17 Mar 2009

Ranganath's reply to Angiras

[Editorial Note: "Angiras" is the pseudonym under which Richard Hartz has been writing on the SCIY website. The following is the reply of Ranganath Raghavan to “Angiras”. It may be recalled that Ranganath had written to the Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in September 2008. Richard Hartz, aka "Angiras", wrote a detailed commentary of this note in defence of Peter Heehs on the SCIY website. This is Ranganath's reply. The indented text in italics is from Angiras' article where each quote from Ranganath’s letter is followed by his comments. This is now followed by Ranganath’s reply to Angiras, which are in normal type (except when he again quotes Angiras) and without any indentation.]

Before I embark on the refutation of Angiras’ contentions, let me point out that I am not inclined to engage in long drawn-out arguments and counter-arguments, because it is a useless and fruitless exercise with no end to the process. This is therefore a one-time reply to straighten the twists in the article by Angiras. There will be no follow up on this.

The author of the “The Role of Peter Heehs in the Archives” stands firmly his ground without hesitation and can declare confidently that Angiras’ arguments are wrong in logic as well as in the interpretation of quotations from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

It is to be noted that all that follows in my reply applies only to a person who has opted to join a spiritual institution on his own free will, after having accepted as Guru the spiritual leader of the institution. By joining this institution, he voluntarily submits himself to its rules, regulations and conventions. It is a well known accepted principle of spiritual life that once having opted for a Guru, one accepts him as a representative of the Divine. If this psychological attitude is not possible for the aspirant, he then leaves the institution on his own and goes elsewhere. But opposition, disagreement, criticism of the Guru, even while living in the organisation and enjoying all its facilities, is not only unacceptable but can lead to spiritual hara-kiri.

Ranganath: Sri Aurobindo once wrote, while discouraging someone from writing his biography that he did not want to be murdered in cold print by his disciples. That is exactly what has happened, under the lofty banner of “Objectivity and Realism”.

Angiras: R&R begin by alluding to Sri Aurobindo’s statement: “If I am to be murdered in cold print, it had better be done without my disciples becoming abettors of the crime.” He was referring to a biography being written in the 1930s by an unknown person outside the Ashram, who had little reliable information and could hardly be expected to do better than commit the “murder” that Sri Aurobindo anticipated with typical humor. But several disciples (including A. B. Purani, the recipient of Sri Aurobindo’s letter) were later permitted to write biographies. R&R assume that Sri Aurobindo’s remark does not apply to those biographies, but only to the one by Peter Heehs. Yet they admit to not having read it.

We had not read the book at that time. Now, having read the book, the first negative impression is doubly confirmed. The first impression upon us was made by the article in “Auroville Today”. The quotes from Peter’s interview were proof enough of his arrogant attitude towards the Gurus. Here was a “practitioner of the Integral Yoga”, judging, assessing, estimating his spiritual Guru with his limited, ignorant mind. How can the “lower” ever judge, examine the ‘superior’? Only the reverse is possible!!

It is not clearly known whether Sri Aurobindo really permitted any sadhaks to write his biography. Some of them wrote long after Sri Aurobindo left his body, therefore the question of permission does not even arise. In any case, their biographies did not “murder” Sri Aurobindo in cold print. The remark about the applicability or inapplicability to PH and others is quite misplaced.

Ranganath: For a long time, it has been known to the Archives members at least,that Peter’s attitude to Mother and Sri Aurobindo is at best dubious and very ambiguous. He has on many occasions expressed himself as not being a devotee. In fact he frankly and freely takes pride in his attitude of objectivity towards Sri Aurobindo. For the Mother, his attitude could be described as a shade of suppressed hostility. He has often enough denigrated the devotional attitude of Indians towards Mother and Sri Aurobindo. At best, for him, they are remarkable human beings: no question of divinity, which is an immature, irrational attitude.

Angiras: R&R claim to speak on behalf of all members of the Archives. But their impressions about Heehs would be disputed by others in the department and elsewhere. Before the controversy started, several readers of his book wrote to him expressing reactions such as “one can feel your love for Sri Aurobindo.” In any case, sadhaks of the Integral Yoga have never been required to be devotees in the Indian bhakti tradition. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did not use the word “devotee” for their own disciples. As Sri Aurobindo reminds us, “men differ in nature and therefore each will approach the sadhana in his own way – one through work, one through bhakti, one through meditation and knowledge – and those who are capable of it, through all together. You are perfectly justified in following your own way, whatever may be the theories of others – but let them follow theirs. In the end all can converge together towards the same goal.”

(Letters on Yoga, pp. 532-33)

Several readers of his book wrote to him expressing reactions such as ‘one can feel your love for Sri Aurobindo’.”

But do these readers know him personally and have they heard his remarks about his attitude being devoid of devotion? How can Mother and Sri Aurobindo themselves use the word “devotee” for their followers?

Men differ in nature and therefore each will approach the sadhana in his own way—one through work, one through bhakti, one through meditations and knowledge.”

But does Sri Aurobindo list “denigration of Guru” as one of his methods?

Ranganath: Now he has crossed all limits. His latest book, “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” has angered, outraged and revolted most Ashramites who have had occasion to read the article in “Auroville Today”.

Angiras: If the Ashramites had had some yogic control over their vital movements, they would not have been so easily “angered, outraged and revolted.” The matter could then have been handled in a manner worthy of a spiritual community. Actually it was R&R, and others after them, who “crossed all limits” by instigating a mass movement against an individual sadhak, an act unprecedented in the history of the Ashram Many people throughout the world have been rightly or wrongly angered, outraged, revolted by the movement they initiated.

“Angered, outraged and revolted” may be mildly put. Gurudroha in the Indian tradition is considered to be one of the worst misdemeanors — one guaranteed to nullify the spiritual life of the offender. A strong reaction is not only fully justified, but incumbent on the other sadhaks. Refer to the reply of Sri Aurobindo to Sahana Devi quoted by Alok Pandey.


instigated a mass movement…”

We never instigated any movement at all. Only one letter was submitted to the Managing Trustee and some like-minded friends were given email copies. The mass movement picked up its own momentum, without any instigation from anybody. To attribute the massive reaction to a few letters is to exaggerate their importance. That the resentment was spontaneous, immediate and widespread is not surprising. The absence of it would have been!!

Ranganath: The absolute contradiction of calling himself “a practitioner of the Integral Yoga” and yet seeing nothing wrong in denigrating his own Gurus, is blatantly apparent to all, provided he agrees to be called a devotee!!! Is it possible to be a practitioner of the Integral Yoga and yet not accept Sri Aurobindo as a Guru?
Angiras: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother often warned sadhaks about passing judgment on other members of the Ashram. Some of these admonitions are quoted in the last section of Rules of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram (2003). The Mother said, for instance: “Do not trouble yourselves with what others do, I cannot repeat it to you too often. Do not judge, do not criticise, do not compare.” If a person considers himself to be a practitioner of the Integral Yoga, who has the right to say he is not? The Managing Trustee of the Ashram has written that “the Mother had given her tacit approval to Jayantilalda when he informed her, through Champaklalji, that PH would be working with him in the new Archives Department. Mother had seen PH.” The relation with the guru is a personal matter which does not concern anyone but the sadhak and the guru.

“Passing of judgment on other members…” does not include Guru denigration, as is known from the various incidents where Sri Aurobindo warned sadhaks against their critical attitude towards the Mother. The Mother has also condemned bringing down Sri Aurobindo to a gossiping level.
The Managing Trustee has written “tacit approval” and there are many who doubt the veracity of this information.

Ranganath: Peter has been using all the materials and facilities (documents, originals, computers, Xerox, email and even the labour of the sadhaks working there) for his personal work. And all this for selfish, commercial use.

: Upon inquiry, it is found that from the beginning of Heehs’s writing career – that is, for the past twenty years – he has voluntarily given all his earnings from books, magazine articles, speeches, etc. to the Ashram Trust, minus a small percentage to cover his expenses. In the case of books consisting primarily of extracts from Sri Aurobindo’s works, 100% of the royalties go directly to the Trust without passing through Heehs’s hands. He has always repaid the Archives for any xeroxes, printouts etc that he has made using Archives equipment. He has sometimes asked his colleagues for help in the composition of books. The fees for this work went directly to the Ashram Trust without passing through Heehs’s hands. The persons concerned understood this very well.

Peter’s use of the facilities at the Archives for his own personal work

This is a matter that has to be clearly understood. There are, in the Ashram, many departments which are service units whose function is to merely meet the non-commercial requirements of the Ashram community collectively. They do not engage in personal works, even if they are for the sadhaks. Nor can they receive any money at the departmental level for work done. On the other hand, there are commercial units connected with the Ashram which undertake work from the public or from individuals in the Ashram. For such works, the departments raise regular invoices and get paid, for which they issue money receipts. This is the legal arrangement. Therefore the question of Archives getting “repaid for Xeroxes, printouts etc.” does not even arise. Even if it has been done — which is most doubtful — it would be illegal.

The question of voluntary contributions to the Ashram

This is an entirely separate matter and has nothing to do with the “use of facilities at the Archives”. People make offerings to the Ashram, without getting any work/jobs done at the departments. If Peter has made offerings, without reference to the work done for him at the Archives, it is laudable. But if he is paying the Ashram for services “extracted” at the Archives, it can hardly count as voluntary contributions. Besides, let it be noted that Ashramites are not supposed to engage in financially remunerative activities. In any case, linking the work done for Peter (private personal work) at the Archives and the donations which he may or may not have made to the Ashram cannot be linked. Any personal work done for Peter at the Archives is illegitimate and cannot be justified at all.

Ranganath: While the work of the Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo lies languishing for more than a decade, he is occupying himself with writing articles and books, going to conferences and holidays and the work of CWSA is likely to spill over to anything from five to ten years more. Those who have paid the full amount more than a decade ago are waiting and complaining but it makes not the slightest difference to Peter, who glibly justifies the delay in a most cavalier fashion.

Angiras: Twenty-seven volumes of The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo have been finished (including two in the press) and work on most of the remaining volumes is at an advanced stage. This work has involved the meticulous reading of many thousands of pages of manuscripts and early editions of Sri Aurobindo’s works. The original estimate of when it would be completed was clearly unrealistic, but it does not sound as if the project has been “languishing.” It is surprising that members of the Archives would make such an allegation when they surely know how long this work takes. No other department of the Ashram has ever taken up such a huge and demanding project. It is a team effort and if there is a “delay,” no one person can be held responsible. At any rate, R&R seem to have done hardly a fraction of the work that Heehs has done. The logic of expelling one of the chief editors in order to speed up the process is baffling. According to reliable sources, it is since the expulsion of Peter Heehs that the work is indeed languishing, as this has deprived the Archives of an essential member with unique and irreplaceable expertise gained through thirty-five years of experience going back to the founding of the department. Heehs wrote articles and books in his spare time,
but never neglected his work at the Archives. He has spent less time attending conferences, etc., than the writers of most of the letters in this section.

The languishing of the work of the Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo

No one has claimed that removing Peter will hasten the work. Typically, this is a false argument presented by the logic of Rishi Angiras. Peter’s behaviour, unworthy of a “sadhak of the Integral Yoga” has caused a further delay — that is all.

The question of who has done how much work is also irrelevant. Besides, PH and his cohorts have placed themselves in pivotal positions and control the speed of the CWSA work. It must be remembered and understood that Sri Aurobindo’s books do not depend on any one individual. They were in circulation much before Peter was born and they will also be in circulation much after he is dead and gone. The question is the slow speed at which the work was being executed when PH and Co were in charge. If the estimated time was unrealistic, why was it announced publicly at all and why was the pre-publication sale allowed?

The claim that Peter does his personal work in his own time is also not true. For long periods, Peter was working at home in the mornings. Was he doing departmental work at home, while all the documents and data were in the office? If so, he was actually taking out all this material in an unauthorised manner to his residence. In all probability, he was doing his own private work at home.

He has spent less time attending conferences, etc., than the writers of most of the letters in this section

What is meant by this? ‘The writers of this section’ never spent any time attending conferences or going for holidays!!

Ranganath: We feel it is our duty to record our protest and strong disapproval, if not our utter disgust, at this development. A department of the Ashram pulling down Mother and Sri Aurobindo to a low level cannot be permitted to do so and immediate action is called for to ensure that such a thing is not possible in the future. It seems that he is already collecting materials on the Mother, for another possible book.

Angiras: Heehs says that he has never considered writing a book on the Mother (much less would he write one in order to pull her “down... to a low level”).

Angiras should have noticed the words ‘it seems’ and ‘possible’. If he had, he would not have made wild and far-fetched statements about ‘universal illnesses’. The illness of “practitioners of the Integral yoga denigrating their own Guru and taking pride and announcing to the world their lack of devotion to the Guru” cannot be surpassed by any other illness, however universal it might be!!!

Ranganath: Although we have not yet read the book, the article and the review in “Auroville Today” is enough to create the impression among the general public that the Ashram is encouraging, or at least permitting one of its own departments to denigrate, criticize and drag down Sri Aurobindo and the Mother not merely to an ordinary human level, but even below that!!!

Angiras: Here R&R lose all semblance of balance. Admitting that they have not even read the book and do not know what they are talking about, they endorse the alleged general “impression” that it drags Sri Aurobindo and the Mother down “not merely to an ordinary human level, but even below that!!!” These are wild words “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

When someone drags down the Gurus to a human level, the implication is that though they pretend to be superior to other human beings, they are really nothing but average human beings. This implies duplicity, pretension and deceit. Surely all these vices qualify anyone to be called ‘below the average human level’!!

Ranganath: It may be pointed out that his own view of objectivity, broad-mindedness, catholicity, cannot be applicable in this case.

Angiras: The objection to “broad-mindedness” is developed in the next item, where R&R write: “All pretence of ‘wide-mindedness, freedom of speech, catholicity of views’ becomes untenable in a spiritual life....” But when the Mother was asked, “What are the rules of conduct You consider indispensable in our community?”, she answered by listing several qualities, of which “broad-mindedness” was one: “Patience, perseverance, generosity, broad-mindedness, insight, calm and understanding firmness, and control over the ego until it is completely mastered or even abolished.” (CWM vol. 12, p. 375)

“Broad-mindedness” must be understood in the context. Broad-mindedness quoted by the Mother does not include the right to find fault with the Guru.

Ranganath: An outsider writing ill of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in newspapers, or other magazines can do so and we have the right of reply and rebuttal. But when one of our own members indulges in this sort of calumny (it is nothing short of that!!), the situation is totally different and we can certainly do something about it.

Angiras: With regard to outsiders “writing ill” of Sri Aurobindo, some of the most effective replies and rebuttals to these critics, especially academic ones, have been made by Heehs himself. Few others in the Ashram have earned enough respect among intellectuals in India or abroad that they can exert an influence on their views. Heehs has done so and has attempted to raise Sri Aurobindo’s standing in the eyes of the world. He has been rewarded for this with vilification and ostracism by his own community.

Even if Peter Heehs has earned “respect” in some quarters, he has by his latest actions cancelled all this respect at one stroke. Besides “respect, praise, approbation” by other human beings is completely irrelevant to a sadhak of the Integral Yoga. There are many in the Ashram who have never even attempted to gain “respect, praise, etc.”

If Peter has indeed answered critics of Sri Aurobindo, it is to his credit. But that is no argument for justifying his present/latest critical comments. This is not an accounts ledger where you can balance the positive against the negative.

Ranganath: The spiritual life demands complete obedience, surrender and faith in the gurus.

Angiras: Lacking the physical presence of the gurus, obedience should at least include, for ashramites, obeying the rules of the Ashram. By rushing to the Trustees with a grievance against another member of the Archives without first approaching the head of the department, R&R violated Rule No. 16 of the “Rules and Regulations for the Inmates of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2003.” This reads as follows: “All internal problems of the Ashram or conflicts or differences of opinion among the inmates should be sorted out within the community. If an inmate has a grievance in respect to any other inmate or a complaint of any nature, the grievance or complaint should be expressed either to the person in charge of one’s department or residence or to the Internal Advisory Committee constituted for this purpose. Under no circumstances should an inmate bring in an outside agency for intervention in these matters. After due discussion, if necessary, the Board of Trustees may be approached for appropriate action, and the decision of the Board of Trustees in this regard shall be final and binding.”

Rule 16 of the “Ashram Rules” does not debar any Ashram member from approaching the Managing Trustee directly. This was no petty difference of opinion with another member; this was a matter of institutional importance which needed to be brought to the attention of the highest authority. Besides, the Managing Trustee did not point out any breach of the proper procedure!!! This is a petty and ridiculous interpretation of the rule. The burden of the rule is that all internal disputes should be resolved within the community itself, without calling in the police, or other public organisations. One must not confuse a rule with the procedure laid down for following it. In any case, this is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Ranganath: All pretence of “wide-mindedness, freedom of speech, catholicity of views” becomes untenable in a spiritual life, where these relatively shallow values of an open society are not applicable.

Angiras: Ironically it seems that R&R justified their breach of the Ashram rules (in complaining directly to the Trustees and letting their letter be circulated to fuel a public controversy) by saying that they were exercising their freedom of speech. But when it suits them, they reject freedom of speech along with wide-mindedness and catholicity of views as shallow modern values.

The writer did not circulate the letter to the public. Copies were sent to a few friends within the Ashram . It was circulated by unknown persons who somehow got hold of the copies.

Ranganath: Extremely private, confidential and sensitive material is at his disposal long before others, even in the Archives, have access to it.

Angiras: R&R know that this is a lie. The Archives Manuscript Issue Register reveals that most of the manuscripts removed from the Archives Cold Storage in recent years were taken by Raman Reddy, who has had free access to letters and private diaries. During the same period, Peter Heehs took no manuscripts out of Cold Storage. The records showing this have been made available to the Trustees. Raman has also published articles making use of information found in Purani’s notes, the most controversial source cited in Heehs’s biography.

Access to sensitive materials

There is no question of any lies. Reference was made to the filing cabinets behind Peter’s desk to which he alone had access. Would Peter have benevolently tolerated all and sundry to open the files and look for any material without reference to him? He treated even the SABCL set behind his desk as his personal belonging, placing restrictions of it being taken out and used by others without reference to him.

Ranganath: It is unthinkable to find fault with them [the Gurus], let alone rush into print about their alleged shortcomings.

Angiras: Since R&R had not read the book before writing this, the “alleged shortcomings” can only be those mentioned at the beginning of the review in Auroville Today. According to the reviewer, the recognition of the limitations that Sri Aurobindo overcame through his Yoga “makes Sri Aurobindo immensely more interesting and his achievements far more impressive.” Others have reacted differently. But in any case, these “shortcomings” belong to Sri Aurobindo’s early life or at most to the early stages of his Yoga before he had an ashram and disciples. They have nothing to do with his mature spiritual stature or his authority as a guru, which Heehs does not question. Heehs’s depiction of his development is perfectly consistent with Sri Aurobindo’s own statement: “I had no urge towards spirituality in me, I developed spirituality. I was incapable of understanding metaphysics, I developed into a philosopher.... I transformed my nature from what it was to what it was not. I did it by a special manner, not by a miracle and I did it to show what could be done and how it could be done.” (On Himself, pp. 148-49)

What about the conjectural discussion of Sri Aurobindo’s sexual life? For a self-styled sadhak of the Integral Yoga, this is clearly unwanted and unnecessary. An unhealthy element has crept in after Peter’s association with Jeffrey Kripal, who has written a number of books, all concentrating and centered on sex. Peter can deny his contact and relation with Jeffrey Kripal, but there is sufficient evidence of contact between the two.

Ranganath: In his own words, he takes Sri Aurobindo’s yoga “quite seriously”, not whole-heartedly or with full faith as any self-styled “practitioner of the Integral Yoga” should do.

Angiras: Some practitioners of the Integral Yoga do not have the temperament that makes them feel like trumpeting their deepest feelings to all and sundry. It is not at all clear that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother would have considered this a disability for the practice of the Yoga. In fact, they generally advised sadhaks not to speak to others about their inner life. The need to proclaim one’s faith in public shows a religious more than a spiritual attitude.

As is usual with the twisted logic of Angiras, we have here another example of the same irrelevant comment. Nobody is calling for Peter to declare his faith and innermost feelings. Ironically, he has being doing exactly the opposite. He has been, with misplaced pride and bravado, declaring loudly that he does not believe in and does not have a devotional attitude towards the Guru. This has happened several times, often in the presence of other persons too. Any attempt to deny the same will only prove his attempt to cover up the past because of the predicament he now finds himself in.

Ranganath: Peter says Sri Aurobindo “passed all (his) tests”. Is this an attitude of a sadhak or of an arrogant authority sitting in judgment over one, whose peon or menial servant Peter could never possibly be?

Angiras: The attitude reflected in Heehs’s remark is by no means unknown in the Indian spiritual tradition. Swami Nikhilananda writes in his biography of Vivekananda: “For five years Narendra closely watched the Master, never allowing himself to be influenced by blind faith, always testing the words and actions of Sri Ramakrishna in the crucible of reason. It cost him many sorrows and much anguish before he accepted Sri Ramakrishna as the guru and the ideal of the spiritual life. But when the acceptance came, it was wholehearted, final, and irrevocable. The Master, too, was overjoyed to find a disciple who doubted, and he knew that Naren was the one to carry his message to the world.”

Sri Aurobindo “passed all his tests”

It is contended that this is not unprecedented in the Indian tradition and refers to Nikhilananda. There is no Indian tradition of a disciple testing and examining his Guru after accepting him as a Guru. Again obfuscating logic so typical of Angiras, the great Rishi!

Ranganath: In the life of any great man, let alone an Avatar, there is always something that is mundane, common and down to earth. The value of a life does not lie in these things. Rather one has to focus and see the highest achievements that have contributed to mankind’s forward march. One does not discuss and emphasise the common elements, even if they are true.

Angiras: Here R&R lay down the law about what a biographer of a great man, particularly an Avatar, can discuss. They forbid the mention of “common elements” on the assumption that taking any notice of these will detract from the man’s highest achievements. But there can be different motives for leaving out nothing from the account of the life of such a man. In Ramakrishna and His Disciples, Christopher Isherwood describes the attitude of “M,” the author of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, toward the depiction of his Master: “His firm belief in the divinity of Ramakrishna’s nature was just what stopped him from presenting his Master as the glorified figure of a holy man. Anything that Ramakrishna says or does is sacred to him; therefore he omits nothing, alters nothing. In his pages, we encounter Ramakrishna as an authentic spiritual phenomenon; by turns godlike and childlike, sublime and absurd, now expounding the highest philosophy, now telling funny animal stories as parables, now singing and dancing, now staggering in ecstasy like a drunkard, now admonishing his devotees with the mature wisdom of a father, now dropping his wearing-cloth and walking naked like a baby.” (1974 ed., p. 278)

Strange argument!! The idea that we are laying down rules for all biographers is again misplaced. The point is that a disciple who has chosen to join the spiritual institution does so by his own free will and desire to be a part of the community. Having done so, he automatically subjects himself to the rules and regulations of the institution. If he wishes to break out of his self-imposed restrictions, he is always free to leave the institution!!!

Even when one goes as a guest to someone’s house, one does not find fault or criticize the host openly. In the case of a spiritual institution, this simple rule of decent behaviour is all the more evident and applicable. After living in the Ashram for 37 years and enjoying all its facilities and conveniences, it is ungratefulness of the highest order to criticize the head of the Ashram.
Mahendranath’s account of Sri Ramakrishna is factual and impartial, not critical or judgmental like Peter’s comments. There are no personal negative comments in Mahendranath’s book.

Ranganath: The repeated use of negative comments by others, clearly establishes his veiled antagonism, which he is passing off as “objectivity, open-mindedness and catholicity”, which is not going to deceive even a child!!!

Angiras: Even a child could see that R&R have an axe to grind. But in fairness to them, in spite of their highly disputable attribution of “veiled antagonism” to Heehs as his motive for referring to “negative comments by others” (generally in order to refute them; see the comments on items 7 and 13 above), they stop short of ascribing “diabolic” intentions to him as some others have done. Their personal contact with Heehs, although it may have antagonized them, seems to have saved them from the excesses of demonization that came so easily to those who could let their imaginations run riot about someone they hardly knew.

R & R have an axe to grind.

R & R would love to know what that axe is!!!!

As is obvious, an indefensible position is being defended with bad arguments and irrelevant comments. R & R repeat that their position remains unaltered and they stand by their comments. Let it not be thought that they are in the minority in the Ashram or even in the larger Sri Aurobindo circles in India . The negative response to Peter’s book has been very very widespread and spontaneous.

So far as R & R are concerned, this is the end of the discussion.

Ranganath Raghavan


  1. Ranganath’s brief replies (sometimes one-line punches) take the breath out of this fulminating pseudo-Rishi called Angiras (Angry-on-us, as somebody said). The latter seemed at first sight irrefutable with his ability to produce quotations from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s works to buttress his arguments. But Ranganath’s insistence on the one argument that “denigration of the Guru” does not fit in any scheme of things, pays off at the end. For after all, that is common sense, which no intellectual jugglery with words can deceive.

  2. It is said that common sense is the most uncommon commodity.

    In any case, let me just mention here that Angiras [Alok Pandey's Angry-on-us] complains elsewhere that he cannot do full justice to his thoughts because of the limited access of Internet he has been provided with. What a pity, that a free thinker should be bound by such constraints! But if he is true to his stuff, he should simply walk away from that place and give free expression to his Angry-on-us-Wisdom.