Hervé


At around noontime of Friday 14 August, our dear friend and brother, long-term Aurovilian Hervé Millet left his body, quietly and faithfully, at Marika Home at the age of 75, due to complications of cancer which he had been battling since several years.

Hervé was one of the French pioneers, a Breton, who joined the caravan that left Paris in 1974 for the over-land travel to Auroville. From the moment of arrival at the end of that year, he wholeheartedly plunged into a long range of work activities and services which characterised him throughout his life in Auroville. It started with construction work with Pierre Elouard, building the houses in Auromodèle, during which time he was also active at the then emerging Pour Tous service in Aspiration. During Auroville’s survival struggles of those years, Hervé was jailed twice, along with others, both in Tindivanam and Villupuram.

When things got quieter, Hervé got into planting trees in Révélation, looked after SAIIER’s transport, worked at Maroma, and spent several years active at Mira Aditi’s in Karnataka, and later on with Satprem in the Nilgiris.

After an intensive time in the mountains, he returned to Auroville in the mid-nineties where he was welcomed by the Auroville Press team and, soon after that, participated in the creation of Auroville Papers of which he later became executive. It was here that he found his true element, doing all kinds of experimentations for different kinds of new-look and new-feel papers, with a great variety of leaves, flowers and colours, and became skilled in giving animated paper-making workshops, showing the audience the art and techniques of producing paper. Hervé was never happier than when showing a child how to make paper or help in the unit. He lived in Citadines.

During an interview by the auroville.com team, Hervé said: “Living in Auroville means everything to me, and the Mother takes care of me, she really takes care of me. I feel like I am walking the wire with no net under to catch me, but Mother will not let me fall. When I arrived here, I had no money, and she gave me everything. Everything that I have has been given to me… I give my work to the Mother, and I can’t be disappointed, because she knows what I need.”

In full faith that Hervé is now on the way home, we let go of this energetic, at times tenacious and often passionate man, who was our friend and comrade all these years, steadily working for the Mother, for Auroville, for us all. Thank you, Hervé.

Jay MA~



Giorgio Molinari

Our dear friend and brother, Italian Giorgio Molinari, peacefully left his body at 3.10pm in the afternoon of Monday 10 August at the age of 83 in his Arka apartment, succumbing to the heart problems that have been plaguing him for years.

Born in Milano, Giorgio was involved in photography from early age onwards while also developing interest in oriental philosophy. As a young man during the military service he functioned as ground assistant for aerial photography, after which he wholeheartedly entered the world of advertisement agencies, freelancing for record companies, theatre productions, architectural designs, often working with big names in the field. In 1980 he made an architectural photo study of Chandigarh, from where he visited Auroville, Matrimandir and the first true contact was made.
Then came the ‘Auroville 35 years’ festivity in UNESCO’s Paris centre in 2003, during which he learned more about Auroville and met several Aurovilians. His decision was made. Even though he was stricken with cerebral hemorrhage and right-side paralysis during the very preparations to come here, he managed to fly in October 2004 to Auroville where he could convalesce in Arka. In December 2006 he became Aurovilian.

From the very onset Giorgio was generously involved in the upgrading of Arka’s infra structure and lived there as well. From there he did extensive photo studies of Savitri Bhavan, Matrimandir, and we saw him time and again during our meetings, at special events, in schools and at village occasions, cautiously but persistently negotiating the spaces and making photos wherever he could, always freely giving them to Auroville. He would merrily make marriage photos of friends in the village, providing them with CDs of the footage, and the Eluciole Circus would not be the same without him. In his studio, Giorgio trained various students, and endeavoured to make AVians familiar with his Chronotype© technique.

Several years ago, Giorgio’s beloved sister Graziella, who often came over from Italy and stayed with him in Arka, passed away, and since then Giorgio wasn’t the same anymore. His health withered, and so did his humour and zest of life. He recently offered all his material and equipment to Auroville to constitute ‘Studio Giorgio’, currently temporarily housed in Citadines. The collection will now move to his Arka studio from where ‘Studio Giorgio’ can operate under guidance of his closest collaborator, Piero Cefaloni.

Thank you for having been with us, dear Giorgio, we will remember you through your many exquisite photos and touching images, and for your warm hearted generosity and endearingly grinning smile.

OM~



Giorgio on: Kronotipia©   Chronotype©

Whereas photography’s common characteristic is to fix on film an instant of space-time continuum, most often reproducing on the two-dimensional surface of the final support an image that one thinks to be close to reality and that deeply stimulates those unconscious processes of reconstruction by similitude, constituting the base itself of human visual perception, – Chronotypes© fixes on the film a duration of sizeable importance. The duration is appreciable given a handful of seconds along with a space that is trapped within the two dimensions, through which the subject loses that perspective reference that is usually implicit in what is intended for photography. The reduction of a tri-dimensional subject on a plane that crosses it in a perceivable time, though remaining apparently still, is, I believe, the most adherent representation of that unknowable reality of which we are an inseparable part.  Although it may seem surprising, the result maintains a compliance with reality outside of any subsequent interpretative intervention.

Paolo Tommasi

This is to inform the community that our dear friend and brother Paolo Tommasi passed away in JIPMER on 16 July at around 11.15am due to complications of the Covid19 virus. He had just become 92 years old.

Paolo, born in Ancona, Italy, and recognised in the fifties as a leading figure and point of reference in the world of art and performance in Europe and further abroad, was an architect gifted with a true passion for architectural interiors, design, theatre, scenography (such as in Milan’s La Scala Theatre) and painting; his exhibitions travelled worldwide.

Always a searcher, he was in his thirties called to India, where he met Mother at the age of 38 and felt he had found what he had been seeking. This was just before Auroville’s inauguration in ’68, and a few years before the concept of Matrimandir would emerge. In this very process Paolo would, in his reserved and reflective manner, play an unobtrusive but significant role. He later would also propose elaborate designs for the twelve gardens around Matrimandir.

While continuing his artistic activities abroad, from 2010 onwards Paolo came to live in Pondicherry for increasingly longer periods as “In no other place do I feel my soul reawaken and do I achieve that inner work that gives meaning to my life: becoming more aware of myself and the mystery that surrounds us.” From time to time he would visit his friends in Auroville and Matrimandir.

In his Pondy house, he would continue painting his often strikingly expressive images,  which were published in the book ‘Immagini sull’Invisibile’ – ‘Images on the Invisible’ and exhibited in Savitri Bhavan in 2016. The biography  ‘Alla Ricerca dell’Armonia’ –  ‘In Search of Harmony’  follows him throughout his life.

At the end of June, Paolo was tested positive for the Coronavirus and has been treated for the same, remaining stable for the first weeks on mask ventilation. On 15 July intubation was needed as his condition rapidly deteriorated. In the morning of Friday 17 July his remains were cremated in JIPMER’s crematorium; due to Covid19 restrictions only 4 people were allowed, one of them was from Matrimandir, Auroville. May he be in peace.

We profoundly and lovingly thank Paolo for his creative vision and the support extended by him for the Soul of the City,

 Jay MA~

A 5-minute clip on Paolo, Piero and Gloria 
visiting the Matrimandir in 2009:

The interview that Francois Gautier made with Paolo, filmed by Olivier Barot, in which Paolo is speaking of his life, of building Matrimandir, the Mother, Satprem, the yoga and many other things of interest:

Jean Neal

This is to inform the community that in the afternoon of Friday 10 July, our dear sister Jean Neal, wife of Bob Neal, peacefully left her body at the age of 86 in her UK home. She had been in constant pain for years and had got to the point where communication was not possible anymore.

Jean was a lively, amazing woman who already in the early seventies was part of London’s ‘Bell Street’ group that regularly came together to study works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In 1998 Bob and Jean came to Auroville where, while living in Sri Ma, Bob would see many an Aurovilian in his capacity as healer using Samalin chiropractic and bio-magnetic techniques. Jean, who had from young age onwards a second sight & hearing ability, would assist Aurovilians in different ways by giving ‘Beyond the 5th sense’ and other workshops and one-to-one treatment sessions.

Unfortunately, Jean’s health gradually started deteriorating, causing the couple to leave in April 2006. They both joined AVI UK and worked from there, although Jean’s health remained troublesome.

Thank you Jean for having been with us;  our sincerest condolences go out to Bob and other family members.

OM~

Joan Tomb

A friend, mentor, and guardian angel to many in Auroville. Joan was a strikingly beautiful, generous, strong, independent woman.

Joan heard of the Mother through Dietra (Claire Worden), and in ‘71 she and June Maher traveled together to India to meet the Mother.

On 2nd April 1972, June excitedly phoned Joan and read out this message from Mother:
“It is the hour to be heroic. Heroism in full sincerity.”
“Heroism is not what it is said to be, it is to become wholly unified.”
“We are here to prepare the way for the new creation. For centuries and centuries humanity has waited for this time. You are here at this moment, that is to say on earth, because you chose it at one time. You do not remember it anymore, but I know it. That is why you are here. Well, you must strive, you must conquer all weaknesses and limitations, above all you must tell your ego: ‘Your hour has gone.’ It is the Divine Consciousness which will allow the race to develop itself and the supramental being to take birth.”

Joan later wrote, “Not sure how June received this. We were both very moved. It strengthened the bond that we both felt….and affirmed that ‘YES’, we took birth so as to participate in this work, this process. Not really knowing what it actually meant….to be wholly unified with the new Consciousness…. [which was ] part of the inner process.”

“A year later in ‘72 I left with 3 of my 4 children by ship as a spectacular pink/orange sun set behind us over the San Francisco bridge. Later I learned that color was the shade Mother designated as the Auroville hibiscus.” It became Joan’s favorite color to wear.

In the early years, Joan drove a small moped from Pondy to Auroville. Staying stretches of time in Forecomers, she soon moved to Auroville as a resident. Living in her treehouse, she worked with Pierre Elouard to design and build her house and named the place Recueillement. She always had an open door and a big heart. There were toys in the guest room for children who visited, food in the kitchen, and a comfortable chair to sit on.

For many years, she travelled back and forth from the US to Auroville, and in early 2011, Joan came back to Auroville for the last time, cleared out her house, and handed over the keys to the housing group.

Shortly before her 80th birthday Joan wrote, “Although I miss the babies born in Auroville and the close expressions of spiritual family there, here is the best home for me now. My spiritual family in Auroville live forever here in my heart wherever I reside. I feel the Mother’s presence at work, arranging even details of my life, which was my experience in Auroville as well. So, while the outward has changed, my inner life is the same.”

Joan, at the age of 85, left her body at 3:30 pm on June 23 in her apartment in Tucson Arizona with 3 of her 4 children by her side. She leaves behind 4 children (Laura, Leslie, David, Libby), 4 grandchildren (Pavan, Varun, Ezra, Anna), her son-in-law (Leo Katz), and a great grandson ( Leo Dennis Katz Costa), a grandson in law ( Nic Costa), and 2 life companions (Paul Pinthon and Zach).

Thank you Joan for being a profound part of this spiritual family. We wish you light and joy in your next adventure. Remain close to the Mother.


Joan talking about her life from Auroville Archives


Arya Maloney

We have been informed that Arya (Charles William) Maloney, USA, passed away on 17 April due to a long-term illness. He had just become 80 years old.

While at Columbia University (NYC) working toward his doctorate, he came across Sri Aurobindo’s work which would entirely direct his further life. Already in the late 70’s-early 80’s he was facilitating groups to study the Integral Yoga in Woodstock (NY).

At the end of 1983 he came, along with his then partner Marlenka and 8-year old Ashaman (who both had lived here in the seventies) to Auroville and stayed with them in Verité. A year later he returned to USA where he worked in the various fields of science, philosophy, psychology and spirituality as a teacher and psychologist. His book, Alchemy of the Soul— based on his life, work and spiritual exploration is his contribution to the field of transpersonal psychology.

While he lived in Auroville only shortly,  residents remember him as a caring teacher and effective therapist. Abroad, his wide range of influence enabled Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s yoga and vision to find access to innumerable young and open minds.

Jay MA~


We here particularly confirm that her passing is NOT due to Covid-19.

Jan Pieter Derksen

Our dear Jan Pieter Derksen passed away peacefully on 02-06-2020 in the Netherlands after a period of illness.

Jan Pieter’s connection with Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Auroville goes back to the mid-seventies.  In those days Jan Pieter stayed in one of the houses of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and visited Auroville almost every day, as a guide. He informed visitors about the Dream that is being realized in Auroville. He was very good at his work. In addition to his native language (Dutch), he spoke English, French and German fluently. Jan Pieter was a soft spoken and patient guide who answered the numerous questions about Auroville, sincerely and tirelessly.

After his work in Pondicherry, Jan Pieter lived at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch, before joining Findhorn, in Scotland. There he met Sonja. Together they have two daughters, Marjon and Samantha. The family visited Auroville several times. 

Jan Pieter was a member of the board of Auroville International Netherlands in the eighties, again in the nineties and during a third period from 2009 till 2016 he was the treasurer. It was during this period that he translated Sri Aurobindo’s ‘The Synthesis of Yoga’ into Dutch and wrote many articles on his frequent visits to Auroville, as a candidate newcomer.

Recently he had completed his newcomers’ period, took up residence at Sunship in Auroville and was about to return to Auroville for good.

Meenakshi was one of his mentors during his newcomer’s period in Auroville and wrote the following poem in his memory:

Jan Pieter and Vishnukranti*

Vishnukranti,
the tiny plant holding tight Mother Earth with flowers bright.
Single little leaves travel long like small dots so many.

Once the monsoon sets in, this blossoming universal herb serves the needy silently.

Five petals with silky tender waves and a golden moon in the heart centre.

Vishnukranti,
the blue of Sri Aurobindo and Krishna’s consciousness covers the red soil around Matrimandir.

Pure simple and total surrender to assignments given by the Divine
A feeling of belongingness to this City of the Future.
We remember our dear brother Jan Pieter in Vishnukranti – always near, holding us together to go beyond.

*) botanical name: Evolvulus alsinoides


We here particularly confirm that her passing is NOT due to Covid-19.

Vijayamala

This is to inform that on Tuesday 26 May, Ms Vijayamala Ganapatarao, a long-term volunteer at New Creation’s Creche and Boarding School, passed away due to heart attack at Jipmer at the age of 51.

Mala came from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 2000 and has been living and working in New Creation, co-running the Boarding School with MarieBabu ever since. Always smiling, she was a gentle, kind person who became a beloved member of the NC family. Her gift was art which she shared with countless children as well as at various Auroville events, exhibitions and marathons. She also taught New Creation’s children French, Hindi, painting, drawing, stitching and other artistic activities.

As her health became an issue. Mala spent more time doing her own craft, working from home, but would still assist and help the children as much as possible with their daily homework and art.

Mala will be deeply missed by all New Creation’s family members, young and old.

Her remains were buried at Auroville’s burial grounds in the evening of May 26th

OM~


We here particularly confirm that her passing is NOT due to Covid-19.

Uschi Ernst

Long-term Friend of Auroville and AVI member Uschi Ernst, passed away on Sunday 3 May at the age of 80. Her health had been gradually weakening this last half year.

Uschi, and husband Helmut Ernst, have been closely connected to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother since the sixties. They were active members of AVI Germany and would regularly participate in the various AVI meetings in Auroville and/or abroad. They built a house in Grace in the mid-nineties which they co-stewarded throughout the years while yearly visiting for some weeks.

Uschi was an energetic woman, an enthusiast trumpet player, and warmly received visiting Aurovilians in her large, plant & flower rich Frankfurter home.

Our warmest condolences go out to Helmut and their U.K.based daughter Dorothee and family, who will sorely miss her. Be in peace, dear Uschi.

Jay MA~


Roma Hira

In the later afternoon of 25 April, our good friend and sister Roma Hira (of Roma’s Kitchen) peacefully left her body at her home in Dana due to renal failure with which she had been struggling since a while. She would have turned 73 in September this year.

Hailing from Calcutta, Roma first visited Pondicherry in 1975. This was a seminal moment which cemented her connection and commitment to Sri Aurobindo’s world view. Thereafter, she became a very good friend of Auroville, offering support and material encouragement at a moment when Auroville was going through hard times.

In 1980, in an attempt to improve Auroville’s image in India, a multiple city tour of what was called the Auroville Today Exhibition was arranged by JRD Tata. And Roma was the point person for its Calcutta leg, hosting many of the Aurovilians at her flat. Her Calcutta house subsequently became the pied-à-terre for Aurovilians travelling to Calcutta.

In those early years, Roma used her dynamism and her many connections in the Indian commercial and administrative world to help Auroville’s fledgling commercial units with their marketing and clientele. It was in the mid ’80’s that Roma moved permanently to Auroville and soon after settled into her home in Dana while continuing her work with Auroville’s commercial units, which activity she never stopped. In the first years she was involved in Aurelec’s purchasing department, after which she skillfully functioned as Maroma’s manager for years. She officially joined as Aurovilian in 1992.

Roma was a foodie – she was a chef par excellence- and she liked nothing better than to feed people. To start with she coordinated the food arrangements for seminars and meetings that Auroville hosted (such as the Peace Trees seminars). And people will remember the meticulous planning and rigorous hygiene standards she brought to these events.

Her dream was to have her own restaurant and this was fulfilled when she took charge of what came to be famously known as Roma’s Kitchen in Auromodèle, a place with a reputation for serving gourmet Indian food. Roma’s Kitchen has been featured in magazines and has had a well-deserved recognition for food quality. Over the years, it has hosted and catered to all the important visitors to Auroville.

We let her go with our heartfelt respect and appreciation, knowing that now is her time to receive well-earned sustenance of the highest order. Farewell, dear Roma.

OM~

Roma’s remains were cremated in the morning of Sunday 26 April at Auroville’s mandappam.


We here particularly confirm that her passing is NOT due to Covid-19.