Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tusar has put himself in a position of leadership in matters of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Update - August 2009

To get an example of the modus operandi of Thea's followers, look at how they all leap to attack Tusar N. Mohapatr on his Savitri Era blog, dated Saturday, August 08, 2009. external link The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have already accomplished the metaphysical victory. Two and a half weeks after the original blog post, and and a half weeks after Tusar's last comment, messages were still appearing, as PNB devotees thunder accusations at Tusar, which seem to be incraesingly unrelated to anything he actually wrote. What seems particularily strange is that Tusar is one of the few if perhaps the only person to give the PNBers blogspace. He has a number of times published articles or emails by Robert Wilkinsion and Lori Tompkins. e.g. external link Carter Phipps' warm embrace of Peter Heehs' book by Robert Wilkinson - (3 May 2009) - about Peter Heehs Lives of Sri Aurobindo, submitted to Tusar after Wilkinson wasn't allowed to post it on Carter Phipps' (editor - EnlightenNext) external link May 2nd blog article, or more recently external link The Deportation Case Against Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet - by Lori Tompkins, dated just four days earlier (4 August, 2009). Why are these people attacking someone who helps them; god knows they have so few frinds with their antagonistic attitude!

It may be that this sort of self-destructive biting the hand that feeds you behavior is common in this group; certainly they have always adopted a very hostile attitude to Auroconf. In any case, the degree of shadow projection and alienation of possible friends and allies indicates that the PNBers are caught in a self-destructive spiral of which can surely only harm them. It would be interesting to compare this with other similar antagonistic guru groups.

Reply, email from Lori Tompkins:

Alan, I have read your latest impressions/spin on the Tusar discussion as published on Kepler. Tusar has put himself in a position of leadership in matters of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Does that mean he is above critique? Of course not. Does the fact that Tusar has posted articles by me in the past mean I should not critique his stance if I find it deeply flawed? Of course not. What is the use of an Open Forum if people cannot present and discuss their differences? If you read the three articles/responses I wrote, inspired by Tusar's August 8th post and to his August 15th post 'Lori Deplored', you will see that there is real content, real information to be read and considered ... i.e. a real critique with real substance. Tusar brought up a topic worthy of discussion, critique and flushing out and so it went. It wasn't really about him, though he is the one who attracted the critique. My responses address what he announced himself oblivious to. Due to lack of space, these articles were published only in part on Savitri Era Open Forum. I hope you will post this letter and the following links by your 'Update August 2009' so your readers can perhaps consider the actual content of what I have written before joining you in judging, psychologizing, belittling and dramatizing my critique of Tusar's line of thought. Lori Tompkins

To reply and clarify my position: my concern was not with the content of the material, with what Tusar thinks or says or what the PNB people say or think. It is that in this case four people would gang up on one, especially on someone who had previously posted their material when no one else would. contact me
page by M.Alan Kazlev The above page is based on my original wikipedia write-up, plus additional material (note - Wikipedia page deleted, so this link no longer works) page uploaded 5 November 2006, last modified 25th September 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I dont think that we should get agitated and upset at the remarks of Peter Heehs

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "If one Peter Heehs is pardoned today, a thousand w...":

Whether people call him an Avatar, a Guru, a Prophet, a revolutionary, a philosopher or an enlightened human being, people look at Sri Aurobindo from the level of their own consciousness. To know what he really is, we have to be on the same level as Sri Aurobindo. But only The Mother is on his level and no one else.
But I dont think that we should get agitated and upset at the remarks of Peter Heehs. He has his own opinion. Imagine how Sri Aurobindo or the Mother would have reacted to such a comment. They would just have smiled at what Mr Peter Heehs has said.
What makes the Integral yoga unique is that, its followers are not fanatics like the followers of separatist religions. As fanaticism itself is a dark force, a falsehood, which has to be conquered, both within us and in the outside world.
As Mother has said that, it's the human law which says that people have to be punished for their wrong doings, but the divine law is of compassion and mercy. So I think we should let go of these scepticisms, which are bound to be there until the hour when the Supramental sun fully rises over our Earth consciousness. Until then there may be many dark lanes in our cities and even within us, where these sort of thoughts and beings try to hide themselves, but this will remain only for a short period, as we are already in a stage of transition. Posted by Anonymous to Aurora Mirabilis at 1:36 PM, September 20, 2009
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A certain exposure to the clash and competition of...":
Mute Magazine is giving away a free copy of Born Again Ideology with a sub (about £20 if you're in the UK)- it's actually 2 books in one binding - the other half is Left Behind: Religion, Technology and the Flight from the Flesh Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Learning Forum at 8:33 PM, September 17, 2009
patricewilliam has left a new comment on your post "Sri Aurobindo has linked our individual psychology...": An insightfull post. Will definitely help.
Karim -
Creating Power
Posted by patricewilliam to Savitri Era at 10:59 AM, September 23, 2009
New comment on your post #255 "Nirmal Singh Nahar on Satprem and Sujata"
Author : Deepak (IP: , E-mail :
Saintly persons live a life of simplicity and shower so much words of wisdom to us. Hope the important messages of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is accepted by the world to free the world from strife, falsehood, fanaticism, war and misery. OM
praveen has left a new comment on your post "School of Perfect Eyesight":
the above given phone number is not working. Please give me the correct contact number.
i need it urgently. Please help me out. Posted by praveen
to the Orchid and the rOse at September 17, 2009 12:22 AM
New comment on your post #98 "Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea)"
Author : Loup Kibiloki (IP: ,
E-mail : URL : Comment:
With due respect, simply to remind something that The Mother once told about Sri Aurobindo and his action in the world (not verbatim): that wherever there is cruelty, it's not of him, it has nothing to do with him. Cruelty is asuric - and so is mensonge (lying) and falsity (remember the name of the last Asoura: "L'Asoura du Mensonge"?)... You can see all comments on this post here:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who decides which person is legetimate? (Kapper Network-communications Gmbh) Austria, Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "With his many cross-linked parasitic blogs, this c...":

oh my god, the thought police are now after you. why do these people think sri aurobindo needs to be protected or defended? who decides which person is legetimate? everyone is free to approach the guru as they want. mother never stopped anybody from doing anything.

its amazing to see that you are also being jugded based on one simple quote without any context. they need to go throughout the entire web site. this site is filled with contradectory ideas but overall quite balanced. this website is like the heehs book 'lives of aurobindo'.

so ask them to read the entire site not just one quote picked from soemwhere Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Open Forum at 5:09 AM, September 14, 2009


Heehs Biography Controversy - my friend Tusar N. Mohapatra is anti-Heehs, here he has collected a series of links and documents -M. Alan Kazlev 11 August 2009: My thoughts on the controversy surrounding Peter Heehs' book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo Kheper Home

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Their teachings and personalities have become a religion

M.Alan Kazlev 11 August 2009: My thoughts on the controversy surrounding Peter Heehs' book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo Kheper Home Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Home Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Books Topics Index Divinisation New Search The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: Peter Heehs

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Columbia University Press (2008) 528 pages) is the first ever scholarly non-hagiographic study of Sri Aurobindo. Heehs is a scholar who managed the ashram archives for some 30 years; he wrote a very informative academic-style biography of Sri Aurobindo. I found it both facsinating and inspiring. Sri Aurobindo the unreachable perfect god, I have no interest in such a conception at all. Sri Aurobindo the imperfect and fallible human who at the same time was an avatar of Supramental transformation, that he went from being an ordinary person to such a great Realizer, now that is what I find inspiring!.

Rather than write a simple overview of what the book is about (which I find tedious to do anyway), I'll quote from the publicity blurb on Amazon com.

Since his death in 1950, Sri Aurobindo Ghose has been known primarily as a yogi and a philosopher of spiritual evolution who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in peace and literature. But the years Aurobindo spent in yogic retirement were preceded by nearly four decades of rich public and intellectual work. Biographers usually focus solely on Aurobindo's life as a politician or sage, but he was also a scholar, a revolutionary, a poet, a philosopher, a social and cultural theorist, and the inspiration for an experiment in communal living.Peter Heehs, one of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, is the first to relate all the aspects of Aurobindo's life in its entirety. Consulting rare primary sources, Heehs describes the leader's role in the freedom movement and in the framing of modern Indian spirituality. He examines the thinker's literary, cultural, and sociological writings and the Sanskrit, Bengali, English, and French literature that influenced them, and he finds the foundations of Aurobindo's yoga practice in his diaries and unpublished letters. Heehs's biography is a sensitive, honest portrait of a life that also provides surprising insights into twentieth-century Indian history.

Sounds straightforward...sounds good. And I really do feel this is an excellent contribution to the field of Aurobindo studies.
Not since Satprem published the Agenda has the Integral Yoga community been wracked by such a schism.

The Western disciples and Westernised Indians praised the book, and no doubnt were inspired by it for exactly the same reason I was (well, some of them anyway). But the religious and devotional Indians hated it. I myself could find nothing at all objectionable about his book, but the ashramites are up in arms; Heehs has been driven out and there was even a court case brought against him.

The whole thing spilled over to the Aurobindo mail list, auroconf, which I am no longer subscribed to. The reason I unsubscribed is because I found the whole argument (even if it was conducted in the most civil and respectful manner) about the book so absurd, with all that emotionalism. (but i'm very a solitary person and don't fit in groups anyway).
The battle-lines were drawn, several blogs and websites were set up or - if already established - took positions along factional lines.
In this way, the whole affair has been documented in mind-numbing detail by each side, each of course with its own bias.
So, against Heehs' book (devotee websites and blogs) there is:
The Lives of Sri Aurobindo - despite the title, this isn't a site to publicise the book. It's a devotee site set up to criticise it.
Mirror of Tommorrow archives. Mirror of Tommorrow is a devotee blog, this particular page describes some objections in great detail. Again, for me it is this very human, intimate, side of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra's relationship that I am most interested in, not some idea of sterile sanitised detachment
Heehs Biography Controversy - my friend Tusar N. Mohapatra is anti-Heehs, here he has collected a series of links and documents

If you look at the Pro-Heehs camp in the same objective way, you can notice the same "us and them" projection of the shadow, although they do get the facts about the book right! And the critiques by Peter's supporters are for the most part well written and eminently reasonable. The impression I get from those who argue in support of Peter Heehs' work is that they come from a place of secular Modernity, of an enlightened (in the sense of the secular enlightenment) and spiritually sympathetic and rational modernity. Just as those who attack the book seem to my biased perception at least to be coming from an uncritical guru-religious position. And it is noteworthy that Sri Aurobindo himself, and even more so The Mother, spoke out very strontgly against religion. But in the end their teachings and personalities have become a religion, just like what happened with Jesus and all the rest.

Enlighten Next blog post overview by Carter Phipps, chief editor of Enlighten Next, and hence, a devotee of the controversial guru Andrew Cohen, seems to engage in his own shadow project, the way he seems to imply taht teh entire Aurobindo internet community is up in arms against Heehs (not so, not so...). The position of Enlighten Next is essentially that of Cultural Creative modernity, there is no gnosis there. I'm not saying they are no good, only that they are non-gnostic (but sympathetic to those who do have gnosis, even if they don't understand it themselves)

Integral Yoga Fundamentalism - a whole website set up to oppose the critics; the name is bound to antagonise (a friend of mine criticized them over this, and I cannot but agree). But if I ask myself are the anti-Heehs people Aurobindo fundamentalists, I have to honestly say yes, they are. But it is precisely through that religious fundamentalism they access Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's Light. Indeed, I was an Aurobindo fundamentalist for a long time as well, you do get a certain connection through the intense literalism of belief. The ideal is to retain the connection, but without the literalism.

The Integral Yoga Fundamentalism site is organized by the SCIY blog people, who tend (so it seems to me) to adopt a non-religious, postmodernist approach to Sri Aurobindo. It would be arrogant to say that only the religious types can access Sri Aurobindo's Light. Why shouldn't the postmodernists as well? And of course he SCIY blog, being is pro-Heehs and against the religious, has a lot on this, although I can't be bothered sifting through (and I guess that's why they set up the IY Fundamentalism blog. But you can always try a Google search approach

Now, I would love to remain neutral; I don't want to be drawn into another war; what happened with Sai Baba was enough for me! Especially after the google vandalism I got from a rabid Sai Baba devotee. But the fact remains that the most absurd lies have been said about Heehs book (and about Heehs; that he has hatred for Sri Aurobindo, that he's a drug addict, etc), in a manner reminscent of the slanderous devotee phenomenon. When I first encountered this my immediate reaction was: How can this be??? These are devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, not of some abusive guru, and yet there is full-blown shadow projection! I found the whole thing appalling, and decided I wanted nothing to do with the Aurobindo community (apart from a few people on both sides of the fence that I know, like, and respect).

To be fair on Heeh's critics, I can appreciate and respect that they are devotees who have a religious worship of Sri Aurobindo, and would therefore be offended by a non-hagiographic biography, especially by an ashramite who they had always considered one of their own. And certainly there is great value in passion and of faith which is lost in secularism. Also I can understand the ashramites (as Hindus) see it as another attack by a Westerner on their culture and sacred traditions, a culture i myself resonate very powerfully to (because of past life samskaras/vasanas no doubt!). But that doesn't excuse the lies and hysteria that they have spread about Heeh's book; I know their claims are lies because i read (most of) the book, and apart from one or two correct things almost everything they claim is in the book isn't.

The only thing I myself would say that is really critical of the book is that Heehs does not clearly specify that Sri Aurobindo attained the Supramental state early on; just the opposite, he seems to imply that Sri Aurobindo never really attained it, even after thirty years. The reason for this error is easy to see. Heehs is an academic, not a gnostic, and therefore he is not in a position to understand the higher aspects of Sri Aurobindo's life and teachings. In this respect at least his critics are right.

Sri Aurobindo in fact had totally supramentalised his own consciousness and even his body, he had attained supramentalisation very early on, it may have been as early as the 1910s on his own (during the period he was writing Record of Yoga, a cryptic diary of his experiences), or the early 1920 or thereabouts with The Mother. But what he and Mirra struggled and did not fully achieve was the Supramentalisation of the Earth (the Terrestrial Consciousness) as a whole. That is what Heehs got confused about. The individual supramentalization was relatively easy in comparison (although still far beyond ordinary Liberation); and Sri Aurobindo later noted that other yogis had attained Supermind, but in an individual yogic manner, not as a collective transformation.

In this respect, an intelligently written hagiography like Van Vrekhem's Beyond the Human Species is better, because he at least conveys the sense of the occult, esoteric, and transcendent, even if it is in a religious - one could say an esoteric religious - perspective. This is why scholarship itself is not enough. Scholarship is caught up in secularism, so if you don't have gnosis yourself, at least you can get some sense of the transcendent through religious devotionalism. I didn't find Van Vrekhem's book anywhere as interesting as Heehs'. It is just the same old hagiography. But it does contain imporatnt esoteric information that Heehs, by his very nature as an academic, is not allowed to talk about. Therefore Lives of Sri Aurobindo has to be suplemented with hagiographic material if it is to convey a more complete picture.

It's worth considering that the Integral community (Wilber et al) have tried to approach the gnostic without religion. I don't think they succeeded; in my experience the mainstream integral movement - everyone from Wilber down - is still exoteric, non-gnostic, and secular; even if it is at the high end of the exoteric and non-gnostic (and that's no doubt what their contribution is; everything in stages; it is just that I want to make bigger leaps!).

What I find the most troubling is that it is evident that, with very few exceptions, the people attacking Heehs have not even bothered to read his book . They are just reacting to what others (who likewise have not read it) are saying. It is like a mob reaction. One gets stirred up, then another, and everyone's rampaging. With the customer reviews of the link above you will notice that some people (including the same guy - "A Reader", from Boston - voting twice) rated the book one star (Amazon com ratings don't allow zero stars). I bet that none of them have read the book. Those giving it five stars however clearly have. So what does that say? It doesn't put the critics in a good light.

At the end, where do I stand on this? Well, I have no choice but to fully and completely support Heehs and his book. Flawed though it may be in its apologetics to gross materialists and its failure to emphasise Sri Aurobindo's supramental attainments, it is an important, indeed, essential, contribution to Aurobindo Studies. Most importantly from the perspective of modernity, people should be allowed to write books without fear of abuse or attack. Even if most people are not at the level of gnosis, it is important to move beyond literal religion of any sort. According to the Wilberian integralists, society has to evolve through modernity before it can get to higher, integral stages. And I actually agree there, you need a certain emotional calmness and intellectual clarity, and you won't get that through the shadow projection that comes with religionism. Even if most people who support Heehs are only at the level of modernity, I still feel that is more important, and at a higher degree of consciousness, than devotionalist inspired opposition. Then, having attained mental clarity and the historical objectivity that secular modernity provides, you can return to devotionalism, but from a higher turn of the spiral. And that's what it's all about :-)

Finally, if you are concerned about Fundamantalist devotees, or any sort of fundamentalism, you may want to check out this event, which is free, but requires you to be in San Francisco
Fundamentalism and the Future is hosted at the California Institute of Integral Studies. The forum is organised by pro-Heehs students of Sri Aurobindo and Integral Yoga (including some of the SCIY blog people) Kheper Home contact me
page by
M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 11 Aug 2009

An Aurobindian should have the largest encompassing mind in the world

Auroville Today > Current issue > August 2009 - In conversation with Carel
Writing as a student: Georges van Vrekhem “If I am here, it is because I have been brought here by Them. So I write as a student of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. My study is an endless journey of exploration, going from discovery to discovery... Most of my books are written for people interested in Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, for Aurobindians, although I am amazed that Beyond Man and other books of mine have spread far outside that circle. "

“I have been hurt by the fanatical attitude of a group of Aurovilians who treated me like a leper because they disagreed with a few phrases or sentences in Beyond Man. Likewise, I was hurt because Overman is not for sale in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram as there seem to be objections against the term ‘overman'. I cannot understand how somebody who prides himself or herself on being a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother can become a fanatic and insult or hurt others who see things differently. An Aurobindian should have the largest encompassing mind in the world, while being in his yoga one-pointed and totally surrendered.” [...]

“To me a fact is a fact. And I am grateful for the biographical information which has been gathered about the lives of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Now Sri Aurobindo would no longer have to write a book to contradict the false rumours about him. But scientists and philosophers also tell you that facts are only understandable in a context. How could I write about the external, physical lives of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, and leave the reality inside and behind out of the question? Does writing about that ‘real reality' make me a ‘hagiographer'? There is a line between mindless adulation and a search for the truth, taking reality into account on its various levels.

“Sri Aurobindo called his own method ‘spiritual realism'. Matter, the vital and the mind, as well as the spiritual levels and the supermind, are realities. If there are people who prefer to remain stuck in the one-dimensionality of matter – Wilber's ‘flatland' – that is their choice. I try to write for intelligent people as an intelligent, dedicated student. My subject is the vision and realization of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. I have experienced certain aspects proving the existence of the spiritual worlds, and I find in Sri Aurobindo and The Mother a coherent philosophy which explains it all to me, and a guidance which allows me to put it into practice to the extent of my limited capacities. People on the same frequency, knowingly or instinctively, may read my writings if they have the time and the inclination. If not, they should read or do something else, in agreement with the need of their soul.”

(Georges van Vrekhem is the author of many books on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. He was awarded the Sri Aurobinbo Puraskar 2006 for his writings on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother by the Government of West Bengal .) Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > Current issue > August 2009

I don't want to add to Mohapatra's traffic

letter received from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
I’ve received an email from someone identifying himself as Ulrich Mohrhoff. Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. Pondicherry, India. Managing Editor, AntiMatters.

Mr. Mohrhoff says:
“PLEASE do not refer to any of the blogs maintained by Tusar Mohapatra as ‘the Aurobindo site.’ With his many cross-linked parasitic blogs, this character has achieved an altogether undeserved prominence among Google searches for ‘Aurobindo.’ (It’s the same technique by which porn site bootstrap themselves upward.) Mohapatra’s agenda is political (he’s even founded a party!) and is best characterized by this insufferable quote:
‘The path has been charted out by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo 100 years back. We must follow it, we must tell others to follow it, and we must persuade others to follow it. We have to cajole others to follow it. And if need arises, we must force others to follow it.’
— Tusar N. Mohapatra, President, ‘Savitri Era Party’ ”

Although I don’t know Ulrich Mohrhoff and can’t vouch for this, it does have the ring of truth about it. I’d been wondering why a respectable organization would do nothing on its blog but repost the words of others, endlessly. It looks like they weren’t doing so.

In any case, this seems likely enough that I will change a couple of words in the preceding post. [ADDENDUM: Actually, I will delete the post, since I don't want to add to Mohapatra's traffic, under the --likely-- circumstances.]

With his many cross-linked parasitic blogs, this character has achieved an altogether undeserved prominence

from Ulrich Mohrhoff date 13 Sep 2009 09:40 subject Re: what’s up with the Aurobindo site?

Whoever wrote this, PLEASE do not refer to any of the blogs maintained by Tusar Mohapatra as "the Aurobindo site". With his many cross-linked parasitic blogs, this character has achieved an altogether undeserved prominence among Google searches for "Aurobindo". (It's the same technique by which porn site bootstrap themselves upward.) Mohapatra's agenda is political (he's even founded a party!) and is best characterized by this insufferable quote:

The path has been charted out by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo 100 years back. We must follow it, we must tell others to follow it, and we must persuade others to follow it. We have to cajole others to follow it. And if need arises, we must force others to follow it. — Tusar N. Mohapatra, President, “Savitri Era Party”

To set this in proper context, here is quote from a letter by Sri Aurobindo to Dilip Kumar Roy (October 2, 1934):

I don't believe in advertisement expect for books and in propaganda except for politics and Patent medicines. But for serious work it is a poison. It means either a stunt or a boom — and stunts and booms exhaust the thing they carry on their crest and leave it lifeless and broken high and dry on the shores of nowhere — or it means a movement. A movement in the case of a work like mine means the founding of a school or a sect or some other damned nonsense. It means that hundreds or thousands of useless people join in and corrupt the work or reduce it to a pompous farce from which the Truth that was coming down recedes into secrecy and silence. It is what has happened to the "religions" and the reason of their failure. If I tolerate a little writing about myself, it is only to have a sufficient counter-weight in that amorphous chaos, the public mind, to balance the hostility that is always aroused by the presence of a new dynamic Truth in this world of ignorance. But the utility ends there and too much advertisement would defeat that object.

Thank you for your kind attention!

Ulrich Mohrhoff, Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, India Managing Editor, AntiMatters

what’s up with the Aurobindo site?
via Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek on 9/12/09

They’ve been reposting my words (and those of other bloggers) for months. It seemed neutral and polite in the past, but now they seem to be taking a different sort of posture. From out of nowhere there was a first-time editorial comment about SR/OOO as replicating the philosophical errors of the past.

NOW, they’ve reposted my remark about visiting the Aurobindo complex while en route to Pondicherry last year. Yet they’ve posted it next to my critical remarks about treatment of visitors at both the Pyramids of Giza and in Agra, India. I can only assume that the Aurobindo site doesn’t care much about the honor of Giza, so presumably they don’t like the remarks about Agra.

Here’s what I’ll say… India is my favorite country to visit in the world. I’ve been three times, and with good luck I hope to return many more times. It’s a uniquely fascinating place, and must be nearly inexhaustible for the traveller.

And speaking of Agra, the Taj Mahal has to be the most stunning edifice I have seen. I also met nice people in Agra (including some adorable kids on the rail station platform), and ate at a fantastic restaurant there. But there should be nothing shocking about my (fairly mainstream) statement that Agra itself is a basically miserable experience for foreign visitors. It is a stream of endless harassment, and yes, even worse so than at the Pyramids here in Egypt (where I always have to accompany visitors to protect them from the numerous convoluted scams that occur).

In my opinion, Agra was an extra degree worse. At least in Giza you only need to get off the Pyramid grounds for the scams to stop. But Agra is the only time in my life that a hotel desk clerk was trying to hawk services through a relative as I checked in. It is also well known that some restaurants and a hospital in Agra were running a joint scam for a number of years where the restaurants would deliberately sicken tourists with contaminated food, then take them to a clinic that would run up insurance charges– a scam finally uncovered by insurance detectives.

So do go to India, soon and often. If you’re near Pondicherry, you can even take an interesting walking tour of the Aurobindo complex. And the Taj Mahal is of staggering beauty, in case you’re in the north central part of India. But you can safely expect some problems in Agra, which is why many people now prefer to go there on organized bus tours from Delhi. (The problem is that you really shouldn’t miss sunrise at the Taj. I’ve had few more amazing experiences than that, and that alone outweighed all the harassment.)

[ADDENDUM: Perhaps they simply didn't like the expression "the Aurobindo complex," which may have struck them as derogatory. I went back to my travel records to look up the real name of the place, and it is AUROVILLE. My apologies if the longer phrase was the issue. I simply couldn't remember the name. The people there were kindly, and I wish them the best.]

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I paid a visit to the Aurobindo complex near Pondicherry a year and a half ago

a critique from India from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
I wasn’t expecting a critique from India this soon, but here it is (just a couple of sentences and some reading advice, not a full critique):

“SR/OOO is poised dangerously to foist yet another fallacy in philosophy. A thorough reading of The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo can redeem the situation.”

Actually, I paid a visit to the Aurobindo complex near Pondicherry a year and a half ago. (The exact name of the place escapes me at the moment.)


one other point about the Pyramids area from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek

Egyptians who sell goods and services near the Pyramids... are bad people. They are an all-star team of the most horrible humans that Egypt has to offer. Their only purpose in being in that area is not fair business, but organized cons, traps, and rip-offs.
This starts with the jerks who hang out near the ticket line and pretend to be official guides...

Another of their tricks is to pretend that the price they had quoted in Pounds was in British rather than Egyptian Pounds, which is something like a ninefold increase.
I hate all of those people. Most tourists are plenty generous when visiting this country, and don’t need to be exploited by professional con artists on top of that. These are not Robin Hood figures, but merely the worst face of international capitalism.

However, Agra in India (home of the Taj Mahal) is even worse. I had mobs of taxi and rickshaw drivers hassling me in Agra. Even the hotel desk clerk was hassling me there to hire his cousin.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wikipedia essay is overly unbalanced towards spiritual philosophy

Looking to improve Sri Aurobindo's biography
Alan, I have interacted with you before on occasions, specifically on articles related to Integral Yoga and Sri Aurobindo. I wish to undertake the project of improving the article on Sri Aurobindo to A-class from its current category of C-class biography. It is I understand not an easy task given what you consider Wikipedia's materialistc bias, and what I consider an Occidental bias. I wish to enlist your support in this endeavor and hope that you would enthusiastically contribute to such improvement. Thanks.Varun (talk) 15:21, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Alan, Thanks for your reply. You are right about the high quality scholarship that would be needed for the upgrade( Can only wish Peter Heehs was contributing to Wikipedia ). I am currently making efforts to enlist help from other sources also, will keep you updated about it. Thanks for your offer for help and best of luck for your book. -Varun (talk) 10:15, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
From talk page of Sri Aurobindo's article Peter Heehs (2006) 'The uses of Sri Aurobindo: mascot, whipping-boy, or what?', Postcolonial Studies, 9:2, 151 - 164
I have a copy in pdf, and if you want i can email it to you. Regards M Alan Kazlev (talk) 05:22, 31 December 2007 (UTC) . Do you still possess this? If so do you mind sharing this article? Varun (talk) 15:32, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Sri Aurobindo's biography
hi Varun
At the moment unfortunately I am really immersed in writing my own book. So sure I'm happy to help, but it can only be part time, and we need other people as well.
The problem with the wiki page as it is now is that it is presented in a very "devotional" manner. By that I mean it says stuff like "according to Sri Aurobindo (such and such)" but then there are very few references or footnotes at the end of each statement. I added a few a while back, but it needs heaps more. To make it more academic, each paragraph, and often sentences, should be accompanied by page references to The Life Divine and other major works. But i'm not the sort of person who can cite chapter and verse, so we need people who are familar with page by page and chapter by chapter content of Sri Aurobindo's collected works.
There is also a strong need for more references/footnotes in the biography section. I'll add some when i have more time.
Also, the influence of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, at the end of the page, is in strong need of developing. I'll try to add some more material there as well.
The page also seems to be unbalanced, in that a very large amount of space is devoted to Sri Aurobindo's teachings, and this could be transferred to separate pages on his difefrent major works. I had originally put up these as individual pages but as is typical of Wikipedia - and i totally agree with you, it suffers from an occidental bias as well as a materialistic bias - these had to be merged into a single big page (Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo). I think that we could easily restore them tpo individual pages, but to do that we would need to find third party refernces and citations. And that is where academic scholarship is useful. If you know of good third party references, reviews etc that would be great.
I would certainly like to see several qualified people working on this page. Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in collaborating on this project? M Alan Kazlev (talk) 00:31, 26 May 2009 (UTC)


This page is supposed to be a biography enough to convey an essence, and not a lengthy discourse on each of his activities. These can be shifted to their own main articles - Varun (talk) 12:18, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Varun. There should be a brief summary of Sri Aurobindo's ideas, with each section linking to longer secondary pages on each of these topics. Unfortunately, the Western materialistic consensus paradigm bias of Wikipedia means that such pages would instantly be nominated for deletion, whereas were they about a Western writer or philosopher they wouldn't. Therefore it is important that any new pages be secure M Alan Kazlev (talk) 00:11, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

[edit] Restructuring the article
Sri Aurobindo achieved notable fame in more than one areas during his life. 1. He was at the forefront of the extermist freedom fighter movement and nationalism, defining its shape for the future. 2. He was later at the forefront of spiritual philosophy completely rewriting or interpreting almost every school of thought in Indian philosophy, and also commentries of importance on some western philosophy. 3. Apart from these two notable achievements he was also a prolific writer who published a large number of poetry and plays. The wikipedia article seems to be biased wholly towards the area of spiritual and philosophy, almost neglecting the other two. Secondly, Even though Sri Aurobindo himself never distinguished these facets as phases or modes different from each other, but for wikipedia readers, this distinction can help to organize his contribution into the existing world-view of compartmentalizing things. Therefore I plan to introduce the other facets of his achievement and restructure this article along the following lines: ...

Need consensus on the restructuring effort that I intend to undertake. The target size of the article would be approximately 50Kb. Any comments, objections, alterations, changes etc. are solicited so better planning can be done. - Varun (talk) 14:41, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Sounds good Varun! It will be a definite improvement over the current essay, which, I agree, is overly unbalanced towards spiritual philosophy, which, important as it may be, is, as you point out, only one aspect of Sri Aurobindo's life (For that matter, Sri Aurobindo didn't even consider himself a philosopher) M Alan Kazlev (talk) 23:00, 27 May 2009 (UTC)


Introduction Line
Currently ( the introduction line reads : Sri Aurobindo was an Indian nationalist and freedom fighter, poet, mystic, evolutionary philosopher, Yogi and spiritual master. To a layperson the difference between the words mystic, Yogi and spiritual master may be too thin to be discernable. Infact it can come across as intimidating to someone who may not have a background in these matters. I suggest that the three words be replaced by a single word representative of Aurobindo's philosophical and spiritual endeavors. I would have suggested the word "Yogi" for this, not sure if everyone would agree though.- Varun (talk) 11:29, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Good point Varun! I agree, those words do overlap, except for evolutionary philosopher, which can be replaced with just "philosopher". Yogi is pretty much the accepted term, even Peter Heehs, writing for mainstream academia, uses it ("Part 4: Yogi and Philosopher") M Alan Kazlev (talk) 23:46, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

R.K. Selvarajan Chettiyar is not the son or heir of Late R.K. Shanmugam Chettiyar

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "There are more dangerous people within spiritual e...":

I would like to make something clear to the readers about the posted news here. Sri R.K. Selvarajan Chettiyar is not the son or heir of Late Sri R.K. Shanmugam Chettiyar, the first finance minister of free India. They both belong to the same caste and are also relatives. Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Open Forum at 10:13 AM, September 08, 2009

eternal child has left a new comment on your post "Savitri Era Party needs 500 honest persons to serv...":

Sri Aurobindo was against going for poltics for His Sadhaks. must concentrate on your Saddhna. Posted by eternal child to Savitri Era at 11:43 PM, August 26, 2009

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Pournaprema, the Mother’s Granddaughter":

happy reading about Purnaprema ji. god bless you to share it in such beautiful way. Posted by Anonymous to Aurora Mirabilis at 6:29 PM, August 16, 2009

Canadian Pragmatist has left a new comment on your post "One of Rorty's central and oft-repeated themes is ...":

I don't really think you believe that when you think about a dilemma and finally arrive at a decision, you really think that you're made the objectively right decision; do you?

I think people might think of their actions in this way, but upon a closer look, that's just how people think they operate. On a more macrosscopic level, people might think that say, going entering into medical school is objectively the best thing I can do with my life and the skills I already possess.

Really going into medicine is only one of many other compelling and compatible career choices. Not all of them are as good as the other, but certainly, it depends on what you want to get out of life and your career, whether medical school is a good choice at all.

Where is the objectivity, and furthermore, what reason do you have to think that you or anyone else needs to believe their decisions are objectively valid, and not "merely" one of many other possibly just as good decisions? Posted by Canadian Pragmatist to Feel Philosophy at 3:05 AM, September 05, 2009

Dsylexic has left a new comment on your post "Education shall be free":

what kind of puerile idea of 'free' education is this?. it is ofcourse not free. it is paid for by forced taxation and sly inflationism. all bogus socialist rights are condemnable and unacceptable lies Posted by Dsylexic to rainbOwther at 12:42 AM, August 27, 2009

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Kechala, District Koraput, Orissa":

How about some recent links on this project... Posted by Anonymous to Plain & Simple at 10:08 PM, August 25, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Heehs has used several passages from unpublished manuscripts

from bijan ghosh to "Tusar N. Mohapatra"
date 7 September 2009 12:21 subject sri aurobindo
you can put in blog or your domain

Mr. Pranab Bhattacharjee
Director, Physical Education
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Pondicherry 605 002
Reference : Your three letters to Mr. Manoj Das Gupta
dtd. 25.07.2009 ; 05.08.2009 ; 21.08.2009
Sub : Offending Book authored by Peter Heehs
Accomplice-conduct of Manoj Das Gupta (MDG)
Respected and Beloved Pranabda,
It is not surprising that MDG had asked you to consult lawyer on the legally valid issue
you raised on your letter dtd. 25.07.09 - while he is a trustee for about three decades and
In-Charge of Copyright department of the Ashram, appointed by the Mother last week of
July 1972, after Her signed instruction dtd. 22.07.72 came to naught qua consistent
wrong-doing by AIP & SABDA - since MDG is of hands-in-gloves with Peter Heehs ( PH) &
his friends. It is now apparent on admitted records, the issue raised by you, that PH has
used all many unpublished materials in his alleged book, for which no permission had
ever been granted even. MDG has been persistently flouting your letters and acting
materially against the honour and respect of Master and interest of the Institution.
Conclusively the alleged book is an offending book, as legally declared by the State with
authority. The warrant of arrest issued against PH has been stayed by an ad-interim
Order, but not the Declaration by the State. So the book stands an offending book.
But the management of the Ashram Trust has not been taking any steps against PH and
the book, the publisher and the seller. And further, MDG has not yet asked PH about his
authority to give all publishing rights to another for money, and for publishing
unauthorised materials. Rather, by his conduct and text of reply-response and silence,
MGD proved himself beyond doubt - to be committed to defend PH and his cause.
It is now on record that MDG has been telling a lie all along on all issues relating to this.
He send his emissary to tell you that permission was given to PH in 2004 to publish the
book with all the materials which have been published while PH regretted to MGD in a
letter in September 2008 for publishing all such unpublished , unauthenticated materials.
A bunch of 20 notebooks were kept in the room of Sri Aurobindo and marked by Him as
"Not to be published", while many portions of those materials have been published.
It is imperative that MGD be asked by you to produce a copy of the said Letter of
permission dtd. 2004 given to PH, a copy of resolution of BoT before granting such
permission ; terms and condition of publication rights qua the alleged book ; Royalty ;
copy of the said regret Letter dtd. September 2008 issued by PH. There cannot be any
secrecy or privacy about all such documents. This is a public charitable trust (PCT),
enjoying exemptions qua public exchequer, so public character is always there admittedly
Now the question is, if MDG maintains his ‘dignified silence’ and does not reply and
response to your letters, remains protective to the causes of PH & Others - what steps you
would be taken against MDG to save the Institution and honour of the Master. There can’t
be anything personal, it is for Sri Aurobindo. More that one year has been lapsed in
writing letters & waiting for replies since the alleged book was published and more than
90 days have been passed since the book has been declared as an "offending book".
with most sincere regards
bijan ghosh
advocate, supreme court


Legal opinion on violation of copyright
From a legal point of view Peter Heehs may be considered to be in violation of Ashram
Trust’s copyright permission on five counts.
Here are the facts of the case with my comments after each.
Fact 1: Ashram Trust has granted Heehs permission to use only the published works of
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for his book.
This permission is a legal contract between SAAT and Heehs. If this is violated, then the
Ashram has full right to legal recourse which includes but is not limited to a) withdrawal
of permission, b) immediate halt of sales of book, c) financial compensation for damages,
d) criminal charges.
Fact 2: In his book Heehs has used several passages from unpublished manuscripts of
Sri Aurobindo. (e.g. quotation from unpublished first draft of "Savitri" on page 300)
This is a clear violation of the contract, and is by itself enough to initiate proceedings and
withdrawal of permission.
Fact 3: In his book Heehs has used text from unpublished articles and diaries of
disciples (including A B Purani, Nirodbaran, Barindra, etc), and various related people
(including Mira Ismalun, G H Gokhale, etc).
In this he has violated his contract with the Ashram Trust because Columbia University
Press (CUP) guidelines on copyright clearly state that:
"Unpublished material (including letters, diaries, and other manuscripts) does not fall
under copyright laws but is protected legally as personal property. Permission for any
quotation, of whatever length, must be obtained from the owner of the literary
property—the writer or the legal heir—who may not necessarily be the possessor of
the physical manuscript. Permission may be required from that owner, as well as from
the writer or his legal heir."
This applies to all the unpublished texts used in the book in which matter has been taken
from the Archives records and which are a property of the Ashram Trust. In particular,
the unpublished diary notes of Purani were personal property of his legal heir who
subsequently bequeathed them to the Ashram Trust which is the present property holder
of this text. Unpublished documents of Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Nirodbaran are
unambiguously under Ashram Trust ownership.
Fact 4: Heehs has extensively used material and research from Ashram Archives which
is intellectual property (IP) of the Ashram Trust. The value of the book is primarily due
to this IP, and both the author and the publisher have stated this in promoting the book.
All the references, quotations and other historical material has been gathered by the
Ashram Archives from various libraries and government records around the world and
has been researched and organised by the Ashram’s researchers over 40 years. This
researched data is therefore legally the intellectual property (IP) of the Ashram Trust. The
Trust has not given Heehs any permission to use this material by its copyright permission.
The use of this material amounts to theft of IP. This theft has been confirmed by workers
of the Archives in their letter to the Ashram Trust dated 20.9.2008.
Fact 5: Heehs has used approximately 18 photographs of Sri Aurobindo which are of
high-quality (and some rare) taken from the Ashram Archives.
CUP guidelines on copyright require that:
"Permission must be obtained to reproduce all illustrative material, such as maps,
photographs, charts, graphs, and tables."
To the best of my knowledge and based on the documents I have received from you so
far, no permission was sought for printing these photos and none appears to have been
granted. I understand that permission for photographs is normally given from the
Department of Physical Education. No such permission was granted from the PED.
Fact 6: Heehs has signed a separate contract with CUP granting them from his side full
worldwide rights for all editions in all languages of all the text and research material
used in his book. This includes all the research content and intellectual property of the
Ashram Archives, all the published and unpublished quotations of Sri Aurobindo,
Mother and disciples used in the book.
Heehs has granted CUP more rights than he possesses legally or has received legally from
SAAT. This in itself involves multiple legal violations.
In addition to the above, CUP guidelines state that:
"If your contract with us grants Columbia University Press world rights in all
languages, you have a legal obligation to get permission to use the material you wish
to quote in all languages and for all editions."
The Ashram Trust’s contract with Heehs does not explicitly cover this requirement of
CUP. In this matter Heehs is in violation of both his contracts with the Ashram Trust and
his contract with CUP.
In conclusion, facts numbered 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 involve five distinct violations of copyright and
intellectual property of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. The Ashram Trust has the right to
initiate legal proceedings on all five counts and can press criminal charges against both the
author and the publisher of the book. Based on the above stated violations of its permission,
the Ashram Trust can withdraw its copyright permission with immediate effect and demand
immediate halt of all sales of the book globally.
As a public charitable trust, the Ashram must be seen to take all necessary steps to prevent
misuse of its properties including its copyright and its intellectual properties, failing which it
could face charges of mismanagement of Trust properties.
Legal opinion on Criminal violations
1. The Government of Orissa has already declared that Mr Peter Heehs’ book contains
"objectionable matters depicting distorted facts about the life and character of Sri Aurobindo"
and "matters which are deliberately and maliciously intended to insult". It has declared that
publication of the book is punishable under Sections 295A and 153A of the Indian Penal
Code. Furthermore, under Section 95 subsection (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure the
Government has declared the book forfeited. As author of the book, Heehs is therefore an
accessory to criminal offences.
2. Peter Heehs was summoned by the JMFC court in Barbil to respond to charges of
impersonation and defamation. But Mr Heehs has so far wilfully and wantonly avoided
presence at the court by repeatedly lying to the court that a) he has gone abroad, b) he is busy
with elections, c) he is busy writing a book. Heehs has declared to the court that his official
residential address is 3 J N Street which is not his residence but is in fact the Ashram’s
Archives department. The address is not even his work place as Heehs has already been
expelled from the Archives by the Ashram Trust. All of these lies to the court are criminal
violations that directly and indirectly involve the Ashram Trust.
3. Subsequently the Magistrate of Barbil issued a non-bailable warrant summoning Heehs to
his court. Heehs then evaded the warrant by hiding from the police while the police were
searching for him all over Pondicherry including within Ashram properties. The warrant was
momentarily stayed which stay has lapsed on June 26th. Under the circumstances Mr Heehs is
a criminal who is evading arrest, and by protecting him the Ashram Trustees are harbouring a
4. Mr Ulrich Morhoff has been promoting and selling the book from his website in the name
of the Ashram school. Although recently the Ashram Trust asked him to remove the name of
the school from this website, Ulrich continues to promote and sell the book as part of his
work in the Ashram which is reported in the Ashram’s annual report. Contempt of court
proceedings are in progress in the Orissa High Court regarding this very matter. Since the
Ashram stands guarantee for Ulrich and since his work is part of the Ashram’s work, the
Trustees of the Ashram are abetting Ulrich’s crime.
5. In view of the above, the Ashram Trustees are liable to criminal procedures that will put
the Ashram community to great embarrassment and inconvenience. In order to protect the
Ashram community, the Trustees should take the following precautionary steps immediately:
a) inform the Pondicherry police of the whereabouts of Mr Heehs
b) issue suitable show-cause notices to Heehs and Ulrich
c) remove Mr Heehs’ name from the Ashram’s prosperity list and not extend any help
to him in any manner whatsoever either latently or patently
d) publicly dissociate from the book
e) withdraw the copyright permission for the book
f) take suitable steps to stop the book’s circulation all over the world.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Presenting these views is important to the collective yoga that we all are engaged in

from Lori Tompkins to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" date 5 September 2009 23:36 subject SEOF post
Tusar, In case you haven't been too offended by me to publish my excerpts in you open forum, I am submitting the following to SEOF.

I very much appreciate your forum as a place where I've been able to present views of the Supramental/Integral Yoga that are not popular. I obviously think presenting these views is important to the collective yoga that we all are engaged in. The responses I made to you in August were not personal ... I just strongly disagreed with your 8 August comments and some others you made. And I still do not understand what the point/mission of Savitri Era Party is. Best of Light in your yoga, Lori Tompkins
‘Thou shall know me in the rolling of the spheresAnd cross me in the atoms of the whirl.The wheeling forces of my universeShall cry to thee the summons of my name.’– Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book XI, Canto I

[An exerpt from 'The Geometry and Superstructure of Time']

.... In Vedic India, sages fittingly described the year and cyclical time as a horse.

‘OM. Dawn is the head of the horse sacrificial. The sun is his eye … Time in its period is the self of the horse sacrificial … the seasons his members, the months and the half months are their joints, the days and nights are his standing place, the stars his bones and the sky is the flesh of his body.’Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Chapter 1, Section 1, translated by Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads

Sri Aurobindo commented: ‘… this Horse of the Worlds is not an image merely of matter or material force, but, as we have already supposed it to be, an image of power which pervades and constitutes the material universe. We get also from this image about Time the idea of it as an unknown power – for Time which is its self or body, is itself an unknown quantity. The reality expresses itself to us through Time – its body –, but remains itself ungrasped, must be still what men have always felt it to be, the unknown God.’‘For all [types of beings that seem to posses this universe] He bears them up on His infinite strength and speed and motion. He bears all of them without respect of differences, sambhāvena, with the divine impartiality and equality of soul – samaṁ hi brahma. To the type of each individual being this Universal Might adapts himself …. It is He who bears them on in the courses of Time that are marked out for Him by His hidden Self; He is free and exults in the swiftness of His galloping.’
It seems that the Upanishadic sages, and Sri Aurobindo as well, were quite aware that the body of the year (the body of time) was a substantial vehicle – a rapidly moving one at that. According to what Sri Aurobindo wrote in The Secret of the Veda, the Vedic Rishis described a real increase in Truth, in Consciousness and in Bliss (satchidananda) as the effortless result of learning to travel the year – learning to travel in circles, aware of the geometry of the circle, aware of its ‘figures’ which certainly include its four cardinal points, its 12 months and its trigunas of creation (rajas), preservation (sattva) and dissolution (tamas). ...

.... People currently dispute whether or not the ‘Supramental Descent’ is truly avataric in its nature … whether or not Sri Aurobindo is the rightful 9th Avatar of Vishnu. This should be a short debate in light of the fact that no world teacher in many thousands of years has been able to fathom and restore the vision and direct experience of the coordinated structure and consciousness of our material existence – i.e. the vision and direct experience of the divine as the architect and the dynamic substance of our individual and collective evolving Self. [Full article at]