logo
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
At the Feet of The Mother

How I came to Sri Aurobindo – by Ganpatram

How did I come to Sri Aurobindo?

It is a long story. Very early in my boyhood, even before I was ten, I had a special inclination towards God and godly life. My father encouraged this tendency in me. Sometime later I was possessed with a strong feeling that it was not possible to live without God. I read whatever literature on the subject I could lay my hands upon and in the course of this study I picked up something about Pranayama. Naturally I could not practise it in front of the elders and so I started doing Pranayama secretly at night when all had gone to sleep. I must have been fifteen then. One night my father saw me doing Pranayama and he was very displeased. He told me that it was dangerous to do so without the close guidance of a Guru and asked me to stop it forthwith. But I could not stop the movement. I continued. After some days my father saw me again at it, got angry and gave me a slap. The next day I fell unconscious for about ten minutes. Fits of unconsciousness started thereafter and no doctor could diagnose the cause. One knowledgeable person, however, said that it was the result of the slap delivered when I was in the state of Pranayama. Things continued to get worse till one day I distinctly heard a voice telling me that I would die on such and such a day. That date was just three or four days away. My illness became more serious; doctors were called in without avail. Finally, on the appointed day, my condition was so bad that the doctor who felt my pulse told my father that I was going to die within a few minutes. I was not conscious. But I gathered that at that moment my father walked round my bed three times and prayed to God, “Bhagavan, I withdraw my claims on him. Hereafter he is Thy child. Save him.” Hardly had he completed his prayer, my eyes opened and within ten minutes I recovered full consciousness. There was quite a crowd around. Within a few days I got well and my father gave me full freedom to pursue the life of my choice.

After some wanderings, I left for Mathura where some of my relations lived. From Mathura I went on to Vrindavan and other centres celebrated as the earthly habitations of my chosen Deity, Sri Krishna. A great peace came over me and my love for the Lord grew intense. I met many Siddhas. I began to feel the necessity of a Guru and looked for one wherever I went. I did at least a hundred circumambulations of the Govardhan hill which is five miles round. One night when I had fallen asleep on the hill I saw in dream a lady looking like Mirabai, the famous Rajput princess devoted to Sri Krishna. She told me, “Gurus are appointed by the Divine; the Divine will tell you who is your Guru; do not be anxious.”

The next day I happened to meet a saint known as Mouni-Baba and, curiously enough, he told me very much the same: “The Guru will come to you, the Divine will send him.”

Three days after, I had again a vision of the person looking like Mirabai. She asked me to do a special sadhana for 21 days at the end of which the Guru would reveal himself to me. Among the conditions of the sadhana was one which required that I should not hear any human speech. That is not only was I precluded from talking but I was not to hear any one talking. It was difficult for me to find a place that would meet this requirement. I thought of my father and turned back home. All were surprised to see me back. My father was very kind. On hearing my need he arranged for a special room in the garden. He looked to other necessities like milk etc. and saw that I was undisturbed.

During this period of intense sadhana I had visions — more than visions, they were so concrete — of many saints, past and present, Tulsidas, Surdas etc. I distinctly remember to have seen Rishi Narada also. I have a vague impression of having seen God Brahma, but of this I cannot be too sure.

On the 17th day at about 4 a.m. there was a vivid vision in the meditation. A big river; on one bank I was standing; on the other side there was Sri Krishna. He pointed to a boat and indicated that he was sending it to fetch me; there was some figure in the boat. When I saw that person the conviction grew in me that he was my Guru sent by Sri Krishna. The boat arrived and the person stepped forth; I made Pranam to him and I knew it was Sri Aurobindo to whom I had bowed.

Indeed, I had heard of Sri Aurobindo before but only as a political revolutionary, never as a Guru. Thereafter, within half an hour of the experience he began to guide me. There was no more need for the special sadhana and I came out of solitude. My father was surprised. I opened my mouth to tell him, but I found that I could not speak. To spare him anxiety I wrote on a piece of paper that I was observing mounam (physical silence) and proceeded to a near-by jungle. I tried to speak there but could not. But I got an assurance that things would be all right after three days. I returned home and when my father asked when I would start speaking, I confidently replied: “Three days.” And I did speak after three days.

I moved in this condition here and there, no more agitated but full of faith in the guidance of the Guru.

Information was received that one Nirmalchandra from Punjab — my own Province — had just returned from Pondicherry Ashram. We wrote to him whether we could come and meet him for information about the Ashram. At that time we did not know that he had returned a disappointed man. He wrote back saying we could see him. And of course he was polite and answered all our questions. Only he observed with a certain bitterness that there was a foreign lady in the Ashram who first tasted the food and then distributed it amongst the sadhaks who took it as Prasad! He was somewhat indignant and obviously expected me to share in his reactions. But I felt spontaneously: “Then she must be Divine for no human being could do this.” And there was a strong conviction in me that it was so.

Wherever I could find literature on Sri Aurobindo or translations of his books I read them avidly. At this time I came to know that one disciple of Sri Aurobindo called Purani had translated all the books of Sri Aurobindo in Gujarati. Mangatrai who was with me knew Gujarati and he ordered for a full set from Anand where the books were said to be available. The books arrived soon and we helped ourselves. For this purpose I also learnt Gujarati.

All these days I had the faith that the Guru would call me when things were ready. So I had not made any attempt to go to Pondicherry. But somehow Mangatrai had — it turned out — written to Purani (without my knowledge) asking whether our party could come for Sri Aurobindo’s Darshan. It appears the letter arrived rather late but permission had been accorded and a telegram and letter from Purani were received by Mangatrai.

Accordingly we arrived in Pondicherry in time for the Darshan of August 15, 1934.

*

On arrival we were met at the station by Krishnalal and Vishnu on behalf of Purani. We were a group of five or six. And though all of us had not got the necessary permission, we were permitted here for the Darshan.

We stayed for a week. The Darshan itself was a great event. When I stood before the Mother I saw her looking at me, an embodiment of Love. I was lost in her. I was often seeing a Light in the Ashram compound. Twice or thrice I even wondered if I was imagining things and satisfied myself that it was not so. I was told later on by one or two inmates that the Mother said: Among this group Ganapatram has got yogic possibilities. Someone even came to ask me if I was Ganapatram.

While here I developed the conviction that my place was here and that I could not live elsewhere. When I sent word to the Mother to this effect the Mother replied that I could do so.

But I had to go back for a while to fulfil some of our political commitments.

Back in Punjab I was there for hardly four months and left the place in January 1935 without informing my colleagues.

I sent a telegram from Madras informing of my arrival. But when I came here the next morning I found that the wire had not yet reached. Understandably Purani was annoyed at my unscheduled arrival. But within a few minutes of his report to the Mother early in the morning word was sent to me that the Mother had graciously arranged for my stay in Dupleix House. A little later I was given work in the Library — of cleaning things — a work which I did for full fourteen years. My day used to start at 4 a.m. and I am happy to record that some of the best spiritual experiences I have had were during these early hours.

We used to meet the Mother a number of times during those days. Shortly after my joining here, it so happened that the Mother suspended meeting people due to some eye trouble. Myself and Mangatrai (who joined me shortly after I came) felt this absence of physical sight of the Mother very acutely. And when we couldn’t bear it any further after two or three days we went to Nolini and requested him to inform the Mother of our condition. The moment she came to know of this she called us both — even in that state. I said something, I do not remember it exactly. But I certainly remember and still hear her words ringing in my ears. She said: The Divine does not show itself in an imperfect condition. That is why I do not meet.

*

P. was one of the departmental heads at that time with whom I had to have some dealings in the course of my work. For I used to do a bit of gardening too. Now this P. was somehow consistently hostile to me. I bore his hurt without complaining to anybody. I used to see him spending considerable time with the Mother who was specially kind to him. I could not understand the reason of his antipathy to me. One night he called at my room and said that certain rose plants which I had secured from friends were required by him elsewhere and he peremptorily told me to reach them there the next day.

I was stunned. I wept bitterly. Then I wrote to the Mother about this and prayed to her: “Give me your eyes to see him.” I sent the letter at night and went to sleep. Imagine my surprise to see P. coming to my door the next morning at 4.30! He took my hand, embraced me and asked me to forget. He was so nice. I was moved and love flowed from my heart towards him.

The Mother had heard my prayer.

Related Posts

Back to
When I ask you to be plastic in relation to the Divine, I mean not to resist the Divine with the rigidity of preconceived ideas and fixed principles.