In various places in the book, Peter Heehs undermines the very community he belongs to. He ridicules Sri Aurobindo’s “followers” as being naive and uncritical in order to demonstrate his own objectivity to the reader. A member of the Ashram ought not to engage in such grandstanding. The biography is not a platform to launch attacks on members of your own community.
(Preface) Most of the documents I found in public archives dealt with Aurobindo’s life as a politician. They confirmed that he had been an important figure in the Struggle for Freedom, but fell short of proving what his followers believed: that he was the major cause of its success. Nevertheless, his contribution was significant and, at the time, not very well known. Accounts that had been written to correct this deficiency were so uncritical that they undermined their own inflated claims.
(page 277) The only works that Aurobindo regularly cited in The Life Divine were the Gita, Upanishads, and Rig Veda. His philosophy, he explained, “was formed first” by the study of these works, which were also “the basis of my first practice of Yoga; I tried to realise what I read in my spiritual experience and succeeded; in fact I was never satisfied till experience came and it was on this experience that later on I founded my philosophy.” ….These ideas and their synthesis were self-validating for Aurobindo, and most of his followers accept them as unquestionable truths.
(Epilogue) In the half-century since Sri Aurobindo’s death, his reputation has continued to grow. Discussed by historians, philosophers, literary critics, and social scientists, and admired, even worshipped, by thousands of spiritual seekers, he regularly is numbered among the most outstanding Indians of the twentieth century.9 Like all icons, he is misrepresented by his admirers as well as his detractors, praised or reviled for things he never said or did. Most people allow their opinions of him to be shaped by authorities. His followers and their spokesmen present him as an avatar or incarnation beyond any sort of criticism