Sri Aurobindo Ashram Series: Number 1
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Series: Number 1
Sri Aurobindo is the Father of a beginningless beginning and the Son of an endless end.
The Mother always gives. We too always give. Hers is the Blessing. Ours is the unworthiness.
Sri Aurobindo's Truth is the Seed. His Law is the Plant. His Forgiveness is the Tree. His Holocaust is the Fruit — the Supermind for the world's transformation.
The Mother is ceaseless forgiveness. It is man's bulwark against perdition.
The golden dawn of the cosmos rapt in trance,
Awaits the Birth of the All.
The seven worlds' bliss converges in her heart
With august and sun-vast call.
Slowly the Peak unmeasured of rapture-fire
Climbs down to our human cry.
His diamond Vision's deathless Will leans low,
Our mortal yearnings nigh.
Suddenly life's giant somnolence is stirred.
His all-embracing Wing
Declares, “I come to end your eyeless fear.
To Me alone now cling!
No fleeting dreams your teeming births do trace:
Now own My infinite Bloom.
In Me the flood of Immortality!
Nowhere shall be your doom.”
— Chinmoy (1956)
MDM 2. (5 a.m., August 15th, 1872)↩
An endless birth from mute Eternity
Within Thy Bosom dawns at Thy Will supreme.
Thy blissful Touch on all the limbs of earth
Bestows a thrill of joy, unknown, extreme.
In Thee is hushed, O Mother! our empty cry.
We are Thy stoic sons of the fire-pure way,
Firm-poised in dreadful hours of earth's blind drag;
No more the harrow of doom shadows our day.
Proceedest Thou across the path of Night
With Thy Flame-white Love to change its face and fate.
Thou art the matchless fruit of Thy cosmos' seed;
In Thee the key of Transformation's gate.
— Chinmoy (1955)
My adolescent days at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram were sweeter than the sweetest. I can tell hundreds of stories about how kind and affectionate people were to me. One lady used to cook for Sri Aurobindo, and he liked her food so much, specially her luchis. Her name was Mridu, but because she was older than me by many years, I called her Mridu-di.
Once a week, on Saturday evening, she used to cook for the children also. There were thirteen boys, and I was her most favourite, so she used to give me double quantity. When others asked her why she was giving me so much food, she used to tell them, “He is my son.”
So Mridu-di became my mother, my first Ashram mother, and I was always her son. How much love and affection she poured into me!
Every night around eight o'clock, four hundred people or even more would stand in a line to receive the Mother's Blessings. The line was very strict. Mridu-di used to go two hours early so that she could be in the front of the line. Then she would sit and meditate for two hours. There would be only one or two people ahead of her. She would be sitting on the staircase that leads to the second floor, just two or three steps away from the door.
Mridu-di was quite fat. She used to occupy enough space for at least two persons. Then she would spread her legs out so that nobody could sit near her. No one dared to ask her to move.
I would come only two or three minutes before the set time. Before that I was playing volleyball or football, fooling around, running, throwing, taking a shower — not paying attention to the time. Then I would come running to the meditation hall and go to where Mridu-di was sitting. Mridu-di would keep a most beautiful rose for me to give to the Mother and sometimes she used to bless me also before the Mother blessed me. Then she made me go ahead of her in the line. In two minutes she made me a saint!
Behind her there were so many people. They used to curse her for allowing me in the line. “Why are you doing this?” they would ask.
“I am doing it for my son,” she would reply. If I had followed the line, I would have been at least two hundred persons behind, but because of her, I was almost at the front of the line every night.
When I was thirteen years old, Mridu-di had another job. Every day, around eleven o'clock, no matter where I was, she used to find me and put a leaf in my mouth.
According to our Indian mythology and spirituality, this particular leaf — the tulsi leaf — means devotion. It is said that at times people have actually been pronounced dead by the doctors. Then the village ladies have brought the tulsi plant. They have put a little water in a leaf and then placed it in the mouth of the dead person, and the person has revived and opened his eyes.
Anyway, it became Mridu-di's bounden duty to put this tulsi leaf into my mouth without fail every day with the hope that I would increase my devotion to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Sometimes I would be in a rush and I did not want to have devotion. Then Mridu-di would scream and scream in the street until I stopped. She would never place the leaf in my hand. Even though she was so short and I am quite tall by Indian standards, she always had to put the leaf in my mouth herself.
Every day she used to trap me, only to give me one leaf. So if I have an iota of devotion today, it is because of Mridu-di.
Mridu-di got married at the age of twelve. Her husband died when she was thirteen years old. She was so fortunate. At that tender age, she was able to place herself at the feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Such affection she had for me! From the street I would hear her call, “Hey, Chinmoy! Hey, Chinmoy!” And if she did not see me throughout the whole day, in the evening she used to go to my sisters' house to bark and scream: “Where has Chinmoy gone today?”
Even if she saw me three times during the day, she always showed the same affection. Her affection was in screaming and shouting! Others used to say she was crazy.
Once a French scholar came to the Ashram and gave a lecture in French. It was on religion, as far as I remember. As he was leaving, this particular lady — my mother — said to him in Bengali, “You spoke extremely well. I enjoyed your lecture.”
So he asked her, “Which part did you enjoy most?”
She said, “I enjoyed everything.”
“But can you not tell me which part?” he said.
“Do I know French?” she replied. “I saw you moving your hand and writing on the blackboard. Sometimes you just moved your hand. That is why I enjoyed it so much. And when people clapped, I clapped also.”
She had a dog at that time on a leash. While she and the French scholar were having their conversation, the dog ran away. The man thanked her for her remarks and said in English, “Better take care of your dog.” Poor Mridu-di misunderstood his pronunciation.
She thought he said “you dog.” Then she became so furious. She started screaming, “This professor called me a dog!”
Mridu's dog used to bark incessantly, without any rhyme or reason. The man who was said to have given the money to buy the main Ashram building lived very near Mridu-di, on the same block. If you saw this man, you would immediately think that he was a saint. He had long hair and a long beard — all grey. He really looked like a saint.
Anyway, Mridu-di's dog was too much for him. He complained that he could not sleep at night. One day he told Mridu-di that if her dog barked that particular night, he would definitely kill the dog on the following day.
That evening, when he was coming back home, Mridu-di was standing on the comer right near his house with a thick knife in her hand. I think it is called a machete. She said to him, “Before you can kill my dog, I am going to kill you!”
He got frightened and said, “Oh no, I am not going to kill your dog.” Then he quickly went inside his house.
That was my dearest Mridu-di! How she dominated my life in those days with her affectionate demands and commands. Her anger was of the quickest, but luckily, for me she was all love, all fondness.
Sri Aurobindo was extremely, extremely kind to Mridu-di. Every day she was able to see him for a few minutes. Very few disciples were allowed to see Sri Aurobindo. When he took his meal, she would go and kneel in the doorway for one or two minutes for his blessing.
The Mother allowed Mridu-di to be there on condition that she did not bring complaints against anybody. But Mridu-di did not listen, so the Mother would withdraw this special privilege. Then Mridu-di would cry and cry to be allowed to see Sri Aurobindo again. Needless to say, she won the Mother's compassionate heart.
Every Saturday Mridu-di cooked for Sri Aurobindo. At one time she used to cook for him every day. Then afterwards other cooks got the opportunity, and she was allowed to cook only once a week. She used to make eggplant and other dishes. If she heard that Sri Aurobindo had not eaten her food, intentionally she used to cry and scream very loudly. Her house was right across the street from the house where Sri Aurobindo lived.