Two Hundred and Twenty-Five Photographs of the Mother with Champaklal

Dear Friends,

Born to Chhotelal and Umiyaben Purani, Champaklal (2.2.1903—9.5.1992) arrived at Pondicherry on 1 April 1921. In 1923 he joined the community which had formed around Sri Aurobindo. He was the personal attendant of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and their most faithful servitor. His published works include Champaklal Speaks, Champaklal Treasures, Visions of Champaklal and Prayers and Aspirations. Nirodbaran, his gurubhai who also served Sri Aurobindo as a scribe and attendant, has recalled about him: “… his spirit of service has left an indelible impression on my soul and taught me what true service is.” (Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo, p. 199 1995 edition) The Mother while introducing Champaklal to her son André Morisset in 1949 had said: “He came here when he was very young. I taught him many kinds of work. He has himself taken up Sri Aurobindo’s personal service. He looks into practically everything with regard to Sri Aurobindo. He is extremely careful, meticulous and very particular about details. He has no regular time for food; he takes it when he can. So it is with his sleep. That is why he cannot join the sports activities. He works with joy and devotion. He collects all out little things and keeps them with great care—our clothes, nails, hair, etc.” Once when Champaklal wrote to Sri Aurobindo where was he going and what was he doing, Sri Aurobindo replied: “Where you are? In the Mother’s presence here and close to me. Where you are going? Towards union with the Divine through dedication and service. What you are doing here? Service and self-giving to the Divine.” (25 May 1935). Towards the end of his life when Champaklal’s health was deteriorating, Nirodbaran had inwardly heard Sri Aurobindo say, “I have been waiting. He will come straight to me.” (Mother India, March 1993, p. 173).

2 February 2021 marks the 118th Birth Anniversary of Champaklal. As our humble homage to him, two hundred and twenty-five photographs of Champaklal with the Mother taken on various occasions have been published in the website of Overman Foundation.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Overman Foundation.

The following photographs were taken on 25 April 1950:

The Mother with Dilip Kumar Roy
The Mother with Janak Kumari alias Ma Indira Devi, Dilip Kumar Roy’s disciple
The Mother with Charu Chandra Dutt and Dyuman
The Mother with Champaklal, Dyuman and Lallubhai
The Mother with Champaklal and Kamalaben
The Mother with Mona Sarkar, Dyuman, Champaklal and Lallubhai
The Mother with Champaklal and Sanat Banerji

The following photographs were taken in 1951; also seen with Champaklal are Chimanbhai and Kamalaben:

Dakshinapada Bhattacharya
T. V. Kapali Sastriar
Manoj Das Gupta

Dr. Prabhat Sanyal
Sanat Banerji
Lilawati alias Violette
The Mother with Champaklal, Dyuman, Kamalaben and Nolini Kanta Gupta
Amal Kiran alias K. D. Sethna

The following three photographs were taken in 1954:

Gauri Pinto

The following photographs were taken on 5 October 1954 on the occasion of Durga Puja. On either side of the Mother, Champaklal, Kamalaben, Dyuman and Chimanbhai are seen:

Charu Chandra Mukherjee alias Bula
P. Counouma
Nolini Kanta Gupta
Premanand and Pramila Devi
Chum, Chitra Jauhar and Shirin Shroff
Prithwi Singh Nahar
Harikant Patel
Rajani Palit
Tara Jauhar

The following photographs were taken on 11 October 1954 on the occasion of Lakshmi Puja:
Sudha Sundaram and Gauri Pinto
Manoj Das Gupta
Samir Kanta Gupta
The following photographs were taken on 25 October 1954 on the occasion of Kali Puja:
Nolini Kanta Gupta
Debou Bhattacharya
Dr. Upendranath Banerji and Harikant Patel
Dr. Prabhat Sanyal
Priti Das Gupta
Sudhir Kumar Sarkar
Gangaram Malwade and Richard Pearson
Haradhan Bakshi
M. P. Pandit
Nirata, Sumitra Nahar and Ritendra
Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee
Shobha Mitra
Sisir Kumar Mitra
Sunil Bhattacharya
Tara Jauhar
Tejendranath Mukherjee
The following photographs were taken on 1 November 1954:

Albert Patel, Gauri Siva, Dr. Aster Patel and Pratap
Amiyo Ranjan Ganguli
Jhumur Bhattacharya
Vasudha Shah
Hu Shu, Haradhan Bakshi and Dr. Satyabrata Sen
Manoj Das Gupta, Dr. Indra Sen and Rishabhchand Samsuka
Dr. Indra Sen, Vinod, Hriday and Deshpande
Jayantilal Parekh, Rajani Palit and Anu Purani
Kameshwar Rao and Raju
Light Ganguli
Mona Sarkar
Nagin Doshi and Anil Bhattacharya
Narendra Jauhar, Vishweshwar and Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee
Pradyot Bhattacharya
Sahana Devi, Mukul and Sunil Bhattacharya
Sudhir Kumar Sarkar, Gautam and Yogasudha
Victor and Tara Jauhar
Udar Pinto
Wilfy Pinto
The following photographs were taken on 28 January 1955 on the occasion of Saraswati Puja:
Himangshu Niyogi

The following five photographs were taken on 22 February 1957:

The following two photographs were taken on 2 February 1960:

The following three photographs were taken in the Mother’s room on 14 December 1965 during the visit of the King of Nepal:

The following six photographs were taken on 21 February 1966; also seen with Champaklal are Amrita and Nolini Kanta Gupta:

The following photographs were taken on 5 July 1970; also seen with Champaklal are Dyuman, Vasudha Shah, Dr. Prabhat Sanyal and Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya:

The following photographs were taken on 5 July 1971; also seen with Champaklal is Kumud, the Mother’s attendant:

The following two photographs were taken on 21 February 1972:

Photographs Courtesy: Ms. Tara Jauhar, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch.

39 Replies to “Two Hundred and Twenty-Five Photographs of the Mother with Champaklal

      1. Namaste Vijay-ji,
        I do get necessary help from the Ashram Archives thanks to Shri Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.
        With warm regards,
        Anurag Banerjee

  1. A lovely collection of photographs, reminiscent of the old times and some of them wonderfully vibrant! Thank you for the nice job!

  2. Je suis à 10000 kms de l’ashram, en France .
    Mais nous sommes réunis par la vibration de Mère et de sri Aurobindo.
    Om namo bhagavate

  3. Many many thanks for the link to 225 photos’….

    ॐ आनन्दमयि, चैतन्यमयि, सत्यमयि, परमें!! 🙏🙏🙏🌹🌹

  4. Thanks with regards for valuable Divine treasure.
    It was like we are doing pranam and darshan and Mother is looking at us with her beautiful smile.

  5. Extremely Precious collection helps feeling the Presence of The Mother while viewing the photographs.
    Anurag, Congratulations for your effort.
    Pranam at the Lotus Feet of the Mother.

  6. Just sweetly wonderful – seeing the Divine Mother and Her child in different moods and scenes is itself like taking bath in most sacred Ganga — it is a prolonged meditation , indeed – truly memorable –
    Surendra s Chouhan ‘SAICE ’69

  7. Respected Anuragji,
    Sadar Pranam!
    I am so very happy to see my father Late Santosh Kumar Banerjee’s photograph receiving Blessings from The Mother, though the name is not mentioned ( does not matter), he was working with Honesty Engineer’s in the civil construction domain.
    Anyways it’s a great gift for me. Thank You tonnes!
    Dr. Jaya Moitra
    Jamshedpur Jharkhand

  8. Ma
    Our little ashram on the island of Kansia, a few miles from Bharooch, stood on the land of Kamala’s father Kashibhai. When I joined that ashram in 1920, Kamala was a healthy and lively child of about five who, innocent and without inhibitions, roamed about freely in the huge estate. Once, the ladies there tried to restrain her with their ideas of dress and behaviour, but her father let her choose whether to ‘learn’ the worldly ways or be free. She, of
    Page – 281
    course, preferred her freedom and happily continued with her spontaneous ways. In the courtyard there were many berry trees and Kamala used to collect the best ones and bring them for me. Though many others lived in the ashram, she gave them only to me.

    What he witnessed was a shocking, unimaginable scene. But there was not the slightest sign of pain or sorrow on his face. It was a habit with him to always chant ‘Hari Om’. Then too, watching the huge flames, he only uttered ‘Hari Om’. I remember that vividly � it reminded me of Janak Videhi the legendary philosopher-king, father of Sita. There is a lot that can be written about Kashibhai’s virtuous character. He helped many people in many ways. For instance, he willingly purchased the train tickets for those who wanted to come to Pondicherry but had no money. Later, when he settled in Pondicherry, he used to send the Bulletin and books of Mother and Sri Aurobindo to all those who were interested. He loved to do such work.

    To come back to our story. As I have said, instead of treating Himmatlal with understanding and affection as had been decided, Narayanbhai had slapped him. And the boy returned a bigger slap by resorting to arson. This terrible slap became the cause of our leaving Kansia.
    Kashibhai came with all his children to Pondicherry on 20 February 1928. Later, during one of the evening talks Sri Aurobindo remarked, “Kashibhai wishes to go to Heaven with his whole family.”

    Man’s normal daily interactions proceed through the medium of words and gestures. This medium is so handy and easy that we do not realise its importance and it is to a great extent even misused.
    When I decided to set aside the medium of speech, it was natural that people were perplexed and sometimes I was asked about it. A friend wrote to me asking for an explanation: “Some people are saying that Champaklal has been keeping mauna because of some throat disease and Sri Aurobindo asked him to observe silence so that it might not spread.” But when there never was any such disease, where was the question of its spreading? Secondly, Sri
    Page – 287
    Aurobindo left his body in 1950 and the Mother in 1973, while I began to observe silence in 1975. Where then is the question of Sri Aurobindo or even the Mother asking me to keep mauna’1. There are people who like such gossip; they won’t believe the truth even if I told them myself. There is no basis in the talk about Sri Aurobindo asking me to keep silent. It is like this saying in Gujarati:
    The wind dislodged a roof-tile;
    a startled dog began to bark;
    in the resulting commotion
    someone cried: “I saw a thief!”
    The external quiet that results from the control of speech is very helpful for inner peace and growth. Hot discussions and exchanges give rise to low and harmful vibrations which vitiate the whole atmosphere. Only that which is useful and necessary for the sadhana should be spoken and that too with full awareness. Gossip and back-biting are a great hindrance. When we remain silent how many difficulties are overcome! It was with this understanding that even while serving Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, I desired to observe silence and prayed to Mother for her permission. But she did not consent, because my silence would have affected my daily work with her.
    In the month of October 1975, at times while talking my voice would suddenly grow soft and faint without my feeling any pain or discomfort but in a few moments it would automatically become normal. I doubt if anyone’s attention was drawn towards it, though it was to my benefit as I could shorten the conversation. I wished to find out why this was happening. I wanted a specialist in Madras could check my voice, but Nirod said, “It is not necessary to go to Madras just for this. There is nothing wrong with your voice.” Nonetheless I persisted. Then Nirod said that he and Dr. Bose would accompany me. I said it was not necessary. He insisted on coming as he felt it was his duty. He said, “Mother has asked us to look after you.” I firmly refused: “It is absolutely unnecessary.”
    Kamala and Counouma1 advised me to travel in a car, but I preferred to go in the bus, because it was less expensive. The doctor in Madras was a close friend of Doraiswamy and was also an
    Page – 288
    acquaintance of Counouma. (The doctor had earlier visited Pondicherry and also taken a photo of me with his wife and friend.) So all arrangements for the trip were made by Counouma who sent Purushottama, a young sadhak who assisted him in his daily work, as my escort. Puru took very good care of me. We returned on the same day, after consulting the doctor. This was the first occasion when I went out of Pondicherry.
    Had Nirod and Bose accompanied me, some ashramites without ascertaining the facts would have concluded that the case must be serious since two doctors had accompanied me. The specialist in Madras had said, “There is no problem in the throat, only the nerves have been strained and need rest. You may observe silence for 21 days or speak as little as possible.” For me it was like being prescribed my favourite diet as medicine. The desire to observe silence (that was born when I was still serving the Mother) awoke once again and was realised in different circumstances and time. Circumstances arranged by Mother herself! She always makes me do things by creating the necessary circumstances. I never have to worry at all. I live in her infinite grace, in joyous freedom. This mauna was her invaluable boon to me and thereafter I took it as a natural boon.
    Thus I started to observe silence from 24th of November 1975. 21 days were over on l4th December. On 15th December I spoke. I came to know from others that my voice was perfectly normal. Then, as decided beforehand, I resumed my silence from the next day and it still continues. When some said that observing silence in this way was an austerity, I replied that an austerity is that which is strenuous or difficult, but remaining silent has become as natural to me as talking had been. My silence is not a penance nor a religious vow. I enjoy this silence.
    Sometimes children ask me why I am not talking? Once a child, Hufreesh, asked me, “You have not spoken for so long. What is the proof that you have not lost your voice?” I explained to her in writing that as you children enjoy talking so I enjoy my silence. I enjoy it even more than when I was talking. It is an experience worth having. However if I do lose my voice, I will rejoice as did the famous Gujarati poet-saint Narsingha Mehta when he sang, “It
    Page – 289
    is well, I am rid of the trouble; now I will happily concentrate on my Lord!”
    I remember how eager I was for the direct guidance of Sri Aurobindo long before my arrival here. When someone with a similar aspiration comes to me and asks questions, spontaneously we have a written conversation. For many the problem is the difficulty in to stop talking and observing silence, but for me the difficulty is this written conversation. I await the time when even this written conversation will cease, but for that I have full faith in the Mother. When it is time, the All-gracious will herself arrange everything; just as she created the circumstances for my mauna, she will create them for this too in a natural way. I experience Her infinite Grace at every moment. Every moment is a blessed one for me.
    Once, asked for a message on silence, Mother told a disciple: “Why do you always expect me to tell you a thing in a written message? The power of silence is fathomless. Those who are open can hear what I have to say without my speaking and some can also experience it. My unspoken communications have sometimes been noted down and shown to me and they were quite correct.”
    Of course, there were also instances when the Mother commented, “This is not my message. It is your imagination and desires that are written here.”
    �. P. Counouma (1908-91), a distinguished lawyer-disciple who was highly respected in the official circles in Pondicherry. The Mother appointed him a Trustee of the Ashram in September 1968.
    Page – 290
    Part I
    -02_Recollections and Diary Notes.htm
    I was a simple lad, .somewhat introverted, unable to mix freely with others, with little understanding of things. I had no interest in studies. My teacher, whatever else he may have been, was always friendly. Another teacher was a friend of my father’s and he felt he could exercise all rights upon m…

  10. Dear Tara.
    Thank you for this wonderful, live presence.
    Champaklal, Mother`s Lion. Your anniversary has been a blessing for all of us.
    With gratitude.

  11. Dear Anurag Banerjee ji

    Thanks a lot for sharing this beautiful write-up and the treasure of photographs . Indeed a great and commendable work ! We are indebted to you for all your dedication and devotion which brings to us this wealth of wisdom.

    I have penned a small poem as an offering to the great Devotee Champaklal ji which I am sharing with you.


    A man of few words, dedication abound,
    Serving whole-heartedly with love affection that surrounds,
    An enlightened soul, an illumined being,
    Held a special place in the hearts, touching the lives,
    Of all who had the privilege of his acquaintance,
    Blessings showered by the eternal Divine,
    The compassionate love that he spread around,
    Offering his life, his work, his soul, his all,
    At the lotus-feet of the ever loving Mother & Sri Aurobindo,
    His life was a mission, his work a prayer,
    The prayer that he lovingly devoted to the Divine,
    Wishing for nothing in return for himself,
    The greatness of his heart shone in every single deed,
    An artist par excellence, a humble devotee,
    No words to describe his devotion boundless,
    Always ready to accept, to learn, to improve,
    Never in his dreams did he desire for gains,
    All that he wished was a blessed moment,
    The moments he spent with the Divine, he cherished,
    Soaring up his aim to serve more than ever,
    The blessings, the love, were the treasures of his life,
    The countless moments that he gladly spent,
    In serving the Divine, with the devotion unparalleled,
    A life well lived, a blessed soul he was,
    The desire to improve with every passing moment that shone,
    An exceptional life with an aura so pure, so serene,
    A humble quiet devotee of the Divine,
    A man of few words, dedication abound!

    Giti Tyagi
    (Editor, Creative Artist, International Author & Poetess, Reviewer, Translator)

  12. Deep gratitude for sharing these precious photographs. It was very moving for me to see these well known people and indeed everyone, in the The Mother’s presence.

  13. Ma

    I remember, Champaklal once told me that living in the Ashram was living in a state of uncertainty:
    Page – 36

    “I myself, Champaklal, do not know what I will do tomorrow or what will happen to me.”
    But if we will it from within then Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s Force and Consciousness will protect us till the end and assist us to overcome all obstacles and difficulties. It is like rowing a boat in the dark during a cyclone.’

  14. Ma.
    There is nothing here that is stable, let this truth be ever present to you and you will not let yourselves be transported by joy in prosperity nor cast down by sorrow in disgrace.” -Isocrates, The Eternal Wisdom, p-285, Selected by Sri Aurobindo for Arya.

  15. Ma. Rely on the Divine Alone
    There is one thing you must learn, never to rely on anyone or anything whatever except the Divine. For if you lean upon anyone for support, that support will break, you may be sure of that. From the minute
    you start doing yoga (I always speak of those who do yoga, I do not speak about ordinary life), for those who do yoga, to depend upon someone else is like wanting to transform that person into a representative of the Divine Force; now you may be sure there is not one in a hundred millions who can carry the weight: he will break immediately. So never take the attitude of hoping for support, help, comfort from anyone except the Divine. That is absolute; I have never, not once, met anyone who tried to cling to something to find a support there (someone doing yoga or who has been put into touch with yoga) and who was not deceived—it breaks, it stops, one loses one’s support. Then one says, “Life is difficult”—it is not difficult but one must know what one is doing. Never seek a support elsewhere than in the Divine.
    Never seek satisfaction elsewhere than in the Divine. Never seek the satisfaction of your needs in anyone else except the Divine—never, for anything at all. All your needs can be satisfied only by the Divine. All your weaknesses can be borne and healed only by the Divine. He alone is capable of giving you what you need in everything, always, and if you try to find any satisfaction or support or help or joy or… heaven knows what,in anyone else, you will always fall on your nose one day, and that always hurts, sometimes even hurts very much.
    Ref : Questions And Answers 1950-1951

  16. Ma.You carry with you, around you, in you, the atmosphere created by your actions, and if what you do is beautiful, good and harmonious, your atmosphere is beautiful, good and harmonious; on the other hand, if you live in a sordid selfishness, unscrupulous self-interest, ruthless bad will, that is what you will breathe every moment of your life and that means misery, constant uneasiness; it means ugliness that despairs of its own ugliness.
    And you must not believe that by leaving the body you will free yourself of this atmosphere; on the contrary, the body is a kind of a veil of unconsciousness which diminishes the intensity of the suffering. If you are without the protection of the body in the most material vital life, the suffering becomes much more acute and you no longer have the opportunity to change what is to be changed, to correct what is to be corrected, to open yourself to a higher, happier and more luminous life and consciousness.
    You must make haste to do your work here, for it is here that you can truly do it.
    Expect nothing from death. Life is your salvation.
    The Mother
    The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother.- Volume 3. – Questions and Answers (1929)

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