It seems I am to tell you something about the Mother — a bit of her life, a bit of her activities.
Well, the first part of her life, as you all know, the Mother passed in France; she was born in France, in Paris. So naturally it was very often pointed out to her that she was French, she was European. To this, however, she was always protesting, saying, “I am not European, I am not French.” Her family came in fact from Egypt. Her parents, her father and mother went to France just a year before she was born, a year only. And in Egypt, her family, it seems, belonged to a very ancient Egyptian family — perhaps even to a royal family of Egypt, the Pharaohs. So she is not European or French by blood, although she was brought up as if it were so. Strictly speaking, she would belong to the Middle East, that is to say, the portion joining the east of Europe and the west of Asia. It means the union of Europe and Asia, the two harmonised, and that reflects the character of Mother’s life and its destiny.
As I said, she spent the first part of her life in France. But why France? There is a meaning in the choice. We know now the meaning, the fundamental meaning of her life, her mission and her work. She came to bring a new light. She wanted a new world, not the old world with its old nature and old culture, but a new world, a new human race. She brought with her the new light that is to re-create, re-shape man and the world. What was the relation between the new man and France? For the new light to come and manifest, you have first to receive it in your mind; that is to say, you must see and recognise that it is a new light and ask for it. And mind is the first or the topmost receptacle in man. You may remember here the opening line of the Dhammapada containing the epitome of Buddha’s teaching: “Manopubbangama dhamma” — Mind, is the foremost of all human functions. Mind surpasses all, embraces all. Now, as the light comes down and enters you, the first thing it touches is your head, that is, your mind: you see it, you are conscious of it. France represents today just this mind of humanity at its best, the flowering of its culture and civilisation. She was born there so that the highest mind of the human race may receive that light through her. She passed her life there in the company of the elite, the most cultured people of the time, scientists, artists, poets, all of the highest and most refined stature. She was there so that through her contact and association she could bring into them the new light. With this end in view she joined a society, rather a group, and the name given to it was Le cosmique. “Cosmic” means the whole world; in other words, what she was doing, what she was giving, was for the whole world, for all men, for East and West, for everybody. Also it means a cosmic or world-embracing consciousness. She was creating a new type of mental world, through the highest mental development, to reach a still wider mind — beyond the individual egoistic mind.
As I have said, the mind, the head, being the highest part in man, it is easy for him to receive the new light through his head first of all. You may remember here, in this connection, Sri Aurobindo’s poem “The Golden Light”: how it comes from above and first enters into the head, the brain. It illumines your thoughts, develops your understanding, widens it, deepens it and sharpens it. But understanding is not sufficient, you must love it, then only do you begin to possess it. So the golden light enters your heart. Then it proceeds farther down towards a more concrete and active expression; it enters into the vital region as we call it. Lastly the golden light enters your feet, that is, possesses your physical limbs; it becomes concrete materially and present, as though solidified, in your very body: it builds the body beautiful. The Mother thus brings the golden light into the head of humanity, the top rung of its consciousness, and that work of initiation, dīkṣā, into the Life Divine she started in France.
From France she went to Japan for the next stage of her work. In Japan she came to the Far East. She spent five years, five long years in that country. Japan is the land of the Zen system of meditation, that is to say, a special way of entering into an inner consciousness, not a rational mental consciousness but a gaze inward into an occult and more sensitive region. The Japanese as a nation represent indeed a very sensitive vitality, an artistic vitality that seeks order and beauty in life, in the mode of living. For the golden light to manifest and have its play in the physical world, to possess its body, as it were, a vitality of this kind is necessary to acquire and hold it. The Japanese wrestlers are well-known for their vital strength, their self-controlled strength; usually they possess (almost all of them, you must have noticed, in pictures at least), a big tummy, and it is, they believe, the storehouse of vital strength. This does not mean that I advise you to develop a big paunch, on the contrary. However, even in physical activities, more than mere physical strength, vital strength is necessary.
Yes, the Japanese have a vital that is strong, controlled, ordered, sensitive. You may remember one or two prayers of the Mother in her Prayers and Meditations. She speaks of the cherry-blossom, which is the emblem of the Japanese artistic sense, the feeling for beauty, a purified sense-perception: not a rough and crude and violent (lower) vital, but a fine, a pleasant intimate feeling and an orderly happiness; that is what the cherry-blossom means. Mother described also a vision of hers, a beautiful picture it was, a Japanese mother and her child: it was an image of the new child that was born in humanity. A new world is thus ushered in in the land of the cherry-blossom, a new vital world, for all the world.
The Mother is creative consciousness; wherever she happens to be, wherever she is called upon to be, her very presence moves towards creation, creating a new world and a new dimension of being and consciousness, according to the need of the time and place. And it is a whole world she creates, and her creation endures, for it is an added achievement in the evolution of the human being. To this end, the neat, strong, orderly vital world of which we were speaking requires a competent body to support it and manifest it. The golden light must come down into the feet. And that was the work she was doing here and it is for that that she created the Ashram. You all know the special emphasis she laid on physical education in order to prepare the body and senses to receive the golden light. She always said that physical education gives us the basis for the new consciousness, the new light. We must have a strong body, a beautiful body, a body that endures: for the new light is powerful, it is not merely light, it is force; one must be able to bear it and carry out its commands. Indeed, she came here in order to give a shape, a concrete and physical form, an earthly body to this Divine Light.
Now the body beautiful is not by itself an end and fulfilment; in order to secure it one must secure a beautiful vital. Not only that: for a fulfilment in the body and in the vital one must possess a mind beautiful. The physical education that the Mother has arranged for us here is to prepare us for the body beautiful. And the school that she has organised is for the cultivation of the mind. The cultivation of the mind, however, means not only storing it with information on various subjects, the study of books; it also means a purification and clearance of the mind, the mental stuff itself, an elevation of consciousness to seek and recognise the light.
I have said that you are to receive the new light through the head at first, but through the heart also, and then dynamically through your vital energy. You must not only see the light and recognise it, but love it and be devoted to it. And here comes the Mother’s central work, her special gift, her grace to us. When you love a thing, you love, as it is said, through the heart; but there is love and love, and there is a heart within the heart. True love, the love that is divine, is within this inner heart, which is your soul, the real being or person in you; and the soul coming out, coming to the front as we say, is the Mother’s special Grace here, her gift to all of you, to each one of you here. She has given you your soul. I have often said that it is the special privilege for each one of us here, for each one of you, to carry this being, this inner being, this intimate person, the Divine Child who is you. It is this that is building your divine personality, it is this that will give you in the end a mind beautiful, a vital beautiful, a body beautiful — all that you need, all that is perfect and flawless in your life here in this world.
You may remember, many of you, the famous line of Savitri; you must have heard it from Mother’s own lips:
Built is the golden tower, the flame-child born.
She has built this tower of new life and the child is here, the golden child. This golden child is in every one of you. You must find it, recognise it; this is the goal of your life, the mission and fulfilment of all that you want to do and be on earth. Some of you surely must have felt in you the presence of this child. Some may even have seen it as the Divine Child in you. These things —visitations as they are called — usually come in dreams. At least I know of some who have seen it, who came and told me of their miraculous experience. It is a possibility for everyone and if you happen to see it you must recognise it, hold it, grasp it with all love and affection. The Mother is still living and active among us and her Presence is still here, even concretely, for each one of you has the Divine Child in you.
I end with a prayer, a prayer that I made to the Mother some time ago; it was on behalf of the small children of our playground:
Sweet Mother, your Playground children are angels. They have not become divine or godly, but they are angels, earthly angels. Keep them constantly under your eye, cradle them in your loving consciousness.
That was the prayer I made on your behalf to the Mother, and I am sure Mother has responded “Yes.”
Published November 1973