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
Sri Aurobindo started yoga thinking he could gain enough yogic power to liberate India from British domination. As soon as his yoga revealed to him that India was free in the subtle plane, he realised that God had given him the work of emancipating humanity from falsehood and suffering. At the same time, there was someone in Paris doing similar work for God and meeting Sri Aurobindo in her meditations. In her mind she called him Krishna.
They met in Pondicherry in 1914 and discussed their plans to serve God and to finally dissolve pain and suffering from the earth. Together they agreed on a course of action that was a further step in Indian yoga. She returned to Paris because of the war and later joined him in 1920 to remain in India forever. She became known as The Mother. Indian freedom was their concern. She told Him that she saw India free in the subtle plane. Once that much was settled between them, they wanted to finalise their course of action to fulfil Gods original aim on earth.
Together they decided to carry Indian yoga to the next step from where Krishna left it in the Gita. Disciples in small numbers gathered around them to participate in their yoga. In contradiction to the Indian tradition that the body is false, they saw the body as the foundation for Gods Truth in man and believed it must be liberated from falsehood. Rama had come on earth to establish the Dharma of sattwic guna in the individual. Later Krishna went a step further and tried to establish Gods Dharma in collective human social life. Sri Aurobindo and The Mother decided to establish Gods Truth at a higher level, viz., in earths life, so that suffering, pain, falsehood, cruelty, and poverty in any form would be fully and finally abolished from earths life, not merely from human life. Rama worked for the individual, Krishna for the collectivity, and Mother and Sri Aurobindo for the whole earth. If about a dozen people could accomplish this feat in their bodies, Gods truth would descend, they declared. Hence they allowed seekers to collect around them. That was how the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was founded. Mother declared that in 1956, six years after He left his body, the promised Truth descended on earth, but for its full expression the earth was not ready.
The common man may ask where does he come in this scheme of things and what is the relevance of this yoga to his life. Apart from being an avatar, Mother is a mother to every created being. She comes to us as a mother too. Falsehood is found in several forms. They are poverty, illness, mental pain, human impurity, imperfection, disharmony, etc. If the ordinary man relates to Mother, Her Truth and Power reduce these forms of untruth and finally abolish them. If man, while suffering, prays to Mother for relief and is relieved from any of these deformations, he receives Her Truth and serves her. In other words, man comes to Mother to get his daughter married, his son employed, to restore his lost property, cure his illness, secure promotions and in this way he is serving Gods purpose of establishing Truth on earth forever. This book narrates several such experiences of devotees.
When a sadhak asked since when were Sri Aurobindo and Mother here on earth, Sri Aurobindo answered, since the beginning of the earths creation. To them, the Earth is a being, Mother Earth, a micro-unit of the Universe. Earth, they say, is an evolving being. At different critical stages of the Earths evolution, The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have come down on earth to personally guide the evolution. Today they declare that the evolution of Earth is at a critical stage, in the sense that Man is not the last term of evolution and the spirit of life is endeavouring to evolve the next higher species, the Superman. That is why Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have come down to direct and hasten mans transition to Superman. The Mother was not an aspiring sadhak seeking spiritual realisation but a Divine Being presiding over the destiny of man.
She was born in France in aristocratic circumstances and was found to be a strange child since infancy. Often she would fall into a reverie and be lost to the world. At an early age she began to realise her special nature and was in pursuit of it, reading the best literature of the world, including The Gita. When her body fell into a trance, many spiritual teachers used to visit her and guide her in her sadhana. Among them there was an Asiatic figure whom she called Krishna. Her one aim in life was to discover the Divine inside and surrender herself to it. Also, she dreamt of creating a place on earth where she could provide all the material necessities to the seekers of the Divine, so that they could pursue the one aim she found worth seekingtheir inner self-discovery. She was awaiting propitious circumstances for the fulfilment of this ideal. When she came to India, accompanying her husband during his election campaign, she visited Pondicherry. Ten miles away from the city she saw a column of light in the centre of the city and headed for that. Thus, She came to see Sri Aurobindo and at once recognised him to be the Krishna of her meditations. In him she found the same ideals as her own and took up work with him. After a visit to France she permanently joined him in 1920 and took up the spiritual work of Sri Aurobindo, around whom about 20 disciples had gathered.
Man acts to fulfil his needs and guides himself by his nature, known as human nature. This is selfish, aggressive, acquisitive, possessive, mean, vindictive, and so many other things that we know of. In his march towards civilisation, man learns to restrain himself and learns not to express these low aspects of human nature. In fact, human nature consists of high potentialities and low actualities. It is the lower side that often presses forward. When man advances further than the early civilised conditions, he seeks culture. He tries to change himself inside and express what he really is in his inner character. At the first stage of civilisation what changes is behaviour. In the second stage of culture it is character that changes. Below that remains the consciousness of Man, untouched and unchanged. Only when this changes from pettiness to nobility, from falsehood to truth, can human life turn into Life Divine.
The Mothers aim is to found a place where sadhaks can gather to work for this change, which She calls Transformation. It is not given to man to bring about this change in himself. Only the Divine can do so. All that man is called upon to do is to totally surrender himself to the Divine. In practice, this is done by meditation, selfless work and an adoration of the Divine in ones prayers. The triple key of yoga must be turned in the lock of the spirit.
1926 Sri Aurobindo had a further spiritual realisation and retired into total seclusion,
which lasted until his passing away in 1950. In 1926 the physical organisation of the
place fell to the lot of The Mother and She called it Sri Aurobindo Ashram. In the
beginning all the sadhaks were doing all the
works related to their maintenance, such as cooking, washing, gardening, maintenance of
buildings, etc. All this work was given to them as part of their sadhana. The Mother
herself did the cooking, served the food, ran the office, signed hundreds of papers, apart
from conducting meditation, giving Darshan,
listening to the spiritual problems of the sadhaks.
In 1926 Sri Aurobindo had a further spiritual realisation and retired into total seclusion, which lasted until his passing away in 1950. In 1926 the physical organisation of the place fell to the lot of The Mother and She called it Sri Aurobindo Ashram. In the beginning all the sadhaks were doing all the works related to their maintenance, such as cooking, washing, gardening, maintenance of buildings, etc. All this work was given to them as part of their sadhana. The Mother herself did the cooking, served the food, ran the office, signed hundreds of papers, apart from conducting meditation, giving Darshan, listening to the spiritual problems of the sadhaks.
6:15 every morning she appeared on the Ashram balcony to initiate the day with her
blessings. Sadhaks, who got up at 3 a.m.,
finished their own meditations and a good portion of the days work, and then
assembled under the balcony to receive her blessings. Here she collected all the aspiring
souls and lifted them upward, charging them with her spiritual energy. In those days there
were only a few departments. Later, after the Ashram grew, many departments sprang up: the
office, library, dining room, press, workshops, playground, art gallery, dispensary,
farms, dairies, flower gardens, guest houses, legal department, audit department, and many
others, too. Her sadhaks worked in all the
departments and ran them as a service to the Divine. The heads of the departments met her
in the morning and took her blessings and orders. Again at 10 a.m. she used to meet all
the sadhaks individually and bless them. Once
again, in the evening at 5:30 p.m., she conducted meditation and met each sadhak to give
her blessings to them.
At 6:15 every morning she appeared on the Ashram balcony to initiate the day with her blessings. Sadhaks, who got up at 3 a.m., finished their own meditations and a good portion of the days work, and then assembled under the balcony to receive her blessings. Here she collected all the aspiring souls and lifted them upward, charging them with her spiritual energy. In those days there were only a few departments. Later, after the Ashram grew, many departments sprang up: the office, library, dining room, press, workshops, playground, art gallery, dispensary, farms, dairies, flower gardens, guest houses, legal department, audit department, and many others, too. Her sadhaks worked in all the departments and ran them as a service to the Divine. The heads of the departments met her in the morning and took her blessings and orders. Again at 10 a.m. she used to meet all the sadhaks individually and bless them. Once again, in the evening at 5:30 p.m., she conducted meditation and met each sadhak to give her blessings to them.
Four times a year she used to give Darshans known as public Darshans, at which a few thousand devotees gathered and received her Grace.
While standing on the threshold of Moksha, Swami Vivekananda said to himself that he would not accept the boon of heaven as long as millions of souls on earth were plunged in darkness. Thus, actuated by high selflessness, he denied himself the heavenly privilege. So did Buddha refuse to accept the liberation, moksha, that came to him. Sri Aurobindo began a parley with the Divine as to what he could do to wipe off sin, suffering, ignorance and darkness on earth. The Voice never failed to guide him. Now it asked him to totally surrender to the Divine Purpose on earth, so that the Divine might achieve in the world through him as a surrendered instrument.
aspire for moksha and attain it through Jnana. Others open the heart of love
and attain the same goal. Karma yogis resort to desireless workNishkamyato
reach heaven. All of them consider the body as false, an impediment. For this reason yogis
disregard the body. This is our tradition. Sri Aurobindo realised that the Jnani
who attained wisdom could spread light in the world but that would reach only a handful of
high souls; the Bhakta, who in his laya
dwelt in Gods chamber, in his Samipa poured
the divine love on his devotees and followers, but the elevation of the masses at large
was transitory. The Nishkamya Karma Yogi set a high ideal for other aspirants to
follow. All this could touch vast humanity only on the fringe of its existence. After
thousands of jnanis, rishis, and yogis have appeared on earth, the ignorance
of the masses, their dense darkness, their infinite suffering still remain a reality. Sri
Aurobindo realised that for this suffering to dissolve, it was not enough that several
thousand souls reached the high heavens. The Divine should come on earth, bringing His
light, love, and power not only to the minds and hearts of men but also to their very
bodies, which had up until then been considered reservoirs of falsehood to be shunned and
dreaded. All the tapas of the muni, all the yoga of the rishis are
not enough to wipe out the falsehood of the body. These are individual efforts to reach
the Divine. Sri Aurobindo realised that a higher power, higher than that of the aspiring
yogi, should come into the human frame, if the dense falsehood of the body should dissolve
and turn into divine light. His inner voice showed him that if a fewmaybe
20people could bring this higher light into their very bodies and their falsehood
dissolve into light, the entire falsehood on earth would disappear, along with the age-old
suffering and original sin. Perhaps this is analogous to one scientist making a wonderful
discovery of a radio or a telephone and the whole ignorant world happily sharing the full
benefit of it for no particular virtue of theirs.
Yogis aspire for moksha and attain it through Jnana. Others open the heart of love and attain the same goal. Karma yogis resort to desireless workNishkamyato reach heaven. All of them consider the body as false, an impediment. For this reason yogis disregard the body. This is our tradition. Sri Aurobindo realised that the Jnani who attained wisdom could spread light in the world but that would reach only a handful of high souls; the Bhakta, who in his laya dwelt in Gods chamber, in his Samipa poured the divine love on his devotees and followers, but the elevation of the masses at large was transitory. The Nishkamya Karma Yogi set a high ideal for other aspirants to follow. All this could touch vast humanity only on the fringe of its existence. After thousands of jnanis, rishis, and yogis have appeared on earth, the ignorance of the masses, their dense darkness, their infinite suffering still remain a reality. Sri Aurobindo realised that for this suffering to dissolve, it was not enough that several thousand souls reached the high heavens. The Divine should come on earth, bringing His light, love, and power not only to the minds and hearts of men but also to their very bodies, which had up until then been considered reservoirs of falsehood to be shunned and dreaded. All the tapas of the muni, all the yoga of the rishis are not enough to wipe out the falsehood of the body. These are individual efforts to reach the Divine. Sri Aurobindo realised that a higher power, higher than that of the aspiring yogi, should come into the human frame, if the dense falsehood of the body should dissolve and turn into divine light. His inner voice showed him that if a fewmaybe 20people could bring this higher light into their very bodies and their falsehood dissolve into light, the entire falsehood on earth would disappear, along with the age-old suffering and original sin. Perhaps this is analogous to one scientist making a wonderful discovery of a radio or a telephone and the whole ignorant world happily sharing the full benefit of it for no particular virtue of theirs.
With this guiding star of Jnana held before his vision, Sri Aurobindo set his foot firmly on the path of Purna Yoga. Moksha, the final goal of yoga or tapas, becomes the first step in this purna yoga. Long before Sri Aurobindo came to Pondicherry, he had attained this individual mukti, but had opted not to leave the body and the earth. Later in the Alipore Jail, God showed himself to Sri Aurobindo as the Cosmic Divine, the divine dwelling in every heart. After his release from jail, the inner voice led him to Pondicherry and his effort became more and more concentrated. His Presence was an ocean of peace, a peace that could not be penetrated even by the raging cyclone through an open window. He was able to pass the Akanda Mounam, the grand achievement of decades of tapas, to The Mother while he was engaged in conversation with her husband, Richard. Krishna came down and incarnated in Sri Aurobindos body, a vessel of light, to complete his mission initiated during the period of the Bhagavad Gita. When asked by a disciple, Sri Aurobindo explained that Shiva was a part of his inner being. He told the world that his was not a yoga for attaining moksha or a yoga for any high human ideal. It was a yoga of the Divine. He aspired to surrender himself more and more fully to the Divine, so that the Divine might achieve His Purpose on earth for His own delight.
Retiring into his room, he did his yoga with all his might and found the response of the Divine always there to come down into his own body and consequently on earth through his body of light. The Divine was totally ready. Sri Aurobindos body was very pure. But that was not enough for the Light to come on Earth. A few more yogis of his level, maybe 10 or 20, had to be available with the same purity of being and purity of the physical, for the Light to descend permanently on earth. He was striking a new path, a highway to heaven or, rather, a way for heaven to come down on earth. When he realised that all his great heroic effort had succeeded in bringing the Light down on earth, he was happy; but when he saw that the descent was limited to his own body, he understood his mission was not completely fulfilled. Still, he decided that the descending Light should, at least, touch earth once. That was possible, he saw, only if he withdrew from his body and offered that pure vehicle as a receptacle for the Divine descent. Having seen that, he decided to withdraw himself, so that the Light might come on earth for at least a few days. He withdrew from his body in 1950. The Golden Light came down and occupied his yogic frame for four long days. He promised to remain in the subtle world to continue his work and not leave for heaven in pursuit of his own salvation.
Though the Ashrams and swamis are exclusively devoted to the pursuit of the Spirit, in view of the reservoir of power that accumulates in them, the common people approach them with a view to solving some of their insoluble problems. Rajen Babu was an asthma patient who was advised to seek the blessings of Ramana Maharshi. He stayed at Tiruvannamalai for a month in the hope of having his asthma cured by the Maharshi. A villager came to Gnanananda swami and said his cow was not yielding enough milk and wanted vibhuti from the Swami. Great souls always listen to such prayers and grant them, though these activities are outside the pale of their central pursuit.
Several people not necessarily interested in yoga have come to The Mother with their prayers and have had them answered. As this is a place outside of the Indian tradition, people generally come to Mother after trying every other avenue. Parents come when a child has lost his speech or when a boy has run away; industrialists bring their woes of strikes; unemployed graduates pray for jobs; girls who remain unmarried for a long time pray for early marriage; patients with incurable diseases visit the Ashram to find out whether there is any hope for them. All of them go back rewarded. If any problem or news is brought to the notice of The Mother or even the message enters the area of Mothers power or is brought to the Ashram, it means that that problem can be solved. (Mother says she holds herself responsible for everyone who has seen Her, even if it is only for a second).
I give below some experiences that are within my personal knowledge: (1) Anyone addressing a prayer to Mother finds the prayer answered. (2) If someone who has no faith suffers from a difficulty, another who is interested in him finds his prayer answered. (3) Unintended, unconscious relationship with Mother or the Ashram wipes out existing difficulties or creates fresh prosperity. (4) Diseases known to have no cure disappear at the touch of Mothers force. (5) Difficulties given to a devotee turn into great luck for him. (6) When a man faces a problem in lifehaving foolishly exhausted all the life possibilitiesfor which there is no known solution, Mother creates fresh situations just to answer this devotees prayer. (7) A long-suffering patient given up by his doctor, whose prayers to his own faith have not borne fruit, chooses to pray to Mother and is relieved. (8) Unambitious people who come to Mother without a thought in their head about progress in life find themselves compelled by circumstances to accept better situations. (9) When both rivals to a post seek Mothers blessings, both are rewarded in time. (10) Men who have casually seen Mother find themselves freed without their effort from impending, grave punishments.
1. A boy of 20 lost his speech and was in the hospital for three weeks. He did not know Mother or Her power. Someone sent him a flower from the Samadhi and requested him to pray to Mother whom he did not know. On the third day he spoke one sentence. His older brother was overjoyed and rushed to tell everyone that the first signs of speech had come. When this brother went to the devotee who had spoken to him about Mother and returned home, he found that his younger brother had come home from the hospital and was speaking normally.
2. A man took to bad ways of life and was found to be getting worse with the passing years. Ten years passed and his family gave up on him. His wife and children were depressed. One of the family members became a devotee of The Mother and the prosperity of the family began to pick up. Soon it became a respected family in the area because of its wealth and status. What had not hurt the family earlier now began to make itself felt. The behaviour of this truant member became regrettable. The devotee member secretly sought some advice and began to pray that the truant member should change his ways. He was told that on the day he could pray to Mother without fail each time the problem came to his mind, the problem would be solved. The devotee intensified his prayer. Two weeks passed. One day the truant member broke permanently with his former friends, vowed not to return to those ways, went home and offered to take care of the family establishments.
3. A man was separated from his temperamental wife for several years. He was willing to put up with her in spite of her temperament, but she insisted that he not support his own family, which depended on him. The separation lasted years. When this man wanted to meet a friend of his in another location, they fixed a date and place at Pondicherry. When he went to meet his friend, he discovered that there was a crowd waiting to have the Darshan of Mother and they had somehow chosen that place. He too had Mothers Darshan, met his friend and returned home. A week later he was reunited with his wife when his father-in-law brought his wife back to his house. She has remained with him since then.
A man was in a temporary government employment as an officer for four years. He could not pass the necessary tests. Therefore, he sought another permanent employment at a lower salary, which he got. During this period he happened to accompany some devotees to the Ashram and on the same day the scales of pay for his temporary job were revised to a high level. As he had exhausted all scope for remaining in the department on temporary assignment, he was in despair. He was advised that if he took full effort to pass the tests now, the Grace that gave him the fresh opportunity would also help him in all other fields. It was quite a task for him to secure an extended exemption, pass two tests that were anathema to him, and retain the job at the level of the higher revised salary.
4. A man was suffering from TB for 20 years, and his
doctors told him that the bacteria was resistant to drug treatment. He was under the
personal care of a doctor and moved to the town where the doctor had been transferred. A
time came when one of his lungs had to be removed. It was at this time that he came to the
Ashram. It was explained to him that if he took any medicine now with faith in Mother, the
faith would cure him through the medicine. He opted for Ayurvedic medicine. When the
doctor gave him powdered coral stone, he was disappointed as he had had enough of it
already. However, after eight months he was cured and began to assume independent charge
of his farms, often traveling long distances.
5. An officer came to the Ashram accompanying his superior, who was going to meet Mother. He also had Her Darshan and became Her devotee. Quickly his position was raised in his organisation. He became the junior-most at the top level. This was an all-India institution with great power. Officers at the top level would join together to act as they chose, but not always in the best interests of the organisation. This new officer at their level was a very honest man and hence an inconvenience to them. They moved strings and sent wild stories about him to the Ministry. The Minister became alarmed and had an inquiry ordered. The inquiry revealed that the devotee was the best of the top officers. The next year, the chief executives post became vacant. The Minister decided to appoint this devotee, overlooking more than ten of his seniors.
6. A foolish, dull boy struggled his way through ten years of schooling up to SSLC level and failed in the selection examination. In the next three attempts he also failed. Those were the days when only four attempts were allowed. Everyone advised him to take the exam only in the subjects that he failed in order to earn what is called a complete SSLC degree, which is regarded as the same as the normal SSLC degree, except that he would not be eligible for government employment. The candidate was stubborn. He said he would rather fail than take the complete SSLC degree. He tried a fourth time and failed again. Now his poor family, which had been anxiously waiting for him to pass and get a job, was dismayed. At this time he came to see Mothers Darshan. Someone who sympathised with him prayed for him, not knowing what to pray for. The next week the government changed the rules and allowed more than four attempts.
7. An orthodox Brahmin was suffering from an incurable skin disease with bad eruptions all over his body. He tried every medicine and prayers of all the usual forms. He made offerings at famous temples, but even though his suffering became less, the disease remained. His son was visiting the Ashram and suggested he pray to Mother. Being an orthodox person, he thought it was not right to pray to any person outside his religion. His disease as well as his suffering became acute. Without the knowledge of his son, he wrote to the Ashram asking for Mothers flowers. The flowers cured him fully.
8. For five years, an old man was trying to sell 27 acres of land. He could not sell them because the land was sandy and nothing would grow there. At last he found someone and fixed a price of Rs.27,000. This buyer was anxious to buy, but for some reason the old man did not respond for several months. One day he visited his friend, a devotee, who had arranged for the sale and the buyer too was there. The sale talk was resumed, but the devotee friend was really anxious to know why the old man had not responded for a long time. The old man said he had had another offer for Rs.81,000 that had fallen through. The devotee then explained to the buyer that he had suspected some such thing had happened, because he had seen the buyer in one of Mothers Darshans. The old man was exasperated because that offer was now lost. He was told that what once had come to him from Mother would not be lost, if only he were willing to pray. The old man took the clue and even visited the Samadhi to offer a prayer that the lost opportunity might be restored. When he returned home, the buyer was waiting for him and the sale was closed for Rs.81,000.
9. Friends of two presidential candidates approached Mother for blessings. She gave both of them Her blessings, some flowers from Sri Aurobindos Samadhi. One candidate waited for it, received it with care and kept it with him. The other candidate was more eminent and his friend could not reach him at all with Mothers blessings. At last one day when the friend finally met the candidate and was about to hand over the flowers, some VIPs walked in and took him away. Most unexpectedly, the first candidate was elected. The friend of the eminent candidate never had the courage to open the subject of Mothers blessings to the loser. Years passed. Finally one day he mustered courage and handed over the dried flowers to the candidate, who received them with devotion. The next year this candidate was elected unanimously to the post. When asked by the press how Mothers blessings dated many years ago had been delayed, he was unable to know why. He said it might be that they had been misplaced.
10. In a village feud two groups quarreled and one man was killed. The leader of the other group and his father were given the death sentence. One of their relatives was a devotee of Mother. He was disturbed. In the meantime, he found out that the leader had once visited the Ashram for Mothers Darshan. The devotee was told that if a man had once seen Mother, he would not die this type of death. Encouraged by this, the devotee approached his relative, the convict, with a request that he pray to Mother. His punishment was set aside on appeal.
Mother had subtle vision, subtle hearing and all other subtle powers. Often when She saw a person She did not see his physical form. Instead She saw what he would be ten years later or in his next birth or what he was in a previous birth. Inanimate objects communicated with Her. The gods were in relation with Her.
One evening at 6 oclock, She asked to see a certain sadhak. He was not available. She asked for someone else. He too was away on work. Then she asked for anyone available to come see her urgently. An elderly sadhak presented himself and offered to do any work that was required of him. She spoke to him saying, The Banyan tree near the Matrimandir in Auroville is in pain. Just now the tree came to me and complained. Please rush to the spot and relieve the distress of the tree and report to me.
Auroville is five miles away from the Ashram and the Matrimandir is at its centre. The Banyan tree is very old and has spread its roots all around. It is very close to the Matrimandir, standing between the foundation stone of Auroville, which contains the soil of all the worlds nations, and the Matrimandir. The Aurovillians all worked to build the Matrimandir, which was under construction, and their houses were around the Banyan tree. Since the tree is centrally located and people live close by and work there during the day, nothing can happen there which will escape the notice of the sadhaks. The elderly sadhak rushed to the Banyan tree, wondering what it could all be about. It was already dark. There were no lights around the tree. He was an old man who could not climb up the tree. What was he to look for? What kind of distress could a tree feel? If it were anything that could be seen by people, it would have already been noticed. If it was something subtle or something on top of the tree, what could this old man do there in the dark? Soon he reached the spot. At the foot of the tree, a worker had fixed his axe. When workers want to keep their hatchets or axes, they have the habit of hitting a tree trunk with the sharp edge to lodge the instrument there. Someone, as was his wont, had fixed his axe in the foot of this tree. The moment the sadhak saw the axe fixed into the tree, it became clear to him. He quickly removed the axe, searched for the owner and while giving the instrument back to him, instructed him not to do that anymore. He returned to the Ashram at once with joy and reported to Mother. When he told her at what time he had removed the axe, She replied that exactly at that moment She had felt the relief of the tree.
One day some years ago She called a trustee of the Ashram and said She wanted to give a small piece of land from the backyard of one of her buildings to a Pillaiyar (Ganesh) temple which was adjacent to the building. The trustee explained to Her that for some months the trustees of the temple had been wanting some space. It was a small temple situated in the midst of residential buildings. During the days of the French rule, the temple was dilapidated and very few visited it. Legend says that some Frenchman was annoyed at the superstitions of the Indians and one day took it into his head that he must save these ignorant Indians from superstitious worship. He removed the idol of Vinayagar (Ganesh) and drowned it in the sea. The next morning there was a sensation in the temple area and a crowd gathered. People were outraged at the improper high-handed behaviour of the Frenchman but were helpless to prevent him. The following day they gathered in a large number and found the Vinayagar idol back in the temple intact, as if nothing had happened. After this incident the temple became very popular and streams of worshippers began visiting there. Now it was time to renovate the place. Because of a lack of space in front of the temple, the authorities had built a mandapam across the road with the traffic passing underneath. They needed some more space for devotees to do pradakshina around the temple. It is for this purpose the authorities of the temple tried to acquire more space on any one side of the temple. Being a residential place, their attempts had met with failure everywhere. Their attempts with the Ashram had also met with no success.
Mother listened to the explanations about the temple with interest. She said the previous night, while she was in meditation, Ganesh had come to her and said he needed some space from her building. She said she had decided to give the space and passed orders to that effect.
About 50 years ago Selvaraj Chettiar was the Mayor of Pondicherry. He was an import merchant. As a mayor he was very influential in France and with the French Government. He had a coal godown right on the beach. Sea waves lashed against the compound wall and washed it away. He re-erected the wall a few times, but each time it was washed away. The Mayor consulted the French engineers, who were the leading marine engineers in the world. French engineers had built the Suez Canal. As he was influential and wealthy, he availed of the best consultation from the leading engineers and with their advice put up the compound wall again. But again it was washed away. It became clear that the sea erosion could no longer be contained. The godown was very big and was a very valuable property in those days. This work was the talk of the town, and there was no question of its being a secret. The Mayor decided to sell the property as early as possible. No buyer showed up and things came to a standstill. It was clear that the longer the sale was delayed, the worse it would be for the seller.
The Mayor sent word to Mother asking whether She was interested in buying the godown. Her sadhaks all knew what had happened, but as a duty reported the request of the Mayor to Mother. She had no idea of what had gone on. The sadhaks told her the entire story of the Mayors failure. No one wanted the property to be bought but it was not for them to give such suggestions to Mother. Having given the offer and answered her questions on the history of the earlier attempts to put up a wall, they awaited Her decision. After some consideration, Mother asked them to buy the property. Everyone who heard her decision was dismayed and certain that in a few years the entire godown would be washed away. But every sadhak also had faith in Mother. So they went happily and bought the godown.
After the purchase was over, they asked for her guidance. She asked them to build a compound wall. They did, but it was washed away. They repeated this a few times, and each time it was washed away. Finally they reported the results to Mother. She asked them to stop the work and She would come to visit the place. One evening she went to the site and sat for a while on a chair. She asked the sadhaks to re-erect the wall. The next day the wall was put up. Today it is still there.
She explained later that on the day She came to the spot, the sea god came to her and announced his decision to enter into that area. Mother told the sea god that she wanted the place for herself and he must not come in. Mother said that these beings always used to obey her. But the sea god started a discussion and Mother had to stay there a while. She explained to him that she had important work in the Ashram and in that place, so he must not come there. At last, She said, he agreed.