Monday, September 25, 2006

The Gnostic Centre

click here for ongoing & upcoming courses in which you can participate
Foundation Course for Facilitators
After a two month break, we had a collective session on Sunday, 2nd July, followed by a final session on Tuesday, 18th July. The focus now is on finalising the dissertations, for which the first drafts have been submitted to the facilitator, and individual sessions fixed up to receive detailed feedback. The dissertations will be handed in by end July. From 12th to 16th August, the entire group will spend time in Nainital (at Sri Aurobindo Ashram-Delhi branch’s Himalayan centre), along with the facilitator and two external examiners (Dr. Debashish Banerji and Dr. Kavita Sharma). During this time the students will make verbal presentations on their projects and a viva towards final evaluation will be held. The students will also design workshops/courses that they will offer in the coming months through the Gnostic Centre - putting into action whatever they have imbibed from this year long course, as facilitators.
Ameeta Mehra
15th August 2005 to 15th August 2006

Self-Awareness Intensive
After the Self-Awareness Intensive for some of Vimhans faculty, The Gnostic Centre held another 2-day intensive for a group of 32 outstation postgraduate Psychology students who had come to Vimhans for a 5 week practicum in clinical psychology.

The conceptual and experiential inputs on inwardising the consciousness, understanding the parts of the being, the various modes of consciousness that we operate from and the impact on our behaviour, interactions, work, etc., were taken up during the first half of Saturday.

This was followed by the students identifying areas of their own interest for further work, so that the learning became practical and applicable:
Indian Psychology and its approach to therapy
Emotional Insecurity
Emotinal Instability
Balancing Social & Career Concerns
Spirituality & Self-confidence
Procastination & Laziness
Anxiety & Anger, Aggression
Conflicts of Values & Impact on Behaviour
The following day, after a morning of reading, reflection, discussion, the students presented the main points in sub-groups. This part of the intensive helped to make the learning very personal and real for each one of them.

Resource person: Aditi
24th & 25th June
Intensive for Vimhans for postgraduate students of Psychology from different educational institutes of north India
Generating Pure Energy & Consciousness in the Body
The two days were spent largely in learning and practising the various asanas and pranayamas for the purification of the body through various pranas - the physical, the five vital pranas, the mental and the emotional prana. The workshop included a session on healing as well.
Swami Vidyanand

Resource person: Anuradha
8th & 9th July
Workshop (Hathyoga, Pranayama, Mantra & Dhyana)
The Life Divine
(a book by Sri Aurobindo)
Ameeta Mehra
Saturdays, 9-10am
Study Circle

Matrubihar, Sundargrh, Orissa

NAME OF THE CENTRE Matrubihar, Sundargarh
+ + +

Date of Installation : 13th February, 1999 at 4.30 PM
Installed by : Prof. Chhotte Narayan Sharma

Monday, September 18, 2006

Interview with Gauri Pinto

Teacher in the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education by Anie Nunnally
My return visit to Fenetres on Rue St. Gilles in Pondicherry, home of the Pinto family, found me again being greeted at the door by the furry likes of Starry, Jackie-Boy, Cutie, Tina, Brownie, Radha, and other of Gauri Pinto’s numerous cats and dogs that she nurtures back to health so assiduously after rescuing them from the streets of Pondicherry. As we began our interview, Gauri served my favorite drink, Power Syrup, made in the Ashram. It is a blend of the essences of the hibiscus flower and roses diluted in water. The drink was introduced to me in 1968 by the Pinto family. It is a most refreshing, cooling drink in the tropics.
Our initial conversation centered around the rather violent cyclone that had just touched down in Pondicherry a few days prior to my arrival. My first rickshaw ride through the Government Park was startling; it looked like a war zone. All the leaves on the trees appeared to have been burned. Most trees were barren and empty of greenery, rendering the heat from the scorching sun all the more intense. Limbs were down everywhere and trees had toppled into the walls surrounding the governor’s mansion as well as onto other buildings and houses.
Leaves, limbs, and branches were burning on the corners of the streets, filling the air with a billowing, acrid, choking cloud of smoke. Gauri said that the winds had been so powerful that all the moisture had been drawn from the leaves. The Ashram lost almost all of its “Transformation” trees. The winds, reaching up to 100 miles per hour, had churned up the waves from the Bay of Bengal with such force that stones had been sent hurling from the retaining wall clear across the beach boulevard as though a battle had been launched. That road had to be closed off to traffic and pedestrians for more than eight hours. It was the worst storm to hit the area in thirty years. Ashramites spoke of the Kali Yuga in connection with the cyclone.
Gauri told me that she was born Judy Ann Pinto on 16 November 1937 to Mona and Laurence (Udar) Pinto. They had just had their first darshan of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo a few months earlier. The Mother had requested that the baby should be born in the hospital in Bangalore where Udar’s aunt was a doctor, as there were no good hospitals in Pondicherry at that time.
After six weeks in Bangalore, she was brought home to Pondicherry, but was fragile and prone to sickness. There was much concern over the new baby’s health, as she was not taking her food properly and was underweight. She did not sleep well during the night and kept her parents awake and concerned. Doctors were consulted and Udar and Mona entered into correspondence with the Mother regarding the matter.
When she was about two months old, Udar wrote asking if he could bring her to the Mother. The Mother replied, “I do not find it prudent, still, to bring the child into the Ashram atmosphere. It is better to wait one year more.” This practice actually became a rule in the Ashram. Babies and infants were not allowed to go, as they could easily feel and absorb the power and could not support the force.
Gauri showed me a large envelope filled with correspondence that had been sent to the Mother seeking advice and help in connection with her eating problem. In many instances Sri Aurobindo would answer, as the Mother was so busy organizing the Ashram. In answer to one letter Sri Aurobindo replied, “Have you tried Horlick’s Malted Milk Powder?”! (Horlick’s is a British product that is popular in India.)
In another letter, Mona stated that the doctor advised that the baby be starve-fed. This meant withdrawing the feedings until she became really hungry and on a settled schedule. Sri Aurobindo responded, “The Mother does not approve of starve-feeding the child.” This correspondence was so very touching—here was the avatar, Sri Aurobindo, who brought down The Life Divine and Savitri, giving out loving advice for a little baby who wouldn’t eat! A. B. Purani, a close friend of the family, also became involved and offered his parental advice and wisdom on childcare.
Eventually her eating habits normalized and she gained the proper weight. Gauri told me that Ambu, the late Ashram hatha yoga teacher (to whom the Mother addressed her letters, “To My Faithful Baby”), was her nanny!
“Ambu looked after me, gave me oil baths, fed me and took me for walks while my parents worked for the Mother,” Gauri said. She added that she was surrounded by so many Tamil amahs (maidservants) from the beginning that she learned very early in her childhood how to speak the Tamil language fluently.
Early memories
Anie: What was your earliest recollection of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo? What were you told about the Mother in early childhood and when did you realize she was someone special, not like everyone else?
Gauri: When we used to go for the balcony darshans when I was still very small, I would say “Big Mama is coming, Big Mama is coming.” I was brought up essentially with no religion. I was very close to nature and animals. When I thought of God, I saw Sri Aurobindo’s image. Also, I did not think of the Mother as a human being. It wasn’t planned out for me that she would appear as a Goddess, but that’s how it was in actuality. The Mother told my mother that I was a very old soul.
When we would go up to see Mother on darshan days, she was like a mother to all of us. She taught us children so much. We would sit down before her and she would pet us on the head. We would go to the Mother and have lunch with her. The queues were long waiting to see Sri Aurobindo. We would see him four times a year. I saw him up to the age of thirteen, at which time he left his body in 1950. He was for me the personification of compassion. There was always so much light around him. I always saw this light around him and a loving, compassionate smile on his face.
Once I was bitten in the face by a dog and became frightened of all dogs after that experience. My father’s aunt came to visit and felt it was not good for me to be so afraid of dogs. On her next visit, she brought me a Dalmatian puppy. I was so scared that I jumped on the table to get away from it, but eventually I grew to love it. The Mother named the dog “Spotted Beauty.”
When it was time for Spotted Beauty to be mated, the Mother arranged for the dog to go to “visit” her friend, Madame Baron, the wife of the French governor of Pondicherry. They had a male Dalmatian, so Spotted Beauty went to live in the governor’s mansion! She gave birth to a litter of seven pups. I took them to the Mother and she was so charmed by the dogs that she took all seven into Sri Aurobindo’s room. He did not touch them but watched them run about. One pup, however, went and sat at Sri Aurobindo’s feet and stared up at him with a transfixed expression. Mother said, “That is the one Gauri should keep.” Mother named it “Beau.”
Anie: Did you have other children to play with? The Ashram school had not been established when you were of school age. Where did you go to school and what was it like for you?
Gauri: When my father was sent to New Delhi by Sri Aurobindo in 1941 to work for the war effort for a few months, I was sent to a modern school there at the age of three years. My father told the Mother that he felt I needed some formal education. I had mostly only been around adults up to that point. When we came back to the Ashram from New Delhi, I was approaching four years of age.
The Mother put me with an English woman named Pavita. She was a very strict woman who used to go out and sweep the streets of Pondicherry! She had been the secretary to Paul Brunton. (Paul Brunton was an occult journalist and author who wrote A Search in Secret India, Secret Egypt, and other philosophical books.)
Pavita was the first teacher I remember, and it was not a good experience. I remember her as being rather stern and strict. She wanted me to be a genius and pushed me too hard. It killed my creativity. She did not have bad will, she just did not know how to handle small children. In fact, she later became a good teacher in the Ashram school when it started on 2 December 1943.
When the school opened, I was in a classroom with other children. It was so good to finally be with other children. The Mother herself would often read stories to us during her Wednesday evening classes in the Playground. She would characterize each animal and character in such a charming, loving way. However, one drawback for me when I began school was that I was held back in a class with younger children as I did not want Pavita to be my teacher any longer.
Anie: Could you further elaborate on why this was a drawback?
Gauri: Well, I developed a bit of a complex being older and taller than the other children in my class and I didn’t try very hard.
A new name
Anie: When and how was your name changed from Judy Ann to Gauri?
Gauri: Although I was very timid, I loved to dance and I particularly loved Indian dancing. I used to go to the library and listen to music. Whenever I heard music, I would begin to dance freely. I chose two people at the library to dance with me and I wore anklets with bells. I would change my name everyday. One day I would be Jasmine, the next day Lakshmi, and so on.
My mother and I used to go to the Mother each night before the meditations. One by one we would stand before the Mother. I would lift Mother’s sari slightly so that I could see the anklets that she was wearing. I would tell the Mother my name for that day.
I was around five or so then. I loved beautiful flowers and Mother kept tiny-sized “Psychological Perfection” flowers in a glass bowl next to her. The Mother taught me how to do math by putting the flowers into my hand, taking away one then adding two or three more. The Mother would look at my hands and say, “Mains de poupee” (hands of a doll). [Gauri is a tall, willowy woman with a refined and delicate face and hands and feet.]
One day I asked Mother for a name. She said, “I will give you a name if you promise you won’t change it. I’ll think about a name for you.” Mother would determine the inner quality of a person and the meaning in the name she wanted to give that person. Then she would ask Sri Aurobindo to give the appropriate name in Sanskrit.
Later on I went to the Mother with Ambu. After pranam Mother gave me the name “Gauri,” which means “the fair one.” Mother said she did not mean fair in terms of my skin but rather she wanted the name to convey “inner fairness,” the quality of being fair. It was a very serious moment—Mother’s eyes were so powerful as she looked into me. Then she said “Gauri” with the “au” pronounced like the French “o.”
Celebrating Christmas
Anie: How did the tradition of celebrating Christmas develop in the Ashram?
Gauri: The first Christmas we celebrated was in 1938 when I was just one year old. It took place in our house called “The Red House.” The guests were Nishta (Margaret Woodrow Wilson), Ambu (our very close friend, the young hatha yoga teacher who looked after Nishta), and François Sammer (one of the architects for Golconde). Nishta made a big star to place on the top of the tree that year.
Later in 1943, when other children joined the Ashram, the Mother asked my mother to arrange the event for all the children. The Red House lawn was used and we arranged games, prizes, and gifts for the children. Hats were made and everyone wore a paper hat. All were made by Golconde residents. Even special crowns were made for the Mother and Sri Aurobindo! Dyuman used to come out into the streets and blow a trumpet on Christmas day and a special hat was also made for him.
When we moved to Fenetres on Rue St. Gilles, the celebration continued there. When the house got too small, we shifted to the Playground where the Mother came to distribute the gifts to all the children and grownups. Finally when the theater was bought by the Ashram, the celebration was held there and the Mother came to give out presents and to admire the tree and all the decorations.
The Mother gave importance to Christmas. She told us that the initial celebration had come from the ancient Chaldean tradition (from the people who lived in the region of southwestern Asia on the Euphrates River called Mesopotamia, and among whom astrologers and magicians flourished).
The wise men of that time observed that the calendar days toward the end of the year were growing shorter and shorter (at the Winter Solstice) and people became worried that they would be engulfed in darkness. Then they began to notice that around the end of the month the days had begun to grow longer and that there was a return of the light. Christ’s birthdate ultimately became fixed to this time of year as a symbol of the return of the light.
Eventually the Mother stopped coming to the theater and asked my mother to distribute the gifts. She said to her, “I am there in you, so you do it instead.” The chair on which Mother sat is placed in front of the tree each year. The tree is decorated by the residents and staff at Golconde, and the Christmas celebration remains a joyous event in the Ashram. We continue to distribute gifts to all Ash-ramites and guests.
School, visits abroad, and Ashram life
Anie: Who were your teachers in the upper grades in the Ashram school? What are your memories of those days and what can you explain of the Free Progress System?
Gauri: Sunil-da was my botany teacher and he was absolutely wonderful. He was so innovative and imaginative. Tehmiben was also an excellent teacher. I learned many things from her. Mother once said to the teachers, “Why do you give exams?” Mother was very much against testing and homework, so the Free Progress System was introduced—but Mother said, “It is not for everyone, it is only meant for those who are capable and have the discipline to study on their own and decide what it is that they want to do.” The Free Progress System has been a bit chaotic and has not always been properly implemented. It is still in the process of development after all these years. Most teachers develop their own methods of teaching from within and from their own inspirations.
Anie: Did you ever have ambitions to go outside the Ashram and experience the outside world, or marry and have children?
Gauri: I first went outside the Ashram in 1968 with my mother to visit relatives in London. The Mother said that going outside the Ashram would “enlarge my consciousness,” and it has. I traveled again to London in 1975, 1986, and 1990, but the Ashram is my home and the Ashram life is my way of life—so considering the worldly life and marriage was never an option for me.
Anie: You have been a teacher in the Ashram school for forty-five years. Could you share some details of that experience?
Gauri: Becoming a drawing and English teacher was a turning point in my life. It helped to rid me of my timidity and helped me to gain confidence in myself. It is difficult to be a teacher in the Ashram. One must always be in control of one’s vital impulses (temper, emotions, etc.). One must be self-observing and act in a yogic manner at all times.
It is necessary to remain aware that the work is being done for the Mother and that one isn’t there just to teach subjects, but also to help awaken the child’s psychic being and to awaken their senses to inner and outer beauty. All these years I have taught English grammar, reading, literature, creative writing, comprehensive poetry, and drawing to students from eleven to fifteen years of age. The Mother strongly encouraged developing the child’s artistic side and appreciation of beauty.
Anie: How is the school different today? What changes do you see?
Gauri: It is actually better today on the whole. People were more conservative and a bit dull in the old days. Now most of the teachers are former students who grew up here and have had more experience and are more interesting teachers.
Anie: What significant changes do you see in the Ashram?
Gauri: Well, specifically, Mother put so much emphasis on beauty—beauty in buildings and the crafting of things. One often wonders now if that is still the aim. Mother’s guidance is so much missed in the area of aesthetics.
Inspirations from the Mother
Anie: Would you speak about the inspirations you received from Mother’s talks in the Playground or any stories of Mother that you would like to share?
Gauri: The Mother inspired us all to strive to be better human beings. Every Wednesday, during her talks in the Playground, she would give us a boost and encourage us to rise above ourselves. As teenagers, we would often become easily upset and sensitive to injustices. Mother would look into our eyes and all the pain would disappear. We learned so many lessons from Mother. She taught us how to be grateful. She would receive and accept all the little gifts we made for her with so much love and gratitude, even if they weren’t made very well, and would show us, by her reactions, how to properly receive gifts.
Ambu used to tell a beautiful “gratitude” story about the Mother. Some young Bengali devotees were traveling by train from Calcutta to Pondicherry to see the Mother. Also traveling on the train in their compartment was a simple village man. When they spoke of the Mother in his presence, the man was very moved. He asked them to bring an offering of one rupee from him to be given to the Mother. When they went to the Mother and told her the story and gave her the rupee, she said with great seriousness, “How can I ever repay this man?”
Once someone sent her a small sum of money along with a note saying, “Buy yourself a mango!” Although the Mother was not particularly fond of mangos, she sent for one and ate some bites of it to show her gratitude.
Mother taught us to appreciate beauty in all its forms—the reading of Savitri, other poetry, literature, music, and art. She was such a model for all us children. She gave importance to everything. She taught us also just how important it is to take care of material objects and to treat them with respect. I used to stand before the Mother and marvel, wonderstruck, at her own beauty. Once she sent me a birthday card that read, “Avec mes bénédictions pour developper et faire fleurir son culte, pour la beauté dans tous les domains. Dans la Lumiere et la Joie.” (With my blessings for the development, flowering and cultivation of beauty in all its domains. With Light and Joy.)
In teaching us the four aspects of the Divine Mother, the Mother said, “There is another aspect ... love!” She said this emanation had already been born on earth. She did not give a name, but left it to us to find out. Of course we all thought it was her. Her love brought everyone together here.
A personal example for me of her love took place once during a performance of Swan Lake, a play in the Ashram school. I fainted backstage. Mother came and took my hand and walked me up and down the area and hummed the most beautiful, soft, soothing melody to me. It brought me around and then I was fine. Another time she came to our house when I had typhoid fever. Dark forms had begun to envelop me. The Mother soothed my head and soon I recovered and there were no more nightmares.
Anie: What would you say that living in the Ashram has provided for you that you could not have received in the outside world? In closing, can you assess your sixty-three years of life here in the atmosphere of the Ashram?
Gauri: Definitely the environment of the Ashram is significant. The feeling of belonging, being loved by the Mother, guided by her, and living by her example has meant a lot. As stated earlier, she constantly encouraged us to reach higher and higher in everything we did. She took the time and gave of herself to everyone.
All life for us here in the Ashram revolved around the Mother. To grow in her presence was the gift. The aim was not money, nor wealth, but to grow inwardly was the constant focus. I am filled with tremendous gratitude for this wonderful experience of being here at a time when the Lord and the Divine Mother were on the earth. It took me some years to absorb and assimilate all that she had taught, and I am so grateful for the grace that her life here brought to all of us.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sri Aurobindo - Mira : reading in Spanish

Compilations of Sri Aurobindo and Madre. Texts of disciples.
24 abril, 2005
This page is dedicated to the reading in Spanish of writing joint compilations of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, as well as of disciples of both, related to the practice of his yoga.It is understood that the reading of any writing relative to the Integral Yoga must be presided over by the attention, the tranquillity, the calmness and, to such aim, the texts appear like documents in compressed format, apt to be unloaded and to be read in printed form.In the following sections the content of each one of texts is exposed of brief form. The own titles of those sections are the connections that will take you to the pages where you will be able to obtain texts.Those pages of reference also count on fragments that give an idea of the content of the work to unload. These fragments will be increased weekly or biweekly.The texts that appear in this page are complemented with those of other two: one dedicated to Sri Aurobindo and other dedicated to Mirra Alfassa: The Mother.Who before the variety of texts ask themselves: by where beginning? , the answer is simple: In this same land, the biography of Cream, disciple and friend of the Mother, of pleasant reading, will give a global vision of which it can mean the way of yoga integral. posted by aswapati at 11:50 PM

Group of the news
The texts added weekly or biweekly to that the previous article makes reference can also be read of form publishes in the Group of the News Sri Aurobindo-Watch. Also they can periodically be received in account of mail by means of subscription the group.
posted by aswapati at 11:40 PM

Cream: In this same land
Autobiography of a disciple who narrates his experience next to Mother in ashram of Pondicherry. With direct and simple language it gives his personal vision of the work of Sri Aurobindo and Mother that constitutes a global approach to the Integral Yoga.
posted by aswapati at 11:00 PM

Pavitra: Some advice
One of the oldest disciples of the Ashram, Pavitra, of French origin, gives some recommendations on the practice of the meditation as well as of the necessary discipline in yoga integral.The Section To read includes the unloading of the “Glossary of terms sanscritos” and of the “Glossary of philosophical and psychological terms”.Also loose appointments of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are included.
posted by aswapati at 10:00 PM

The Psychic Being
Conscious of the importance that determined subjects could have for the practice of yoga integral, from very early times in the history of ashram of Pondicherry, the disciples began to make compilations of texts of Sri Aurobindo and Mother that could serve as direction to those who actually began of his yoga. To see table of contents.
posted by aswapati at 9:00 PM

Glossary of terms sanscritos
Normally the terms sanscritos used by Sri Aurobindo are explained by their own context. Despite this glossary of terms sancritos it can be of utility in the Aphorism, map reading and Psychic Being.
posted by aswapati at 7:00 PM

Glossary of philosophical and psychological terms
Complement of the previous one, this glossary constitutes a small guide of the planes and parts that compose our inner personality according to the lessons of Sri Aurobindo and Mother. Appropriate for anyone of the readings and in special for Flowers and their Messages.
posted by aswapati at 6:00 PM -->It sends east article to a friend
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Connections Sri Aurobindo Mirra Alfassa: Madre Savitri

Friday, September 08, 2006

Babaji Sri Ramakrishna Das and Prapatti

Short History of Mother’s Work in Orissa
Mother’s work in Orissa started in 1948 when two Study Circles were started with Sri Aurobindo’s permission (One at Rairangpur another at Cuttack). Babaji Sri Ramakrishna Das joined the Ashram on 2nd February 1945. Babaji had aspired for the people of Orissa to open to Sri Aurobindo’s Consciousness. With Mother’s happy approval and Prapatti as an able instrument, the first phase of work included organisation of Study Circles, Student Associations, Women’s Study Circle, zonal and state level Study Circle Meets.
April Conference 2003 Programme
Special News
Report on Girls' Meet 2002 at Matrubhaban coming soon
Sri Aurobindo Engineers And Technical Group's 5th Annual Meet, 2002
Sri Aurobindo Medical Association 13th Anniversary Report on 8th September, 2002
All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Study Circle Conference, 2002- Reports
Sri Aurobindo Medical Association District Level Heath Squard Training Camp on 25th November, 2001
Workshop in Teaching Sanskrit at Calcutta, 8 to 11th November, 2001
6th All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Integral School Adolescent Girls Students' Meet at Matrubhaban, Cuttack on 3rd and 4th November, 2001
4th Annual meet of Sri Aurobindo Engineers' and Technical Group on 13th & 14th October, 2001
12th All Oriisa Sri Aurobindo Medical Association Meeting at Matrubhaban, Cuttack on 9th September, 2001
Harmony Zone Management Comitee Meeting on 9th September, 2001
All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Study Circle Conference, 2001- Reports
23rd Sri Aurobindo Relics Installation Anniversary at Sri Aurobindo Sri Kshetra at Dalijoda on 4th April, 2001
All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Study Circle Committe Organisation News - January, February and March, 2001 (PDF Format)
1st meet of Sri Aurobindo Engineers' Association, Samarpana Zone
1st meet of Sri Aurobindo Engineers' Association, Satya Zone on 4th February, 2001

Sri Aurobindo Sri Kshetra, Dalijoda

23rd Sri Aurobindo Relics Installation Anniversary at Sri Aurobindo Sri Kshetra at Dalijoda on 4th April, 2001
The verdant earth looked more glorious as the irresistible peace and joy of the place attracted a congregation of more than 2000 people from many parts of Orissa at Sri Aurobindo Sri Kshetra, Dalijoda, 35 kms north of Cuttack.
Sri Aurobindo's Relics were installed here on 4th Apr 1978 by Sri Ramakrishna Das of Sri Aurobindo Ashram , Pondicherry. Unlike Auroville every inmate here has to be a Sadhak of Integral Yoga.
About 27 years ago (1974) a group of young spiritual aspirants under the guidance of Sri Ramakrishna Das & Prof. Prapatti gathered here to practice intensive Yogic discipline. This sprawling abode 250 acre land is almost camouflaged by greenery all around and flanked by a hillock on its eastern side.
Today on 4th Apr. 2001 Prof. C.N. Sharma graced the occasion as Chief Guest and observed delightfully the prevailing atmosphere here, that had been built up by The Mother's Grace. The function started with March Past before the Spiritual Map of India in the Ashram's Playground, followed by collective meditation around the Samadhi. Subsequently all gathered for an interaction. The School children first sang a chorus. Then the visitors were greeted by Sri Ramnath Panda, Managing Trustee who presided over the function. Sri Dharanidhar Pal presented the Annual Report. Smt Kanaklata Mohanty an eminent litterateur, participating in the discussion expressed that Sri Aurobindo Yoga was the only way to raise the consciousness of life on earth. Prof. C.N. Sharma described the present situation as the inevitable precursor to the New World. Sri Gadadhar Mishra, Secretary of Matrubhaban Trust & a founder member of the Sri Aurobindo Sri Kshtra emphasized the urgency of clinging to The Mother's Consciousness inside at this critical juncture.
The function ended with a devotional song by Amjad, a devotee from Dhenkanal Dist. of Orissa. Afterwards all partook of the Prasad that was served on behalf of the Ashram.

Sri Aurobindo Medical Association, Cuttack

13th Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo Medical Association at Matrubhaban, Cuttack on 8th September, 2002
The Sri Aurobindo Medical Association observed its’ 13th anniversary on 8th September, 2002 at Matrubhaban, Cuttack. The theme for this year was “HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HEALING - THE NEED OF THE HOUR”
The registration of the delegates started at 8AM by Sri Padma Charan Mohanty and Smt. Nanda Biswal. A beautiful folder with a note book, a pen and a copy of the Souvenir printed for the occasion was given to each delegate.
The inaugural session started at 9 AM in the meeting hall of Matrubhaban with invocation by Smt. Bandita Ray and welcome address was given by Dr. Sudhir Brahma. He welcomed the delegates and guests. The participants were a mixed group from most parts of Orissa consisting of doctors from allopathic, homoeopathy, ayurveda, naturopathy, paramedical, two batches of Sri Aurobindo Health Squad trainees and well-wishers . Dr. Shyama Kanungo presented the annual report describing the activities of the association since its inception from 1976. Prof. J.M.Senapati, emeritus Professor and B.C.Ray Award Winner, gave the inaugural address. The meeting was presided by the state conveyor of the Association Dr. Babulu Pattnayak, ex Director, Health Services, Govt. of Orissa. The vote of thanks was given by Dr. Bijayeeni Mohapatra.
This was immediately followed by the next session presided by Prof. Satyabrata Kar, ex Addl. Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Government of Orissa, and co-chaired by Dr. Bijayeeni Mohapatra. The guest speaker was Dr. Alok Pandey, a psychiatrist serving in the Indian Air Force , Editor of NAMAH, and a sadhak of integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo. He discussed on the subject of ‘Holistic Approach of Healing’ at length. This was followed by interaction from the audience. Some poignant queries on the issue were put forth which Dr. Pandey answered. His words revealed a new dimension of healing that compelled the healer and the afflicted to go within and above to discover the solutions concomitantly existing with the problem. He said the sufferer did not have a problem, he WAS THE PROBLEM.
The next session was a panel discussion on the practice of holistic method on a model case {a 65 year old male diabetic with cataract, osteoathritis and enlarged prostrate} .The participants were: Dr.Bipinbihari Pradhan (Naturopathy), Dr.Biranchi Narayan Mohapatra (Allopathy),
Dr.Bipinanda Mishra(Ayurved), Sri Udaya Charan Panda (Yoga Therapy), Dr. Bikash Kumar Prasad (Homoeopathy), Dr. Jayanta Kumar Panda was the co-coordinator. The discussion concluded with suggestions from Dr. R. K. Tuli from Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
The organizational meeting was held from 2.30 to 4.30 PM. In the meeting the aim ,the ideal and the way of working of Sri Aurobindo Medical Association was clearly spelt out.
The following points were widely discussed -
1.Sri Aurobindo Medical Association like Dasakarmadhara is one of the programme of Sri Aurobindo Study Circles of Orissa. So, in every district there will be a Sri Aurobindo Medical Association organized by the district Sri Aurobindo Study Circle.
2. But the principle of working of these units will be formed in the All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Study Circle Conference (April Conference) at Matrubhaban, Cuttack after consulting all the Zonal, District and Block Conveners present .
3.Sri Aurobindo Health Squad activities will always be encouraged in every district and blocks so as to make all have health conscious habits and to keep always in front the glorious ideal of physical transformation for which Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are ceaselessly working.
4.The first -aid training camp is one of the activities of Sri Aurobindo Health Squad which will be taken up locally according to their readiness.
5.Dr.Braja Khandai suggested for opening a permanent office of Sri Aurobindo Medical Association at Matrubhaban.
6.A proposal given by Dr.Tuli to hold an All India Conference on Holistic healing in Orissa was placed before the house. This was tentatively welcomed by the members present.
7.To the enquiry of Dr. Nityananda Swain., Dr.Pratap Rath, Dr. Sudhir Brahma and Dr. Bijoy Sahoo on the working of Sri Aurobindo Health Squad Training programmer, Dr.Shyama Kanungo clarified that it was only a basic primary level integrated health care and first aid that the Health Squad was supposed to render to the community as a programmer of Sri Aurobindo Study Circles in Orissa; moreover they were educated as to where to draw the line for timely and safe referrals to the appropriate place. They were made aware of Govt. facilities locally available and advised to work as facilitators at the grass root level.
At this the meeting came to an end with a minutes silence.
The last session, which was chaired by Dr. B.K.Khandai and co-chaired by Dr. Pratap Chandra Rath, was a guest lecture by Dr.Ravinder Kumar Tuli on ‘Practise of Holistic Healing –its feasibility'. He mentioned how the WHO and other world bodies were beginning to accept the concept and need of Holistic healing and it was high time to rationally integrate all the systems of healing. He showed how he actually went about the practice of it at the Department of Holistic Medicine at the Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, which he heads. Success cases of treatment of Migraine, frozen shoulder, hypertension, torticolles were demonstrated by him. He also shared his results of a WHO project on effect of Acupuncture on Poliomyelitis patients. On the whole it was a challenging and thought provoking session. Vote of thanks and report of the day’s activities were presented by Dr. Prashant Kumar Nanda.

News from Pondicherry

Upcoming Events
19th September 2006 - 46th Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo Society
The Headquarters of Sri Aurobindo Society at Pondicherry
The year 1956 was a milestone in the spiritual mission of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, as it was on 29th February of this year that the Manifestation of the Supramental Consciousness took place. In the very first anniversary year of this momentous event, on 19th September 1960, Sri Aurobindo Society was formed with the Mother as the Founder and Executive President, "to make known to the members and people in general the aims and ideals of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, their system of Integral Yoga, and to work for its fulfilment in all possible ways and for the attainment of a spiritual society as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo."
The Mother gave the following Motto for the Society:
The book A Glimpse of the Mother's Love and Action published by the Society, describes the genesis and growth of the Society and the Mother's way of working, as she developed it in its formative years. The Society has been growing over the years and has now more than 320 Centres and 70 Branches all over India and abroad. More details of the various activities of the Society are given here
On this day we rededicate ourselves to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and to the realisation of the great future they have revealed to us.
Annual Seminar of the Women's Council - 2006: "Progressive Friendship with the Divine"
The Women's Council of Sri Aurobindo Society welcomes you to join its annual Seminar, on the theme of 'Progressive Friendship with the Divine', to be held at the Society's Beach Office at No.1, Rangapillai Street, Pondicherry, on 21, 22, 23 November 2006. All interested, both women and men, are welcome to participate. For information and accommodation, write to The Secretary - Women's Council Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry - 605 002, mentioning the type of accommodation required and in what range.
The Mother's room opens for general Darshan on 17th November 2006 and Sri Aurobindo's Room on the Siddhi Day i.e. 24th November. You can plan your stay in Pondicherry from 16 to 25 November 2006 to avail of both Darshans and the Seminar in-between.
Dr. M.V. Nadkarni's forthcoming Series of Talks
The Society will organise two study camps by Dr. Mangesh Nadkarni at its Beach Office hall: 1. From 26 November to 4 December 2006 on Sri Aurobindo's "Essays on the Gita" 2. From 23 February to 5 March 2007 on Sri Aurobindo's "Savitri"
As usual there will be two sessions daily 9:00 to 10:00 am and 10:30 to 11:45 am. The talks are open to all.
Recent Events
15th August 2006 - 134th Birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo
15th August was Sri Aurobindo's 134th Birth Anniversary. At the Ashram the day was observed with a visit to Sri Aurobindo's room, meditation around the Samadhi (6:00 to 6:30 a.m.) and march-past by the members of the Ashram's Physical Education department at the Ashram's playground in the evening. The day concluded with a collective meditation.
Annual Conference of the Society - August 2006
A view of the audience
The Annual Conference of the Society was held at the Beach Office in Pondicherry from 12 to 14 August 2006. Members and workers from different Branches and Centres participated.
Shri Kittu Reddy, addressing the audience
Following were the Talks delivered during the occasion: On 12 August 2006: "India's Reunion and World Union" by Sraddhalu "How to Celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the Golden Day" by Women's CouncilOn 13 August 2006: "Questions and Answers" by Prof. Manoj Das "Renunciation Indispensable in our Yoga" by Dr. Ananda ReddyOn 14 August 2006: "Some Aspects of Social Evolution in the Light of Sri Aurobindo" by Prof. Kittu Reddy "Pathways to the New World" by Dr. Alok Pandey "Beyond Liberal Humanism and Technological Trans-humanism" by Dr. M.V. Nadkarni
Study Camp by Dr. Ananda Reddy on the "Essays on the Gita" - August 2006
Dr.Ananda Reddy conducting the Study Camp
The Study Camp on Sri Aurobindo's "Essays on the Gita", was continued by Dr. Ananda Reddy at the Society's Beach Office hall, Pondicherry, from 17th to 23rd August 2006. About 100 persons attended regularly the talks held in two sessions daily in the morning.

The birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo

News from Branches and Centres
The Nairobi Centre
On 1st August 2006, Sri Aurobindo Society, Nairobi Centre, presented 1100 booklets on eleven different titles to Edelvale Home, at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan. Edelvale Home is run by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, to uplift the dignity and worth of women by giving them shelter and preparing them for a productive future. The Sisters found the Bhavan very peaceful and they received the booklets with gratitude.
3,300 mini booklets in eleven different titles were presented to the Change Youth Group - Kenya (AFDCHAK) at the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Nairobi, on 20th August 2006. The Change Youth Group is a National Youth Organisation working throughout Kenya promoting participation of youth in public, social and community work of the country. The founder of the organisation expressed his deep gratitude on receiving the booklets which, he is certain, will help and guide in enhancing the character building of the youth.
The Centre celebrated 15th August, 134th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo, at Sri Aurobindo Bhawan. The programme started with the reading of the Mother's prayer of 30th March 1914 followed by bhajans and concluded with distribution of Darshan message, brass symbol of Sri Aurobindo and prasad.
News from India
Kuttappalayam (Tamil Nadu)
Collective Meditation at the Centre
The Kuttappalayam Branch celebrated the birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo on 15th August 2006 with collective meditation, chanting of Anandamayi and reading from Savitri. Shri Malayappaswamy, Ex-MLA, Karur, spoke on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Shri K.S. Sivasenapathy, Secretary of the Branch, spoke on Sri Aurobindo and His yoga.
Celebrations during birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo
It was followed by cultural programme consisting of dance and songs on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Certificates and prizes were distributed to the students of Anoor Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Kuttappalayam, who participated in this programme.
Bangalore (Karnataka)
A 3-day residential youth camp was held at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan of Sri Aurobindo Society, Bangalore Branch, from 7th to 9th July 2006. Free boarding and lodging were provided by the Bangalore Branch. Shri M.M. Bhattacharjee was the coordinator. Shri Kaivalya Smart, who conducted the camp, introduced the topics viz. "What is Youth and Aim in Life", "Different Personalities Within Us", "How to Meditate", "Religiocity - Morality - Spirituality" etc. in line with the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and from time to time gave illustrations with interesting examples and appropriate quotations from Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's writings. 11 boys and 11 girls participated in the programme out of which two were from Tamil Nadu, two were from Hubli and the rest were from Bangalore. About ten observers also took part in the programme. All the participants took keen interest, and the programme was participative and interactive.
Noida (U.P.)
On 11th June 2006, a special collective meditation was held on the occasion of Guru Purnima which was well attended. On that day, books of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, agarbatties and other Ashram products were sold.
Noida Branch distributed sixty sets of mini booklets to members of Lioness Club, Noida. Each set consisted of seven booklets on different topics covering in brief the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
The Branch organised a talk on "Healing Powers of Mantra" by Ms. Shruti on 5th August 2006. She explained the healing powers of Mantra through chanting. She also explained the benefits of different Mantras. About 150 persons participated in the programme.
The Noida Branch also organised a talk by Shri Ram Krishna Goswami, covering Sri Aurobindo's speech at Uttarpara and the teachings of the Gita, on 15th August 2006 which is Sri Aurobindo's birthday. About 80 persons participated in the programme. Many devotees offered their pranams at the Shrine where Sri Aurobindo's sacred Relics have been enshrined.
Mathura (U.P.)
The Mathura Centre of the Society celebrated the birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo on 15th August 2006 with meditation, bhajans and talks. The films "Sri Arvind Ek Divya Jeevan" and "Sri Arvind Ek Bhavishya Drishtaa" were shown.
On this occasion the Mathura Centre organised the following competitions for school students:
- Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's quotations writing for classes 6th to 8th.- Maa Sri Arvind Ka Divya Sandesh paragraph writing for classes 9th and 10th.- Essay writing on the "Life of Sri Aurobindo" for classes 11th and 12th.
About 1600 books and magazines based on the life and teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were distributed. 180 members from two Centres of Mathura participated in this programme.
Neyveli (Tamil Nadu)
The Neyveli Centre of Sri Aurobindo Society arranged participation of the Ashram's book agency SABDA in the 9th Neyveli Book Fair-2006 conducted under the aegis of Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd., from 30 June to 9 July 2006. Books by and on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were under display. Around two lakhs of people visited the Fair. Large number of visitors came to the SABDA stall and purchased books.
Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu)
Shri M.S. Sundararajan of Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, gave a talk in Tamil on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother at the Sri Aurobindo Mother Mirra Trust, Tuticorin, on 23rd July 2006. It was well attended.
Shri Deshpande, a scholar of Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's philosophy and teachings and Prof. of Physics at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, conducted a series of talks on "Evolution and a Vision for Future" based on Sri Aurobindo's epic poem 'Savitri', on 9, 10 and 11 August 2006 at the Delhi Branch.
Sri Aurobindo's birth anniversary was celebrated on 15th August 2006. The programme started with meditation at 10 am followed by floral tributes at the Shrine and distribution of Darshan message cards. Navakriti students performed Krishna dances for about half an hour. Ms. Nehal Garewal, Coordinator of Navakriti, initiated the programme with a talk on Sri Aurobindo and His teachings and the importance of His birthday. This was followed by bhajans by Mrs. Mittal and her daughter and a mantra chanting by Ms. Shruti for about 20 minutes. The lighting of lamps was done in the evening.
Indore (M.P.)
An All Religion Book Fair was held in Indore on 3, 4, 5 June 2006 under the auspices of Shri Pragya Pustakalaya and Vachanalaya. The Indore Branch put up a stall there of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's books.
Rustamji Armed Police Training School, Indore, arranged a Shivir on "Yoga and Dhyana" from 5th to 9th June 2006. Dr. Suman Kocher was invited to give training. Pradeep Baxi assisted her.
On Sundays a regular study group has been started from 2nd July 2006 for girls of Devbala Sangh, which has been actively involved in different activities of the Branch since 1988.
Ratlam Branch (M.P.)
The Ratlam Branch of Sri Aurobindo Society organised a lecture on "Future of India and Descent of Supramental" on 23rd July 2006 at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Meeting Hall. The speakers were Dr. Murlidhar Kamalakant Chandaniwala, Block Development Education Officer, Dist. Ratlam, Dr. Surendra Soni, Lecturer (Vyakhyata), English Literature, Vikram Universiry, Ujjain, and Shri Suresh Chandra Sharma, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Gwalior. Shri Vijay Poddar, Member Executive Committee, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, presided over the function.
Chinchwad, Pune (Maharashtra)
The Chinchwad Centre, Pune, celebrated Sri Aurobindo's Birthday on 15th August. The function started with the hoisting of flag. Dr. Gokhala, a devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, was the Chief Guest. Students, teachers, parents and members of the Centre took part in the proceedings. The Chairman of the Centre spoke on "Education". A collective meditation and reading were conducted. The programme concluded with the distribution of prasad.
Ranchi (Jharkhand)
The Ranchi Branch celebrated the 134th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo on 15th August 2006 with the Mother's flag hoisting at 10 am. Shri K.P. Sinha, Chairman of the Jharkhand State Committee, read out the Darshan day message sent from Pondicherry. Smt. Sucharita Ghosh and Smt. Sanchita Dasgupta enchanted the audience with devotional songs dedicated to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The book "Sri Aurobindo and the Advent of the Supermind" - a collection of the lectures delivered by Shri Gopal Bhattacharjee, Jt. Secretary of Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry - was released by Shri N.K. Singh, Ex-Director of CIL. Shri J.N. Singh, Ex-Director of CIL, released the biannual magazine 'Prajnan'. Shri K.P. Sinha, Chairman of the Jharkhand State Committee, gave a talk on "Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga". Shri R.K. Bhatnagar, Chairman of the Ranchi Branch, and Shri P.C. Roy, member of the Managing Committee of the Ranchi Branch, also spoke on the occasion.
Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
The first phase of the construction of the school at Jodhpur, which began over a year ago, has been completed. The school started functioning in April 2006 with approximately 40 children. The school named "Sri Aurobindo Centre of New Education" at present comprises nursery to class V. It was inaugurated on 15th April 2006 by the Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur. After the summer holidays a few more children joined and at present the total strength of the students is 52.
Hindi Zonal Conference - 2006
Zonal Conference of the Hindi speaking areas will be held in Noida on 7th and 8th October 2006. For further enquiries, write to Shri Suresh Gupta, Sri Aurobindo Bhawan, C-56/36, Sector 62, Noida-201 301 (Phone No.0120-3963313).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Meeting The Mother changed her destiny

Homage to Smt K Padmavathy Born 6thOct 1930 – Departed 6thAug 2006

Smt K Padmavathy, was born in a village near Nidadavole, Andhra Pradesh. She was the eldest of three, with one younger sister and brother. Sri Chakka Satyanarayana her father was a well known business man and freedom fighter. He turned into a staunch Gandhian and the entire family was raised under the influence of national leaders of that era. From early childhood, she worked with her father and mother in the movement, and also suffered a great deal with the father jailed during the freedom movement.

Following Mahatma Gandhi’s ideal of avoiding everything that was English, she and her sister were sent off to Madras, Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha to do their graduation and post graduation in Hindi. It was an avante-garde step to send young daughters to a far off destination for studies. She belonged to one of the early batches, where her classmates too were the children of eminent freedom fighters. She developed an intense love for the Hindi language, and was fortunate to be taught by literary giants like Dinkar. She did her masters in Hindi language and became a Hindi Teacher.

She was fortunate to work for months with Sri Vinobha Bhave during the movement, and was exposed to Brahmo-samaj and Arya Samaj thought and practices. She was married to Sri K Kurma Rao, a Sanskrit scholar who was also in the freedom movement in 1952.

In 1950 she visited Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and met The Mother for the first time. That meeting changed her destiny and that of the entire family for ever. She became an ardent devotee of The Mother, and placed both her daughter and son at the Ashram for education from the 60’s. Though she always expressed the desire to settle down in the Ashram, her family duties prevented her to do so, and only since 1995, she settled there permanently. She spent a few delightful years, as per her wishes in Pondicherry.

Since childhood, she was of frail health suffered much with multiple problems. Still, she battled bravely all through the years, and was the pivot of the family giving strength, support and motivation to all. The all encompassing love and affection she could express to one and all effortlessly, the intensely positive spirit and outlook to life despite all the challenges she faced, and the ability to see only the positive within all were the hallmarks of her loving personality. With her caring touch, she connected with people from the heart, and she will be sorely missed by her loving students, servants, old folks, friends, family and certainly the entire neighborhood. Hopefully, her ideals will continue to inspire and guide the next generation, amongst the family and friends.

The last 15 months of her life, she suffered with cancer and that was the last challenge. She kept her cheer and never lost hope. Her deep faith and spiritual orientation kept her going. She took refuge saying The Divine Mother will decide for her. And, as the end was nearing, she displayed such equanimity and poise, as if she was readying for and awaiting the call. She desired that she must be cremated the Ashram way and only meditation should be held. She celebrated and welcomed the idea of going to The Divine Mother. She indeed is with HER. - Family members Contact us Articles Sitemap Links

Matagiri, Mount Tremper, NY

SPECIAL DAYS21 February : Mother's Birthday Darshan29 February :The Golden Day: The Descent of the Supramental24 April : Darshan Observance: Mother's final arrival in Pondicherry15 August : Sri Aurobindo's Birthday Darshan17 November : Observance of Mother's Mahasamadhi24 November : Darshan Day - Siddhi day5 December : Sri Aurobindo's Mahasamadhi
9 am (please arrive ten minutes early)
Reading and Meditation
Light Chores
Wednesdays in September
7:30 Reading, meditation and discussion
Home of Julian and Wendy Lines
Call 679-5358 for information
Gallery open by appointment
Working with Narad
Wednesday - Sunday, September 20th - 26thCleanup and Work on the Matagiri Grounds and or 845.679.5358
Narad, (Richard Eggenberger), a longtime member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, is an expert on landscaping and horticulture. He had conversations with the Mother about the spiritual significance of flowers. He is a past President of the Plumeria Society and author of books on plumeria and oleander. He created the website:
This is a chance to come together and work together in the Aurovilleand Ashram spirit, and we really hope that you will be able toparticipate. Each evening, there will be a special talk or presentationby Narad.
Our focus with be primarily on cleaning up the woods and burning brush,with the possibility of some planting and landscaping and gardening.Work gloves, chain saws, pruning saws, shovels and rakes are welcome.Vegetarian pot luck donations are appreciated.
We especially encourage tenting, though the evenings may be crisp.Local B&Bs and camping at Wilson State Park are listed at:
Tentative Schedule
Wednesday 9/2011 am arrival White Plains1 pm Lunch at Wendy & Julian's (WJ)3 pm Visit Sam and Eric, walk the property to confirm burn site and work program5 pm Wendy's yoga class6:30 pm Dinner7:30 pm Wednesday night Study Circle (WJ)
Thursday 9/21Morning: Marking trees to be cut and work to be doneNoon Lunch2 pm chainsaw work (cutting and limbing)6 pm Dinner7:30 pm Savitri Reading
Friday 9/22Chainsaw workNoon LunchChainsaw work6 pm Dinner7:30 pm Savitri Reading
Saturday 9/239 am Reading and Meditation9:30 am Work AssignmentsNoon Lunch1:30 Work Assignments3 - 6 pm Matagiri Board Meeting6 pm Dinner8 pm Flowers and Their Messages - Matagiri Library
Sunday 9/249 am Savitri Reading in Meditation Room9:30 am Work Assignments9:30 Optional Yoga Class with WendyNoon Lunch1:30 Work Assignments4 pm Tea4:30 Savitri Reading in Meditation RoomCleanup
Monday 9/259 am Work Assignments9:30 Optional Yoga Class with WendyNoon Lunch1:30 Work AssignmentsClean Up
Tuesday 9/269:30 am Evaluation and Planning for next phaseLunchAfternoon departure for NYC7 pm NYC Study Circle / Flower Talk
People's Revolution
62 Grand Street, 3rd FloorNew York, NY 10013
WHEN VISITING MATAGIRI Please call to inform us of your plans to attend at 845-679-8322 between 9 and 4 or email info@matagiri.orgAll events at Matagiri are free and open to the public. Donations in support of our work are needed and welcome.
Matagiri is located at 1218 Wittenberg Road in Mount Tremper, NY 12457
Meditation and Karma Yoga Saturday Mornings Starting Saturday, May 1st through
Saturday November 20th
9 am Reading and Meditation9:30-10:30 indoor and outdoor work
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Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore

Programme Walk Birthdays Photos Special Events September 2006 Program
3rd Sep 2006 6pm Living Question and The Mother's answer
10th Sep 2006 6pm Reading of The Mother’s Prayers and Meditations
17th Sep 2006 6pm Sri Aurobindo's Savitri by Mr K S Rajah
24th Sep 2006 6pm The Synthesis of Yoga by Sudha Ranganath
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore
Special walk at Fort Canning Hill

We refuse to make an idol of the present; we look before and after, backward to the mighty history of our race, forward to the grandiose destiny for which that history has prepared it.
- Sri Aurobindo

Date: Sunday, 10th September 2006
Time: 08.00 hrs – 10.30 hrs
Meeting Point: Registry of Marriages Car Park, 71 Canning Rise, Singapore
Bring along: Drinking water, snacks, mosquito repellant if required
Tour: Conducted by Ms Savita Kashyap

“On Forbidden Ground”

The fresh scent of morning hung in the air and the dew of yesterday’s rain sparkled, not yet dried on the breadfruit tree.

Tread lightly, for treasures lay beneath…..
Porcelain, Chinese coins, Indian beards, Javanese jewellery, all dating back hundreds of years at the archaeological dig. Visit a mysterious 14th century tomb reputed to hold Singapore’s last ancient king (also known as the person who founded Malacca). Uncover scandals and controversies at Singapore’s first Christian cemetery, which reads like a “who’s-who’ and “who-married-who?’ And finally, find out about the murder that changed the course of Singapore’s history!
Keramat Iskandar Shah / Archaeological Dig / Spice Garden / Christian Cemetery / Fort Canning Centre / Old Fort Gate
Join us for a Fun filled morning of discovery that will make you look at our history to a totally different way!
The tour is totally free of charge and open to all young and old. For confirmation of attendance or further information, please contact Kiruthika at 96490670 or or Marty at 98372492 or

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Habra is situated close to the border between Bangladesh and India

Sri Aurobindo's relics enshrined at MATRIMANDIR, Habra on 4th August, 1996. Estd : 4th November , 1964 " Matrimandir " -- This name is given by THE MOTHER First of all we shall have to know the events and situation related to establishment of "MATRIMANDIR" And for this reason we shall follow the foot steps of Late Hemlal Mitra. Let us follow him.
A few years after the partition of Bengal, Hemlal Mitra immigrated from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) to India and settled down with his family at Habra, a small town of West Bengal, situated in the district of North 24 Parganas. He and his family had been renowned businessmen in East Pakistan. His move to India was a result of a devastating fire which had broken out in the market place, burning many shops to ashes, including all the shops of the ‘Mitra Family’. In those days businessmen used to keep all their money and precious belongings in iron safes. Those heavy iron safes, situated within their shops, were traditionally considered to be very secure. So Hemlal’s family too had all the business money stored there. As no fire brigade existed then, Hemlal watched with helplessness as their shops were devoured mercilessly. The fire burnt for three whole days, demolishing even the safes. Ultimately it subsided, leaving Hemlal and his brothers completely ruined, both financially and mentally. So to start anew his living, Hemlal came over to West Bengal with his wife and children.
Being a businessman, and with almost no capital, he started a very modest shop of sarees and readymade garments in Habra. But no matter how much labour he put into it there was no gain. Instead of profit, the business continued to run at a loss, until he felt he had to return to East Pakistan. It was a very low moment. However just then his old acquaintance from Bangladesh, Bhupesh Sen, dropped by the shop for his occasional visit. He too was an immigrant, now settled in West Bengal and was a witness Hemlal’s struggle against misery and poverty. He noticed the shop devoid of stock.So he inquired, “Hemda, why don’t I see any sarees and garments?”
“I cannot keep up with the business, nor can I support my family with what I am earning”, Hemlal complained, "I have no choice but to go back to my old homeland; may be I will be luckier there.” Bhupesh listened attentively to all his complaints, then talked to him about the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, situated in the south of India; he further told him about the Divine Mother residing in the Ashram. “Would you be able to take refuge in Her? Can you hold Her close like a child to a mother? Then write to Her everything – about all your problems – and ask for Her blessings. Surrender yourself at Her feet.Pray to Her ardently.” Hemlal agreed to write to Her. But he was so much troubled that he could not express his thoughts on paper. Emotionally moved, he broke into tears, “I cannot write.” Those were his only words. Bhupesh took the pen and paper and penned down Hemlal’s feelings. The letter soon drafted was sent to THE MOTHER. In a few days he received an answer from THE MOTHER with Her Blessings. From then onwards his business improved and a change came over him. He was a man saved as if from drowning by the Divine’s Grace. He totally surrendered himself to THE MOTHER.
Habra is situated close to the border between Bangladesh and India. Most of the Bengali Muslims along the border were farmers, well acquainted with Hemlal from East Pakistan days. Those farmers would come to Habra Bazar to sell their cattle and agricultural products. At the end of the each day they used to keep their money secured with Hemlal as he was well known for his honesty. At the end of the week the farmers used to collect the money from him. During the week Hemlal would invest that money in his own business but by the end of week the farmers’ money was kept ready for them pie to pie. With THE MOTHER’s Grace, this system brought a new turn to his business.
His first shop had been situated in a narrow lane of the Bazaar. Now he was able to rent a new shop on the main road, very ideal for business. After shifting he added new dress materials, shoes, slippers and umbrellas with his previous inventories of sarees and readymades. He named his shop after THE DIVINE MOTHER, “Mahalakshmi Bastralaya and Mahalakshmi Shoe House.”
Maheshwari , Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati are the four aspects of THE DIVINE MOTHER. After receiving THE MOTHER’s blessings his new business increasingly flourished. Grateful to THE MOTHER from the care of his heart, Hemlal became greatly devoted to Her. Like a child clinging to his mother, he took total refuge under Her blessings and protection. Hemlal’s family deity was Kali and for many generations this goddess had been worshipped. It is well understood in Bengal, that when Kali becomes the family deity she is not to be replaced by any other idol, otherwise disaster will follow.
But Hemlal went ahead and made arrangements for the worship of THE DIVINE MOTHER at his residence. THE MOTHER Herself being the Mahashakti, why should he worship an idol? Everyone opposed this move, even his relatives. But Hemlal was sincere in his devotion and firm in his belief. Despite all adverse reaction he installed THE MOTHER’s photo, his Mahakali. Thus began THE MOTHER’s puja in Hemlal’s home.
In the early of 50’s, accompanied by Bhupesh Sen, Hemlal first visited the Ashram in Pondicherry. The morning after his arrival by Madras Mail he entered Her presence. He knelt at Her feet and She caressed the crown of his head – and the back of his neck, as well. The child Hemlal had found his true Mother. His soul reached out to her. It was a feeling of profound ethereal joy. He was Hers forever more.
After THE MOTHER’s darshan he met Sri Nolini Kanta Gupta, The Secretary of the Ashram, known to the inmates as Nolinida. Nolinida received him with love and affection and gave him honest advice. Gradually a fraternal relationship developed between them. Hemlal respected and adored him as his elder brother. And Nolinida reciprocated the brotherly feeling, for he treasured Hemlal’s truthfulness and childlike simplicity. Nolinida became his only advisor in relation to both business and family. Whatever decision had to be made Nolinida was always there to help him out. Hemlal Mitra’s every step was made with Nolinida’s consent. But Nolinida never gave advice on his own. He first mentioned everything to The Mother, then let Hemlal Mitra know her wish. And it was obyed accordingly, Even Hemlal Mitra’s Children knew Nolinida as their own “Jyathamashai“ (Uncle, elder to father), and called him so. From then on Hemlal went to Pondicherry for almost every darshan.
On 21st February, 1955, the Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha was founded by Sri Shanti Ranjan Chakraborty and Sri Pramod Ranjan Sen in Habra. The sangha will ever be grateful to them for their selfless and dedicated work. Pramodda was at that time the editor of “Srinvantu” Patrika, a well respected Bengali publication. He was also president of Nabajibon Andolon. From the beginning of Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha, Hemlal Mitra was an active member. He also participated in all of Pramodda’s other work related to THE MOTHER and SRI AUROBINDO. In the 1960’s Hemlal, along with the help and collaboration of his wife Ashalata, bought a plot in Prafullanagar, a village in Habra. It was their sincere desire to build a temple for the Divine Mother there.
During this period Hemlal had been elected Sabhapati (President) of the Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha. But as the Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha had no permanent headquarters, the single room office had to be shifted many times in its first few years. This was very tiresome and distracting. So one day in a meeting of the committee it was decided that the Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha must have a private office. President Hemlal Mitra suggested that an office could be built in the plot that he had bought in Prafullanagar. All the members warmly welcomed this proposal.
Prior to that Hemlal had already established a temple of the Divine Mother at his own residence, where each year during Kalipuja he would celebrate the ‘Mahakali Puja' of THE MOTHER. All the members of the sangha had participated in this. In fact, the whole village attended the ceremony receiving THE MOTHER's prasad. Anil Mukherjee, a sadhaka, of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, along with his family never failed to attend this event. In the year 1963, Hemlal took a leading role when the actual construction of the center in Prafullanagar began. As he was much loved and respected by all, members of the Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha and even persons from outside contributed for the completion of the building, whether financially or with their sincere labour or with both. Those who participated in achieving this goal, will always be remembered by us, are Shanti Ranjan Chakraborty, Pramod Ranjan Sen, Hemlal Mitra, Narayan Chandra Pal, Sushil Das, Sudhir Ghosh, Jagannath Banerjee, Sushil Basu, Phanibhushan Roychowdhury, Anil Chatterjee, Makhan Lal Sarkar, Ashima Ghosh, Bithika Ghosh, Gaurango Biswas, Sankar Das, Phanibhushan Nath, Sachindra Nath Bose and many others.
Those members who had volunteered from the very origin of the foundation of the Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha and still participating in it are : Ashit Ranjan Das, Narayan Majumder, Anil Sarkar, Prabhat Chandra Chandra, Lohit Banerjee, Gobindo Lal Chakroborty, Renugopal Das, Bimal Das, Sekhar Ghosh, Bhupesh Sen, Santosh Adhikary. At last, in August 1964, the building of the Karmi Sangha was completed. A photo of the structure was taken to THE MOTHER for Her blessings. She, dated it 15th August, 1964, gave Her blessings and put Her signature to it. Now though no one had thought to request a name for the centre, THE MOTHER Herself wrote that its name was to be “MATRIMANDIR“. It was deemed a great privilege for the Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha to be first “MATRIMANDIR" of THE MOTHER.
That same year on the 4th of November THE MOTHER gave permission for the opening ceremony of Matrimandir to take place. Bhaktas from many other centres of THE MOTHER and SRI AUROBINDO in West Bengal attended the ceremony. Residents of Habra and Ashoknagar and even many of those staying at quite a distance also came. Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha’s first dream was fulfilled. They had at last a centre of their own, blessed by THE MOTHER. On that memorable occasion THE MOTHER had sent a very special message to the centre, a divine mantra, which will always remain aflame in the hearts of the Karmis.
To open a centre is not sufficient in itself. It must be the pure hearth of a perfect sincerity in a total consecration to the Divine. Let the flame of this sincerity rise high above the falsehoods and the deceptions of the world. blessings THE MOTHER
Continued from Previous Page Under Hemlal’s guidance and with all the members’ united effort, the work of Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha, progressed smoothly. Hemlal still remained its president. He always thought of what was best for the sangha; and so for its future welfare, with Nolinida’s permission, a board of trustees was organized in 1976. Hemlal became its first managing trustee. For nearly thirty long years Hemlal took the leadership of the sangha. For first fifteen years he worked as its president and next fifteen years as a trustee. As long as he lived the sangha was under his guidance. He was a sincere worker of THE MOTHER. All the karmis respected him and loved him for his truthfulness.
But Hemlal had a greater dream now, the installation of SRI AUROBINDO’s relics in the Matrimandir. For this THE MOTHER’s permission was granted through Nolinida. Hemlal and other trustee members were preparing to renovate the Matrimandir for this auspicious occasion. But the work was halted, for on the 12th of October 1990, Hemlal passed away, leaving his dream unfulfilled.
More than five years rolled by. Preparations for the arrival of Sri Aurobindo’s relics in the Matrimandir began with new zeal and enthusiasism. In July 1996, a delegation from Matrimandir, Habra, led by Kamalesh Mitra and Bhupesh Sen, arrived at Ashram in Pondicherry, to make arrangements for the relics installation. With the consent of the Managing Trustee, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, the date was fixed for receiving Sri Aurobindo’s relics. On 1st August 1996, at 4 pm, Professor Bishwanath Roy and Rina Mitra received the relics for the Matrimandir, Habra. The relics were carried from the Ashram main building to the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE) and safely rested that night in the Teachers’ room, under the observation of some volunteer Ashram students. Early the next morning the journey to Habra with relics began.
On 2nd August,1996 around 11 am the relics reached at Dumdum Airport in Kolkata. There the relics were received with deep respect. The relics were carried to Habra on a chariot, followed by more than fifty cars. On the way the chariot was stopped at Madhyamgram and Ashokenagar. Thousands of persons paid their tribute to SRI AUROBINDO. The Chairman of Habra Municipality Sri Shib Ratan Kothari received the relics with devotion at Habra; a long procession was followed.
Finally on the evening of 2nd August 1996, Sri Aurobindo’s relics arrived at the Matrimandir. Devotees from other centres welcomed the relics with great devotion. The relics tray was kept on the first floor of the Matrimandir so that the bhaktas could have its darshan. The whole of the following day (i.e. 3rd August , 1996) the relics remained there for disciples who had come from distant corners of Bengal to offer homage to their Lord. The centre was overflowing with them. It was a great moment of Bhakti and Ananda. A white marble shrine had been kept ready in the cemented courtyard for the relics’ enshrinement. It was under a service tree, a seedling of the same tree that still gives cool shade today over the samadhi of THE MOTHER and SRI AUROBINDO.
The 4th of August, 1996 dawned with a fresh sprinkling of rain. It drizzled and showered the rest of the morning, but still the devotees kept arriving. By afternoon the rain ceased and slowly the dark clouds disappeared, cleansing the earth a new. Mother earth, bathed in a shower of divine grace, spread an aura of peacefulness over the atmosphere. Around the shrine the bhaktas waited eagerly for the divine moment to take place. A faint streak of golden light broke through the grey sky. Slowly, silently, the light spread over the celestial arch, descending into the courtyard of the Matrimandir, illuminating the surroundings with a golden orange hue. As a soft breeze rippled the branches of the service tree, its leaves sprinkled a light golden dew over the marble shrine. It was breathtaking moment, as if all nature waited in deep meditation for the heavenly occurrence. Silently the time passed.
After a short meditation at 4 pm, Sri Himangshu Neogi installed the relics. The Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s countless disciples witnessed that Supreme Hour. On the 4th August 1996, the second dream of the Karmi Sangha was now realized. May the members of the Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha prepare themselves to become worthy of Sri Aurobindo’s relics. Our pledge to the Divine Mother :--

“May we, the karmis of Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sangha, Matrimandir, carry on Her work with complete sincerity-may we be at each moment what She wants us to be, and with Her blessings, may we triumph over all obstacles." Victoire À la Douce MÈre VandÉ Mataram

Sri Aurobindo Pathamandir , Kolkata

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

The change has seeped into stones and mortar

Their presence in this city has changed the very air, which seems to carry a silent, sustained devotion. You think that the change has seeped into the stones on the streets and the mortar in the buildings. Even the beggar with no legs outside the Ashram dining hall shines up at you, eyes brimming with something that you could make a home in. You could curl up in it like a cat in a down comforter and go to sleep, safe at last. You could drink it like cream soda; it smoothes everything behind the fizz.
But this is not paradise. A travel guide comments that India is essentially an ungovernable society. It is too big and unwieldy. A friend remarks that the Indians are a long way from mastering matter. That's easy enough to see. Garbage rots in the streets, and it is too hot to keep the windows closed if there happen to be any glass windows to close. There is corruption, wretched poverty, dirt, pollution, ugliness, homelessness, exploitation, caste discrimination, theft --chaos on a scale that is simply incomprehensible.
The peace and silence here, at least here in Pondicherry, are in the midst of that, not separated off in some cloister! You feel it walking down the streets or shopping in this leather shop or that silk shop or this furniture store, especially ones run by people touched by Them, people dedicated to this path.
These are quiet, radiant, purposeful, sad, privileged people. They live inside an envelope of grace. Walking the streets of the town, you begin to sense its outlines. You feel it thinning when you cross into the commercial district of Pondicherry. The closer you get to the samadhi, the more substantial it grows.
Inside the envelope, everything seems to be orchestrated. It's a different kind of time, a different style of movement. You don't need a Daytimer. It's not that kind of time. It is the flow you have heard about, that you have floated in yourself on occasion. It is here all the time. But this flowing time is not here just to lie down and luxuriate in.
There was a profound work going on here behind the scenes. He and She were on a mission. For 60 years without letup they engaged life and matter in the most stupendous effort of conscious evolution. They didn't want to just find the divine spark within, declare victory and be done with it. Both of them had found the spark within themselves and united with it long ago.
The distinction of their spiritual path is their labor to uncover the Divine, not only in the soul, but also in mind and life and body. A life divine on earth, clearly visible and sustainable even in the lower reaches of human nature, even down to this chaos, even down to the cells of the body! A stupendous work, revolutionary at the time and, if it seems less so today, that is only because of the far-flung influence of their work.
And you sense that it is still going on today, behind the scenes, without the slightest hype. It was never the kind of work held up to public opinion. Nobody's going to broadcast it. It is done inside the silence. The growing busloads of tourists that come here are brought by government tours for the politicians' purposes, not by Ashram public relations. A home for the ancient traveler by John Robert Cornell This article is excerpted with permission from the Fall/Winter 1995 issue of Sunseeds (Vol. 9, No. 2). #

The story of Matagiri by Sam Spanier

Collaboration - Journal of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
Summer 1995, Vol. 21, No. 1
CHRONICLES AND RECOLLECTIONS The story of Matagiri: Part 1
by Sam Spanier [Sam gave this talk at the July 1994 All USA Meeting (AUM) in Phoenecia, New York, a short dis tance from Matagiri. Eric Hughes graciously transcribed the tape.]

In 1960 Eric and I went to the apartment of Eleanor Montgomery [who had a Sri Aurobindo center in New York City] for the evening. Part of the evening was a tape, and it was the first time I ever heard the Mother's voice; I was taken in an incredible way. First of all, I said, "My God, I know that voice very well," and I couldn't understand how. I was determined from then on to go and see this woman. Two years later, I had the opportunity.

I went to the Ashram in 1962. By the way, the Mother at that time was well. She was in good form, she was strong. On her birthday she was out in the street. She went to the playground, there were all kinds of affairs. She was not, as she later became, fragile, and staying in her rooms.

Anyway, in those days there was a little box. If you wanted to see the Mother, you wrote a note and it was put in the box; then you would receive a response. I wrote, "Dear Mother, I would like very much to have the opportunity to see you if possible." She wrote back and said, "Yes, you may come at 10:00 in the morning."

The first person I met at the Ashram when I got there was Chinmoy--some of you may know him now as Sri Chinmoy. Well, Sri Chinmoy was at that time a disciple, he was actually working for a number of the secretaries in the Ashram. The first day I arrived, I wasn't sure how to get to the Ashram. I stopped this man who was Sri Chinmoy, this boy, and said, "Can you show me the Ashram?" He said, "Oh, yes--" . . . he decided that we should come to know each other, and we became friends. (One of the reasons we had a good meeting was because of our mutual love of Ramakrishna. I had known of Ramakrishna for many years before I became drawn to Sri Aurobindo, and Sri Chinmoy also had that.)

The reason I tell you this little part of the story is that when Mother gave me the permission to come and meet her, Sri Chinmoy heard about it. The Ashram was small then, there were only something like 12 or 13 Westerners there. Chinmoy came to me and said, "I have to bring the flowers. I want to pick them for you. They have to be fresh, just as if you had picked them at that very minute." I said, "Fine, you bring the flowers."

In the Ashram I always wore Indian clothes, a dhoti (you know the way Indian men wear their clothing there). Just as I came in to go up to Mother, Chinmoy was there. He had this bowl, a bunch of flowers; I took them and started up the steps. I was thinking, "What will I do there?" I was concerned, because I had never been in front of somebody of the stature that she was. Here was this simple Jewish Brooklyn boy who was going to this saint or this great wise woman, and I'd heard so many things about her and what she was going to be like.

I went in and Mother was seated in a chair that had two arms. She was up on a little dais, a little pedestal place, sitting like this. First of all, Champaklal took the flowers, and put them down. I came in and immediately sat at her feet. I didn't think to sit there, I just did.

I looked up and Mother looked at me--some of you have had the privilege of this, she was sitting like that--I looked up and I felt like an absolute infant in my mother's arms. It was the most incredible feeling. It was the feeling that we all wish to feel and have sometimes felt. The feeling of total completeness, nothing needed, everything given, completely, completely with love. It was an incredible . . . so there I was seated, and the first thing I did, I put my arms around her legs and took her like that. And Mother just let me be there like that. She didn't move, she didn't do anything. I don't know how long I was holding her legs. My head was right here, my arms around her legs.

At one point I relinquished the legs and came back. She looked at me and said (I'm going to speak the way I think I heard her): "Oh, I know your atmosphere for a very long time." I looked up and--you know, I heard this, and I wasn't exactly sure what she meant, but I know it was something wonder ful because she said she had known me for a very long time.

Then I grabbed her finger--mothers will know this better than fathers--you know when a baby is lying in a crib and you put your finger in and the baby gets--like that. That's what I did. I grabbed her finger (she wore a ring on that finger), and I wouldn't let go. Mother was doing everything, you know, moving around. . . . [portion missing] hanging on to her. It was really very sweet and very special.

Then Mother said to me, "What do you do?" I said, "Mother, I'm a painter." She said, "Oh," and with her arms, she said, "Oh, all the more reason for us to come closer together." Because, if you don't know, Mother was a painter. So this was a great sweetness and loveliness on her part to say a thing like that.

She said, "What do you paint?" I said, "I paint heads, Mother." "Ah," she said, "I said to Champaklal, 'When I see that man every morning at the balcony, he has all these heads around him.' Now I know why I see all those heads around you." I looked at her and was amazed, because it meant in some way she had even recognized me there--there were hundreds of people that came every morning.

So that was that. Then she went a little bit back into her seat and said to me, "Do you like to travel?" I said, "Oh, yes, Mother"--those of you who know me know that I love to travel. She said, "Ah! Have you ever been to Japan?" I said, "No, Mother." Of course, two years later, I was in Japan.

Then she said to me, "Would you like to meditate with me?" Mother didn't often meditate with people. So I said--I was in delight, you know, in this remarkable place of happiness-- I said, "Any thing you wish, Mother." And I began to sit into a yogic position. She said, "No! You sit natural but remain passive." With that kind of tremendous power, you know. "Passive!" So I remained natural and became passive.

I closed my eyes and began to meditate. I felt myself moving, moving, moving, and beginning to leave this body. I felt myself going up out of this body, way, way up. And at a particular point I stopped, or it stopped, and I experienced something which cannot be put into words. How long that experience lasted I really don't know.

But at a certain point, like an elevator, I felt myself coming down, down, down, I could feel myself come back into this form and back into the body. And when I was in the body again, the thought in my mind was, "Did she come down too?" I opened my eyes to see if she'd come down too, and she was peering--she had bent over and she was going like this, and her eyes, you know (all of us know that her eyes were quite amazing)--her eyes were very wide and she had this wonderful smile, and there was something remarkable. She said to me, "You can be a link between East and West." I thought, "Oh, my God!" That was an amazing thing to hear from this very amazing person.

Champaklal had come in to usher me out; he didn't want me to be there any longer, I had been there long enough. Mother went like that [gesture], and I sat there for a long while. Later I found out it was a great privilege to have been allowed to stay longer than usual.

Anyway, when I had first come to the Ashram, I was extremely happy there. Everyone was kind and loving and generous and welcoming. I loved India. I felt as if I had known it all my life. So I thought, well, I might as well live here for the rest of my life. There's no reason to go back. I even began to look around to see if I could buy a place, and there was a place, right on the water, which I understand now is a gasoline station.

So I had come in to meet with her with a thought in my head asking, "Mother could I please remain here for the rest of my life?" And before the thought came out of my head, she said to me, again pointing, "It is not necessary for you to remain here for the rest of your life." I was absolutely startled, because it was real telepathy--of course, I shouldn't have been startled because she was an amazing being. Then she said, "But don't think of leaving at the moment"--you see, it was not to make me feel as if she didn't want me. I wasn't rejected.

There were a few other things which are very private which I will not tell you. . . . She looked at me again just before the meeting was over--she turned, and she had flowers. She handed me a giant white rose and a giant red rose. So I had the white and the red rose in my hand, and I went down in this incredible state, a state of great joy and happiness. And there, of course, was Chinmoy, waiting to hear what had happened. I really didn't want to speak at that moment, because it was so precious and so beautiful . . . I handed Chinmoy the white rose (I had a feeling to do that very much) and I took the red rose.

I went through where the samadhi is and went out. I lived at that time across the park in Castellini [an Ashram guest house]. I was walking with this red rose in this remarkable state, and suddenly I had this strange feeling: "I don't feel I'm on the ground." I looked down and my both feet went pop! like that, and I can tell you, which may sound strange, there was a sense of being above the ground. Now, you know, I couldn't prove it, and I don't have to, but I never told anybody that. I thought they would think I was mad, so I didn't say anything. I went back to my rooms and stayed there all day. Now, a part of the reason that we're here is because I'm supposed to tell you how Matagiri came into existence.

Two weeks after that, Maggi Lidchi, whom some of you may know (she lived in the Ashram for many years, and was a dear friend of mine even before I came to Pondicherry; I had met her here in America)--Maggi had invited me for dinner one night. She had a little courtyard in a little tiny house. I was seated in the courtyard waiting for the dinner to be finished, and she was in the kitchen area. I was sitting there very casually. All of a sudden, in front of me, was a slide projection going on! One slide, another slide, another slide. And all the slides had to do with what you now know as Matagiri. The pictures were there as if it had been taken--mind you, this was years before it ever came into existence--and so when this happened, there was also with the viewing a certain knowledge that seemed to be given to me to know what this was about. But it put me in a state of wonder.

When Maggi came out, she said, "What's the matter?" I said, "Maggi, you'll never believe it. I just had a slide presentation of a center that I'm supposed to bring into existence. I know everything that's going to happen." She looked at me and said, "Wait." She came out with a piece of paper. "Write it all down," she said, "because tomorrow it's going to be a fantasy. If it's true, Mother will give her blessings. I'll take it up to Mother, and she'll give her blessings." [At that time, Maggi Lidchi was one of Mother's secretaries.] So I wrote down all that I could possibly remember of everything that was seen. It was sent up to Mother. Mother gave her blessings.

Now I should tell you that I believe Mother gave her blessings to everything. I never ever heard of anything that Mother didn't give her blessings to, unless it was something that might have been unusually strange. But, "I want to open a bakery"--"I give my blessings"; "I want to go here"--"I give my blessings." Anything. But what I realized quite a number of years later, actually, was that the presentation I saw was put into me by the Mother in the personal viewing that I'd had with her when she asked me to join her in meditation. An experiential thing occurred that I can't describe but I felt, which was putting it all in there, and two weeks later it came out. That's what I truly believe occurred.

Anyway, I went home to America, and there was already a small center started by Eric and myself. I came back and told Eric this story. I said, "Now I know what I have to do. I have to start this, this is what has to be done." That's all I knew, but what I said then was, "I don't know where, I don't know how."

Some of you may know me well enough that although I've always felt I had great faith, I never did anything but argue with God. I constantly am expecting proof of the Divine. So I said, "Well, if the Divine wants me to do that, let the Divine show me how."

I waited patiently. One year went by, nothing happened. A second year went by, nothing happened. I became a little impatient, so I thought, I'll go back and see that woman. So I went back to the Ashram in '64. Unfortunately, if you know the history, you know that at the end of '62, Mother became what is known as "not well." The doctors had one opinion, and she had another; if you read the Agenda, you know what she thought. In any case, she was no longer to be seen as often. She no longer came down on the balcony. (In '62 I'd had the privilege of seeing her every morning from 6:15 to 6:30. We could all stand below her balcony and she would come out; this is where she had seen the heads around my head.)

In any case, I went back in '64, and having heard that she had not really been well, I felt I could not take her time. She had too many precious things to do, and I didn't feel it was right of me.

Some of you may know Ann Harrison--she was a dear friend, the woman who actually introduced me to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. She was at the Ashram. She said, "Samie, you are a child of the Mother. The Mother is here for her children. You can go and see her, she will want to see you." So I wrote Mother a note and said, "Mother dearest, if you will allow me, I would like to be able to see you." She wrote back, "Yes, you may come, but it will be a silent meeting." I didn't object to that at all. I thought it was a great privilege to be in her presence, silent or otherwise.

I went in to see her, and Mother was very fragile from the two-year period. I mean, she was very much there, but fragile. I did not sit on the floor, I sat on a kind of low seat. I was looking at Mother, she was looking at me, and I heard her telepathically say, "Now that you are here, if you wish, you may ask me a question." I looked up at her, because I really heard it in my head, and I said, "Mother, I am so grateful to be here. I have nothing to ask of you." And when I finished my statement, which was inside, she smiled, and she gave me that incredible smile again. That was 1964.

In the middle of 1964, Mother began to speak to me inwardly. If you have that experience, you know what it is. If you don't, you'll just have to trust that it can happen. Mother said to me in '65, "You can go buy the property." I said, "But where, Mother? How, Mother?" She directed me, she told me to come up to this area. And I did. I came to this area and looked. I had no money. I had no idea how to buy any property. But since she had decided this was to be, I knew it was to be.

I went out--without sounding foolish, I said to real estate agents, "I'm looking for a very large property, but it can't be more than $10,000." Now, of course, in '65 that was not as unreasonable as it would be today. But it still was incredibly little. So they showed me $40,000 places, $50,000, and we went through the whole . . . finally after two months of looking, I said, "I'm disgusted, why don't you show me the property, Mother? You haven't shown me the property. I'm going home." I said it just like that. No answer, of course, but that's what I said.

The last day I was to remain there, I was coming home from the grocery shop. A man in a car stopped me and said, "Can I give you a lift home?" because I had heavy bags. I said, "That's very kind of you," and got in. He said, "What are you doing in Woodstock?" "Well, I've been looking for property, but it's absolutely impossible." "Oh? I'm a real estate agent. Would you like to go with me tomorrow?" I told him, "But I'm leaving." He said, "Why don't you try?" So I said OK, and he took me again to a million places. Nothing available.

As we were driving home, he said, "Oh, something came in this morning. I haven't seen it myself. It's very large and it would be interesting. Would you like to see it? It's not in town." I said, "All right, why not?" We came to the entrance to Matagiri, which in those days had many more trees. (I'm sad to say a lot of them had to go.) We drove one car length in, not more, and Mother said, "This is it. Tell him you'll take it." So I--it's absolutely true--I turned to the man and I said, "This is it. I'll take it." He turned to me and said, "But Mr. Spanier, you haven't even seen it." I realized he thought I was--you know. I said, "No, I'll take it." "Let me show you the house." "All right, I'll see the house."

So we drove up and there was the little house, which you all may know. It's a little changed now. The house was very sweet. I went in, and I must say the atmosphere inside that place was so pure, it was so lovely, it had such a purity, it was incredible. And to my great delight, I was told that the owner, who had died at the age of 96, had left it. I always like when people live very long lives, and he had lived a long life, a happy life. Everything that he owned was in the house. He had many religious and spiritual books on the shelves, and I found that very good. I found it very touching.

And so I said to the man--I'm telling you secrets about prices, but I'll tell you anyway. I said to the man, "How much do they want?" By the way, it was 50 acres. He said, "Twenty-two thousand dollars." "Ah," I said, "twenty-two thousand. I told you I can't afford more than ten. Twenty-two thousand! Well, I've been seeing a lot of houses, and I've learned a little. I can give you a bid, can't I?" He said, "Yes. Do it." So I said, "Tell him I'll give him thirteen thousand."

He called the son, who was about seventyish, of the old man, he was in his 70s. About a week later I was informed that the son said yes, I could have it for fifteen-five. So that was really quite amazing. But I always have things in my head about numbers, so the five hundred for some reason I wanted to cut off. Not because I thought it was too much, but I liked the idea of just fifteen. There was some thing sweet about it. So I said to the agent, I said, "Can I have it for fifteen?" He said, "Mr. Spanier, this is so remarkable. Take it. He's going to think you're one of these hippies. Don't do that." So I accepted. And so that's the way we then . . . [end of first side of tape]

[The first portion of the second side of the tape was not recorded. Sam was talking about another episode, before the purchase of the property, when he was with another real estate agent, a woman.]

The real estate agent and I were seated in the car. She was driving, and someone hit us from behind. When they hit us, my arm went into the front of the car. She said, "Did you hurt yourself?" "Well, a little, not too bad." "Oh, no, no. I want to take you to the doctor." "I don't need a doctor." She said, "Oh, yes"--she was afraid that I was, you know--so she took me to the doctor.

He said, "What's the matter?" I said, "Nothing, except I have a little numbness in these two fingers." He said, "It doesn't seem like anything, but I must tell you, sometimes nerves can get damaged and you might have trouble," you know, blah, blah, blah. Well, I forgot about that.

A week later I heard a knock at the door, and there was an insurance man. He said to me, "We're representing the man who hit you from behind, and if you sign this little thing for me, I'll give you $75 for your problem." I said, "Why will you do that?" Because it didn't dawn on me that I . . . he said, "Well, I don't want you to feel that we're not considering you." I said, "Did you think I was going to sue you?" Because that was the first time the idea even entered my head. He said, "Well, that happens." I said, "Well, now, let me think about it." Because I hadn't thought about it.

Then all of a sudden, Mother's voice again came. She said, "Tell him you will sign it for $400." So I turned and I said, "I'll sign it for $400." He looked at me and said, "Mr. Spanier, I've been in this business for 30 years. You didn't lose a finger, you didn't lose a toe. Never, we'll never . . ." So she said, "Tell him if he goes to the people and tries, they will give him the $400." So I turned to him--he didn't know this was going on and I didn't act foolish--and said, "I'm almost sure, positive, if you go to the people, they'll give you the $400." He said, "All right, I'll try. But it's--I'll tell you, it's not going to . . ." A week later he came back with a $400 check. He gave it to me and I signed the papers.

Now the reason for telling this little silly story is this: John Kelly, whom some of you may know (I hope some of you knew John Kelly; he died in India a few years ago, a very wonderful and dear friend)--John Kelly and I went together to do the closing of the property. And as I told you, we had so little money. In fact, the money that paid for the down payment was begged from my own mother, because I didn't have the money to put it down. She loaned me $3,000--she's still alive. Mommie, you hear me? When I said that I wanted to buy the property, she said, "Where is it?" I told her. She said, "In the wilderness you're going to live? Never will my son live in the wilderness like that." She thought anything that was out of New York City was a wilderness. Anyway, she loaned me a small sum of money.

But the point is that when we got to the closing, just at the very end, the man said, "We're very sorry, but you realize you have a $400 property tax to pay." I said, "Oh, that's the reason for the whole experience!" That $400 was all arranged so we'd have it to pay the tax. Now, one can believe that or not, but I know it absolutely was the case. It was really quite remarkable. So that's how Matagiri started.

Sam Spanier is an artist living at Matagiri near Woodstock, New York. He recently opened his own gallery.