It was the Mother who was the driving force behind the manifestation of Auroville. Under the shaping influence of the Mother's and Sri Aurobindo's dual philosophies, Auroville emerges as a unique, multi-cultural confluence where matter and spirit, the individual and the collective meet in the search for a higher consciousness
Mirra Alfassa (1878 - 1973) was born as the second child of an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father, a few months after her parents had settled in France. An extraordinarily gifted child, who became an accomplished painter and musician, she had many inner experiences from early childhood on. In her twenties she studied occultism in Algeria with Max Theon and his English wife Alma, who was a highly developed medium. After her return to Paris, the Mother worked with several different groups of spiritual seekers.
She first heard of Sri Aurobindo from her second husband Paul Richard, who had visited him in Pondicherry in 1910; and in 1914, along with her husband, she was able to travel to Pondicherry and meet him in person. There, she immediately recognised him as a mentor she had encountered in earlier visions, and knew that her future work was at his side. Although she had to leave India after the outbreak of the First World War, first returning to France, and then accompanying Richard to an official post in Japan, in April 1920 she returned to join Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry and never left again. Sri Aurobindo recognised in her an embodiment of the dynamic expressive aspect of evolutionary, creative Force, in India traditionally known and approached as the 'Supreme Mother'.
It was the Mother who organised the growing group of followers around Sri Aurobindo into the Sri Aurobindo Ashram from November 1926 onwards, and who in 1952, after his passing in 1950, created the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education to fulfil his wish to provide a new kind of education for Indian youth. In 1968 she founded the international township project of Auroville as a yet wider field for practical attempts to implement Sri Aurobindo's vision of new forms of individual and collective life, preparing the way towards a brighter future for the whole earth.
Both Sri Aurobindo and The Mother worked all their lives for the manifestation of a mode of consciousness beyond mind, which Sri Aurobindo named "Supermind" or "The Supramental". The full expression of this consciousness on earth would result not only in a new species, as far beyond the human, as human race is beyond the animals, but also in a modification of the whole terrestrial creation, even more complete than the change brought about by the entrance on the world scene of the human race.
Between humanity and the fully Supramental species there would have to be one or several transitional steps, represented by transitional beings, born in the human way, but able to contact and express the higher consciousness. These transitional beings would prepare the way for the advent of the Supramental Race by establishing suitable conditions.
After Sri Aurobindo's passing, the Mother continued his work of psychological and physical transformation with the help of the new force. An account of her experiences in the course of this work is given in The Mother's Agenda, an intimate record of the last 18 years of her life.
Their work continues.
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The 17-volume Collected Works consists of nine volumes of talks and eight volumes of writings (prayers, reflections, essays, sayings, letters and personal notes). Most of the material was written or spoken in French and appears here in translation.