For nearly a year, between 1925 and 1926, Philippe Barbier Saint Hilaire, later known as Pavitra, spoke regularly with Sri Aurobindo. The central subject was the spiritual practices undertaken by Pavitra at this time. Sri Aurobindo gave him detailed instructions in meditation, explaining how to quiet the mind and open to the divine force.
Pavitra was a versatile man with many interests. An avid philatelist, he built up a large stamp collection. A civil engineer, he drew up the plan for the public park in the center of Pondicherry. But always his primary interest was the spiritual life envisaged by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Pavitra made three compilations from their works. The first was The Future Evolution of Man (1963), compiled from several of Sri Aurobindo’s major works. The second one was Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on Love (1966), compiled from their writings and talks. The third was Le Yoga de la Bhagavad Gita (1969), a translation and commentary comprising French translations of extracts from Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita. He also wrote a book of his own, Education and the Aim of Human Life (1961), and several other essays on education.
Pavitra lived in the Ashram for forty-four years. Towards the end of his life, he contracted leukemia. Severely weakened, he continued to work as much as he could. And every day he slowly climbed the stairscase to Mother’s room in order to see her for a short time. He passed away on May 16, 1969, at the age of seventy-five.