When Were Aurobindo Ghose and Mirra Called Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Barring a few exceptions, it was only towards the end of 1926 that the disciples in Pondicherry began referring to Aurobindo Ghose and Mirra Alfassa as ‘Sri Aurobindo’ and the ‘Mother’ in their diary notes, etc. Aurobindo Ghose was first referred to as ‘Sri Aurobindo’ before Mirra came to be known as the ‘Mother’, and there was a period of transition (longer for the Mother than for Sri Aurobindo) when some of the disciples used both names simultaneously.

Sri Aurobindo’s long-term companion and disciple A. B. Purani’s handwritten notes of ‘Sri Aurobindo’s Evening Talks’ show this change of name. This is not apparent from the published text nor sometimes from the typed copies of the handwritten notes, because ‘A.G.’ and ‘Mirra’ had become ‘Sri Aurobindo’ and the ‘Mother’ by the time the typed copies were made and the book published. The former names were replaced by the latter for the sake of consistency. Purani first used the abbreviation ‘Sri A’ in his rough notes of Sri Aurobindo’s Evening Talk of 16 September 1926 after using ‘A.G.’ until that date. Haradhan Bakshi, another sadhak of the time, began using the name ‘Shri Aurobindo’ in his diary on 19 September 1926. Both then went through a short period of transition during which they kept switching between ‘A.G.’ and ‘Sri Aurobindo’ (sometimes even on the same day), and finally settled for the latter by October 1926.

In the case of the Mother, Haradhan Bakshi referred to her as ‘Mother’ for the first time on 24 September 1926. Until then he had referred to her as ‘Mira’ or ‘Mira Devi’; he would also use the variant ‘Shri Mirra Devi’ after the Siddhi Day. Though by the beginning of 1927, Haradhan mostly referred to her as ‘Mother’, it was not until the end of 1928 that he stopped using altogether the name ‘Mira’. For Anilbaran Roy, there was no period of transition at all. After coming back from Bengal on 10 December 1926, he wrote in his diary, ‘Sri Aurobindo has retired and Mirra Devi has taken charge of creating a new world.’ The following day Sri Aurobindo instructed him in an interview to surrender himself to ‘Mirra Devi’. The very next day, that is, on 12 December 1926, Anilbaran referred to the Mother as ‘Mother’ and never again as ‘Mirra Devi’. Other documents show that Barin, Amrita and Bejoy also started using the name ‘Mother’ by the beginning of 1927.

Raman Reddy

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