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Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are not sure that we are doubly sure. Fundamentalism is, therefore, inevitable in an age which has destroyed so many certainties by which faith once expressed itself and upon which it relied.

— Reinhold Niebuhr

Dear Peter

May I ask you one simple question, — What is your object in writing this 'painstaking' and 'laborius' [sic] biography of Sri Aurobindo? Is it to bring out some outer details of his life that may show to us that He was as fallible as us humans or to bring out the diviner side so that all who care can draw an inspiration from His life as an example? What is the truth that you seek to unearth, the truth of Sri Aurobindo's divine stature that does not interest you much by your own admission or the opinion of some critics whose own credentials are uncertain? What do you mean when through a most convoluted argument, quoting the Guru-Student dialogue from the Isavasya you arrive at the startling revelation as to the real reasons for Sri Aurobindo's marraige to Mrinalini devi? What are your specific intents in changing and expanding (by your own admission) the notes by A B Purani ji, putting words in Sri Aurobindo's mouth but to suggest something, hint something, almost half-mockingly? Either you believe that we are all naive or you think that all of us are a bunch of idiots whom you have to teach about how to read and write the elementaries of literary criticisms. May be some fools who have not read either the book or Sri Aurobindo in full and His other biographies would be deceived by your 'plead innocence' posture. And how about choosing mainly the psychoanalytic positions to understand Sri Aurobindo's mystical experiences? What do you mean when you say that modern psychology has hardly gone beyond Freud. I am utterly surprised, though not really so knowing the way you have written the book, that having stayed for so long in Ashram you betray the least understanding of the subject and speak where you had better kept your mouth shut. And what about putting that 'abusive word' for Sri Aurobindo through the lips of someone in the crowd (Surat congress reference). And by the way who are these people and their credentials and reliability who say that Sri Aurobindo had a touch of lunacy and the opinions of the British records. Oh, I forgot they would never lie nor will you. And what about the many many ommissions, including Sri Aurobindo's own position on most of the subjects including the veracity of mystical experiences; and the psychoanalytic clout? You will say they cannot be accepted since they are personal but on other accounts you most conveniently choose to cite Sri Aurobindo's words when it comes to A B Purani's diary account where in, [sic] Sri Aurobindo refers to himself as a terrible liar and a coward. So only negative remarks of Sri Aurobindo about himself have to be taken as truth but the other 'claims' are subjective and personal with no bearing upon others. Then what is this whole yoga affair about. It is as if you were taking Sri Aurobindo to trial and like a most crafty lawyer (sorry liar as they say in India), use those words that suit your purpose and omit that which contradicts it!! I could go on and on.

Having read the book, the full texts, and not formed my opinion on the basis of the extracts, I can easily say that the whole atmosphere that the book brings is something very negative and critical, as if an imp was struggling to prove something, as if a mole was trying to describe a mountain he cannot climb nor behold. In fact, anyone with the least spiritual sensitivity would perceive what you are trying to say, which is best summarised as: setting up a commitee to try the Divine Incarnate, to plant subtle suggestions, to create a certain mood of ambiguity about the truth of Sri Aurobindo, to highlight a few grey spots here and there on His persona, so that the Beauty and grandness of his being and his vision goes into the background and what remains at the end of the reading is a doubtful appreciation, a strange mixture that conceals the poison draught in an insipid liquid, yet works all the same to diminish and belittle, at least bring down Sri Aurobindo, the Divine Incarnate to the level of a slightly more than ordinary humanity. So let me say what you are trying to say through out [sic] the book,— Look Sri Aurobindo may be considered as someone Divine and Incarnation and all that stuff by you but that is only a question of your faith and that is simply a dogma and an outdated religion. Next you are trying to show that though He can be considered great from certain points of view (Oh you have been so generous at times, thanks Peter thanks for conceeding some greatness at least or may be you just could not help it!) but in reality and if one takes a total account he is not so relevent and great as all that (quite a confusing message indeed). As to His yoga you leave it still more grey. One wonders whether you are encouraging people to read Sri Aurobindo or discouraging them!! And all that being an insider of the Ashram, great. How beautifully did Harry Potter's author J K Rowling foresee you in a character with the same name as yours [Peter Pettigrew also known as Wormtail, how apt] (Read Prisoner of Azkaban)!! Oh no some others too foresaw your intent, Jugal da and many others. But as Sri Aurobindo has said that the difference between God and man is that while God plays the fool in season, man plays it in and out of season. Perhaps the season to play the fool is over for you and it would do good if you were to quietly and in a dignified way quit the Archives and find some other suitable work in the Ashram or elsewhere that is more suited to your capacities to dig out unneccesary details and string together the most illogical things so that the meaning is lost and left questionable. But please never agin [sic] try to write the biography of any great spiritual Master, leave alone the Divine Incarnate, since you understand nothing, nor are interested in understanding anything about the mystery of the Divine wearing a human guise.

Whom are you trying to deceive dear Peter,— yourself, others, or the Divine???

I am sending as an attachment my full response to your book in totality. With pity on you for having wasted so many years in this place and to have so little understanding and prayer that may your soul wake up and despite the muddled surface vision of your so-called objectivity, may It See The Light

alok

(dated 17 September 2008)