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(Sri Aurobindo:) “You know about the famous photograph of fairies by Conan Doyle. I don't know how it was done, because fairies don't lend themselves to photography.”[1]

(Mother to Satprem, 1958:) “The question remains: for those who have seen and to whom things have happened in this way (like the little child, for example, who was playing with fairies), is it that they enter into this consciousness and then remember when they leave it, or is it that this state really manifests here? For me, this is still a question.
         As this experience often happens to people with a simple heart and mind, quite possibly they don't realize that for a while they have lived in another consciousness and in another world and then have come back to an ordinary condition where they remember the other thing. For them, they do not see the difference.”[2]

(Amal Kiran:) “Not every non-evolutionary force from the occult planes is evil. One embodied typal being, who was neither Titan nor Giant nor Demon, came into touch with me from very nearly the beginning of my stay in the Ashram.
         It was a young French girl, the eldest child of a highly cultured lady who belonged to a one-time ruling family in Pondicherry but who became a disciple of the Mother although she was not technically an Ashramite. She had her own house in the town and lived there with her husband, three other daughters and a son. This lady was our tutor in French and sometimes when she could not teach us her eldest daughter took her place. This girl was seventeen at the time, a very clever person of marked talent and an extraordinary fascination, pretty in an unusual way which mostly affected one through her eyes. She had been regarded as dead at birth but seemed suddenly to come alive, a phenomenon characteristic of cases where a being of some other plane than the earth, most often the vital plane, takes hold of an infant body.
         The Mother, after seeing her as a young girl, confided to her parents that this child of theirs was not human but a spirit from the world of fairies who had wanted to come into contact with the Mother and so had entered a family which was likely to get associated with her. As normal with such entrants, this one had a tremendous fund of energy and a conquering drive of will, added to her sharp intelligence and charming personality. I was nearly ten years older than she and came to be trusted by her. All her difficulties she used to put before me and she was eager to learn whatever I had to teach her. When she became engaged to a tall Apollo of a Swede, she would invite me in the mornings to talk to her on Ibsen or Tolstoy or some other literary celebrity and she would in the evenings amaze more her fiancé with her versatile knowledge.
         Inhabiting a human body she could not escape altogether ‘the thousand natural shocks the flesh is heir to’ and, in spite of her brilliant gifts and natural force and spellbinding beauty, she suffered a good deal. Her marriage was on the rocks after ten years and fate separated her from all her three children. From Europe where she had made her life she returned to Pondicherry and spent her last years here, resuming her old friendship with me and her physical proximity to the Mother. These years were rather unhappy and troubled, but she never lost her energy and esprit. Every now and again one could feel something strange in her. Especially on certain evenings she would carry an atmosphere that appeared to be filled with unknown influences. My personal editorial office was a flat adjoining the one in which she and her old mother lived. So I had ample opportunity to observe her in all her moods.
         One evening she called me and said: “Amal, I feel that I shall die in a week.” I laughed off the idea and told her that she had to live for a decade after I was gone. “Please hold my hand for a while,” she begged. I did so and cracked some jokes and she was in a better humour when I left. Almost exactly after a week a servant of hers came to my room at about 8 p.m. to say that she was unwell. I left my typing and went to see her. She was in a doze. Knowing that she used to drink beer, I thought she had slightly overdone it and was asleep. I went back to my work. An hour later I was summoned once more. She was still unconscious but was now throwing up watery stuff at intervals. I sent for a doctor who had his residence opposite hers. He was out. I sent for her family doctor. He was not in Pondicherry. I sent to the hospital for a doctor. The reply came that nobody from there could come but an ambulance could be sent. The state of my friend was getting worse: there was breathing difficulty. I asked the ambulance to be sent. A minute before the vehicle stopped at the door my friend ceased to breathe. A few seconds later her heart failed. I did whatever I could to resuscitate her. All in vain. The ambulance men came in with a stretcher. They could give no help. I insisted that she be taken to the hospital. I accompanied her. It was nearly eleven at night. At the hospital I called the doctor in charge to come into the van and examine her. He tried all the possible tests and declared her stone dead. I took her back home.
         News was sent to a friend of the family, a Swiss sadhika named Padma. Early next morning she and I went up to see the Mother. I told the Mother the whole story and conveyed the message of my friend's mamma that she wanted her daughter's body to be taken care of by the Ashram and carried by the Ashram people in a coffin to the family's vault. Later in the day the Mother communicated to the shocked old lady that her daughter had returned to her own world and was having a rest which she had badly needed.
         Her younger sister – another beauty but with a physical appeal different from the strange ‘vital’ attraction of the dead woman – flew from France and made a fairly long stay in Pondicherry. A fortnight after her arrival, strange things began to happen in the house. Suddenly a gust of wind would be felt in a closed room or a light touch brush one's arm or an oil-lamp inexplicably go out and just as mysteriously re-kindle. The phenomena were reported to the Mother. She sent word that nobody should get perturbed, for the being that had left its human body was playing practical jokes and having a bit of fun at the expense of its erstwhile family.
         The family did not seem to miss their departed member much. She had not been very popular with most of them: she generally had the better of everybody with either her glamour or her brains. But the poor of her acquaintance felt a void in their hearts, for she had been a very sympathetic and generous person with them. She was also almost madly fond of children – any child, rich or poor, white or coloured, would be sure of being carried along in her arms and caressed and given sweets. Interestingly, these two traits go well with what popular tradition suggests by that term in common usage: ‘fairy godmother’.
         After my friend's death I would wait till a late hour night after night to glimpse an apparition of her. As she had been very close to me, I thought she might visit me. But I never saw her ‘ghost’. The strange memory of her, however, keeps her alive before my eyes: she was the most striking woman I have known because really she was no woman at all.”[3]

(Mother:) “Just as we have a physical body, so too we have other more subtle bodies with their own senses; these senses are much more refined and precise, much more powerful than our physical senses. But of course, as education does not usually deal with this domain, these senses are not normally developed and the worlds in which they function elude our ordinary knowledge. And yet children spontaneously live a great deal in this domain. They see all kinds of things that are as real for them as physical objects. When they speak about them, most often they are told that they are stupid or liars, because they mention phenomena of which others have no experience, but which for them are as true, as tangible, as real as what everyone can see. The dreams that children so often have either in sleep or while they are awake are extremely vivid and have a great importance in their lives. Only with intensive mental development do these capacities fade away in children and even sometimes disappear in the end. Yet there are people who have the good fortune to be born with spontaneously developed inner senses and nothing can prevent these senses from remaining awake and even developing. If these people, before it is too late, meet someone who has the knowledge and can help them in the methodical education of the subtle senses, they will become very interesting instruments of research and discovery in the occult worlds.”[4]

  1. Talks with Sri Aurobindo (Vol.2), p.578, 27 March 1940
  2. Mother's Agenda 1951-1960, Undated 1958
  3. Amal Kiran, Our Light and Delight: Recollections of Life with the Mother, p.167
  4. On Education, p.88

See also