In Memoriam: Shraddhavan

Shraddhavan is the Sanskrit name given by the Mother in June 1972 to a young Englishwoman who left her country to join the upcoming project of Auroville in 1970. Shraddhavan means ‘one who has faith in the higher being’. She fully embraced her name.

She was born Anne Margret Robinson on June 4th, 1942. Her father was a protestant pastor and her mother, Winnie (known to many in Auroville), was a teacher. Before leaving England, she studied English Language and Literature as well as Library Science at Bristol University. Before coming to Auroville she traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, including India, and Australia.

When she arrived in Pondicherry in November 1970, she was sent by the Mother to Auroville to teach in the newly started school in Aspiration.

In Last School 1974

But the work for which she will always be remembered is her work as Project Coordinator of Savitri Bhavan, which along with her partner, Helmut, she built up from its inception.

Savitri Bhavan

Shraddhavan undertook an in-depth study of the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. She was a teacher, a poet (she published a book of her poems ‘Stars in the Soup’), a translator, a researcher, an efficient administrator, and above all a great sadhak. Several of her poems, stories, essays, articles, and book reviews have been published in the Ashram journal Mother India, Heritage magazine, Collaboration, etc. She was the editor of the journal Invocation: Study notes on Savitri. She has been honored with the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ by the Overman Foundation on 18 November 2012.

Shraddhavan conducted classes on The Life Divine, Essays on the Gita and Savitri. Many AVI centres were happy to have hosted her for her classes in their countries and via Zoom link. They continue with regular classes guided by Shraddhavan’s books and videos.

Savitri Study Group in Holland

The depth of her understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s mantric epic poem Savitri was reflected in her classes, the joy her students experienced during her Sunday Savitri Study Circle, which have been going on for the last 25 years, and her ‘English of Savitri’ classes.

The Savitri Study Circle

Her sentence by sentence explanations of Sri Aurobindo’s great epic have been transcribed into 12 volumes, the last two volumes are in the stage of publication. They are an unparalleled guide for Savitri lovers around the globe.  Shraddhavan declared that this was her life’s work.

Late last year, she gradually began to fade away and left her body on July 19th 2022 aged 80 years.

As the Mother wrote in Prayers and Meditations:

Some give their soul to the Divine, some their life, some offer their work, some their money, a few consecrate all of themselves and all they have – soul, life, work, wealth; these are the true children of God.

Shraddhavan – A True Child of the Mother

Helmut, Judith and Dhanalakshmi
on behalf of the Savitri Bhavan Team