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 The Mother's Service Society

Pondicherry 605 011  India



Publisher’s Note on the text:  The definitions of all italicized words may be found in the Glossary at the end of the book.



Forward – Mother’s Sweetness

Part I  
1.  The Mother
2.  Sri Aurobindo 
3.  Auroville 
4.  Health, Cure of Diseases 
5.  Wealth
6.  Life 
7.  Education
8.  Mother’s Ways of Answering Her Devotees  
9.  Prayer

10. Grace
11. Mother’s Unique Ways With Her Children
12. India 
13. Mother’s Principles in Work 
14. Nature, Climate, Weather
15. Gods 
16. Past Lives of Sadhaks
17. Where is Mother?
18. Some Related Information
19. What Happens to You When You Come to Mother
20. To Accept Mother in Life 
21. Different Types of Progress
22. Insoluble Problems 
23. Purna Yoga
24. Purna Yoga and The Traditional Yogas

Part II

1.   Introduction   
2.   The Mother and Sri Aurobindo Ashram       
3.   Purna Yogi Sri Aurobindo                            
4.   The Mother and Her Devotees                      
5.   Parc-A-Charbon, Banyan Tree, Ganesh Temple 
6.   The Mother and The Ashram                       
7.   Samadhi Darshan                                        
8.   Mother’s Life in the Ashram                       
9.   Coconut Garden                                           
10. Ph.D. Thesis                                              
11. Industrial Expansion                                 
12. M.A. in English Literature                        
13. Rishyasringar                                           
14. Unsold Stock                                              
15. Bankruptcy           
16. Sri Aurobindo’s Room                                
17. The Touch of Her Feet                                
18. An Experience in Mexico                           
19. Ramapuram                                              
20. Industrial Peace                                        
21. Mental Tension                                         
22. Ex-Serviceman’s Plot                                 
23. Water Diviner                                            
24. Luck                                                           
25. Token Offering                                          
26. Unemployed Engineer                               
27. Walter                                                        
28. Damodaran                                                
29. Opportunities and Obstacles                    
30. Manivel                                                     
31. Sri  Aurobindo, The Writer                         
32. Lost Speech                                                
33. Lessee                                                        
34. One Crore                                                  
35. Balaraman                                                
36. The Greatness of Service                           
37. Eyesight                                                    
38. Calling The Mother and Her Response      
39. Employment                                              
40. The Grace That Always Helps                   
41. The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo            
42. Mother's Name, Repetition of Mother's Name
 and  Calling Her

GLOSSARY   of italicized terms              



Mother's Sweetness

No one who enters Mother's Room fails to be invaded by the sweetness of the Mother. Sadhaks and devotees addressed Her as 'Sweet Mother'.

If Sri Aurobindo is an ocean of peace, Mother is an eternal spring of sweetness. But She loves to call Herself a Force in action endeavouring to evolve the next species. Sri Aurobindo succeeded in bringing the Supramental golden light into his very physical body in 1950. All his life he was working for this Force to come down on earth to abolish suffering and death and evolve the first member of the next species. Mother offers to all those who sincerely aspire a touch of this Force if they come forward to give an opening to the Divine Touch.

She assures us of the Presence of the Force that descended in 1956 and invites us to take a leap forward in the evolutionary march.

In the pages of this book I have endeavoured to introduce Mother to the readers through her biographical events, her relationship with Sri Aurobindo, the sadhaks and the thousands of people who visited her and to show how She responded to the call of people in distress.

Part I of the book relates to the lives and teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Part II contains the English originals of articles published in Amudhasurabhi  magazine over the past eight years.

To know the Mother is to know the Divine; to let Her Force work in you is to evolve. Her sweetness, which is the sweetness of the psychic, invades our nerves when we call Her into our being.



Part I


The Mother was known in her family as Mira. Born on February 21, 1878 of an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father who were thorough materialists, Mira was brought up to become an ideal of perfection. Mira later reminisced about her early upbringing. Her mother was a strong-willed lady who appeared to the children to be an iron bar. She believed her children were not on earth to enjoy themselves but to make their lives the acme of perfection. In spite of this, she did not believe in any religion, perhaps because to harbour such belief, in her view, made the individual a weakling. Mira’s parents were more than affluent, they were wealthy. When Mira later became the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, she was able to foot the entire bill of the Ashram from its inception when it had 25 members until it reached nearly 1000 members during the Second World War. She gave her all to the work of Sri Aurobindo.

Mira was an exceptional child.  Her being an exception was not known to her until later in life when she met Max Theon, her teacher in occultism. It was Madame Theon, an Englishwoman, who told Mira that she carried a white light on her head in the form of a circle with 12 balls of light. That light, Madame Theon explained, was the light of creation. At the age of five Mira would lapse into bliss and go into a trance sometimes when she was placed in an easy chair or during of a meal. Once in the middle of a meal with her outstretched hand holding a spoon, she found herself in trance, much to the annoyance of her iron-willed mother to whom it was a social embarrassment. Little did the mother or the daughter know that she was a Divine child meant to preside over the affairs of the world and to try an evolutionary experiment in her own body to evolve the first member of the next species, which Sri Aurobindo called Supramental Man.

 Mira had a brother to whom she was fondly attached. Once when he was crossing a river a heavenly voice offered him the chance of becoming a god. He could not respond to this offer and he later joined the French civil service, ending up as colonial Governor in Madagascar.

 Mira was a Divine Being and she was attended by several beings in times of need. Once when she was about ten years old running around with children of her age, she ran towards the edge of a cliff and was not able to stop in time. She went over the edge and fell from a great height. It was a fall that could have given her multiple fractures or even been fatal. But she found herself descending through the air as if borne by a benevolent being to a soft, safe landing. It was an angel-like being that gave her that protection. Such things happened to her all the time, but young Mira could not comprehend their full import at that time. Walking through Paris as if in a daze, she once wished to cross a busy street and did not notice a streetcar coming straight at her. She suddenly felt that something pulled her back and threw her violently to the side of the road. Next she found that the streetcar had come to a sudden stop and the driver was intensely abusing her for trying to cross the road thoughtlessly. Except that she was miraculously saved and the driver was vehemently abusing her, Mira could not make much out of the incident. When she grew up and was cooking, she sometimes found tiny beings pulling at her dress to remind her that the milk was about to boil over. She had such special divine attention at all times of her life.

 Her early life was set on a search for the Divine and that was the one thing she was interested in. Her later life was dedicated to the ideals of Sri Aurobindo. At a young age, while dreaming, she found her being rising into the sky and spreading all over the town. Countless numbers of sad people with their grief, sorrows and ailments came from all around to touch her robe, which spread out in all directions. The robe was living and contact with it relieved the sorrowing beings of their misery. Mother greatly enjoyed this experience every night and awaited it with eagerness.

 When the authorities of the Royal Swedish Academy were inclined to award the Nobel Prize to Sri Aurobindo, he passed away. The offer was still there, and it was considered that Mother could receive it. She felt that it was Sri Aurobindo’s ideas, ideals, force and work that were being carried out by her body as a docile instrument. In her view, the instrument should not be glorified and that was the end of the whole possibility.

 Around age 20, her ‘search’ was intense and yet she did not know what she was searching for. She met an Indian in Paris who sensed her deep aspiration. He suggested she read the Bhagavad Gita and she obtained a copy of it in French. The French translation was quite poor but she understood the substance of it and received the necessary help. When she found out that there was something inside to be sought for, she says she rushed like a cyclone and made the discovery of her inner being. What normally takes decades of tapasya for rishis, she was able to realise in a few short months while in the middle of Parisian life.

In her meditations she saw several spiritual figures, all of whom offered her help of one type or another. Among them she saw a dark Asiatic figure whom she called to herself ‘Krishna’. Krishna guided her inner journey. She came to have total implicit faith in Krishna and was hoping to meet him one day in real life. When she was introduced to the enigmatic Max Theon, she accepted him in many ways and learnt several occult disciplines from him. A doubt lingered in her mind whether Theon could be her Krishna. Eventually she concluded that it was not he. Later in Pondicherry when she met Sri Aurobindo, she recognised him at first sight, “It is He, my Krishna.”

 She was married and had a son. They divorced and she later married Paul Richard, a politician. In her later life, she described the world as ruled by four main asuric figures whom she named Lord of Death, Lord of Nations, Lord of Darkness and Lord of Suffering. These four asuras have several thousand minor emanations. She also said the first two of them had dissolved and if the other two were wiped out, the earth would be ready for the rule of Truth. She had personal contact with the first two of them.

 In her frantic search for the Spirit, the only guidance she had was her daily meditation. The introduction of Max Theon, his stupendous knowledge of the cosmos, and the fact that his English wife was an adept in occultism had a great impact on Mother. Also she says that Theon resembled Sri Aurobindo. Her own need for spiritual, occult knowledge supported by her surmise that Theon might be the Krishna of her meditations made her accept him as a teacher or even guru. ‘Theon’ was not a name. It means God. He never disclosed from which country he had come or any other detail of his life. He had an extensive estate in Algeria. Mother went there for a prolonged stay. There she learned lessons of occultism such as leaving her body, travelling to other worlds and other planets, communing with non-humans, and obtaining an occult power over material objects.

 Mother was in touch with several supernatural beings whose status was not fully clear to her in those initial stages. Towards the end of her earthly embodiment, in one of her public Darshans given from her terrace to several thousand devotees assembled on the road adjoining Sri Aurobindo Ashram, she spoke of a Being from eternity looking at her with benevolence. Even at a young age, she was in contact with her inner soul, which Theon called the psychic being, and was guided by it in her daily life. At Tlemcen where she stayed with Theon, she met an extraordinary being from the other worlds whose real nature was later revealed to her when she met Sri Aurobindo. He described it as the Supramental Being.

 On arrival at Theon’s estate, Mother and he took a walk into the interior of the expansive grounds. Suddenly Theon took it into his head to start a tantrum and sprang before her, announcing that she was now under his control. Mother’s life was already presided over by her psychic being. She took his threat in stride and told him nonchalantly in her own unperturbed fashion that she was under the influence of her psychic being and was not afraid of him. Theon was disarmed, but even then he would not stop his pranks with her. It was true that his powers were enormous and he took occasions to demonstrate them. Once she was standing on the roof of his house with him by her side. A lightning flashed and headed towards them. She saw the lighting suddenly deflected in the middle of its course in another direction. She asked him if he had done that. He nodded his assent.

Madame Theon demonstrated to Mother how she could ‘eat’ a grapefruit by placing it on her stomach. After a little while the fruit was sucked out and lay flat on her stomach with all its nutrition transferred mysteriously to her body. She had so much power over material objects that they obeyed her as if obeying a spoken command. Mother explains that if Madame Theon looked at her pair of slippers, wishing to wear them, they would move toward her and slip themselves onto her feet.

 Theon was taking Mother to other worlds in her subtle body while her physical body lay on the floor. Travelling thus in various places of mystical interest, Mother arrived at a place where the mantra of Life was inscribed in Sanskrit. Mother knew no Sanskrit at that time but took the mantra into her memory. Theon, standing beside her and presiding over the operation, wanted Mother to give him the mantra. It was clear to Mother that the mantra was not intended for him or, perhaps, it should not fall into his hands. She refused the unspoken authoritative demand of the occult guru in whose hands her very body and life were now entrusted. Mother was quiet and her refusal was also quiet. Theon flew into a rage and snapped the chord that bound her to the body. In later life Mother explained that Theon was the Lord of Death and her husband Paul Richard was the Lord of Nations who inspired Hitler to destroy the world. She even joked, “I had good company.”  After twelve years with Richard when she parted company with him, she told him that she had tried her best for twelve long years to convert him in vain. The ways of the Divine are inscrutable. Mother, who was the very incarnation of the Transcendent Adiparashakti, spent the prime of her life with two incarnations of darkness in the hope of converting them to Truth. When she failed in her attempt at transformation, she found that they had exhausted their negative mission on earth and come to dissolution. Naturally, Mother, in whom this revelation was slowly gathering could not put into the hands of the Lord of Death the mantra of Life. She later gave the mantra to Sri Aurobindo. Theon who had severed the chord of life through which alone Mother could reenter her body, saw the purpose of obtaining the mantra was not going to be served. Knowing the Mother as he did, the enormity of his impulsive act dawned on him and he revived the connection.

 Paul Richard, who was seeking election to the French Senate from Pondicherry, visited the French colony to organise electoral support. During that visit he met Sri Aurobindo too. During his next visit to Pondicherry, Mother accompanied him. Even from a distance of ten miles from the city, Mother could see a column of white light rising from the middle of the town to the sky. A meeting of Sri Aurobindo and the French visitors was scheduled. Sri Aurobindo came out of his room to the top of the staircase where Mother was waiting at the bottom. They met. That was a meeting of evolutionary significance for the earth and the universe. At first sight, she knew for certain it was He. During the meeting Sri Aurobindo and Paul Richard sat across a table to discuss politics, the election and his personal prospects. Mother sat at the foot of the table on the floor, an unusual act for an accomplished Westerner. She found something was happening inside her head. Thoughts ceased to run, her mind became quiet and silence began to gather momentum. Mother was 36 at that time. There was no important book published in the world that she had not read by then. Apart from high art and higher mathematics, she had accumulated a great fund of knowledge. Not only that, that knowledge in her mind had created its own structure through which it functioned. Mother saw that formidable structure giving way and dissolving at its core as well as at its fringes. Sri Aurobindo, while engaged in a conversation was conferring on her the boon of Akhandamounam, eternal silence, a yogic attainment of decades of Tapas. He was transferring it to her without her asking for it, not through a ceremony of initiation, but casually, in spite of diverting himself in a conversation. Mother prostrated before Him without knowing that that was what Indian sishyas do to their gurus. The next day she noted in her journal, “It does not matter that thousands of beings are plunged in darkness. He whom we saw yesterday is on earth. His presence is enough to assure us that one day Truth will rule here.”

 Sri Aurobindo said that in Mother he found surrender down to the very physical, the likes of which could not be found in any human being.

 Having listened to Sri Aurobindo, Mother and Richard felt that a great treasure of yogic wisdom lay buried in him and it should be given to the world through a journal of his writings. They proposed to start a journal and the three of them would contribute. The journal Arya was thus started, but the First World War took the French disciples of Sri Aurobindo to Paris, “leaving him with 64 pages of philosophy to write every month.”  Mother spent a year in France and four years in Japan before she returned to Sri Aurobindo in 1920. When she left India, she left her psychic being with Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry. With her soul literally left behind her, life during those five years was one of suffocation.

 After her return to India and until Sri Aurobindo’s passing away in 1950, she says a part of her soul lived in ecstatic realisation. When he passed away she took her psychic being and locked it up and sealed it for several years. Her psychic being, which had lived in the constant presence of Divine Love embodied in Sri Aurobindo, could not live without it. Slowly the psychic being came out to the surface of her life after about a decade. It is significant that the descent of Divine Love in great pulsations took place in 1962 overwhelming and submerging her heart too by its power of first descent.

 Mother’s life is incomparable in many ways. She has narrated an experience of hers while on board ship. There is a belief that on seeing a meteor if one can formulate a wish or a thought before the meteor disappears, the wish would be fulfilled within twelve months. Mother had such an experience with a falling meteor. But Mother’s wish was not an ordinary one.

 Man lives on the surface guided by the behaviour which can be changed with effort. Whatever the behaviour is, it is the outward expression of the deep-seated character, swabhava. Man’s character is innate and is born with him. It is inherited from the forefathers and is buried in the subconscious. All over the world it is known that a man’s character is not changeable. There is a tradition which Mother knew of which claims that character can be changed in 35 years if one subjects himself to serious spiritual austerities. Mother’s wish was that her character should be dissolved and transformed into a Divine character. While on board a ship she sighted a meteor and clearly formulated that wish in her mind. And she says it came true in twelve months, confirming the traditional belief.

 Mother says she does not represent a philosophy, a religion or a sect. She says she is a Force of action, a creative force that can new-create. When it was considered by some people that Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy could be made the basis for founding a new religion, she declared that she would be the very first person to quit the Ashram if such a thing were done.

 Her brother who could not accept the heavenly offer to become a god became the Governor of Madagascar in Africa. Sri Aurobindo had left British territory in 1910 when he fled to Pondicherry, but the British government was still keeping track of him until 1937. Everyone who entered the Ashram had to pass a British Central Intelligence officer at the entrance and sign his register. It was in 1937 when the Congress government was installed in power in Madras that this act of shame was scrapped. Several times the British police tried to kidnap Sri Aurobindo and transport him to British territory so that he could be thrown in jail. So great was their fear that they continued their heinous crime even after Sri Aurobindo had left politics. One move they attempted was to have Sri Aurobindo removed by the French authorities to an African colony. Mother came to know of this scheme and contacted her brother. She asked him to persuade the French government not to listen to the British intentions. He spoke to the concerned officer and managed to have the file on Sri Aurobindo buried at the bottom of a forgotten heap.

 Of all the books written by Sri Aurobindo, Mother says Synthesis of Yoga inspired her the most. She translated it into French and during the translation she discovered that Sri Aurobindo’s English was largely influenced by the French syntax lending itself to an easy translation.

 It was in 1926 that she was officially made Mother of the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo’s yoga had taken the double route of an ascent into the spiritual heavens and descent into the human earth. He classifies existence into physical, vital, mental and spiritual realms. Though he prefers his own classification for the purposes of his writing, it generally conforms to the Indian yogic tradition. The physical is the material world represented in man by his body. The vital is life in general and the nervous prana represents it in man. The mind is subdivided into six regions for convenience. Spirit is Satchidananda, comprising the spiritual trio -- existence, consciousness and bliss.

 The divisions of mind are: the ordinary mind of man, higher mind of the sage, mind of the rishi, intuitive mind of the yogi, overmind of the gods and Supermind, which is above the gods but below the spiritual world. Sri Aurobindo’s yoga does not seek release of the soul into moksha. In his yoga the parts of the human being, viz. body, vital and mind, are to be purified so that the higher spiritual force would descend into man to saturation, making him a fit instrument of the Divine to create the first member of the next species, the Supramental Man. As the sadhak rises to each level above his ordinary mind, forces of the higher regions to which he has ascended would descend to integrate his whole being with the new height he has scaled. Sri Aurobindo in 1926 reached the Overmind of the gods and the descent of the Overmind began in him down to his very physical. This was a turning point in his yoga and at this point, he thought it necessary to withdraw into his room and into total silence so that the further ascent to the Supermind and descent of that world would be accelerated. He called all the disciples and announced to them that henceforth Mother would take full charge of the Ashram and he would live in retirement. Mother heard for the first time that this new responsibility was conferred on her and she had been installed officially as Mother. Sri Aurobindo did not consult her prior to the declaration nor did he inform her of his intention. She too heard the news for the first time along with the disciples.

 Mother had an energy unheard of even in spiritual history. Her energy was overflowing throughout the day and night. It was so great that she could never go to sleep. In fact, there was no bed in her room. Until she was 80, she used to rest for one or two hours after midnight in her easy chair. Once she asked for some work to be kept ready by her side, because during that short rest she sometimes woke up when the ananda inside was very intense.  Unless it was expressed in action, its excess turned into pain. A stack of birthday cards was kept beside her so that she could sign them.

 From 1920 she started organising Sri Aurobindo Ashram efficiently. She had to start with lessons in keeping material things and books in proper order and proceed up to the full Integral Yoga. For years Mother did the cooking for the sadhaks herself and also served them food. Until the Ashram grew to the size of 150 sadhaks, Mother says she held their inner and outer movements within her control as if in an eggshell. Perhaps no one could think without Mother knowing their thoughts. Those were the days when discipline was at its height to the point that even friendship among sadhaks was considered dangerous.

 Henry Ford, the automobile king, heard of Mother and wanted to meet her. On the eve of his departure, World War II broke out and prevented his coming to India. The daughter of Woodrow Wilson, the US President, came to the Ashram in the 20’s and chose to remain there for the rest of her life. A friend of John F. Kennedy took interest in Mother and examined in depth the philosophy and yoga of Sri Aurobindo. He met Mother and asked her what were the external signs by which one could discern the attainment of Supermind in a person. His question was reminiscent of Arjuna asking Sri Krishna on the battlefield, “How does a realised person sit, walk and speak?” Mother explained to him the three conditions which would reveal the attainment of the Supramental consciousness and told him that of the three, equality was the most significant. The visitor arranged for Kennedy to visit Mother, but it could not take place. Mother’s plan for Auroville was presented to Khrushchev while he was in power. He felt the idea of Auroville was something worth the support of his government.

 When Nehru visited Pondicherry, he commented that Pondicherry was saturated with peace, little knowing that it was the peace of Mother and Sri Aurobindo. He visited the Ashram school and was enamoured of the children and their sports. During his next visit to Pondicherry, the Ashram was not included. Not knowing that, Nehru inquired when he would be visiting the Ashram school. Hurried arrangements were made for his visit to the school and meeting Mother. During his first visit to Mother at the playground, he was accompanied by Shastri, Indira and Kamaraj. Shastri and Indira became the subsequent Prime Ministers and Kamaraj presided over their elections.

 In 1971 Indira was in a political turmoil because of the split in the Congress organisation. Her government had lost its majority and on important occasions in the Parliament she relied on the support of the opposition group, DMK. She had ordered interim elections but thought she would be lucky if she could muster 250 seats in the Lok Sabha. It was at that time friendly advice brought her the suggestion that if she sought Mother’s support, her political and legislative uncertainty would end. Indira heeded the advice and came to Pondicherry to meet Mother. Her prayer was for 250 Lok Sabha seats. Mother smiled broadly, nodded her head vigorously and granted the prayer made through her cabinet colleague Nandini. Electoral victory was a landslide win. An Indira wave swept across the nation giving her 356 seats and the coveted two-thirds majority required to amend the constitution. Mother never gives what is asked for. She always gives much more than what is prayed for. Sri Aurobindo in his Hymn to the Mother of Radiances says, “You have revealed to me more than I ignorantly asked for.”  Mother smothers her devotees with a copious shower of her grace.

 During the days of Sri Aurobindo, Mother used to go out to the Ashram departments, and even to several other places in Pondicherry. Occasionally she visited Cuddalore, Chidambaram and Tanjore. When the furniture in Sri Aurobindo’s room was to be replaced, Mother herself went to a timber depot in Cuddalore O.T. to choose the right material in teak and rosewood. She once visited the Chidambaram temple and a Saivite Mutt in Tanjore district.

 She wore saris and about 500 saris accumulated with her. Several devotees coming from outside wished to possess one of her saris. A senior sadhak persuaded Mother to part with two of her saris and gave one to an industrialist devotee. The other also was taken away. When Mother received a lakh of rupees as offering from one, she called all the sadhikas and distributed her saris, laden with the Divine Mother’s consciousness, and exhausted her sari treasury.

 It was reported by the astronauts that they saw a large ball of white light on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. When this was told to Mother, she commented that they had seen the light of Sri Aurobindo over the ashram and recollected her own seeing it as a column of white light.

 Mother had a special rapport with flowers. She has given names to 800 flowers basing herself on their spiritual significance. She says flowers have feelings of pride, vanity and sensitivity. For instance, roses do not like to be placed in a vase along with other flowers. When kept alone, they rise in stature and look around with pride.

 Mother and Sri Aurobindo participated in the affairs of the earth and the universe according to the mission and the work they were doing. When it was clear that the Second World War was inevitable, they saw the Lord of Nations leading Hitler on and urging him to conquer the world with very tall promises. The Lord of Nations, it was said, appeared before Hitler in a dazzling light in shining white armour and gave him detailed advice. Sri Aurobindo called this war, “Mother’s war.” He used to send his spiritual force in support of the Allies and eagerly awaited the results of individual battles. At every important turning point of the war, Sri Aurobindo took great interest. At the famous Dunkirk battle where the British troops were miraculously saved, it was reported that the fog in the atmosphere served the British navy well. Sri Aurobindo used to refer to that with a smile as the ‘mysterious fog’. When Hitler was gaining success after success and Mother was trying in the opposite direction, she said the shining being who was guiding Hitler used to come to the Ashram from time to time to see what was happening. Things changed from bad to worse. Mother decided on a fresh strategy. She took on the appearance of that shining being, appeared before Hitler and advised him to attack Russia. On her way back to the Ashram, she met that being. The being was intrigued by Mother having stolen a march over him. Hitler’s attack on Russia ensured his downfall.

 Mother came to know of her previous births on several occasions. In past lives Mother was Queen Elizabeth of England, Catherine of Russia, Joan of Arc, an Egyptian Queen, and the mother of Moses, among others. In France, she once visited the palace of Louis XIV. A portrait attracted her and she realised that it was herself. She recollected several other details of that life. In a museum Mother came across a special comb used by an Egyptian Queen. Mother recognised it as one she had used.

 She had live contacts with several gods. Durga used to come to Mother’s meditations regularly. Particularly during the Durga Puja when Mother gave Darshan, Durga used to come a day in advance. On one occasion, Mother explained to Durga the significance of surrender to the Supreme. Durga said because she herself was a goddess, it never struck her that she should surrender to a higher power. Mother showed Durga the progress she could make by surrendering to the Supreme. Durga was agreeable and offered her surrender to the Divine.

 Mother saw in her meditation some Chinese people had reached Calcutta and recognised the danger of that warning. Using her occult divine power, she removed the danger from the subtle realms. Much later when the Chinese army was edging closer to India’s border, a shocked India did not know which way to turn. The Chinese decided on their own to withdraw, much to the world’s surprise. Mother had prevented them from advancing against India by cancelling their  power in the subtle realms.

 Mother once smelt a bad odour but could not identify it. She neutralised its effect anyway in the plane where she smelled it. A little later an army officer from the Himalayas who came to seek Mother’s Blessings reported the explosion of an atom bomb by the Chinese and prayed to Mother to protect India. India was protected fully.

 Sri Aurobindo passed away in 1950. In 1959 Mother saw him in the subtle physical plane for the first time. From then onwards Mother regularly met Sri Aurobindo in the subtle physical.

 Mother has recorded her prayers during the first decade of this century and they are published as Prayers and Meditations. In one of those prayers she explains how she saw herself in her meditation. She found herself a being of light with all the subtle nervous centers -- chakras -- revealing themselves. In place of the head there was a moon and above it was a sun. She explains that she withdrew from the surface eight levels to reach this stage at the ninth. It took her nine stages in the reverse to regain her ordinary consciousness.



Born in Calcutta in 1872 and educated in England, Sri Aurobindo came back to India with only one aim: liberating India from the foreign yoke. His father was a doctor who never wanted his three sons to inherit anything of the Indian culture, including their mother tongue Bengali. He admitted all his sons into an English school in Darjeeling from where they were taken to England and put in St. Paul's and later Cambridge. Sri Aurobindo was of a unique mould. Darjeeling and its British atmosphere were not a source of pride for him. Instead he had a vision of a dark force entering him which remained until he returned to India about 20 years later. He was meant for the Indian Civil Service, but his anti-British feeling did not allow him to serve the British masters. By absenting himself from the compulsory horse-riding test, Sri Aurobindo disqualified himself from the I.C.S.

The Maharaja of Baroda was looking for an administrator for his state and spotted in Sri Aurobindo a suitable candidate. It was thus Sri Aurobindo landed in Baroda, served the state, taught in the college and returned to Bengal. India was in a ferment. Sri Aurobindo organised the youth under the Congress and voiced radical ideas from several journals he contributed to. Their nationalist activities embraced founding a journal "Vandemataram", founding a National College, worshipping Kali, and experimenting with several ideas as well as procuring chemicals with which bombs were made. Sri Aurobindo did not believe in terrorism, even though he was a radical to the core. The British police arrested him and clapped him in Alipore jail, implicating him in a bomb throwing case.

When his brother came down with a severe hill fever, Sri Aurobindo watched as a Naga Sanyasi chanted a mantra, crossed a cup of water with a knife and gave it to his brother. The fever vanished. Sri Aurobindo was interested in acquiring such a power to liberate India from the British domination. In pursuit of this goal, he approached several yogis for help. What he got in return was a silent mind, advaitic realisation and the vision of the Cosmic divine.

He sought the help of Vishnu Lele, a Maharashtrian Yogi. The yogi accepted Sri Aurobindo and offered to initiate him into silence. "Sit down, close your eyes. You will see thoughts entering your mind from outside. Refuse them entry," he said to Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo did so and found Lele's words to be true. He could, after considerable effort, reject the thoughts. In three days Sri Aurobindo succeeded in establishing silence in his mind. To Lele this was unbelievable, since success in this experiment would normally be achieved only after several years. As Sri Aurobindo was an avatar, a great yogic realisation came to him in a few days. So also, later the yogic attainment of Nirvana, the hallmark of a great avatar, came to him. While in Alipore Jail, he used to be visited by Swami Vivekananda in his meditation. The swami guided Sri Aurobindo's yoga and helped him to scale great heights. It was there Sri Aurobindo saw the convicts, jailers, policemen, the prison bars, the trees, the judge, the lawyer etc., as Narayana. Sri Aurobindo saw compassion, honesty and charity in the hearts of murderers.

After Sri Aurobindo was found innocent in the trial, his inner voice instructed him to go to Chandranagore, a French territory. The same voice led him to Pondicherry later. His heart was burning with one passion, the release of Mother India. God held a parley with him and told him that Indian freedom was assured and accomplished in the subtle plane. God had another work assigned to Sri Aurobindo. To accomplish that work on earth, He was commanding Sri Aurobindo to go to Pondicherry. During the trial Sri Aurobindo was prompted to help the lawyer with facts, opinions, etc., but his inner voice advised him to desist from giving advice to the lawyer. "The case is in my hands, do not interfere, keep quiet" was the dictum that was whispering from inside. Now, after the trial and release, Sri Aurobindo's impulse was in the direction of the freedom movement. God had to interfere with Sri Aurobindo's preference and insist on his fulfilling god's other mission.

Sri Aurobindo arrived in Pondicherry in 1910. Following him a few of his associates arrived. Sri Aurobindo was examining his God-given mission and was contemplating the best possible course for him to follow. With the Inner Guide leading silently, Sri Aurobindo mapped out his yogic course and fixed its landmarks.

Liberation, moksha, came to him earlier but he did not accept it. Obviously that was not his course or goal. God's intention was different. God intended Sri Aurobindo to become a pure Divine Instrument that would hasten the descent of the Divine into earthly life making it Divine Life. In sum, the Yoga of  Sri Aurobindo is as follows:

When moksha is accepted, the yogi leaves the Earth, which remains in misery. The yogi who attains moksha for himself must renounce the world. He must endeavour to bring the high heavens into the daily life of humanity and all life on earth. To accomplish that mission the yoga cannot be partial. It has to be integral. The yogi cannot exclude life or even the body from his yogic purification. It is not the Divine intention that the embodied soul should seek release from the cycle of birth and death. The embodied soul should seek total release from falsehood and ego in all parts of its being and, rising into the higher worlds of Spirit, bring down the spiritual force and truth to life on earth, so that death, suffering and disease can be abolished forever.

In the context of Indian yogic tradition this is an adventure and a departure from the tradition. Sri Aurobindo developed new terminology to explain the tenets of his yoga, which he called Integral Yoga or Purna Yoga. All this acquired special and full significance when Mother arrived. She was keen on a plan of action and had her own original ideas for redeeming the earth from falsehood. Sri Aurobindo and Mother shared their approaches and finally arrived at the future course of action.

If creation as a whole is considered, the lower part is of life and mind and body, while the higher part is of Spirit. The spiritual part is known as Satchidananda, which is comprised of Sat above and Ananda below with Chit in the middle. Mind rises so high as to include the worlds of gods. Between mind's highest reach, which is above the gods, and the spiritual worlds of Satchidananada lies a zone which is known to our rishis as vijnana loka. Sri Aurobindo calls this, in his own phraseology, Supermind and the supramental world. He calls the home of the gods Overmind. Mother was of the opinion that the power of the overmental world would serve the aim of their yoga, namely the abolition of death, falsehood and suffering. Sri Aurobindo explained to her that in the overmental world Truth was not self-existent. Overmind could build a partial world of truth uniting all available truths and excluding ignorance. Should the power of this world descend on earth, a great transformation would occur, but it would still leave a base of ignorance, which means the body would be left untouched. In the Supermind, Truth is self-existent. The Truth of Supermind can penetrate ignorance and reach its basis of truth (nothing on earth can exist without a seed of Truth) and unite all such truths and build upon them. The body and its inconscient base would not yield to the overmental force, but could not resist the onslaught of the supramental truth. Sri Aurobindo also showed her that Krishnavatar already came from overmind. Mother saw the profundity of Sri Aurobindo's experience and gave up her preference. In 1926 the overmental force descended into the mind, vital and very physical depths of Sri Aurobindo. After that momentous victory, he retired to win further laurels in the yogic adventure.

From 1926 to 1950 Sri Aurobindo lived in complete retirement and total silence, constantly raising himself to the level of the Supermind. Even his experience while in Alipore jail, of Narayana in the hearts of everyone, was a supramental experience according to Mother. As his yoga is one of ascent and descent, he had to raise himself first to the level of the Muni (higher mind) and wait for the force of that level to descend into him and reach down to the very physical after saturating his nerves and mind. According to Sri Aurobindo, each level of the ascent is followed by the descent of forces of that level, which integrates the experience of the sadhak i.e., fully illumines all parts of his being, viz. mind, vital (nerves) and physical. The next higher level is that of the rishi who is endowed with vision, jnanadrishti. Sri Aurobindo's description of this level is illumined mind. The yogi, who is above this, receives the divine intuition directly without the aid of sight, drishti or thought. The world of the gods, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Narada, Ganesh, etc., is known to us as Swar or swarloka. Sri Aurobindo calls this world the overmind. These levels of muni, rishi, yogi and the gods belong to the lower hemisphere of creation. The higher hemisphere begins with vijnana, the supramental world. It is followed by ananda loka, chit loka and sat loka. Creation ends with this. Outside creation is the Absolute, the Transcendent, the unmanifested Divine.

In 1926, the overmental force descended into Sri Aurobindo on all levels. After that he was engaged in the yogic adventure of raising his being to the supramental world and bringing the power of that world into the earth through the instrumentation of his own body. Before 1950, he accomplished this feat fully. His yoga was realised. The high heavens were reached. They had answered the CALL of humanity represented by Sri Aurobindo. The FORCE was ready to move from its origin, descend on earth and abolish death and suffering.

Sri Aurobindo saw at this point that the transformation of the earth presupposed one other condition. He saw the Golden Light of the supramental world when he left the blue light of the  overmind. If the Golden Light were to remain on earth forever after the descent, it would require about ten yogis who had realised Supermind fully. At the time of Sri Aurobindo's realisation that condition remained unfulfilled. Even if the power of Supermind descended through the siddhi of Sri Aurobindo, the light could not remain on earth. Sri Aurobindo needed another ten accomplished yogis. They were not there. He spoke to Mother and said one of them had to leave the earth and continue the yoga from the subtle plane to expedite the ADVENT. Mother offered to go. He showed her the unique constitution of her body which alone could accomplish the transformation at the physical level. He decided to withdraw and continue his work from the subtle plane.

In 1956, Sri Aurobindo's work from the subtle plane bore fruit. In 1950, he had offered his own body to the descending supramental light as a fit receptacle. At the time he left his body, the Golden Light invaded it and remained there for three full days. All the other yogic powers he had gathered, he deposited in Mother before he withdrew from his body. In six years, Sri Aurobindo's work prepared the Earth Consciousness as a whole to receive the supramental force, power and light. During the meditation in the playground on February 29, 1956, Mother saw Her subtle body enlarging to the size of the universe and becoming golden. Before her appeared a massive golden door and beside her was an equally massive golden hammer. With one blow Mother smashed the door, the curtain between earth and the golden supramental heavens. Floods of living light of golden colour poured down onto earth. Earth realised the Supermind. Instantaneously, the tamas, the inertia of the earth rose up in equally great floods and swallowed up the descending Grace. Following this great event, Divine Love descended on earth in 1962. The Supramental force advanced in 1967 by manifesting itself in the earth consciousness. Again on January 1st, 1969 the force further evolved and became superman consciousness and appeared before The Mother. Mother says that since its advent in 1956, the force is effectively determining the course of earthly events. The diffusion of the Cuban crisis and the inexplicable withdrawal of the Chinese from the Indian border took place because of the presence of this force. She also says children born after 1962 have greater receptivity to this force.

Sri Aurobindo received a visitor in Pondicherry who introduced himself as a lawyer from Madras that had been asked by Chittaranjan Das of Calcutta to meet Sri Aurobindo. He was the great nationalist S. Duraiswamy Aiyer, a friend of Mahatma Gandhiji. There was nothing to be transacted and Sri Aurobindo wondered why Duraiswamy had called on him. But Duraiswamy repeated his call after some time, this time ostensibly to consult Sri Aurobindo on legal matters. Saying he was no lawyer, Sri Aurobindo declined to evince interest in the consultation. On the insistence of the visitor Sri Aurobindo agreed to listen. The lawyer opened his file and Sri Aurobindo put his finger on some point and said that would be helpful. Duraisamy explained that it was an important case and the client had promised a lakh of rupees in fees should he win. During his next visit, Duraiswamy explained how he won the case on the strength of Sri Aurobindo's advice and offered him the lakh of rupees fees he had received. Sri Aurobindo said he had no use for money and refused to accept it. Duraiswamy's feeling was that the fees should go to Sri Aurobindo as the case had been won on the strength of his advice. The lawyer was not one who could accept a 'NO' even from Sri Aurobindo. With the insistent visitor unwilling to take a 'NO', Sri Aurobindo called Mother and asked for her opinion. As a compromise she agreed to accept Rs.10,000.

Later Sri Duraiswamy joined the Ashram as a sadhak. Mother said he had been a French King in one of his previous births. It is an unspoken tradition in Pondicherry from the days of the colonial regime that the rulers of the settlement kept close contact with the Ashram. Almost all the Governors had met Mother. A speaker of the Goa Assembly was once posted as Governor here. Contrary to the tradition, he maintained little contact with the Ashram. After a year or two, he broke his habit and started visiting the samadhi of Sri Aurobindo regularly on Sundays punctually at 10 a.m. The Governor's sudden change of mind intrigued observers. His own friends sought an explanation from him. He said Sri Aurobindo had appeared in his dream once and since then he had changed his mind.

While on earth great souls behave in strange fashions that baffle the human intellect. Thinkers dwell on such points and discover the greatness of the personality that is otherwise lost. Thieves entered Sri Ramanashram and finding no valuables there sought out the chief 'culprit'. They questioned the Maharishi why there were no valuables for them to steal. In the process the Maharishi was beaten by the rogues. His disciples rushed to the rescue of their master to prevent this heinous crime. Maharishi, in his own inimitable fashion declared, "Do not interfere. Let them continue. They are doing their puja to me!"  Certainly the human mind is not constituted to decipher this mystery. In the early days of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a bread delivery boy was found to have stolen Rs.5 and was beaten by the disciples. Sri Aurobindo heard the noise from the next room, came out, asked his disciples not to beat the boy, and ordered them to 'return' the Rs.5 to the boy. Strange are the ways of great men.

Sri Aurobindo gave up nationalism and the freedom movement at the behest of the inner voice. The British government, which had not heard Sri Aurobindo's inner voice, hounded him up to 1937 fearing that he was a great potential danger to the stability of the Royal Crown. Five times, attempts were made to kidnap Sri Aurobindo and take him to British territory. Through the most strange ways of the Almighty, each time the thugs who consented to this heinous crime fell out among themselves and ended in mutual killing. Once it was a highly placed politician who was anxious to oblige the British authorities. He was shot dead in his own house by a relative before he could lay his hands upon Sri Aurobindo.

Rabindranath Tagore came to see Sri Aurobindo. During his 24 year silence, Sri Aurobindo had broken the rule a few times to meet visitors. Tagore was one of them. He came and saw Sri Aurobindo resplendent with the supramental energy. Tagore wanted Europe to know of Sri Aurobindo's yoga and his work. Before he left he pronounced, "The word is with you."

Several Nobel Laureates have commented on Sri Aurobindo's magnum opus The Life Divine. Some said he was the foremost thinker of mankind. Times Literary Supplement of London said that Sri Aurobindo wrote as if he was planted amid the stars. His major works are (1) The Life Divine, a philosophical exposition of his yoga and ideal; (2) The Synthesis  of Yoga, where he explains his yoga from the point of view of knowledge, works, love and self-perfection; (3) The Ideal of Human Unity, a treatise on the course of the world's historic currents; (4) The Human Cycle, his thoughts on human social evolution; (5) Savitri, an epic poem of 12 books with the story of Satyavan and Savitri as its core; (6) The Future Poetry; (7) The Foundations of Indian Culture; and other writings running into 23 more volumes.

A French writer commented that Sri Aurobindo was the only writer in the history of world literature who had started writing all of his five major works simultaneously and finished them within five years.

His writings embrace all subjects on earth right from the composition of the atom down to the most mundane subject of cruelty to animals. Mother says that in his writings she saw intuition pouring down from above and saturating his thoughts and language.

A short time before Sri Aurobindo arrived in Pondicherry, a yogi from Tamil Nadu said that an uttara yogi would be coming to Tamil Nadu soon and he could be recognized by the three famous declarations he had made. He said that yogi was coming here for great yogic accomplishments. The three madnesses Sri Aurobindo described in his letter to his wife were considered to be the three declarations, and Sri Aurobindo was recognised in those days as the uttara yogi that had been prophesied.

Sri Aurobindo was known in the Ashram as the rebirth of Napoleon. Napoleon's birthday was also August 15th. In his previous births, it was believed he was Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Krishna and many other persons too. Someone asked Sri Aurobindo whether he had been Shakespeare as well, but could not elicit an answer.

Mother spoke to Shiva and Krishna requesting them to incarnate in the body of Sri Aurobindo to expedite his yoga. Mother said Shiva declined the invitation and said he would come after the advent of the Supermind. Mother succeeded with Krishna who agreed. She said she saw with her own eyes Krishna entering into Sri Aurobindo's body. When she reported it to Sri Aurobindo, he evinced no interest in it. In another context, Sri Aurobindo said he did not want his work to be limited by the gods.

Sri Aurobindo said that the world forces had always fulfilled his will, sooner or later.

After he attained samadhi, his body was laid on his bed. It was kept thus for over four days, almost five days. Over 100,000 people had Darshan of the Master. The Golden Light slowly entered his body and stayed there for three full days, then gradually withdrew. On those days, Mother said she 'saw' him sitting on his bed-of course the body was lying flat on the bed-fully supramental and golden.

Before his complete retirement in 1926, Sri Aurobindo used to meet those who came to see him in the evening when he met his disciples and answered their questions. There were two exceptions. S. Srinivasa Iyengar, who later became the President of the All India Congress, and the Tamil poet Subramania Bharathi. They would go to him at any time of the day for a consultation. Sri Aurobindo studied the Vedas with Bharathi. He did some translations of the Divya Prabhandam with the assistance from Bharathi. Bharathi's entire period at Pondicherry was one of great inspiration.

A minister of culture in the French cabinet visited Pondicherry and was introduced to Sri Aurobindo's thought. He fully appreciated it and proposed that an Indo-French Cultural Institute be founded with Sri Aurobindo as President.

Peace and silence are said to be the very body of the transcendent Divine. Yogis receive them at different levels according to the type of yoga they do and according to the goals they set themselves. Ramana Maharshi was known to be an ocean of Peace. The depth of peace in a sadhak depends upon the height from which he receives it and the depths in his own being where he integrates it.

Though the force Sri Aurobindo used was from the Supermind, because his being was in direct contact with the transcendent whose intention he was trying to realise in the universe and the earth, peace descended into him from the transcendent unmanifest levels of the Divine. His purna yoga opened all parts of his being down to the physical to the incoming force. The peace that descended from the transcendent heights seeped down into the very depths of his being in the physical body. Hence its intensity as found in him was of the greatest dimension.

One day when a cyclone was raging, Mother went to his room to shut the windows so that rain water would not come in and spoil the room. To her utter astonishment she found neither the raging wind nor the rain had found entry into the Master's room. What ruled there was his solid supramental peace. To her greater surprise, she found him sitting at his table next to a window lost in writing and unaware of the storm outside.

During the period of transfer of power to India from Britain, the Princely states were in a turmoil since each state was supposed to take its own decision whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. In Mysore, there was a commotion and the Maharaja was undecided. He sought an interview with Sri Aurobindo hoping to get some good counsel as well as the blessings of the yogi. The Maharaja was very much aware of his royal position and was not aware of Sri Aurobindo's yoga or its power and expression. Sri Aurobindo assented to the request and asked the Maharaja to come on August 15. The Maharaja on his arrival was unable to comprehend the affairs when he realised he was to have a Darshan of the Master by going in the queue. All that passed the royal comprehension. Sri Aurobindo in deference to the situation suggested the Maharaja could come at the head of the queue. Mother and Bhagavan silently blessed the troubled soul of the royal house and finished with him in a few minutes. After the Darshan the royal personage found his nerves in ecstasy, his mind in a daze, his being steeped in eternal peace. He was scarcely able to walk steadily. His disappointment at the short interview melted away. The one thing that was bothering him all the while-the affairs of Mysore-now no longer bothered him. When he returned to Mysore, he found that the bother disappeared in real life as it had done from his mind and nerves at the Darshan.


When Mother joined Sri Aurobindo, there were about a dozen or more people around Him. Six years later in 1926, she founded the Ashram in his name around the time He withdrew completely. It was Mother's dream from the beginning of the century that there should be a place on earth where MAN could devote all his energies to seek the Divine without having to work for food and shelter. In founding Sri Aurobindo Ashram, She was trying to create such a place. Mother and Sri Aurobindo have said that they had been on earth since the beginning of creation and at every critical juncture of the earth's evolution they have intervened and played a crucial role. Addressing the children of the Ashram school, Mother once said that everyone in the Ashram had been with her in previous births and in those births had prayed to her that they must be with her at the time of Divine fulfilment of the earth. That was why they were there in the Ashram. Sri Aurobindo said that this is the Hour of God when the awakened soul can accomplish in a short time what would normally take centuries in other periods. The Ashram was founded in an atmosphere of such beliefs. Mother also said that if anything new should take place on earth, it should first happen in the Ashram. In short, Mother conceived of the Ashram as a micro-unit of the world. It is her philosophy that earth is a micro unit of the universe. By extension, the Ashram is a representative pioneer of the future world.

Conceived thus, she organised the ashram accordingly. She was a pre-eminent disciplinarian fused with the Mother in her. Organisation had a premier value in her scheme of things. Nothing was too low even as nothing was too sacred for her. She herself came to cook for the sadhaks and served them their food. She began teaching sadhaks how to keep the books orderly and neat and clean!

Her rule was everyone should rise at 3 a.m. She herself would come to the balcony at 6.15 a.m. to infuse into the sadhaks the necessary spiritual inspiration for the day's work. Again she would meet all of them in the forenoon for another blessing. In the evening she went to the playground, took the salute at the march past and blessed them all once more with her Grace. Meditation was of secondary importance to her. She even declared that work done in the right spirit made one progress more than meditation. She could not conceive of two different lives, one ordinary and the other a spiritual life. To her all life is spiritual, one less organised and the other more centrally focussed. She visited all the departments of the Ashram, discussed the work with the heads of the departments and evinced interest in the minutest detail. She saw that the descending force was finding expression in every little work, be it planting of a jasmine sapling or writing the presidential speech for the Indian Philosophy Congress.

Mother created a department for each activity and made the Ashram a mini-universe. She created the dining room, laundry, bakery, reception service, publication department, prosperity, press, auto workshop, key service, furniture service, homeopathy section, massage centre, playground, library, music room, photographic lab, embroidery division, art gallery, guest house, concrete casting factory, wood works, flower garden, restaurants, agarbathi department, handloom weaving, bindery and several others, totalling 52 departments in all. She created all these departments not so much because work needs to be done but because places were needed where work would be done as sadhana.

It is Mother's belief that a sadhak's soul is very much on the surface, much more open and receptive, on his birthday. Man passes through a cycle of experience between two birthdays and on the birthday itself he is most open to the Divine influence. Therefore, Mother meets every sadhak on his birthday to saturate his soul with the Divine Grace and spiritually equip him for the rest of the year.

Work done here, the spiritual atmosphere in which it is done, directly leads to spiritual progress. For those who are not sadhaks but are simple devotees, this work has a beneficial effect on their careers and lives. A first class MA in mathematics was languishing in a small press for an unenviable salary during the war. A sadhak told him to resign that job and serve Mother in the dining room. After six months of service, he was recruited as an officer at four times his press salary by a newly floated automobile company where in the next 30 years he rose to the post next only to that of the chairman. That is the power of service to Mother.

What we call Ashram today appears to be a single building but really consists of four different buildings. This houses now the room where Sri Aurobindo did his silent tapas for 24 continuous years, the two rooms where Mother stayed in succession, the double-vaulted samadhi, the meditation hall, the fruit room, the reception service, the publication department, the safety vault, the garage for Mother's car, the Bulletin room, the reading room, etc. The jasmine at the entrance is over 60 years old. The tree that sheds its shade on the samadhi is called service tree.

At the entrance of the main building of the Ashram is a spacious hall for reception. The office of the reception service is in the room next to this hall on the west. Inside the hall on the eastern side three photographs of Sri Aurobindo are kept. In the middle is the photo taken of him at a young age. On either side are the photos taken when he attained samadhi. Mother had attached significance to the photo of early days. No one knows the reason for the significance. When a sadhak made pranams to this photo and got up, he saw Sri Aurobindo coming out alive from the photo. When this was reported to Mother, She commented that it was a powerful photograph of Sri Aurobindo.

There are as many aspects to Mother's conduct of the Ashram as there are aspects in the universal life. Not all come to our attention. Nor do we fully understand the true significance even when it catches our attention.

An Ashram department purchased a sophisticated machine from London and once it went out of order. The department contacted the supplier firm and awaited the engineers to come and attend to the repair. In the meantime, they suspended a few operations and carried on certain minor operations so that the part in disrepair would not be disturbed. One morning when the sadhak in charge of the machine opened the room, he found someone cleaning the machine and was taken aback. He saw a figure about two feet tall. When he mentioned it to his colleagues, doubts were raised in their minds about the man's soundness of mind. Not desiring to evoke laughter, he stopped mentioning the topic. But he continued to see the figure at the machine on subsequent days. He solved the problem for himself by knocking at the door before opening it. The engineers from London arrived, examined the machine, heard the history of its breakdown but were surprised to know the machine was being used. They asked for a demonstration and it was given. They opened the part that was broken and saw it was in several pieces. Normally in that condition the machine could not move an inch. They reported it to Mother, including the presence of the small being. Mother explained there were several benevolent beings in the atmosphere taking care of Her people and materials.

There is spiritual peace in the Ashram. It is not only there. Every article coming from the Ashram carries that peace, even though it is a book or even a brick. A business executive came to a rest house on one of the Ashram farms and was struck by the peace that prevailed there. He could appreciate the peace in the rest house and exclaimed that if peace, which he had not found in the hundreds of temples he had visited, was there in the rest house, how much more pronounced would it be at the main Ashram.

An orthodox man came to Pondicherry in connection with his official duties. He visited the Ashram out of general interest and had his lunch in the Ashram dining room. After the meal was over, he thought of taking paan and tobacco as usual. In his orthodoxy he had made an exception for paan. A new sensation in his stomach diverted his attention from the paan and he began to think aloud. "Constant travel necessitated by inspection duties and continuous hotel food had spoiled my digestion and stomach. After a meal, I used to have an uneasy sensation for some time. I have come to live with that. Today I have a new, different feeling. Food sits pleasantly in my stomach. My usual uneasiness is not there. Perhaps it is Mother's  prasad that cured my disorder in the stomach. Let me not take tobacco, at least, today."

The atmosphere of the Ashram is very pronounced. It cannot be missed or mistaken. Even walking on the roads adjoining it, one can feel it. Generally it is full of peace. But in truth the atmosphere carries peace, silence, joy and delight. One feels a sudden elevation in the atmosphere. Someone said, "Blindfold me and take me to several places in Pondicherry. I shall tell you when I come to the precincts of the Ashram."

A man of about 70 was intrigued by several youngsters taking serious interest in the Ashram. Out of curiosity, he came there one day. Being an old man, he took notice of sadhaks of his age. Their health and vigour struck him. He exclaimed, "It is unbelievable that aged people in the Ashram walk erect without a walking stick." Essentially, this is a yoga that aims at conquering death, disease and suffering. Sri Aurobindo says a first realisation is prolongation of life at will. It is natural that the sadhaks enjoy a sound health not comparable with others. When someone takes to Mother, automatically he gets a longer lease of life than was sanctioned at birth. That boon is part of the Ashram.

An adventurous young man from the Ashram undertook a tour of the Himalayas. He heard of a famous yogi and went to see him in a cave. The yogi was stark naked and was seated on a tiger skin. He told the boy, "You come from an Ashram near the sea and in that Ashram they are doing something difficult and new."  Mother was struck by the sincerity of the yogi who could know what was going on here and the genuine frankness with which he acknowledged it.

There was a government officer in Madras who was a devout worshipper of Shakti. By his pure devotion he had acquired several powers and hence a reputation among his friends. Once he commented about the Ashram and the unique work that was attempted there and prophesied that it would become internationally known. He also predicted that the Chinese invasion would end. It might be, he added, on their own initiative.

Some Indologists were pursuing a line of research to fathom the historical circumstances surrounding Rishi Agastya and his stay in Tamil Nadu in ancient days. Their research led them to believe that the very spot where Sri Aurobindo Ashram is situated today was the spot where Sage Agastya's hermitage once stood.

We said earlier that the Ashram represents the future achievements of the earth as a pioneer and as a microcosm. By the same token, Mother says the Ashram represents and embodies all the present difficulties of the universe. If those knots are loosened here, humanity would be freed in those aspects.

Occasionally ardent devotees in their early enthusiasm insist on joining the Ashram in spite of Mother's refusal or unwillingness. Mother relented in certain cases and admitted them. On joining the Ashram, they found their inner urges got out of hand and reared their rebellious heads. Not able to handle the situation they reversed their decision. Mother says each ashramite represents one possibility in the universe along with one difficulty. It is for the sadhak to throw his inner yogic weight on the side of the possibility and against the difficulty. In doing so, Mother comes to the individual's support. Work done for Mother purifies his physical depths and removes the difficulty, bringing the possibility to fruition. That is yogic progress. In handling the inner difficulty, the aspirants' part is to take the right side and refuse to allow the wrong side expression. This is the right attitude. Given the right attitude, Mother handles the power and strength of the rebellious material and wipes it out. Man by himself cannot conquer those vibrations. When Mother says that the sadhak's part is only surrender and the yoga itself will be done by her, this is what she means. In the later days after Sri Aurobindo's passing away and particularly after her own retirement, she did not encourage people to join the Ashram. In fact, after 1970, she advised a foreigner to do her yoga from where she was and not join the Ashram. She also explained that joining the Ashram at that stage might help the inner difficulties surface in an unmanageable way.

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