The Economic Times, from an interview of Peter Heehs by Ullekh NP, Updated: Apr 20, 2012, 02.18 AM IST:


PH: If there was any problem, it was caused by people with no legitimate interest in the matter. I am well aware of their motivations and their designs with regard to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. I was just a pawn in their game, so to speak.

Q: What did you want to highlight in the book that the so-called conservatives have found objectionable?

PH: My aim was to show all aspects of Sri Aurobindo's life. The "so-called conservatives" are interested in establishing a Sri Aurobindo religion with themselves as popes, priests, etc. I made it clear in my book that the yoga and philosophy of Sri Aurobindo is not a religion. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (Mirra Alfassa, Aurobindo's spiritual collaborator) made this perfectly clear in their writings and the Supreme Court of India affirmed it in a judgment of 1982 after a certain organisation claiming to represent Sri Aurobindo tried to obtain religious status and protections. Its suit was thrown out.

Q: Do you think the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry has fallen into the hands of a few?

PH: No, though a few are mounting a strong challenge to the legitimate authorities in order to advance their own agendas.

Q: Do you think it needs to be more transparent about its functioning?

PH: As far as I know, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust is quite transparent. Its books are independently audited and I don't believe that any irregularities have been noted... The problem is that "the few" referred to above, because they are not able to get their way, put forward frivolous complaints about the workings of the trust, going so far as to challenge the Trust deed written by the Mother. Their reasons for doing this are clear to most people in the Ashram.