are a few anecdotes collected from the reminiscences
of those who had the privilege of being close to the
Mother and seeing her with children.
anecdotes reveal not only the Mother’s deep love for
them but also her unique way of looking at a situation
so that nothing remains trivial and all is suffused
with a deeper significance.
True Value of a Person
I was helping to look after one of the first boardings
which was started by the Mother. One day, during dinner,
one of the boys proclaimed very proudly that his father
always travelled in style, only ‘first class.’ I told
the Mother about this the following day. The Mother
asked me what had been my response.I replied that
I had simply ignored it. But she said that I ought
not to have done that and added that, when the opportunity
arose, I should call the children together and explain
to them that worldly wealth is of no importance; only
the wealth that has been offered to the Divine has
a value. You do not become big by living in big houses,
travelling by first class and spending money lavishly.
You increase irt stature only by being truthful, sincere,
obedient, grateful and by serving the Divine.
Importance of Work
some coconuts were being distributed in the Ashram.
The mother of a young girl had not come. But when
the girl was asked to carry it, she refused saying
that she felt shy to carry a coconut on the road.
When I informed the Mother of this incident she said
that all children should be encouraged to take up
some work as part of their education so that they
could overcome such reactions and realise the true
value of work. I was asked to organise immediately
this activity. It evoked an enthusiastic response
from the children, specially when they realised how
happy the Mother was to see them work.
cannot be sold
the Ashram was in a tight financial situation. Some
disciples pointed out that we were giving free education
to so many children and spending large sums of money
on them. Many of the children were from well-to-do
families and no one would mind if we fixed a nominal
fee for the education provided. On the other hand,
it would help the Ashram considerably. The Mother
replied in a serious tone that in India education
had never been sold and she would not do it. The question
was never raised again.
Hints for the Parents
I was looking after some children in a boarding and
the Mother always took interest in all the aspects
of the children’s lives. On different occasions she
told us the following:
a) To wake a sleeping child, one should not call him
loudly by his name or touch his body. Instead, one
should gently and softly call him.
It is very important to teach the children to sleep
and eat at a fixed time. While eating, the children
should be encouraged to feel what are the needs of
the body rather than to be led by taste. If some children
like to over-eat they need not be refused but they
should be given a smaller helping from the beginning.
Nothing should be imposed on the children. They may
be made to do what one will by explaining to them
in the proper way, but never by compulsion.
Newspaper and the Sweets
the early days of my association with the Mother,
I once took to Her a big basket of sweets from Delhi
for my children.
Mother opened the basket and saw that the sweets were
wrapped in newspaper. She, immediately called someone
standing close to Her, handed over the basket and
asked him to throw it away. She said. “You see, the
sweets packed in newspapers cannot be given to children
for eating. The inks with which the newspapers are
printed are poisonous. And newspapers are always dirty.
“ I realised how particular the Mother was with things
concerning the children. I also felt that when my
children were bathed in the Mother’s love and sweetness
where was the need of sweets from Delhi.
Mother- Human and Divine
My child P.
had been admitted to the children’s boarding in the
Ashram. One morning I was going home from the Ashram
and P. was following me on the road. I heard a loud
scream. I turned and saw that he had fallen and hurt
himself. There was a deep cut on his forehead. His
clothes, were bloodstained. I ran to lift him up and
take him home but before I could do that he had got
up crying and instead of coming towards me started
running in the opposite direction. I was surprised.
I ran after him, I called him several times, but he
would not hear and went back into the Ashram. I kept
calling him but he would not hear and ran even faster.
I had also to run after him. He went straight up the
staircase and reached the Mother. I was astonished
that instead of coming to me he ran back that distance
to reach the Mother. The Mother held him and asked,
“Mon Petit, what happened?” He was hardly three and
so he could not converse with the Mother either in
English or in French. He just fell down again on the
floor before the Mother, gesturing that this is what
had happened. Although he was still bleeding he had
stopped crying now because he wanted to explain to
the Mother exactly what had happened. Mother went
in and brought Her First Aid box, washed his forehead
with spirit, bandaged it nicely and showered him with
love. She also gave him some ‘Sweets’ and sent him
home with me. I was amazed to see the beauty of Divine
Love becoming human.
Mother was very fond of games of skill. She once told
me that we should introduce games where fine skill
was required. To show us the importance of developing
this skill she asked each of us in turn to lift the
cover of a crystal i bowl and replace it without making
the slightest sound. We all tried, but it was Mother
who replaced it without the least sound. I told Mother
that we had already introduced some games of skill
for children, at the Library of Physical Education.
She seemed pleased to hear it. Whenever people brought
Her games of skill. She would give them to us. We
soon had a little corner all to ourselves where we
kept all these games. We played “fiddlestix”, “flying
hats”, etc. but most of all we played “Jonches”, a
Japanese game which was Mother’s favourite. Jonches
was played with fine match-like sticks. These were
either collected together in the hand, and released
all together, or to make the game more difficult,
they were arranged one on top of the other. Each player
in turn had to pick up as many sticks as he could
without moving any other stick. If any stick, other
than the one being lifted moved, the player lost his
turn. The one with the maximum number of sticks was
the winner. Mother was so fond of this game, that
She would come and join us whenever She could spare
a little time. She would sit down on the carpet and
play with us. Later, a little table was provided for
us and when Mother came to play, there was a small
stool for Her to sit on.
the Mother in Yoga
the fifties the Mother took French classes for the
children. During one of these Friday evening classes
in the Playground one of the children asked the Mother:
“What can we do to help you. Mother, in the Yoga?”
There was general laughter. But Mother was quite serious,
and after some time She said very simply:
there was laughter and the child said: “But Mother
we are always happy.” The Mother continued, “Yes,
that is good because when you are happy here it means
you are on the right path - but immediately you feel
uneasy or not so happy, it means there is something
wrong which you have to attend to - something wrong
with you which you have to correct.”