Here is a modified and shortened extract from an interview with Gerard, an Aurovillian, in honour of his passing early this year. The extract is drawn from ‘Turning Points; An Inner Story of the Beginnings of Auroville’.

I must have been nine or ten years old. It was during a lunch break, and I was getting ready to go back to school. My father was watching television. One could see a crowd and somebody standing on a balcony. It must have been a darshan of Mother. The memory of that moment has always been with me. Why and how I kept in intact surprises me. 

From age 14 I felt I had to leave, but I wasn’t allowed to till I was 21, so I was waiting.

I had never heard of Mother and Sri Aurobindo. One day, while waiting for a friend in a cafe, I heard a voice saying “you will be gone in a year”. I thought: I am going mad, hearing voices like Joan of Arc! Then my friend arrived; I forgot all about it.From that point onwards, everything fell into place very quickly. I saw a brochure on Auroville: a city without army, without police...I said to myself. That’s it! I immediately felt that was it.

I was told that there was a caravan leaving for India. I thought: I am going. My family was totally against it, but in spite of this everything sorted itself out. I got on the bus, and we left.

On the 14th of October it was my birthday; I met Mother. I felt a bit shy: “What is she going to tell me: what am I going to tell her? She is an elderly person…I saw an old woman, with hunched a hunched back. I was intimidated. It happened in a flash. I understood why I had come, it was a recognition. What struck me was the power. An extraordinary impression of force emanated from her, like I had never experienced before. Not and aggressive one, sort of a calm force. And also  a presence. And then she smiles… You enter this space of love, something so vast..vast.

After a few of my own incredible adventures, I was told “You are summoned by Andre Morisset”. All right.

“Andre Morisset, good evening”. His room was just below the Mother’s room.
“Gerard Marechal?”
“You smoke too much, you take drugs, you don’t work, you go to Kathmandu, you do this, you do that, Mother does not want you anymore, you are to leave Auroville”.

My heart sank. I fell into pieces. I told Satprem what Andre had told me. He said “Gerard, Andre is an ad-mi-nis-tra-tor. He has nothing to do with your spiritual destiny. Go and see Mother. Write to her”.