The Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram are again busy at their job of helping Peter Heehs malign Sri Aurobindo in the public domain. A week back Peter Heehs challenged the gazette notification passed by the Orissa Govt on 9 April, 2009 proscribing the Lives of Sri Aurobindo and thankfully sparing the Indian readers from its derogatory content on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The move to lift the ban on his book has obviously the backing, the full support and blessings of the Ashram Trustees, for otherwise how could you expect Peter Heehs (who is an impudent dud in legal matters) to move the High Court of Orissa by himself? The Trustees will surely deny their connection with it, as they have always denied in every embarrassing issue related to their ham handed administration. But how long can they pretend not to back Peter Heehs while doing everything on heaven and earth to keep him happy? How long will they publicly pretend to be neutral and circumspect while risking the displeasure of the entire Sri Aurobindonian community by their actions that betray their real intentions?
If the ban on the Lives of Sri Aurobindo is revoked by the Orissa High Court (it is very likely to be if nobody intervenes), I will not blame the Ashram Trustees or Peter Heehs for it but the larger community of disciples and followers of Sri Aurobindo who have been silenced into meek submission by the wily politics of the infamous duo Gupta Manoj and Byakta Manoj – Manoj Das Gupta the Managing Trustee, and Manoj Das the writer. Especially the people of Orissa should “know and rejoice” that they should henceforth be ready to listen to Peter Heehs’s interpretations of their revered Guru’s life and Yoga, their Guru’s human frailties, his human relation with the Mother, his lack of tact in politics, his share of responsibility in India’s partition and his substandard philosophy. Above all, be ready to follow the new Integral Yoga, American in style and practice, upgraded to fit with modern times and inclusive of sex. How can you do Yoga without sex, implies Peter Heehs, so he made even Sri Aurobindo enjoy “spontaneous erotic delight” (see Lives, p 425)! To this wonderful proposition, eminent writer Manoj Das and home grown student cum disciple Manoj Das Gupta and the intelligentsia of the Sri Aurobindonian community in the Ashram at Pondicherry, India and abroad have humbly bowed their heads in shameful approval. So be it! They don’t deserve anything better!
The case came up for hearing this Friday last (24 January, 2014). The inordinate delay of more than 800 days for challenging the gazette notification has been condoned. (Generally a gazette notification has to be challenged within 60 days of its publication.) Let us await the result with bated breath.