www.newstodaynet.com Sunday, 24 February, 2008 Home Nation Special Report
Flower that bloomed this day, years ago
The Matri Mandir set in an area of 62 acres reflects the Mother’s spiritual beliefs (Inset Annai)
G Ramanarayanan Thu, 21 Feb, 2008,01:25 PM
Thousands of devotees flocked to Annai Ashram at Puducherry on her 130th birth anniversary today.
At Auroville Matri Mandir where the huge golden spiritual structure is being put up - a congregation dhyana mandir which is so designed that the sun’s rays converge at a point and fall on to the mudra at the centre - was the destination of one and all. .
One religion, one people is the concept preached by the Mother. No difference in humanity is the Divine Mother’s religion. Sri Aurobindo, her spiritual guru, from whom she learned the nuances of yoga - the foremost the Kundalini yoga (mother of yoga).
The Mother - Annai was born in Paris on 21 February 1878. Her house was at the boulevard Haussmann near the Opera. Her dad, Maurice Alfassa, was a Turkish banker from Adrianople, whilst her mom, Mathilde Ismaloun, came from Cairo.
The Mother was thus of Turkish-Egyptian descent, a fact which is significant in so far as these two countries are on the threshold between West and East.
It became evident later that the Mother came to know how to bring together these two worlds in a happy combination of ideas into a complex.
She was given the name Mirra and grew up in Paris where she was to spend the early part of her life. Her parents had moved to France a year before her birth and stayed put there.
Even in her tender age Mirra became conscious of her special purpose of life, her mission on earth: ‘I started contemplating or doing my yoga from the age of four. There was a small chair for me on which I used to sit still, engrossed in my meditation.
'A very brilliant light would then descend over my head and produce some turmoil inside my brain. Of course I understood nothing, it was not the age for understanding.
'But gradually I began to feel, I shall have to do some tremendously great work that nobody yet knows.’ (Utterances of the Mother on self which have been remembered and recorded by her disciples).’
After some years, the Mother married Paul Richard, a well-known and well-read philosopher who was keenly interested in Eastern and Western spiritual life as well as Vedantic yoga.
He had also political plans and so in 1910, in connection with an election campaign, he came to Puducherry, which was at that time part of French India.
He also wanted to consult an advanced yogi and therefore went to see Sri Aurobindo who was in exile outside British India.
Here it is to be noted that Sri Aurobindo’s life, which was later to merge more and more with that of the Mother.
Sri Aurobindo was born in Kolkata on 15 August 1872. He went to England for education along with his two brothers. Sri Aurobindo spent fourteen years in that country. He first stayed with an English family at Manchester, then he joined St Paul’s School in London and later studied at King’s College in Cambridge. He passed the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, but got himself disqualified by not appearing himself at the riding examination.
By then the Mother was back to Puducherry, in India, the small town in the South-East where Sri Aurobindo had been pursuing his integral yoga-path from 1910. Her return was now for sure and she never again left India, the country of her choice. Her relationship with Paul Richard was at this stage coming to a breaking-point since she could follow her destiny now and establish an ever closer spiritual collaboration with Sri Aurobindo. It was probably clear to Paul that the Mother was now completely giving herself to Sri Aurobindo and that there was a kind of collaboration and development in their relationship which he could not follow any more.
He could recognise Sri Aurobindo as a great yogi and sage, but he did not want to become his disciple and may have tried also to draw the Mother away from him. But this effort was bound to fail and so he left Puducherry.
The Mother had foreseen this development in a significant vision which Sri Aurobindo once related to a disciple: ‘The Mother (Mirra), Richard and I were going somewhere. We saw Richard going down to a place from which rising was impossible,
'Then we found ourselves sitting in a carriage the driver of which was taking it up and down a hill a number of times, At last he stopped on the highest peak. Its significance was quite clear to us.’
And so it was to others who follow the path on which the Mother who left a trail years ago.