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Kamalaben was born in Jadeshwar, Gujarat, on 11 February 1915.  Her father was Kashibhai and her mother was Raiba.  She had two brothers, Maheshbhai and Jagadishbhai, and one sister, Yashodaben, who got married to Sardar Vallabhai Patel's son.  Kamalben was the youngest.  They all came to Pondicherry and stayed for a few years; then all of them went back except Kamalaben and Kashibhai who stayed on in the Ashram.  According to Champaklal, Sri Aurobindo once said, "Kashibhai wants to go to heaven with the members of his family."

Kamalaben lost her mother when she was one year old.  Her grandmother wanted to bring her up, but she was very dear to her father, who took her to Kansia with him and looked after her with the utmost care, almost like a mother, up to the age of seven.   Then he left her in the care of her grandmother and grandfather and went to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, leaving her behind in tears.  At the age of nine she got permission to come to the Ashram but her uncle Haribhai did not allow her to go there.  Later at the age of twelve Kashibhai called her to Pondicherry.  She came to the Ashram with four persons - Maheshbhai and Shantabhabhi, her elder brother and sister-in-law, and two cousins Ramjibhai and Dayaben.

She had inherited a liking for the spiritual life from her father, who was a devotee of Lord Krishna and had founded an Ashram at Kansia, a beautiful island a few miles from Bharuch, where he lived a spiritual life.  He took a very keen interest in moulding the lives of his children, for whose sake he often invited saintly persons to his Ashram.  He was a very kind, helpful and generous person, a great reformist but also a strict disciplinarian.  Champaklal had a very high respect for him, and he joined the Kansia Ashram when he was seventeen.


Growth of a Flame, The

Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

by Kamala
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