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At the Feet of The Mother

Some Diary Notes – 1


(Coming from a private record, the following two selections are naturally very personal matter and “I” and “me” are all over the place. But as these “I” and “me” are the sadhak and not the mere ego-individual it is hoped that they will be considered as representative of all who have ventured forth on the delightfully difficult path of the Integral Yoga. As both the delight and the difficulty are bound to be basically common in spite of surface variations, one sadhak’s experiences cannot but prove helpful to other toilers towards the depths and heights.)



March 4-14, 1953


Wednesday, 4th — Came back from Villupuram a little depressed, thinking that the Mother had received the impression that I and not Mina was going away. On reaching the Ashram the mind and heart cleared and when I went to the Samadhi a gathering together of the being took place, an intense interiorisation as if to collect the whole consciousness and lift it up to the Divine, letting it go nowhere else and to none other.

When I saw the Mother at the “staircase”,((( People come up the stairs in a queue and receive blessings from the Mother, who stands almost at the head of the staircase.))) she cried: “Bien revenu” (“Welcome back”). I gave her Mina’s message: “A thousand million thanks. I am carrying you with me in my heart.” The Mother was pleased and smiled and said something like “All right”. Then I asked her: “Mother, why did you think I was going away?” She replied: “I never thought that. I knew you were not going. But I had the impression that Mina also was not going.”

The day passed happily after this — aspiration and peace, and the Mother’s presence pervaded the hours.

The same evening I caught the Mother on the Playground at seven, and said to her: “May I ask one question? Could I come and sit in your ‘Prayers’-class?” She answered: “You can come.” So after the distribution of groundnuts I went to this class. I had been told by a friend that it was one of the best things in the Ashram and that the Mother appeared in her real divinity there. Today she read out the three last Prayers from her book Prayers and Meditations and discoursed a little about them and about her introduction to the book. It was an exquisitely deep half-hour. I was extremely glad I attended this class held in the Mother’s own room at the Playground.

When I got up from the mat there, I struck my back against the sharp corner of an overhanging cupboard fixed to the wall. It was a fierce impact right on the upper part of my spine. Everybody was perturbed. But most miraculously I felt not the slightest pain either then or afterwards. While I walked out of the room the Mother gave me a concentrated look.


Thursday, 5th — All the time I kept fixing my consciousness on the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. There was a sense of some blocking somewhere. Fine spells during the day but not to my satisfaction because too short.

The first piece of news I got in the morning was from Soli Albless, who came smiling and striding from the Ashram. “Stalin has been given a blow in the brain. He is dying.” People in the Ashram were feeling that the Divine had brought about that brainstroke, the cerebral haemorrhage. The Mother said that the going of one individual could not make all the difference and that other instruments could be found by the Asuric force. When S.A. asked her if our aspirations and the Supermind’s Descent could make the difference, she smiled and nodded. She is also reported to have said that Stalin had been really finished two months earlier. He had merely continued as a powerless shell.

Since yesterday I have started not to come down at all from the Mother’s floor till 12 or 12.30 after seeing her and sitting in Sri Aurobindo’s room. It is so lovely to spend the time there: I could stay there the entire day without tiring.

More and more my being resolves to turn to the Mother, but the sense of difficulty does not diminish. Oh, if only one could be poised overhead and in the psychic all the time!


Friday, 6th — Yesterday was Kishor Gandhi’s birthday. But the Mother did not give him an interview that evening. She was coming to his room the next day — that is, today.

I go early to the Samadhi each morning, sit there for half an hour or more and then go to the Balcony Darshan. I wait for the Balcony Darshan, sitting on the edge of the footpath near one of the big doors. I concentrate and try to blot out the whole world. But some particular thoughts keep hovering. They are too sweet to be easily or rudely dismissed.

At the staircase I took the Mother’s hand and kissed it. She smiled most beautifully, tilted her head to one side and said in silence: “I accept your love and I understand your need.”

In the evening she came to our house to meet K.G. I sat with Pavitra in my room, while S.A. shut himself up in his. After a few minutes I felt a tremendous pressure on the head — as if an extraordinary descent had been taking place. In all these two and a half weeks in the Ashram I have never felt so strong a push from overhead. The Mother seemed to be emanating a gigantic power from where she sat. K.G. told me afterwards that he had never had such a wonderful interview before.

When the Mother came out, S.A. and I brought flowers to offer to her. After he had offered his, Keshav Poddar’s wife came out from her room and requested the Mother to come in as she had something to say.

When the Mother reappeared, I brought her my flowers. I had hurriedly collected them from our own garden. They were Quiet Mind placed within the Divine’s Presence.

At the moment of offering them, Quiet Mind tumbled off and fell to the ground. The Mother laughed: “Your quiet mind has fallen down. Well, I’ll replace it with this” — and she gave me a tiny pink flower which means Detailed Surrender.

I forgot to write that in the morning at the staircase I spoke to the Mother about H.V. and gave her a note mentioning in brief what H.V. had asked me to tell the Mother: “She is very anxious to come.” The Mother said: “When she was here, she made all sorts of conditions.” I said: “But now she wants to make an unconditional surrender.” The Mother replied: “Oh yes, they all make that before they come here!”

Every afternoon S.A. and I have long philosophical chats, discussing a thousand and three things concerning Yoga. Quite a stimulus to the minds of both of us.


Saturday, 7th — Last night I had a dream in which I was telling the Mother that I must get poised above the mind and in the psychic.

At the staircase I related my dream to her. She said: “I see.” Then I told her: “I need this very badly. You must make me poised like that.” She replied: “No. You must make yourself poised. You have read in Sri Aurobindo that he does not encourage laziness.” I said: “Yes, but can’t I keep asking that you should do it? Isn’t that genuine aspiration?” She answered: “Yes, you can ask, but not in the ordinary way. If you just get up in the morning and ask once and then nothing more — that won’t do. It must be an intense inner asking.” I agreed with her. She smiled and kept looking into my eyes with those wonderful heart-opening head-cleaving eyes of hers.

I went into Sri Aurobindo’s room with an exceedingly powerful feeling within my head as well as above it, as if what I had asked for had been attempted. I kept this feeling for some time — sitting very quietly in Sri Aurobindo’s room and letting a wordless prayer go rising from the heart.

I want so much the total consecration, the integral self-opening! When will it come? Mother, make haste. The delay is unbearable.


Sunday, 8th — Felt myself to be at my wits’ end. Never in all these days was the morning so filled with a sense of hopelessness. Will I ever be able to keep up the decision I have taken? Am I not made of putty? Have I any strength or stability to go through the Yoga? All these questions weighed on my mind and heart and made me sad and threw an atmosphere of futility over my efforts.

Then, when everything seemed lost, something happened. I went and sat in the Pranam Hall, waiting for the Mother to come down. She came and slowly my heart began to open. It started flowing with love and blessedness. I got up to do my Pranam and, after doing it, went to my precious place near the Mother’s chair. She had placed The Divine’s Solicitude in my left hand and a red rose in my right. More and more the heart widened and took the Mother in and I threw my being towards her. It seemed the beginning of what I had asked for all these days. The flow and the consecration continued right through the Pranam and persisted when I went up the staircase and met the Mother again. She appeared to recognise the change and stood gazing into my eyes. The change accompanied me to Sri Aurobindo’s room. I nowadays sit there as long as I wish. Today I must have sat for nearly half an hour. And throughout that half hour the heart and the mind kept open and lived in the Mother’s marvellous presence and Sri Aurobindo’s exalted aura. The harbour seemed within sight of this wave-tossed wind-vexed mariner at last. But all is not done yet. The opening must continue and increase and become, as it were, world-wide.

The Mother played music at one o’clock this afternoon. I sat on the ground near the Samadhi and listened to the sweet and deep and far-away melody, interspersed with chords of intense nearness and intimacy as well as an enveloping embracing largeness.

Today wasn’t bad at all. Thank you, my Mother and my Lord.


Monday, 9th — A day of quiet assimilation — or so at least it appeared to be, since there was no fretting. Not that there was no questioning or doubting of myself. But it all went on in the surface consciousness and a sense was pervasive that beyond the surface consciousness a wonderful work was proceeding. As a symbol of this was the fact that I felt a great peace to be not quite within me but all around me in the whole town of Pondicherry. And the entire vastness of the circumambient peace was as if focusing itself on some spot somewhere in my being that was not accessible to the talking and walking Amal. Yes, not accessible, but not imperceptible. For it was the vague perception of it that eliminated fretting. In spite of my inquiring again and again whether the huge task I had undertaken could be carried through by poor me, I saw no reason to pull a long face. On the contrary, a happy irresponsibility played in my heart and mind. I went cheerfully to the Mother on the staircase. I was one of the early birds — at about 11. Only one chap was there, Pranab’s brother. The Mother brought a sweet from her room and gave it to me with a rose. I knelt down as usual and got up with an easy familiarity with the Mother’s presence. She was in a blue dress. I spoke to her about Sehra’s mamma who, according to Sehra’s letter, was still suffering from non-stop asthma. The Mother gave a packet of blessing-petals for her, and another for Sehra herself. Then I spoke of H.V. She said that the difficulty was to find accommodation for her but that she would try. I left the Mother then, but while about to enter Sri Aurobindo’s room I remembered that I had to tell her about the day of my departure. Purani was leaving on the 14th, so I had decided to synchronise my going with his. Mina’s doctor, Satya, was now talking with the Mother. I waited till he had finished and then called out to her as she was about to go away. She stopped and I went and told her about the 14th. She nodded and then with an arch half-smile asked me: “Am I expected to see you before you go?” I said: “Please, Mother, if you can. Just a few minutes’ interview.” She gave a full smile and said: “I’ll try.” Then she went inside and I to Sri Aurobindo’s room where I sat for half an hour. I came out and sat in the middle room watching the Mother take the “staircase”.

I was very quiet. No special aspiration, but a strange ease. Throughout the day this remained. At the Tennis Ground, when the Mother was leaving I found to my surprise that she looked at me long and deep, and with a sweet smile that covered my whole body with pleasure as she passed on.

The French-translation class began at 5:30. I was there, and found myself relaxed and pleased. Went home for a quarter of an hour and walked to the Samadhi. Quite an intimate and soft half-hour I had there with Sri Aurobindo. The background, the depth which all the day had been inaccessible though not imperceptible, came a little to the front and delighted me.

While communing with Sri Aurobindo I had a feeling that today was perhaps the most important in my whole stay. It was to all appearance a neutral day, but it was packed with a secret promise. At the evening distribution, the Mother again gave a knowing look and smile. I stood very close to her after getting the groundnuts. Sutapa was not there, so I stood in her place, right within the Mother’s most immediate physical atmosphere.

Tomorrow, what have you in store for me? Can it be paradise at last?

My bed is situated in an ideal position. I lie and look through the two windows on the two sides. Each presents a different view. That to the left shows an unobstructed sky, a vast star-quivering darkness during night and a blue with depth beyond depth during day. The window to the right shows in daytime a swaying jungle of palms, a South-Sea-Island picture. At night the palms become mysterious presences, lit with little glints. I find myself extremely happy gazing through the two windows alternately.

I must put down on paper the sight I saw some evenings back when the Mother went to the place where the children’s French class is held by her. Before she distributed the sweets, a small girl was brought to her. She had a little fever. The Mother caressed her hair with a soft but significant pressure. Then she passed her hand right to the back of the head and down the spine. This she did again and again, most affectionately but with an effectivity beyond mere affection. She was acting upon the fever-force. For a long time she went on and at last bent her own head and lightly kissed the girl on the forehead. Oh it was so wonderful to watch the whole thing. Who would mind being ill in order to have such a doctor? I remember the Mother telling me that when her son Andre was a boy she used to cure all his illnesses herself, without calling any doctor. It is sweet to be the Mother’s child. How I yearn to belong to her and be part of her!


Tuesday, 10th — Has today fulfilled the promise of yesterday?

Let me begin at the beginning. Every night, during my stay here, I have had some sort of sensual dream, the impulse that had been pushed out of the conscious mind was making a revolt in the subconscious. And every night there was a certain response to the stimulus, some assent or participation of the being. Last night I had two sensual dreams. In one there was a habitual routine-response. But in the other, all of a sudden a refusal came from the being, a spontaneous smiling refusal and I knew that the psychic had acted in a flash. With the flash I woke up and felt a release in the consciousness. A gate long shut had burst open. A tiny lamp of God had been lit in the unchartered chaos of the lower vital.

The morning did not appreciably differ from other mornings. Some aspiration was going on, but nothing unusual. Then I went to the Samadhi. There a strong opening took place. The psychic started flowing and flaming. This was like old times. This was what I had been hankering for. I went to the Pranam and the flow and the flame increased. They went on and on. They continued at the staircase, kept going in Sri Aurobindo’s room where I sat for 45 minutes. Right through the afternoon, right through the evening, an effortless joy and constant Godward intensity, a penetration into Sri Aurobindo’s being and into the Mother’s. I felt enveloped and embraced by their holy atmosphere. Within their consciousness I seemed to have made my home, though of course without sharing in their supreme light. I had nothing to do except attend to the automatic aspiration and natural drive towards the Divine. The attending brought them at once to a consecrated keenness. Here was a state of paradise indeed. Even if I were not in the midst of paradise I was definitely at its door and could take into myself both the glory of its blissful fire and the enchantment of its beautiful floweriness.

At Pranam the Mother said: “I think I have fixed your interview for tomorrow.” “That’s very good, Mother,” I said. “Thank you so much.”

At the staircase when she met me she said: “I’ll go and make sure about the date.” She went inside and consulted her diary. “Oui, c’est juste. Demain à six heures.” I fervently thanked her again. Today I didn’t kneel at her feet. I went down on my knees and hugged her legs. This gave somehow a closer and warmer contact.

It’s past eleven now at night. I am going to bed. A wonderful day! I have been broken open at last. May the breaking grow from more to more till I am one with the Mother’s Infinite!


Wednesday, 11th — For the first time in these days there was no dream at all with any sensual tinge in it.

The day was one of restfulness up to evening. I went to Mother after the Balcony Darshan. It was rather early. She came but when I went, after Pranab’s brother, she smiled and said: “I am here, but not officially.” She meant that she had not come to start the “staircase”. I stood a little puzzled, but quiet. She gave me a rose and a sweet. I did not go down to her feet — I showed that I was not doing what I would if she were there officially. I gave her my head to pat and she did the patting both playfully and vigorously. Then I told her what had been in my heart since the glorious yesterday. “Mother, I am extremely grateful to you.” She took it as referring to the fact that although she was there not officially she had received me. So she laughed and said: “Is it not so?”, meaning, “Is there not cause for gratitude?” I laughed, too, and remarked: “I don’t mean just for this. I mean also in general, for everything.” She again laughed. Then I went to Sri Aurobindo’s room. The Mother started the official staircase very late, at 12 almost. So, after Sri Aurobindo’s room, I had a long sit in the middle room — watching the Mother when she did come. She always calls Soli and Nirod last. When Soli went, she said: “I am seeing you tomorrow, am I not?” Soli replied: “No, you are seeing me on the 15th.” She went to consult her notebook and said: “This evening I am seeing Amal.”

After everything was finished I sat chatting with a friend. Suddenly after 20 minutes or so of chatting, I caught sight of the Mother and Pranab going out of the Mother’s room on the other side. I felt awfully ashamed. I made a resolve never to chat lightly outside Sri Aurobindo’s sacred room and within such easy earshot of the Mother. I went home feeling uncomfortable. I lay in bed that whole afternoon, relaxing and getting into a frame of mind in which such sacrilegious frivolity would be impossible. Throughout the afternoon I felt a strong pressure on the head and an increasing aspiration in the heart.

At 4:30 I went to the Samadhi — rather to watch the Mother go to tennis. I then followed her there, and sat with a happy flow from my heart to her all the time. At 5 o’clock I left and came to the Samadhi where I spent about half an hour of deep devotion to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I went from there to the Playground where my interview was to be at six. The Mother came a little late and said: “I have by mistake given some time to other people too.” I said: “That’s all right. How much time will you give me?” She looked at her watch and I at mine. It was 12 minutes past six. She said: “I give you till 6:30.” “Very well,” I said, “I’ll be short in my talk.”

I asked her first about Mina’s offer to work with me on Mother India. I said: “She has been helping me often, reading the typescripts while I check the proofs. But now she wants to make the work a regular part of her sadhana as an offering to you. She will also buy a typewriter. May I accept her as a co-worker?” The Mother looked interested when I said the above. To my question she answered: “Yes, you certainly may. But, you know, I intend to bring Mother India here. It will be printed from here at some time in the future. At that time, when you come to work here, Mina too will have to come here and work.”

After this I began to talk of my personal difficulties. I put before the Mother a map of my vital being so that she might work on it. I drew her attention again to the need in me for being poised not only in the psychic but also overhead. She agreed. “You must break through the lid and sit above. Have you had some experience of the Kundalini? It rises up and breaks through the lid. Not immediately, of course, but after passing through the other centres.” I said: “But can’t you break the lid from above?” “No,” she said, “that would simply crush your brain!” I told her how tired I was, working still with the mind. I said:” I feel as if my mind has made all the use of itself that it was capable of. Something new is now wanted. All the time in me is the desire to go beyond the mind. This desire interferes even with my creativity, for I am no more content to create with the mind. Please take me beyond.” She sat in thought a long while, looking high and far. I tried to receive inwardly the impact of her working. At the close of the interview I asked her: “Do you remember, Mother, that I once inquired whether the Supermind could transform us in spite of ourselves? You said: ‘Yes.’ That gave me a great deal of hope for myself.” She laughed. I continued: “I feel now that the decision I have taken is due to the Supermind’s descent in some way, its gripping the earth in a definite manner. Nothing else could have brought it about.” She sat silent for awhile, and then said: “Have you read Sri Aurobindo’s article, The Mind of Light?” I said I had. She went on: “This was the last thing he wrote, apart from some revisions of Savitri. Immediately after he gave up his body the Mind of Light got realised in me.”

The Mind of Light is, of course, a state in the descent and establishment of the Supermind on earth. It is not the Gnosis proper, but the mental Gnosis. So much, therefore, is at least fixed here in the Mother. Many other and greater things must be working in her — something of the direct Supermind, too, I am sure.

I finally told her how much love I had for her, and said: “But sometimes all that amount refuses to break through and come out.” She laughed. I added: “Oh please make it break through and come in all its fullness.”

I kissed her hand and she blessed me… After the distribution I attended the Prayer-class, now the Conversation-class since the “Prayers” are finished. Here, too, she discoursed on the various centres of the being and on the rising of the Kundalini. One felt that she was not just stating things: every phrase of the description was as if lived through by her or attempted to be vivified by her in us. She spoke in French but I understood everything.

After the Playground activities the Garage Darshan and then home.

My new life in the Ashram seems to have begun.


Thursday, 12th — Again a clear night, but a somewhat neutral day. No exaltations or ecstasies, yet once more I feel that this has been a day of assimilation and preparation. The Mother’s face seemed a mirror of things behind my surface consciousness. I saw the same kind of lingering look and steady smile as on Monday. So I’m full of expectation and look forward towards tomorrow. With the approach of evening and night, some little foretaste came already.

From the talk I had with the Mother at the staircase, I feel absolutely certain that I shall be called here again in April to do the special University Number of Mother India from the Ashram Press.

How I long to be in the Ashram for good! But everything is in the Mother’s hands and also depends on Sehra’s co-operation and glad acceptance to share in the Ashram life and Ashram work.

Only two days before me, and then not adieu but au revoir. I’m sure Soli will greatly miss the pleasant and varied talks that he and I have been having on matters philosophical and spiritual.

As he is one of the architects designing and building the Mother’s new room, I have asked him to show it to me. He said he would be most happy to do so, if the Mother permitted. He’ll ask her tomorrow.


Friday, 13th — I was right. Mind and heart again broke open. Nothing very spectacular — but a soft ceaseless receptivity, a quiet inner blessedness. It grew more intense before and during Pranam and while I was upstairs — especially when I was in Sri Aurobindo’s room.

The afternoon seemed somewhat wasted because all the time the call was for drawing in, yet I had work in hand which required the mind to be active and questful.

In the evening the intensity returned to some extent and the sense of blessedness came to a finer focus than during the afternoon.

I have a feeling that tonight will be the most beautiful of all the nights.

Last night some part of the lower vital seemed to get worked out, exhausted, and then rejected from the system, leaving the system freer and fresher.

P.S. There was one little disappointment this morning. The Mother did not like the idea of Soli taking me to her new room. The fact is that nobody is taken there — even Nolini and Amrita haven’t seen it. Only those who are strictly concerned with the work are allowed. Although disappointed I wasn’t at all depressed. I perfectly understood the situation and saw the Mother’s viewpoint.

Saturday, 14th (2 p.m.) — A pleasant day. Told the Mother on the staircase: “Do you remember the awful thing that is going to happen this evening?” She opened her eyes wide and said: “What?” I replied: “I am going away!”

“Dramatist!” she exclaimed and smiled.

Had an enjoyable but not quite quiet time in Sri Aurobindo’s room. Knelt before his chair and offered myself, heart and soul, to him.

My roots are here. May the flower and fruit be here also! Bombay has no pull for me. The only gladness I feel in going there is really because of just one heart and face.

Mother India, June 1975; March 1975.

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