The contents of this document are copyright 1976, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry, India. You may make a digital copy or printout of this text for your personal, non-commercial use under the condition that you copy this document without modifications and in its entirety, including this copyright notice.
In this volume are collected all writings of the Mother from the period before 1920, the year she finally settled in Pondicherry, with the exception of Prayers and Meditations. The book has been divided into seven parts, according to the nature and date of the material.
In Parts 1 and 2 are included all the contents of Words of Long Ago, a selection of the Mother's early writings published first in 1946. This book was a translation of French texts brought out the same year under the title Paroles d'autrefois. The French book was reprinted in 1955 and the English translation in 1952 and 1974. In the present edition the contents of Part 1 have been rearranged according to date. A revised English translation of "Conte saphirin" ("A Sapphire Tale") has been added to them. The text and translation of this story first appeared in the monthly journal Mother India in February 1957. At the time of this publication the Mother remarked to the journal's editor that the story expressed "the ideal of the Overmind Creation". There is another addition to Part 1: an unpublished note related to "On Thought" has been appended to that talk. Part 2 is composed of essays written by the Mother for the meetings of "a small group of seekers" in 1912. The first essay (7 May 1912), which was originally published in French in Quelques paroles, quelques prieres (1939) and, in English translation, as the Foreword to the 1940 edition of Words of the Mother (subsequently brought out as Conversations), has been restored to its original place in the series. The question for this meeting of 7 May 1912, which appears in the present edition for the first time, has been taken from the Mother's handwritten manuscript. All the translations in Parts 1 and 2 have been thoroughly revised for this edition.
Between 1911 and 1913 the Mother gave numerous talks to different groups in Paris. Two of these talks, "On Thought" and "On Dreams", which were printed in Paroles d'autrefois (1946) and, in English translation, in Words of Long Ago (1946), appear in Part 1 of the present volume. A number of other talks, which were never published either in French or in English during the Mother's lifetime, are published for the first time, in English translations, as Part 3 of the present volume. The Mother sometimes presented the same talk to different groups, with suitable additions and alterations. These variants, if significant and non-repetitive, have been given here in the form of footnotes. A translation of a note relating to the Mother's talks, which has recently been found among her manuscripts, has been placed before the other items of this part.
Part 4 is composed of some writings, similar to the Prayers and Meditations, which have never before been published. Several of these pieces were dated or are easily datable; the remainder seem clearly to belong to the period before 1920. All have been translated from the French.
Several short essays and notes entitled by the Mother "Notes and Reflections" have recently come to light. These writings, with a few other related ones, are given here, under the same title, in English translation, as Part 5.
The letters, essays, etc. which compose Part 6 were written in Japan between 1916 and 1920. "Woman and the War", written originally in French, was published, in a translation seen and revised by the Mother, in the Fujoshimbun, a Japanese journal, on 7 July 1916. "Woman and Man", written in French around the same time, was translated into English by the Mother, but never published. "Remembrances" also appears to have been written first in French and translated subsequently into English, very likely by the Mother herself. The other pieces in this part seem to have been written originally in English. They are among the Mother's first compositions in the English language. "Impressions of Japan", dated 9 July 1917, was written in Akakura. It was first published in the form reproduced here in the Modern Review (Calcutta) in January 1918. "The Children of japan", an incomplete letter, was written shortly after "Impressions of japan". "To the Women of Japan" is undated. It exists in several versions, one of which has been chosen as our principal text. To this, passages from other versions have been added. Part of the talk was published as "To the Women of the World" in the Sri Aurobindo Circle Annual of 1947. Some revisions, made by the Mother for this publication, have been included in the present text. A greater portion of the talk was published as "Talk to the Women of japan" in 1967. The last part of "To the Women of Japan", which is being reproduced here for the first time, incorporates passages from Sri Aurobindo's Human Cycle, Synthesis of Yoga, etc.
While in Japan the Mother translated and adapted some stories written by Mr. F. J. Gould, which had been published in his Youth's Noble Path in 1911. The Mother's versions, written in French, were first published as Belles Histoires in 1946. An English translation, entitled Tales of All Times, was brought out in 1951. All the translations have been revised for inclusion in Part 7 of the present edition. Several hitherto unpublished stories have been translated and added as an appendix.
[Booksellers] [Publishers] [Study groups]
[Home] [Index] [E-mail] [Site News] [Search Site]
Last modified on Aug 11, 1995