News & Notes 631:Remembering Ramanathan…
In 1969 I saw Ramanathan with his family and aged parents staying in Rue Romain Rolland society guest House and working for the early Auroville as an engineer – young, energetic, full of zeal to serve in Mother’s dream city. Roger, Prem Malik and Ramanathan were the 3 indispensable members for planning and executing, especially for Auromodele and the Indian Pavilion at Bharat Nivas to which he gave his energies.
Their whole family members are devotees and talented in fine arts in their own way. His father was a very simple and devoted person, humble though talented. I remember he cried like a small child when the Divine Mother left her body. His mother, Meenakshi, if my memory is right is perhaps the first Tamil Aurovilian from other than the local population. I have learnt to make flower garlands and some simple Tamil verses for the children of Kuilapalayam in those days as she was contributing to Matrimandir. Once he proudly told me about his young son sitting in meditation for long time stretches.
I remember Roger‘s (somewhat outwardly desperate-looking call) “RAAAAM” at his Aurofuture office in Aspiration, rather with intolerance, and in our Ajit’s way of putting, “Chanting Ramanama gives him (Roger) peace?” Jocularly.
I had a feeling that personally and individually he very much liked to stay and share in Auroville’s life rather than in Pondicherry, but because of his other commitments and the living conditions here in those days even for the haves, he slowly settled in Pondicherry – but his heart was here.
He participated in village relations with a deep interest and he liked to improve their general living condition by providing water, healthcare, education and job opportunities and thereby allowing them to live in their own style with dignity. After his wife and parent’s demise I used to see him in Pondy, rarely in the Ashram. Mother has taken him to the other side for new assignments in this New Year. My prayer for this early Pioneer for a peaceful onward journey.
Om Namo Bhagavate.
From Syamala k.k.