7

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

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.

Gnanavel

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.

Saravanan

Saravanan, who originally came from Pondicherry, was one of the staunch Matrimandir workers even before joining Auroville in 1999. He also worked for the Golden Tiles unit. He met with an accident while participating in a temple festival in his native village in Pondicherry. He will be remembered as an Aurovillian ever-smiling and dedicated to his work.

Sujata

SUJATA NAHAR, born in Calcutta in 1925, spent her early childhood in Santiniketan’s cultural atmosphere under poet Rabindranath Tagore. At the age of seven she lost her mother. Her father, his world shattered, searched for another dimension to his life. He found Sri Aurobindo and Mother at Pondicherry. His children followed him there one by one. Thus Sujata, who first came to Sri Aurobindo in 1935, at the age of nine, decided to remain near him in May 1938. She lived in Pondicherry for forty-three years. At first, she received private tutoring, became secretary to Pavitra, an eminent French mathematician, chemist and engineer, who was Mother’s right-hand man. Sujata also worked with him in his laboratory, where she made a variety of preparations for Mother. She was very actively involved in the new physical education devised by Mother. Satprem arrived at the beginning of 1954. A young man just turned thirty, he taught the top students and assisted Pavitra with the correspondence. Thus Satprem and Sujata came together. Eventually Mother started to make him the confidant of her experiences and asked him to help her with the French translation of Sri Aurobindo’s books. Mother then entrusted Sujata with the typing of her private conversations with Satprem, the Agenda. From 1965 onwards Sujata regularly accompanied Satprem to his meetings with Mother.
After 1973, when Mother left her body, the Ashram changed from a living experiment to a stereotyped institution. In 1978 — Mother’s centenary year — the Ashram trustees expelled Satprem, because of the trilogy he had written on Mother’s life and experiment.
From 1978 onwards, Satprem and Sujata lived far away from Pondicherry, devoting themselves exclusively to Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s work and experiment in the cellular consciousness of the body.
Sujata Nahar is the author of Mother’s Chronicles, a biography of Mother and Sri Aurobindo.