Mirra Alfassa

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Mirra Alfassa (February 21, 1878November 17, 1973), also known as The Mother, was the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. Aurobindo wrote a book about Alfassa in which he promoted her by the name “Mother”. In the 1960s, Mother established Auroville or "City of Dawn The Mother" as a place where "normal people" from all over the world could live together in harmony, seeking spirituality and bring it into the world. She also established the "Soul of Auroville", called the Matrimandir (literally, "Mother's temple").

Quotes[edit]

  • I started contemplating or doing my Yoga from the age of 4. There was a small chair for me on which I used to sit still, engrossed in my meditation. A very brilliant light would then descend over my head and produce some turmoil inside my brain. Of course I understood nothing, it was not the age for understanding. But gradually I began to feel, 'I shall have to do some tremendously great work that nobody yet knows'.
  • It is a rather unpleasant sensation to feel yourself pulled by the strings and made to do things whether you want to or not - that is quite irrelevant - but to be compelled to act because something pulls you by the strings, something which you do not even see -that is exasperating...I knew nobody who could help me and I did not have the chance that you have, someone who can tell you: 'This is what you have to do!' There was nobody to tell me that. I had to find it out all by myself. And I found it. I started at five.
    • When Mirra was developing her inner experiences, as narrated in later years to her disciples at Aurobindo Ashram, in "Birth and Girlhood", also in The Mother On Herself
  • Between the ages of 11 and 13 a series of psychic and spiritual experiences revealed to me not only the existence of God, but man's possibility of uniting with Him, of realising Him integrally in consciousness and action, of manifesting Him upon earth in a life divine. This, along with a practical discipline for its fulfilment, was given to me during my body's sleep by several teachers, some of whom I met afterwards on the physical plane. Later on, as the interior and exterior development proceeded, the spiritual and psychic relation with one of these Beings became more and more clear and frequent.
  • When I was a child of about thirteen, for nearly a year every night as soon as I had gone to bed it seemed to me that I went out of my body and rose straight up above the house, then above the city, very high above. Then I used to see myself clad in a magnificent golden robe, much longer than myself; and as I rose higher, the robe would stretch, spreading out in a circle around me to form a kind of immense roof over the city. Then I would see men, women, children, old men, the sick, the unfortunate coming out from every side; they would gather under the outspread robe, begging for help, telling of their miseries, their suffering, their hardships. In reply, the robe, supple and alive, would extend towards each one of them individually, and as soon as they had touched it, they were comforted or healed, and went back into their bodies happier and stronger than they had come out of them.
  • Will you shut up now?
    • At the age of seven she set right a thirteen-year old bully, who was bullying and molesting girls, by lifting him up and throwing him down with supernatural force. She attributed this power to Mahakali the divine warrior force, quoted in "Birth and Girlhood".
  • I knew a painter, a disciple of Gustave Moreau; he was truly a very fine artist, he knew his work quite well, and then... he was starving, he did not know how to make both ends meet and he used to lament. Then one day, a well-wishing friend sent a picture-dealer to his studio. The latter inspected all his works, without discovering anything of interest: the works of the painter were simply not fashionable and therefore without commercial value. But at last the dealer found a canvas with some palette-scrapings in a dusty corner and was suddenly full of enthusiasm: "Here you are! my friend, you are a genius, this is a miracle, it is this you should show! Look at this richness of tones, this variety of forms, and what an imagination.
  • It is in accordance with the impression that the plate ought to be painted; it gives you an impact, you translate the impact, and it is this which is truly artistic. It is like this that modern art began. And note that he was right. His plates were not round, but he was right in principle.
  • Between the age of eighteen and twenty I had attained a conscious and constant union with the divine Presence and...I had done it all alone, with absolutely nobody to help me, not even books, you understand! When I found one - I had in my hands a little later Vivekananda's Raja Yoga - it seemed to me so wonderful a thing, you see, that someone could explain something to me! This made me gain in a few months what would have perhaps taken me years to do.
  • The Gita was an important scripture which elucidated an important Truth, and yet one thing was missing in it: the idea of the transformation of the outer nature of man, which is one main object of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga.
    • At age when she had read Bhagavadgita a copy of a poor French translation given to her by an Indian who had “advised her to envisage Krishna as the immanent Godhead, as the Divine within ourselves, quoted in "Paris (1897-1904)", and in II. PARIS (1897-1904), Sri Aurobindo's Ashram
  • ... I don't feel that you are sincere, neither you nor your flock. You all went there to fulfill a social duty and social custom, but not at all because you really wanted to enter into communion with God.
  • It matters little that there are thousands of beings plunged in the densest ignorance; He whom we saw yesterday is on earth; his presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed into light, and Thy reign shall actually be established upon earth.
  • It seems to me that I am being born into a new life and that all the methods and habits of the past can no longer be of any use. It seems to me that what was once a result is now only a preparation...It is as if I was stripped of all my past, of my errors as well as my conquests, as if all that had disappeared to give place to one new-born whose whole existence has yet to take shape...An immense gratitude rises from my heart. I seem to have at last arrived at the threshold which I have long sought.
  • O Lord, this earth groans and suffers; chaos has made this world its abode. The darkness is so great that Thou alone canst dispel it. Come, manifest Thyself, that Thy work may be accomplished. Solitude, a harsh, intense solitude, and always this strong impression of having been flung headlong into an inferno of darkness!...Sometimes... I cannot prevent my total sub-mission from taking a hue of melancholy, and the calm and mute converse with the Master within is transformed for a moment into an invocation almost suppliant, O Lord, what have I done that Thou throwest me thus into the sombre night?
  • I was lying in an easy-chair, in front of a garden. I saw that the spiritual power was still active in me: I could go on with occult experiments in spite of the illness. I used to concentrate on things and persons and circumstances and wanted to see if the power worked. It worked very well on the mental and vital planes. Then I broadened the field of activity. I could go on doing my work in various parts of France and America and other places. I could clearly see the faces of the persons worked upon. They could be made to do what they by themselves could not. These were controlled experiments...I could see that nothing could stop the work: even without my body the work could go on... Wherever the call was, I could attend.
    • Her notings in the diary when she was very ill in April 1915, quoted in "Diary notes and Meeting with Sri Aurobindo", also in Chapter 10 Return to France, p.136
...Then I called on my occult power, I gave a big fight and I succeeded in turning him back so that he could not stay there any longer. And I woke up...I know how much knowledge and force were necessary for me to resist. It was irresistible.
  • Japan possesses the vitality and concentrated energies of a nation which has not yet reached its zenith. That energy is one of the most striking features of Japan. It is visible everywhere, in everyone; the old and the young, the workmen, the women, the children, the students, all...display in their daily life the most wonderful storage of concentrated energy.
    • Her observations in 1917 on the immense vitality of the Japanese during the war, quoted in "Japan (1916-20)".
About the Samurais:They know how to remain silent; and though they are possessed of the most acute sensitiveness, they are, among the people I have met, those who express it least. A friend here can give his life with the greatest simplicity to save yours, though he never told you before that he loved you in such a profound and unselfish way.
  • At the end of the second day as I was lying all alone, I saw clearly a being, with a part of the head cut off, in a military uniform (or the remains of a military uniform) approaching me and suddenly flinging himself upon my chest, with that half ahead to suck my force. I took a good look, then realised that I was about to die. He was drawing all my life out...I was completely nailed to the bed, without movement, in a deep trance. I could no longer stir and he was pulling. I thought: now it is the end. Then I called on my occult power, I gave a big fight and I succeeded in turning him back so that he could not stay there any longer. And I woke up...I know how much knowledge and force were necessary for me to resist. It was irresistible.
  • Consciousness, to be sure, is more effective than packets of medicine.
    • Her final comment on her experience of getting out of the epidemic, quoted in "Japan (1916-20)".
With Rabindranath Tagore in Japan...about two nautical miles from Pondicherry, the quality, I may even say physical quality, of the atmosphere of the air, changed so much that I knew we were entering the aura of Sri Aurobindo. It was a physical experience.
  • I was on the boat, at sea, not expecting anything (I was of course busy with the inner life, but I was living physically on the boat), when all of a sudden, abruptly, about two nautical miles from Pondicherry, the quality, I may even say physical quality, of the atmosphere of the air, changed so much that I knew we were entering the aura of Sri Aurobindo. It was a physical experience.
  • ...after a month's yoga I looked exactly eighteen. And someone who had seen me before, who had lived with me in Japan and came here, found it difficult to recognize me. He asked me, 'But really, is it you?' I said, 'Of course!'
  • I took my little cat-it was really sweet -and put it on a table and called Sri Aurobindo. I told him, 'Kiki has been stung by a scorpion, it must be cured. ' The cat stretched its neck and looked at Sri Aurobindo, its eyes already a little glassy. Sri Aurobindo sat before it and looked at it also. Then we saw this little cat gradually beginning to recover, to come round, and an hour later it jumped to its feet and went away completely healed.
  • Suddenly, immediately, things took a certain shape a very brilliant creation was worked out in extraordinary detail, with marvellous experiences, contact with divine beings, and all kinds of manifestations which are considered miraculous;... One day, I went as usual to relate to Sri Aurobindo what had been happening - we had come to something really very interesting, and perhaps I showed a little enthusiasm in my account of what had taken place - then Sri Aurobindo looked at me. ..and said: 'Yes, this is an Overmind creation. It is very interesting, very well done. You will perform miracles which will make you famous throughout the world, you will be able to turn events on earth topsy-turvy, indeed,...' and then he smiled and said: 'It will be a great success. But it is an Overmind creation. And it is not success that we want; we want to establish the Super mind on earth. One must know how to renounce immediate success in order to create the new world, the supramental world in its integrality.
Every morning, at the balcony, after establishing a conscious contact with each of those who are present, I identify myself with the Supreme Lord and merge myself completely in Him. Then my body, completely passive, is nothing but a channel through which the Lord passes freely His forces and pours on all His Light, His Consciousness and His Joy, according to each one's receptivity.
  • The life we lead here is as far from ascetic abstinence as from an enervating comfort; simplicity is the rule here, but a simplicity full of variety, a variety of occupations, of activities, tasks, tendencies, natures; each one is free to organise his life as he pleases, the discipline is reduced to a minimum that is indispensable to organize the existence of 110 to 120 people and to avoid the movements which would be detrimental to the achievement of our yogic aim.
  • Every morning, at the balcony, after establishing a conscious contact with each of those who are present, I identify myself with the Supreme Lord and merge myself completely in Him. Then my body, completely passive, is nothing but a channel through which the Lord passes freely His forces and pours on all His Light, His Consciousness and His Joy, according to each one's receptivity.
  • In the days when Sri Aurobindo used to give Darshan, before he gave it there was always a concentration of certain forces or of a certain realisation which he wanted to give people. And so each Darshan marked a stage forward; each time something was added. But that was at a time when the number of visitors was very limited.

Sayings[edit]

Forward, for ever forward! at the end of the tunnel is the light...at the end of the flight is the victory.
Pictures of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother inside Sri Aurobindo Pathachakra, Dharamgarh.
  • Forward, for ever forward! at the end of the tunnel is the light...at the end of the flight is the victory.
    • In "Pondicherry."
  • Who have undertaken to achieve self-mastery, those who want to find the path that leads to the Divine, and those who aspire to consecrate themselves more and more completely to the Divine Work.
    • In her preface to the book "Prieres et Meditations" which was translated into English by Sri Aurobindo, quoted in "Diary notes and Meeting with Sri Aurobindo."
  • Humanity is not the last rung of the terrestrial creation. Evolution continues and man will be surpassed. It is for each individual to know whether he wants to participate in the advent of this new species.
  • At the beginning of my present earthly existence I was put into touch with many people who said they had a great inner aspiration, an urge towards something deeper and truer, but were tied down, subjected, slaves of that brutal necessity of earning their living, and that this weighed down upon them so much, took way so much of their time and energy that they could not engage in any other activity, inner or outer. I heard that very often.
    • Quoted by Debbie Magee, in "Auroville - The City Of Dawn in South India (27 February 2009)"
  • I was very young at that time, and always I used to tell myself that if ever I could do it, I would try to create a little world - Oh! quite a small one, but still - a small world where people would be able to live without having to be preoccupied by problems of food and lodging and clothing and the imperious necessities of life, to see if all the energies freed by this certainty of an assured material living would spontaneously be turned towards the divine life and inner realization.
    • In "Auroville - The City Of Dawn in South India (27 February 2009)"
  • If ever I leave my body, my consciousness will remain with you.
    • In "Auroville - The City Of Dawn in South India (27 February 2009)"

About The Mother[edit]

  • The Mother (Mirra), Richard and I were going somewhere. We saw Richard going down to a place from which rising was impossible, Then we found ourselves sitting in a carriage the driver of which was taking it up and down a hill a number of times, At last he stopped on the highest peak. Its significance was quite clear to us.
  • She was standing near the staircase when Sri Aurobindo was going upstairs after lunch. Such unearthly beauty I had never seen - she appeared to be about 20 whereas she was more than 43 years old.
    • Ambubhai Purani, about "The Mother" in 1921 after seeing her in the Ashram, quoted in "Pondicherry."
  • The Mother taught by her manner and speech, and showed us in actual practice what was the meaning of disciple and master. .. It was the Mother who opened our eyes...
  • During those early days, she herself used to prepare a pudding. Of that pudding she would put aside a small quantity in a small dish; she would add a little milk to it and stir it with a spoon till it became liquid and consistent. She showed me how to do it and was particular that no grains should be left unmashed...And do you know for whom this part of the pudding was meant? For cats. Later on I learnt that they were not really cats but something more.
    • Champaklal, on Mother’s attachment to the Cats with her, quoted in "Pondicherry."
  • In her gait there was majesty, in her face a glowing grace and her eyes flashed gleams that pierced the darkness below and around. My gaze was fixed at the fairy-like figure whose beautiful face was radiating light and making the whole atmosphere so supernatural that she looked every inch an angel descending from Heaven.
    • Surendranat H. Jauhar, an Indian businessman, on his visit to the Ashram, about "The Mother", quoted in "The Formation Of The Ashram".
  • The Mother does not provide the Sadhaks with comforts because she thinks that the desires, fancies, likings, preferences should be satisfied - in Yoga people have to overcome these things. In any other Ashram they would not get one-tenth of what they get here... The first rule of Yoga is that the Sadhak must be content with what comes to him, much or little; if things are there, he must be able to use them without attachment or desire; if they are not he must be indifferent to their absence.
  • ...a means by which the sadhak might receive something from the Mother by an interchange in the material consciousness.
    • Sri Aurobindo, on the aspect of The Mother serving the soup, quoted in "The Formation Of The Ashram".
  • It was a very important function every evening. It impressed me like a snatch of the Ancient Mysteries. The [[w:Atmosphere|atmosphere was as in some secret temple of Egyptian or Greek times.
    • K. D. Sethna observed on the aspect of the evening routine of serving soup by the Mother to the Sadhaka, quoted in "The Formation Of The Ashram".

Auroville[edit]

Auroville Layout with the Matrimandir at the centre - Debbie Magee:... this town was a vision of The Mother from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry. She envisioned an international town where unity will be celebrated and all will have a spiritual vocation.
Matrimandir, Soul of the Auroville.
  • In 1964 the Mother launched the project of Auroville, the city of human unity, "the City of Dawn" named after Sri Aurobindo. It is a city for 50,000 inhabitants and is hailed by people from all over the world. In 1968, the foundation stone of Auroville was laid and the Mother read out the charter herself.
    • Debbie Magee, in "Auroville - The City Of Dawn in South India (27 February 2009)"
  • Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township in South India whose stated purpose is to realize human unity in diversity. It is a popular tourist destination, and has been described as a New Age metropolis conceived as an alternative exercise in ecological and spiritual living.
    • Debbie Magee, in "Auroville - The City Of Dawn in South India (27 February 2009)"
  • Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.
    • The Mother introducing the project, as the President of the Society quoted by Debbie Magee, in "Auroville - The City Of Dawn in South India (27 February 2009)"
  • The project of Auroville is to work for the advent of a progressive universal harmony.
    • The Mother, quoted by Debbie Magee, in "Auroville - The City Of Dawn in South India (27 February 2009)"
  • The first condition for living in Auroville is to be convinced of the essential unity of mankind and the will to collaborate in the material realisation of that unity. I believe in a progressive universal harmony and want to work for it.
    • The Mother, quoted by Debbie Magee, in "Auroville - The City Of Dawn in South India (27 February 2009)"

External links[edit]

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