7 Feb 2010

The IQ of Plankton and Other Stories

[This is what we have received in response to the propaganda campaign unleashed by SCIY / IYF / Peter Heehs. The AVCompats forum refused to post this response although it has always publicised any emails from SCIY / IYF. It looks like they too do not want the truth to be known!]

The IQ of Plankton and Other Stories


The IQ of Plankton is not easy to arrive at in the best of circumstances. But those interested in the subject got very lucky last week when the collective IQ of the species was on spectacular display.

The pulsating light strobes shone bright into the ocean trenches in stark contrast to the darkness that punctuates the tunnel vision of the SCIY / IYF tribes. They marched out of the deep caverns to the roll of drums to take on the "Court Diary" that had invaded the depths of their pelagic zone.


It is funny how the truth has to be certified by Peter Heehs to be of any value these days. If Peter Heehs declares that there were no foreigners on the court premises, those poor blokes better not be there! It is funny how Peter Heehs has put Matriprasad in a spot by declaring that he was not present in Court. In order to control the damage caused by Peter's lie, Matriprasad has hastened to clarify the he was not present "during the court proceedings" only! And Matriprasad is right because he gave his instructions to the lawyers and left the Courtroom before the proceedings began.

It is interesting that the State Solicitor representing the visa authorities was present in court – after obtaining Peter's permission, we suppose –, but did not speak about the case or breach of visa conditions at all! What did he speak about, then? The weather? Or the greatness of the SCIY / IYF tribes? What's more, the Counsel for Manoj Das Gupta was also present but did not speak a word. What was he doing in court? Practising "dignified silence"?

It is amusing to learn that Manoj Das Gupta and the Ashram Trust can be pushed into a corner over a seemingly trivial issue, which is essentially the creation of "Sraddhalu's friend", his friend's wife and her mother and their dog! What a terrible, terrible family! They've actually gone to court over a dispute! Tut! tut! This is not how it is supposed to be done in Fundamentalistan! Gee, uncle Dave and uncle Rick, whatever happened to the Kangaroo Courts and Summary Executions?

This isn't any good for the Family Business of organising seminars on fundamentalism, and for collecting funds from the good old freedom-loving folks back home. But what about the business prospects at home in the USA?

The American Library Association (ALA) has recently released data to do with cases where individuals or groups have attempted to have books stripped from bookshelves in the schools and libraries in the USA. The ALA has recorded 513 such cases in 2008 alone, where books were targeted for censorship, of which 74 were successfully banned or restricted. What's more, 4000 attempts to ban books have been recorded over the past eight years – that's 500 ban attempts every year in a country with one fourth the population of India!

Whoa! So now we have it! There is no way in hell that Peter Heehs will leave his cushy life in Fundamentalistan. Nor will SCIY / IYF fight their holy war against the muzzling of free speech in the USA! It is much easier, more profitable and far safer to fight the terrible family and their dog in India!

Not Funny

It's not funny that a bunch of self-serving, pompous and insensitive morons sitting in the USA are attempting to misguide and misinform people in India and elsewhere about the anguish of Sri Aurobindo Ashram's inmates, and about the legal status of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" (TLOSA). It certainly isn't funny that these guys are trying to profit from what is essentially a huge tragedy that is playing out for all-involved.

A "minor legal manoeuvre", we are told, has stopped PENGUIN BOOKS INDIA and COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS effective 4th Nov, 2008, from publishing and distributing TLOSA in India even after a major promotional build-up. Some "minor legal manoeuvre" this!

Why don't M/s Rich Carlson, Debashish Banerjee and David Huchison pow wow with PENGUIN BOOKS INDIA and request them to simply undo this "minor legal manoeuvre"? All it takes is a flight to New Delhi and some Coffee, huh! Why don't these gentlemen waltz into any police station in India with the appropriate Government / Court order copies along with a copy of TLOSA and engage in a debate on the subject? How about starting with the Pondicherry Grand Bazaar police station? Would Peter Heehs do the honours by paying a much overdue visit to this police station and reward them for all the visits they have made since May 2009 to the Ashram Main Building and to Matriprasad's office looking for him to serve the warrant of arrest? No, it's not funny that irresponsible statements are being made with potentially serious consequences. Or, is it merely SCIY / IYF propaganda to shore up falling morale among their primary financiers and clientele?

What Government or Court, having passed notifications and orders proscribing TLOSA, would sit idle and watch the same book and content being freely circulated and sold in the country? You've got to be kidding! Is the Plankton afflicted with craniocerebral trauma?

It's not funny that Manoj Das Gupta and the other four are a poor apology for what the Ashram Trust was and should be! There is a frightening disconnect between the Ashram Trust and the Ashram inmates, and the sorrow, frustration and anger regarding TLOSA is no laughing matter.

The Ashram Trust has had hundreds of cases filed against it since Manoj Das Gupta has taken over control as Managing Trustee, a significant number of which were filed by inmates of the Ashram in various courts all the way to the Supreme Court! So Mr Carlson, please spare us the Holy Cow crap! And while on the subject of "intemperate language against Trustees", Sraddhalu Ranade has much to learn from the crude and insulting letters Peter Heehs wrote to Manoj Das Gupta when the Ashram Trust asked him to leave the Ashram community and quit staying in Pondicherry.

Dead Serious

Here are the facts that SCIY / IYF want to hide. TLOSA is in fact proscribed in the territory of India and the relevant Court / Government orders are available in the public domain.

Peter Heehs was in fact expelled from the Ashram Archives by the Ashram Trust and from the Department of Physical Education as part of disciplinary action against him. Hundreds of Ashram inmates have submitted petitions to Manoj Das Gupta asking for action against the book and Peter Heehs.

Most major and responsible online content providers have in fact already withdrawn TLOSA from their websites. Given below are snapshots of confirmations received from Google, Flipkart and A1Books, amongst others:


Re: [#557687386] Illegal Availability of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" on Google

Fri, December 18, 2009 6:02:55 AM

From: Google To: Gitanjali Jain

Hi Gitanjali,

Thank you for your note. Please be advised that Google Book Search is a program for print publishers and authors who want to increase the visibility of their copyrighted materials, by displaying their content online.

Upon investigation, we've noted that the publisher of the book in question had an account with us and chose to display parts of the books as preview pages. Per our policy, we would like to forward your notice to the publisher to notify them that a complaint has been made regarding some content of the book. Please reply to this email to let us know if you consent to us forwarding your complaint.


The Google Team


Re: Illegal Availability of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" on Flipkart

Fri, January 15, 2010 11:47:24 AM

From: Binny Bansal To: Gitanjali J B

Dear Gitanjali,

Thanks for pointing this out. We have made the book unavailable permanently on the website.

Binny Bansal


Re: Illegal Availability of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" on A1Books

Tue, January 12, 2010 1:30:55 PM

From: Kishore Venkatesh To: Gitanjali J B

Dear Ms Gitanjali,

Thanks for the information on the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs. We respect the sentiments without getting into the details. We are arranging to purge this book immediately from respective seller inventories on a1books.co.in.

We are an Online Books Marketplace in India where different sellers come on board, post their books and sell on a1books.co.in. Many times it becomes very difficult to control such listings through any automated system that we currently have. It is possible in the future the same or any such books might get listed once again by sellers, despite our efforts to block such controversial items. Hence, we request you to assist us by informing us should the same book be listed by any seller that you may notice on a1books.co.in anytime in the future.

Thanks once again for your assistance.

Regards. Take care.

Kishore Venkatesh

Head - Marketing & Operations

Other major online sellers have been informed and are in the process of complying with the Court and Government Orders. Exceptions, if any, can be attributed to non-awareness, but ignorance of the law is no excuse! The fact is that, contrary to SCIY / IYF claims, the book is proscribed within the whole of India and is not available for purchase or viewing except illegally.

Contrary to Mr Carlson's assertions, Peter Heehs has two serious criminal cases pending against him and these have to do with impersonation as Founder of the Archives of Sri Aurobindo Ashram – a lie and a falsehood that Peter Heehs has been deliberately perpetrating with business gains in mind. This lie was prominently displayed on the blurb of TLOSA by the unwitting CUP based on Peter's assertions to them in this regard. The Ashram Trust has confirmed in various letters, as has Peter Heehs himself in his emails and communications to the Trust, that he is not the founder of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives. One such letter of the Ashram Trust dated 11.11.2008 is attached herewith. It should be noted that these cases have not been foisted on Peter by the terrible family and their dog but by other affected devotees of Sri Aurobindo in Orissa.

Again, there have been many bailable summons and non-bailable warrants served on Peter Heehs in connection with cases in Orissa and at least one of them is currently valid the stay against which expired on the 26th of July, 2009. The arrest warrant in question and the magistrate's order regarding this are attached herewith. A simple matter requiring Peter's personal presence in Court has blown into a shameful basket of summons and warrants simply because Peter refuses to comply with the law of the land and make himself present when summoned. He creates his own problems and then plays the innocent victim to his audience back home.

Additionally, in publishing TLOSA, Peter Heehs is alleged to have stolen intellectual property and violated copyright conditions with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust . Peter Heeh's erstwhile colleagues at the Archives were upset that hard work and research built up over years for the Ashram was stolen and misused by Peter Heehs and sold to Columbia University Press for personal profit. Their letter is attached. Also attached is Pranab-da's letter to the Ashram Trust on various aspects of copyright and intellectual property violations.

Gitanjali JB, Sraddhalu Ranade, Alok Pandey, Ananda Reddy, et al – the hyped "fanatics" supposedly crusading against Peter Heehs – have the healthiest respect for Auroville and Aurovillians and continue to engage with them in constructive and meaningful ways as always. Rich Carlson's xenophobia, warning "Foreigners" to stay away from them, is only an attempt to create a divide within the Integral Yoga community and among devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. This seems to have been the agenda of SCIY / IYF from the very outset of their misinformation campaign.

The central issue at hand is the falsehood perpetrated in TLOSA and the need to set right the record. Even Peter Heehs is an ancillary element in the matter and as such is being engaged with only in so far as exposing TLOSA is concerned.


It is sad and disgusting that a book, parading as the biography of our Master, has dragged us to courts and led us to squabbling in a very public manner over extremely private issues, which are central to our existence and form the bedrock of our lives.

It is sad that Manoj Das Gupta and the Ashram Trust, having been on record from the outset that TLOSA has "crossed all limits of decency" and having initiated disciplinary action against Peter Heehs, failed to take the simple steps of publicly disowning the book and requesting CUP to withdraw the publication on the grounds of malicious and deliberate distortion as also of IP theft and Copyright Violations by the author. Private circulars issued to this effect by Manoj Das Gupta did little to negate the upheaval and anguish that TLOSA has caused.

It is sad that SCIY and sympathisers, for all their bluster and activism about "freedom of expression", will fight shy of posting this letter and attachments on their websites, for they know that after reading this and studying the attached documents, many more will see through the campaign of falsehood unleashed by SCIY / IYF.

It is very sad that while we aspire for the right outcome of this tragic mess, it is certain that there will be no winners. Too much has been lost for any side to ever claim victory.

It is sad that the battle must go on, till the end. And it will.

List of Attachments:

  • Ashram Trust dated 11.11.2008 regarding disciplinary action against Peter Heehs and impersonation as founder of Archives.
  • Letter of Archives workers dated 20.9.2008
  • Letter of Pranab-da dated 5.8.2009
  • Barbil Court order relating to issue of non-bailable warrant of arrest
  • Copy of Non-bailable warrant of arrest against Peter Heehs

1 comment:

  1. Apropos of The IQ of Plankton and other Stories dated 29 January 2010 I’d sent on 31 January 2010 an e-mail at Manoj Das Gupta manojdg@sriaurobindoashram.org It is as follows:

    Dear Manoj-da

    What is this we are getting? It is high time that the Ashram authorities take the Ashramites into confidence and explain openly by means of a notice on the Ashram board the whole thing to their proper satisfaction. It is not that I want a personal answer, and you don’t have to care for that, but it should be coming directly from you for all of us. There is a certain official obligation towards this and it cannot be simplistically dismissed. Will it happen? My request is that it should be done on a priority basis. Thanks

    RY Deshpande

    I’ve not heard anything in answer to the request, nor is there any public statement in the Ashram, though two weeks have gone by. I don’t think the matter can be viewed only with “dignified silence”. Will something be told to us? A response is awaited.

    RY Deshpande