The Mother and Sri Aurobindo Ashram

The Mother

 When a sadhak asked “since when were Sri Aurobindo and Mother here on earth,” Sri Aurobindo answered, “since the beginning of the earth’s 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 Earth’s 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 man’s 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 seeking—their 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 Mother’s 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 one’s prayers. The triple key of yoga must be turned in the lock of the spirit.

 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.

 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 day’s 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.

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