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5. Parc-a-charbon, Banyan tree, Ganesh Temple


Mother had subtle vision, subtle hearing and all other subtle powers. Often when She saw a person She did not see his physical form. Instead She saw what he would be ten years later or in his next birth or what he was in a previous birth. Inanimate objects communicated with Her. The gods were in relation with Her.

 One evening at 6 o'clock, She asked to see a certain sadhak. He was not available. She asked for someone else. He too was away on work. Then she asked for anyone available to come see her urgently. An elderly sadhak presented himself and offered to do any work that was required of him. She spoke to him saying, "The Banyan tree near the Matrimandir in Auroville is in pain. Just now the tree came to me and complained. Please rush to the spot and relieve the distress of the tree and report to me."

 Auroville is five miles away from the Ashram and the Matrimandir is at its centre. The Banyan tree is very old and has spread its roots all around. It is very close to the Matrimandir, standing between the foundation stone of Auroville, which contains the soil of all the world's nations, and the Matrimandir. The Aurovillians all worked to build the Matrimandir, which was under construction, and their houses were around the Banyan tree. Since the tree is centrally located and people live close by and work there during the day, nothing can happen there which will escape the notice of the sadhaks. The elderly sadhak rushed to the Banyan tree, wondering what it could all be about. It was already dark. There were no lights around the tree. He was an old man who could not climb up the tree. What was he to look for? What kind of distress could a tree feel? If it were anything that could be seen by people, it would have already been noticed. If it was something subtle or something on top of the tree, what could this old man do there in the dark? Soon he reached the spot. At the foot of the tree, a worker had fixed his axe. When workers want to keep their hatchets or axes, they have the habit of hitting a tree trunk with the sharp edge to lodge the instrument there. Someone, as was his wont, had fixed his axe in the foot of this tree. The moment the sadhak saw the axe fixed into the tree, it became clear to him. He quickly removed the axe, searched for the owner and while giving the instrument back to him, instructed him not to do that anymore. He returned to the Ashram at once with joy and reported to Mother. When he told her at what time he had removed the axe, She replied that exactly at that moment She had felt the relief of the tree.

 One day some years ago She called a trustee of the Ashram and said She wanted to give a small piece of land from the backyard of one of her buildings to a Pillaiyar (Ganesh) temple which was adjacent to the building. The trustee explained to Her that for some months the trustees of the temple had been wanting some space. It was a small temple situated in the midst of residential buildings. During the days of the French rule, the temple was dilapidated and very few visited it. Legend says that some Frenchman was annoyed at the superstitions of the Indians and one day took it into his head that he must save these ignorant Indians from superstitious worship. He removed the idol of Vinayagar (Ganesh) and drowned it in the sea. The next morning there was a sensation in the temple area and a crowd gathered. People were outraged at the improper high-handed behaviour of the Frenchman but were helpless to prevent him. The following day they gathered in a large number and found the Vinayagar idol back in the temple intact, as if nothing had happened. After this incident the temple became very popular and streams of worshippers began visiting there. Now it was time to renovate the place. Because of a lack of space in front of the temple, the authorities had built a mandapam across the road with the traffic passing underneath. They needed some more space for devotees to do pradakshina around the temple. It is for this purpose the authorities of the temple tried to acquire more space on any one side of the temple. Being a residential place, their attempts had met with failure everywhere. Their attempts with the Ashram had also met with no success.

 Mother listened to the explanations about the temple with interest. She said the previous night, while she was in meditation, Ganesh had come to her and said he needed some space from her building. She said she had decided to give the space and passed orders to that effect.

 About 50 years ago Selvaraj Chettiar was the Mayor of Pondicherry. He was an import merchant. As a mayor he was very influential in France and with the French Government. He had a coal godown right on the beach. Sea waves lashed against the compound wall and washed it away. He re-erected the wall a few times, but each time it was washed away. The Mayor consulted the French engineers, who were the leading marine engineers in the world. French engineers had built the Suez Canal. As he was influential and wealthy, he availed of the best consultation from the leading engineers and with their advice put up the compound wall again. But again it was washed away. It became clear that the sea erosion could no longer be contained. The godown was very big and was a very valuable property in those days. This work was the talk of the town, and there was no question of its being a secret. The Mayor decided to sell the property as early as possible. No buyer showed up and things came to a standstill. It was clear that the longer the sale was delayed, the worse it would be for the seller.

 The Mayor sent word to Mother asking whether She was interested in buying the godown. Her sadhaks all knew what had happened, but as a duty reported the request of the Mayor to Mother. She had no idea of what had gone on. The sadhaks told her the entire story of the Mayor's failure. No one wanted the property to be bought but it was not for them to give such suggestions to Mother. Having given the offer and answered her questions on the history of the earlier attempts to put up a wall, they awaited Her decision. After some consideration, Mother asked them to buy the property. Everyone who heard her decision was dismayed and certain that in a few years the entire godown would be washed away. But every sadhak also had faith in Mother. So they went happily and bought the godown.

 After the purchase was over, they asked for her guidance. She asked them to build a compound wall. They did, but it was washed away. They repeated this a few times, and each time it was washed away. Finally they reported the results to Mother. She asked them to stop the work and She would come to visit the place. One evening she went to the site and sat for a while on a chair. She asked the sadhaks to re-erect the wall. The next day the wall was put up. Today it is still there.

 She explained later that on the day She came to the spot, the sea god came to her and announced his decision to enter into that area. Mother told the sea god that she wanted the place for herself and he must not come in. Mother said that these beings always used to obey her. But the sea god started a discussion and Mother had to stay there a while. She explained to him that she had important work in the Ashram and in that place, so he must not come there. At last, She said, he agreed.

book | by Dr. Radut