Home > serious posts > Another attack by the would-be Sri Aurobindo?

Another attack by the would-be Sri Aurobindo?

Fifty years ago the Mother was attacked by an asuric being. The attack took the form of a total cardiac arrest. This being, which took the appearance of Sri Aurobindo and declared that the Mother had betrayed him, made use of a group of people who wanted to take the Mother’s life “because they know that as long as I am in a body upon earth their purpose cannot succeed.” Their purpose was to create a religion based on the revelation of Sri Aurobindo but taking from it only what could be utilized by asuric forces. (See the excerpts from Mother’s Agenda below.)

The Mother is no longer in a body upon earth.

Fifty years is a long time for a group of people, but not for an asuric being, which can easily get hold of another group. It happened sooner rather than later.

Not long after the Mother’s passing in 1973, the Sri Aurobindo Society, chaired by Keshav Dev Poddar (“Navajata”), attempted to take over Auroville by violent means, forcing the Government of India to intervene. Claiming to be a religious organization, the Society contested the Government’s decision in a legal process, which was eventually settled in the Indian Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Judgement of 1982 not only divested the Society of all claims to the management of Auroville but also discredited it as a trustworthy representative of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s work.

That was 30 years ago. Now, a generation later, a new group of people accuse the Trustees of the Ashram of being the traitors, and once again the aim is to turn Sri Aurobindo’s teachings into a religion, a thing of the past.

Putting themselves forward as the priests of this religion, this group wants to control the thoughts and feelings of those who turn to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for guidance, in order to gain power, position, and influence. Lately they have seized on a nationally and internationally acclaimed biography of Sri Aurobindo, conveniently (for them) written by a firangi Ashramite. By selectively misquoting, misattributing, misrepresenting, decontextualising, and distorting passages from the book, by filing court cases based on trumped-up charges and feeding misinformation to Government officials and the press, they forced the Trustees of the Ashram to come to the author’s defence. This enabled them to attack the Trustees for being complicit in an attempt to “denigrate” Sri Aurobindo and, by annexing Sri Aurobindo to the Indian religious traditions of the past, to frame them as co-conspirators in a universal plot by “Western supremacists” against “the age-old glorious culture and tradition of our Motherland”.

The entire Ashram now reverberates with the delirious cacophony of abuse hurled by these miscreants at the Trustees, as do the 75 branches and 350 centres (give or take a few) of the Sri Aurobindo Society in India and abroad.

From Mother’s Agenda, April 3, 1962

(Since March 16, Mother has been going through a grave ordeal that threatened her physical existence. Even so, she went down to the balcony on the 18th and 20th of March, which were to be the last times. […] The latest attack occurred the previous night, April 2-3, and took the form of a total cardiac arrest. Despite her condition, this morning Mother has found the strength to speak. She speaks in English. Her words have been noted down from memory.)

Just between eleven and twelve [last night] I had an experience by which I discovered that there is a group of people – purposely their identity was not revealed to me – wanting to create a kind of religion based on the revelation of Sri Aurobindo. But they have taken only the side of power and force, a certain kind of knowledge and all which could be utilized by Asuric forces. There is a big Asuric being that has succeeded in taking the appearance of Sri Aurobindo. It is only an appearance. This appearance of Sri Aurobindo has declared to me that the work I am doing is not his. It has declared that I have been a traitor to him and to his work and has refused to have anything to do with me. […]

I woke up at two and noticed that the heart had been affected by the attack of this group that is wanting to take my life away from this body, because they know that as long as I am in a body upon earth their purpose cannot succeed. Their first attack was many years ago in vision and action. It happened during the night and I spoke of it to no one. I noted the date, and if I can come out of this crisis, I will find it and give it out. They would have liked me dead years ago. It is they who are responsible for these attacks on my life. Until now I am alive because the Lord wants me to be alive, otherwise I would have gone long ago. […]

What the Asuric Force that has succeeded in taking the appearance of Sri Aurobindo will create is a new religion or thought, perhaps cruel and merciless, in the name of the Supramental Realisation. But everybody must know that it is not true, it is not Sri Aurobindo’s teaching, not the truth of his teaching. The truth of Sri Aurobindo is a truth of love and light and mercy. He is good and great and compassionate and divine. … Et c’est Lui qui aura la victoire finale. …

From Mother’s Agenda, May 15, 1962

I had said [on April 3] I would find the date of my first encounter with that fake Sri Aurobindo. What I found was the date of another experience that followed that encounter by perhaps three or four weeks, so that pins it down. […] I must have had my first experience with those people somewhere around the end of June or the beginning of July, 1959.

Did I tell you about it? […] I saw a tall Sri Aurobindo – much taller than he actually was – strong but rather thin, thin in a way that … not the way he really was – it was rather a gauntness, very harsh, very cold; and he was somewhat darker than he used to be. I saw him there, walking up and down; and when he was told I was asking to see him, I saw him in the distance saying, “No, I don’t want to see her. I won’t acknowledge her and I don’t want anything to do with her – she has betrayed me.” Something like that (I couldn’t hear the actual words, but the gestures were plain enough). Well, that was the very first time – nothing of the kind had ever occurred before.

And I immediately felt that it was the expression of certain people’s thoughts. During the war there was a whole clique (I know their names and all the details) who said I had influenced Sri Aurobindo, made him deviate from his nationalist path and turn towards the Allies; they considered me to have ruined his life, his consciousness, his work – everything, you understand. […]

Later, when I had that second vision [April 3, 1962], I saw that the same being was behind this would-be Sri Aurobindo (and with a whole group organized around him – people, ceremonies and so on). So from that I concluded that the thing had been developing. But when I first encountered those people [in 1959] it was merely something in the Subconscient and the effect was only psychological (an hour or two was enough to sort things out and put them in order). It didn’t affect my health. But this time…. […]

You say there was a whole group organized around that asuric being – people, ceremonies….


You can take that out – it’s not that sort of thing; it was a whole ORGANIZATION.

  1. Nicolas Flamel
    June 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    The “fake Sri Aurobindo” appears again in Vol. 4 and 5 of Mother’s Agenda (October 16, 1963). This time the culprit is clearly identified, caught red-handed as it were. It was Panditji (X), Satprem’s tantric guru, who tried to mislead the Mother during a meditation with the trick of taking the appareance of Sri Aurobindo as photographied by Cartier-Bresson.

    Recently, a movie was shown on French TV (Arte). It retraces the trip to India and Tibet of Alexandra David-Néel. In Pondicherry, a scene re-enacts an encounter between Alexandra and Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo’s part is unashamedly played by an Indian Aurovilian bearing a striking ressemblance to Sraddhalu Ranade (he is part of his fan club). A donkey is closer to a stallion than this guy to Sri Aurobindo. Yet he seemed quite pleased with himself. The artistic level of his performance is comparable to the massive monolithic black statue which is supposed to represent Sri Aurobindo in front of the Savitri Bhavan.

    For a few days, the masochists can still enjoy the torture of watching this atrocity by clicking the following link:


    Apparently, “fake Sri Aurobindos” are multiplying around, not only in the Ashram but in Auroville as well, both places being ideally suited as breeding grounds for the species.

  2. June 7, 2012 at 10:24 am

    The “fake Sri Aurobindo” appears again in Vol. 4 and 5 of Mother’s Agenda (October 16, 1963). This time the culprit is clearly identified, caught red-handed as it were.

    Click here to read the relevant part of this conversation. (You will appreciate the delicious humor with which the Mother recounts the whole farce.) Because the phenomena discussed in this text are rather unlike the experience recounted in the present post, it seems unlikely that this “culprit” (or his guru) was responsible for that experience. Unlikely but not impossible.

  3. Baji Prabhou
    June 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”
    — Heinrich Heine

    Day before yesterday, Ray Bradbury passed away. He authored “Fahrenheit 451”. It’s about book burning and censorship. It demonstrates how utopian types of society (like the Ashram and Auroville) can turn dystopian when faceless tyrants are allowed to impose their writ under the pretext of preserving ideological purity. It is a powerful metaphor about what will happen to the Ashram and Auroville should Ranade and Co have the upper hand.

    They already have. Liberty is on the defensive.

    How long with the Auroville WC be able to resist the pressure and man the fort? Ranade’s return to the Bhavan is only a question of weeks, at best a question of a few months….

    The season is hot, fiercely hot. Peter Heehs is away. The lull before the storm….

  4. June 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. — Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Coda (1979 edition)

  5. Parvati
    June 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm


    In the West, Friday the 13th is an ominous date. It might also work for India as Friday the 13th of April was indeed a catastrophic day for the Sraddhalunatics,

    But it was a very auspicious moment for all lovers of freedom. On this very day, Government of India officially announced its decision to issue a one year visa extension to our very good friend Peter Heehs…. Everyone celebrated!

    Well, ALMOST everyone….

    In the May issue (N° 274) of AUROVILLE TODAY, not a word about the hullabaloo!

    The whole Indian subcontinent, all medias included, was set ablaze with the controversy. Wonder if they didn’t speak of it in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh! Yet nothing in friendly, concerned, well appraised neighbouring Auroville: a DEAFENING SILENCE!

    This indifference does not reflect the keen interest of the large majority of Aurovilians for this affair. It’s an omission all the most strange that the managers of this publication have shown in the past that they were highly concerned about it.

    Should we interpret their refusal to treat the topic as a STATEMENT? Did Carel, Alan and Priya decide to join the bandwagon of those who believe that Auroville shouldn’t be involved, that it is Ashram’s internal affairs only, that whatever happens to PH and the Ashram can never be of consequence for their beloved City of Dawn?

    The Telegraph, Times of India, Indian Express, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Daily Mail, IBN Lives, CNN, and plenty of other medias have opened their columns and dealt abundantly with the matter, offering the possibility to Peter to express himself at last.

    The best explanation for “Auroville Today” to be mute must be that Carel, Alan and Priya have decided to respect Peter’s rights to privacy and quietness. Didn’t Peter confessed to “The Hindu” after getting his visa:”I am looking forward to be forgotten”….

    Faithfull subscribers, don’t despair! Surely Alan, Carel and Priya have already booked Peter for an exclusive interview as soon as he will return “home”. You will then enjoy his prime confidences about how does it feel to be vindicated, not to be a victim any more, to be free to travel, meet friends and publishers, give talks, enjoy life, contemplate a future, make new projects, have expectations.

    We shall all eagerly await the next issues – will it be June, July, August, September, October, let’s take a bet! – of our favorite magazine: AUROVILLE TODAY….

    To all those who haven’t already done it, please, SUBSCRIBE NOW!


  6. paulette
    June 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Panditji’s personal ego-trip has nothing to do with the fake Sri Aurobindo who nearly took away the Mother’s life, accused of falsifying Sri Aurobindo’s teaching.

    This dark being, which the Mother describes also following a cyclone, is an occult formation that surfaces whenever there is an attempt, by an individual or a sect, to present themselves as the true and only apostles of Sri Aurobindo’s teaching, and in fact their very heirs and successors. We already had a collection of them and more of such characters will certainly follow, besides the present most vociferous ones.

    Gregarious people need a dux, to feel they are someone and fulfil the hollowness of their empty selves. This, by the way, is the matrix of all fascisms, a phenomenon much similar in nature.


  7. carel
    June 15, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Dear Parvati,

    First of all, thank you for your appreciation of Auroville Today.

    Then on the Peter Heehs controversy. As you are aware, after our review of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and the interview with Peter, we have only once given an extensive overview of the ongoing difficulties when the court case against the Ashram trustees was started. We have not touched the issue since, though we follow it closely. Like you, we are very happy that Peter’s residential permit has been extended – but we are sad that it is for only a year.

    You criticize Auroville Today for not having informed its readers about this. We would like to explain the position.

    Auroville Today is not like an Indian newspaper which is at liberty to challenge or criticise the government, as was done in the Peter Heehs issue. Our objective is to give information on Auroville issues, which of course include those about Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. It was from this perspective that we published the review, the interview and the article on the court case against the trustees.

    For the Indian press, the issue is the freedom of individuals to express their views, even if those views are criticised by small but powerful lobby groups. The Peter Heehs issue closely followed the Salman Rushdie affair, who was ‘advised’ not to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival and whose speech through video link from London was cancelled after Indian Muslim activists threatened to use any amount of violence in order to stop Rushdie’s voice being heard. It followed the ban in Gujarat of Joseph Lelyveld’s book on Gandhi; the removal of A.K. Ramanujan’s study of the Ramayana from the syllabus of the Delhi university; and the death in exile of artist M.F. Husain who had been attacked by Hindu fundamentalists with a rash of lawsuits and attacks on him and his work. There are other cases too where the Indian government has not protected the writers and artists.

    Now consider Auroville Today. The power of the Government of India to evict a foreigner from India is absolute, in the sense that the foreigner cannot go to court to challenge the eviction process. This Auroville learned in 1996, when the government refused to extend the Residential Permit of an Aurovilian who had been living and working in Auroville for over 20 years and served a Leave India notice to him to leave the country within 15 days. He went to court, only to learn that the government has the absolute and unfettered right to expel foreigners from India – the government is not even obliged to give any reasons for its decision. In the course of time, more Aurovilians have been expelled, and reasons were never given. As foreign editors of Auroville Today, this forces us to deal with our publication extremely carefully, and we do not comment on Indian issues.

    We are happy that Peter’s visa has been extended, but are sad that it is only for a year. This means that the entire issue may come up again in another year. We hope that during this year, an appeal verdict will cancel the court order against Peter’s book, for then there are no grounds for the Government of India not to grant him a normal visa extension. Moreover, such a verdict would also clear the case against the Ashram.

    With kind regards,
    for Auroville Today

  8. Parvati
    June 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Dear Carel,

    My appreciation of your excellent magazine is nothing compared to my appreciation of your kind, honest and detailed reply to me. Thank you.

    I didn’t “criticize” Auroville Today. I expressed my surprise at your strange self imposed silence regarding the latest developments of the Heehs Affair. In fact, if you read me with a “cool attitude”, you will see that I was kind of teasing you. I somehow suspected that you were following some unwritten rule (an “omerta”?) preventing you from reporting so as to avoid trouble. Your reply confirms this, but it raises more questions than it clears doubts.

    Although I believe there is much to say regarding the points you are making, I am afraid it would be too long to pursue this interesting conversation under this format. We are going astray from the heading of the present Post (“attack by the would-be Sri Aurobindo”) and a too lengthy reply by me would necessitate the opening of a new Post under a new heading, something I am not at liberty to decide.

    Maybe another time….
    All the best to you and the Aurovile Today team,

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