Maggi Lidchi-Grassi

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Maggi Lidchi reading the Auroville Charter in Spanish.jpg
"Portrait of a Loving Friend" by the Mother, 1897.
This portrait of Mme. Valentine is done on a small piece of ivory. The Mother presented it to Ms. Maggi Lidchi, in whom she recognized a reincarnation of her friend. Mme. Valentine, a close friend of the Mother's during her days in the art studio, died in childbirth just before the Mother's son, André, was born.

Collaboration, Fall 2013
“Weaving Miracles”
Collaboration 2013 - Weaving Miracles, Maggi Lidchi-Grassi.jpg
PDF (4 pages)

(Maggi Lidchi-Grassi:) “I was born in Paris. When I was 17 I found a French translation of Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita. I bought it not knowing why… something attracted me to it. I read the essays for two years. And I can say without undue modesty that I understood them not at all; but I was compelled to continue reading them. ...”[1]

(Maggi Lidchi-Grassi:) “I came to the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo, and something did happen…I knew I had done the right thing. But there were things in the Ashram — the Indian form of devotion — which I wasn’t prepared for; things which can be startling to the Western mind. I associated this with the Mother rather than Sri Aurobindo. I wasn’t too happy seeing photos of Mother’s feet stuck up everywhere. And when I was offered photos of Mother which had been blessed by her, something in me withdrew and I became upset. It seemed to me if the Ashram Sri Aurobindo had founded wasn’t working, where else in the world could one go?
         Someone who knew about this turmoil going on in my mind suggested I ask Mother for an Interview, she being entirely responsible for running the Ashram. Well, when I saw her, all reservations fled; in fact, when I looked into Mother’s eyes, everything resolved and tears began pouring down my cheeks. Nothing else mattered — nothing mattered at all. Then I realized something I had read in Sri Aurobindo’s books but had never taken in: her consciousness was the same as his, though it manifested differently. When I understood that, I didn’t mind what was going on in the Ashram — it was irrelevant to the fundamental thing I had come for.”[2]

“When I left you the other day I commented on the marked physical resemblance you have to Mother. Did she ever mention this?

(Maggi Lidchi-Grassi:) When I first came to the Ashram, Mother asked me where I was from. I told her I was born in Paris but I didn’t have any French blood as I was of Spanish Jewish descent, my father having been born in Turkey. She said, “Oh, Maggi, just like me!” Then I told her half my family were from Turkey, the other half from Egypt. She said again, “Oh, Maggi, just like me!” We went into whether we should speak together in English or French — she was also born in Paris. But when I told her I had learned my French from an English governess and that I spoke it with an English accent, she again burst out, “Oh, Maggi, just like me!” Well, I am telling you this, but it was one of those little things.

A final question. Could you say something about your writing? I was told your second novel is about to be published in London.

I write. Just novels… I’m working on the third now which Gollancz is interested in — they published the others. Obviously if you live in an Ashram for twenty years something of that life creeps into your writing. I enjoy writing enormously; I think it’s because the mind goes quiet. I’m lucky in that one is allowed to express this freely here.”[3]

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