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Mirra Alfassa – The Mother (1878-1973)

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Mirra Alfassa – The Mother (1878-1973)

The Mother - at Auroville

Photo by Subhamoy Das

About The Mother:

“I belong to no nation, no civilization, no society, no race, but to the Divine. I obey no master, no ruler, no law, no social convention, but the Divine…” ~ The Mother

Mirra Alfassa or ‘The Mother’ of Auroville was the spiritual collaborator and companion of Sri Aurobindo, the great Hindu sage, seer, scholar, poet, patriot and guru. She was prolific writer, artist, and musician, and founder of the spiritual city of the future – Auroville in Pondicherry, India.

Early Life of The Mother:

The Mother’s real name was Blanche Rachel Miriam Alfassa and she was born on February 21, 1878 to her Egyptian mother and Turkish father settled in Paris, France. Even as a student her interest lied in occultism and spiritual development, which led her to form a group of spiritual seekers. In the Mother’s own words, “Between eleven and thirteen a series of psychic and spiritual experiences revealed to me not only the existence of God but man's possibility of uniting with Him, of realizing Him integrally in a life divine".

The Mother Meets Sri Aurobindo:

At the age of 36, in 1914, the Mother came to Pondicherry to meet Sri Aurobindo, who went on to become the center point of her life going forward. She herself wrote in her memoir, “The moment I saw Sri Aurobindo, I knew it was he who had come to do the work on earth and that it was with him I was to work.” On February 21, 1915, the Mother’s birthday was celebrated for the first time in Pondicherry, and the following day she went back to France mainly owing to the outbreak for World War I.

The Mother Settles in Pondicherry:

A year later, she visited Japan for four years during which time she met the Hindu Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. The Mother returned to Pondicherry in 1920 never to go back again. She recounts, “when I began with Sri Aurobindo to descend for the yoga … when we brought down our yoga from the mind into the vital, within one month – I was forty at that time … I looked exactly eighteen.” Sri Aurobindo recognized in her “an embodiment of the dynamic expressive aspect of evolutionary, creative Force … the 'Supreme Mother'.”

The Mother and the Aurobindo Ashram:

On November 24, 1926, when Sri Aurobindo retired into seclusion in 1926, she founded Sri Aurobindo Ashram along with a two dozen other disciples of Aurobindo and became the spiritual benefactor of the growing community. The Mother remained its inspirer, director and guide for nearly 50 years to build the Ashram into a huge, many-faceted spiritual community.

The Mother Launches Center of Education:

In 1952, two year after the master passed away, she founded the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education to fulfill “one of Sri Aurobindo’s most cherished ideals” - to usher in a new era of education for the youth of India. “Hundreds of students from around the world study here, shaping in their progress the cultural and spiritual unity of mankind, creating the basis of the new world.”

The Mother Becomes an Indian Citizen:

On India’s Independence Day, August 15, 1954, The Mother made a declaration. “I want to mark this day by the expression of a long cherished wish; that of becoming an Indian citizen. From the first time I came to India … I felt that India is my true country, the country of my soul and spirit … I hope I shall be allowed to adopt a double nationality, that is to say, to remain French while I become an Indian … I am French by birth and early education, I am Indian by choice and predilection. In my consciousness there is no antagonism between the two, on the contrary, they combine very well and complete one another…”

The Mother Founds Auroville:

On February 28, 1968, the Mother founded an international township in the outskirts of Pondicherry called ‘Auroville – the City of Dawn,’ named after her master Sri Aurobindo. “In its foundation urn is mixed the soil of about a hundred and twenty countries of the world and the soil of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the soil of Auroville. Its Charter lays down one condition: “To live in it one must be a willing survitor of the Divine Consciousness.” This is but one center of the radiation of Sri Aurobindo’s power and world-vision.”

The Mother’s Oneness with Sri Aurobindo:

The Mother continued Sri Aurobindo’s work of psychological and physical transformation. Both of them dedicated their lives for the manifestation of “a mode of consciousness beyond mind, which Sri Aurobindo named ‘Supermind’ or ‘The Supramental’.” The Mother's Agenda recount her experience of the last 18 years of her life.

In 1957, the Mother wrote, “Sri Aurobindo and myself are one and the same consciousness, one and the same person. Only, when this force or this presence, which is the same, passes through your individual consciousness, it puts on a form, an appearance which differs according to your temperament, your aspiration, your need, the particular turn of your being.”

On November 17, 1973, the Mother left her earthly body which was placed in the courtyard of the Ashram where Sri Aurobindo's body lay since 1950.

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