The Coming of the New Force part 1 (Radio program)

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Transcript of:
The Coming of the New Force (part 1 of 2)
by Loretta, 2017 (1:13:12)
Listen on Auroville Radio →

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There is a new consciousness

Hello everyone. It's wonderful, wonderful to see all you guys here. So I welcome you to the first talk on Mother and Sri Aurobindo, “The Coming of the New Force”. We're all here because of that; we all came here to be in their presence. And they came here to bring their presence to us. A kind of a gift that you can't really say with words – but anyway, we try.

Throughout all of history, the goal of every spiritual seeker has quite simply been to have more consciousness. Whatever name they gave it, wherever they thought it was going to come, it was still just something that they wanted to feel – something higher, something deeper, something that made them feel better. And history shows that people did all kinds of things to get it. And people still do.

But until recently, it was a path of life that was traveled by a few people – relatively few people. Now it seems like there are seekers all over the place – every country, every kind of person, every walk of life. But what do Mother and Sri Aurobindo have to do with this? They lived and worked in the 1900s; it was an isolated place; there were very few people around them – what did their actions have to do with the same consciousness that's bringing people out from the woodwork all over the world, to try and get whatever this new consciousness is that makes us feel so much better?

But to really receive the answers, we have to be beyond the surface of the life that we usually live in. We have to be beyond the surface of the person that we are – the person that we've created to deal with the life that we usually live. And we have to be open to mystical things and magical things, and things that even we never thought could happen.

But our inner being is like this all the time. We don't usually live in our inner being; but I'm asking you to open the curtain that veils your inner being from your outer self. And allow your inner self to hear, for these two talks on Sri Aurobindo and Mother, and what they did, and how the new consciousness has come.

Stories are so miraculous... and we have to say that the consciousness is coming a lot now, it's doing it all the time – and it helps to know more about them. (Especially if you want the new consciousness, and I think everyone here is here for that. I can see it – I can see it in your eyes.)

So the new idea of the new consciousness isn't very new anymore. People are saying it all over the world. And they're also saying the word 'transformation'. A hundred years ago, the only people who said it were Mother and Sri Aurobindo. They worked all their lives to bring it. They taught about it; they gave it to people; they said why it came; they were very articulate. This isn't something mysterious. There's information everywhere – on every level of the subject that you can possibly want to know about.

Mother's childhood

Mother was conscious from her birth. And she was aware of the new consciousness from a very young age. She was born in Paris on February 21st, 1878. And she began to practice her own yoga when she was only four years old. In her room, in Paris, there was a little tiny armchair, just big enough for a little girl. And she would sit in that armchair for hours, in her own kind of meditation. And she said that she wanted to do this far more than she ever wanted to go out and play. And all during her childhood, she was conscious of a more-than-human force and light, which was above her head. And it would come down into her body; and she could feel it working there in a supernatural way.

She said that she was aware that this light and force was one with her own inner being. And she was aware that the light above her head was something that she wanted to unite her being with.[1]

In later years, people who met Mother could feel this light. They could feel this wonderful thing in her presence – they could almost see it. And as time went on, people could see it all over the Ashram. It came to be known as “Mother's light”.

And sometimes, people knew Mother's presence with them, just because of the light. Something so soft, and so tender, and so beautiful – you can't really express it. You can feel it a lot in the darshans – somehow it comes out very solidly and very strongly, in the darshans. But it does come to us all – it's just that we can't feel it. She is giving it. It's just that we have to somehow learn how to be quiet enough and open enough, and feel that it's there.

As Mother was growing up, she went into superconscious trance; and she showed superconscious brilliance. And her conscious nights were filled with supernatural experiences.

I'm going to read you a beautiful story that she wrote. It's in the book Mother's Prayers and Meditations:

“When I was a child of about thirteen, for nearly a year every night as soon as I had gone to bed it seemed to me that I went out of my body and rose straight up above the house, then above the city, very high above. Then I used to see myself clad in a magnificent golden robe, much longer than myself; and as I rose higher, the robe would stretch, spreading out in a circle around me to form a kind of immense roof over the city. Then I would see men, women, children, old men, the sick, the unfortunate coming out from every side; they would gather under the outspread robe, begging for help, telling of their miseries, their suffering, their hardships. In reply, the robe, supple and alive, would extend towards each one of them individually, and as soon as they had touched it, they were comforted or healed, and went back into their bodies happier and stronger than they had come out of them. Nothing seemed more beautiful to me, nothing could make me happier; and all the activities of the day seemed dull and colourless and without any real life, beside this activity of the night which was the true life for me.”[2]

During Mother's childhood years, she experienced the existence of God. And she also experienced the possibility of realizing God in life. And this became the basis of her work – her work to help others to have these same realizations. At the age of five, even before understanding the fullness and magnitude of what would be available to us, Mother created a system of rapid progress – a system of rapid realization for herself. At that early age, she understood that she had a divine center. And she knew that she had to consciously work to unify all the parts of her being around this divine center. And later this became a method for people to receive consciousness, and she gave it to people from all over the world.

Mother's relationship with Sri Aurobindo

Starting at the age of eleven, she had spiritual teachers at night; and she met many of them later on. She had a special relationship with one of them. She knew nothing about India – nothing at all. But she called him “Krishna”. And she remembers that she would prostrate herself at his feet, flat out on the ground, just as the people do in the traditional way here in India to respect their guru. She understood that one day they would work together, to bring the light and consciousness to others. And it was Sri Aurobindo whom she was speaking with; and when they first met, she recognized him. He was dressed the same way he'd been dressed when she saw him at night as a child.

Words of the Mother – I
“How I Became Conscious of My Mission”

Everything about this relationship between Mother and Sri Aurobindo has deep and beautiful cosmic meaning. Tomorrow we'll go into depth and height about this most beautiful of subjects. They both spoke and wrote about it often. And of the many gifts of themselves that they have given to us, perhaps this reality – this reality of who they are to each other, and how much they love each other, is the deepest and the most touching, and the most valuable gift that anyone could possibly receive.

Mother's love

As Mother grew up in her spiritual work, she realized that the new consciousness – the one that she was experiencing – would be the next step in human evolution. And she understood that it would come more quickly if we could work to receive it – if we could help it along in some way or another. And she knew that it would manifest on a very wide scale, and that eventually it would come everywhere and to everyone. This was more than a hundred years ago. And now, we experience it. We see it happening – we see the wave beginning to rise.

We can know Mother in the things that she writes about herself. Here's a beautiful prayer – here's a part of a beautiful prayer – that she wrote in 1914:

“To be the divine love, love powerful, infinite, unfathomable, in every activity, in all the worlds of being — it is for this I cry to Thee, O Lord. Let me be consumed with this love divine, love powerful, infinite, unfathomable, in every activity, in all the worlds of being! Transmute me into that burning brazier so that all the atmosphere of earth may be purified with its flame.
Oh, to be Thy Love infinitely. . . .”[3]

When you read Mother's book of Prayers and Meditations, you find that again and again she's taking the earth into her arms, and cradling it like a small child. And from time to time, she says that (in her later life) that she's holding the earth – holding the earth in her arms.

The Ashram atmosphere is still full of Mother's love. And full of Sri Aurobindo's love also. Today there are crowds, there's noise, all the sounds of modern life – but if you're quiet within, if you can be in your inner being, you are in the love – in the love that they created the Ashram with. The outer Ashram, and the 'inner Ashram'. Because there is an inner Ashram, and people speak of it.

I once talked with the trustee of the Ashram, and he spoke of it. That inner Ashram – where the people who have that real connection with Mother and Sri Aurobindo really are.

There's a museum in the Ashram, it's called ‘Sri Smrti’, Mother's museum. And you can go there – you can see Mother's things; you can see the things that she gave to people. And you can see cards that she wrote; and she wrote these cards to the ashramites and she would write, “To my dear little child”, or “my sweet child”, and she would sign her notes: “With all my tenderness”, “With my tenderest love”, “My love is with you”, or “My eternal love”.

She loved material things; she once wrote a beautiful note thanking all the little objects and things that had served her daily life. And she prayed that others would love and appreciate and care for them the way she did.

You can feel this love in Auroville, here. From the beginning, you could feel it – from the very first days. It rises out of the earth. It's always rising out of the earth. And for me, it's Sri Aurobindo's love, somehow, rising out of the earth. And you can feel love also in the air all around us. And again it's the same thing that we have to do: we have to be beyond the outer life, and we have to be in our inner being.

In Sri Aurobindo's epic poem Savitri, he wrote about Mother when he was writing about Savitri. He said:

Love in her was wider than the universe,
The whole world could take refuge in her single heart.[4]

And we're going to see that Sri Aurobindo had the same heart.

Mother said, “Once I see someone, I am responsible for their whole life.” And she spoke about her work in her subtle body, and she said:

“I go in my subtle body in various ways, to people and all kinds of places. I fondle and embrace people. And what they feel of my presence is perfectly right. They must concentrate in their hearts and find me there, for I am always there.”

Mother did not sleep at night. As a child, she didn't really sleep at night – she had conscious nights. And she said:

“I take rest for only two hours. Then I go out of my body and I go to everyone and everywhere.”

In the earliest days of Auroville, in 1968, Mother told Shanti (Shanti was the new principal of the brand-new Aspiration School)[5], “I can't see you daily, to fix the problems of the school. I'm too busy these days. So I go out to see people in my subtle body at 2 a.m. When you have questions to ask me, keep your question in your mind. And when you go to sleep, you will wake up in the morning with the answer.”

I first learned about this in 2005 – I read about it for the first time. I saw Mother in March of 1972 for the first time, in her room in the Ashram. And the next day, lo and behold, she put me in Auroville. I was in the Matrimandir workers' camp. I had come to the Ashram to see Mother; and I had come with an inner picture of her. I saw myself sitting at the feet of a beautiful, gracious lady, slender and lovely, in a beautiful, long, flowing white dress. And when I first met her in her room, she did not look like my inner picture at all. But the next day, I was in Auroville, in my new room at the Matrimandir workers' camp; and that night at 2 a.m., I woke up. And I found that I had been talking with someone. And that someone was a beautiful, slender, graceful lady in a long, flowing white dress.

And there was Mother. She was asking me questions: “How are you?”, “Do you like your room?”, “Are you comfortable?”, “Are you happy?”, “Do you have everything that you need?” And I could feel that Mother loved me more than anyone in the world had ever loved me in my whole life.

Later, I told someone else about how I saw Mother inside. And they said that inside, they saw Mother in exactly the same way.

The Supramental Truth

Mother speaks about an experience that she had – an experience of love. It was on April 13th, 1962:

      “Suddenly in the night I woke up with the full awareness of what we could call the Yoga of the world. The Supreme Love was manifesting through big pulsations, and each pulsation was bringing the world further in its manifestation. It was the formidable pulsations of the eternal, stupendous Love, only Love: each pulsation of the Love was carrying the universe further in its manifestation.
      And the certitude that what is to be done is done and the Supramental Manifestation is realized.
      Everything was Personal, nothing was individual.
      This was going on and on and on and on....
      The certitude that what is to be done is DONE.
      All the results of the Falsehood had disappeared: Death was an illusion, Sickness was an illusion, Ignorance was an illusion – something that had no reality, no existence.... Only Love, and Love, and Love, and Love – immense, formidable, stupendous, carrying everything.
      And how, how to express in the world? It was like an impossibility, because of the contradiction.... But then it came: “You have accepted that this world should know the Supramental Truth ... and it will be expressed totally, integrally.” Yes, yes....
      And the thing is DONE.”[6]

Mother said it was Sri Aurobindo's voice that she heard. She told many of her experiences to a French disciple, and she spoke in French. He recorded them; and he later published them in a series of thirteen books, called the Mother's Agenda. Usually Mother spoke to him in French – but not this time. She told this story in English, as though Sri Aurobindo was also telling the story.

And I'm sure that everyone here, whether you've been here for a long time, or whether you're just visiting, knows the word 'supramental'. And of course at least you have heard that Sri Aurobindo and Mother call the new consciousness the 'supramental consciousness'. Sri Aurobindo made this word up, in the early 1900s. He made it up to describe the substance and the function of the new consciousness. Having this consciousness is the next evolutionary step, for all of us.

Man is the most high-up developed being on earth. It's because he has a mental consciousness. We have a functioning mind, and our mind is potentially capable of receiving mental forces from many, many planes. We are the ones who can understand and think about what is going on. And therefore we can willingly and consciously cooperate with the new force. We can cooperate with our own change and our own transformation, if we want to do it.

But to be able to fully receive the new supramental consciousness, we're going to have to become beings which have capacities beyond this mind. And when we do, Sri Aurobindo says that the mind itself will also progress – it will go into a better development than it has already.

A simple definition of the supramental consciousness is that when we have it, we are conscious of everything – absolutely everything – at the same time. And we live everything as the unity of oneness and harmony of love. All differences are reconciled. Everything is a wholeness – there are no dualities anymore.

And so far, the universe that we live in is made up of dualities; but in that consciousness, they're no longer dualities. They're all still here, but they're not dualities anymore.

Our mind can't ever do that. The way our mind is made, it's made to receive information, and to divide it up into small pieces that it can work with. And the mind has to believe that the thing that it's worked with is everything – the whole. Even though five minutes later, it has a whole new one that is still the whole. There's nothing in our mind – no function – that can receive and see the whole totality of things, all at once. But there is a consciousness that is that (is that, and does that): the supramental consciousness. And that's where we're going.

And now because of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, it is more available. Man has got to change completely. Even this physical body. And this is what Mother and Sri Aurobindo call 'transformation'.

Well, do you think we can transform ourselves (!) into a totally new kind of being, with a totally new kind of consciousness? We haven't got the first clue! We have no idea what it is. There's nothing we've experienced that can relate to it, anyway. And Sri Aurobindo and the Mother teach that it is the new force itself that has the power and the capacity to do it. And if we let it, it will do all the work in us.

It makes sense – because this consciousness has everything; it contains everything; it has all capacities. It's all-powerful.

But this job that we have to do to receive it – as I'm sure many of you have already experienced – is extremely difficult, because of the enormous amount of work, the depth, the subtlety, the amount of the change. So the only thing we can do is to call on Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Because they brought the Force, they are the Force, they're here to help us. That's what they came for.

Mother and Sri Aurobindo are still here

It does not have to be Mother and Sri Aurobindo that a person calls. But we're going to see that in some mysterious, mystical way, it's always Mother and Sri Aurobindo who bring the force – even though a person doesn't know it, and doesn't have to know it.

But we're very fortunate. We're very fortunate, because we know it. And we know them. And we know we have access to all their work, all their teachings. We know we have access to their consciousness; and we know that they're here and they're working.

But – how do we know that they're still here? How do we know that they're still working? I mean, they're not in the body anymore. I mean I realize that so many of you here have a personal relationship with them – but for people who don't, it's a question: how do you know that they're still here?

They were fully realized, conscious beings. They were conscious of everything; they were conscious in everything. So, when the physical body drops away – because it can't function anymore, and consciousness can no longer express itself through a limited physical instrument – where is the consciousness going to go? It can't go anywhere, because it's everywhere (!). So it's still here.

And like many of you, most of the people I know have this contact, and experience Mother and Sri Aurobindo. And that's not only here – it's also outside. And Mother and Sri Aurobindo always said that they were working with people outside, all over the world.

People love the stories about the yogis in the Himalayas, the great masters in all cultures, the ones who have highly developed consciousness and special powers, the ones with universalized consciousness that work inside themselves and help the earth and its progress. We've never gotten to see them (at least I never have, I don't know about you guys!). But we know Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and we have our contact with them.

Sri Aurobindo's early life

Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta, on the 15th of August of 1872. He was educated in England from age 12 to age 21. People say as a young person he was exceptional in every way.

At age 16, he was such a great being already – he had such a large heart – that he decided that he was going to liberate his country: he was going to liberate India. And he was a major force in the liberation of India.

In his last months in England, in 1883, at the age of 21, Sri Aurobindo read an English translation of the Upanishads. He read about the Atman – the soul in all creation. And he knew then that this is the true thing to realize in life.

Then he came home to India. As soon as he got off the boat to the Bombay harbour, and his feet touched the earth of India, a great calm descended on him. And he started to have powerful experiences – spiritual realizations. And within six months he was fully involved in working for India's freedom from the British. At one time, when all of the other great leaders were either in jail or in hiding, or in exile, it was Sri Aurobindo who single-handedly led the whole liberation movement all by himself.

Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest
“A General Note on Sri Aurobindo's Political Life”

Autobiographical Notes - A General Note on Sri Aurobindos Political Life.jpg
PDF (20 pages)

He was a great writer – a great writer. He was a great poet. He wrote some of the most beautiful love poetry that you will ever read. He was a top classical scholar at Cambridge University. And he knew many languages. His writings reached all over India and turned the mind of India to freedom, to wanting freedom. What he wrote inflamed the heart of India to take action to gain freedom from the British.

He gave public speeches to thousands of people – thousands and thousands of people. He spoke simply, quietly, and people say that when he spoke, there was absolute quiet: nobody said a word. He was respected and revered like a god. But he simply went on working for India.

Bande Mataram
“Our Work in the Future”
(Speech delivered at the Venkatesh Theatre, Nagpur, on 31 January 1908.)

Bande Mataram - Our Work in the Future.jpg
PDF (6 pages)

He gave his whole life to India's freedom. But a new path made its way into his life. He turned from liberating India to liberating all of mankind from ignorance. Now Sri Aurobindo's spiritual writings changed the mind and inflamed the heart of people all over the world, to fight a very different kind of battle, and to work for a very different kind of freedom: the freedom that comes from complete spiritual realization.

Sri Aurobindo's taking up spiritual work

By 1905, Sri Aurobindo had taught himself Sanskrit, and he was reading and translating the ancient Indian teachings. His writings brought the Indian mind and the Indian heart to these realizations. And the Indian mind and the Indian heart spread this information; and now the mind and heart of the whole world is coming to a true understanding of these scriptures – and understanding which had either been lost, or hidden, or was not fully realized. Doing this work was part of his own yoga, and he fully committed himself to following the ancient Hindu dharma path to realize the supreme Divine in his own mind and body.

In 1907, when he was involved in the freedom movement, he met a yogi who gave him a simple method to quieten his mind. And Sri Aurobindo quietened his mind in one day. Most yogis achieve this only after years and years of really hard work. Eventually this quiet mind brought him full cosmic consciousness. And because Sri Aurobindo was a great writer, we get to read all about it.

He wrote about it in detail in his letters to people; and he wrote about it in detail in Savitri, where we can receive it in a mystical way.

And when his mind became quiet, Sri Aurobindo started to follow his inner guidance. At one point he was told to stop his revolutionary work, to leave it, to go into only yogic work. But he didn't do it – he was too attached to India's freedom, and he kept on. Years later he said that because he refused to listen to this divine command, the Divine put him in jail for a year (!), and forced him to give up revolutionary work, and devote himself to spiritual yoga instead.

He was arrested by the British on May 1st of 1909, and he was put in jail on May 5th of 1909. He stayed there for exactly one year, and was released on May 6th of 1910. He had a trial which fully acquitted him of all the charges against him.

And while he was in jail, his inner voice was guiding him. He had a year of serious, full-time spiritual effort; and he had powerful experiences, tremendous realizations. And it was in jail that he attained full cosmic consciousness.

He was visited by spiritual teachers on the inner planes, just as Mother had been when she was a child. Swami Vivekananda had died in 1902 – six years before. And Sri Aurobindo said that his spirit came to him in the Alipore Jail, and it wouldn't leave until it had meticulously and carefully taught him about other planes of consciousness – including the final region of Truth-consciousness, something that Sri Aurobindo eventually called the 'Supermind'.

When he was released from jail (he was pretty stubborn), he didn't go into spiritual life – he went back to revolutionary life. But it was not for long. Many high British authorities considered Sri Aurobindo to be the most dangerous man in India. And so the British issued another warrant for his arrest. And he had to escape under cover. And if you get the chance to read that story, it's one of the most dramatic stories that you will ever read. You sit on the edge of your chair – you can't wait to find out what happens next!

But he was guided by his inner voice, and eventually he came to Pondicherry. Pondy was a French territory in those days, and the British couldn't touch him. He stayed in Pondicherry for the rest of his life, doing his own yoga, working with Mother to bring the new consciousness into earth.

He retired to his room in 1926. He retired because he knew that he had to work within himself, and he could bring the new consciousness better if he was in his room working on it.

But he never stopped taking care of the people in the Ashram. He never stopped taking care of the whole world.


Sri Aurobindo wrote his epic poem, Savitri, for decades. It's over 700 pages long. He put all of his other writings into Savitri, into his mystic poetry. And he put all of his experiences and realizations in it. And he put all of Mother's experiences and realizations in it. And he never stopped writing Savitri – it was never finished. As he went on having new experiences, new realizations, he revised Savitri – so that everything, everything that he had, up to the last moment, could be put in that book.

He wrote about love. He was such a heart of love – such a great heart. He wrote about cosmic love, he wrote about divine love, he wrote about human love – all through Savitri, again and again. And he writes about himself in Savitri. Sri Aurobindo is the great yogi king, Aswapati – the yogi king who does his own yoga to prepare himself; and then he does the yoga for the world.

Here are some things that he wrote about himself:

A power was in him from the Unknowable. [7]
His days were a long growth to the Supreme. [8]
The Supreme’s gaze looked out through human eyes
And saw all things and creatures as itself
And knew all thought and word as its own voice. [9]
He knew the source from which his spirit came:
He plunged his roots into the Infinite,
He based his life upon eternity. [10]
Apart he lived in his mind’s solitude,
A demigod shaping the lives of men:
One soul’s ambition lifted up the race [11]
His walk through Time outstripped the human stride.
Lonely his days and splendid like the sun’s. [12]
He was a vast that soon became a Sun. [13]
He thought and felt in all, his gaze had power. [14]

The Force

We have many marvelous letters that he wrote to ashramites about 'sending them Force' – sending them his spiritual help and his power. And all of this kind of thing was no secret in the Ashram; Mother and Sri Aurobindo wanted everyone to become totally conscious on every plane of their being. And they taught and spoke in a casual way; they wrote about them on a daily basis; they spoke of many things which people call 'occult'. But 'occult' only means 'hidden' – hidden away. And Mother and Sri Aurobindo said that everyone should develop all their capacities, all their powers. The ones we know about, the ones that we're working on, and the ones that are still hidden inside us.

They were constantly using their own developed powers to help people all over the world. We have many stories from ashramites about things they did for them.

Action in the Second World War

And it was well-known in the Ashram that all during World War II, Mother and Sri Aurobindo used their occult power to keep Hitler from winning the war. They spoke about the occult forces which moved Hitler: they knew what they were; they freely told about what they were; and they said that if Hitler had been successful, it would set the progress of the whole world back hundreds and hundreds of years.

Mother called the Second World War, 'her war'; Sri Aurobindo called the Second World War, 'Mother's war'. Both of them worked.

Sri Aurobindo said that if Hitler had invaded England after the collapse of France, he could have been invading Asia by 1941. But he said 'another force was set against him'. (He doesn't say what is the 'other force', but I'm sure that some of it at least was Mother and Sri Aurobindo.)

In 1940, Hitler declared publicly that he would win the war before the 15th of August (!). Now, August 15th is Sri Aurobindo's birthday. And on August 15th, Mother and Sri Aurobindo gave darshan. The whole Ashram would come before them to receive the power and the force and the realizations that Mother and Sri Aurobindo had had since the last time that they gave darshan.

On August 15th, 1940, the radio news at noon said that 144 German airplanes had been brought down over England in half a day. Sri Aurobindo said that darshan days are days of great descent of spiritual force. And one month later, on September 15th, Sri Aurobindo said, “England has destroyed 175 German planes – a very big number. Now invasion of England will be difficult.” And Germany never was able to invade England.

Mother and Sri Aurobindo worked to guide and help Winston Churchill, England's Prime Minister during the war. Here's a passage from Churchill's speech to the House of Commons on October 13th of 1942:

“I sometimes have the feeling – in fact, I have it very strongly – a feeling of interference. I want to stress that I have a feeling sometimes that some guiding hand has interfered. I have the feeling that we have a guardian so long as we serve that great cause faithfully. And what a cause it is!”

Sri Aurobindo and Mother were in battle not only with the higher-ups – the people who had influence on a wide scale – but also with the foot-soldiers: the people, the men, who were fighting the war in the dirt, in the trenches on the battlefields.

John Kelly

People who were in Auroville in the early days knew John Kelly, the American fireman. John Kelly was one of the men who was helped by Sri Aurobindo during the Second World War. He was an 18-year-old American soldier, fighting in the trenches. He saw Sri Aurobindo, and he called him 'Great Sir'. And he saw Mother, and he called Mother 'The Heaven Lady'.

Auroville library:
Great Sir and the Heaven Lady
by Maggi Lidchi-Grassi
  Great Sir and the Heaven Lady cover.jpg

Sri Aurobindo would appear to John Kelly in the thick of the fighting, in the heat of the battle, and he'd say things like, “Get away from there!” Or he would come and he would say, “Move on – this wall is going to fall.” Or he would say, “There will be shelling there.” Or, “Go out through the door on your right.” Once, he told John Kelly to go out in the battle, with all the shelling – to go out and draw the enemy fire. And John Kelly said he did not want to do that (!), he was afraid that he'd be shot. But he had enough faith in Great Sir that he went out and drew the enemy fire; and he was not harmed at all.

He said that he saw Sri Aurobindo in exactly the way he looked in the Ashram in the 1940s: with a white beard and long white hair. And he saw Mother exactly the same way: just as she looked in the 1940s.

Once, when the shooting had stopped, John and his men were out on the field, and they saw a boxcar standing there. They wanted to know what was in this big boxcar, but the gate was locked – there was a big door in front. And John drew his gun to shoot the lock off the door. He had his hand on the trigger, ready to pull it, when all of a sudden Sri Aurobindo appeared shouting, “Don't shoot!” And John said that he was so into shooting his gun into this door that Sri Aurobindo had to shout louder and louder, “Don't shoot! Don't shoot! Don't shoot!”, three times, before he was able to just let that force go out of him and not pull the trigger.

And it was a lucky thing that John didn't shoot his gun; because when they went around to the back of the boxcar, they found that the back was open – they could see what was inside, and the whole boxcar was full of bombs. If John had shot that gun, every one of those bombs would have exploded, and every one of the people would have been instantly killed – there would have been mass destruction.

After John Kelly returned to New York, he had a dream in which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother came to talk to him. And he asked Sri Aurobindo, “What is your name?” And Sri Aurobindo said, “Oro bendo” (that's all that John Kelly heard: Oro bendo). And he asked Sri Aurobindo where he was; and Sri Aurobindo said, “India”.

John finally came here in 1966; and he had Mother's darshan for the first time on his birthday, in 1966. He lived in Auroville until he left his body, in 1985.

I knew John Kelly. I've always remembered him. He was a big man, with fair hair; he was very gentle. And he was tall, and he was stooped over – like he was always bending down to hear what the short people had to say to him. But he didn't say much; he was a very quiet man.

Matrimandir concretings

People in the Ashram would ask Mother to stop the rain, for a particular work, for construction work. And she would speak with the elemental beings who controlled the weather – particularly the rain – and the weather would remain fine until the work was done.

People who worked in the Matrimandir in the days when the four pillars were first being built remember 'concretings' – this marvelous experience where we had to concrete all night long, because we had to have a complete pour to get enough concrete into one full section of the pillar that had been made ready for it. People came from all over the Ashram, all over Auroville, who worked together all night long. It was a marvelous experience. And each time, word went up to Mother, and Mother was asked, 'Please, please make sure that the weather holds good for the concreting'. And the weather stayed dry. It stayed dry especially in the monsoon season, when we really had to have no rain.

And I remember that when the rain was kept back, once the wait was finished, it seemed like the rain came down fiercely – much stronger than it would have been, as if the forces which should have brought the rain in the first place had grown stronger while they were waiting.


This is actually just a small part of all these wonderful stories – all this history that we can know about Mother and Sri Aurobindo. But with this, somehow we can understand what great beings came here to bring this new force. But we will go more into it tomorrow.

You can say that this isn't really the end of the talk – it's just a pause in the conversation.

Questions and comments

So now, I'd love to answer questions. If anybody has any questions, please ask them.

Sri Aurobindo communicating with Vivekananda in Alipur Jail

(Marlyse:) You said that when Sri Aurobindo was in jail, the spirit of Vivekananda came and taught him about all the planes of being – in what book can I...? Did he write down about all this, afterwards?

Yeah, he did, of course – because otherwise we wouldn't know it.

It's in the book Letters on Himself and the Ashram, and also Tales of Prison Life.

Letters on Himself and the Ashram
“Experiences in Alipur Jail, 1908-1909”

Letters on Himself and the Ashram - Experiences in Alipur Jail 1908-1909.jpg
PDF (3 pages)

(Thanks. Thanks. Anyone who has anything to say – just speak up.)

The method given to Sri Aurobindo to quieten his mind

(Marlyse:) I have another one. You said he was taught a method to quieten his mind. What was this method?

The method? Okay! I'll be glad to tell you. The method was to just sit quietly, and to see the thoughts as they were coming in, and to throw them out again. That's all.

And reading his letters, he talks about doing it; and in Savitri, he gives the experiences he had of getting cosmic consciousness to Savitri. Because Savitri has to do a special yoga, 'cause she's got to face Death, when her husband dies. And at some point, she finds her soul (it's these beautiful stories) – and then she has to attain cosmic consciousness, because these are the two steps in Sri Aurobindo's Yoga. First the finding of the soul, and then the higher thing from above coming: the cosmic consciousness. And so...

And in the letters, and in Savitri, it's practically the same. He actually almost uses the same words.

Loretta reads Savitri, Book Seven, Canto VI:
“Nirvana and the Discovery of the
All-Negating Absolute” (part 2)

Loretta Savitri single icon.png
    Letters on Himself and the Ashram
    “The Realisation of January 1908”

Letters on Himself and the Ashram - The Realisation of January 1908.jpg
PDF (24 pages)

(“[By 1910] Sri Aurobindo had already realised in full two of the four great realisations on which his yoga and his spiritual philosophy are founded. The first he had gained while meditating with the Maharashtrian Yogi Vishnu Bhaskar Lele, at Baroda in January 1908; it was the realisation of the silent spaceless and timeless Brahman gained after a complete and abiding stillness of the whole consciousness and attended at first by an overwhelming feeling and perception of the total unreality of the world, though this feeling disappeared after his second realisation which was that of the cosmic consciousness and of the Divine as all beings and all that is, which happened in the Alipore jail and of which he has spoken in his speech at Uttarpara.”)[15]


(___:) Loretta, can you speak a little bit about receptivity?


One personal thing I can say about it, that I really love, is that people 'practice' it here. Especially old ashramites. If you ask them to open themselves and be receptive, you can feel them getting quiet and receptive. And I think like anything with Sri Aurobindo's Yoga, is first of all you want to do it. That's the first thing. 'I want to be receptive.' And then you just feel like you're receptive. You're just 'in receptivity'. You just kind of 'be' receptivity.

None of that's easy; the mind goes on cranking out stuff (!) – suddenly we're talking about what we're going to do tomorrow, we're talking to ourselves in our mind, we're talking to someone else in our mind – but you have to keep coming back to it. One of the things that Mother said is that no matter what we do, we have to do it thousands and thousands and thousands of times.

And if we want the fullest receptivity, maybe we decide ahead of time that it should be a receptivity to Them. Or we ask them for help. 'Mother, please help me to be receptive to you.' 'I open myself to you; please help me to be receptive.' And like everything else, it's a long practice. (Again and again, it drives you crazy! Because you do it, and then again, and again, and again...)

Words of the Mother – II
“Openness and Receptivity”

Words of the Mother II - Openness and Receptivity.jpg

Flower significances

(___:) In your movie about the message of the flowers, you mentioned that sometimes in the Ashram, questions would be asked with flowers, and answers would come up in the way of flowers. Is there any decoding thing... (laughter)... about it? Was there a specific meaning to each flower, that people would know – that she would know the question?

Yes, of course...

And where is that?

The meaning of the flowers. Okay. Well, it's all over the place (!). There's a website called ‘Blossom like a flower’. You just Google ‘blossom like a flower’; and there's a young Indian fellow – I think he's in Gujarat – who's put 900 flowers that Mother has named, with the name. And not only has she named it, but she said something about it. And so all that's on the website.

There's a really, really beautiful two-volume book the Ashram has published also, with photographs and messages; and there are smaller books – lots and lots of different ones.

Auroville Library:
The Spiritual Significance of Flowers
  The Spiritual Significance of Flowers cover.jpg

And I'll tell you a nice story about this. Because I have a friend in the Ashram that I always wanted to ask about stories. She runs Mother's museum and she's marvellous, because she will really tell all these stories. And she said that when they came before Mother in the morning darshan (Mother would give darshan every morning – all those lucky people! – she would sit in a chair, and she'd have a table in front of her with flowers). And people would come before her, and she would give them a flower. Now it used to be that people could go in front of Mother and they were alone with Mother. And they could ask questions. But here, everybody they knew, everybody they saw all day long, was sitting all around them listening (!). So what they would do is they would pick special flowers. And they would bring these flowers to Mother and they would give these flowers to Mother; and Mother knew that they were asking a question. And she would pick and choose among the flowers that were next to her, and she would give back special flowers with the answer.

Characters in Savitri

(Marlyse:) You said that in Savitri, Sri Aurobindo is King Aswapati.


And Mother – where is she?

Savitri. Mother is Savitri. ‘Aswapati’ in Sanskrit means ‘the Lord of the Horse’. And it also means tapasya – tapasya means ‘yogic work’. Tapasya means the heat of hard spiritual work. Someone who's really doing tapasya – sometimes you find people, they're all worn down and they're like dried out, pushing themselves really hard, doing this hard tapasya. And it's a concept that's well-known.

And so Aswapati, the Lord of the Horse, first what he does is his tapasya for his own development. And then when he gets his own development it's not enough. And he starts to do tapasya for the world.

And “The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds” (that's Book Two) – which is practically half of the whole book – is the book of his yoga and his experiences. And when he went into retirement in 1926, that Book didn't really exist. All of it came in those years, from ’26 to ’50. And he put in what he had done: his tapasya.

Loretta's meeting Mother

(Aryadeep:) How many times you met Mother?

Okay, the question was: how many times did I meet Mother.

I met Mother, in her room, I think it was four times. And I had Mother's darshan, her balcony darshan, I think it was three times.

And I imagine that the question includes a little bit of what it's like to meet Mother. And... I had no idea what I was seeing. I didn't have the understanding or the consciousness, or the development, to know who Mother was and Mother is. And I didn't know anything about the Yoga. But looking back, I realize that what I saw when I met Mother was a being that was made of light.

More and more, that memory, that experience, comes comes to me – she was just made of light. And she was incredibly beautiful. She was the youngest person I'd ever seen. When I first went into her room, the first meeting, and I had this picture of this beautiful lady, in this flowing white dress... and you come in the door and Mother is sitting in profile. And she's very tiny. Always, she was very small – very tiny. And as we know from her photographs, her head was bent way forward. And she looked very old.

And I was absolutely finished. My whole consciousness was absolutely finished. And I realize now that it's because of the Force. I was just struck like by lightning, by the tremendous force in Mother's room. And I suddenly didn't know what to do anymore. And I followed the people around the room, and I watched the people in front of me, so at least I could do what they were going to do – and I just didn't know. And I saw that they knelt down in front of Mother and they looked up into her face. So I knelt down in front of Mother, and I looked up into her face. And Mother was the youngest person I'd ever seen.

Her skin was like a newborn baby's skin – soft. And she had these blue eyes; she was just so beautiful. And she spoke to me in English (and how she knew I spoke English of course we have... we know, but I didn't know at the time). And she asked me something and her voice was very, very soft. And around Mother, Mother had these attendants in the back, and they tried to keep people moving – because nobody wanted to move! And they were dancing around, saying, 'do this', 'do that', 'put your head on Mother's lap', and all that.

And there was this light around Mother – I was fully conscious of that. There was this light around Mother. And if you'd asked me what it was, I would have said it was a light of consciousness. And if you'd asked me “What was the consciousness?”, I would have said, “I have no idea!” But I knew that.

And I'll tell you that when they told me to put my head on Mother's lap, I put my head on Mother's lap, and that was it. I wasn't ever going to give up. I was never going to take my head off Mother's lap. And that's what I thought. I said it to myself: “I'm never getting up. I don't care what they do! I'm never going to move again.” And nobody said anything, and nobody touched me; and some force pulled me back up off my feet – and I didn't even know I was doing it. And I was completely unconscious until I was all the way down one and a half flights of stairs (almost in the Meditation Room on the bottom). And then I knew where I was.

And each time I went there, it was really going into some other force, some other light. Some other consciousness. Something that wasn't anything – wasn't here, wasn't there... but it was. And it was absolutely wonderful.

Mother and Sri Aurobindo are present with us

(Mario:) Did you meet her after she passed away?

Oh... yes!

It's very interesting what you say, but we didn't have the chance. You met, I'm sure, many times after.

...Of course I did.

And I have to say this. People who come here, there's this thing – it's like, “oh, I wish I'd been here when Mother was here”, and “oh, I wish I'd met Mother”. But I did the same thing. I met Mother! And I was here, and was like, “oh, I wish I'd been here, I wish I'd been this, I wish I'd been that...” But Mother said – she said when she retired to her room, she told everyone, “I'm not among you anymore, I can't be with you – you must develop an inner relationship with me.”

And she also said, that was the right way to relate to her. Because if you counted on the outer person, you weren't going to get much. You were supposed to have the inner relationship with Mother.

And I spent all my time just thinking I had it! You know, talking to her, thinking about her, wanting things from her, complaining to her... all day and all the time. And sometimes I had experiences of meeting her. A couple of times I heard her voice physically; sometimes I was just surrounded in a light – that incredible white light. One or two times I saw her face.

But you know, I have to say that Sri Aurobindo started doing this a tremendous amount, after Auroville's 40th birthday. It happened to be at the time when they put up the statue of Sri Aurobindo in Savitri Bhavan, also. Sri Aurobindo somehow is – I don't know if it had anything to do with the statue, but I was working in Savitri Bhavan giving an exhibition at that time – and suddenly Sri Aurobindo was there. Mother was like a little bit back (for me, anyway). And he's more and more active. He guides... he's so beautiful, there's such a love. He's so together. He's so everything. And then there's Mother, this soft love, that's there also. And everybody has this experience.

I have one friend who was here, for instance – now she's gone, I think she had to leave – and she told me that she was here, she went back to Europe, and Mother said, “You have to come back to Auroville. I need you there.” And that was well after Mother had left the body.

Anything else?

Ok, see you tomorrow!

  1. Agenda, 25 July 1962
  2. Prayers and Meditations, p.81
  3. Prayers and Meditations, p.233
  4. Savitri, p.15, “The Issue”
  5. See "Memories of Aspiration School" by Shraddhavan
  6. Agenda, 13 April 1962
  7. Savitri, p.22, “The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Soul's Release”
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid., p.31
  10. Ibid., p.34
  11. Ibid., p.44
  12. Ibid., p.45
  13. Ibid., p.301, “The Kingdoms of the Greater Knowledge”
  14. Ibid.
  15. Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest, p.94