Family passing: Sundar, Maheshwari, Kirthiga and Samicsha

Sundar, Maheshwari, Kirthiga and Samicsha

With deep regret we inform the community that Sundar (Sundharamurthy Murugesan), his wife Maheshwari and their two daughters Kirthiga and Samicsha died in their home in Auromodele around 14 of October 2019. This was discovered on the night of Thursday 17th.

Having come into Auroville respectively via New Creation’s and Ananda’s Fraternity Boarding, and after marriage starting out in Big Boys Boarding for some time, it was from around 2003 that Sundar and Mahesh lived as a young couple with their small children in Surya Nivas community, Auromodèle. Sundar (Sundaramoorthy Murugesan, born 1976) had originally come from Kuilyapalayam, while Mahesh (Maheshwari, born 1978) hailed from Periya Mudhaliyar Chavadi. Both felt at home in Surya Nivas, and daughters Kirthiga (born 2002) and Samichsha (born 2007) grew up with other children in the community and followed Auroville schooling with pleasure. Kirthiga had been a student at New Era Secondary School, and Samichsha attended Transition.

Always being readily available in Surya Nivas for maintenance work, and also being a badminton player and teacher, Sundar’s main work was with Auroville’s Dental Clinic where he worked as technician, general assistant and overall handyman. While Mahesh in her younger years was an ardent basketball player, as a mother she was more reserved, meticulously taking care of her daughters’ appearance and wellbeing. For more than 20 years her day job was at Solar Kitchen, where she was one of the Aurovilians taking care of the fresh salads that needed to be prepared for the daily lunch. She is remembered as a regular, reliable worker.

Around 2011 the family built a house at the other side of Auromodèle and has been living there ever since, while continuing their lives as contributing residents and their daughters growing into lively teenagers.

Now they are no more. It was reported that there were financial problems but, whatever karma prompted their sudden demise, they will be remembered and honoured for their contribution to Auroville’s growth.

In the late afternoon of 18 October, the four bodies were buried at Auroville’s funeral grounds near Adventure with many attending. After members of their families and many close friends gave way to their grief and sorrow, a silence came down on the flower-covered graves, and prayers for our four friends could take shape and ascend with the gently flowing incense.

Our heartfelt love and condolences go out to the parents, brothers, sisters and other family members of Sundar and Mahesh, for whom this is an unspeakable loss. May you find peace.

OM~

On Thursday 24th, a meditation in memory of the family took place around the Peace Table in the Unity Pavilion.

Samiksha’s birthday in March 2015

Riju (Anatoly Bukov)

Riju (Anatoly Bukov)

Our dear friend and brother Riju Anatoly Bukov left his body in Marika’s House at 10.30am on Sunday 22 September 2019. Having grappled with a weak heart throughout the years, a massive stroke last week Wednesday proved to be too much for him. After a few days at PIMS, he returned to Marika’s. He would have been 75 in a few days’ time.

Before discovering Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Riju, born in Ukraine, was actively involved in the Odessa art world as a playwright, director, poet, sculptor and painter with a clear call towards spirituality. He gradually started translating their works (‘The Mother’ and ‘Sunlit Path’) and visited Auroville in 1991 for the first time. In 1995 he arrived for good, inspiring quite a few friends from Ukraine to follow his lead.

Having lived in various places, Riju soon ended up in Aspiration where he built himself a small house. Functioning as an assistant at Savitri Bhavan for some time, he mainly worked from home, translating, writing, sculpting and sharpening his philosophical understanding by daily getting deeper into The Life Divine which was his stronghold. The sincerity of his yoga helped him deal with personal problems that came his way, and many of the Russian-speaking community revered him for his deep insight in Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram published several compiled translations into Russian that include his name.

Since February 2018, Riju stayed at Marika’s where he visibly lived up and fully enjoyed his days. His daughter Christina, a skilled puppeteer who gave several puppet performances when here, and granddaughter Darya, visited him there as in the years before.

With warmest condolences to his family and close friends, we bid farewell to a brother, an artist, who had not chosen an easy life but who persevered, and is now on the way to the Light.

Mrs Kirti Dinkar Gaonkar (Dadima)

Mrs Kirti Dinkar Gaonkar (Dadima)

This is to inform the community that Mrs Kirti Dinkar Gaonkar, the mother of Aurovilian Drupad, passed away here in Auroville on Monday 12 August after midnight at the age of 78. During the short time Dadima (grandmother) was here, she touched the hearts of the Matrimandir workers while working as a volunteer under the Banyan.

Her body is laid to rest at Farewell and can be visited by friends from today, Tuesday,  4 – 7pm, and from 10.30am in the coming days.

Our warmest condolences go out to Drupad.

Ursula (Loose Tuschkewitz)

In the early morning of 15 July, our Aurovilian sister and friend Ursula (Loose Tuschkewitz) of Gratitude passed away in PIMS at the age of 69. She had suffered from cancer (lymphoma) affecting her spine. After a short stay at PIMS, treatment in Chennai during March of this year could not prevent progression of paralysis of the legs while cancer progressed. She returned to PIMS, where additionally she got several minor strokes.

Ursula joined us from Germany in 2011 and, having worked as an accountant for a large German carmaker, she was readily welcomed to look after financial matters here in Auroville, half time for City Services, half time for Varuna. Though she could be at times somewhat strict, friends and colleagues much appreciated her often quaint German use of the English language, her great sense of humor, friendly goodwill and hard-working stance in life.

Ursula lived in a small, completely open house in the Gratitude community of which she had grown very fond, and where she will be deeply missed. Cats were another love of hers: she was an internationally well-respected juror for pedigree cats and traveled once a year abroad to attend international cat shows in that capacity.

As one of her doctors mentioned, she was a model of a life-oriented and affirming patient throughout the process.

Now she is free. Auroville’s love and prayers accompany her to the Light.

Ursula’s remains were brought to the Farewell center where friends could bid her goodbye. The cremation took place at Auroville’s mandapam in the afternoon of Tuesday 16 July where friends and colleagues honoured her with flowers and incense, and quietly stood by.

Pascale Charles

Pascale Charles resided and worked in Auroville between 1990 and ’96. She lived in Dana with Pierre Charles, their first child Samuel and their daughter Isaure, in that beautiful house in Dana designed by Gloria. So she has, albeit in modest measure, contributed to Auroville’s development and received in turn an inner passion, an aspiration that never left her. On 14 July 2019 she left her body, in a hospital in the south of France.

Myriam (Myriam Francoise Marie Noelle Isaac)

In the morning of 28 May, our dear and long-term sister Myriam Francoise Marie Noelle Isaac left her body at the age of 76 due to cancer at her house in Sincerity, surrounded by her children.

Myriam, who was born in France but carried the Swiss nationality, arrived in 1970 at Aspiration at the age of 27 with her little son Pascal, now Gopal. She’s one of those olden-days stalwarts of Auroville who has been always here, working in the background, totally dedicated to the Mother, in a quiet, modest and steady way. Starting off in Aspiration, she worked as a nurse with Dr Sen at the Auroville Health Center that was just starting off. She also was active as Auroville’s midwife and delivered many of our babies at home to be later joined by Hilde. At the same time, she was actively involved in Fraternity’s activities with the villagers living there. By 1977 Myriam was living at the Matrimandir workers’ camp, where she gave birth to little Prema. Three years later Kartik was born. Throughout the eighties she continued her involvement in various village related activities, participated in the community meetings and decisions of that time, and was one of the first ones to work in the Free Store at Bharat Nivas, where she also was active in the then Auroville Community Kitchen there.

Myriam took over the boutique from Claude while it was still at Bharat Nivas and then, since the very onset of the Visitors’ Centre in 1991, she maintained the new Auroville Boutique at the VC from where most of us will remember her. Due to her conscientious and capable management, and deeply concerned care for her staff, she soon became executive, while also functioning as one of the trustees of Artisana Trust.

Having remained at the viewing room for several days, Myriam’s remains were buried at Auroville’s burial grounds in the afternoon of Friday 31 May, with many old-timer friends, acquaintances and family members attending the quiet, serene and very Aurovilian moment of farewell.

Thank you, dear Myriam, for having actually continually lived and worked with us during all those years. Your unobtrusive, soft spoken and sweet manner will not be forgotten, and our prayers accompany you on the way to the Light.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Gopal, Prema and Kartik, and little grandson Liam.

Boris Mabilat

Boris with his son Silas

Boris Mabilat left his body in Paris on 12th. He was 45 years old.

Boris came to Auroville in 1975 at age of 1 with his parents Samata and Cristo. He founded the community Reve where he had a mechanic workshop, taught many young people mechanics and in later years started Rève Guest House. His son Silas was born in Auroville in 2002.

On New Year 2001/2002, a small conflict resulted into a big tragedy. Boris was wrongly accused alongside two young Aurovilians. All three had to leave the country on a Leave India notice in 2005.

Boris found refuge in Paris with his partner Marjorine and his son Silas.

In 2008, the High Court Chennai declared the 3 boys innocent. But Boris was able to return only once, in 2010, on a Tourist Visa. His attempts in later years to return to Auroville to visit his family but his visa was always refused without explanation. It was an irony of fate that when his return to India was finally approved at the highest level, Boris passed away.

Joan Ma

Zackaria

Zack was born in Egypt and had a materially privileged, though lonely, upbringing at a time when Islam was more tolerant, open-minded and progressive.  At a young age he discovered the joy of reading all kinds of literature in his father’s marvelous library and the world of books became his refuge and later his life’s calling pursued through academic studies.
During the tumultuous times ​following ​the revolution in Egypt​ in the 1950’s, after his family lost most of their possessions and his father died, Zack put all of his efforts into his academic studies hoping to win a scholarship to study abroad.  At the age of 20 he realized this dream and found himself doing post-graduate work in Germany. There he became acquainted with Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga through a German compilation, “Der Integrale Yoga” and felt these inspired words filling a void that all his intellectual pursuits had not been able to.
A profound turning point came when halfway through his doctoral program he fell into a severely debilitating depression where life had no more purpose.  At a crucial moment of despair he remembered the Integral Yoga book and gazed at Sri Aurobindo’s photo which shifted something deep within, leading slowly but surely out of the depression and into the beginnings of his spiritual life.   In Germany he met and married his wife, a fellow scholarship holder, but soon found an insurmountable conflict growing between his outer married life and inner spiritual life.  Though his wife was sympathetic and they continued the marriage for 30 years, moving from Germany to Cairo, to the U.S., in the end they parted as dear and respected friends and Zack was free to pursue his sadhana unencumbered.  This led him to Auroville, back to the U.S., to Switzerland, back to Cairo, changing life paths, careers and relationships, still finding the challenge of the outer circumstances at odds with the inner ideal.
Finally at the end of a short visit to Auroville 10 years ago, he received the Adesh, the inner command (and in this case also the outer command) of what he ultimately understood to be a kind of fulfillment of his life’s purpose:  to translate Sri Aurobindo and Mother’s works into Arabic.  In 2008, Zack returned to the Lodi Ashram and devoted half his time to Ashram work and half to his translation work and to the development of his website which served as a vehicle of outreach into the Arab and Islamic world, to allow some Light of Sri Aurobindo’s teachings to penetrate into the chaos and barbarism of fundamentalism that is raging there.  The translation work continued to expand with the publication of 3 books and numerous essays and articles.  He continued to grapple with ways to reach the Islamic psyche in a non-threatening way, inviting Muslim readers to perceive the possibility of a spirituality that grows naturally out of the Islamic faith into a wider Light.
In Zack’s words, “The reason I have left Egypt to spend my remaining years in an ashram dedicated to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is that I find this ashram to be, for me, the most suitable place to deepen, in and around myself, that solid peace… the peace on which, in the long run, a divine life can be established on earth”.

 

Below are links to Zack’s various writings, many autobiographical.  Hope you may enjoy reading through–it is quite a legacy and testament to this unique and beloved child of the Mother.  Plans are underway to keep Zack’s website alive and well in perpetuity so that his work may continue to inspire those in the Arab world and elsewhere.

Website: sriaurobindo-inarabic.com

Translated books:

Luciano

 

Somewhere in the mid-nineties, Luciano joined the team in Annapurna and has worked with them ever since, taking care of the farm’s daily deliveries of milk and cheese, transporting Tomas’s daughter Usha to and from school in Auroville, and passionately studying Tamil in Auroville’s library in between. When he moved in 2011 to Realization, Usha could join him in his flat for her further studies, and will deeply miss her second father.

Due to his illness, Luciano went back to Italy in 2014 where he was hospitalised and now passed away.