Mirra Alfassa - "The Mother" of The Ashram

"The Mother" of The Ashram

On 24 November 1926 (Siddhi Day) Sri Aurobindo reported himself to have had an important realisation which would open the path for bringing down the Supramental consciousness on earth.

This was also the official founding of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. At the time there were no more than 24 disciples in the Ashram (ibid pp. 233–4).

In December of that year, Sri Aurobindo decided to withdraw from public view. At this point he identified Mother with the Divine Mother, and instructed his followers to do the same. He informed his disciples that henceforth Mother would take full charge of the Ashram and he would live in retirement. Mother later said that Sri Aurobindo had not consulted her prior to the declaration nor did he inform her of his intention, but that she had heard the news for the first time along with the disciples (Karmayogi no date).

Sri Aurobindo considered Mother to be an Avatar (incarnation) of the Supreme Shakti. In 1927 he wrote:

The One whom we adore as the Mother is the Divine Conscious Force that dominates all existence, one and yet many-sided that to follow Her movement is impossible even for the quickest mind and for the freest and most vast intelligence.
The Mother p.19.

Sri Aurobindo's letters and instructions to his disciples taught the path of spiritual surrender through devotion to Mother; a form of Bhakti Yoga.

In 1927, Sri Aurobindo and Mother moved to Rue François Martin, where they stayed for the remainder of their lives (The Mother – Some dates).

In the early years, Mother appeared on the Ashram balcony to initiate the day with her blessings. She would also meet the heads of the various departments of the growing Ashram every morning, and then the sadhaks individually. Once again, in the evening at 5:30 pm, she conducted meditation and met sadhaks.

In 1938 Margaret Woodrow Wilson, the daughter of US President Woodrow Wilson, came to the Ashram and chose to remain there for the rest of her life.

Henry Ford had also heard of Mother and wanted to meet her. On the eve of his departure, World War II broke out and prevented his coming to India.

During the war, Sri Aurobindo and Mother declared their support of the Allies. They said that victory of the Nazis would have been a disaster for the spiritual work, and professed to have participated in world history, changing the course of World War II by working on the subtle levels (e.g. Purani 1982 p. 746, Reddy 2000, Van Vrekhem 2001).

Through letters, Mother had remained in contact with her son Andre Morisset ever since leaving for Japan. In this way she kept him apprised of the development of the Ashram and her and Sri Aurobindo's sadhana. He became increasingly interested, but was prevented from visiting by the outbreak of World War II. In 1949 he finally arrived at Pondicherry.

The first issue of the Bulletin of Physical Education was published in 1949. In 1951, as a tribute to Sri Aurobindo's conception of pedagogy, she founded the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education: for children who had come to the Ashram with their parents during World War II seeking shelter. Then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru did all he could to concretise his appreciation of Mother's efforts in this field.

Mother was encouraged by Sri Aurobindo to wear saris and she had in her collection of about 500, offered by devotees. When she was offered 100,000 rupees for one, she called the devotees and distributed or sold them (along with her ornaments) to raise funds for the Ashram during the financially difficult years following the Master's death.

She considered flowers with spiritual significance, and gave names to about 800 different types, according to the spiritual quality they convey (Flowers and Their Messages, Flowers and their Spiritual Significance). These would be presented to disciples, as a vehicle for conveying her blessings and grace.

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