The Mother arrived at Pondicherry for the first time on 29 March 1914. Eleven months later, on 22 February 1915, she—along with Paul Richard— was compelled to leave Pondicherry due to the outbreak of the First World War. They reached Colombo on the Dupleix of the Messageries Maritimes and boarded the Japanese ship “Kamo Maru” on 26 February. On 18 March they reached Paris and left the city again on the 29th, travelling to Lunel in the south of France. They returned to Paris in November 1915 where they stayed till March 1916. On 11 March they boarded “Kamo Maru” (the same ship which had brought them to France) and sailed for Japan. On 6 April the “Kamo Maru” dropped anchor at Table Bay and the Mother and Paul Richard visited Cape Town, the capital of South Africa, from where a postcard was sent to André Morisset, the Mother’s only son. More than a month later, on 9 and 10 May, the ship called at Shanghai, where the Mother caught a whiff of China. On 18 May the “Kamo Maru” docked at Yokohama, the largest Japanese port.
The Mother and Paul Richard spent their first year in Japan mostly in Tokyo at the residence of Dr. Shumei Okawa who was a university professor and taught Asian History. Years later, Dr. Okawa would recall about the Mother: “She had a will that moved the mountains and an intellect sharp as the edge of a sword. Her thought was clarity itself and her resolve stronger than the roots of a giant oak. Her mystic depths were deeper than the ocean, but her intellect was a plummet that could sound her deepest depths. An artist, she could paint pictures of an unearthly loveliness. A musician, she enchanted my soul when she played on an organ or guitar. A scientist, she could formulate a new Heaven and Earth, a new cosmogony. I do not know what Mirra had not become or was not able of becoming.”
In June 1916, the Mother and Paul Richard were introduced to Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate, whom they would meet again in 1919. Tagore had asked the Mother to take charge of Vishva Bharati, the educational centre he had established, but she had politely declined the offer. As a mark of his regard for her, Rabindranath had presented his typewriter to the Mother.
From Tokyo the Mother shifted to Kyoto where she and Paul Richard befriended Dr. Kobayashi and his wife Nobuko. Many decades later, Nobuko Kobayashi would remark about the Mother: “She came here to learn Japanese and to be one of us. But we had so much to learn from her and her charming and unpredictable ways… She revered a master from the ancient land of the Buddha… I loved her dearly. Have you seen those lovely Wisteria flowers trailing down the roof of the Kasuga shrine at Nara? We call them hooji. My friend loved those flowers. She was one with them. She called herself Hoojiko when she thought of having a Japanese name… She is the Mother to you, but always a dear, dear friend of mine. It was my great good fortune that, in this strange but explicable world, I should have met this jewel of my heart and this friend of my soul. The perfume of those two years, when we lived like twin roses on the same stalk, lingers like incense around the divine altar and sways serenely in the sanctuary of my mind.”
After spending four years in Japan, with the help of the Japanese government the Mother and Paul Richard obtained their travel documents and left for Pondicherry in March 1920 and reached the town on 24 April.
The complete set of photographs of the Mother taken on various occasions in France has been published in the website of Overman Foundation.
With warm regards,
12 Replies to “Complete set of photographs of the Mother in Japan”
Sincere congratulations, Anurag, for this minute research.
Love lt is the word.
Thanks Anurag, for taking such sincere effort to bring before us the details of The Mother’s early life.
And thank you , Anurag for your this gift of fragrant memories of ” Sweet Mother’s stay in Japan “–
It is the result of painstaking research and revelation of hitherto unknown facts of the Divine Mother’s prolonged sojourn in Japan –
Surendra s chouhan – SAICE ’69
Many Thanks, Anurag.
Thanks for the information..
…in such circumstances of traveling back and forth,it is no wonder
that The Mother once said:
”I belong to no nation,no civilisation,no society,no race,but to the divine.”
Through the eyes of a liberated soul,this world looks completely different,
the gaze is clear,while the look through the ego is unclean.
In a few year’s europe will fall (by the way Sri Aurobindo has predicted it)
and after that the rest of the world.
Greetings from Paraguay
Just wonderful pictures. Thanks Anurag for collecting and presenting them. Your effort is really commendable.
Amazingly Beautiful Anurag…super to have done this great collection of our Dearest Mother Divine
Browsing through the 4 years of Mother’s life in Japan is a rare treat. Indebted to you, Anurag.
Thank you ,i was born in UK in 1959 ,in 1967 my family moved to South Africa stopping in Cape Town and settled in Uitenhage ,near Port Elizabeth .Schooling was very difficult and adapting to South Africa as an immigrant .In 1973 we had just moved to a new house in a less stressful environment .I awoke one night ,I awoke in the middle of the night aware their was a presence in my room ,I sat up in my bed and a woman in very refined clothing almost etheric all but very real appeared ,standing at the foot of my bed .I was shocked and she raised her right hand sending a beam to my heart area and telepathically a message with no sound. 33 years later after a very eventful life of travelling Europe ,Africa ,The Middle East ,I was lead from Nepal to Pondicherry and booked into Park Geust hose ,I saw a photo of her and SRI Aurobindo on my wall ,I knew she had come into my room 33 years earlier.
Complete set of photographs of the Mother in Japan? Search more, please. Seek, and you will find.