Anie Nunnally: In Memoriam by Julian Lines

Dear Friends,

Anie Nunnally, President of the Board of East-West Cultural Center, author of The Golden Path and a sincere follower of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, left her body on 25 April 2017 at the age of eighty.

An obituary of the late Anie Nunnally penned by Mr. Julian Lines has been published in the website of Overman Foundation along with some of her photographs.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee

Founder,

Overman Foundation.

*

Anie Nunnally passed at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Nursing home at 11:30 pm April 25th at the age of 80. Anie was from Hattiesburg, Mississippi and kept some of her Southern accent and charm until the end.

Her inclination toward music and spirituality started early in life. Initiated in music by her mother, an accomplished piano player, Anie started to sing at an early age and by the time she was two and a half years old she was able to sing thirty songs.

As a teen, Anie had her first spiritual awakening through music:

“I remember one of the first times that I was listening to a piece of classical music when I was about 14 (by this time I was in boarding school and singing in the choir and performing in school musicals). I had the experience of an awakening in the center of my chest.  Something inside me soared upwards with the music and it was a sensation that I had never experienced before. It was like a bird had flown out of the center of my being. It was, of course, an awakening in my psychic being to the beauty of the music. So, music had become my way to inner openings and a sense of the higher vital had been experienced.”

Her career in music blossomed when she came to New York City. She was an understudy and played one of the nuns in the first Broadway production of the “Sound of Music” and was also in the national touring company with Florence Henderson. She had numerous good friends in show business including Tom and Dick Smothers. Richard Rogers called her the “Fiat (sportscar) with the Big Horn”, because even with her diminutive size, she could project her strong soprano voice.

But she also had an inner call:

“After a serious auto accident in December of 1962, I had a profound experience of the Mother who had brought me back from the portals of death. I had a concussion and went into shock. My head injuries required 30 stitches. Mother assured me there would be no scars.

This inner contact led to many spiritual experiences and letters to the Mother for guidance on my path. My experience with Her opened all my chakras and everything in my centers of energy within, started to spin like wheels. From that moment, I knew that I wanted to live in the Ashram and around her Presence.”

Anie came to Pondicherry in 1968 with her husband, Narad (Richard Eggenberger), and had Mother’s Darshan. She spent four years in India and subsequently led a life of service to the Ashram and Auroville back in the U.S.

Anie was close to Jyotipriya (Dr. Judith Tyberg) founder of the East West Cultural Center (EWCC) in Los Angeles, as well as Sam Spanier and Eric Hughes, who founded Matagiri Sri Aurobindo Center in Mount Tremper, NY. She helped at the Sri Aurobindo International Center in Manhattan and lived with Scott (Lalit) Fullman in the apartment across the hall. Anie also served as the first Board Member of the Foundation for World Education after the passing of founder Eleanor Montgomery.

She taught music in New York City, Woodstock (where she also sang in the choir) and Los Angeles and had very warm relationships with her many students. One of her Woodstock students, Cara Cruickshank, writes:

Anie was one of my first artistic mentors and remained one throughout my childhood and early adolescence. She was devoted, empowering and always accessible. Singing and music lessons with her in Woodstock were always fun and joyful. I am honored to have had our connection which has remained into my adulthood. Anie always stayed in contact, with deep interest in my artistic life. She was a mentor who could see both my spirit and potential and appreciatively articulate it with great clarity. No matter which path my artistic career has taken, she has always been interested and supportive. I remember receiving a gift from Anie when I was a young girl: a small bag of blessed soil from Auroville. Recently, she connected me with one of her closest artistic friends and students where I live in Paris, who is connected with both the Auroville and Los Angeles community. This has allowed me to feel closer to Anie, even at a distance, and now will allow her presence and legacy in my life to continue in a meaningful way. Her spirituality was so evidently important to her and was often expressed in her warm generosity of spirit.

Anie moved back to Los Angeles and had a close relationship with fellow devotee, Stuart Schoen. After his passing, she returned to her native Hattiesburg. She was invited to return to California to become the resident director and President of the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles (former EWCC). She developed a deep friendship with Michael Spector, whose healing work was helpful to her in her later years.

In 1999 Anie had returned to the Ashram to interview disciples who had been close to Mother. After receiving a positive response to the publication of these interviews in the U.S, she returned to create a collection of twelve published as The Golden Path.

Two years ago, she and her friend decided to move to Pondicherry, living on Candapa Muldiar Street. Since her return, she started work on a follow-up volume of interviews when her kidney failure produced a series of strokes. She recovered from the first two setbacks and most recently visited Auroville in mid-February, 2017 for a concert of flute and poetry by Gordon and Jeanne Korstange at Savitri Bhavan.

A few days later she had a more severe stroke limiting her speech and movement on her left side. Anie still rallied enough to speak with visitors. Vikas, a good friend from the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles, found her whole demeanor inspiring and felt a profound Grace was protecting her from what should have been a very painful process. Friends from the US and France contributed to a fund for her hospital stay and dialysis supplies and sent supporting messages faithfully conveyed by Michael. Dr. Dutta kindly brought her into the Ashram Nursing Home for her final weeks.

Michael reflected, “It was a great adventure for us starting at the Sri Aurobindo center in LA and moving after three years to Pondy. Anie knew it was time and planned happily to return to India into the Mother’s arms. She was all grace, charm, beauty along with childlike stubbornness, a solid sense of responsibility and a touchingly profound devotion to all that is good and uplifting. We were brought closely together by the wondrous spirit of music and art …so much of it!!!

We sang and danced and meditated and shared these last years with joyous laughter and ever deepening communion with Sri Aurobindo and Mother.”

*

About the Author: Julian Lines has been involved with many activities and organizations related to the Integral Yoga, and has organized AUM conferences in the past. He first visited Auroville in 1974 and has been involved with the community ever since. serves on the Matagiri Board Sri Aurobindo Center in Mount Tremper, New York as well as that of Auroville International USA, the Nakashima Foundation for Peace and is also on Auroville’s International Advisory Council. He is Executive Director of Auroville International.

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Anie with A.B. Purani, Richard Eggenberger, Kailas Jhaveri and Eleanor Montgomery at New York.

Anie on 18 December 1968 in Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

Anie with Prof. Arabinda Basu

Anie with Udar and Mona Pinto in Pondicherry

Anie with Jhumur Bhattacharya

Anie with Amrit and Richard Pearson

Anie with Jyotipriya

Anie with Dimitri von Mohrenschildt, Rene Fulop Muller and family

Anie at At Matagiri with Sam, Eric, Kevin Nakashima, Rusty Selhorst, George Nakashima, Joe Spanier and Muriel Spanier.

Anie with Julian Lines

Anie with June

Anie with Nick and Lois Duncan

Anie with Tom, June, Rudy, Julian, Tine and Larry in Aptos

Anie with Fanou, Mary, Binah, Gordon, Jack, Jeanne and Bryan in Taos

Anie with Wendy Lines, Eric Hughes, Julian Lines and Rudy

Anie at Lodi with Dakshina, Rohini, Lynda, Angelo and Bahmin

Anie with Wendy

Anie with Verne

Anie with Verne

Anie with Michael

*

27 thoughts on “Anie Nunnally: In Memoriam by Julian Lines

  1. Anie became a very close friend of mine shortly after she and Narad arrived in Auroville in ’68. It was one of those spontaneous rapports that endured until she got a calling to leave Pondicherry to return to the US. Our friendship even survived my failing to turn up at her place as an invited guest for dinner, 3 times in a row… I lost touch with her after that, but did meet her once more in an AVI meeting in the Santa Cruz, CA hills. She seemed then to have moved into a sphere that I could no longer connect to, and sadly I never made an effort to bring us back to a place where the friendship could blossom once more… and now it is too late. May you rest in peace Anie, with Mother by your side.

  2. Knowing Anie was such a delight! Somehow like a rare and colorful bird, she would hop from one thing to another. Happy hearted and so open. But even her voice changed when she spoke of Mother in a hushed and reverent tone, as though She herself was suddenly present. And indeed, for some of us; She was.

  3. Anie, Your fiery spirit and devotion will always be with us. I feel how you are being being cradled in ‘Their’ arms.

  4. I feel myself expanded in reading the narratives on Anie Nunnally, President of the Board of East-West Cultural Center, author of The Golden Path and a sincere follower of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. She departed at the age of 80. My sincere prayers are for her as she carried forward Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s work at Auroville.

    I appreciate if I could have a copy of the book, “The Golden Path.” Regards, Naba Krishna Muni, Dhaka, Bangladesh

  5. Thank you for sharing. I came to LA and thought I will be able to meet her, she was in Pondy, and then went further away.

  6. Oh Anie!!! I wish I could see her, talk to her!!! Tears… beautiful photo!! You have so many.

  7. Narad alias Richard Eggenberger writes about Anie Nunnally’s photograph with Nick and Lois Duncan:
    “My photo of Anie with Nick and Lois Duncan, circa 1962 was taken at their ranch in Sedona where they founded a Sri Aurobindo Center. It was for me the most beautiful place for a center with vast pastures and black faced sheep, views of the great red rocks and a stream where the stone was so smooth that one could slide down the river for a long stretch. The Center is no longer there with the passing of Nick and Lois but the property was donated by the family and is now a State Part.”

  8. What a beautiful pic! You have so many pics, & it’s comforting to see them. Thank you for finding them & sharing!

    1. René Fülöp-Miller, one of the great men I had had the privilege to know. He taught at Hunter College in Manhattan and I attended some of his classes. He had no degree, no teaching credentials and yet was in such great demand that Hunter asked him to teach – and his classes were always packed!

      1. In actuality René Fülöp-Miller (Pseudonym: Philipp Jakob Müller) studied chemistry and pharmacy at the university in Vienna, 1908. He continued those studies at the University of Berlin and Paris and concluded them at the Lausanne University, Switzerland. One of his most famous quotes: “The ‘Happy Ending’, which seems to correspond specifically to the psychological hygiene of America where it is still sacrosanct to this day, and serves with humility towards the American religion of Optimism, and by that conforms with its exalted expectation of the universal mass happiness”.

  9. I remember Anie talking about George Nakashima. Last summer I saw a large table made by him in a gallery in Hudson, NY. It was for sale for a gazillion dollars!! I told Anie about this. Nice again to see your pics.

  10. Anie’s Letter and Mother’s Reply

    Narad,

    Here is a copy of a dream experience during my days at eh Nursery. It was sent to Mother and I have also enclosed Her response.

    Her answer certainly seems to underscore the importance of the work of the Nursery and Gardens.

    Those Trees and plants now surrounding the Matrimandir stand as living symbols of all the love, consciousness and care that went into the planting of those initial seedlings by the early pioneers of Auroville. AS I see it, they imbibe the Very Force and Presence of the Mother.

    In Her Light,
    Anie

    1971 (A year before Mother gave me the name, Narad)

    My Dearest Richard,

    I have just had the most wonderful dream about you which I shall record and try to send to you by Ramachandra before I see you in the afternoon.

    You and I and some other people (I don’t remember anyone in particular, although it seems that Mr. Chandler was present) were walking about what seems to have been a campus. We were standing in front of a very large structure which appeared to be that of St. Paul’s School in England where Sri Aurobindo studied. (I had seen a picture of the school before going to sleep as I am again reading Life of Sri Aurobindo). Forming a pinnacle around the top of the school were some tree to which appeared to have no trunks or roots in the earth.

    Suddenly with a great burst of energy you said “I must get them for my teacher”. With this you began to scale the wall of the school, by rope, with a pair of pruning clippers. All were aghast, but suddenly the branches began to fall and we could see you in the top pruning away.

    When we went to see the branches there were all golden and shimmering. When you came down we were all rejoicing and there was much happiness and joy in the atmosphere. You said, “Now we can transplant them in the earth”.

    Afterwards we all began to walk about among the most beautiful plants and flowers I have ever seen, but nothing I could clearly identify. The dream ended here.

    I felt so good, as I work up immediately after the dream. It seems to have been more like an experience than a dream.

    With love in Their Light.
    Anne

    Mother’s handwritten reply

    It is not quite a dream, and it is a very good indication about the work you are doing.

    I hope Richard will recover soon.

    The packet enclosed is for him.

    With love and blessings
    Mother

    It was only two years ago that I recounted this dream to Vladimir at Savitri Bhavan.
    After a moment he quoted this line from Savitri: “ A branch of heaven transplant to human soil”.

    Narad

  11. After Anie arrived in the Ashram she invited me to visit her. The flat she and Mikhail were renting was the most beautiful I had seen in Pondicherry, befitting her love of beauty. I can tell you that the Presence of the Mother was very strong and Anie was happier than I had seen her since I visited her at the Sri Aurobindo Center in Los Angeles. Mikhail was not well but he was a great support to her and she told me of all his care.

    We agreed that I would do a series of video interviews of her life and work to post on our website, http://www.motherandsriaurobindo.in and my YouTube site, Richard Eggenberger, so many more aspiring souls could see the life of a true disciple who had given herself to Their service.

    Soon after Anie had the first stroke and then I was fortunate to see her three times in the hospital, in the ICU and later in a room. Gary had given me a small MP3 player so she could listen to music. I uploaded many choral works of exceeding beauty and brought it to her. I am not certain whether she had listened to any of the works as her condition worsened.

    The interviews never took place and I had to leave for the U.S. Shortly after my arrival in Mother’s Garden I heard from Aurelio and Julian of her passing. For years I prayed for her soul every day and now she is with Mother and will come again in a new body to help in Mother’s work on earth.

    Narad

  12. Though I know after all it is the Mother’s wish, I can’t stop saying – Oh what wonderful interviews they would have been! Pray to you Dear Mother , please enable Narad to make up for it by writing a book on this Blessed Child of yours Anie !

  13. Dear Mother ,also pray to you to give time, energy and all the means required to Narad and your Grace to enable him to complete interviews of all the true children of Yours like Annie which are still pending to be done

  14. Dear Narad, when I last spoke to her, she told me you wanted to interview her and that she was happy and honored.

  15. Thanks for posting all the wonderful photos, Narad. Earl and I didn’t meet Anie until a few years ago. She told us a lot of her history but it’s great seeing it documented. We plan to attend the memorial service for her in Culver City on May 21.

  16. It was such a delight meeting Anie at the EWCC in LA way back in 2010 and 2011. In our multiple visits to the center, she was always welcoming and played a perfect host. She shared with us her experiences in Pondicherry and also in Auroville and how beautiful her life in India was. We used to read Savitri together and she used to share her anecdotes from the experiences and her book. We also had the previlege to visit the library and sit in the hall and have some snacks she had to offer. May her soul rest in peace. She is now united with the soul of our Divine Mother whom she adored all her life. It is a moment to celebrate and cherish her great life and relive the wonderful memories we had with Anie Nunnally.

  17. Ma

    This one sentence captured my thought that she was happy knowing that Naradaji is going to take her interview.

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