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At the Feet of The Mother

As I Remember – by Kanailal Ganguly

I came to Pondicherry on the 19th of July in 1923.

I was in contact with Sri Aurobindo through Barin((( Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother.))). Previously on seeing a photograph of mine Sri Aurobindo had written to Barin giving, first, the Mother’s (She was called Mira then) reading and then his own comment. The Mother’s reading was: An extremely interesting head; highly psychical personality; the danger for this type is in the body which may be consumed by the intensity of the psychic flame.

Sri Aurobindo’s comment: Calmness, peace, descending into the body will make it immune from all danger. They are indispensable in this case.

He had added in the letter that he would call me as soon as it was possible. A telegram arrived and I left for Pondicherry. I was 22.

On arrival at the station, I was told by the person who had come to receive me what an unlucky man I was. For Sri Aurobindo had not been well for the previous two or three days and there were no sittings for meditation. However, on reaching the house where Sri Aurobindo was living, I met Amrita who was rushing upstairs with ten daily newspapers. I told him to carry my message to Sri Aurobindo. He nodded but told me, “It won’t be possible.” Hardly a minute had passed before he returned to say that Sri Aurobindo himself asked whether Kanai had come. Amrita had been asked to send me upstairs. As I went up I was very nervous. I saw him in the present Prosperity verandah on his throne-chair, a majestic personality with his beard. He looked and nodded. I forgot to bow down to him and sat by his side on one of the few chairs that were spread.

SRI AUROBINDO: Have you anything to tell me?

I: Yes. (I answered and kept silent for a minute.)

He repeated the question very sweetly. Still I couldn’t talk. Then he looked at the time-piece and said that he had to go by eleven o’clock.

Then I asked:

I: Can I practise this Yoga?

SRI AUROBINDO: Yes. Your being has come from a very high plane.

I: My nervous being is very weak.

SRI AUROBINDO: That doesn’t matter. My nervous being also was weak, and Mira’s nervous being too was weak; but we have become strong now. I think after some time you too will be all right.

I turned to go.

He cleared his throat and I looked back.

SRI AUROBINDO: You have come for a few days. Come at 4.30 for meditation.

I turned to go. Again he cleared his throat and as I turned, he said to me to come in the morning after Amrita brought him the papers and sit by his side.

I came back at 4.30 in the evening. It was the first time that I saw the Mother. She looked at me for a second. She was very beautiful, looked much younger than her age. There were two cats on her shoulders; I looked round and saw there were two or three more about her. One of the cats from her shoulder jumped on Sri Aurobindo’s throne-chair. Mother called it back.

The Mother had come with a plate containing incense sticks, match box etc. After the Mother left Sri Aurobindo opened the conversation asking me:

SRI AUROBINDO: How is Motilal Roy?

I: I have not heard anything about him for a long time.

The meditation started at 5 and continued till 5.30. I observed that Sri Aurobindo had kept his eyes open. The others around meditated with eyes closed. There were hardly 13 or 14 of them.

Thereafter Sri Aurobindo went in for fifteen minutes for coffee.

The next morning I went up after Amrita came down and sat by the side of Sri Aurobindo who remarked that one or two persons might come but that should not disturb me. I was told to remain till 10.30. During the meditation I had a very good experience.

SRI AUROBINDO: Anything to say?

I told him that I had a grand experience of peace etc.

SRI AUROBINDO: It is your higher mind getting supramentalised.

After two or three days I told him that I was feeling a being, a mighty being behind me. If that being looked at me all difficulties vanished. Sri Aurobindo heard and nodded.


Some days thereafter, I told him that I had to leave as I had come prepared only for a few days.

SRI AUROBINDO: Once you have taken up my yoga, I won’t leave you so easily.

I understood that he did not wish me to go. I had with me fifty rupees intended for the return fare. I asked whether I could give it to him. He nodded and asked: “But you require some pocket money.”

I replied that my friends would give.

SRI AUROBINDO: Are you sure?

He repeated this question twice. On my replying in the affirmative he said it was all right.


Some months later, one day I “pulled down” that being which I felt behind me. He came. Above my head something white, dazzling, cloud-like, came down.

Earlier Sri Aurobindo had remarked:

Kanai is pulling and pulling. I do not know what will happen to him. But Mira has wonderful power and he will be saved.

Now when this happened to me, I told Sri Aurobindo at the evening meditation that I wanted to see the Mother. He looked steadfastly into my eyes and then said: “You sit with Mira, (it was then 8 o’clock) but do not be nervous, agitated; speak quietly, as quietly as you can.”

At the due time I went to the Mother. She brought her chair near me so that she could place her hand on me. And I started speaking to the Mother about my experiences.

“Since what age have you been feeling this being behind you?” Mother asked.

I: Ever since I was thirteen or fourteen.

MOTHER: Oh, I see!

I gave further details.

MOTHER: Oh, I see!

The Mother kept quiet and after fifteen minutes exclaimed:

My God, My God, I think you are saved now.

I: What happened?

She did not answer. She queried:

Have you taken anything?

I told her that for the last two or three days I had no food proper nor sleep. Then she sent for Dutta and asked her to bring soup from Sri Aurobindo’s place. She placed it on my hand and asked me to take it whole.

There was drizzling outside. Mother got her Japanese umbrella and gave it to me saying:

Bring it tomorrow morning at five, don’t forget.

Sri Aurobindo came in and stood by the Mother’s side.

SRI AUROBINDO: How are you?

He asked and looked at me. The Mother came with me up to the door. While leaving I looked at Mother and said:

Mother, I am afraid — some danger?

Mother: Danger, no danger, absolutely. (Mother gestured with her hand emphatically.) I have put something in your room, you will feel it.

I reached home. But there was great restlessness. Was I going mad? Shall I jump into the sea? I was furiously thinking. Just then the ceiling split into two and two Feet came down — there was white light — and pressed upon my forehead. I felt ice-cold water on my body.

I fell asleep.


Next morning I woke up before five, came to Mother and asked her: What will be my relation with you?

MOTHER: Yes, I will tell you. My dear child, it will be a relationship of a child with its mother. It will be a very sweet relation, constant.

I: That is all?

MOTHER: In your present consciousness, it will be very sweet. Later you will realise who I am.

That day at about 9.30 I went up to see the Mother. There I just fell down and when at the Mother’s instance I was made to lie down I was weeping and asking what had happened to me. At about 10 a.m. Barin came and took me to Sri Aurobindo, saying he wanted to see me. I was sinking into something dark. “Kanai”, Sri Aurobindo called. I tried to come up but could not. He called me out again and when I came he said:

I told you do not pull. You pulled. The hostile being is trying to enter but it could not enter. Aspire quietly and calmly. Control yourself.

From that day I became all right.

I: You had said that my psychic was very developed. Why did it not save me?

SRI AUROBINDO: You did not call it. Anyway Mother acted on you and saved you.

I: Perhaps I will die. What will happen after death?

SRI AUROBINDO: Kanai, we have thrown away the thing from you. You will not die. I know, Mother also knows that you will realise the Divine in this life.

He repeated it again.


One day I told Sri Aurobindo that I wished to meditate with Mother once a week. He said that he would ask her and tell me the next day.

Accordingly when I met him the next day he said:

I have asked her. It will be from 11.30 to 12 in the mornings on every Friday in her room.

On that day I was taken inside her room by Champaklal. I sat on the floor near Mother’s sofa and began to meditate. I went very deep inside for about three-fourths of an hour or so. I opened my eyes, I saw the Mother smiling. I smiled.

Next day, Sri Aurobindo asked me what I got from the Mother the previous day.

I replied: “I felt peace, light and tremendous power in me.”

SRI AUROBINDO: It is all right; but you do not know what really happened in you. What you felt was only the result of it. Your true being came; Mother called it. It had a column of light on both sides. You will realise that being in this life.

After some months I said to Sri Aurobindo:

I: My body is now very well.

SRI AUROBINDO: If you can realise your true vital you will feel the welfare of the body.

I: How to realise it?

SRI AUROBINDO: If you open to the Mother it will be done.

I: Can I open?

He shrugged his shoulders and left.

Next day I reported:

I have realised something — calm, peace, power.

SRI AUROBINDO: It is that true vital and it will help you all along. Your divine nature is dynamic power and dynamic Ananda.


One day I went to the Mother’s room. I saw her sitting on Sri Aurobindo’s sofa. I spoke.

I: Mother, I have got a name.

She looked at me and asked:

What is the name?

I: Shukdev. But is it true, Mother?

Mother: I call you by that name in the higher world, but I will ask Sri Aurobindo and tell you tomorrow.

The next day the Mother said:

You are right.


I often used to tell Sri Aurobindo that I had a number of difficulties and was asking him to do something for me. Sri Aurobindo used to reply that he would do it “through Mira”.

What is your next meditation day with her? He asked.

I: Friday.

I forget what he said.

However, on Friday I went to the Mother. She was already in meditation. Silently I sat down beside her and went into meditation.

After an hour or so the Mother spoke.

MOTHER: Have you felt what has come down? Sri Aurobindo came into the room, looked at you and went away.

Then I remembered what I had said to Sri Aurobindo.

MOTHER: It is a great thing; it is something like a great operation. You have to keep it. And don’t say, ‘O, Mother, I have nothing, I have nothing, help me.’


One day I asked the Mother:

Shall I get the Supermind in this life?

MOTHER: I told you a hundred times, do you want to hear again?

I: Yes, Mother.

MOTHER: When the Supermind will be established on earth you will have it.


One day I asked the Mother:

What is the best way of doing yoga?

MOTHER: You have to aspire, you have to reject; but the best is if you can keep me in your heart, if you love me, then you will have to do nothing. I shall do all for you.

I was going to tell her: ‘Mother, you are so great, so vast. How can I love you or keep you in my heart?’ But something else dictated to me at once: ‘NO, I will do it myself.’ And without saying anything I left.

The Mother then sent Barin to see me. When he came to my room I was sobbing. I said to Barin: Tell Mother to excuse me; it was very wrong of me to have thought that way.

The Mother had told him that when I (Kanai) was thinking that she was so vast, so great, she saw a golden hand of Sri Aurobindo coming from his room and resting on my head. As soon as I uttered to myself that I would do the yoga myself, the hand slapped my head. The Mother went on to say that it was a kindergarten lesson to a child. It was to throw away the hostile force from him. He does not understand that I am his all.

That morning, at 10, I went to see Sri Aurobindo and began to sob telling him that while the Mother was blessing me saying that she would do the whole sadhana for me, something in me had dictated that I would do the whole thing.

SRI AUROBINDO: No, no, not you, not you, a hostile force said that.

But I would not be consoled. Then he placed the newspaper on the table and looked at me.

I saw a golden sun rising from his head and dropping on mine. This happened three times.

Peace, power and calmness flowed into my body throughout the day.

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There is nothing sentimental in the true weeping that comes from the soul. All that you feel now is the blossoming of the psychic being in you and the growth of a real bhakti.