The Mother -- A Brief Life Sketch

The Mother was born Mirra Alfassa in 1878. Her inner spiritual experiences began, by her own words, at the age of four. She grew up in Paris during the first years of her life, absorbing the best of the late-nineteenth century culture, including drawing, painting, mathematics and music. She learned tennis, which she played into her nineties, and piano.

When she was nineteen she married Henri Morisset, and for ten years lived among the great painters and artists of Paris, such as Gustave Moreau and Cezanne. In her youth she had not received any direct instruction in the spiritual path, yet by this time she had reached a high level of awareness through her own unaided efforts.

In 1906 she formed a small group to discuss occult experiences; among the members was Alexandra David-Neel. Around this time she met Max Theon, an occultist from Algeria, and spent one or two years with him, perfecting her training in the occult sciences. Yet for her the Divine was always foremost; in many talks and writings she speaks of the pitfalls and dangers of occultism.

Some time after dissolving her marriage to Morisset, she married Paul Richard. Richard was interested in Eastern philosophy, and in 1910 he visited Pondicherry to meet Sri Aurobindo. The Richards returned to Pondicherry in 1914, when the Mother met Sri Aurobindo for the first time.

She recognised Sri Aurobindo as a person she had met in dreams (whom she had called "Krishna") and knew that she would return to spend her life with him. During the time the Richards were in Pondicherry they along with Sri Aurobindo planned and initiated the journal Arya, in which Sri Aurobindo was to serialise many of his major works.

From 1916-1920, the Mother and Paul Richard lived in Japan, where she witnessed the terrible flu pandemic. During this period she continued to meet leading intellectual figures, including Tolstoy's son and Rabindranath Tagore.

In 1920 she broke her relationship with Paul Richard and returned to Pondicherry to join Sri Aurobindo. From that point the lives of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were indissolubly linked.

The Mother quickly took charge of the growing household that had formed around Sri Aurobindo. In 1926 Sri Aurobindo started using the term "Mother" to refer to her, and he explained that her place in the Ashram had come to equal his.

By the 1930's Sri Aurobindo had retired from overt involvement in running the Ashram, leaving its day-to-day affairs to the Mother. During the war the Ashram population grew to thousands, and the Mother arranged all the details of its physical life as well as directed the development of the sadhaks on the inner planes.

In 1950 Sri Aurobindo left his body, and the Mother assumed sole charge of the Ashram and the disciples.

During the 1950's she expanded her work with the education of the children in the Ashram. She taught French and other subjects, and for most of the decade conducted question-and-answer classes on the spiritual life for both children and older sadhaks. Transcripts of these classes form a large part of her Collected Works. She also planned and developed what was to become the "Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education."

The Mother continued the Supramental Yoga, and as a result, towards the end of the 1950's the Supramental entered the earth's consciousness. She was working on physical transformation, infusing the very cells of the body with divine consciousness.

During the middle 1960's the Mother brought into reality a vision she had of an international city. Auroville was inaugurated in February 1968 with the words of the Mother: "Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be the willing servitor of the divine Consciousness."

She continued the Supramental Yoga and had many changes in her physical body. In 1969 she experienced the descent of a crucial intermediary between the human and the supramental, which she called the "superman consciousness."

In November 1973 the Mother left her body.

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Last modified on Sep 15, 1995