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.
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
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!