News & Notes 760:Big Piet
On 14 August our long-term Dutch friend and brother Pieter van der Molen (‘Big Piet’ for us all) passed away at the age of 75 in his home in Holland.
Pieter, who in the sixties was the top judo trainee of the then world champion judo Anton Geesink, had during a judo demonstration session a profound inner experience which left him in shock and in search for answers. Finding a work by Sri Aurobindo, and hearing about Auroville, he completely changed his life and came to Auroville in 1970.
Starting out in Aspiration, from where he transported goods and people to and from Pondy, he soon moved to Kottakarai where he started a fruit orchard, ‘Angiras Garden’, along with Judith. The couple had three children, Angiras, Bhima and Aurama. At the time Piet started working with villagers, making leather bags.
In the eighties, Piet managed Abri workshop, repairing water pumps and motorcycles, and moved to Centre Field where he made paper lanterns with young villagers. His passion for the increasing birdlife in Auroville was remarkable; he painstakingly documented the growth of the handful of bird species in the early days into the 100+ different varieties of now and was often in contact with Salim Ali about the same.
Piet left in 1989, but has always kept contact with Auroville and a deep connection with Mother and Sri Aurobindo. He will be missed by his children Emanuel, Angiras, Bhima and Aurama and his grandchildren with whom he developed close contact, as well as by his close family in Auroville, Holland, Canada and Sweden.
Auroville fondly remembers this bear of a man with a golden heart.