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Dear Manoj Das Gupta

To begin with, my apologies for writing to you without an invitation to do so.

I write in order to express a sense of solidarity for a good friend, Peter Heehs. Being a good friend of his, it is highly likely that my views are biased; being an artist and an academician, it is also likely that I speak with a certain detachment. I have known Peter for several years now — and whatever be the criticism for his new book, I am extremely pained by the manner in which several devotees of Sri Aurobindo, have reacted to it.

I am sure you agree, that to disagree with a point of view, is a tradition that India has nurtured for centuries. Just as I would defend Peter's right to express himself, I whole-heartedly defend the right of those offended by Peter's new book, to disagree with him. However, to let a disagreement take the shape of something more nasty, goes against one of the richest principles that make India such a great nation. One has been witness to other instances of such intolerance, in recent times.

I happen to have read Peter's new book — and if anything, it lends a human touch to the profound regard I have for Sri Aurobindo. That this work might be interpreted as something that diminishes the stature of the great soul, is difficult for me to understand.

I have taken the liberty to write to you — should you be inclined towards a lengthier dialogue, I shall be glad to begin a conversation.

with regards

Raja Mohanty

Associate Professor
IDC, IIT Bombay
Powai, Mumbai 400076