The Passing of Dr. Kireet Joshi

kireet joshi

Dear Friends,

With the demise of Dr. Kireet Joshi on Sunday, 14 September 2014, at 5 a.m. the Aurobindonian firmament has lost one of its brightest stars. Born on 10 August 1931, he studied philosophy and law at the Elphinstone College under the University of Bombay. In 1952 at the suggestion of Prof. Chubb he met K.D. Sethna alias Amal Kiran at Bombay at the latter’s residence. The interview with Amal Kiran which lasted for more than an hour made young Kireet Joshi feel ‘greatly widened’ and ‘deeply happy’ (to quote his own words) and he began to regard Amal Kiran as his first teacher in regards to the teaching of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

In 1953 Kireet Joshi was awarded a gold medal and the Vedanta Prize for topping the Master of Arts examination. In 1955 he was selected for the I.A.S. and in the following year he was posted as Assistant Collector of Surat. However, in November 1956 he resigned from his services to join Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry as an inmate. In 1958 he was made the first Registrar of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education where he taught philosophy and psychology to the students of the Higher Course. Under the guidance of the Mother, he took part in several educational experiments which included the Free Progress System. He authored educational materials based on Sri Aurobindo’s The Ideal of Human Unity and The Human Cycle and conducted studies on The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga as well. To share the results of his extensive research on a larger scale, he had organized numerous seminars and symposiums. It was also due to his efforts that Sri Aurobindo Ashram was recognized as a Research Institution by the Government of India and exemptions under Sections 35 (i) and (ii) were provided to it.

1976 was a significant year in the life of Kireet Joshi. A greater Call came to him from the outside world in the form of an invitation from Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, who, being well-aware of his competence in the field of education, made him the Educational Adviser in the Ministry of Education. In that very year, he was appointed Member-Secretary of the National Committee on Viswa Bharati under the Chairmanship of Dr. K.L. Shrimali. He not only redesigned and redrafted the Bill for Viswa Bharati University but also developed the ideas as well as the Bills of Pondicherry University and Indira Gandhi National Open University. Also in 1976 he was made a Member of the Central Advisory Board of Education, a post which he occupied till 1988. In 1976 he was elected as Vice-President of International Commission on Education at Geneva for a period of two years.

In 1981 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Secretary of Auroville International Advisory Council. He also played a pivotal role in the establishment of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Educational Research at Auroville. In 1999 he was appointed as the Chairman of Auroville Foundation, a post he occupied till 2004.

Also in 1981 Kireet Joshi was made a Member of the University Grants Commission, a post he adorned till 1990. During the tenure of his membership, he rendered outstanding contributions towards the development of new methodologies of education in the tertiary system. He conceptualized autonomous colleges and proposed several innovations with the view of providing cultural understanding and spiritual values through aesthetic studies and also promoted the concept of value-based system of management.

In 1982 Kireet Joshi was made the Member-Secretary of National Commission for Teachers (for school education) and National Commission for Teachers (for higher education). He played a significant role in the creation of Indian Council of Philosophical Research which was established to promote Indian philosophical traditions. For a number of years he served the organization as the Member-Secretary and from 2000 to 2006 he functioned as the Chairman of the said organization. He also developed Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratisthan and served as its Founder-Member and Secretary. From 1983 to 1989 he was a Member of the Executive Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies at Shimla. He represented India as a delegate in the conferences of UNESCO organized in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1985 and 1988, chaired the UNESCO Committee on International Education from 1983 to 1987 and was also the Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO Institute of Education (Hamburg) from 1986 to 1990.

In 1983 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Special Secretary to the Indian Government in the capacity of which he organized several programmes related to the various aspects of higher education, youth services, language development and UNESCO affairs. In 1987 he conceptualized the International Hindi University at Wardha to develop and promote studies in Hindi both at the national and international levels. As the Vice-Chairman of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan he guided the activities of the organization in the field of Sanskrit and also developed schemes for the promotion of Sanskrit studies in various Indian universities. Not only did he frame the constitutions of Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha at New Delhi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha at Tirupathi but also worked to provide the status of deemed universities to both the institutions. From 2006 to 2008 he was the Editorial Fellow of the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture.

In 2008 Kireet Joshi was appointed as the Educational Advisor to the Chief Minister of Gujarat and he adorned the post for two years. In 2009 he was appointed as the first Executive Chairman of the Gujarat Educational Innovations Commission.

Kireet Joshi was associated with The Mother’s Institute of Research from 1977 to 2001 as the Managing Trustee and had undertaken the task of translating the thirteen volumes of Mother’s Agenda into various regional Indian languages. He was also quite close to Satprem and Sujata Nahar. It was to Kireet Joshi that Satprem had sent a note in 2006 in which the latter had written: ‘Je suis arrivé au bout’ (‘I have reached the goal’).

As a pioneer in the field of value-based education, recognitions and awards poured on Kireet Joshi. In 1989 he received an award from the Indian Council for Child Education for his invaluable contribution in the field of child education. In that very year he received the National Citizen’s Award. In 1996 Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha conferred upon him the degree of D.Litt. In the following year he received the Sewa Ratna Award.

Kireet Joshi was also a prolific writer whose published works cover a vast variety of themes including education, Indian culture, philosophy, spirituality and integral yoga. His notable works include titles like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Sri Aurobindo and the Integral Yoga, The New Synthesis of Yoga, Varieties of Yogic Experience and Integral Realisation, Significance of Indian Yoga, Synthesis of Yoga in the Veda, Synthesis of Yoga in the Upanishads, The Gita and its Synthesis of Yoga, Integral Yoga: An Outline of Major Aims, Processes, Methods and Results, Integral Yoga of Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, Supermind in Integral Yoga, Integral Yoga and Evolutionary Mutation, Integral Yoga, Evolution and the Next Species, Bhagavadagita and Contemporary Crisis, A Philosophy of the Role of the Contemporary Teacher, A Philosophy of the Education for the Contemporary Youth, A Philosophy of the Evolution for the Contemporary Man, Philosophy and Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and Other Essays, Philosophy of Value Oriented Education: Theory and Practice, Philosophy of Supermind and Contemporary Crisis, Philosophy of Indian Art, On Materialism, Towards A New Social Order, The Veda and Indian Culture, Glimpses of Vedic Literature, Landmarks of Hinduism, The Portals of Vedic Knowledge, Indian Identity and Cultural Continuity, Education at Crossroads, A National Agenda for Education, Education for Tomorrow, Education for Character Development, Innovations in Education, Indian Pedagogy and Towards A New Curriculum to name a few.

A few years ago Kireet Joshi returned to Pondicherry where he stayed at ‘Care Nursing Home’. This home-coming did not imply that he retired; on the contrary, he continued to guide scholars on themes related to ‘Science and Spirituality’ and ‘Spiritual Education’. He was the living example of the Sanskrit shloka: vidya dadati vinayam. He was always approachable and he encouraged youngsters to work on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. The present author fondly recalls how he had taken an avid interest in the former’s booklet Sri Aurobindo on Ethics and had asked him to work on a monograph on Sri Aurobindo’s political life. Our organization Overman Foundation was privileged to honour Kireet Joshi with the ‘Auro-Ratna Award’ in August 2011.

Towards the end of his life, Kireet Joshi was diagnosed with throat cancer. A few days ago he was brought to the Ashram Nursing Home where he passed away on Sunday, 14 September 2014, at 5 a.m.

In his tribute to Kireet Joshi, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has written: “Saddened by demise of Kireet Joshi. He will be remembered as a fine scholar and educationist, devoted to the principles of Sri Aurobindo. As advisor to Gujarat CM, Kireet Bhai played a key role in setting up of Children’s University and Institute of Teacher Education.”

With the demise of Kireet Joshi the Aurobindonian community has lost the last among the Greats. The emptiness created by his death is irreparable.

With warm regards,
Anurag Banerjee
Overman Foundation.


1Kireet Joshi with Nolini Kanta Gupta, Udar Pinto, Sisir Kumar Mitra at “Knowledge”, the Higher Course of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education.

2Kireet Joshi with André Morisset (the Mother’s son), Udar Pinto, Sisir Kumar Mitra and Indira Gandhi on 12 December 1972.

3Kireet Joshi with Kalyan Chaudhuri, Prapatti, Udar Pinto, Nolini Kanta Gupta, André Morisset and Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala at the inauguration of “Sri Aurobindo’s Action” in July 1970.

4Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto.

5Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto, Prapatti and Babaji at the Orissa Centenary Conference.

6Kireet Joshi with Dr. Karan Singh and his wife, Udar Pinto, Charupada Bhattacharya, Nolini Kanta Gupta, Sisir Kumar Mitra and Arabinda Basu.

7Kireet Joshi with Udar Pinto and Indira Gandhi at the Dining Room of Sri Aurobindo Ashram on 17 February 1974.

8Kireet Joshi and Udar Pinto with Madam Jivkova, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Bulgaria.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Ratna Chakravarti at the second “Auro-Ratna Award” ceremony in August 2011.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi receiving the trophy of “Auro-Ratna Award” from Krishna Chakravarti and Prof. Kittu Reddy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi receiving the certificate of “Auro-Ratna Award” from Suprabha Nahar and Dr. Ananda Reddy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Jhumur Bhattacharya, the in-charge of “Knowledge”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Dr. Ananda Reddy and Raman Reddy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKireet Joshi with Anurag Banerjee.


16 Replies to “The Passing of Dr. Kireet Joshi

  1. it’s only Ma and Lord’s grace that has worked tremendously through a great but very humble instrument like Kireetbhai. i had the privilege to have his love when he was in Gujarat.

  2. In the passing away of ” dearly beloved Kireet Bhai ” not only the Ashram but India and the world have lost truly an iconic figure of boundless knowledge , limitless compassion and the singer of ” the Life Divine ” it is an irreparable loss of vast magnitude . He was truly a majestic exponent of this blue print of the divine life …He would go to any length to elucidate in his melliflous voice the complex conceptual knowledge issues ..He was gifted , as it were , with seeing intelligence ..which could instantly reach the core of the problem and resolve it ..He had phenomenal memory , understanding – rather over-standing of the supernal truths as enshrined in the Vedas , the Upanishads and the Geeta . Words are utterly inadequate to choreograph the many sided genius and the splendid life of ” dear Kireet Bhai ” based entirely on the Grace and Blessings of our Lord and the Divine Mother ..It was my fortunate privilege to be his student of the Life Divne where he had unveiled the mystery and mystique of this magnum opus . Let us salute this wondrous personality who dedicated his entire life cheerfully in the service of the humanity and Divinity .. Om Shanti .. Shanti .. Shanti .. “

  3. In Auroville we knew that Kireet, a renowned scholar and advisor to leading figures, had served in many important missions. There are no words to thank him for all that he has done for Auroville. But we will remember him as a most accessible person, over enthusiastic, always ready to listen and help.

    I was very close to Mohini Dadlani; she knew him since her university years and remained his pupil for life. Mohini had joined the Sri Aurobindo Ashram one year before Kireet; the Mother appointed her not only as Kireet’s secretary… but also as his cook, yet there was a problem… Mohini had to learn to cook to fulfil such task! She lived in the Golconde prototype, opposite to Ganesh Temple; the only man among ashramites ladies, Kireet was given a room in the same compound.

    When Kireet became Chairman of the Auroville Foundation, before his house in Auroville was built he used to stay in his old Pondy room. And it was at lunch time, in Mohini’s kitchen, that I used to meet him and discuss many Auroville related issues revolving around the theme of the ideal society; from humanistic education to the Auroville organization and its group soul, to individualisation by the psychic being as foundation for life in Auroville.

    The great scholar was so simple and unassuming that I felt conversing to an old friend… He had been repeatedly awarded by the Kanceepuram Shankaracarya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, my Advaita teacher; once Kireet returned from Kanceepuram… with prasad for me from the Sankaracarya! Happy like a child to show me the photographs of the ceremony at Shankar Mutt…

    He, the man who received honours and achieved so much, spent the last years of terrestrial existence in a tiny room, with scarce daylight, perfectly at ease in it as in a palace. I felt that by his serene humility he was silently teaching a tremendous lesson to all of us; living there content was the last gem of his serving the Mother till he breathed his last.

    Yes, the Avatar takes birth with his own people, they come and go together. One more of them has left us. We are even poorer, more downcast. Yet we must hold on, preparing the ground for the next golden batch.


  4. We remember him for his Love for Mother and Sri Aurobindo. A great
    scholar and lover of humanity has done good work for education and Auroville.

  5. In the early 1960s the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education began getting grants every year from the Ministry of Education. It was for that purpose that Kireet had to go to Delhi every year for 10 days or so. From Delhi he used to write to Mother daily and Mother would send a telegram every day with her love and blessings.

    From December 1973, Kireet, Tanmay and myself would meet the Mother on alternate day in the evening between 7 and 7.30 pm. In January 1973 Kireet returned from his usual trip to Delhi and came straight to the Mother’s room at about 7 pm. When he recounted to Mother that many senior officers in the Education Ministry were showing a lot of interest and openness to Sri Aurobindo’s concepts of education, Mother was very happy. Later during the same conversation She added: “Whenever you are called to assist Indira Gandhi for education you should respond positively and accept it”.

    This is the background of Kireet going to Delhi to work with Indira Gandhi after the Mother left Her body.

    Kittu Reddy


    1. “From December 1973, Kireet, Tanmay and myself would meet the Mother on alternate day in the evening between 7 and 7.30 pm.” I feel there must be a mistake in the month and year as the Mother passed away on 17th November 1973.

      1. You are right. I think Prof. Kittu Reddy meant “From December 1972” instead of “December 1973”. It was surely a slip from his pen.

  6. we are very thankfull to overman foundation for introducing us the genius and personality that shri keerit joshi possessed.
    Indeed we have lost the ambassador of the intregal Education.
    On the 20th . a function was organised to pay the hommage to shri keertbhai by the children s’ university , at Gndhinagar., guj.
    we simply offer our PRANAM to the departed soul.

  7. An illumined soul of the highest level, a RISHI of the modern times, an ardent devotee of the Divine Mother and Sri Aurobindo, an humble bureaucrat par excellence, an educationist to the core – all these adjectives fall short in profiling a towering personality that our Dear Uncle – KIREETKAKA was. I consider myself highly privileged to be born in his family. Being a friend, philosopher and guide to peoples of many countries, he was an international personality in true sense. Everyone who came in contact with him considers himself or herself to be very close to him. To fathom his life seems to be beyond my capacity…..and yet he was MY, NO OUR, LOVING KIREETKAKA, who always showed great concern for all of us in the family. Whenever we met him it seemed as if we were never away from him, and yet he was so detached. I fondly remember all the meetings we had at Pondicherry, at New Delhi and at various places where I attended his lectures and seminars. I bow down to that Divine Soul with great humility. May he guide us on the right path of our lives!

  8. YES…we know that his body is not with us now…

    BUT… his gentleness – sweetness – and love_ful smile are there with all those who have met him even once…

    AND…when they think back on him, they do see him in his body_form too…

    THUS…he continues to be with us even now…

    ” AU REVOIR ” Kireetbhai…….

  9. श्री किरीट जोशी जी जिनका के जन्मदिन है।आप जी भारत के पूर्ण अवतार(Perfect Person) एवं भारत के महारत्न थे।आप के द्वारा श्री अरविंद जी एवं श्री ओरोविल माँ की नैतिक शिक्षा व अध्यात्म क्रांति का विश्वात्मा बन कर विश्व में उदय किया।सांदीपिनी महाऋषि की शिक्षा को विश्व में रखा जिसके कारण 2013 में श्री कृष्ण जी का जन्म हुआ।आप जी 2006 में दे गए ‘I have reached the goal.’अर्थात हमने अपना लक्ष्य प्राप्त कर लिया है।जोकि 2014 में उनके विद्यार्थीश्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी के वर्तमान भारत के प्रधानमंत्री बनते ही समस्त विश्व को पता चल गया कि भारत ही विश्व का 21वी सदी में जगद्गुरु के रूप में नेतृत्व करेगा।जय श्री कृष्ण।जय श्री अरविंद जी।जय भारत।

  10. I express my regards, gratitude and pranam to all those who acted like gods and goddesses surrounding Prabhu Sri Aurobindo and The Mother for uplift of the mankind. Pranam Prabhu Pranam Maa.

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