Vinod, who hails from Andhra Pradesh and lived here in Prayatna, joined Auroville in 1992. After working for some time in Pour Tous, he started organising a little stall in Kottakarai with organic fruits for which he would bicycle up and down in the area to obtain the best wares he could find. Over the years, the stall grew out into the small but pucca HERS supermarket, located beside Ganesh Bakery – a multi-supply point for the area.
Vinod’s remains were brought to the new Farewell centre just off Auroville’s Crown Road for a last viewing by friends. As per his very specific request to be cremated in Auroville itself, his family conceded and, respecting his wish, his brothers and sisters were present during the cremation at Adventure’s mandappam in the late afternoon of on Sunday October 4th. Along with Vinod’s Aurovilian friends, they performed the last rites for their brother and were grateful to do this in the harmonious atmosphere and late-hour colouring of the day.
Thank you, Vinod, for having brought HERS into being.
Shyamsundar Jhunjhunwalla passed away at his residence near the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, possibly due to recent heart problems. During the last years his health had been withering. He was 84 years old.
Shyamsundar, who was appointed by the Mother as the secretary of Auroville affairs, was involved in the township from the very beginning and had a house in Certitude. Those of us who came to join in the early seventies, may remember his sparkling humour and winning smile with which they were received.
Although Auroville’s developing years may have brought situations where not all were seeing eye to eye with him, we cannot but salute him with respect and appreciation.
At the cremation of his remains, which took place at the Ashram section of the Karuvadikuppam cremation ground in the afternoon of the next day, a number of Aurovilians were among the Ashramites who bade him farewell.
Prabhaben Dhandhania, who was in charge of Auroville Prosperity in the early years, has passed away in her Ashram premises on the 31st of March.
As Prabhaben was one of Mother’s close contacts regarding Auroville Prosperity matters in those formative years, she is remembered by us with gratitude and respect.
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.
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.
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.
This site is a work in progress for honouring the participation of the blessed souls in the creation of the reality of Auroville. If you have any information on the people who have contributed in the Auroville process and hasn’t yet been displayed here, kindly contact us with the relevant information, pictures and videos. With thanks, Honouring Participation Team.