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.

Debashish Banerji  is a former president of the East-West Cultural Center and Sri Aurobindo Center, Los Angeles and a teacher of Asian Art History and Indian Spiritual Culture at the University of Philosophical Research. He is also a founder and administrator of the blog-zine Science, Culture, Integral Yoga. Last September he was one of the organizers of a conference in San Francisco on ‘Fundamentalism and the Future’. More recently he took part in a conference in Auroville on ‘Spirituality beyond Religions’.

by Bryan Crumpton

Dear Friends,

Rereading Mother’s Agenda (vol. 1, Oct. 10, 1958) we have Mother pointing out a very interesting difference in the people of the ashram, two different types of followers. And it is almost a secret observation about the two types of followers, not at all obvious and clear to most people. And this bears, I think, on this absurd conflict over this wonderful work done by Peter Heehs in his biography on Sri Aurobindo.

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.

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.

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."

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

Originally posted by David Hutchinson to the Auroconf email list; reposted on 25 Nov 2008 to the SCIY blogzine.