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Saturday, December 5
by Rich on December 5, 2009 08:56AM (PST)
As reported by the Hindu, Justice A. S. Naidu of the Orissa High Court has stayed proceedings in a criminal case against Peter Heehs in the court of the subdivisional magistrate, Cuttack. This means, for those unfamiliar with legal terminology, that the case has been taken from the hands of the magistrate, and that all proceedings in the case have been halted until the matter is disposed of by the High Court. In addition the High Court has quashed (nullified) an order that had been passed by the subdivisional magistrate. The fact that the case in the lower court was stayed even before the magistrate was given a chance to hear it shows that the High Court found it to be fundamentally unsound in law
Saturday, August 15
Monday, May 18
by Rich on May 18, 2009 09:43PM (PDT)
In your letter of May 10th 2009 you say that you speak only for yourselves, but then propose what Peter and the Trustees should do, as if you speak for the entire Integral Yoga community. Since you both made the allegations against Peter in the first place, you cannot disassociate yourself from the discussion or process.
Saturday, May 16
Wednesday, May 6
by Rich on May 6, 2009 05:31AM (PDT)
There were several distortions of the truth in a recent letter (May 1st) by Sraddhalu regards the IYF site and SCIY and the associated people responsible for them. While the former site is of interest the later site SCIY is what concerns me because it is the only one in which I have participated in as a co-constructor and editor. Aside from the fact that these assertions are clearly libelous, I wish here to demonstrate to Sraddhalu the reasons for his factual errors, in the hope he will correct them in future correspondence.I will only speak to the issues he raises against SCIY and hope the other distortion of facts will be addressed elsewhere. more »
Friday, March 20
by Rich on March 20, 2009 09:53AM (PDT)
Therefore, it is ironic to watch those who claim to represent Sri Aurobindo ideals ignore the democratic character of his words and replace them with a militant interpretation of Hindu nationalism. This is evident in its failure to critically assess text that are viewed as hostile to their aspiration to seize the cultural interpretations of powerful institutions. In fact, words themselves are ignored by those claiming speaking rights for Sri Aurobindo. One leader (S) of the movement to censor the The Lives of Sri Aurobindo essentially declared that there is no need to read the book, that one can in fact can judge a book by its cover, or at least a paragraph. He says:
“Some people are insisting on the idea that unless you read the full book you cannot understand the context of a single line in it. That is ridiculous. One can easily see the context from within any complete unit of thought structure -- at the very least a paragraph and at the most a section or chapter" (2008)*
When such irrationality is loosed coupled with the xenophobic nationalism of the aggrieved victim there can only be trouble ahead. more »
Monday, March 16
by Debashish on March 16, 2009 07:44AM (PDT)
Since Peter’s book got published we have heard voices from both sides. We are of course all too familiar with what the loud and vociferous critics of the book have had to say. But we have also heard people who have liked the book, drawn inspiration from it, got closer to Sri Aurobindo, etc.; in other words appreciated and benefited from it. And many others, the VAST majority, have just not bothered about it and have kept quiet.
Even the website www.thelivesofsriaurobindo.com, so strongly recommended by Peter’s critics could not prevent the following poll information (screenshot image of the result is also attached here) from appearing on its website some time last month:.
The Poll indicated: I find the book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” by Peter Heehs to be: .
Offensive – 19 votes - 13% .
Deceptive – 18 votes - 13%
Boring – 10 votes - 7%
Representative – 63 votes - 45%
Useful – 113 votes - 82%
Tuesday, March 10
by Rich on March 10, 2009 09:47AM (PDT)
When Sri Aurobindo left his body the evolution of consciousness did not suddenly cease. Namely, there have been several significant mutations of discourse regimes, in response to the advent of the practice of Critical Theory. It is my view that one can view this succession of discourse in the same light as one would the development of a future poetry; it is a representation of the evolution of language.
While it would be understandable for a traditional religion to discard the advent and development of styles of discourse which follow on the death of its founder, in a spiritual practice whose organizing idea is of the evolution of consciousness, to discard the ideas, movements, cultural logic, etc that are part and parcel of this development, would be its undoing.
Peter Heehs book is a critical biography written in a contemporary academic style, that is -as all contemporary academic styles - informed by Critical Theory. It is not surprising therefore, that it treats its subject in a manner appropriate for this type of discourse. The fact that those in a yoga whose unique major metaphysical premise is of the evolution of consciousness would criticize its language and method of inquiry because it follows a discursive style that is indicative of how consciousness has evolved over the past 58 years is nothing short of ironic. It is almost as if these reactionary followers of Integral Yoga in looking back to the past to co-opt modes of expression that have now become fossilized discursive practices, as consciousness has evolved into a new millennium, have begun looking backward to the past instead of forward to the future to complete the project of integral yoga. Such a backward looking view of the yoga can be understood to have flipped the goals of the Integral Yoga in substituting devolution for evolution..... more »
Thursday, March 5
by Rich on March 5, 2009 12:47PM (PST)
I appreciated your most recent email for its civil tone and relative lack of demonization of PH. I have to say your suggestion that the anti-Heehs activists have been purely dignified and scholarly in their methods while the pro-Heehs camp has inexplicably responded with ad hominem invective, seems a bit disingenuous to me. Although both sides should be chided for some harsh and excessive rhetoric, it was the rush of letters last fall charging PH with diabolical motives and asuric status, phrased in highly inflammatory language, that most upset those who were familiar with PH as a published scholar and who didn't find anything particularly outrageous about his latest book.
Personally I don't think very highly of the Lives, as I noted in my review (now posted here: http://iyfundamentalism.info/j/content/view/15/35/). Some points and issues you raise in your email I could agree with. Your conspiracy-oriented claims involving Jeffrey Kripal have been denied by others, so I don't have any way to determine the facts there (apart from the generally high probability that any conspiracy theory is false). But my primary feedback concerns the list of “conclusions” you maintain the book asserts:
- that Sri Aurobindo was a frequent liar, and, among other things, that he lied about his supramental experiences, more »
by Rich on March 5, 2009 10:44AM (PST)
I have continued to follow the extensive sustained outpouring of responses, comments and discussions surrounding the conflict which erupted like a chemical reaction to the catalyst of Peter Heehs' Lives of Sri Aurobindo. For it has indeed revealed and exposed much hidden beneath the surface of our spiritual demeanor.
Unfortunately for us transitional humans, Transformation can be such a messy business. Messy because it forces us to see precisely what we don't want to see in ourselves. Which are precisely the things that need to be transformed. So despite our primitive genetic predisposition for self-deception and self-deceit, light eventually lasers through, mercilessly revealing even our most sacred and sacrosanct shadows, "outing" that strange cast of characters we harbor in ourselves -- in our personal, collective and culture-conditioned selves. more »
Wednesday, March 4
by Rich on March 4, 2009 08:36PM (PST)
It would help if the saice group is also made aware that you had not signed the petition and, in fact, cautioned everyone against it. I would like to forward it with a note, i.e. if you give me the permission. Lest it be considered a violation of some kind and be misunderstood by you, I chose to write this mail to you under cc to all persons you had included in your original mail (I have not added any names on my own). This fwd. could create a little much needed goodwill and perhaps sow the seed towards bridging the gap, which is fast threatening to boomerang into an imperative division on the lines of the Auroville split...
Yet, despite our trustee’s message of caution and prudence, a court case was filed privately - NOT by ASHRAM..... more »
Friday, January 23
by Rich on January 23, 2009 08:34AM (PST)
Until recently, I had not actually read Peter's book. So, despite the polarizing atmosphere and escalating polemics surrounding its publication, I refrained from taking a position or passing judgment. For how could I come to conclusions about something that I myself had not personally experienced?
As a published author myself, my own natural writing style tends more toward the creative rather than the academic or scholarly. So to be honest, I was not sure if I could wade through more than 400 pages of biographical details drawn from decades of archival research. After all, I was, I believed, sufficiently familiar with the essential outline and major events of Sri Aurobindo's life. And as a dedicated practitioner of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga as well as a serious student of his own writings since the mid-1960s, having read all of his major works before coming to Pondicherry to meet the Mother, I wondered how I could possibly benefit from pouring through the micro-facts and minutia of such a figure whose Life was so much greater than the sum of its parts. I also had reservations about whether such an academic approach would turn out to be a boring compilation or disconnected series of meticulously-researched historical details which would simply drone on, failing both to hold my attention or hold together as a whole.... more »
Sunday, January 11
by Rich on January 11, 2009 06:19PM (PST)
Heehs, therefore, has done us a great service by organizing vast amounts of primary and secondary sources, including Aurobindo’s own diaries and unpublished letters, to produce a compelling biography that intelligently discusses the main themes of Aurobindo’s epic political, literary, and metaphysical canon. He is also to be congratulated for resisting the tendency to mythologize and perpetuate the romantic mystification of earlier hagiographies. more »
Saturday, January 10
by Rich on January 10, 2009 10:06AM (PST)
In an act of desperation the petitioner as well as those Ashramites who are conspiring against Peter Heehs are attempting to file criminal charges in this matter. Note that these charges are being filed under the following sections: Section 501 is “printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory” - Section 500 covers punishment for defamation; Section 275 (a) does not seem to exist though 275 covers sale of adulterated drugs.
The truth however, will not be denied. Not only will this case be dismissed but the truth regards the hypocrisy and malice of those persons who have seen fit to conspire in secret to take these actions will be unveiled for all to see.
The truth of this matter will be revealed in a forthcoming text that will be announced on SCIY. The voices of the ashramite leaders of the ex-communication movement will speak for themselves. What will become obvious is their disregarded for the spirit of the yoga as well as the rules and regulations of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram itself in persecuting a fellow sadhak. more »
by Rich on January 10, 2009 09:55AM (PST)
There is a movement of folks in Pondicherry who are so upset by the biography that Peter Heehs has written entitled The Lives of Sri Aurobindo that they have instigated a movement to discredit the author. Some people have even become so embolden as to try and have him ejected from the Ashram itself. The folks who have spurred this on have in the course of their attacks on Mr. Heehs openly distorted his text by decontextualizing portions of it or by a series of selective omissions to make it suit their own interpretation of events that facilitate their own story they wish to tell.
Because of this movement I have decided to post all the portions of the text that have been decontextualized or omitted and reprint them with corrections to demonstrate how the text from the book actually reads in its entire context. The portions of the text that have been lifted to suit the purposes of those with an agenda against the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo are in black, the missing portions of the text that are needed to give the entire context of the narrative are in red. As everyone will see there is a lot of red in the text.: more »
by Rich on January 10, 2009 09:37AM (PST)
Having edged out Texas, whose governor declares it a "willful state of ignorance", and now in second place, the High Court of Orissa seems to be closing the final intellectual gap, between itself and the State of Alaska, in a competition to determine cultural backwardness:
Alaska governor Sarah Palin who pressured librarians to ban books she objected to in Wasilla Ak
The recently appointed chief justice of the Orissa High Court, Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan who will decide if Sri Aurobindo's biography should be banned in India.
The Orissa High Court has stayed the release of a book on Sri Aurobindo in India over allegations that it has objectionable content and distorted facts about the late spiritual leader, a lawyer said Thursday.Geetanjali Bhattacharya, a devotee, filed a petition in the court seeking a ban on the book ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ and action against the writer, her lawyer Siddharta Das told IANS.
Bhattacharya alleges that the book by American Peter Heehs questions Sri Aurobindo’s character and integrity. The book was published in the US in May by Colombia Press. It was to be re-printed and sold by Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd in November. more »
by Debashish on January 10, 2009 09:35AM (PST)
Alan of Auroville Today interviewed Peter Heehs, author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, which has created such strong reactions among followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother at the Sri Aurobindo ashram and elsewhere. In this short, but pointed interview, one gets to hear Peter's voice on his book and its controversies. more »
Sunday, November 23
by Debashish on November 23, 2008 09:12PM (PST)
"The secret of success in Yoga is to regard it not as one of the aims to be pursued in life, but as the one and only aim, not as an important part of life, but as the whole of life." (Sri Aurobindo) more »
Saturday, November 22
by Rich on November 22, 2008 09:51AM (PST)
Not only have the detractors of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo done violence to the text through selective omission and decontextualization to distort its meaning and make it appear degrading to Sri Aurobindo, but some folks, who should know better, have also been spreading rumors, making innuendos, and telling downright falsehoods regards the intention that the author Peter Heehs had in writing the book
One allegation is that Peter and an associate had taken and sold documents from the Sri Aurobindo Archives that concern the Record of Yoga. The way the story is told is that these documents were suppose to have been purchased by Jeffrey Kripal, the Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies/Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University and author of Kali's Child, who with the support and financial backing of Michael Murphy founder of the Esalen Institute were going to publish some type of Freudian account of the Record of Yoga. This conspiracy theory goes on to allege that the Lives of Sri Aurobindo was a just prelude to the distortions of Sri Aurobindo and The Record of Yoga yet to come.
Oddly enough even though the people making these allegations have never been privy to conversations between any of these parties (aka Peter Heehs, Michael Murphy, Jeffrey Kripal) that has not discouraged them from making these charges, that in short are based on wild speculation. To set the record straight on this issue and the value of the work Peter Heehs has done in his critical biography of Sri Aurobindo and that Richard Hartz has accomplished in his painstaking work making The Record of Yoga available to us all, I would like to publish an open letter to SCIY from Michael Murphy
Dear Rich Carlson-
Rumors that I asked Jeff Kripal to write a "Freudian" study of Sri Aurobindo are completely false, and Kripal has no intentions to do so. But I am indeed deeply fascinated (and indebted) to Sri Aurobindo, who remains the chief inspiration for my life work. I discovered his writings in 1950, at Stanford University, as a 19-year old undergraduate and would not have started the Esalen Institute without his inspiration.
Lately, I have been newly inspired by Peter Heehs's magnifcent Aurobindo biography and by the historic scholarship conducted by Heehs and Richard Hartz at the Aurobindo Ashram Archives. Their work on Aurobindo's extraordinary Record of Yoga will one day help revolutionize psychology and transformative practice, and Heehs's book is bringing new awareness of Sri Aurobindo to countless people worldwide. I hope that the book's detractors will eventually come to appreciate the good it is doing for the very cause they celebrate.
Peter Heehs and Richard Hartz are expanding the frontiers of Aurobindo scholarship with the courage and dedication that Aurobindo embodied and recommended to us all.
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books) Debashish
AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out koantum
Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo Debashish
LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Debashish
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler