Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mother with children

Photo: Courtesy Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch

Big Change

What is the true significance of Birthdays?

"It is truly a special day in one's life. It is one of those days in the year when the Supreme descends into us - or when we are face to face with the Eternal - one of those days when our soul comes in contact with the Eternal and, if we remain a little conscious, we can feel His Presence within us. If we make a little effort on this day, we accomplish the work of many lives as in a lightning flash. That is why I give so much importance to the birthday - because what one gains in one day is truly something incomparable. My child, it is a very very special day, for it is the day of decision, the day one can unite with the Supreme Consciousness. For the Lord lifts us on this day to the highest region possible so that our soul, which is a portion of that Eternal Flame, may be united and identified with its Origin. 

This day is truly an opportunity in life. 

It is one of those days when the Lord Himself opens the doors wide for us. It is as though He were inviting us to rekindle more powerfully the flame of aspiration. It is one of those days which He gives us. We too, by our personal effort, could attain to this, but it would be long, hard and not so easy. And this - this is a real chance in life - the day of the Grace." 

How to spend one's Birthday? 

"in finding out the purpose of life." 

Today is my birthday. I want this day to be the beginning of a more spiritual life and therefore something has to be done. Please tell me what I must do. 

"It is not with the mind that one should decide what has to be done. It should be a spontaneous movement taking place in a sincere and constant aspiration." 

What is the meaning of one's birthday, apart from its commemorative character? How can one take advantage of this occasion? 

"Because of the rhythm of the universal forces, a person is supposed to have a special receptivity on his birthday each year. 

He can therefore take advantage of this receptivity by making good resolutions and fresh progress on the path of his integral development." 

- The Mother 

Birthday Messages from The Mother & Sri Aurobindo 

"Let this day of your birth be for you an occasion to give yourself a little more, a little better to the Divine. Let your consecration be more total, your devotion more ardent, your aspiration more intense. 

Open yourself to the New Light and walk with a joyful step on the path. 

Resolve on this day that it may be thus and the day will not have passed in vain." 

- The Mother 

"Let the new birth become manifest in your heart and radiate in calm and joy and take up all the parts of your being, mind and vision and will and feeling and life and body. Let each date in your life be a date of its growth and greater completeness till all in you is the child of the Mother. Let the Light and Power and Presence envelop you and protect and cherish and foster, till all in your inner and outer existence is one movement and an expression of its peace and strength and Ananda." 

The Mother on “Cinema”

      I remember that whenever the film "The Wizard of Oz" was screened in
the Ashram Playground, it used to rain.
     Earlier, the Mother also used to watch films (censored) with chidren and
Ashramites in the Playground. If it rained, the Mother would not get up. And
nobody would get up unless the Mother got up.
   It also reminds me that at times, when children requested Her for the success of their open-air functions, She would stop the rain for that period. After that, it would rain with double force. Ms. Tara Jauhar has described in one of her books how the Mother would tell childen to pray for rain.
   During that period we had many films in the Ashram. The Mother commented jocularly, " We are becoming filmsy ! "

- Jitendra Sharma
The Mother on “Cinema”:

Q. :We see too many films these days and I do not see how they educate

Ans.: When one has the true attitude, everything can be an occasion to
In any case, this excess should make you understand that the
imperious desire of certain people to see films is as pernicious as
all other desires.
-      The Mother

(11 May 1963)

* *
We would like to be able to show the children pictures of life as it
should be, but we have not reached that point, far from it. These
films have yet to be made. And at present, most of the time, the
cinema shows life as it should not be, so strikingly that it makes
you disgusted with life.
This too is useful as a preparation.
Films are permitted in the Ashram not as an amusement but as part of education. So we are faced with the problem of education.

If we consider that the child should learn and know only
what can keep him pure of every low, crude, violent and degrading
movement, we would have to eliminate at a stroke all contact with
the rest of humanity, beginning with all these stories of war and
murder, of conflict and deception which go under the name of
history; we would have to eliminate all present contact with family,
relatives and friends; we would have to exercise control over all
the vital impulses of their being.
This was the idea behind the enclosed monastic life of convents, or
the ascetic life in caves and forests.
This remedy proved to be quite ineffectual and failed to pull
mankind out of the mire.
According to Sri Aurobindo, the remedy is quite different.
We must face life as a whole, with all the ugliness, falsehood and
cruelty it still contains, but we must take care to discover in
ourselves the source of all goodness, all beauty, all light and all
truth, in order to bring this source consciously into contact with
the world so as to transform it.
This is infinitely more difficult than running away or shutting our
eyes so as not to see, but it is the only truly effective way the
way of those who are truly strong and pure and capable of
manifesting the Truth.
-      The Mother

(29 May 1968)

*       *
Q.: How should one see a film? If one identifies oneself with the
characters and if it is a tragic or detective film, one is so much
involved that one weeps or is frightened. And if one keeps aloof one
cannot appreciate it very well. What is to be done then?

Ans.: It is the vital that is affected and moved.
If you look mentally, the interest is no more the same; instead of
being moved or troubled, you can judge quietly the value of the
film, whether it is well constructed and well acted and whether the
pictures have any artistic value.

In the first case you are "good public", in the second you are more
-      The Mother

(30 January 1970)

* *
(Concerning cinema in Auroville)
Children below fifteen years will see only educational films.
Care should be taken in selecting films to be shown in Auroville.
All that encourages the lower movements and actions must be
-                   - The Mother

(25 February 1972)

* *
Learn to be silent
The cinema is given for those who like to look at pictures and to
listen to the music and the words, and they have a right to look and
to hear quietly.
Those who cannot stop talking, chatting, laughing and making a noise
or even running about, ought not to be there, because all what they
do, they can do elsewhere without spoiling the pleasure of those who
are not like them.
So here is the decision: a silent audience or no cinema.
-      - The Mother

(12 October 1962)

* *
Film: "The Wizard of Oz"

A short explanation will surely increase the interest of the picture
to be shown to you tonight.

(The first two paragraphs are based upon the Mother's comments; when the notation was shown to her, she wrote the final paragraph.

The Mother made this statement over the loudspeaker when this film was shown at the Ashram playground.)

This picture is in three sections, two black and one, the most
extensive, in colour. The two black sections (first and last) show
how things appear in the physical world; the coloured one expresses
a similar sequence of events and similar characters in the vital
world, the world where one can go when the body is in deep sleep,
when one gets out of the body. So long as you have a physical body,
no true harm can happen to you in the vital world, for the physical
body acts as a protection, and you can always return into it at
will. This is shown in the picture in a classical way. You will see
that the little girl wears on her feet some magic ruby-red slippers,
and so long as she keeps the slippers on her feet nothing wrong can
happen to her. The ruby-red slippers are the sign and the symbol of
the connection with the physical body, and as long as the slippers
are on her feet, she can, at will, return to her body and find
shelter therein.
Two other details can be noted with interest. One is the snow shower
that saves the party from the influence of the wicked witch who by
her black magic has stopped their advance towards the emerald castle
of beneficent vitality. In the vital world, snow is the symbol of
purity. It is the purity of their feelings and intentions that saves
them from the great danger. Note also that to go to the castle of
the good wizard they must follow the broad path of golden bricks,
the path of luminous confidence and joy.
The second is: when Dorothy throws water on the straw man to save
him from burning, some water falls on the face of the wicked witch
who lit the fire and at once she gets dissolved and dies. The water
is the symbol of the power of purification and no hostile being or
force can resist this power handled with goodwill and sincerity.
Finally, when the good fairy teaches the little girl how to go back
home by knocking her red slippers one against the other, she says
that nothing is better than home; by "home" she means the physical
world which is the place of protection and realisation.
As you see, the subject of this picture is interesting and not
altogether devoid of knowledge. Unhappily the rendering is not as
beautiful and harmonious as it could have been. In the setup there
are some serious faults of taste and many regrettable vulgarities.

-The Mother, On Education Volume 12 , pp. 244-248

(14 September 1952)

Sri Aurobindo on the spiritual value of poetry

The Word has power- even the ordinary written word has a power. If it is an inspired word it has still more power. What kind of power or power for what depends on the nature of the inspiration and the theme and the part of the being it touches. If it is the Word itself, - as in certain utterances of the great Scriptures, Veda, Upanishads, Gita, it may well have a power to awaken a spiritual uplifting impulse, even certain kinds of realization. To say that it cannot contradicts spiritual experience.

The Vedic poets regarded their poetry as Mantras, they were the vehicles of their own realizations and could become vehicles of realization for others. Naturally, these mostly would be illuminations, not the settled and permanent realisation that is the goal of Yoga- but they could be steps on the way or at least lights on the way. I have had in former times many illuminations, even initial realizations while meditating on verses of the Upanishads or the Gita. Anything that carries the Word, the Light in it, spoken or written, can light this fire within, open a sky, as it were, bring the effective vision of which the Word is the body. 

(Sri Aurobindo, ‘Sri Aurobindo on Himself and On The Mother’, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry 1953)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Power of Kali

Behind all destructions, whether the immense destructions of Nature, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, floods, etc., or the violent human destructions, wars, revolutions, revolts, I find the power of Kali, who is working in the earth-atmosphere to hasten the progress of transformation.
All that is not only divine in essence but also divine in realisation is by its very nature above these destructions and cannot be touched by them. Thus the extent of the disaster gives the measure of the imperfection.
   The true way of preventing the repetition of these destructions is to learn their lesson and make the necessary progress.
                                                                                                     - The Mother

Monday, June 27, 2011


Change of Consciousness



ISBN- 978-81-261-4932-2 

Sri Aurobindo considered himself firstly to be a poet. His profound and spiritual outpourings of poetic inspiration chart a new course for Man, heralding the emergence of a new species of Superman. His verses describe beautifully, with an aroma of the spirituality of India, the appearance of Man on earth and the stages of evolution. He believes that man's travails, sufferings and death have a purpose in the scheme of evolution of human consciousness. Man is a transitional being constantly driven by an impulse to exceed himself and evolve towards divine consciousness, harmony and joy.
Sri Aurobindo, the most radical spiritual poet, points out rich potentialities of Man beyond normal imaginations. The poet prophetically describes the transcendence of man as the consummation of earthly evolution and the emergence of a supramental race on earth. In this illuminating doctoral thesis, the author brings out Sri Aurobindo's concept of Man in his poetry.

Dr. Jitendra Sharma graduated from the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry. As a student, he had the privilege of corresponding regularly with the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He obtained the Master's Degree in French from Karnatak University Dharwar and had M.Phil. in French from the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad. For one year, he studied in the Stendhal University of Grenoble in France. He has contributed numerous articles to various journals and participated in more than 80 national/international Seminars, Workshops and Conferences. He heads the Department of French at St. Joseph's College, Devagiri, Calicut (Kerala) where he tries to implement Sri Aurobindo's education methodology in his teaching profession.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Computer and the Mother

May be it was 1968/1969, an expert on computers of those days and artificial intelligence, Frank Mathur from USA, started a course on computers in our school.

A computer was made by all the components that he had brought from USA. It was a huge block of 1,5m x 1.2m. Taking upstairs to show the Mother was very cumbersome with the narrow staircase as all of you must have noticed.

I hadn't actually gone up. I have heard it from my younger brother Rasesh who was very much involved in it. It had probably a few thousand switches
and everywhere manually wires were plugged. It did look impressive but compared to the present days PC it would compare to a baby in the womb of a mother.

Mother - (seeing it ) Oh, this looks complicated !

Then came the time of demonstration to the Mother.

To the chagrin of everybody, everything went haywire. Nothing seemed to be working. Instead, some strange signals started coming on the monitor. Poor Frank was all in perspiration.

Mother was of course as usual smiling. Then She said:

This is not your fault . I just experimented to see whether this machine 

was capable of receiving and retransmitting the signals that I was 
sending from my side. I see that it is responding.

                                                                                   - Srikant

Nirodbaran narrates a real story of Black Magic

...Well, we were living in that house then. The Mother too was there
with me. A servant called Vittal used to work for us whom for some
reason we had sacked. Absolutely furious, he screamed threats and
abuses at us, warning us that we would soon find it impossible to
Fakir who knew some black magic.
"One evening, out of nowhere, we suddenly found stones falling on
the roof of our kitchen. The boys thought that someone was playing
the fool. They went out to see, but there was no one outside. The
next day, the shower of stones again fell for half an hour, and
there was a more and
more prolonged shower every day after that. The stones rained down
like hail, thick and fast, and they grew progressively bigger too.
Finally, once it continued up to midnight. The stones fell, making a
big noise, on the kitchen roof, the courtyard and elsewhere. We had
to inform the police. The police came. Suddenly, while a constable
was looking carefully around the place a stone shot out from between
his legs. Frightened out of his wits, the poor man ran for his life.
So then we began to examine the problem ourselves. We searched
thoroughly, especially in the directions from which the stones were
coming. But there was no sign of a human being anywhere. And a
stranger thing began to happen now - the stones started raining down
even inside the closed rooms. One day they fell on the simpleton of
a boy who used to work for us. Poor fellow! He was badly hurt and
bleeding. This was a terrible mystery - this falling of the stones
inside a closed room and hurting the boy who was there. In fact,
that boy became the chief target. So Bijoy took him into his own
room, but even there he found no shelter. Then Bijoy called out for
me and as I entered I saw the last stone fall on the boy. The two of
them were sitting side by side; the stone was thrown straight at
them, but there was no third person in the room - unless
the 'Invisible Man' of H. G. Wells was present!
"Until then we had been watching the incident, making our own
observations. But when we found that things were going too far, were
becoming dangerous even, we decided that something had to be done.
The Mother knew a great deal of occultism and the world of spirits.
She understood that there was somehow a link between our house and
that young boy working for us. That link had to be cut and if the
boy could be given a job elsewhere, then the stone-throwing would
stop. So he was sent to work in another house.
"The Mother told me, 'We'll see what it is.' She went into
meditation and gave a call, 'Let us see, who is throwing stones at
us now? You must come and tell us.' The Mother saw three little
vital entities which have no strength and
enough consciousness confined to one action - they are at the
service of those who practise magic. They were terribly frightened!
The Mother asked, 'Why do you throw stones like that? What is this
bad joke?' They replied, 'We are compelled. We are compelled. It is
not our fault.'
"The Mother felt like laughing, but still kept a serious face and
told them, 'Well, you must stop this, understand?' Then they told
her, 'Keep us; we shall do all that you ask.' 'What can you do?' the
Mother asked them; they replied, 'We know how to throw stones.'
(Laughter) She said, 'That doesn't interest me at all. I don't want
to throw stones at anyone... but could you bring me some flowers?
Some roses?' Then they looked at each other in great dismay and
answered, 'No, we are not made for that, we don't know how to do
it.' She said, 'I don't need you, go away, and take care specially
never to come back. Otherwise it will be disastrous!' They ran away
and never came back!"
There was absolute silence in the room, all the children were
staring at Sri Aurobindo with shining eyes. Nobody even dared to
stir! Then Sudeep spoke, "But did the matter really end there?"
"No. The next day Vittal's daughter, who was our maid- servant, came
early in the afternoon in a state of intense fright and said to the
Mother, 'My father is in the hospital, he is dying. I am terribly
frightened.' The Mother came to me and said, 'You know,Vittal is in
the hospital, he is dying.' Then I looked at the Mother and
smiled, 'Oh! just for a few stones!' That very eveningVittal was
cured. But he never started anything again. At last there was peace
in the house. This, in short, is the ghost story you were so keen to
hear. When the Mother had gone to North Africa, she had made a deep
study of occultism, gaining much knowledge of it and mastery over

- Nirodbaran, Sri Aurobindo- A Dream-Dialogue With Children , pp. 222-

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Number 5 Rue Dumas is on the street in French Pondicherry directly
behind the main compound of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram; Golconde is just
a block down the street from this large French Colonial-style
structure that the Mother had named "Fenetres" (windows). This is home
to Udar Pinto, his English wife Mona, manager extraordinaire of
Golconde and their daughter Gauri, a teacher in the Higher Course at
the Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education. Sri Aurobindo
gave Udar (Generous) and Gauri (another name for Durga meaning the
Fair One or Golden One) their names but asked that Mona keep her own
name as it reminded him of the Mona Lisa. At "Fenetres" one enters
into a glorious courtyard ablaze with vibrant colors of
bougainvillaea, marigolds, roses, other types of flowering plants,
graceful arrangements of potted plants and an upstairs terrace filled
with orchids. Gauri's animals (she rescues cats and dogs from the
streets of Pondicherry and nurses them back to health) either
playfully greet one at the door or in the case of some dogs stand back
and snarl and growl suspiciously until one's intent for visiting is
cleared to their canine satisfaction.

Upstairs Udar has his quarters; a large vestibule where one can sit
and wait for him. He then greets guests in his expansive sitting room
with his faithful servant nearby. His bedroom is off to the side. I
shall always remember these rooms as my first public darshan of the
Mother was viewed from that very space since Udar's quarters look out
onto the balcony adjoining Mother's rooms. That darshan was February
21, 1968; some 32 years ago! As mentioned earlier, Udar had broken his
hip in 1999 and was recuperating at home after being in the ashram
nursing facility for some time. When I entered the room he was seated
in a very large, high wheelchair; very high above my own chair. He
appeared so stately and in command that this gave me the impression of
sitting before a ruling monarch of empyrean stature. In fact he told
me that when the ashram school staged "Perseus the Deliverer" one of
Sri Aurobindo's plays, that he had played the role of King Cepheus.
One day he went to the Mother in his costume. When She saw him She
said "Udar, I know where I have seen you before, you were at one time
a Roman emperor!"

Udar told me that he was born in Hubli in Karnataka (near Goa) in
April of 1907. His father was a businessman there and did many things
for the town of Hubli. The road they lived on was called Pinto Road.
His father had originally come from Goa. Goa was colonized by the
Portuguese and long back Udar's family had taken on a Portuguese name
of Pinto and had completely lost all contact with their original
Indian name. He studied at the Good School in Goa and was brought up
in the Catholic Church. He said he was a good Catholic and took his
religion seriously as a young man. Later he began to find some rather
foolish things in all religions which is what ultimately led him to
Sri Aurobindo. He passed his exams in Hubli and was sent to Mussoorie
in the mountains of North India for further study. He wanted to take a
degree in engineering and was being prepared for that goal. However,
by that time he had become rather unruly and was thrown out of school.
This was to be a turning point in his life. He stated that if he had
remained there he would have graduated, gotten a good job and settled
down to a "humdrum" life. After he was thrown out he attended another
school in Belgaum and from there went on to Bombay to the Royal
Institute of Science for a degree in engineering. He was then sent to
England in 1929 where he spent four years and earned a degree in
Aeronautical Engineering from London University. However, there was
nothing for him to do. There were no airplanes in India at that time
so he had to go into business. He settled down in Pondicherry in 1935
because it had a reputation for being a good place to do business. He
tried it out for two years and it proved to be prosperous. All of his
friends were connected with the ashram but at that time he was not
interested nor did he ever visit the ashram. He was a young man and a
bon vivant. His friends came to his home for sumptuous dinners and
whisky and sodas and "all kinds of things", he said. They would go
back and tell the Mother stories of their visits to Pinto's house. She
would say "that Pinto fellow is spoiling my children and I will catch
him one day". "Finally, She did", Udar said.

Udar had met his beloved Mona while attending school in England and
she waited 3 years for him while he got settled in Pondicherry.
Finally in 1937 he sent for her and they were married. Their daughter,
Gauri, was born at the end of that year in November.


After Mona and Udar were married somebody suggested that they should
have darshan of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother so Udar arranged for
this. "There were very few people in the ashram in those days so there
was no long queue," Udar said. In August of 1937 they had their first
darshan. This is how Udar described that moment: "When I saw Sri
Aurobindo for the first time I got a shock. I had seen kings and
emperors in Europe, England and Asia whose clothes were majestic but
the person inside quite ordinary. Here was a man wearing only a dhoti
and chaddur (shawl) sitting bare-chested and looking like a king. I
said to myself "at last I have seen royalty and majesty". "After that
darshan we were very much drawn to the ashram".


The war began and Sri Aurobindo and the Mother took a keen interest in
it. "All wars", said Sri Aurobindo, "are begun by the asura". The
Second World War was an effort by the asura to destroy the work of Sri
Aurobindo and the Mother for the earth's evolution toward the
Supramental Light. Sri Aurobindo began to work occultly behind the
scenes for the war effort even finding an opening to His Force in Sir
Winston Churchill. Udar said there were very few radio sets in
Pondicherry at that time and no radio broadcasting. Udar owned a radio
set with sophisticated aerials and other equipment so he was able to
tune into BBC in order to receive news of the war. Pavitra (the
Frenchman whose European name was P.B. Saint- Hilaire) and Pavita use
to come to Udar's house every night at 9:30 to take down the news in
short hand and type and prepare it to send to Sri Aurobindo the same
night. Udar offered the radio set to the Mother but she refused it by
saying She had "enough of ulcers"! Later on when the war situation
escalated they finally installed a radio set in the ashram.

Udar had begun to become more and more drawn to the ashram. By then
the Government of India had started a Civil Aviation department and
they knew of his degree in Aeronautical engineering so they asked him
to come and work for them. He did not want to go as he and his family
were quite happy in the ashram. Sri Aurobindo, however, told him that
he MUST do it. He wanted his children to work for the war effort. Sri
Aurobindo told him this was not a war between the nations and people
but a war between the Divine Forces and the forces of the asura. He
took his family out of Pondicherry and worked for the government
successfully for one year and was happy in New Delhi and so was Mona.
Little Gauri, however, at 3 years of age very much missed the Mother.
After one year he took a brief leave and brought them back to
Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo then told him that he had done enough and
that he could return to the ashram to stay. He went back to New Delhi,
gave a month's notice and returned to the ashram where he has lived


The Nizam of Hyderabad through his Dewan, Sir Akbar Hydari, had given
a sum of money to the Mother as She, at one time, had spoken to him of
wanting to build a residential building on some property the ashram
owned. Since the money for the building had come from Hyderabad the
Mother decided to give it a name associated with that state. She named
it "Golconde", the French form of Golconda, after the famous fort and
diamond mines in Hyderabad.

Antonin Raymond, a well-known Czechoslovakian architect and friend of
Pavitra, came to the ashram for a visit and eventually took on the
project. Working with him on the Golconde project were the
Japanese-American architect, George Nakashima and another
Czechoslovakian architect by the name of Francichech Sammer.

The building work had already begun by 1937 when Mona and Udar joined
the ashram but they were both associated with it from that time. The
Mother put Mona in charge of Golconde before it was finished and gave
her a room in which to work, to prepare the linens and train the young
ashram ladies who were to work with her. She taught them to speak
English as well. The Mother also gave Udar a small shed for his work.
She called it Harpagon. Harpagon is the name of the miser in Moliere's
play L'Avare (the Miser). She said that the land had belonged to a
very wealthy man and that he could have given the land freely. Instead
he doubled the price! At first the Mother said no, but then She
decided to buy the land and name it for the miser. Ironically Udar's
name means "generosity". Udar said there was so much work to be done.
Large amounts of money were needed for the completion of the Golconde
structure. There were things to be manufactured; some brass fittings
were needed and machines were needed for manufacturing these parts to
precision. Udar had no money as he had given all his money to the
Mother. He needed at least 2 lakhs and asked the Mother for this
amount. The Mother gave him 1 rupee to start! At first he thought She
was making a joke then he realized that if She had given him the 2
lakhs it would be the 2 lakhs that would have actually done the work.
He said "by giving only 1 rupee it was therefore I who had to do it".
He took up the challenge and worked very hard and happily and slowly
until the job was done. Of course today Golconde and Harpagon are
cherished units in the ashram. Golconde is one of the most beautiful
and unique buildings in the world with its teak furniture,
Japanese-style black stone floors, walls of crushed seashells, giant
cement/louvered shutters and of course its lovely monastic
peacefulness. Udar went on to develop Harpagon's many industries
including furniture making and stainless steel products.

ANIE: Can you describe Sri Aurobindo's voice and any other impressions
you remember of Sri Aurobindo?

UDAR: Sri Aurobindo's voice was a beautiful, well modulated sound. If
you did not see him you would think that you were listening to a
Cambridge-educated Englishman speaking. Sri Aurobindo just sat there
looking as though He were gazing out into eternity in His great lonely
days of descent into mortal life in order to help humanity.

(Udar chose not to personalize other impressions of Sri Aurobindo but
instead he quoted a passage from SAVITRI, Book III, "The Book of the
Divine Mother", Canto IV,"The Vision and the Boon". Udar said Sri
Aurobindo was writing about King Aswapaty in that passage and speaks
in the third person, but is actually writing about Himself).


ANIE: Can you describe what it was like when Sri Aurobindo left His body?

UDAR: I was in His room next to Him when he died. I was handling the
oxygen tank and then He went into a coma. I knew all the medical
aspects of what it was like to be in a coma. However, in the case of
Sri Aurobindo it was altogether a conscious coma. No ordinary person
talks in a coma. At one point He asked in a firm and clear voice:
"Nirod, what is the time"? Nirodbaran looked shocked."Sir, It's 1
o'clock" Nirod said. Sri Aurobindo said "I see" in a clear voice and
then returned to the coma. Champaklal was massaging His feet. His
breathing became slower and slower and then there was the last breath
which I recognized. Dr. Sanyal asked me to turn off the oxygen tank
and I went back and stood in the back of the room. I was quite calm
and interested to see all that was happening. The Mother had no look
of sorrow on Her face at all. Neither did I feel sorrow for I knew
that Sri Aurobindo had left His body consciously. In SAVITRI, the Book
of Death is very short. When Sri Aurobindo was asked about this he
said "You cannot expect to write about something you have never
consciously experienced." So, He experienced death consciously and
will return to complete the Book of Death. Dr Sanyal said "Mother,
everyone is in shock except for Udar". The Mother put me in charge of
everything. She looked at me and said "Udar take charge of everything
and come to me for instructions" and then She left the room.

Mother gave me instructions for the coffin which was made of solid
wood and lined with silk. Sri Aurobindo was still lying on His bed and
there was the most marvelous, golden light emanating from His body and
a scent like a celestial perfume. After that the Mother told me how
deep to go into the Samadhi and how to design it. I built the Samadhi
not as a hole in the ground but as a vault with thick concrete walls
9" thick with cement floors and a cement roof. I went down 8' and
built a 4' room with cement slabs. Over that the Mother instructed me
to build another room also with walls, a floor and a roof. She told me
to fill it with clean river sand and to put a large slab on the top.
Thus was the Samadhi built. The Samadhi was built according to the
same outward pattern as the flower bed that had existed there. The top
consisted of a long rectangular pattern going from East to West and
next to it was a square. The Samadhi on top has kept that same pattern
for flower decorations. The longer rectangle below houses the two
rooms where the bodies of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are
entombed.The Mother gave me a quotation to be carved into the marble
and pressed on either side. It reads:

"To Thee who hast been the Material Envelope of our Master, to Thee
our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, Who
hast worked, struggled, Suffered , hoped, endured so much, before Thee
who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us,
before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for
a Moment, all we owe to Thee." - The Mother, 9 Dec. 1950.

After the Mother died I opened up the top room. I took the clean river
sand that had been lying over Sri Aurobindo's tomb from 1950 to 1973
and kept it in barrels. I made packets from the sand and gave them out
to many people and it helped them in sickness and pain and in times of

ANIE: What changes do you see taking place in the Ashram in the future
and will it be different in any way from what it is now?

UDAR: There have to be changes. We live in a changing world. The
changes in the Ashram since the Mother's passing have not always been
as good as they could be. Many people have not worked closely with the
Mother nor even seen Her physically. So, in many cases there is very
little knowledge of the Mother's way. Many people try to do things in
their own way, to do what they think best and not always necessarily
in keeping with what would have been the Mother's way. I always speak
about the Mother to everyone but many go on preferring their own way.

ANIE: What can you tell us of the Auroville project?

UDAR: Auroville was built as a city for the Divine to give a message
to the world. The Mother told me to inaugurate Auroville. The Mother
called in representatives from all the nations of the world and
assigned to me the job of Master of Ceremonies. The Charter was read
out in English. I announced each nation and while two young people
from each nation placed soil from their country into the lotus urn
there was an interpreter reading the charter in the language of that
particular nation. It all went so beautifully and was never rehearsed.
The Mother said Auroville did not need to follow the divine life of
the ashram. She said they were to concentrate on building a new city
for the Divine in their own way. So, the ways of Auroville are
different from those of the ashram and Aurovilians are not expected to
follow the ashram way of living.

ANIE: What advice would you give to new spiritual aspirants that would
help them in their development and help them to integrate their lives
in the world with its focus on materialism and the vital life?

UDAR: The word "spiritual" is often used in a loose manner. Generally
people take it to mean a higher mind and life in an elementary way but
not necessarily a "spiritual" way. Spiritual means the way of the
spirit and nothing else. Very few people know what their spirit is.
They know they have a soul but how it operates they do not know. It is
only when one becomes conscious of the soul through sincere yogic
discipline that one can become a true servant and instrument of the

ANIE: It seems that fewer young people are drawn to the yoga in
America in these times. What more can we do to inspire interest in Sri
Aurobindo and the Mother in the youth of our culture?

UDAR: One must keep a door open for those who want to come, but we are
not here to proselytize and get disciples. If they come it is by their
own choice and what they do with it is up to themselves.

ANIE: What do you see as the strongest attributes of Americans and
their contributions to the yoga?

UDAR: The Americans who have come to the ashram are highly evolved
people and their presence is a gift to the ashram. Many Americans in
the archives department are wonderful men and women and have
progressed very much inwardly and have contributed in many ways to the
work and are of great value to the ashram. I have a very good feeling
about the Americans in the ashram.

ANIE: What were some of your experiences and impressions of North
America when you visited in 1972?

UDAR: In 1972 the Government of India asked the Mother to select two
people to give talks on Sri Aurobindo in connection with His Birth
Centenary year; one to go to the East and one to go to the West. Sisir
Kumar Ghosh was chosen to go to Japan and other Eastern countries and
the Mother chose me to go to the West. I asked the Mother "Why me"? "I
am not a speaker on philosophy". Then Mother said " I have chosen you,
so you must go"! The Mother said She would speak through me and that I
did not need to worry that at all times She would remain very close to
me. This was so in every instance. When I reached America they began
to call me "Swami-ji". I looked to see if there was anyone else
around! I told them " I am not a Swami, I am just an ordinary person
whom Mother has sent to speak on Sri Aurobindo" When I later returned
to the ashram the Mother said "They called you Swami-ji there"? I
replied "Yes, Mother". The Mother said "I knew everything that
happened to you in America". "I was with you all the time and I am
glad you did not accept the title of Swami-ji. If for any reason you
should ever fall into that trap, I will come and break your head"!

I had a wonderful trip to America. I found the people generous and
warm. We were often treated as guests at restaurants, people helped us
freely on the road when our van broke down. In private homes we were
received with gracious hospitality.

While I was visiting America there was a 3-day seminar at Cornell
University – an inter-religious conference. Leaders of all the world
religions were invited. My hosts tried to get me on the program but it
was declined because the conference had been planned two years prior.
However, they said I could come and participate in the discussions so
I agreed. Suddenly I received a call from them that the main speaker
had fallen ill and could I come and replace him? I said "yes". They
asked me to send a speech but I wrote that I only spoke

This was accepted and all throughout I felt Mother's Presence and
Help, even saw Her face before me. The Mother had told me before I
left India "You have only to call me and I will be with you at once,
at every moment I will be with you".

ANIE: Can you share some of the advice that the Mother gave to you for
your own personal sadhana?

 UDAR: One day I asked Mother. "I have been doing the yoga for many
years but I am not absolutely certain how to do the yoga of Sri
Aurobindo. I read all the books and try to do the yoga but I am not
certain how far I have progressed". I asked the Mother to help me.
"You are doing it all wrong", She said. I said "What shall I do"? She
said, "I will do the yoga for you". I was thrilled! "What do I have to
do"? I said. "Give yourself over to Me and I will do it for you". Udar
said "How do I surrender"? She said to me "Do you sincerely want to"?
I said "Yes, certainly Mother". Mother said "When you get up in the
morning what is the first thing you do"? "I brush my teeth and as a
matter of course I am thinking of all kinds of things and not at all
consciously", I said. Mother said "Try and think of Me while you are
brushing your teeth. Talk to Me keeping fully conscious while you wash
your face and brush your teeth. When you eat that is the time you must
be very conscious of Me. Feel that I am eating with you and talk to Me
and enjoy your food. Let all the parts of your being remain conscious
of Me. Eat every mouthful with Me and you will find that things taste
so much better when you enjoy the food with Me. When you go to sleep
that is the time when you should be very conscious of Me. Let Me put
you to sleep and then the whole night you will have a conscious sleep.
When you awaken and begin your day you will then begin it in a more
conscious way".

Since that conversation I have sincerely tried to make this effort. It
may not always be complete and whole but I make the effort to remain
fully conscious of the Mother's Presence in all my actions and

ANIE: How is the sadhana different for you at this stage in your life;
what new forms, if any, has it taken?

UDAR: At this stage of my life I just want to be always conscious of
the Mother's Presence in me. I am always calling Her and She never
refuses to come. If I ask Her for anything She gives it to me if it is
useful for my sadhana. If not, then I know it is not and accept that.
I have no regrets about anything at all. I am very happy to have
served the Mother consciously and I want to be like that up to the
end. If there is an end! The Mother told me not to accept death as
inevitable She said "Don't say you are not going to die, but don't say
you have to die" When it comes face it in full confidence of my
support but fight it"! "Do not accept death"!

Udar remained silent for a few moments and then began to chant
Mother's mantra "Om Namo Bhagavate" and then "Om Anandamayi". I sat
quietly with him for some time and then left him in the atmosphere of
that still, quiet space.

A few days later I returned to see him. It was December 17th, the day
before my birthday, and Udar had developed a bronchial condition. I
felt he was too weak for the interview and I did not want to tire him.
However, he called me in to present me with flowers and beautifully
wrapped birthday gifts. Udar had been my liaison to the Mother,
delivering my numerous chits and letters to Her during my years in the
ashram and prior to the time that I went there to live for 3 1/2
years. He had been privy to all my innermost questions and concerns
that were put before the Mother. He advised and counseled and inspired
me as well with his great strength, wisdom and positive outlook. What
a fitting name...Udar...for he is truly generous with his time, help,
work, friendship and most of all the largesse of his inner being and
spirit. He was always wearing his ever-present red rose given to him
by the Mother and for years after Her passing he continued to wear a
red rose.

Udar was ill with bronchitis for most of the remainder of my stay in
Pondicherry. I saw him one last time before my departure with a group
of French visitors who had come to see him.

He was in good humor that day and had us laughing heartily. About
losing his voice to bronchitis he said: "In my household it did not
make much difference as the women do most of the talking anyway"! He
said "Did you know that generally speaking, women are generally

After all the time that I spent with Amal Kiran and Udar Pinto I
reflected on these two souls who, with their very divergent
backgrounds; one a scholar and writer and the other an engineer and
businessman, had come to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo as young men and
in a common bond had devoted their lives to the service of the Divine
and to the Yoga of the Supramental. At this stage in their lives both
have focussed their priorities on remaining open to the Divine Light
of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo for as long as they are in their
present bodies. I could not have been more deeply touched nor blest to
have been in their inspiring presence.

Om shanti

Anie Nunnally

March 2000

Courtesy and Link :

Work is body's prayer

Let us work as we pray, for indeed work is the body's best prayer 
to the Divine.
                                                                                  - The Mother

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THE FREEDOM OF INDIA - Predictions of Sri Aurobindo

“ … I know and have experienced hundreds of times that beyond the blackest darkness there lies for one who is a divine instrument the light of God’s victory.  I have never had a strong and persistent will for anything to happen in the world - I am not speaking of personal things - which did not eventually happen even after delay, defeat or even disaster”.
                                                                                            --- Sri Aurobindo
“ Those of us who foresee that which may or ought to be are nevertheless well aware that though the fulfilment of the prophecy is inevitable, yet the time factor may not work out as indicated”.    
It has been the prerogative of a few human beings, blessed with the gift of prophecy, to predict events to happen in future, while it is instinctual with subhuman species, in the animal kingdom to perceive the calamities which are going to happen in the immediate next few hours.  Man, the homosapien, being endowed with theoption of free-will and a sense of discrimination may pooh-pooh predictions, or in the light of such visions may mend his style of life for his progress countering the possible adverse future, or may work for his country’s or race’s aggrandizement.
What is a prediction or prophecy? The belief is, it is a message which is beyond the ken of a common man --- an event to happen which the eye of man has not seen, the ear of man has not heard nor, his tongue tasted or hand contrived or heart grasped.  The history of mankind is replete with instances, where exceptional men and women, being blessed with uncommon vision, spoke well in advance of the things to happen both locally and globally.  Very ancient nations like India, China and Israel, to name a few, have been exclusively privileged to foresee future events and prophesy. The Koran claims 2 lakh prophets though only six of them are prominent; and Christianity believes, there are four major prophets and twelve minor prophets.
These days works like The Visions of Nostradamus (1555), Cheiro’s predictions in England, Bhavishya Puraana in Sanskrit, ‘Kala Jnana’ - fore knowledge of Time envisioned by Sri Veerabrahmam in Telugu are a few that are now popular.  Further, predictions from several Himalayan Masters and Tibetan monks gained wide circulation.
Sri Aurobindo amongst the moderns, known to the outside world as a Mahayogi, Freedom fighter, Epic-poet, Philosopher and so on is but little known as a prophet nonpareil !  Sri Aurobindo had not pronounced his predictions, all at a time or released them in a book form.  During his rare interviews with a very selected few, or his casual talks with his close disciples or in his major works, as and when a situation warranted, spontaneously his vision used to gleam to prophesy events.  Therefore, his prophecies are a variety and have to be culled out carefully.
Sri Aurobindo is indeed a “Prophet of Indian Nationalism”, “an avatar” and “a ray directly from the Supreme” commissioned to bring here “Supramental Light” which pushes the very evolution a step upwards.  But, firstly, as he himself disclosed it, it was his sole aim to kindle thespirit of total independence  in the hearts of the slave-citizens of British India.  He did it and left for Pondicherry to achieve the former one. 
A modern Bhagiratha, Sri Aurobindo indeed is !.
In 1910, Sri Aurobindo visualized how India would attain independence.  In his message to a Tamil Weekly called “India”, he narrated :
“Since 1907, we are living in a new era which is full of hope for India.  Not only India but the whole world will see upheavals and revolutionary changes.  The high will become low and the low high.  The oppressed and the depressed shall be elevated.  The nation and humanity will be animated by a new Consciousness, new thought and new efforts will be made to reach new ends.  Amidst these revolutionary changes, India will become free”. (Sri Aurobindo :  The Hope of Man, P. 350) Again, in 1918 a revolutionary by name A.B.Purani met Sri Aurobindo and implored him to tell him about India’s independence;  Sri Aurobindo had this to presage:
“You can take it from me, it is as certain as the rising sun of tomorrow.  The decree has already gone forth, it may not be long in coming”. (Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, P.19)   Later, he said it would be on his birthday. 
It may not be beside the point, to quote, the words of the Mother pronounced from the same Ashram precincts, that echo the selfsame prophecy of Sri Aurobindo;  The Mother disclosed it upon the query of her disciple in 1927:   “Listen! The British did not conquer India.  You yourselves handed over the country to the British.  In the same manner the British will themselves hand over the country to you.  And they will do it in a hurry as if a ship were waiting to take them away”.
The disciple asked, when that would be — the Mother perorated : 
“… When a Japanese warship will come to the Indian ocean, India will get her freedom”. (Life in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, P. 306)
Yes! The second World War nearly came to a finish.  The Japanese forces arrived at the Andamans.  As Sri Aurobindo predicted, the fateful Friday, the destined Friday, the good Friday dawned - Friday, 15 August, 1947, India got her independence;  Sri Aurobindo’s Seventy Fifty Birth Day as well !  Alas, India was divided into Hindusthan and Pakistan.  Oh, India had won only, “ a fissured and broken freedom”.
Sri Aurobindo the prophet and the Messiah that he was, broadcast his message to the Nation, on this historic occasion :
“India today is free but she has not achieved unity… The old communal division into Hindus and Muslims seems now to have hardened into a permanent political division of the country.  It is to be hoped that this settled fact will not be accepted as settled for ever or as anything more than a temporary expedient.  For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled :  Civil strife may remain always  possible, possible even a newinvasion and foreign conquest …  This must not be; the partition must go.  Let us hope that it may come about naturally, by an increasing recognition of the necessity not only of peace and concord but of common action, by the practice of common action and the creation of means for that purpose.  In this way unity may finally come about under whatever form - the exact form may have a pragmatic but not a fundamental importance.  But by whatever means, in whatever way, the division must go :  Unity must and will be achieved, for it is necessary for the greatness of Indias’ future”.  On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s death, Sri Aurobindo gave his prophetic message.  Even this, once again presages a unification :
“… The power that brought us through so much struggle and suffering to freedom will achieve also, through whatever strife or trouble, the aim which so poignantly occupied the thoughts of the fallen leader at the time of his tragic ending; as it brought us freedom, it will bring us unity.  A free and united India will be there and the Mother will gather around her sons and weld them into a single national strength in the life of a great and united people."
Now, at the end of 50 precious years of her Independence, India celebrates the Golden Jubilee too.  Has Sri Aurobindo’s prophecy come true?  At this critical juncture, it must be explicated and its veracity tested.  A bird’s eye view of the events that took place in the subcontinent during the last 52 years - at least the major events - and the consequences of India’s partition, as adumbrated in Sri Aurobindo’s prophecy, confirm the accuracy of his vision :
The mounting tension along the Indo-Pak border - the prevalence of Civic strife on either side of the border - Occupation of Azad Kashmir by Pakistan - the Chinese invasion in 1962- the Indo-Pak war in 1965 - genocide in East Pakistan in 1971 - Exodus of ten million refugees to India from East Pakistan - formation of  Bangladesh - Liquidation of  “Two nation theory” - the current Mohajir movement in Pakistan - the ever increasing terrorist activity in Kashmir - the recent atomic bomb testing by both the countries - the terrible strain on our economy - instability of governments in both the nations - Pakistan’s futile attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue at several summit conferences - are the cardinal events demonstrating that Sri Aurobindo’s prediction is getting unfolded.
Still, the forecast that “partition must go” is  the  red-herring  of  the  total  issue !    A direct answer cannot be had now.
What the Mother had said, may give one the needed relief.  Partition of India was not demarcated on the astral plane, where the blueprint of the Earth’s destiny was drawn.  What was not there could not happen here and the Time scale varies from there to here.
Even now it is not too late - all is not lost - India, Pakistan and Bangladesh may come closer to form a confederation (Sri Aurobindo Vol. II) or a sub-continental-Economic-community  a la  the recent Common European economy and so on.
Time-eternal will solve the issue.
As Sri Aurobindo says in his epic “Savitri”:  
“A  few shall see what none yet understands,
God shall grow up while the wise men talk and sleep:
For man shall not know the coming till its hour
and belief shall be not till the work is done”.
                                                                   -  Dr. D.Venkateswara Rao