Daiva Tamosaityte
Institute of Culture, Philosophy and Arts
Saltoniskiu 58, LT-08105
Vilnius, Lithuania

October 5, 2010

Dear Mr. Das Gupta,

My acquaintance with Sri Aurobindo's works began in 1988. Since then I have been studying his works on metaphysics as well as his psychological, social and political thought. I wrote over 20 scientific articles and gave lectures in conferences presenting Sri Aurobindo's thought to the academic audience. On the 18th of December, 2009, I successfully defended my doctor's thesis in philosophy at the Institute of Culture, Philosophy and Arts and Vytautas Magnus University in Vilnius, Lithuania. During my research work from 2005 to 2009 I came across Mr. Peter Heehs's scientific papers on nationalism and Sri Aurobindo's early stage of political life as a revolutionary, published by prestigious publishers like the Columbia University Press, Oxford University Press and others. Knowing that Mr. P. Heehs is the only and the best expert in the field, I studied his materials (Nationalism, Terrorism, Communalism, Indian Religions etc.), which were very helpful in a process of scrutinizing the problem of Indian movement of independence at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, and the role Sri Aurobindo played in it.

Mr. Peter Heehs was one of the official consultants of mine while I was a doctoral candidate. He provided me with some materials and articles on the subject, so I could draw a more precise picture of the historical background.

Among the works of Mr. P. Heehs that I have read is The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. This is Heehs's major work on Sri Aurobindo's life. It consists of five parts corresponding to five sides of Sri Aurobindo's activities, with an Epilogue. It runs to 496 pages including Notes, Bibliography, Index and illustrations. As Mr. P. Heehs worked for a long time in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is a result of a long and hard studying, an unprecedented scrutiny, insightful analysis and broad knowledge of the subject.

The work is new, original and important mainly in two aspects. 1. It is the first biography of Sri Aurobindo to be based on real historical facts found in primary documents. It provides the reader with an otherwise inaccessible materials and rare data. 2. As a brilliant and responsible scholar, Mr. Peter Heehs represents the new generation of scientists, who deny any form of essentialism or romantic narratives and prefers the clear and truthful presentation of historiographical facts, due to postmodern turn of postcolonial studies in Indology. Therefore his style of writing is concise though highly informative and thorough, and his conclusions are just, correct in their own way and free of any possible exaggerations. In my opinion, the book must be appreciated as it is and will surely occupy its proper place among indological monographs in the academic world.

I've heard about the controversy around the book in question going on in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. I don't see any contradiction between writing research papers and being a member of the Ashram at the same time, because Sri Aurobindo himself was a great thinker with a very profound mind, who in his writings always tried to seek after the truth, to reconcile all oppositions and reject any form of rigid or narrow-minded thinking and to be an example of ever-vigilant and skeptical mind. It cannot be said that the author's purpose in doing such a tremendous work was not honest or sincere. In that context the attitude and study of Mr. P. Heehs must not be regarded from an old-fashioned or religious point of view, as Sri Aurobindo's whole life was meant to overcome religious dogmatism. In this respect, genuine followers of  Aurobindo should remember that bhakti bhava or seva is not the only way to deal with God. There is also the relationship between jivatman and the Lord as Father, Friend and Lover. To decide about man's relationship with the Divine is His privilege, and this task doesn't lie in human morality or the judgment of others.

As a builder of an Integral Yoga and the seer of the new supramental world, Sri Aurobindo gave secondary value to the present imperfect human institutions, customs and rules of life. To deepen the confrontation means a crude violation of the very principle of Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's work on the earth and a misunderstanding of the spiritual aim of the Ashram, the very purpose it was created for, which is based on peace, love, the seeking after truth, free will and discernment, humility and egolessness in human relationships.

We know also that Sri Aurobindo considered trials to be the worst thing that can happen to sadhaks. To be involved in bringing an action against somebody must be avoided. That means that any attempt to establish a division inside the institution or to promulgate one-sided opinions, or to use such an extreme means of action as a suit against members of the Ashram is not only harmful to both sides, but is a manifestation of the very opposite of Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's teachings. Therefore such actions cannot be approved by people in the outside world, which looks at the Ashram as a place of new wisdom, balance and representative of East-West cultural friendship. Let us always remember, that Sri Aurobindo was and will remain an unsurpassed living symbol of the future Gnostic civilization, united in soul and spiritual collaboration.

Sincerely Yours,
Daiva Tamosaityte, Ph. D.