What does Truth mean for you?
I was in jail in Paris, and one of the teachers asked us this question. I was nearly twenty, in such a traumatic situation, a petty delinquent locked up in a cell. But this question opened for me a window onto another dimension than our prison life. What is Truth? I was overwhelmed by the idea that somewhere there could be a truth to be found, a truth to be experienced. Three months later I was freed. But not freed from that question: Would life spit out this Truth or not?
So I went searching for truth, through various groups and sects who claimed to hold the secret of everything, but I could not grasp it really. No one could give me the essential thing: a power that would free me from another kind of prison, from myself. I would later learn that we cannot free ourselves from something that we do not first possess fully.
I came to know of an Ashram in South India where there was a lady called the Mother, who had received initiation in occultism from Max Theon. I wrote a long letter to the Mother, explaining everything, not hiding any of my past. I received an answer: that through all my difficulties I had been guided towards ‘my truth’. She said that I should send my photo if I was interested to walk further on this path. I was totally overwhelmed; finally, I was granted spiritual guidance.
I was also informed about the project of Auroville; that was in 1966. Two weeks later I received a blessing package from the Mother, and I took it as a sign that she had accepted me among her children.
I went back to Paris to start focusing on the Integral Yoga. I lived in poverty, got some jobs and never stopped thinking of going to Pondicherry. In the end, I made it there, in the caravan that left from Paris in August 1969.
I was allowed to see the Mother for my birthday. It had been such a long way from my prison cell in Paris. She welcomed me with a beautiful smile and said, ‘So my child, it is your birthday?’ Unable to speak I offered her a bouquet of wild flowers. I was in front of Her! She was my Mother, the Divine incarnated who knew me completely and who had always known me. I was lost in her eyes, which were piercing my being in search of whatever was the truest I could put at her service.
When I came back to Auroville, the community had prepared a small party for me. People were smiling at me, sharing my emotion. A single soul existed already, despite the differences, a unity behind the disagreements. I have known it since that time and forever: at crucial moments, the soul of Auroville awakens and men, forgetting their petty stories, unite to answer her call!”
This is an excerpt from the book ‘Turning Points’ by Auroville Press.
To read more about Janaka’s journey, have a look at the book here.