The brief factual Aide-Memoire on the ongoing debate on the book of Peter Heehs titled “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” could serve to focus on the fundamental issues concerning not just the Sri Aurobindo Ashram commune at Pondicherry but also the extended Ashram body of devotees, disciples and followers of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo – living in India as well as overseas.
Though a large majority of people are aware that there is trouble and mudslinging between those critical of Peter Heehs and those who defend him, the surprising thing is that both the groups have their epicentre at Pondicherry. The fact that the problem has taken a larger dimension about the way matters are handled by the management of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram leaves us in no doubt that all is not well over there.
For the purpose of clarity it is worth mentioning that all who have turned to Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are sadhaks – though not necessarily living physically in the precincts of the Pondicherry Ashram in buildings hired or otherwise. And the Ashram consists of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and all those who have accepted them as embodiments of the Divine or as spiritual guides on the path of Integral Yoga, and who reach their offerings in physical or monetary form to the Masters through the Ashram Trust. Consistent with this fact, the Ashram Trust exists basically for providing the administrative and managerial support to look after the interests of The Mother, Sri Aurobindo, as well as to assure the basic necessities of life to the Ashram inmates and meet with the requests of the followers of the Masters for correspondence, reaching Blessings to them and logistics for their stay etc. The Ashram Trust (with the exception of The Mother) is neither a team of spiritual leaders nor its Trustees are spiritual successors to The Mother.