I met the Mother again in the playground. I wanted to be in the Ashram at that time but I was not yet ready physically, in the sense that I had just joined the IAS and had a contract with the government for at least to serve the government for one year. It was during this visit that I decided to stay on in the Ashram. I think she understood my prayer inwardly and she spoke some good things about me to one of the secretaries that convinced me that there is someone who understands. You know the joy of being when you meet somebody who understands with something inexpressible.
In 1956 when I joined the Ashram, the first work that was given to me was to assist the management of the Ashram Press. Devoted entirely to new experiences and I knew nothing about. When I gave the Mother a blank fruit of my teaching The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga. So I can learn to express my feelings. I think I began to learn what karma yoga is because at that time my life was a life of thinking, of thought. This was my first experience of action, dynamic consecration to the Divine.
I was constantly asking the Mother in my heart: please tell me what is my path? Then I had a dream in which I saw Mother coming to the printing press, you know the press where it is? There were five, six persons at the entrance of the press and I was one of them. And then she came to me and she said to me, which I did not understand at that time because she spoke to me in French: ‘Open your door’ and then She gave me a flower, it is the flower which is called Radha's consciousness. She gave it to me and She said: this is your path. So this is how Mother taught me, or opened the door for me as to the line on which I had to develop. I have not even begun even today the path of Radha's consciousness; by nature I am devoted to thinking and then I develop action. Radha's consciousness is that of utter surrender is still to come, I suppose. But that is the path she had year-marked for me; that was my first experience of Mother as my guru.
My second experience was when she had put me in the library. I had worked in the printing press for about 14 months and when I began to be comfortable with the work, I had learned a good deal; she changed my work; so that I may not be comfortable. And the work she gave me was very simple work, to do dusting of the books of the library. I used to go to the library early in the morning, open the library and clean the glasses of the cupboards, open the books, clean them and then put them back neatly as well and so beautifully even, and I began to be very comfortable with that work also in about seven or eight months. This was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I don't think anywhere in the world in your lifetime you can get such work as this, so easily, which I did with no responsibilities on my mind, no planning involved, no feeling that something is left out, this is to be done, that is to be done and yet you have work. So I was extremely happy with this work. It is during that time that my mind developed a good deal of silence because the work was very easy, almost like floating and nothing else to do, so my mind became extremely quiet, extremely quiet.
I think this is how Mother made the program for me, how to silence the mind. But then more importantly one day, when I was in that utter quietude it is as if something emerged from my very heart, or soul and my soul made a prayer. I don't say I made a prayer because I was quite in the state of silence so there was no movement even to pray. Also I did not know the content of that prayer, so I am quite sure it was not I who prayed but something very deep within me which prayed and said: Mother! I want to teach. I was myself surprised at this prayer afterwards. Looking back, I know now that that was my real profession as it were. So the only work I can do is to learn and to teach and teach by learning. So that is my greatest joy of life and that is what came out of my being.
I spoke to nobody about it but the most surprising thing was the next morning Pavitra-da paid a visit to the library. You know Pavitra-da was the director of education of the Ashram Center of Education. He was general secretary of the Ashram, one of the greatest yogi of world history. And regarding whom Mother had said that when he passed away in 1959. Mother said that: drop by drop he put himself entirely into the Mother, and Mother said: I have kept him intact with his full personality. And Mother said now he's teaching mathematics and the Mother was making the yoga of the cells of the mind. It was Pavitra-da who taught mathematics to the Mother after his death.
Her mind was gone. Her vital, mind, everything, was centered, so you might say the purely physical mind, the corporeal mind was learning mathematics and Pavitra-da was teaching; it is what Mother has said in the Agenda, if you read somewhere. it should be somewhere in 1969-70. So he came to the library and straight came to meet me and said the following: Mother wants you to be the registrar of the Center of Education but She wants to know whether you would like to be. So I said: when Mother wants what greater joy can be in life than to accept what Mother wants. So She had sent this word, in my heart I knew because I had made the prayer and it was heard by the Mother and She had sent me the answer. Pavitra-da went back the next morning. He came again and he spoke the same sentences again: Mother wants you to be registrar of the Center of Education but She wants to know whether you would like to be. So I said yesterday I told you, he said yesterday your answer was whatever Mother wants. She wants to know what you would like to be. So I said: yes, I would like to be. This was the only way by which I could become a teacher because when I joined the Center of Education from the next day itself I became registrar and immediately I got the opportunity to teach. So long as I remained in the Ashram School from 1958 to 1975 this was my career of teaching throughout. So this was my third preliminary experience of the Mother.
Then as a registrar of the Center of Education, I had a varied approach to the Mother under various circumstances. It is very difficult to describe the voluminous experiences that I had. One of the first things that was developing at that time in the Center of Education was to secure a relationship with the Government of India of our Center of Education. The Center of Education started in 1943 it had been declared as a University Center in 1951. So seven years had already passed and there was a feeling among many disciples, many devotees that the Center of Education should receive acknowledgement from the Government of India so that the relationship with it, so that Center of Education could make a contribution to the nation and to the world. And also there were some members of parliament at that time who wanted the Government to financially support the Center of Education.
So Pavitra-da told me about it on the very first or second day of my joining and he said: you draft a letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, because a letter had to be addressed to him on this subject. So I was full of enthusiasm and I prepared a letter. Now you can imagine that within two days I had to understand the Center of Education, the whole history of what it was doing; so it was a very super-express train as it were in which I was placed and I was given this task. So like an illiterate man I wrote a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of India and it was shown to the Mother and she immediately approved of it. So I was greatly encouraged that an illiterate man can write a letter to the Prime Minister which can get approval of the Mother.
This letter had a good destiny. This letter was given personally by one of the prominent members of the parliament to Jawaharlal Nehru. The one who carried the letter was a very known personality called Surrender Mohan Ghosh, who was at that time deputy leader of the Lok Sabha. Jawaharlal Nehru was the leader and Surrender Mohan Ghosh was the deputy leader, he was a very devoted disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, for many, many years. He was doing the work in the parliament as a sadhana, he lived the life of sadhana in Delhi, he was practicing yoga of Sri Aurobindo; so he gave the letter to the Prime Minister and he said 'read'. So the Prime Minister read the letter on the spot and then he said: I’ll do something. So Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in that letter the following words: can there not be institutions in India which are completely autonomous but receive full financial assistance from the Government of India. Here is an institution which deserves that kind of help. He signed it and this letter was one copy was sent to University Grants Commission, and one was sent to the Ministry of Education and thereafter many things happened but this was a very important experience in my life that the very first thing that happened when I joined the Center of Education was to put me into contact with the government.
My experiences with Pavitra-da were extremely instructive and educative. He used to meet the Mother twice a day for work; otherwise of course he used to meet the Mother very often but even for work, twice a day they used to meet. He used to drive the Mother in the car from the Ashram to the playground and tennis ground and bring back. So to be with him I used to spend nearly one hour, every day. It is he who taught me how to organize life, organize work and how to be utterly quiet and dynamic at the same time. I came to understand through him the Mother’s work.
I had the fortune of giving a report about the Center of Education everyday and then he used to give that report to the Mother every day. So that was a tremendous learning experience for me. Various questions about students, about teachers, about organization, about contact with the government, visitors, so many questions used to come up and Mother used to answer all these questions. Now I realize the importance of all that but at that time I was a student, so I was learning every day. It was a quiet period of learning and growing and coming into contact with the Mother in a very steady manner day after day, day after day and illuminating answers coming from the Mother on various questions.
It was an experience of Mother as Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalaxshmi, Mahasaraswati in real work and shaping the personality of so many. At one time in this process Mother told me Pavitra-da, we are now a post office between me and Kireet. There was so much communication every day, twice a day through Pavitra-da.
In the meantime the Ministry of Education had taken a serious note of what the Prime Minister had written to both the University Grants Commission and the Ministry; and in due course the Ministry sent a high power commission to the Center of Education. This visit of this commission was an instructive experience in my life because it brought to me a real understanding of the work that Mother wanted to assign to the Center of Education. The University Grants Commission and this Commission and the Ministry of Education after seeing our work they were so much impressed that they made a proposal that Center of Education will be given the status of a deemed university; provided that the Center of Education is made into a separate unit, an autonomous unit, because they could not recognize the Ashram as a university as a whole but only the Center of Education so they said we just make a small Trust of the Center of Education separately; and many of us were very enthusiastic that a very big status is being given to our Center of Education. Pavitra-da and I prepared the entire trust deed and so on and then it was put before the Mother; and Mother refused to accept this recognition. It made me think a lot, even now I am thinking about it; and my own conclusion is that what we wanted to do in the Center of Education could not be cast in the mould which will be convenient for the world to relate to it but it was a center of new creation.
This idea of new creation at that time began to play a dominant role in my own development. I began to understand that Sri Aurobindo’s work and Mother’s work is devoted to something that does not exist now and we have to flower in such a way that new expressions are born. So from that time onwards you might say that I learned how to give myself to new creation. Even now I am a student of new creation. I am still researching this theme of new creation. I like very much where I am now because this is also a field of new creation and I feel that what is needed in the world is the nucleus of new creation.
This was very helpful to me because later on in 1975, when I was invited by the Government of India by the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi to join the government this question came before me very strongly. She had offered me to be Chairman of University Grants Commision when I met her first, she invited me and she told me I wanted to be Chairman of University Grants Commission. From a certain point of view it may be called a very great honour being given to a young man, I was 45 at that time and the trust that she reposed in me I had no background except being registrar of the Center of Education and still she wanted to give me the highest position in the country. And I was greatly troubled, truly troubled in my heart. I could not answer her on the spot but then for three, four days I prayed and prayed to the Mother, very intensively, to give me great protection so that my body, life and mind are not used for anything else than new creation. I knew that as Chairman of the University Grants Commission I would have to support the university system and both in my heart, in my mind and in my life, I have been a rebel against the university system. So I could not reconcile myself with the proposition made to me and I was praying to the Mother. And the next time when I met the Prime Minister she said I have changed the idea. This I could see was the result of my prayer to the Mother. She said if you become Chairman of the University Grants Commission, you will advise me only about the university system but I want you to advise me on all aspects of education. So she said now you determine what you would like to do.
Now this was a very nice proposition and I took time to think out as to what I should like to be; whether I should join the government at all, it was also a very central question before me but this question was not troubling to me. Because by that time I had a clear perception that something is to be done in the whole country and this can be done only through the instrumentality of the government and therefore if there is an opportunity to be in the government, it would be very much welcome but in the government what to be that was the question.
I had two meetings with the then principal secretary of the Prime Minister, Mr P.N. Dhar; he became very friendly with me. So he said we shall create a new post for you because the post of this kind does not exist at present, where you can advise on all aspects of education. So he told the Prime Minister that I should be made Director General of youth services, and a new post had to be created. Thereafter I was asked to meet the Education Minister then again I had a meeting with the Prime minister, so she said: if it is only youth services, you will only be in charge of youths, what about the children, what about the whole system of education? So ultimately Mr Dhar again made a proposal that should be Educational Advisor to the Government of India. It will be equivalent to the Chairman of the University Grants Commission but I would not be sitting in the UGC but I’ll be sitting in the Ministry of Education. So this was the decision taken by the government to appoint me in this position but still his new creation was still very, very dominant in my thinking and then I wrote the note to the Prime Minister saying: I accept the Education Advisor to the Government of India, provided I am given the following tasks.
All the tasks connected with new creation in India in regard to education, not to see the files of day to day work, and to attend the conferences and meetings and all that sort of thing. So she sent that note to the Minister and said don't give him any other work accepting what you have written. The great level is given to any new officer coming into the government and then she added, however, I would like him to do the following two things. First Vishwa Bharati, Shanti Niketan needs to be overhauled and I would like you to do the necessary, so that the original spirit of Shanti Niketan is revived. And the second work she wanted to give me was she wrote: I would like to establish a university in Pondicherry in the name of Sri Aurobindo and I would like you to work to develop a new kind of universality. She had written in her own hand with the entire note and it was sent to the minister, and the minister showed me that this is the work that the Prime Minister wants to give you.
Then what happened is another story but what I wanted to say was that I had learned from the Mother something of the new creation and it guided me so much that throughout 12 years that I remained in the Government of India, my constant effort was to remain on that track; not to give my life or my thoughts, or any energy of my life to sustain the whole world but to contribute to the creation of a new world. So this is one long experience of my life and this is how I see how Mother not only gave me enlightenment on this subject but guided me throughout.
Second line of work which had started in the Ashram was that the Government of India, having seen the work of the Center, also wanted to give financial help to the school, to the Center of Education. So when we decided not to accept the status of a deemed university, the question was how can the government help us, unless some kind of recognition is given and unless there is some scheme under which it can be given. At that time there arose a controversy in the Ashram itself, should we take any money from the Government? And there was a very serious view, you might see even a very vehement view that we should not take any financial help from the Government of India because the moment we take the help we shall be restricted by conditions and so on. It was at that time that I made a study, special study, of the role of money in the new creation. I read again and again what Sri Aurobindo has written in the small book The Mother on wealth and money and I came to the conclusion that if there is a scheme in which we are given freedom and yet if they can give us the money, we should conquer it; as Sri Aurobindo has written: ‘money today is in the hands of the adverse forces and we have to make an effort by which the money can be drawn for the work of the Divine. So this led me to consecrate myself to this task.
So right from 1958 up to 1975 one of my tasks was to draw money from the Government of India to the extent possible, it was my sadhana on that line, and I could see that even though many people used to say that Mother doesn't want any money from the Government of India. When I placed the proposal to the Mother, she approved of it. Even after her approval at one stage I had said that because I was very much influenced by that view in the Ashram that we should not get any money from the government, I had even told Pavitra-da, ‘let us stop the money which had begun to come’ and he did not agree.
In any case I became quite clear in my mind that it all depends upon the conditions, the attitudes towards money, towards receiving money, the use of money and the state of purity that you need to have in your own consciousness, to receive the money in the right way. You might say in brief this was my sadhana to develop the right conditions in my consciousness and my being, in my life so that one can draw the money from the Government of India in the right way. One result of this sadhana was that government came to formulate a new scheme, which did not exist till that time; but this was a very interesting result of this sadhana and a new scheme was formulated, financial assistance to all Indian institutions of higher learning in which the Minister and Education Secretary themselves told us that we demand that you remain free. Instead of putting any conditions or restrictions this was just the opposite: that we demand that you remain free and that was the fundamental point in the very scheme itself. So the scheme would be operable devoted entirely to new experiences and experiments in education; in which freedom would be the fundamental keynote. You can't make experiments without freedom and that grant will be given only if you do experimentation. So a new scheme was formulated in which I also participated in the formulation of the scheme itself, this was around 1961-62.
The then Education Minister became a great devotee of the Mother, Dr Shrimali, he himself came to the Ashram several times. Later on we became lifelong friends and he invited me to come to Delhi to discuss with the officer. In the very first year, I could secure 97,500 rupees from the Government of India. And when I offered this money to the Mother, she was very, very pleased. So I got great encouragement. Later on the scheme itself went through very rough weather; the originators of the scheme had departed from the ministry. It became a routine matter, mechanical matter but from that time onwards almost every February or March, I used to come to Delhi and I used to do my sadhana in the Ministry so that the money could be drawn from the ministry. There are many, many experiences of this, into which I will not go now but whenever I used to come to Delhi one very great profit I had was that every day I used to write reports to the Mother from here and every day I used to receive a telegram, ‘Love and blessing from the Mother', every day. So this is my greatest profit from my visit to Delhi. I used to stay in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram of the Delhi branch at that time, whenever I used to come to Delhi. You know the name 'Mother’s International School' was given by me in this Delhi school. There was a question at that time as to what name to give it, so I used to stay there and I used to receive a telegram every morning, if Mr Johar used to receive and always used to give it to me. This was the greatest joy of my life.
I’ll tell you a story of one of the important difficulties that I encountered. We had made an application to the Government of India under that scheme and a high power committee had visited the Center of Education, this was in 1969. And I had made the proposal that every year the Government should give six lakhs of rupees. At that time 6 lakhs was quite a good sum in 69. It will be worth 75 lakhs today, 6 lakhs of that time. And as a result of our discussion the Chairman of the Committee and other members had recommended six lakhs of rupees per year to be given. It went to the Minister of Education, this file and he made a very uncharitable remark, which I came to know later, what remark he had made but he did not pass the file at all.
So I went to the Mother in the month of February and I said: we had hoped that we shall get six lakhs this year and before 31st March if it doesn't come, it will lapse and I feel there is some resistance somewhere. So she said there is mischief in it. She said not only some kind of resistance but she said there is mischief in it. She said: you go and straighten it. So I came here and I met the Education Minister so he said to me that I don't know what Sri Aurobindo has said on education. I was very youthful at that time and I said: if you don't know what Sri Aurobindo has said on education, you don't deserve to be Education Minister. And he became so angry with me but he checked his anger afterwards. Then I did not know what to do? Instead of straightening, I thought I had messed up the whole thing. I wrote to the Mother she sent me a blessing and then I thought that I should meet the top person, Indira Gandhi herself.
So I tried to knock her door, ultimately Surrender Mohan Ghosh, of whom I spoke earlier, he arranged my meeting with the Prime Minister and I told her that this is the problem. So she called her Joint Secretary and told him that he should keep contact with me and arrange that this approval is given. So thereafter I used to meet that Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s office, then he told me the story as to what had happened. The Minister had said: we don't have money to throw into the drains, we don't have the money to throw the money into drains that was the remark he had made. The Prime Minister through the Joint Secretary asked the Education Minister to send the file to her. I used to write the records every day to the Mother so I could see how Mother's force was working and the Prime Minister was ultimately led to ask for the file herself. The Education Minister took the file but along with the other files, of other matters. This was a story told to me by that Joint Secretary afterwards. Then he began to show all other files and towards the end when hardly one minute was left, he said there's also this Ashram School in Pondicherry. We don't have money, otherwise it's all right, we are handicapped with finances. So she didn't say anything at all and he took all the 10 files and reached the door. Then the Prime Minister said you give that file, the last file on my table, she said. So the file had to be left by him on her table.
Then she got that file sent to me and the Joint Secretary said: you write on yellow paper, all that you would like to write in favour of your demand. So I made the note and then it went to the Prime Minister and she said: you put it typed out and then you take it to the Finance Secretary. At that time she was also Finance Minister herself, so the Finance Secretary saw the note and he understood the message of the Prime Minister. So he invited the Education Secretary and said: Prime Minister wants to give the money, you tell the Minister that he approves. You speak to him on the phone. So he spoke up to him on the phone, saying the Prime Minister wants it, so he said all right.
So it was noted that the Education Minister has approved, the Finance Minister has approved and therefore this grant will be given. So six lakhs of rupees were sanctioned and my greatest happiness in my life was when the first time six lakhs of rupees came, Mother said: you bring the money to me and I had taken six lakhs of rupees in cash, to the Mother and she counted all the notes and received that money. So since then the Ashram began to get six lakhs of rupees every year. Even now it is getting quite a lot of money from the Ministry, about 15-20 lakhs per year. But this is how one of the very important experiences of my life was guided by the Mother.
So now I come to the third line of my work. You tell me when you have no time. I’ll stop.
This was regarding the system of education. When I joined the Center of Education, the system was on familiar lines, the ordinary system. And teachers had come to feel that there was still too much laxity in the system, an ordinary system with all its laxity. So they wanted to make a system, quite solid. So the first task that was given to me by Pavitra-da was to organize a system of education. And the demand of the teachers was first, there should be a terminal examination. So the demand is that if you don't have exams then the students don't study, so have examinations. In my heart I was totally opposed to the idea of examinations and yet I became the instrument of establishing an examination system in the Ashram School.
One of the most rigid systems of examination that was evolved anywhere in the world was in the Ashram School and I was the vehicle of that system. Speaking very briefly about the system it was as follows: every student was supposed to keep a progress report, in which the teacher would fill up, what was called the result of class tests. Whenever the teacher gave a class test, it had to be evaluated and the marks had to be entered into the progress report, then any homework given by this teacher to the student, it had to be evaluated and the marks obtained by the student in that homework were to be entered into the progress report. And every quarter there was to be a quarterly test, not to be given by the teacher but by an external teacher.
So I had organized a huge system of setting question papers, fixing the timetable of the questions, of the examinations, marking system, calculation system of marks and giving weightage to homework, to the class tests, to the quarterly tests, to application, regularity, punctuality, each thing was marked; and one of my heaviest works in my life was to organize this examination system.
I used to work nearly 17 hours, or 18 hours a day to make the system work. Now this is how we began. At least I began my career in education with exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do in my life in regard to education. And the first results of this new system were so good that everybody appreciated this. Everybody felt that now we are in the golden age of education; this is how students were studying properly, they were marked properly, there was great uniformity in progression and so on.
One child wrote a letter to the Mother saying: Mother I am very good in this subject; it is true I am not so good in another subject but it is true I am not good in another subject but why am I retained in a lower class simply because I am not so good in this subject but so good in the other subject. So Mother wrote to me a note, 'why is it so'. This was the starting point of the breakdown of our whole rigid system. He had to be promoted to a higher class but only in that subject.
So how to have a system in which students would be at different levels, in different subjects? At that time Pavitra-da in his meditation, (this is how he told me) in his meditation he received as it were that all education should be done in silence. So an idea was developed: how to give education in silence? Now this is the intuition we have got in the month of October and as you know October, November, December are holidays in the school. So a decision was taken that when the school opened, then of course a lot of controversy in the Ashram at that time on this subject, a lot of debate. It was decided that there will be no lectures at all in the school from the next session. It was a very radical proposition, no lectures to be given. And there was a tremendous debate: how can you teach without lecturing?
So ultimately it was decided that whatever you want to give through the lecture you should write down. We should write down in a new way and you should give your written notes to the students. not through speech but only through your written words you should give to the students whatever they are to read and learn from there in silence. If a child wanted to get some clarification the teacher had to give almost by whisper, so that there is absolute silence in the whole atmosphere, just as you have here, tremendous silence all over.
Then an argument was put forward, how to teach languages? Because language teaching at least requires hearing, so a concession was made that instead of six lectures, which are normally given per week for a language, you give only three lectures in which you speak but three other lectures were to be through silence. As a result, one of the very heavy tasks that I had to do was to get all the lectures written down; and got them typed and several copies, for each student a copy to be given and a new method of writing these notes was also invented.
This is what Pavitra-da had worked so much on this subject himself. He was himself a very great thinker, educationist and great mathematician, he was a great engineer. So he gave us the idea of what is called heuristic worksheet; a worksheet in which you write down the material that is to be transmitted to the student in such a way that while reading, the student does not become passive but he interacts with the worksheet. There's an active participation of the student although in silence and he is able to read it, intelligently and he's tested whether he reads it intelligently or not. So a new system of writing worksheets was developed. This was a colossal work.
When the school opened on 16th of December in that year, by that time I had to prepare 750 worksheets ready on the very first day and that was a tremendous amount of work. First teachers had to write down, they had to give me all their material, I had to go to the typist, give them the writing, to get them proofread, make them very beautiful and then to see that on the very first day the worksheets are given and then on the next day again, it started. It was a continuous program for three years. This system continued.
Now during this period there are so many battles, pros and cons of this system. The first result was miserable, from a certain standard. And those who are opposed to this system, this also shows how much freedom we all had because that Mother has approved, it doesn't mean that we cannot say something different; not at all. We were completely free, like wild animals to say whatever we wanted to say and therefore the debate was like a Mahabharata, opposition and proposition, they are completely free.
So we were all free and everybody felt that he was exactly translating Mother's ideas and Sri Aurobindo’s ideas on education. Who can deny that silence is the right condition of education? Who can deny the fact that students should be made active while reading? Who can deny the fact that if you have that system, you can allow every child to move on his own line of development, at his own pace. All these are wonderful things. But there are teachers who believed that you cannot teach without lecturing. You have to lecture, so there was a tremendous push towards it. So there were two groups in the school, school teachers of the new method and those of the old method. Those who belong to the new method they used to complain against the other one saying: you're old, we are new. So there was a kind of bitterness also among teachers on this account but it showed how much each one was so much committed that we wanted to do the very best. So the battle also was very fierce and each one had no other work except in teaching. Such teachers are highly available in the world, who have no other occupation in life accepting teaching, and you are free to make experiments overnight, parents had nothing to say about what was to happen to the children.
This is an experiment which can never take place except at the feet of the Mother that is why this experiment is of the greatest value. Even if you want to make experiments of this kind, anywhere in the world, four conditions which are necessary for this kind of experiment would not be obtained. First condition is that children are offered to the Divine Mother and parents had no say about what should be the method, or aim of education. So parents were out, first of all. Secondly teachers had no other tasks in their life accepting consecrating themselves to the work of education. Thirdly there were no financial restrictions. At least we never experienced any financial restrictions at all with regard to any experiment we did. It was as if Mother was a kalpataru and you go to the Mother for any important work and if you wanted money that money was available. And fourthly you get the supreme wisdom guiding your education experiment. So the ideal conditions of the experiment, we had.
So this controversy took a very fierce form. A few teachers made a survey at the end of the first year of experiment, not the first day but a few months of experimentation, a few months and sent a report to the Mother saying that out of so many students most of the students, most of the students have misused their freedom. Their progress is almost nil, and by statistical method it was tabulated, like a scientific investigation, very well done and the report was sent to the Mother; only seven students against so many others had benefited. So Mother said: if seven have benefited, she's said: it’s a great gain. She said seven students doing work on their own and they have been benefited, it's a tremendous gain.
So there was a great boost to what we called at that time the new system of education. It will take a long time, if I would tell you the whole story of this entire experiment. One day I have come especially for that but this was one of the greatest experiences in my life, personal life, to see the evolution of a new methodology of education.
From 1959 to 1968, we had a tremendous sweep of experimentation, day after day. You could see that we were all progressing every day; a real adventure, and how Mother guided that experiment. Once teachers had written, a group of teachers wrote to the Mother saying: Mother we are very much for your system of education but we need to prepare for it. So can we not wait for one year during which we can prepare ourselves? Very legitimate, very common sense proposition. So Mother wrote that famous sentence, which you must have heard very often: 'We are not here to do better than what others do elsewhere. We are here to do something quite different, of which others do not have even the conception'. This was the answer to that question, who wanted one year's preparation. Then some of these teachers had met the Mother personally and asked the Mother, so Mother said: what they are proposing is not ideal but what we are proposing is much less ideal.
So this was a very important insight, it is in my life these two propositions which Mother made gave me an illumination in the field of education, these two statements, extremely important. What they are doing is not ideal but what you are proposing is less ideal; that means that Mother wanted something still quite different, which was not even on the field. None of us was proposing that ideal thing that Mother wanted and Mother had said: I have no ready-made plan which can be given and say: now you do this, or you do that, it has to evolve, it has to develop, grow. So this is the third line on which my own personal experience of the Mother, very rich experience, and something by which I am so much overburdened as it were that I constantly fall at the feet of the Mother, with what I have received from her on this.
The fourth line was my own development as a teacher. I made many experiments in teaching myself. One of my greatest privileges was when Mother, a fruit of my teaching The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga. Mother's method was that she would give your work only when you wanted to learn, or when she wanted you should learn not because you knew the subject but because she wanted that you should learn the subject then she would give you the task of teaching. So from 1960 onwards up to 1975, I took classes in The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga. And I could see my own evolution in the studies of these two books particularly. How I grew myself, I've tried to communicate with students on these two subjects in various ways. Every year, I was making an experiment as to how to communicate The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga to the students.
At one time this was the period when lectures were almost prohibited or only marginally allowed; I used to write letters to every student. Every morning, 5 o'clock, I had to get up; from 5 to 7, I used to write a letter to every student. I had 40 students in my class at that time. I used to write short 40 letters every morning. Each one was free to study The Life Divine from wherever he would like. It was a free movement, depending upon the subject in which, or the topic on which he would like to concentrate he was allowed to start with it because my assumption was philosophy is one subject, which you can start from anywhere. You can start from the end, you can start from the beginning, you start from the middle, anywhere you can start. It is such a holistic subject at the moment you take from here the whole thing will come automatically. So it was in that light that I had allowed every student to choose this starting point. So I knew all the 40 lines of development and I knew what he was studying at a given time then I would say that now you are studying this book, you will come across these difficult words and I would define those words; for each student, or you read this particular pamphlet, or read this particular paragraph, or you read that particular book, very short one. So my students used to call them my love letters.
Every morning I used to go to the class, it was not the class actually but they were sitting in their own room and I used to go to each one and give him a letter and then if you want to discuss with me, he would come personally to discuss whatever I had written to him, or he would study on his own. This was one of my very important experiences as to how to teach philosophy, how to teach The Synthesis of Yoga.
At one time I had a great experience, a flood of ideas automatically coming into my consciousness. Before giving a lecture every evening, for two hours I used to walk in the garden of the school, every evening. Every evening, very quietly assimilating, being very quiet and at that time I could see the descent of so many ideas, what you may call illuminating ideas or illumined ideas, a crowd of them used to come. And at that time Mother sent a message: At present you are thinking with ideas, a time must come when you can think with experiences. Now this message of the Mother has been one of my guidelines as far as my teaching experience is concerned.
One more line of development was regarding the work of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in India and the world. When Auroville was founded, or when there was a proposal to establish Auroville in 1964; I was so much enthused in my heart, my joy knew no bounds. At last what Mother said later on: at last a place that was my real feeling in my heart and my soul, at last a place where a new creation can take place without any obstructions in the world, on a clean slate as it were.
In 1971 or 72, Mother spoke of Sri Aurobindo's action and in the first committee of Sri Aurobindo's action, Mother had put me as a member in that committee. There was again his ashram a tremendous opposition to Sri Aurobindo's action and tremendous debate, a great conflict between Sri Aurobindo Society and Sri Aurobindo's action. Even with regard to Auroville there was misgiving. People were not able to understand why Auroville? And then when Sri Aurobindo's action was pronounced, why?
So I had the privilege of working on all these and Mother told me herself once: 'my work has three steps, first the development of the Center of Education, second is the development of Auroville and third the development of India and the world'. This I heard from the Mother herself and she told me to make a study of Sri Aurobindo to find in the writings of Sri Aurobindo solutions to the problems of India and the world. So this was one of the projects in my own life, which has made my heart so very glad and happy and from 1971 till today, I am doing research in that subject. Solutions of the problems of India and the world in the light of Sri Aurobindo in immediate response to what Mother had told me was that I wrote down a few questions regarding India and I drafted answers to those questions in the light of Sri Aurobindo. And I had the privilege of reading out both the questions and the answers to the Mother. And I was very happy when she approved those answers and she also made some changes which were very, very instructive.
One important statement which I had made was about the object of education; what should be the aim of education in the light of Sri Aurobindo. So what I had written was not disapproved by the Mother but she said give me a paper and I gave her a blank paper and then she wrote: 'Our aim is to know the divine's will and to manifest it in the physical world'. The aim of education should be to discover the divine will and to manifest in the physical world; this is what she wrote down herself in her own handwriting. I think I’ll stop here now. I took a lot of your time. Thank you so much.