The Mother’s Final Return to Pondicherry (HH 174)

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Tuesday-med

The 24th of April occupies a special place in the Ashram History. It was the day when the Mother returned back to Pondicherry for good; the day of Her final arrival which marked a new phase of Her Work with Sri Aurobindo for Earth and man. Historically also the 24th April is the day when queen Hatsheput (a previous incarnation of the Mother) had assumed powers in Egypt leading to revolutionary changes. It is also the day when the Greeks enter Troy leading to its downfall. Whether the Mother’s final coming is connected in any way with these events or not but it marked a definitive change in the rhythm and scope of the Ashram life. The Mother has noted that it ‘…was the tangible sign of the sure Victory over the adverse forces.’

This day is also one of the four Darshan days at the Ashram. Today we share some thoughts on some aspects of the Darshan day with the background of the Mother’s final arrival to Pondicherry.

Words of the Mother

(The Mother speaks about a book She hopes would come out some day on Sri Aurobindo) My book, of course, would be: What I have known of Sri Aurobindo – and on his supreme level. What I have known of Sri Aurobindo is … what I have been able to perceive of the Avatar. What he represents. That’s how I see him. So, what I have known of Sri Aurobindo, expressed ‘spontaneously,’ with a minimum of external events, the very minimum, but with all the experiences of our meetings: at that time, this opened that; at that moment, I realized this or saw that or felt something else … ; and then I was able to do such and such – and all of it was Sri Aurobindo.

I know it would create a furore if I wrote this book! Because any fool could read it like a story and feel perfectly satisfied – and he wouldn’t even notice it taking hold of him inside and changing him…..

….For example, the importance of the departure: how he was present the whole time I was away; how he guided my entire life in Japan; how…. Of course, it would be seen in the mirror of my own experience, but it would be Sri Aurobindo – not me, not my reactions: him; but through my experience because that’s all I can speak of.

There would be interesting things even for….

But I have two very serious objections. One, it would be a major occult revelation (there would be a lot of occultism – what people term ‘miracles’ or things of that nature), a major revelation. I hesitate to do that because I don’t think it’s time yet. Mainly that. And then, in spite of everything, it would inevitably be far too personal, even if it weren’t written along personal lines – far too personal. And now isn’t the time for that…..

….Here, just to give you an example: when I first began to work (not with Theon personally but with an acquaintance of his in France, a boy who was a friend of my brother), well, I had a series of visions (I knew nothing about India, mind you, nothing, just as most Europeans know nothing about it: ‘a country full of people with certain customs and religions, a confused and hazy history, where a lot of “extraordinary things” are said to have happened.’ I knew nothing.) Well, in several of these visions I saw Sri Aurobindo just as he looked physically, but glorified; that is, the same man I would see on my first visit, almost thin, with that golden-bronze hue and rather sharp profile, an unruly beard and long hair, dressed in a dhoti with one end of it thrown over his shoulder, arms and chest bare, and bare feet. At the time I thought it was ‘vision attire’! I mean I really knew nothing about India; I had never seen Indians dressed in the Indian way.
Well, I saw him. I experienced what were at once symbolic visions and spiritual FACTS: absolutely decisive spiritual experiences and facts of meeting and having a united perception of the Work to be accomplished. And in these visions I did something I had never done physically: I prostrated before him in the Hindu manner. All this without any comprehension in the little brain (I mean I really didn’t know what I was doing or how I was doing it – nothing at all). I did it, and at the same time the outer being was asking, ‘What is all this?!’

I wrote the vision down (or perhaps that was later on) but I never spoke of it to anyone (one doesn’t talk about such things, naturally). But my impression was that it was premonitory, that one day something like it would happen. And it remained in the background of the consciousness, not active, but constantly present.

As for Theon, he was European and wore a long purple robe that wasn’t at all like the one in my vision….. When I saw him I recognized him as a being of great power. And he bore a certain likeness to Sri Aurobindo: Theon was about the same size (not a tall man, of medium height) and thin, slim, with quite a similar profile. But when I met Theon I saw (or rather I felt) that he was not the man I saw in my vision because … he didn’t have that vibration. Yet it was he who first taught me things, and I went and worked at Tlemcen for two years in a row. But this other thing was always there in the background of the consciousness…..

I came here…. But something in me wanted to meet Sri Aurobindo all alone the first time. He was living in the house that’s now part of the second dormitory, the old Guest House. I climbed up the stairway and he was standing there, waiting for me at the top of the stairs…. EXACTLY my vision! Dressed the same way, in the same position, in profile, his head held high. He turned his head towards me … and I saw in his eyes that it was He. The two things clicked (gesture of instantaneous shock), the inner experience immediately became one with the outer experience and there was a fusion – the decisive shock.

But this was merely the beginning of my vision. Only after a series of experiences – a ten months’ sojourn in Pondicherry, five years of separation, then the return to Pondicherry and the meeting in the same house and in the same way – did the END of the vision occur…. I was standing just beside him. My head wasn’t exactly on his shoulder, but where his shoulder was (I don’t know how to explain it – physically there was hardly any contact). We were standing side by side like that, gazing out through the open window, and then TOGETHER, at exactly the same moment, we felt, ‘Now the Realization will be accomplished.’ That the seal was set and the Realization would be accomplished. I felt the Thing descending massively within me, with the same certainty I had felt in my vision. From that moment on there was nothing to say – no words, nothing. We knew it was THAT.

But between these two meetings he participated in a whole series of experiences, experiences of gradually growing awareness. This is partly noted in Prayers and Meditations (I have cut out all the personal segments). But there was one experience I didn’t speak of there (that is, I didn’t describe it, I put only the conclusion) – the experience where I say ‘Since the man refused I was offering participation in the universal work and the new creation and the man didn’t want it, he refused, and so I now offer it to God ….

I don’t know, I’m putting it poorly, but this experience was concrete to the point of being physical. It happened in a Japanese country-house where we were living, near a lake. There was a whole series of circumstances, events, all kinds of things – a long, long story, like a novel. But one day I was alone in meditation… and I was seeing…. You know that I had taken on the conversion of the Lord of Falsehood: I tried to do it through an emanation incarnated in a physical being, and the greatest effort was made during those four years in Japan. The four years were coming to an end with an absolute inner certainty that there was nothing to be done – that it was impossible, impossible to do it this way. There was nothing to be done. And I was intensely concentrated, asking the Lord, ‘Well, I made You a vow to do this, I had said, “Even if it’s necessary to descend into hell, I will descend into hell to do it….” Now tell me, what must I do?…’The Power was plainly there: suddenly everything in me became still; the whole external being was completely immobilized and I had a vision of the Supreme … more beautiful than that of the Gita. A vision of the Supreme. And this vision literally gathered me into its arms; it turned towards the West, towards India, and offered me – and there at the other end I saw Sri Aurobindo. It was … I felt it physically. I saw, saw – my eyes were closed but I saw (twice I have had this vision of the Supreme – once here, much later – but this was the first time) … ineffable. It was as if this Immensity had reduced itself to a rather gigantic Being who lifted me up like a wisp of straw and offered me. Not a word, nothing else, only that.

Then everything vanished.

The next day we began preparing to return to India.

It was after this vision, when I returned from Japan, that this meeting with Sri Aurobindo took place, along with the certainty that the Mission would be accomplished.

(silence)

This can all be narrated in a very simple way; these things are not metaphysical. It involves occultism, of course, but it’s utterly concrete and simple: things a child could understand.

And these are the real milestones of the whole Story.

I feel it will be told one day. But first of all, this (Mother touches her body) must be sufficiently changed. Then the story will take on its full value.

You understand, none of my certitudes – none, without exception – have EVER come through the mind. The intellectual comprehension of each of these experiences came much later. Little by little, little by little, came the higher understanding of the intellectual consciousness, long after the experience (I don’t mean philosophical knowledge – that’s nothing but scholarly mumbo-jumbo and leaves me cold). Since my earliest childhood, experiences have come like that: something massive takes hold of you and you don’t need to believe or disbelieve, know or not know – bam! There’s nothing to say; you are facing a fact.

Once, during those last difficult years, Sri Aurobindo told me that this was precisely what gave me my advantage and why (how to put it?) there were greater possibilities that I would go right to the end….

(silence)

A book like that (sufficiently veiled, of course), written in the simplest way possible (like I wrote ‘The Science of Living,’ I believe) – and it’s fine, you speak to people in their own language. Above all, no philosophy! None! You simply tell some extraordinary stories in the same way you would tell an ordinary story. But the Story is there, that’s the most important thing.
It started in my infancy – the Story was already there.

But it never passed through my head first, never, never, never! Experiences came in my childhood that I didn’t understand until Sri Aurobindo told me certain things; then I said, ‘Ah, so that’s what it was! …’ But I never had that kind of curiosity, I never cared to understand with the head, I wasn’t interested. I was interested in the result, in the inner change: how my attitude towards the world changed, my position relative to the creation – that interested me from my infancy; how what seemed to be quite ordinary incidents could so completely change my relationship with that whole little world of children. And it was always the same thing: instead of feeling burdened, with a weight on your head, and just plodding on like a donkey, something would lift (gesture) and you would be on top of it – you could smile and begin to change. See that thing that’s out of place? … Why not set it right! Like arranging things in a drawer.

Why? How? What does it all mean? … What do I care! Setting it right is what’s important!

It began when I was five, almost eighty years ago.

If God wills and we reach the end, then we will simply tell our story, that’s all – NO TEACHING.

…. But first you should write just a simple book, quite simple and quite positive: the constructive aspect – very constructive, very simple. No attempt to convince, no big problems – no, no, no! Sri Aurobindo has come to tell the world that man is not the final creation, that there is another creation; and he said this not because he knew it but because he felt it. And he began to do it. And that’s all.

It needn’t be long.

….a book that is TRUE, in the sense that you won’t say anything not perfectly true, but accessible … not only accessible to the ‘superior’ man, but to the honest man who finds that life really isn’t good or pleasant and is wondering if there isn’t some way to make it better.

Without … without great speculations.

There are many things like that in Sri Aurobindo’s book, On Himself, many things…..

…And mind you, it can be very beautiful in its simplicity, a beauty sorrowful people can feel, people who are tired of life, people whose heads are sick of all these arguments and dogmas – people who are tired of thinking too many great thoughts….

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