From the time of Sri Aurobindo's departure (1950) until 1957, we have only a few notes and fragments or rare statements noted from memory. These are the only landmarks of this period, along with Mother's Questions and Answers from her talks at the Ashram Playground. A few of these conversations have been reproduced here insofar as they mark stages of the Supramental Action.
From 1957, Mother received us twice a week in the office of Pavitra, the most senior of the French disciples, on the second floor of the main Ashram building, on some pretext of work or other. She listened to our queries, spoke to us at length of yoga, occultism, her past experiences in Algeria and in France or of her current experiences; and gradually, She opened the mind of the rebellious and materialistic Westerner that we were and made us understand the laws of the worlds, the play of forces, the working of past lives – especially this latter, which was an important factor in the difficulties with which we were struggling at that time and which periodically made us abscond. Mother would be seated in this rather medieval-looking chair with its high, carved back, her feet on a little tabouret, while we sat on the floor, on a slightly faded carpet, conquered and seduced, revolted and never satisfied – but nevertheless, very interested. Treasures, never noted down, were lost until, with the cunning of the Sioux, we succeeded in making Mother consent to the presence of a tape recorder. But even then, and for a long time thereafter, She carefully made us erase or delete in our notes all that concerned Her rather too personally – sometimes we disobeyed Her.
But finally we were able to convince Her of the value inherent in keeping a chronicle of the route.
It was only in 1958 that we began having the first tape-recorded conversations, which, properly speaking, constitute Mother's Agenda. But even then, many of these conversations were lost or only partly noted down. Or else we considered that our own words should not figure in these notes and we carefully omitted all our questions – which was absurd. At that time, no one – neither Mother, nor ourself – knew that this was “the Agenda” and that we were out to explore the “Great Passage.” Only gradually did we become aware of the true nature of these meetings. Furthermore, we were constantly on the road, so much so that there are sizable gaps in the text. In fact, for seven years, Mother was patiently preparing the instrument that would be able to traverse the adventure without breaking along the way.
From 1960, the Agenda took its final shape and grew for thirteen years, until May 1973, filling thirteen volumes in all (some six thousand pages), with a change of setting in March 1962 at the time of the Great Turning in Mother's yoga when She permanently retired to her room upstairs, as had Sri Aurobindo in 1926. The interviews then took place high up in this large room carpeted in golden wool, like a ship's stateroom, amidst the rustling of the Copper Pod tree and the cawing of crows. Mother would sit in a low rosewood chair, her face turned towards Sri Aurobindo's tomb, as though She were wearing down the distance separating that world from our own. Her voice had become like that of a child, one could hear her laughter. She always laughed, this Mother. And then her long silences. Until the day the disciples closed her door on us. It was May 19, 1973. We did not want to believe it. She was alone, just as we were suddenly alone. Slowly, painfully, we had to discover the why of this rupture. We understood nothing of the jealousies of the old species, we did not yet realize that they were becoming the “owners” of Mother – of the Ashram, of Auroville, of Sri Aurobindo, of everything – and that the new world was going to be denatured into a new Church. There and then, they made us understand why She had pulled us from our forest, one day, and chosen as her confidant an incurable rebel.