The fourteen correspondences in this volume were first brought out separately in books and journals published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Most of them appeared either in the Bulletin of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, a bi-lingual quarterly in French and English, or in Mother India, a monthly in English. The correspondences were first published together in English in 1987 in the first edition of this volume. They were first published together in French in 1994 under the title Quelques Réponses de la Mère–1.
Twelve of these correspondences were written wholly or partly in French; two were written entirely in English. The original translations of material in French were revised for publication in 1987 in the first edition.
In five correspondences some part of the originally published material has been removed—namely the Mother’s brief words of encouragement or solicitude (unless they occur within a longer reply), her comments and decisions on mundane affairs (unless they indicate her viewpoint or way of working), and any replies of little general interest. In two of the series, hitherto unpublished material has been added.
The texts of this second edition (2003) are the same as those of the first edition, except for the correction of typographical errors and the revision of a few translations.
Details about the individual series follow.
Series One. Original in French. First published in French in February 1978 in Cahier No. 31 of the Centre d’Études Sri Aurobindo (Paris). Subsequently published in French, with an English translation, in the Bulletin of August 1979. The same material is included in this volume.
Series Two. Original in French, excepting twenty-eight replies in English. First published in English translation in My Little Smile (1977). About sixty per cent of that material is included here. In addition, 440there are about twenty-five pages of new material, selected from the original manuscripts, which were published for the first time in 1980. The following replies of the Mother were written in English: the first six, eighth and tenth undated replies at the beginning of the series; the reply of 14 December 1931; the replies in 1932 of 9, 14 and 15 June; 25 June (except the final entry of that date); 27 June and 1 July; 20 July (first reply of that date); 21 July (except the second and final entries); 29 July (final paragraph only); 30 July; 6, 10, 15, 16 and 25 August; 5 and 26 September; 9 November and 3 December; and the reply of 1940 beginning “A year”.
Series Three. Original in French, excepting the two replies of 6 September 1936, which were written in English. About one quarter of the correspondence was published in the Bulletin issues of August and November 1974 and February 1975. The complete correspondence appeared in My Little Smile (1977). About thirty-five per cent of the whole is presented here.
Series Four. Original in English. The full correspondence, containing the replies of both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, was first published in the October and November 1977 issues of Mother India. About half the replies of the Mother are included in this volume.
Series Five. Original in French, excepting thirteen replies in English. A small part of the correspondence was published in Breath of Grace (1973), pages 94–105. A comprehensive selection, containing the replies of both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, was serialised in the Bulletin issues of February, April and August 1980. Of that material, about half the replies of the Mother are included in this volume. The following replies were written in English: 14 March and 22 August 1932, 6 and 9 March 1934, 13 September 1937, 10 April 1942, 12 December 1953, 23 March 1954, 26 January 1956, and at the end of the series the undated replies beginning “Your going away”, “You need not”, “Do not accept” and “Each time that” (except the phrase 441“Peace, peace, O my heart!”, the original of which is “Paix, paix, O mon coeur!”).
Series Six. Original in French. About twenty per cent of the correspondence appeared in English translation in the Sri Aurobindo Circle of 1955. The full correspondence first came out in 1964—in French as Quelques réponses de la Mère, and in English as Some Answers from the Mother. The same material is presented here. This series is not arranged in chronological order, as the others are, but is broadly divided into thirteen sections according to subject; this is the form in which it was published in 1964.
Series Seven. Original in English. About half the correspondence was published in Breath of Grace (1973), pages 182–94. The complete collection, containing the replies of both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, came out in the Bulletin issues of February, April and August 1981. Of that material, about half the replies of the Mother appear in the present volume.
Series Eight. Original in French. First published in French, with an English translation, in Mother India from February to August 1960. The same material, set in chronological order, appears here.
Series Nine. Original in French. About half these replies were published in the French original, with an English translation, in the Mother India issues of June, August, October and December 1960. Two other replies appeared in the Bulletin issues of August 1962 and February 1963. The rest of the material was first published in 1980 in the first edition of this volume.
Series Ten. Original in French. First published in the Bulletin from April 1973 to November 1975. About ten per cent of the letters—those specifically on education—were brought out in 1978 in On Education, Collected Works Volume 12, Part Two, Section VI. The 442present volume contains the entire correspondence. The first sentence of the Mother’s reply of 30 December 1964 was written in English.
Series Eleven. Original in French. First published in the Bulletin issues of November 1978 and February 1979.
Series Twelve. Original in French. First published in the Bulletin issues of August and November 1970.
Series Thirteen. Original in French. First published in the Bulletin issues of February and April 1971. The third paragraph of the Mother’s reply of 6 September 1969 was written in English, as were the words “self-fulfilment”, “to be successful” and “self-realisation” in the reply of 14 September 1969.
Series Fourteen. Original in French. First published in the Bulletin from April 1972 to February 1973.