The Mother’s paintings

Dear Friends,

The Mother once said that She began to draw at the age of eight and started to learn oil painting and other painting techniques when She was ten. She added on another occasion that at twelve She was already doing portraits. Vividly does one of Her disciples remember what She spoke apropos Her own paintings. Himself an amateur with the brush, he was acutely concerned with the thoughtless scatter of her best work over many countries. She mentioned a decade in which She had done Her finest painting and said that most of the pieces had been given away to various people at different times and in different places.

The disciple said: “Should we not do something to collect them again?”

The Mother calmly replied: “Why? Is it so important?”

“Surely, such masterpieces deserve to be found and kept safely. You had taken so much pains over them”.

“It does not matter”.

“But, Mother, don’t you think there will be a loss if they are not preserved?”

Then the Mother, with eyes far away yet full of tenderness for the agitated disciple, said in a quiet half-whisper: “You know, we live in eternity”.

Today, we take the opportunity of sharing with you some of the Mother’s paintings.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Chairman,

Overman Foundation.

                                                 *

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Darshan photographs of the Mother

Dear Friends,

On the occasion of the Mother’s 133rd birthday, we are sharing with you some photographs of the Mother taken on 21st February 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967.

We are also taking the liberty of sharing with you the recollections of Peter A. about the Darshan of 21st February 1971 to illustrate what one felt while he/she stood in the presence of the Mother.

Those of you who had the privilege of having the Mother’s Darshan are also requested to share your recollections with us.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Chairman,

Overman Foundation.

                                                *

                               Darshan of 21 February 1963

                               Darshan of 21 February 1964

                               Darshan of 21 February 1965.

 

                              Darshan of 21 February 1965.

 

                               Darshan of 21 February 1965.

 

                               Darshan of 21 February 1965.

                               Darshan of 21 February 1966.

                               Darshan of 21 February 1966.

                              Darshan of 21 February 1967.

                              Darshan of 21 February 1967.

                    Memorable Moments with the Mother.

‘It was February 21st under a warm Indian afternoon sun when we arrived in that small street adjacent to the main ashram building where already thousands of devotees had gathered… There was a lot of chatting and excitement mixed with an atmosphere of intense expectation for that special moment to come. I landed just in the middle of the packed crowd getting fully the feel of it all. By and then one or the other was looking intensely up to the roof terrace where the Mother was to appear at any moment.

    Suddenly a great silence descended on all and everybody, the air felt still and compact, when a small hand was seen groping along the railing up there. Then a little face was emerging slowly from behind radiating the presence of a great power.

    I was stunned: as if looking into the face of a baby ape I was looking into the face of evolution itself… During those minutes of eternity and feeling the massive experience in my body I followed her when she was slowly moving down the railing from one end to the other. At one moment she suddenly was like throwing herself over the railing with such a concentrated power so to reach out to everybody, no one to be left out, to perceive all, to be seen by everyone who had gathered there from one end of the street to the other—and everybody was looking up to her.

     I was caught by her overwhelming glance, a stream of compact energy from eye to eye, soul to soul, in utter abandon and trust…

     Long after the Mother had retreated to her room and the crowd had dissolved I was still standing there all alone in the deserted street, I had not moved an inch as if glued to that sacred power point where that Presence was still there all powerful, that feeling of total bond without fear… and no time, no time.

     … To myself I could say that I never felt such a power emanating from a human being, an overwhelming power, which instead of closing me because of fear it opened me up like a flower to the sun, because it is the power of all encompassing love. At that eternal moment there was no more outside, there was only that immense presence lived through the feeling of an indestructible bond of consciousness-force.’

                                                                                               Peter A. 

                                  *

 

The Mother’s Last Interview

Dear Friends,

From the beginning of April 1973 the Mother had become unwell while She was giving blessings. Though She rested for a few days and became a little better, She understood that meeting people and granting special interviews would no longer be possible. Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, the Mother’s confidant, writes in his Pranab’s Talk on the Mother (pp. 3-4):

     ‘…on the 20th of May at about 9:30 p.m. when I had just gone out from Her room to the terrace after Champaklalji had come in, I was suddenly called to see what had happened to the Mother. I found Her extremely restless, a bit dejected and, I must say, annoyed with Herself. At least that was what I saw, what I felt. She said She didn’t have any control over Her body. From then, She completely stopped seeing people…’

On the previous day, that is, 19 May 1973, the Mother gave Her last interview to Satprem. Today, we take the opportunity of sharing with you the last interview of the Mother.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Chairman,

Overman Foundation.

                                                    *

[Sujata gives Mother a pale yellow, slightly golden hibiscus with a red heart. Mother holds the flower without seeing it.]

The Mother: What is it?

Satprem: It’s “Ananda in the physical.”

The Mother: We badly need it!

Satprem: Yes, Mother!

The Mother: And you?

Satprem: I was thinking about something Sri Aurobindo wrote…. In “Savitri,” he clearly says, “Almighty powers are shut in Nature’s cells.”

The Mother: In… ?

Satprem: In Nature’s cells.

The Mother: Ohh! … Oh, that is interesting! Almighty powers.

                                                (silence)

The Mother: He doesn’t say anything else?

Satprem: No, not on that subject…. The consciousness of the cells seems to be awakened but not the power.

The Mother: You said the consciousness of the cells is … missing? No?

Satprem: No, the consciousness is there. The consciousness of the cells is awakened, but the power isn’t.

The Mother: Ah! … You said “awakened”?

Satprem: Yes, Mother. Because had the power been awakened, there wouldn’t be any weakness in your body.

The Mother: No.

Satprem: But it is there, Sri Aurobindo says it clearly: it is there, inside, within the very cells.

The Mother: Yes, there’s no need to seek elsewhere.

Satprem: But how to awaken it?

The Mother: Through faith, our faith. If one knows that and has trust…. But you see, my physical, my body is deteriorating very rapidly—what could stop it from deteriorating?

Satprem: Mother, I do not believe it is deterioration—it’s not. My feeling is that you are physically being led to a point of such complete powerlessness that the most complete Power will be forced to awaken….

The Mother: Ah! … you’re right.

Satprem: That Power will then be compelled to come out.

The Mother: Or else I could … I could leave this body, no?

Satprem: Ah, no, Mother! No, Mother, it must be done now.

                                                (silence)

Satprem: It must be done now…. You see, I am certain it’s not disintegration, not at all. It is not disintegration.

                                               (Mother nods approvingly)

Satprem: You know, I have always seen that the other pole springs up from the most extreme opposite. So the supreme Power must spring up from the sort of apparent powerlessness you are in. By no means is it a disintegration.

                                                 (long silence)

The Mother: What would you like now?

Satprem: To stay with you, Mother, naturally.

The Mother: Like this?

                                            (Mother takes Satprem’s hands)

Satprem: Yes, Mother.

                                             (Mother plunges in for about ten minutes)

The Mother: For me, you see, the question is food. More and more I find it impossible to eat. Can this body live without food?

Satprem: Mother, I truly believe that you are being led to the point where something else will be forced to manifest.

The Mother: I can’t hear.

Satprem: I think you are led to the point—the point of helplessness or powerlessness where something else will be forced to manifest.

The Mother: Ah…. Maybe.

Satprem: As long as that point … of impossibility has not been reached….

The Mother: Oh, it’s almost the point of impossibility.

Satprem: Yes, Mother, yes, that’s also what I feel. I feel you’re reaching that point, and something else is going to emerge.

                                                 (silence)

Satprem: It is not at all the end; quite the contrary, it will soon be the beginning.

The Mother: I was told that the beginning would take place when I am a hundred; but that’s a long way off!

Satprem: No, Mother, I don’t think it will take that long. I don’t think so. I really don’t think so. Another type of functioning is going to set in. But the end of the old has to be reached, and that end is the terrible part!

The Mother: Oh … I really don’t want to say. I don’t want to insist, but … truly…

Satprem: Yes, Mother. I understand, Mother, I understand, yes….

The Mother: The consciousness is clearer, stronger than it has ever been, and I look like an old….

Satprem: Yes, Mother, it’s “normal,” if I may say so. We’re going, you’re going to pass into something else, I sense it—it isn’t faith in me that speaks, it’s something else deep down, that understands.

                                                 (silence)

Satprem: I don’t speak out of “faith,” Mother; it’s really like something telling me: that’s the way.

The Mother: What time is it?

Satprem: Five to eleven…. Good-bye, Mother.

                                              *

 

The Mother’s Correspondence with Dilip Kumar Roy

Dear Friends,

Not many people are aware of the fact that the Mother had a unique bond of love and affection with Dilip Kumar Roy (1897-1980), one of Sri Aurobindo’s most favourite disciples. Sri Aurobindo is reported to have written the maximum number of letters to Dilip Kumar Roy. Even after Sri Aurobindo’s accident in November 1938 which resulted in the cessation of all correspondence between Him and His other disciples, the epistolary exchanges between Sri Aurobindo and Dilip Kumar went on till the end of 1950.

But not many people know that the Mother too had written numerous letters to Dilip Kumar. We take the opportunity of publishing a dozen of such letters written to Dilip Kumar Roy by the Mother.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Chairman,

Overman Foundation

                                                       *

                                                      (1)

‘For God’s sake come back to your common sense!

    I never said that I would see you no more. Sri Aurobindo asked you only to be a little patient, as for the “silent expressionless love” He is not conscious of having written to you anything of the kind.

   Now, about my “grudging” smile—I will tell you what I said to Sri Aurobindo when I met Him to-day at 1.30. Relating what happened in the morning at pranam, I told Him, concerning you: “There is a letter of Dilip to you and I do not know what he writes, but I can assure you that when he (Dilip) came to me this morning, I gave him a good, long blessing and my best smile.”

    You can understand that I felt somewhat astonished when I heard that my best smile was a grudging one. Are you quite sure that you did not look in your head at what you imagined would be, instead of looking at my face?…

    Your going away is quite out of question. I want you to remain here because I know that it is here—and here only—that you can and will be happy.

    Why do you ask for my love? Is it not long since you have it already?

                                                                    November 17, 1931.’

                                                     (2)

‘Dilip,

    Why do you speak of “the ultimate human disappearance of the Mother?” I have—I assure you—not the least intention of disappearing or vanishing, humanly or otherwise; and those who care to see me with their physical eyes can feel quite at ease on this point.

    If you permit, I would advise you never to listen to what sadhaks say—especially advanced sadhaks…’

                                                                    December 29, 1931.’

                                                     (3)

‘I have felt and been moved by the sincerity of your letter. Do not be too sorry. In a way what has happened was for the best since it has led you to take a firm and decisive resolution which must help you greatly to get rid of this trouble. Be sure of all the help I can give you.

    I will call you again as soon as this flood of departing people has diminished a little. Meanwhile, “bon courage!”

                                                                    August 18, 1932.’

                                                    (4)

‘You can be reassured—it is quite certain that Sri Aurobindo cannot make such a mistake! As he says that you are sure to succeed, it means that you will succeed and become quite a good yogi after all.

    Don’t let troubles and difficulties depress you. The greater the difficulties the greater the victory hereafter.

                                                                       November 1, 1932.’

                                                      (5)

‘I am very sorry you did not come yourself with the money, as I would have had an opportunity to tell and show you that your impression of this morning was mere imagination and a bad one too. I can assure you that I have been at pranam time exactly as I am every day, but I noticed sadness and unsatisfaction [sic] in your eyes, so it must be the very expression of your own eyes which you saw reflected in mine,—but it was not mine.

    You ought to drop altogether and once for all this idea that I get displeased—it sounds to me so strange! If I could get thus displeased in presence of the human weaknesses, I would certainly not be fit to do the work I am doing, and my coming upon earth would have no meaning.

    Do give up once for all this idea of defeat and this gloom which is so contrary to the inner truth of your being. I want you to pick yourself up and be perfectly cheerful and confident for your coming birthday.

    I hope to see you entirely yourself again this evening from the roof and to-morrow at pranam and to have a happy and intimate talk with you on Monday.

                                                                       January 14, 1933.’

                                                    (6)

‘Dilip, (I almost feel inclined to add: big child!)

 You are quite mistaken. I enjoyed your music very much; indeed it was quite beautiful. But as I am to see you tomorrow, I was keeping the subject for then—as I have some rather interesting details to give which, I think will please you, but would be somewhat too long to write. I can also explain better these things orally, give them with the voice a life that the pen can’t give. But I never expected that you would take such a short silence for a sign of indifference—as this was extremely far from my consciousness!

    Á demain donc, joyeusement [Tomorrow then, happily].

P.S. I leave to Sri Aurobindo to answer for himself—but meanwhile I can tell you that he praised your music very much.

                                                                     March 20, 1934.’

                                                    (7)

‘Why didn’t you come yourself with the money? I would have seen you for a few minutes and told you something interesting and helpful as an answer to your letter of this morning. For in speaking it would have been better than anything I could write. At pranam time I felt that you were still depressed and I thought that I would try to pour on you some of the Divine forces. I was looking at you for such a long time and it was Divine love that I was pouring on you with a strong will that you should become conscious of the Divine Presence in you and see all your sorrows turn into Ananda. I saw to my great joy that you were very receptive to all these Divine forces and absorbing them without resistance as they were pouring down! When I read your letter and saw that you thought you had received only some human kindness it struck me that it was only a misunderstanding of the mind, almost a question of vocabulary that was standing in the way, and if you could see this all or most of your doubts would disappear for ever and with them your painful difficulties. For what I was pouring in you was not merely human kindness—though surely it contained all that human kindness can be at its best—but Mahalakshmi’s love, Mahasaraswati’s care, Maheswari’s embracing and enveloping light. Do not think of Divine Love as something cold or impersonal or distantly high—it is something as warm and close and tender as any feeling can possibly be. It does not abolish whatever is pure and sweet in human love, but intensifies and sublimates it to its highest. It is this love that the Divine has to give and that you must open yourself to receive. I think if you realise this, it will be easier for you to pierce through the mental veil and receive what you are longing to receive.

                                                                     September 7, 1933.’

                                                     (8)

‘After reading your letter now, just a word to tell you that you are mistaken; I actually missed your presence at pranam and I am sorry you did not come. If you had listened inwardly you would have heard me calling you.

                                                                    April 17, 1935.’

                                                     (9)

‘I was with you in thought at the time of the music. I hope you are all right now as a beginning not of a few months but of many years of non-depression—depression of the consciousness is worse than dispersion of consciousness, so do be energetic to throw it away when it comes.

    Blessings.

                                                                     November 25, 1937.’

                                                    (10)

‘It was a very good prayer and I received it at the time, a good part of it in the very words you had used. I am also glad to know that you felt something of my answer; it shows that the inner connection is growing and that is a very encouraging sign.

     Blessings.

                                                                     November 26, 1937.’

                                                   (11)

‘All right—you can have the old Baron (I am glad he is here for a time) and also “le Directeur de l’Instruction Publique” and his wife.

    Blessings on you and the music!

                                                                      December 4, 1937.’

                                                   (12)

‘That is all right. I approve your answer about going in March. I hope that you will succeed in all the objects which you have enumerated—you will receive our full help for that.

    Indeed you have much progressed both as to grumbling and in other directions. Yes one does change and the complete change is sure.

    What you said to Sahana about N.’s death was quite the right thing.

    Our love and blessings.

                                                                   December 8, 1937.’

                                                       *

Photographs of the Mother’s early years

Dear Friends,

The late Pournaprema, the Mother’s youngest grand-daughter, whom we lovingly addressed as ‘Pourna-di’, has begun her book on the Mother titled A Unique Little Girl in the following words:

‘A unique little girl…

Do you understand what that means?

A unique little girl, is a little girl who is not ordinary.

I believe you know her… This is the little girl who is not ordinary.

This little girl is called Mirra—Mirra Alfassa.

That is to say, right from her birth, she was called Mirra Alfassa, and her initials were M  A, MA.

From the moment she was born she was called MA.

On her clothes, on her sheets, on her dresses, there was embroidered: MA’.

Today we take this opportunity of sharing with you some rare photographs of the Mother’s early years when She was known as Blanche Rachel Mirra Alfassa. These photographs were taken between 1883 and 1898.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Chairman,

Overman Foundation.

                                                          *

 

  

 

The Mother’s First Essay

Dear Friends,

February is the month in which, on the 21st, the Mother’s birthday is celebrated in the Aurobindonian community. To commemorate the said occasion, we would publish from this week onwards till the 28th of February a number of documents related to the Mother’s life and works every week as tributes. 

 Today we are starting our series of tributes to the Mother by publishing the first essay titled The Path of Later On which She had penned as a young girl of fifteen in 1893.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Chairman,

Overman Foundation.

                                                             *

                                     The Path of Later On

The path of later-on and the road of tomorrow lead only to the castle of nothing-at-all.”

By the wayside, many-coloured flowers delight the eye, red berries gleam on small trees with knotty branches, and in the distance a brilliant sun shines gold upon the ripe corn.

A young traveller is walking briskly along, happily breathing in the pure morning air; he seems joyful, without a care for the future. The way he is following comes to a cross-roads, where innumerable paths branch off in all directions.

Everywhere the young man can see criss-crossing foot-prints. The sun shines ever bright in the sky; the birds are singing in the trees; the day promises to be very beautiful. Without thinking, the traveller takes the path that is nearest to him, which seems, after all, quite practicable; it occurs to him for a moment that he could have chosen another way; but there will always be time to retrace his steps if the path he has taken leads nowhere. A voice seems to tell him, “Turn back, turn back, you are not on the right road.” But everything around him is charming and delightful. What should he do? He does not know. He goes on without taking any decision; he enjoys the pleasures of the moment. “In a little while,” he replies to the voice, “in a little while I shall think; I have plenty of time.” The wild grasses around him whisper in his ear, “Later.” Later, yes, later. Ah, how pleasant it is to breathe the scented breeze, while the sun warms the air with its fiery rays. Later, later. And the traveller walks on; the path widens. Voices are heard from afar, “Where are you going? Poor fool, don’t you see that you are heading for your ruin? You are young; come, come to us, to the beautiful, the good, the true; do not be misled by indolence and weakness; do not fall asleep in the present; come to the future.” “Later, later,” the traveller answers these unwelcome voices. The flowers smile at him and echo, “Later.” The path becomes wider and wider. The sun has reached its zenith; it is a glorious day. The path becomes a road.

The road is white and dusty, bordered with slender birch-trees; the soft purling of a little stream is heard; but in vain he looks in every direction, he can see no end to this interminable road.

The young man, feeling a secret unease, cries, “Where am I? Where am I going?…What does it matter? Why think, why act? Let us drift along on this endless road; let us walk on, I shall think tomorrow.”

The small trees have disappeared; oak-trees line the road; a gully runs on either side. The traveller feels no weariness; he is borne along as if in a delirium.

The gully becomes deeper; the oaks give way to fir-trees; the sun begins to go down. In a daze, the traveller looks all around him; he sees human figures rolling into the ravine, clutching at the fir-trees, the sheer rocks, the roots jutting from the ground. Some of them are making great efforts to climb out; but as they come near to the edge, they turn their heads and let themselves fall back.

Hollow voices cry out to the traveller, “Flee this place; go back to the cross-roads; there is still time.” The young man hesitates, then replies, “Tomorrow.” He covers his face with his hands so as not to see the bodies rolling into the ravine, and runs along the road, drawn on by an irresistible urge to go forward. He no longer wonders whether he will find a way out. With furrowed brow and clothes in disorder, he runs on in desperation. At last, thinking himself far away from the accursed place, he opens his eyes: there are no more fir-trees; all around are barren stones and grey dust. The sun has disappeared beyond the horizon; night is coming on. The road has lost itself in an endless desert. The desperate traveller, worn out by his long run, wants to stop; but he must walk on. All around him is ruin; he hears stifled cries; his feet stumble on skeletons. In the distance, the thick mist takes on terrifying shapes; black forms loom up; something huge and misshapen suggests itself. The traveller flies rather than walks towards the goal he senses and which seems to flee from him; wild cries direct his steps; he brushes against phantoms.

At last he sees before him a huge edifice, dark, desolate, gloomy, a castle to make one say with a shudder: “A haunted castle.”  But the young man pays no attention to the bleakness of the place; these great black walls make no impression on him; as he stands on the dusty ground, he hardly trembles at the sight of these formidable towers; he thinks only that the goal is reached, he forgets his weariness and discouragement. As he approaches the castle, he brushes against a wall, and the wall crumbles; instantly everything collapses around him; towers, battlements, walls have vanished, sinking into dust which is added to the dust already covering the ground.

Owls, crows and bats fly out in all directions, screeching and circling around the head of the poor traveller who, dazed, downcast, overwhelmed, stands rooted to the spot, unable to move; suddenly, horror of horrors, he sees rising up before him terrible phantoms who bear the names of Desolation, Despair, Disgust with life, and amidst the ruins he even glimpses Suicide, pallid and dismal above a bottomless gulf. All these malignant spirits surround him, clutch him, propel him towards the yawning chasm. The poor youth tries to resist this irresistible force, he wants to draw back, to flee, to tear himself away from all these invisible arms entwining and clasping him. But it is too late; he moves on towards the fatal abyss. He feels drawn, hypnotized by it. He calls out; no voice answers to his cries. He grasps at the phantoms, everything gives way beneath him. With haggard eyes he scans the void, he calls out, he implores; the macabre laughter of Evil rings out at last.

The traveller is at the edge of the gulf. All his efforts have been in vain. After a supreme struggle he falls…from his bed.

A young student had a long essay to prepare for the following morning. A little tired by his day’s work, he had said to himself as he arrived home, “I shall work later.” Soon afterwards he thought that if he went to bed early, he could get up early the next morning and quickly finish his task. “Let’s go to bed,” he said to himself, “I shall work better tomorrow; I shall sleep on it.” He did not know how truly he spoke. His sleep was troubled by the terrible nightmare we have described, and his fall awoke him with a start. Thinking over what he had dreamt, he exclaimed, “But it’s quite clear: the path is called the path of `later on’, the road is the road of `tomorrow’ and the great building the castle of `nothing at all’.” Elated at his cleverness, he set to work, vowing to himself that he would never put off until tomorrow what he could do today.

                                                          *