My comments were directed towards Rich’s comments on the constraints of a historian writing a biography on spiritual masters for secular audience. Since this biography was written based on objective facts that the author claims to have possessed in the archives that none others have access to and his interpretation of it is not only objective but subjective there is ample scope for the historian to make wrong interpretations of the objective facts. If the interpretation of the author seems to taint the masters reputation and if the author is not sure of its truth validity of his interpretation, is it not better to leave the matter alone instead of making personal judgments on dubious matters?
I am not only questioning PH book but such books in general. Given the choice what will a disciple do in such a situation when the biography is on his master? Will he take the sides with the secular audience and go by the mob mentality in interpreting the events or avoid confusion that may taint the reputation of the guru especially when the guru does not exist to support himself.
Rich seems to suggest that no one can question a biography that is directed towards secular audience and anyone who questions it makes “truth possessing” claims. This is a good way to divert from answering the original question. There is also a confusion in trying to segregate core teachings of Hinduism like the Gita and IY which to me seem to be the same. He also seems to suggest that there is no secular teachings in hindu religion. My comments were also directed towards this confusion that is persisting from a long time on this blog postings. If IY is considered Secular and its core teachings are based on the Gita and even Hinduism considers it the Holy text can’t we see something secular in Hinduism.
Why always carp on Hinduism as Sectarian etc? I have not tried to denigrate PH book or to target Rich since he is supporting the book. That is far from my intention. There is no mob mentality in questioning the intentions. I will definitely quote some passages from PH book that are objectionable when I get the time.
"The guru does not exist to support himself"? The guru not only exists to support himself but support his disciples as well. Look into yourself and if you truly feel called upon to "defend the guru's reputation", no one can stop you. But don't expect others to agree with you either that "the guru's reputation is being tainted" or that he needs your or anyone else's defense. DB
On the issue of Hinduism as a religion vis. a vis. secularism and the relationship between Integral Yoga and the core teachings of the Gita and Upanishads, to be fair this requires a long response, for which I don't have the time just now.
However, in brief, "Hinduism" is a construct which is better seen as a cluster of disparate beliefs, practices and philosophies with some common principles tying them together. It is a historical development, and is continuing to extend itself in a variety of ways in the modern period. It has elements in it which are "religious" in the narrow sense of sectarianism and these are what RC has been referring to when speaking of Hinduism as a religion.
But it also has various contrary and critical strands within it, which are geared towards a variety of forms of divine realization. The complex cluster is tied together, one may say, through acceptance of the Veda as the root revelation, the yogic axioms of the Upanishads as the accepted descriptions of reality and certain other synthetic texts such as the Bhagavad Gita as commonly held shastras.
Sri Aurobindo certainly draws on Vedas, Upanishads and the Gita in his spiritual teaching and practice, though it may be debated that he did not need these for formulating the Integral Yoga. The "religion" of Hindutva makes its own kinds of uses of Gita, Upanishads, etc. which don't have any place in Sri Aurobindo's teaching. But these same texts can be shown to describe yogic paths in consonance with Integral Yoga, and Sri Aurobindo has himself shown this through his writings. DB