Mother's high inner realization and spiritual radiance oon attracted
towards her many seekers. In 1906 a small group was formed under
her guidance, which was named Idea.They met regularly on
Wednesday evenings at her house, first 1 rue Lemercier, later
in rue des Levis and after 1910 in rue tal de Grace. Apart from
spiritual topics they also discussed occult experiences. The Mother
herself had many occult experiences, but she never made them an
end in themselves: hey were strictly subordinated to her main
object, spiritual realization and manifestation. The following
quotation clarifies her attitude towards the occult: "Occult
knowledge without spiritual discipline is a dangerous instrument,
for the me who uses it as for others, if it falls into impure
hands. Spiritual knowledge without occult science lacks precision
and certainty in its objective results; it is all-powerful only
in the objective world. The two, when combined in inner or outer
action, are irresistible and are fit instruments for the manifestation
of the supramental power. "
The Mother once had an experience in Paris which illusrates
how powerful the inner protective wall can be if spiritual discipline
is combined with occult knowledge. Once when she was walking in
the Luxembourg Gardens and crossing a dangerous intersection,
while being absorbed in deep inner concentration, she suddenly
received a kind of blow and jumped back instinctively. The next
moment a tram passed by . It was the tram that I had felt at a
little more than arm's ength. It had touched the aura, the aura
of protection -it was very strong at that time, I was deeply immersed
in occultism and I knew how to keep it- the aura of protection
had been hit and that had literally thrown me backwards, as if
I had received a physical shock.
Mother's natural disposition for occult experiences was at a later
stage perfected by systematic training. Some time between 1905
and 1906 she met in Paris Max Theon, a Polish Jew who was highly
advanced in occultism. He had a house in Tlemcen in South Algeria,
at the border of the Sahara. His wife Alma too was a highly gifted
occultist. She was from the Isle of Wight. The Mother spent one
or two years in Tlemcen and had a great number of experiences
of which only a small fraction have been recorded. Some of them
seem rather incredible, and yet they become authentic by the very
fact that the Mother herself relates them, because her attitude
towards 'miracles' was very conservative and she had no interest
in the sensational. Nevertheless, she told her students some amazing
incidents in her own life as well as experiences of Madame Theon,
perhaps in order to illustrate that there are indeed more things
in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. Thus
we are told ( the Mother herself was personally present in the
following incident) that once an Arab merchant was repeatedly
bothering Madame Theon with inquisitive questions. Then on one
occasion she filled the table at which he was sitting with occult
force. The table started moving, attacked the merchant and drove
him away. Another time Madame Theon demonstrated to the Mother
how she was recharging herself with energy: she lay down on her
bed and held a large juicy grapefruit on her solar plexus. She
asked the Mother to return after an hour. " An hour later
I returned. ..and the grapefruit was as flat as a pancake. That
meant that she had such a power to absorb vitality that she had
absorbed all the life from the fruit and it had become soft and
completely flat. And I saw that myself. "
Madame Theon also told the
Mother an amusing incident which had happened a few years earlier
and seems as if taken directly from a book of fairy-tales. The
administrator of Tlemcen had ordered pine trees to be planted
on the surrounding hills to prevent the river from drying up.
But due to some inexplicable mistake fir trees were ordered instead
of pine trees and they were planted on the hills. As is well known,
fir trees belong to the Nordic countries and hardly fit into the
landscape of the Sahara. Then one night Madame Theon had a strange
experience. A little gnome appeared in her room, with a pointed
cap, dark green shoes and a long white beard. He 'was all covered
with snow. With the snow melting and forming a small lake on the
floor, Madame Theon looked at the guest from the book of fairy-tales
and asked him: "But what are you doing here?" The gnome
answered: "But we were called by the fir trees! Fir trees
call the snow. They are trees of the snow countries. I am the
Lord of the snow, so I came to announce to you that we are coming.
We have been called, we are coming." Madame Theon finally
sent him away to avoid further damage to the floor. The next morning,
when the sun was rising, she saw the mountains covered with snow.
That had never before happened in this country .
The Mother devoted herself intensively to her occult
studies and had no difficulty to bear the enormous heat at the
border of the Sahara. Once when around noon she was meditating
under an olive tree, she suddenly felt uneasy and opened her eyes.
Just a few cubits in front of her a hissing cobra was standing
with expanded hood. It was a naga whose poison kills instantly.
The Mother realized that she was probably blocking the cobra's
retreat in the tree. She concentrated with all her will-power
and looked at the snake, without moving. Then she slowly drew
away her legs, even while keeping her look fixed on the naga.
At last the snake yielded, turned round and jumped into a
pond. Later in her life the Mother had many such encounters with
snakes and she always urged them through mere will-power to leave.
the Mother left Tlemcen after the completion of her training,
Max Theon accompanied her on the journey, since he wanted to travel
through Europe. On the Mediterranean their ship got into a heavy
storm and there was the apprehension of a catastrophe. Then Theon
asked the Mother to go and stop it. She withdrew into her cabin,
concentrated for a while and went out of her body. On the open
sea she found some small vital entities which had caused the havoc.
She talked to them for half an hour and finally managed to persuade
them to stop their mischief and leave the scene. When she returned
on deck, she saw that the storm had subsided.
One of the members of the Mother's study group in
Paris was a well-known Tibetologist, Madame Alexandra David-Neel.
She once spoke in an interview about those early days with the
"We spent marvellous evenings together
with friends, believing in a great future. ..I remember her elegance,
her accomplishments, her intellect endowed with mystical tendencies.
"In spite of her great love and sweetness,
in spite even of her inherent ease of making herself forgotten
after achieving some noble deed, she couldn't manage to hide very
well the tremendous force she bore within herself. "
In 1912 the Mother was conducting a study group with
twelve members, which was named 'Cosmique'. She distributed among
them translations of Indian scriptures such as the Gita, Upanishads
or Yoga-Sutras, and she introduced her European friends to Eastern
spirituality. One of her stories which were read out in the group
was the following instructive parable: The
Virtues, who are usually dispersed throughout the worlds,
meet in the Hall of Intelligence within the precincts of the palace
of Truth. There is Sincerity with a "'Cube of the purest
Crystal through which things could be seen as they were",
and many other guests who have already gathered, among them Humility
, Courage, Prudence, Charity, Justice, Kindness and Patience.
Last comes a guest who seems , to be a stranger to the assembled
was, indeed, very young and frail, dressed in a white robe, very
simple, almost poor. She came forward a few steps with a timid,
embarassed air. Then, obviously at a loss on finding herself in
the midst of such a crowded and brilliant company, she stopped,
not knowing towards whom to go. " At last Prudence turns
towards the shy guest and asks her for her credentials. The unrecognized
Virtue answers with a sign " Alas! I am not astonished that
I seem a foreigner in this palace. I am so seldom invited anywhere.
My name is Gratitude. "
for the first meeting of the members of 'Cosmique' had been:
"What is the aim to be achieved, the work to be done, the
means of achievement?"
And the Mother had answered in a short paper:
"The general aim to be achieved is the advent of a progressive
universal harmony. "
She further refers to "states of being which have so far
never been conscious in man" and mentions in connection with
the earth, "several sources of universal force which are
yet sealed to it. "
These are her first pointers to the new Truth-Consciousness which
Sri Aurobindo called 'Supermind'. And she says, at the end ofher
paper, that it was the aim "collectively, to found the ideal
society in a place suited to the flowering of the new race, that
of the 'Sons of God'."
Two years before
her first meeting with Sri Aurobindo
in Pondicherry , the Mother had already summarized in this paper
the program of her subsequent collaboration with him.
More Details see :
extracts and quotations from the written works of Sri Aurobindo
and the Mother and the Photographs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo
are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry -605002