In Ekhard’s own words, ” It has been a great previledge for Theodora who has read The Auroville Charter during the inauguration of Auroville. In 1959, both of us (Theodora and Ekhard) met the Mother. We read the Mother’s dream then and wondering if that would even be possible. Later during the inauguration of Auroville, we were here and Theodora was proposed by the Mother to read the German Charter. In Champaklal’s book, German couple ‘Ekhart and wife’ was noted. In Auroville just like the Matrimandir, Savitri Bhavan has to come up as another centre of spiritual confluence and become well known to everyone. I was much impressed on seeing the SEAS( Souls Encounter with Auroville’s Soul ) event in Matrimandir which has brought out a great Inspiration. Most beautiful Savitri. Tremendous Aspiration through that(Savitri). If Aurovilians can dive into the ocean of Savitri, growth and development will start. Mona Sarkar and Manoj the trustee has expressed the same thing ” My dear naughty boy please read Savitri”. I am trying a similar experiment in Germany ‘Inventor’s Workshop’. Getting the atmosphere of Savitri all around the world is one of my wishes.”
August Timmermans narrates his experience with Daniel, “Daniel Wilms was part of my special circle of friends that comprised of John Boonen, from Newlands, and Alan Klaas, from the Matrimandir Nursery.
We could enter deep conversations and share some great laughter. Daniel was the manager of the Nursery when I asked him if I could join, in 1981. Narad had left the Nursery responsibility in Daniel’s hands, and fortunately he could use an extra hand. Daniel was dedicated to his work from the perspective of yoga and put all his heart into it. Because of that, he had an excellent connection with the Tamil workers, who all liked him. What was not to like about him?, he was spirited, open-minded, had a great sense of humor, was passionate, and a true yogi, inspite of all the personal challenges in his life. It was always a joy being and working with him.
After he had left Auroville, we miraculously discovered that we had chosen the same country to work in, Thailand, where I lived in Bangkok, and he with his wife Chika and daughter Johanna in Chiang Mai. Daniel was from Germany, and died in 2003.”
Dressed in white in his all white room, in his 70-somethings, with white hair, he sits drinking black tea and looking outside into the blue skies. William Netter, born in the USA, and through family ties connected to Hollywood and celebrities of all kinds, seems more like a film director himself in his white director’s chair, pulling strings like a puppet master.
“I had more publicity as an American in India than Liz Taylor,” he says. But before India could enjoy his presence, William had spent some wild years in his home country, running a steakhouse in Greenwich Village, being involved in showbusiness and teaching literature. He attended New York’s School of Interior Design at night, went to Foredom University, and joined a Jesuit Order. “I was really way out in those days. Still am… in design.”
During a visit to Puerto Rico, he felt a strong intuition calling him to India, and went for a 6 weeks tour with some ‘humanity’ professors from the New York area.
“I was totally knocked off my horses when we attended the 1968 New Year’s Day meditation at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. Kireet Joshi showed us around. We then traveled on, returned and joined the inauguration of Auroville before going back. “I was moved deeply,” he recalls.
Back in the US, he started reading Sri Aurobindo and found himself building his first house in the residential zone of Auroville shortly after this first encounter. “I lived in it for 6 weeks, and then gave it to another Aurovilian, Amrita, who still resides on the same spot.”
State Bank of India
William became member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and was appointed by the chairman of the State Bank of India to do the interior design of the bank’s new central office building in Bombay. We cannot tell the whole story as Willam told it to us (we might crack the website space!), so let’s just fast-forward a bit.. The work was completed and the building inaugurated. Shortly after this, a major fire lead to doing it all over again! That’s what one calls Karma yoga, isn’t it?
“Actually, when David Rockefeller visited the final result, he said that it was the most beautiful bank premises in the world. But no-one told me, anyway. I would have made T-shirts!” laughs William. He is indeed very funny. “I used to make the Mother laugh. My name was given to me by her. My brother, the film maker, however, calls me Billy,” says William.
Hollywood; that’s where he envisions his future plans. A movie, directed by at least Steven Spielberg, special effects, state of the art perfection, the works.. The story? Savitri! William has spent the last three years writing and designing a book about his passion, Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem ‘Savitri’. The book is now released and it’s wonderful.
Until things get going, he will be staying in the second house he built in Auroville, the non-house. Two hexagons, a pyramid, a ship’s deck, a spiral staircase, lots of triangle shapes, ceramic tiles, inside-outside and, of course, all in white. “The minimal connects with the consciousness. If my work is successful, I’d like people to pause and lower their voices. Comfort is not a big deal with me,” he says.
That’s why the inner chamber of the Matrimandir is his favourite piece of architecture in Auroville. “The inner room was the precise vision of the Mother. Simplicity is everything. All my designs are influenced by this,” says William.
Courtesy: Julietta Kühle
My pull to Auroville was directly inspired by the Mother during a meditation when a white light came into me and the next day I found myself telling friends that I would go to Auroville.
I was a student in Sittard, the Netherlands. I completed first my studies in Community Development, and shortly after my graduation from the Social Academy I hitchhiked to India in October 1977.
I walked straight to the Matrimandir after I arrived by bus from Pondicherry in December 1977. Within a few hours I had my first keet-hut at the Matrimandir working area, and some months later I got my second keet-hut at the Matrimandir Workers Camp. My last work with fellow Aurovilians on the Matrimandir was chipping the ceiling of the Inner Room to prepare it for its plasterwork. My second work was as a building-manager of Center School, in Center Field, and about a year later I joined the Matrimandir Nursery for 4 years where I worked as one of the co-managers. I once designed the map of all the Plumerias there. After eight years, in October 1985, I left Auroville to join the rest of the world, and today I live and work in Marseille, France. My life has been fully inspired by the Integral Yoga since I discovered it, following the inner guidance that comes with it. I regard my eight years in India as the most significant period of my life.
Wishing Auroville a thrilling 50th Birthday in 2018!
Hailing from Chidambaram, Nisha came to Auroville and married Raj, who works as sysop in the Auroville Language Lab. The couple lived in Inspiration. Being a trained nurse with earlier experience in other hospitals, it was but natural that she came to work in Santé.
“I met Nisha in 2013 as I joined Kailash clinic, in 2015 we moved as a team to Sante. I noticed her exceptional loving care and truly believed that her small gentle hands have healing power. I visited her one month before she passed and last time one week before. I was awed by her courage to fight the terminal decease and strong will to live, even as her body was failing there was a fire that burned in her eyes and and determination that made me believe in a miracle. I will always cherish Nisha’s courage and dedicated love of Raj (her husband) in my heart.” says Helena on Nisha.
About Honouring Participation:
This site is being developed for honouring the participation of those involved in the creation of the reality of Auroville. If you have any information on the people who have contributed in the Auroville process and whose information has or hasn’t yet been displayed here, kindly share them with us with the relevant information, stories, pictures and videos of memorable instances involving them.