Dear Friends and Well-wishers,
The eighth “Auro-Ratna Award” ceremony was organized on Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at Van Niwas, the Himalayan retreat centre of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch. In this ceremony, Ms. Tara Jauhar, Chairperson, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch, was presented with the “Auro-Ratna Award” for her invaluable contribution in the Aurobindonian movement.
The award ceremony began at 9 a.m. and was attended by the members of Van Niwas and the participants of “Sourcing Our Oneness”.
Mr. Anurag Banerjee, Founder of Overman Foundation, briefly spoke about the history and objectives of the “Auro-Ratna Award” and said that Ms. Tara Jauhar required no formal introduction before the Aurobindonian community for introducing her would be like introducing the Sun to earthen lamps. He further added that the achievements of Ms. Tara Jauhar were undoubtedly great but his experiences with her revealed that she, as a person, was greater than her achievements and it was a privilege to present the “Auro-Ratna Award” named after Sri Aurobindo, to her.
Mr. Banerjee then read out four messages sent by Dr. Prema Nandakumar, Dr. Alok Pandey, Ms. Shraddhavan (of Savitri Bhavan, Auroville) and Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee for Ms. Tara Jauhar. The first message which was read out was from Dr. Prema Nandakumar:
I am delighted that the Overman Foundation is honouring Taradi with the Auro-Ratna Award. I have known her for half a century and have learnt much from her to be self-reliant and so on. Whenever I see Tara briskly walking in the Delhi Ashram, the Sanskrit term, ‘Dhriti’ springs to my mind, for Determination to do good and do the right thing and take up new areas for service are her badges. From the day when I met her first in the Pondicherry Ashram when she was explaining the new features and workings of the recent addition, a grand German typewriter, she remains the same: always speaking to the point. It is amazing how she has succeeded in making our Chachaji Sri Surendranath Jauhar’s aspirations come true for we have a Golden Ashram now, indeed, a Rose of God. I wish the function all success. Kindly convey my regards to Tara and rest of the Ashram family.
The next message that was read out was sent by Dr. Alok Pandey:
“A felicitation note on Tara-di
‘Normally, I do not indulge in eulogies for any sadhaka, either living or one who has passed away. For whatever one has been in one’s life and whatever one still has to be is nothing else but the Grace and Glory of the Divine Mother. And there is so much more that is yet to come for all who have turned to Her. The accomplishments of today are but nothing compared much more that is yet to come. I am sure someone of her stature needs neither any award nor approval of human beings who can hardly see below the surfaces of life. Still it is good sometimes to share our moments with lives that are inspiring and who can deny that Tara didi’s life is indeed and inspiration for many who are still to come. It is in this spirit and also this thought that when we admire someone it is the Divine workings within the person that we truly admire, the Presence without which we are but dust. Having said that, one must admit that it is not easy to speak about the life of someone who has not only achieved so much in a short span of time but more importantly continues to forge ahead in thought and action, vision and work even at the present bodily age. It seems with Tara di, that Time has stopped and age has no meaning. At least they do not create any barriers to the wonderful work she has been engaged in for decades. And what a work, one must say! One is only reminded of this line from Savitri:
A conscious power has drawn the plan of life,
There is a meaning in each curve and line.
It is an architecture high and grand
By many named and nameless masons built
In which unseeing hands obey the Unseen,
And of its master-builders she is one.
‘Indeed, as Nolini-da remarked that the greatness of the Great is the greatness of the Divine Energy in them. This applies perfectly with regard to Tara-di. How she was handpicked by the Mother, trained personally under Her Wings of Glory and Love is all there in her beautiful book, ‘Growing up with the Mother.’ But what may not be so evident is how the Mother continues to pour Her Love and Grace into this beautifully open and receptive, strong and powerful channel except for those who had the privilege of observing her at close quarters.
‘I had heard of Tara-di years before meeting her. Those from whom I had heard about her were full of awe and hence there arose in me a natural curiosity to meet her sometime if the Mother so Wills. My wish was fulfilled in the mid-nineties when I was posted to Delhi. But what a contrast to the awe-inspiring image I had formed in my mind of a typical sadhika who would be wearing some sort of white sari and for whom smiling would be almost a blasphemy. Here was someone who could be so warm and friendly, so unassuming, not just smiling but also laughing with the carefree laughter given to those who love Her and serve Her with joy in their heart. Even though she was then the sole Trustee of such a big Ashram with its many-sided activities yet Sri Aurobindo’s line that describes the superman suited her very aptly:
‘To evolve in the sense of the God is to grow in intuition, in light, in joy, in love, in happy mastery; to serve by rule and to rule by service; to be able to be bold and swift and even violent without hurt or wickedness and mild and kindly and even self-indulgent without laxity or vice or weakness; to make a bright and happy whole in oneself and, by sympathy, with mankind and all creatures.’
‘At least such was my first impression of hers and an impression which has justified itself over years of knowing her. I am quite sure that what works in her is some power and aspect of the Divine Mother and I suspect that Tara-di is quite conscious of the Godhead who moves her. But let me not spill all the beans. To put it more modestly, I can say that among all the karma yogis that I have met none has impressed me as much as Tara-di. Of course we all know that Sri Aurobindo’s Path is not just a yoga of Works but a grand synthesis, an integral yoga so to say. But there is no doubt a predominant streak of nature, a soul-temperament, a soul-poise that leads the journey. In Tara-di, it is no doubt the Madonna of Might who leads the way and makes the works that flow through her so grand and powerful and yet done with such natural ease and grace. In her dealings with people we can see both, a strong and powerful side that can shake someone to the core, especially if the person has come wearing masks of deception. On the other hand there is such a sweet and generous side that can go out of the way in her care for those whom she is so moved to do so. A resolute will and a plasticity that keeps the eyes fixed on only one thing, — the Work to be done and leaves the rest to adapt with the flow of Time is a rare combination and she is indeed blessed to have this. Of course we all know it is Her Grace and Tara-di’s beauty is that she has never forgotten this central thing. For without this humility before the Divine one’s greatness becomes arrogance and all one’s capacities slowly dwindle off. But in her case as we all can witness there is a constant growth. She would never hesitate to take up a work or project of the Mother and if she finds someone who can execute it well, then all the rest does not matter for her. What he is in his personal life and what are his antecedents etc are all secondary. All that is important is his or her ability to serve the Mother and fulfill Her vision. This single-pointedness towards her aim is something I have personally seen in Tara-di and been truly inspired and impressed by it.
‘In the end what really matters? The worth of a man is not measured by the size of his shoe but by the stature of his soul. And her soul is strong and erect, ever ready and willing and happy to serve Her from whom She has emerged and for whom She is born. Of course I have shared mainly what I have felt about her beautiful soul. But as is the case with Her Vibhutis, her nature too has many beautiful sides. A remarkable photographer, a sportsperson and one known for her powerful voice reciting Sri Aurobindo’s poems, Tara-di has an intellectual side that she often tends to deliberately hide. Few may be aware that most of the questions that we find in the Mother’s Questions and Answers during Her evening classes were asked by her. In fact she thus became a receptive instrument for so many of us in receiving the Mother’s answers through her. Perhaps it is still very much so and we can take it that many of the things she says spontaneously and intuitively are simply inspired by Her and reaching out to many more who need guidance in life. Her tremendous work at the Delhi and Nainital as well as Madhuban Ashram is for all to see. That she is born to the illustrious family of Shri Surendranath Jauhar is an additional feather in her cap.
‘I am sure her being, as of anyone who has been touched by Her Grace, holds in the casket of her heart many more gems and jewels than we can fathom. After all the Mother chose her and therein lies her greatest reward and satisfaction, such as that no other earthly gift or recognition can bring. To honour her is in a way to honour the Mother whose precious gift and work of Art Tara-didi is. I am sure she has many more things to do and many more works to accomplish, ‘miles to go before I sleep’, as the poet put it. We can only pray and wish that she remains healthy and strong so that she can serve Her more and more, better and better, for that alone is the true worth of her life and of ours. I am sure the Mother has heard our prayers and of many more who have been touched by Her Grace through Tara-di.’
The next message was from Ms. Shraddhavan of Savitri Bhavan, Auroville:
‘Tara Jauhar is indeed a shining star in Sri Aurobindo’s Galaxy! The award and the recognition which are being bestowed on her today are richly deserved.
‘I have heard and known of Tara as a very special child of our Sweet Mother since my earliest days in Auroville, perhaps first from her book about how the Mother taught French to the children of the Ashram School.
‘I first met her face to face in February 1982, when I had to be in Delhi for several weeks on Auroville work and enjoyed the privilege of staying in the Ashram and participating in some of the activities there.
‘The following year, in May 1983, I was able to join one the Himalayan treks which were regularly organized by her in those days. A friend had advised me to join, promising me that it would be a life-changing experience, which indeed it proved to be.
‘In October 1984 Helmut and I stayed there for a few days on our way to Darjeeling. Then again in 1996 we were able to stay in the Delhi Ashram twice when travelling to Europe and then again on our homeward journey. We were impressed to see how much development had taken place in the Ashram compound and activities since our visits in the early 1980s — all evidently due to Tara’s leadership and guidance.
‘After that airline routes seem to have altered, and our commitments in Auroville have prevented us from visiting Delhi and the Himalayas again; so we have not been able to witness personally the spectacular blossoming that has occurred in the Delhi Ashram over the last twenty-one years, and all the work being done there, which can be seen from their valuable and fascinating website.
But I remember clearly Tara’s cordiality, her wisdom, her skill in dealing with people of all ages from young children to elders, her astonishing energy, and her great organizational capacities. These qualities have surely come to her as the fruit of her years spent under the direct influence and guidance of the Mother, who encouraged her adventurous spirit and was always with her, even when she was trekking through the snow in the Himalayas.
‘She has under her care not only the Delhi Ashram Campus and all the activities which have expanded so spectacularly our last visit, but also the Centres at Nainital and Madhuban, all flourishing and spreading the Light and Love of the Mother and the Master. Thousands of people must have been touched and illumined by the rays of their influence through her work. Long may she continue her dedicated service to Them!’
The next message was a poem titled ‘Tara’ which was written and sent by Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee, famous author and grandson of the illustrious revolutionary Jatindranath Mukherjee alias Bagha Jatin:
On hearing Georges Brassens sing the dirge
Of a lonely white steed
Heedless of rain or fog, on the verge
Of despair, it takes the lead,
I fondly ask him, “Mr Brassens,
Can you not invent at the end
Rather another glorious suspense
On which we may depend
For welcoming Tara to the select board
Of Auroratna, hailing once for all
The conquering image of Chandi with her sword,
In the midst of a rejoicing yell?”
While diamond and gold can be measured in carat,
Compassion is making you measureless, Tara!
After the messages were read out, the “Auro-Ratna Award” was presented to Ms. Tara Jauhar. Dr. Anju Khanna, In-charge, Madhuban, (another Himalayan retreat centre run by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch) presented Ms. Jauhar with the angavasram. Mrs. Jayanthy Ramachandran (Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi Branch) and Mr. Nalin Dholakia (In-charge, Van Niwas) presented Ms. Jauhar with the certificate and trophy of “Auro-Ratna Award” respectively. The cash reward was presented to Ms. Jauhar on behalf of Overman Foundation by Jaya Jorel Berggreen-Clausen (Unity Pavilion, Auroville).
Ms. Tara Jauhar, in her inimitable style thanked everyone and remarked that since she did not complete her school, she did not have any certificates but now she can produce the “Auro-Ratna Award” certificate.
The ceremony ended with a note of thanks after which Ms. Tara Jauhar presented to everyone small pieces of a carpet used by the Mother.
To view the video of the eighth “Auro-Ratna Award” ceremony, kindly click on the following links:
With warm regards,
Message for Ms. Tara Jauhar from Ms. Suprabha Nahar, one of the seniormost inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry:
I am glad to note about your conferring “Auro-Ratna Award” to Tara. This will be another feather in her cap.
‘As she is much younger to me I really did not know much about her except that since very young she was an able group captain.
‘Later when I heard about the developments she was bringing about in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch, I was really happy to see her thinking big and developing the places beautifully & efficiently. She is a very talented organizer.
‘In spite of her position there, she was always sweet and warm towards me. I am really glad that your award is going to a very deserving person.