This volume is a compilation of the Mother’s articles, messages, letters and conversations on education. Three dramas, written for the annual dramatic performance of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, are also included.
Part One. Articles
The fifteen articles here were first published in the Bulletin of Physical Education (later renamed Bulletin of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education) between 1949 and 1955. The Mother wrote them in French and translated a few, entirely or in part, into English; in this volume, these translations have been retained. The original translations made by others have been revised or new translations made.
Part Two. Messages, Letters and Conversations
I. Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. This section consists mainly of the Mother’s correspondence and conversations with the students and teachers of the Centre of Education. Some messages and letters to other institutions and individuals are also included. Most of the statements were originally in French. Some were first published in various Ashram books and journals; others are presented here for the first time.
Dated statements within a subsection are usually placed in chronological order, undated pieces where they best fit in. The symbol §, placed at the end of some pieces, indicates a spoken comment of the Mother which was noted down from memory by a listener and later approved by her for publication.
II. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Department of Physical Education. The nine short pieces introducing this section first appeared in the Bulletin between 1949 and 1950. The middle two subsections include written and tape-recorded messages to the participants in the competitions and the annual demonstration of physical culture organised by the Department of Physical Education. The penultimate subsection contains general messages, and letters to individuals. The final subsction, “To Women about Their Body”, was first published as a pamphlet in September 1960.
III. The New Age Association. This collection of messages and comments is taken from The New Age: Speeches at the Seminars and the Conferences of the New Age Association, published in 1977 in the English original. The Mother gave, chose or approved the choice of the subject of discussion for the quarterly seminars and for two of the annual conferences. She commented on several of these subjects, either spontaneously or in answer to questions submitted to her. For three of the conferences she gave messages. The final piece is a reply concerning the purpose of participation in the seminars.
IV. Glimpses of the Mother’s Work in the School. These letters and notations of the Mother’s spoken comments were given to a teacher of the Centre of Education between 1960 and 1972. The complete collection was first published in the original French and in English translation in the Bulletin issues of April and August 1978.
V. Answers to a Monitress. Written originally in French to a young captain of the Department of Physical Education, the seven “Sutras” first came out in the Bulletin of November 1959; the correspondence following them was first published in its entirety in 1975 in Réponses de la Mère à une monitrice. Some of the letters appeared earlier in Ashram journals, including a series in the Bulletin of February 1970. The original translations have been revised for this volume.
VI. Answers to a Monitor. This section contains the letters specifically about education from the Mother’s correspondence with a young captain of physical education. The complete correspondence was brought out in the French original, with an English translation, in the Bulletin between April 1973 and November 1975. The same translation is published here, with a few minor revisions.
VII. Conversations. This section includes two conversations of 1967 and six of February-March 1973. The 1973 conversations, held with one or two teachers of the Centre of Education, are the Mother’s final recorded statements on the subject of education. Some were published previously in Ashram publications; this more comprehensive collection first appeared in the French original, with a new English translation, in the Bulletin of August 1978.
Part Three. Dramas
The Mother wrote three dramas in French for the dramatic performance held annually on December 1 by the students and teachers of the Centre of Education. Towards the Future was produced in 1949, The Great Secret in 1954 and The Ascent to Truth in 1957. Each play was issued as a booklet immediately after its performance, with the text in both French and English. For this volume, the original translations have been revised. For The Great Secret, the Mother wrote the parts of the Statesman, the Artist and the Unknown Man; the parts of the four other characters were written, in consultation with the Mother, by those who played the roles. The parts of the Writer and the Athlete were written in English. A letter to the person who portrayed the Industrialist is included as an introduction to the drama.