacks of doubt or deprivation, but when it is flaunted as a sign of superiority, then it can hardly be seen as salutary.

India is a fond issue, but only in its abstraction, or at best, as a bland map and not in its rich demographics. Visitors are perceived as intruders, and their constant stream makes the ashramites indifferent and insensitive. Logistics, obviously, rouse worries, but then love is the bedrock upon which the whole edifice of the Ashram stands.  

The mass is a pejorative concept for many. But, it can scarcely be said that The Mother & Sri Aurobindo ever harbored such contempt. Their teachings, in their wide applications and complexity, will continue to be harnessed in diverse ways for centuries to come. Let us not draw narrow boundaries and imbue them with official halo. [TNM]     

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Das Gupta capitulated to an American brat

I remember the case of Makarand Paranjape’s offensive remarks on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s Avatarhood in his introduction to a compilation on Sri Aurobindo, for which the Ashram had given him permission. The same Managing Trustee admirably rose to the occasion, intellectually took on Heehs and others who were supporting the Paranjape’s point of view and forced him to rewrite the introduction. Interestingly, the Managing Trustee’s arguments, which beat Paranjape’s supporters into submission, were more or less the same as ours now. When Heehs’s scandal broke out, I was deeply disappointed that the Managing Trustee did not repeat the act, for which he was in every way capable, both morally and intellectually. Instead, to my utter dismay, he displayed unusual weakness and literally capitulated to an American brat. This is precisely why I suspect that this time an extraneous factor has tied his hands and the dogged defence of the book is merely a smokescreen to cover up a deeper element. As I have said earlier, only Time will tell us the truth, and perhaps after much water flows under the bridge.]

This incidence seems to be a precursor to the Heehs imbroglio and it would be nice if further details of the whole story are made public. The Ashram files various declarations pertaining to its own functioning to the courts from time to time, but the devotees are kept in dark about these goings on. So much for dignified silence! [TNM]   

Surrendered Jauhar

[Pipe leak shuts Aurobindo Marg again Times of India
NEW DELHI: Aurobindo Marg, one of the arterial roads of south Delhi, again became ground zero of a massive traffic chaos on Friday. ...
... after Tata Motors certified the Nano as "absolutely safe", in a first in Delhi, a car went up in flames at a parking lot in Aurobindo Marg on Friday. ...]
Whenever Sri Aurobindo adorns the front page of Times of India, we pay homage to Jauhar.

Christological theories abound seeking to reconcile the divine and human aspects, and Savitri Erans face more or less a similar situation while rationalizing the divine manifestation of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The problem is rather compounded because they are two and belong to different sexes and are so recent in history and lived amongst us. Many confusions, therefore, are bound to arise when we apply their sayings verbatim to circumstances separated by space and time.

Erangelism, for instance, is a sphere of work as essential as any other and in a broader sense includes all actions dedicated to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The signboard announcing “Sri Aurobindo Marg” silently serves the erangelical purpose while the orator or the writer might seem more vocal. Further, each person has his specialized role to play and through coordinated division of labour only we can surge forward. [TNM]        

Friday, August 27, 2010

Beware of masks

Americans too, like Indians, are divided in their support for political parties, and it is not without significance that the Heehs imbroglio coincided with the high pitch Obama campaign. The Ashram, unfortunately, has become a battle ground for American (read, World) politics, and the stakes are terribly high. The situation is all the more scary as more and more masks are marshaled for enacting trickery while the overall purpose is kept under wraps. Indications of intransigence have been let out quite confidently, and it is going to be a no-holds-barred battle. A firm adhesion to faith is the only weapon in these adverse circumstances. [TNM]

Running with Heehs

Comment posted by: Tusar N. Mohapatra Re: Sraddhalu Ranade writes to Manoj Das:
This following post by Banerji was deleted by him because of mistaken attribution but retains its significance for evidencing the ambivalence that Das skillfully wove for two years climaxing in his letter to Sraddhalu. [TNM]

[Notable Ommissions: Manoj Das Reviews  The Lives of Sri Aurobindo - Annotatated by Debashish Banerji from Science, Culture and Integral Yoga by Debashish on Sat 16 May 2009 - Manoj Das, recepient of India's most prestigious literary award has penned a short review of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Das praises the book for its empirical data but clears those who see "malicious intentions" in it from "blame" after affirming "These interpretations reveal more of author’s inner workings than the object of investigation." He then points to a number of "active ommissions" by the author, but in the process, himself pepetrates the most notable omission in the annals of men of letters of all times by forgetting to mention that those he "cannot blame" are actively supporting persecution of the author and book banning. Here is an annotated version of the review. Savitri Era Open Forum on 5/16/2009, Savitri Era on 6/03/2009]

Islallusions

[Can Cairn turn into Abel? Economic Times - 27 Aug 2010
The only argument that can be put forth against Vedanta taking over Cairn India's management is inexperience. But then, Cairn Plc was a little known company ...]

Do you have a list of all the Biblical allusions in Savitri?  Maybe you could make it a separate post.]

Judeo-Christian mythological allusions are quite common in our discourse whereas the same facility is rarely extended to Islam, Zoroastrianism, or Bahá'í Faith. [TNM]

Sack Das Gupta

[Jnanpith meets today, may sack director Indian Express - By Ashutosh Bhardwaj, 23/08/2010

Marred by controversies and under sustained pressure from writers across the country, the Bharatiya Jnanpith may sack its director, Ravindra Kalia, ... "I hope the Jnanpith trust takes proper action to protect its prestige and credibility," said trustee and former Karnataka Governor T N Chaturvedi. Bhartiya Jnanpith holds urgent meeting against its director Deccan Herald - New Delhi, Aug 23, (PTI)]

T.N. Chaturvedi should also come out openly to protect the prestige and credibility of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry. [TNM]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jettison Das Gupta

The book was ostensibly intended for a target group, but as a product it should have passed through zero defect norms. The lapses are deliberate and there is clear collusion, whereas people are pretending like Young Girl/Old Woman Optical Illusion. Born in treachery, the book is void ab initio, but Das Gupta has no remorse as banality of evil has gripped him. [TNM]

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Accused can't be the judge

[From day one till this date my stand has been one of prayer and patience and wait and see. I know that it is very disconcerting for the ‘man of action’ and I have been accused of ‘escapism’ and gross dereliction of my duty. (Manoj Das Gupta’s Analysis, p. 8) Sat 21 Aug 2010 03:30 AM IST  |  Permanent Link]

Manoj Das Gupta, clearly, is on the back foot. And resign he must. [TNM]

Monday, August 23, 2010

Disclaimer as discursive event

[Textuality is not simply a second-order ideological expression or a verbal symptom of a pre-given political subject. That the political subject as indeed the subject of politicsis a discursive event is nowhere more clearly seen than in a text which has been a formative influence on Western democratic and socialist discourse Mills essay On Liberty.  Homi Bhaba Indian Political Thought: A Reader]

Heehs absolves the Ashram of any obligation through a disclaimer in the book. Though an innocuous and normal insertion, the text, as an event, assumes far greater significance in several ways. For instance:
  • It claims parantage albeit negatively, 
  • The author's sovereignty and independence is also loudly announced,
  • A hint emits that the content might be unconventional (and spicy); &
  • By implication, the Ashram's image is projected as amorphous and permissive. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ashram should issue a notice to Heehs

Government on Saturday said it has issued a notice to Internet search giant Google for depicting Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir as part of Pakistan... Notice to Google for showing PoK as part of Pakistan NDTV.com‎
New Delhi: The Centre has issued a notice to Google for showing Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) as part of Pakistan. Google's Insights For Search tool has ... Govt. issues notice to Google over wrong depiction of parts of J-K Sify‎
Taking a serious note of Google India showcasing some part of Jammu and Kashmir incorrectly, the Government has issued notice to the website and directed ...]

The Ashram should issue a notice to Heehs for casting aspersions on Sri Aurobindo’s reputation. [TNM]

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rely upon the power of the pure purpose

As democracy favors numbers, politics in India has turned a competitive game of keeping people under the spell of diverse brands. The bliss of belongingness is so great that not only it binds the masses, but also the academicians and analysts. Naomi Klein, of No Logo fame, herself became a brand. Recent books like The Myth of the Rational Voter and The Myth of the Rational Markets are pointers to such a pervasive phenomenon. But the question is whether playing by the same rules is at all desirable and if rationality has any meaning or use. For the lovers of philosophy and the followers of Sri Aurobindo, however, the answer is not very difficult. 


The rational zone, as we know, is sandwiched between the vital and the supra-rational. And hence what we confront as the irrational and unpredictable is actually a confusing admixture of intimations emanating from both the higher and lower sources. “Heaven's wiser love rejects the mortal's prayer” is a common instance of the unexpected squatting. In that sense, rationality rarely fails. The secret, however, is to discern the limitations of vital diktats and rely upon the power of the pure purpose. When translated to political strategy, the slow and steady recourse promises to be rewarding. In fact, that itself is a brand and its following can’t strictly be categorized as irrational. Certain things can verily be rational, as Ridley's The Rational Optimist seems to scream. [TNM] 

Satprem won, Heehs won't

The gross improprieties that have come to light in the recent past has proved beyond doubt that Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry has gathered dross. Taking shelter under technical lacunae, these elements have been successful in creating an impression that they are indispensable and their fort is impregnable. Prolonged assignment of executive duties has landed many into the illusion of handling power perpetually. Instead of facing the searchlight of truth squarely, they are resorting to crude subterfuges and diversionary devices.

Timid reconcilers and confused fence sitters are perhaps imagining that this imbroglio would go the Agenda way. But, their calculation is bound to backfire in the end. Satprem had The Mother’s resplendent words in his side and therefore he won, whereas in Heehs we encounter a hyena who scavenges stray phrases to create deceiving versions of reality. Mostly he comes across not as a great craftsman but as a crafty interloper.      
   
Now that the final showdown is drawing near, it is necessary to spread out the antenna a bit scrupulously. For, the book and its author is not the only issue, rather the very sanctity of the Ashram and its reputation are at stake. We are all familiar with the “Silence” commands, but the advisory currently is perhaps to speak out. [TNM]     

Heads must roll; plain and simple

[Manoj Das’s Disastrous Advice - Alok Pandey Sat 21 Aug 2010 11:57 AM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link
He must understand that others are also looking inside and seeking an inner guidance, they are as much aware of their soul and are not acting simply under some sentimental rush or egoistic impulse. Some respect for other's inner inspiration please! 3:15 PM]

No such mystification is necessary as it is not at all an esoteric issue. Stating howsoever mildly that Sri Aurobindo was of questionable character or of doubtful intellect is beyond the mandate enjoyed by the Ashram and all those who have been found wanting in discharging the trust enjoined upon them have to leave. Heads must roll; plain and simple. [TNM]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tomorrow is World Union Day

Debate and discussion over Sraddhalu’s July 28 letter in the blogosphere adds up to almost negligible. People, obviously, don’t want to risk personal equations for the sake of macro and abstract–seeming concerns. Nothing surprising that the butcher, the brewer, & the baker will safeguard their own interest first. But what about them who get up and go to bed with books?

Tomorrow is World Union Day. But with the Ashram Trust as well as the Auroville Foundation in such miserable states of governance, what shall we tell to the world outside? Won’t it be sheer hypocrisy waxing eloquence about human unity if the devotees are harassed but imposters harbored?

The prototype of the world government must emerge from within the Ashram itself. A truly representative federal set-up can function as a nucleus as well as inspiration. The same can be replicated in Auroville too in due course. But the cartel of existing power brokers forms a formidable obstacle. Breaking it would require a different set of hammers. [TNM]       

Unprecedented frozen conscience

I speak of three sorts of likely readers: (1) those steeped in the Indian tradition who find nothing remarkable about powers like trikaldrishti, since they are described in texts like the Puranas; (2) those who study mystical experience as a remarkably interesting aspect of human potentiality; (3) those who view spiritual experience as a sort of psychological aberration. …
While in the book I don't state my own position in the matter, I can inform you privately that it is position (2). With position (1) I am not concerned. The purpose of my treatment is to take up the objections raised by those of position (3), and by discussing them, to show that they are invalid. This strategy is clear in the book itself and in the enlarged extracts that I attach. This form of argument is, I believe, similar to the purvapaksha-uttarapaksha form of argument of Sanskrit rhetoric. (I say this in an attempt to make my intentions clear by giving an example that may be familiar to you. I have never actually studied Sanskrit rhetoric.) It is also of course a form of argument used Sri Aurobindo in The Life Divine. (Please don't imagine I am comparing my book to The Life Divine.) You may remember a passage in the Mother's talks where she says that Sri Aurobindo's use of this type of argumentation left him open to charges from ignorant people that he was accepting a position that he in fact was discussing in order to refute it.
I hope the above makes my intentions on pages 245-248 of my book clear. I am trying to convince people holding position (3) that it is perfectly all right to view spiritual experience in a positive light. But to do this, I have to speak their language (to the degree that I have learned it) and to cite their literature. (To give one example, I cite a representative of the Freudian school even though, personally, I reject Freudian psychology completely.)
Understanding this, you will see that your accusation that I am engaged in a "personal vendetta against Sri Aurobindo" has no foundation. I am actually trying to encourage people who may have been troubled by my quotations from Record of Yoga to put aside their objections. More generally, I am trying to make it possible for people not disposed to take spiritual experience seriously to study it in depth and form their own conclusions. Peter Heehs]

[Pranabda, My personal assessment of PH, in the context of this book (I may be totally wrong) is as follows: He may not have had a malafide intention as such to denigrate Sri Aurobindo. Unfortunately; he was so obsessed with the anti-hagiography idea that in order to prove his credentials to be an “objective” (does such a thing really exist!) biographer, he has at several places crossed all limits of simple decency! Manoj Das Gupta's letter reeks in chicanery 05/10/08]

[Peter was tempted by an urge to take recourse to some uncanny novelty in his approach to the biography and probably wished to be acknowledged as a so called academic, … Manoj Das wrote to Sraddhalu 28 June 2010]

[Division and disharmony lies within each one of us...: Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Open Forum at 3:31 AM, August 09, 2010
His books are indeed firming up a theory that might well contribute towards a “doctrine” very soon! … Heehs status is in fact very relevant and there ARE serious errors and distortions ably brought out by many people. …
First, what he makes are confidently asserted statements that will be construed as facts by the lay reader, one who may not be very familiar with Sri Aurobindo. Second, when delivered by someone who says he is an ashramite or the keeper of the archives, the statements assume even more significance/importance/authority (not whether true or false).]

The SKKFM style of literary novelty might earn him a Nobel Prize, but no power can exonerate Heehs from his ignoble act of character assassination of the Masters. The book has been in circulation for over two years now and the Ashram shamelessly trades the reputation of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo for a few pieces of silver. Such example of frozen conscience is not available in the 10,000 years history of India. A spirit of democratic tolerance and non-violence has prevented the devotees to go for the jugular and the top echelons of the Ashram are shrewdly extracting advantage of this to the hilt. But, what's worrisome is, as they say, there is a limit to everything. [TNM]