Sri Aurobindo Ashram

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The Ashram is the cradle of a new world.jpg


(Jocelyn:) “I loved the Ashram, for me it was Shangri-la, all those beautiful people, you never heard a harsh word. Lovely. People handed flowers to one another, it was just an amazing place. I said: but how does one do this yoga? Some people write books, somebody teaches at the school, somebody works in the dining-hall, it doesn't matter and, you see, then it didn't matter, because you were all the same. Mother was something else, and we had all met Mother and we all knew that. It was clear. So you didn't feel that you were any better or any worse than anyone else particularly, because none of us were like her, nobody.”[1]


(Sahana:) “At that time [1929] we lived always in an atmosphere in which we felt as if life were an integral part of something which never allowed us to forget why we had come here. The taste, the touch it brought, opened as it were a new horizon, gave a new turn and changed our outlook on life. Everything was bathed in a new light. Life had awakened in a new dream, an inner springtide.”[2]


(Shri Poushpa Das, presenting at the UNESCO General Conference in 1966:) “The Mother animates this astonishing collectivity where ‘the multifarious play of life’ goes on alongside the most implacable renunciations, where people, carrying in their secret heart the nostalgia of that immutable serenity which shines on the faces of sages and happy souls, mingle in the atmosphere of intense work and joy.
         They are 1,200, coming from all the corners of the world: engineers, architects, foremen, doctors, advocates, accountants, teachers, artists, agriculturists, and simple folk – all of them exercise the same productive activity for the good of the community that they have joined, in the same way as they would for their own good in their ordinary social life. Thus they form a vast industrial and commercial collectivity with its stadium, swimming pool, hospital, play-ground, school, cinemas, foundries, its workshops for mechanical constructions and prefabricated concrete, its press, automobile workshop, bank, stores, dairy farms and poultry farms, etc...
         But each member of this collectivity observes the strictest mental and physical discipline and consecrates all the available time to physical development, to study, and to meditation. It is an endeavour, unique in the world, to reconcile the highest spiritual life with the exigencies of our industrial civilization. All the members of this Ashram lead at the same time a strictly normal external life, healthy and active, alongside an intense inner life.”[3]


(Shobha Mitra:) “Mother, can I ask you a question?

(Mother:) Yes, go ahead.

Mother, you will not get angry with me?

No, go ahead.

Mother, many people here act wrongly in so many ways, behave incorrectly. And this wrong behaviour goes on and on. I do not know if You tell them anything. But you surely know about it! When I act wrongly, I have to bear its dreadful consequences, as if I have done something hugely unjust. Why do I feel this way, Mother?
(Mother gazed at me in a very meaningful pensive way.)

I have created a little world here. In this world there is everything, good, bad, everything that you can find in the world outside. To those who have taken up this life of sadhana, these daily happenings are like a touchstone. Each one deals with these happenings in accordance with his capacity of sincerity or insincerity. The ones who keeping their sincerity totally, completely intact come out successful through this test, are the ones who turn into sterling gold.

(Taking my hands with exceeding tenderness into Hers and gazing at me intently, She spoke again:)

Shobha, my dear child, the Divine values your sincerity. That is why he sends into your life events in such a way that you are forced to be sincere. In every field of life, every activity, try to remember me. If you cannot remember me, then call me. Keep calling me and everything will fall into place.”[4]


(Janina, 1957:) “Now I want to tell how it is with this difference here – the substantial difference. When I was outside the Ashram I had faith – now I know. Every day the vibration from Mother's eyes enters my eyes when She gives darshan and it spreads all over the body. Now I understand that when one is outside one has no idea in a way of what is going on here. Yes, theoretically, one knows – but coming here proves that it is just a complete revolution. In my case it might be the decisive action as well of the psychic, but I feel as if I who have been walking on my feet, am now walking on my head. It is also a continuous hunger and thirst – although a hunger filled with peace – for this vibration. Do you feel what I want to say? In the morning I could fly and be there quicker and wait, but it has nothing to do with Her physical nearness – as some people here still do, just trying to see Her whenever they can. My life is completely changed, I am just possessed. But this cannot be expressed. I only know that it is a glory to be Her servant and instrument. Why am I writing about this difference? Because I know many questions we were asking ourselves outside. Now there is no use asking and answering questions. God came on earth and is living here in a human body. It is clear that I cannot yet grasp it, although I am here, but all eternity is before me.”[5]


(Janina, 1957:) “It is such a great happiness, such an unspeakable glory and at the same time just businesslike or like the working of a power station. Every morning during the Balcony Darshan we are filled with as much as each can bear of Force, Love, Light. It is quite clear that it is Her work on each individually – and, for the day, we are dismissed to do the work. It is like a conference of the manager-director (understand me well) with his workers.”[6]


(Janina, 1958:) “But one of the most wonderful things is the freedom I experience here. Each pure wave, each intention can be realised. There are infinite possibilities of creating. There is only one thing to do: to persevere – and to feel that all these waves and intentions, all this, is just She living in us and creating. Yesterday She gave me so much during Darshan that I live on it continuously. She wants to expand in me a universal wave, a universal vibration – and more, just with my soul; to give myself, not to think, not to want. I learned it today.”[7]


(Mother to Satprem, 1957:) “Generally speaking, my Force is constantly here at work, constantly changing the psychological elements of your being to put them into new relationships and to make clear to you the diverse facets of your nature so that you may see what must be changed, developed or eliminated.
         But besides all this, there is a special personal bond of affection between you and me, between all who have turned towards Sri Aurobindo's teaching and me – and of course, distance does not count; you may be in France, at the other end of the world, or in Pondicherry, but this bond remains just as real and as living. Each time there is a call, each time I need to know something to send out a force, an inspiration, a protection or whatever else, a sort of message suddenly comes to me, and I do what is needed. Obviously, these communications come to me at any moment whatsoever, and you may have seen me more than once suddenly stop in the middle of a sentence or some work: it means something, some communication is coming, so I concentrate.
         There is more than a bond with those whom I have accepted as disciples, those to whom I have said ‘yes’ – there is an emanation of myself. Whenever necessary, this emanation notifies me as to what is happening. In fact, I know constantly, but all these things are not registered in my active memory, otherwise I would be flooded – the physical consciousness acts as a filter: things are recorded on a subtle plane and remain there in the latent state, rather like music that is silently recorded, and when I need to know something with my physical consciousness, I plug into this subtle plane and the tape starts playing. Then I can see things, their evolution and the present result.
         And if, for some reason or other, you write asking for my help, and I answer, “I am with you,” this means that the communication with you becomes active, that you are even in my active consciousness for some time – the time needed.
         And this bond between you and me is never cut. There are people who left the Ashram a long time ago, in a state of revolt, and yet I continue to know them and to take care of them. You are never abandoned.
         In truth, I feel responsible for everyone, even for people I have met for only one second in my life.”[8]


(Mother to Satprem, 1960:) “Last night something happened to me that I found quite amusing. ... There I was, quite in my natural state, and this, the Ashram, was a tiny, tiny part of myself. ... What was me was up above, and the Ashram was ... It began just here (the navel) and went that way (downwards), and it was encircled, to show that it was a special formation – encircled in the inconscience of the terrestrial creation. And I was everything else, with the usual vibrations of power and light. And then one current and another current and another were passing into it, into this formation, and they kept going in and in and in, accumulating. They kept going in, and yet they did not come out, they did not leave. It was not an undulatory movement, but rather a pulsating movement – it had no beginning, it didn't go out, and yet it kept moving. It's very difficult to describe.
         ...Its form was elongated, slanting downwards (it always has this form). At the top it looked like a head, then the lines disappeared down below. It had no openings. And then, it was surrounded by various dark sheaths, a very dark purple which is the color of protection. A sparkling light was entering into it – it kept entering, but without making any holes. It passed right through everything, through the purple – through everything. It passed through and entered inside, where there were sparklings of every color, like a cascade. There are always these cascades of force – similar to a cascading stream whose waters neither flow on nor disappear, but accumulate: an accumulation of energies, a condensation. And they accumulate without taking up any more space through a kind of compression. And inside, it's moving, vibrating, vibrating, vibrating, it keeps coming and coming – you don't know where it comes from, but it keeps coming and accumulating.
         It was a force with a sparkling white light at its center, the light which is the force of the Divine Mother, and as soon as it was well packed and concentrated inside, or condensed, it took on all the colors – vibrations of every color ... Like a materialization – these colors were like a materialization of the Divine Force when it enters matter. (Just as matter is a condensation of energy, well, this seemed to be a condensation of Divine Force. That's really the impression it gave.)
         … So in my vision, my body was as big as the universe, and that (the Ashram) was so tiny, so tiny.”[9]


(Mother to Satprem, 1960:) “The idea is that the earth as a whole must be prepared in all its forms, including even those least ready for the transformation. There must be a symbolic representation of all the elements on earth upon which we can work to establish the link. The earth is a symbolic representation of the universe, and the group is a symbolic representation of the earth.”[10]


(Mother to Satprem, 1960:) “They assassinate me with their letters. ... We should not allow all this to upset us. There is but one thing to do – remain in a state of constant peace, constant equanimity, for things are not ... they are not very pleasant. Oh, if you only knew all the letters they write me ... if you knew, first of all, the tremendous pile of stupidities that need never be written at all; then, added to that, such a display of ignorance, egoism, bad will, total incomprehension and unequalled ingratitude, and all this ... so candid, my child! They heap all this on me daily, you know, and it comes from the most unexpected quarters.
         If this were to affect me (Mother laughs), I would long ago have been ... who knows where. I don't care at all, not at all, really not at all – it doesn't bother me, it makes me smile.”[11]


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  1. Turning Points: An inner story of the beginnings of Auroville, First Edition, p.10, “Come to India Now!”
  2. Sahana, At the Feet of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, translated from the original Bengali by Nirodaran, 1985, p.10
  3. =1 "UNESCO speech 1966"
  4. Shobha Mitra, Living in the Presence, p.203
  5. Janina Stroka, A Captive of Her Love, p.9
  6. Ibid., p.15
  7. Ibid., p.25
  8. Mother's Agenda 1951-1960, Undated 1957
  9. Ibid., 12 July 1960
  10. Ibid., 20 September 1960
  11. Ibid., 27 August 1960



See also

External links