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   How the Birthday Cards Started in Ashram -Champaklal


I do not remember when these cards were started. Children used to receive flowers from Mother whenever they came to her. They would be given extra flowers on their birthdays. On such days she started giving roses.
    I always had a liking for children who were open to Mother, whether I knew them personally or not. I wanted to give something on their birthdays to make them specially happy, something which they would learn to value when they grew up; but I wanted that my present should be associated with Mother or Sri Aurobindo. So I began to paint flowers and asked Mother to write the name of the person and blessings on the painting, so that the card became priceless. She would write the name, blessings and the date, or maybe only blessings, though on birthdays she usually wrote the name. I would present these cards even on nonbirthdays to the children of visitors coming from outside. I used to give my card in Mother's hand and Mother would write on the card in the presence of the child so that the child would remain for more time in the presence of Mother. Some children used to put both their hands on Mother's feet and look at Mother so expressively during the time she was writing, that it was a very interesting sight. On some occasions, when I did not give a card, Mother had asked: "Champaklal, you have nothing for this child?" That made me feel bad, and I started making cards for all the children. Mother was very happy about it. The same thing started with adults also; but I was not painting for everybody; pictures or prints of Mother and Sri Aurobindo were used.
    When people learnt that the Mother was using folders for this purpose they started preparing them and offering to the Mother. Mother would remark: pretty; very pretty; excellent; beautiful; wonderful. Sometimes she would say that they were useless, quite useless, and would give them to me for covering them up. I would do the needful and take them back to her.
    When some wrote to Mother enclosing their letters in fine envelopes she would ask me to cover the name (Mother) written upon it so that the envelope could be used again. In the beginning I had hesitation to cover Mother's name. But Mother wanted it to be done and I did it. Of course, not all the envelopes were beautiful. I still have many of them.
    While writing to people she would either choose the folders from her own collection or ask from me, adding which photo it had to have. Maybe she was particular that it should not be her own photo. At times she would say that the person could not read and so she asked me to give beautiful flowers or landscapes or birds and so on. Occasionally she would give me a memo in advance for special folders for the birthdays of certain people, even six months earlier in some cases. And when the cards were prepared she would always express her happiness. She would also ask for some quotation- "encouraging", "strong", "aspiring". She would ask for a few quotations and would choose one herself. Rarely would she write out a new message.
    It is interesting to know what the Mother once said about these cards. She said that sometimes the card would speak the name of the person to whom it was to go!

Sri aurobindo

All 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 India