Juanita Cole


There is a presence and poise about Juanita Cole. Her domineer speaks of grace and gentility. The ethnic clothes she wears recall memories of many lands and many languages. Juanita’s calm, gently-modulated voice suggests that she has been in conversations with dignitaries from around the world. Indeed she has been. For 30 years Juanita held a position

 in the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department. She was one of the first African American women to hold such a position.


In France she hosted dinner parties for the international set.In more than a dozen countries, Juanita entertained her guests with music, dancing and gourmet foods—many of them made with her own hands. This was Juanita’s life when she was in good health—before the debilitating effects of severe diabetes.

Now she spends her days at the Johnson Center. She likes to go out for lunch and be around people. She enjoys mind-stimulating activities and best of all, she can’t wait for the dancing and music to begin after lunch. But be advised, when you ask her to dance, you are in for the ride of your life. Her feet explode to the beat with energetic stomps. Her arms punctuate the air in rhythmic gyrations. For a moment she is queen of the dance floor, transported to a different country in another world.

Ingo Wey

Ingo, who had a masters degree in psychology, joined Auroville in 2004. He started out in Certitude and was in the process of settling in Hope. After initially working with AquaDyn, he has been involved in his therapeutic Soma initiative, as well as in a great variety of projects, working groups and research pertaining to town planning, alternative energy and new farming techniques. Lately he also gave talks to visiting students in the framework of the University of Human Unity.
We hold this quite unusual man, who had chosen a difficult karma, high in our prayers today.


Anand grew up as student in the Ashram and came in 2003 to Auroville via the late Madhanlal Himatsingka. He has been working with us as sports teacher in Dehashakti and Deepanam and stayed in Courage where his flat was an oasis of peace, quiet and serenity. Unfortunately these last years the precarious condition of his kidneys took him out of Auroville for medical treatments from time to time.
We will remember him, true to his name, as a gentle, quiet and conscientious person whose contact with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother was natural, evident and silently radiant.
Anand’s body was taken up in the Farewell centre on the Crown road where friends bade him farewell from Tuesday December 1st onwards. The remains will be cremated at Adventure’s mandappam.

Amar Singh

An ardent devotee of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Amar Singh, aged 97 years, left his body on November 10, 2006 at 18:45 hrs, Kailisah Hospital, Noida. A couple of hours before he departed for his heavenly abode, he lay straight on his back, a position he could not assume during the last few days, and wanted to listen to The Mother’s music. We couldn’t help but notice the glow around him, as he lay in that peaceful and blissful state. Moments later, he requested us to dim the lights, and he started remembering all his loved ones. He blessed us all with love and happiness.

Fondly remembering his days in Orissa he said, “I have lived the best period of my life at Orissa, especially Bhubaneshwar. Convey my love and blessings to all those I was corresponding with. They are doing The Mother’s work very well and must continue to do so. Mother will guide them.”

He also remembered all the sadhaks of Pondicherry, especially Asha, whom he considered as his daughter, and conveyed his best wishes and love to all. He also enquired if his prayers have been offered at the Samadhi in Pondicherry.

Having remembered all, he narrated the following: “I am seeing a big hall with many people sitting. Now devi and devtas (gods and goddesses) have arrived and they are around me and talking to me. Mother, presiding over the ceremony, is behind a veil looking beautiful.” After a small pause he said, “I am sitting in front of the people. Suddenly there is nobody, only my wife is sitting and waiting for me. Together we go to another place where there are 2000 people but there is perfect discipline and absolute silence. There is no pain in my body anywhere. How strange? During my life time, I have never had this experience. Now Mother is calling me. I must go. I am a happy and contented man. Don’t call me from behind or weep after I go. Remain in The Mother’s consciousness always and She will guide you. Always distribute love.”

At that time, he was still awaiting for Puneeta, his grand dauther-in law, who was on her way to the hospital to see him. As she arrived he said, “Puneeta, you have come. Kiss me. Now you have to take care of everything. I’ve explained all to Krishnee.” (youngest daughter)

Puneeta was holding his hand and felt the soul depart.

Before he left his body my doctor sister Geeta was monitoring his pulse and blood pressure, both of which were normal. We had stopped all medicines but still his pain had vanished. He was painless and absolutely in peace. Even the swelling on his left arm and eye had mystically disappeared.


7 (Ramachandra Rao who insisted he be named ‘7’) passed away in a Chennai hospital where his family had taken him. Exact date and cause are still unconfirmed.

He was 67 years old.

7, who joined Auroville in the early seventies and has been here off and on since then, may always remain an enigma for us as his apparently passionate and burning need to express his inner findings and vision of Auroville tended to come through in a continuous flow of not easy to follow monologues, profoundly interlaced with his interpretation of the vision of our founders. At times his sense of reality may have wavered, possibly caused by a too great intensity of a not yet settled inner life.

In these later years, many may have witnessed 7, prim and cleanly dressed, quietly sitting at a corner of La Terrace on the roof of Solar Kitchen, playing his flute for hours on end in the late afternoon sun.


Paulien joined Auroville in 1998. In her first years, she was involved in forming a kind of job-service for the then Entry group and also in an ecological project.  It was around 2005 that she found her true element and joy in working with kids through the ‘sand box’ medium,  which practice she refined throughout the years. Having worked for several years in Nandanam, she then moved to Transition, where she lately specifically worked on a one-to-one basis with children that need special attention, using the sand box as one of her tools. Paulien was one of the founding members of The Learning Community (TLC) and participated in the TLC Pitchandikulam team, facilitating afternoons of forest exploration with the younger children of the learning community.

Not making life easy at times, for herself and others, through her critical mind and readiness to stand up for things she truly believed in, she did however endear herself to all by her wry and often self-deprecating humour, basic good-heartedness, dedication in work, and an ever willingness to help out when needed.


Laurence Viallard, a French national, born 11.12.1965, left her body on 1.2.2017.She was found injured on the road of Auroville/Utility/Djaima.  She had already passed away and was taken to PIMS in an ambulance by her friends.She was 51 years old. She was the editor of ‘Grains de Sables’, her publishing firm in Noumea, New Caledonia. She has been coming to Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, since 2002 as a visitor and has offered her services in different departments during her stay. Lately she was staying at ‘Inner Peace’, near Auroville, next to Djaima. She was in contact with the Tibetan Pavilion where she was going to conduct her dream-project for women, the ‘Festival du Féminin‘, as she called it.


Karpagavalli Selvanambi, left her body in the evening of Tuesday 22nd August 2017, in a Madurai nursing home to which she had been taken after a stroke in 2013. Her sister and other immediate members of her family were near her. She was 72 years old.

Karpagavalli was a lively and capable teacher in the Tamil language who joined Auroville in 1992. She worked in Isaiambalam school, Ilaignarkal Education Centre, Transformation school and Arulvazhi Education Centre, and will be remembered by many of her pupils and colleagues.

Her remains have been cremated on 23/8, in her home town Madurai.


Already in the seventies, Gnanavel came from Kottakarai to work as very young boy in the Matrimandir Nursery, readily learning about plants and following schooling at Ilaignarkal. After running an own nursery in Kottakarai for some time, his life became more intimately interwoven with the Matrimandir Nursery when he eventually came to live there in the early nineties, at the time of his joining Auroville for good in ‘92.

Colleagues know him as a quiet, introvert family man, who loved his work, and was dedicated to build the Matrimandir gardens. In these latest years, it was Gnanavel who quietly took up the management of the Nursery, having started there as a kid so long ago.

On 3rd February, 2017 evening due to a stroke caused by high blood pressure Gnanavel left his body. On Thursday Feb 2nd he was taken in serious condition to PIMS from where he was transported to the Ramachandra Medical College in Chennai. His family, wife Geetha and children Madivanan and Kalaiyarasan accompanied him. Just a week ago he had become 53 years old.

Words of August Timmermans his early days mentor ” I have known Gnanavel from 1981 until 1985 when I had joined the Matrimandir Nursery when Daniel Wilms was the Manager there. Narad had left Auroville, and the Nursery went through a tough time. Gnanavel stood out among the workers, meaning he was genuinely interested and involved in the work he did there, and it was significant work: taking care of the high diversity of delicate orchids that Alan Klaas had collected over the years, meant for the Matrimandir Gardens.

Gnanavel was liked for his sensitivity and for the inner joy that expressed itself in a beautiful smile. One day he asked me if he could become an Aurovilian, and for that he needed a one-year supervisor. I accepted the responsibility; unfortunately I left Auroville before that year was completed. Now I learn that only in ’92 he became officially an Aurovilian, seven years later.
Gnanavel was a wonderful presence in the Matrimandir Nursery, it is good to know that he kept working there until the end of his life. I wish his wife and two children all the strength in their lives without him. ”
May you rest in peace, Gnanavel , and thank you for your quiet presence, hesitant smile and calm dedication. Our warmest sympathy and strength go out to Geetha, Madi and Kalay.


Damien passed away in Canberra, Australia surrounded by his sons Misha, Ry and Peter.
Damien joined AV in 2009 and was a resident of Creativity. He taught at Future School, Last School and most recently TLC where he taught a sex education series along with his partner, Paula. They were on track to teach the class again in July but the cancer was so aggressive it overcame his courageous determination to live.
You may remember Damien on the roads of AV on his Royal Enfield and stylish cap. He loved to get fresh AV produce from the AV shops and was a good cook and juice maker.
Some people found Damien hard to get along with. He didn’t suffer fools gladly. He studied the I Ching, the Enneagram and first read Sri Aurobindo in 1971. He gave this advice, “Tell the Truth to yourself. Be true to yourself. Then you might have a chance to be truthful with others.”