You look back on your life and you see how magical it has been, how She has arranged everything.
“I must have been nine or ten years old. It was during a lunch break, and I was getting ready to go back to school. My father was watching television; I can still see the scene, with my father seated in his armchair and me standing by his side. One could see a crowd and somebody standing on a balcony. It must have been a darshan of Mother. The memory of that moment has always been with me.
I had never heard of Mother and Sri Aurobindo. One day, while waiting for a friend in a cafe, I heard a voice saying “You will be gone in a year.” I thought: I am going mad, hearing voices like Joan of Arc! From that point onwards, everything fell into place very quickly. I saw a brochure on Auroville: a city without army, without police… I immediately felt that that was it.
I was told that there was a caravan leaving for India and I thought: I am going. My family was totally against it, but in spite of this everything sorted itself out. It was magic, I felt pulled by a thread. I got on the bus in Paris in August 1969, and we left. I didn’t know then what was at the end of the road.
We arrived on the 4th of October, and on the 14th it was my birthday. I was just 22. I was told that I could go see Mother. I felt a bit shy: “What is she going to tell me: what am I going to tell her?”
I went. Entering that room was like entering another space, so vast, so vast… and I found myself sitting in front of Mother. You look at her and everything is shattered. I had arrived in front of what I was searching for, it was a recognition. An extraordinary impression of force emanated from her, like I had never experienced before. Not an aggressive one, a sort of calm force. Mother looks at you, she is so serious, she goes through you, you are totally overwhelmed, there is no word for that… And then she smiles, and you enter a space of love, something so vast, so vast. And what came to me spontaneously, was: “I want to go wherever you are.” That’s it.
A few times I went with the Aspiration group to meet Mother. One day we were sitting around her and she asked, “So, what about mental silence? Have you succeeded?” We were stunned (laughs). She laughed. Even then she wanted us to go far. In front of her I was on another planet, it was very difficult to ask questions, it was so powerful. I would emerge knocked out.
At a certain point, after many years, I had to leave, I was stagnating. All the time I was away, I kept the connection with Mother, I had not forgotten her. In Auroville, you can recognize that presence. It is still the same force, the same need, the same aspiration: the creation of Auroville.”
This is an extract from an interview with Gérard, an Aurovilian, in honour of his passing earlier this year. The original interview is published in ‘Turning Points’, a book by Auroville Press. To read more about Gérard’s journey, have a look at the book here.