April 17, 2009

It might corrupt and delay the fulfilment of Sri Aurobindo’s work

Fundamentalism in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram

We, the writers on this site, are concerned about recent actions by a vocal minority among the followers or devotees of Sri Aurobindo, and reactions by impressionable masses inside and outside the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. There are signs of attempts to turn the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother into a religion with some of the characteristics of fundamentalism. [...]

The Situation Today
Recently the conflict between individual freedom and the resistance of the mass mind has risen to an unprecedented level in connection with the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, by Peter Heehs, an American member of the ashram. An outline of the issues may be found here.

From the beginning, the movement against Heehs and his biography of Sri Aurobindo expressed itself in forms that differed considerably from those generally used in the discussion of historical literature. Heehs’s opponents have not checked his references, questioned his arguments, or suggested alternative interpretations. Instead, they have launched a mass movement demanding his immediate expulsion from the Ashram or at least from the department (the Ashram Archives) in which he worked, banning the publication of his book in India and calling for the destruction of all previously sold copies. When their demands were not met in full by the Ashram Trustees, they launched civil and criminal cases against Heehs, and otherwise attempted to intimidate him.

At this writing, the movement against Heehs and his book is still in full swing. Frustrated by their failure to bring about Heehs’s expulsion, the leaders of the movement continue their work through court cases, incendiary blogs, mass emailings, gossip, and other attempts to influence the mass mind in the Ashram and outside. So far their efforts have been remarkably successful.
We intend this site to serve as a platform or network for those who are opposed to these attempts to turn the Integral Yoga into a fundamentalist religion.

We fear that if this movement is allowed to continue, it might corrupt and delay the fulfilment of Sri Aurobindo’s work. At worst it might — to quote from a letter that Sri Aurobindo wrote in 1934 — reduce his work “to a pompous farce from which the Truth that was coming down recedes into secrecy and silence.” → Next Overview Introduction Integral Yoga Sri Aurobindo The Mother Sitemap Fundamentalism Issues Reviews Annotated Documents Further Documents Standpoints A Tale of Two Cities Force for Harmony Gone Missing? Savitra on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo DB's Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo DH's Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo Concerning The Lives of Sri Aurobindo Letters Bio Data Integral Yoga Sri Aurobindo The Mother Introduction Standpoints

Personal views, standpoints, and reactions with regard to the issues surrounding the publication of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs and the actions of those who raised them.
A tale of two cities
By Debashish
There was someone who once came across a book on great people. When he had finished about half the book, he came upon a chapter. After reading a few pages of that chapter, he was surprised to experience something he never thought was possible. He realized from within that
• there is a source of knowledge in man other than the mind • that this source of knowledge has greater certitude than mind • that the nature of this knowledge is not inferential but of a self-evident nature • that this source was bearing witness to the existence of Truth, not relative truths • that such Truth was what was staring him in the face from the pages of this chapter • that the person who was being spoken about in the chapter was the carrier and embodiment of Truth. Read more...
Force for harmony gone missing?
By David Hutchinson
It is interesting to observe that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's genius was in asking — and then investigating — questions that had been considered unthinkable and heretical not only by all religions, but also the physical sciences: the possibility that complete transformation could come from within, and include the entire being, including the physical body — and even extend itself out to the earth itself. Read more...
Savitra on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
Encouraged by Mike Murphy, Savitra accepted the invitation by Rich Carlson to publish a recent letter to a friend in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
"For obvious reasons," Savitri wrote in his reply to Rich dated Dec. 6, 2008, "personal names will be edited out with minor "splicings" edited in. In fact, I even prefer now to consider it a generic letter to the Ashram. In that sense, I offer it in the same spirit as those letters which we left for the Mother in the box on the wall inside the Ashram's main entrance.
"As SCIY represents a different readership than the recipient of my original letter, I also take the liberty to add a personalized 'epilogue/postscript' following the letter. This will allow me to express things which motivated and informed my letter but which were not appropriate to include in it." Read more...
DB's Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
Since some of my friends at the Sri Aurobindo ashram have expressed puzzlement at my stand against the "Brahmins of Pondicherry" in the matter of the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, I am copying here a letter written by me to a senior and respected member of the ashram. That the views expressed here are not "popular" is well known. But I am wondering how many others who have read the book share any of these views. — Debashish Banerji Read more...
DH's Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
Originally posted by David Hutchinson to the Auroconf email list; reposted on 25 Nov 2008 to the SCIY blogzine. Read more...
Concerning The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
Originally posted as a comment by Lynda Lester on Debashish Banerji's Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Read more...

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