Brief profiles of the readers are provided below in alphabetical order of their last names. Note that some readers may not have submitted profiles for inclusion.
Nilima Bhat is an ardent follower of the Integral Yoga and is committed to help spread its message and transform individuals, one life at a time. She is deeply grateful for the presence and grace of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in her life which she experiences daily as unfailing just-in-time guidance and protection. Her only aspiration is to be their worthy instrument.
Marian Cummins, of Panron Hill, Australia was introduced to Savitri, the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in the mid-90′s by Prem Sobel. She says: “I now like to start reading Savitri on my birthday each year – and then it takes about two months to complete. Each year ‘it’ is different and means more to me – which I assume means each year I have grown a bit more in the Integral Yoga.”
Susan Curtiss has been a member of the Sri Aurobindo Boston Center since 1996. She reads and meditates on Savitri every Wednesday. Dr. Curtiss is a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma treatment. The Mother is her ishta devata and she finds reading Savitri extraordinarily moving. She says: “Sometimes the consciousness just comes through and informs the reading, making for a blessed experience.”
Mary “Angel” Finn is the President of the Sri Aurobindo Center of Boston, which was founded 43 years ago by her late, legendary husband Eugene “Mickey” Finn. The Boston Center meets Wednesday evenings for Savitri reading, prayer, and meditation (before and after which recordings of the Mother reading the poem are played), and for Darshan services. Angel has been a follower of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother since 1983, when their grace entered and transformed her life at a critical juncture. She reads at least two pages of Savitri daily, and finds some new meaning or insight every time, even after thirty plus full readings so far. She says: “Everything is there — there’s light, there’s love, there’s hope.” She prays for 106 people these days, and has seen the power of the Mother help people in very difficult situations over the years. She quotes Mickey’s advice: “Whenever things are tough, think of the Mother.” Her favorite line from Savitri is “Heaven’s wiser love rejects the mortal prayer,” which she takes to mean that the Mother will give us what is right for us, not necessarily whatever we ask for. She says of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother: “They have the biggest hearts, they are my everything, I shall love them till my last breath.”
Nan Fuller, originally from California, spent the last few years of her time in San Francisco studying spirituality with several Indian gurus. After moving to Boston 2.5 years ago, she became friendly with members of the group reading Savitri at the Boston Aurobindo Center. Even though this is her first time reading Savitri, she says she is “totally pulled into it by the words more and more. It is also helping me a great deal in life and adding to my meditation.”
María Guardiola, was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She received her high school degree from the UN International School in New York, a BA in anthropolgy from Amherst College, Massachusetts, and a graduate degree in film direction and screen writing from the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome. Back in Colombia, she worked for educational television for over 15 years and later founded a store of “conscious consumption” where human and environmental ecology meet spirituality in daily life. A spiritual seeker for the past twenty years, she fell in love with Savitri the first time she heard it and feels that the encounter with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, along with study of their works, was a definitive turning point. Following the path of their Integral Yoga has become her priority in life.
Tom Haeuser, who reincarnated some fifty years ago, was aware of a psychic influence during childhood and adolescence. After being caught by surprise by the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, he visited Auroville and the Ashram in Pondicherry several times since 1986, being attracted and consumed by the Matrimandir and the Mahasamadhi. He has been teaching yoga and meditation in Germany, and has
read Savitri for himself and others many times since the 1980′s.
Joey “Indo” Indrisano: I humbly submit that I am one of the luckiest, punk, little, ignorant, skinny Guinies that ever came out of “Da Not End”! Amidst the horror of my tiny childhood Hell on Earth, the death and destruction of True Prince Parents, out of Nowhere & Everywhere I would become aware of “A Dream” Supreme. Willy & Anna, struggling to raise five sons in poverty and in cold, cramped, and crowded quarters would end within a year. Loveliest Wonderful Daddy’s brain tumor, pain and coma would transform into a skeletal corpse. Besieged and Courageous Momma, beaten too deep, would never recover from depression and addiction. As I desperately searched for Truth & Meaning, suddenly, a most remarkable but unlikely Sage Hero would appear! Mickey Finn, another Boston boy, little and skinny like me, but ignorant no more, the poor son of Immigrant Russian Jews, with a humble education, a street and battle hardened, wounded and disabled World War 2 Veteran, an old hardened gangster, ex con and junky, would return from the Birthplace of Civilization to the Cradle of Liberty with the Fire of “Bande Mataram”, glowing with the Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s “…Savior Light…”, heralding the becoming of this “…New Dawn…” of the “…Kingdom of Heaven on Earth…”! Oh what a Precious Joke! “…to have detected this cheat of the mind…” What Perfect Poetic Justice!! Love’s Sweetest Revenge, “…The greatest cunning of Yoga…”, “…This Divine Birth…:,“…what greater skill can there be or what more practical or sovereign cunning…” than to make a Heaven of Hell?! What greater profit, than to be an ever nurtured and evolving child, musing and wafting in “…the spell of the intoxicating sweetness of the Divine…” on “The Winds of Silence”, or to be possessed by “Savitri”, and to learn “The Way of Fate and the Problem of Pain”, and to grow in “faith, sincerity and surrender.” and to collaborate with “… the Grace of the Divine Mother…”, and hasten “The Life Divine”?!
Gurumurthy Kalyanaram is a professor and a management consultant. He has a serious curiosity about life and death. While Kalyanaram is a practising Hindu, he is eclectic and open to all ideas and faiths. “Reading passages from Savitri was an uplifting experience,” he says, “the poetry, the mysticism, the symbolism and the narrative is magical.”
Vera Lipen, an Aurovillian, is originally from Belarus. She has been studying Sri Aurobindo and the Mother since 1995 and translates their works into Russian. As a part of her project “Russian Bells – Resonance”, she gives weekly open sessions with a special musical instrument, the Russian plate bells. Her workshops provide an opportunity to connect with the inner regions of consciousness through deeply resonating sound. She regulaly assists her husband Ashesh Joshi during the Integral Yoga workshops. She is also interested in photography, interior design, and film-making.
Jim Massa was introduced to the yoga of Sri Aurobindo by Mickey Finn in 1971. He was a resident of Matagiri for six years, where he built furniture, and is a member of the Sri Aurobindo Boston Center.
Beloo Mehra is an Assistant Professor of Education at Antioch University, where she leads the focus area of Integral Knowledge Systems. She likes to read, learn, and reflect about topics as diverse as cross-cultural experiences of Asian Indians in the US, qualitative ways of knowing, decolonizing of mind and research traditions, self-transformative practices, integral ways of being, spirituality, and social-political thought of Sri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi.
Michael Miovic is a longtime devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In outer life he works as a psychiatrist in the Boston area. Inwardly, he is most interested in studying Sri Aurobindo’s insights about the “jewel centers” of the Earth Mother.
Will Moss first met Sri Aurobindo and the Mother through the Boston teacher Mickey Finn, in 1970. Mickey’s sincerity, devotion, and deep love for the Mother was the inspiration, but the writings of Sri Aurobindo made Will realize that here was his spiritual home, at last. He has explored other spiritual paths, but always returned to Integral Yoga, perhaps deepened and enriched, but glad to come home. Will has read at least a page each day from Savitri before his morning meditation for the past 25 years or so. Mother said that everything is in Savitri, and that Savitri can be a yoga in itself. This is also Will’s experience. Will currently works in a local hardware store in Rockland, Maine, USA.
Saraswathy V. Nochur, originally from Mumbai, lives and works in the Boston area. She has been a student of Vedanta for many years and got introduced to the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother through her husband Kumar. She feels very blessed to be participating in the Savitri Yajna.
Margaret Astrid Phanes was involved during 1991-2001 with individual and dedicated group study and meditation focused on the major works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. They continue to inspire her work as a counselor, teacher, and artist. She has taught Integral Yoga Psychology and meditation for many years. Margaret has submitted artworks to Collaboration, Journal of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and New Race: A Journal of Integral Studies, and offered digital media presentations at AUM 2007 and 2011. She has been a course facilitator in the Orientation Programme at the University of Tomorrow and an adjunct faculty at SACAR-IGNOU. She has read Savitri multiple times and has immense gratitude for the yogic force and transmission of the Divine Mother in this lasting visionary work of Sri Aurobindo.
Madhavi Ravela was given a photo of the Mother by a family friend in Hyderabad, India, when she was only six years old. She kept this with her at all times while growing up, even without knowing who the Mother was. When the same friend visited her in 1998, Madhavi accompanied her to the Boston Aurobindo Center. The very first meditation there changed her life, and she has been reading Savitri and practicing Integral Yoga since then.
Shanker Saaidas is a resident of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where he works as Project Director in National Petroleum Construction Company. His keen interest includes study of Vedanta and Vedic philosophy.
John Schlorholtz has been a principal yoga instructor at the Harvard University Center for Wellness and Health Communication for almost 20 years. He is the creator of the Ageless Yoga DVD series. His special interest is making yoga accessible to a wide range of people by respecting each person’s physical and spiritual uniqueness. He has been a member of the Boston Aurobindo Center for more than twenty years, participating regularly in the weekly meditation and Savitri readings.
Larry Seidlitz is a faculty member of Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research (SACAR) in Pondicherry, where he facilitates online university courses on Sri Aurobindo’s teachings and mentors graduate students. Originally from the USA, he has worked at SACAR since 2004. He is the editor of Collaboration, a USA based journal on the Integral Yoga, and co-editor of New Race: A Journal of Integral Studies published by the Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad. He also does freelance editing of books and articles related to the Integral Yoga, and regularly publishes his own articles on the Yoga. Before coming to India, Larry was involved with several Sri Aurobindo Centers in the USA, and worked as a psychologist studying emotional experience and depression at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Lucie Seidlitz was introduced to the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother by Mickey Finn in Boston in 1971. Shortly afterward, in 1972-73, she went to Pondicherry, where she met Madhav Pandit. Pandit brought her to the Mother, and she was blessed to have a private darshan. Lucie has lived at several Sri Aurobindo Centers in the U.S. and one in Sweden. Currently, she is associated with Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham in Lodi, California, where she is a volunteer for the Sri Aurobindo Association and the journal Collaboration, as well as assists with the Lodi office of Auroville International – USA.
Uma Shankar is the Head of the Department of Philosophy at SIES College, Mumbai. Her fields of interest include Vedanta, religion and spirituality, Integral Yoga, and the women mystics of India. She has guided students for M.Phil. in Sri Aurobindo’s works. Dr. Shankar has been reading Savitri for the last one decade.
Kumar Sharma has been a follower of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s teachings for more than a decade. He is the author of The Age of Ananda, a semi-fictional account of the yoga of conscious evolution. Prior to that he was a management educator and software entrepreneur in the Boston area. His special interest is the secrets of the Vedas as revealed by Sri Aurobindo.
Kannappan Singaram has been a devotee and follower of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo since 2000. He has read Savitri fully once, and is now copying lines from the poem into a notebook. Kannappan visits Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham in Lodi, California, every month during retreat time. He attended the AUM conference in 2011. Mother’s symbol, twelve petals, and Mother’s Agenda are his specific areas of interest.
Prapanna Smith is the founder of the Center for Integral Education and co-founder and former resident of Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham. He is an educator living in North San Diego County where he and his family own and operate the Rainbow Kids Preschool. Prapanna taught at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education (SAICE) from 1998-2001. His son, Matthew, was a student at SAICE from 1993-2003. From 2001-2011, Prapanna was the Principal of the Rainbow Kids Integral Preschool, in San Diego, California. He has been a regular reader of Savitri for many years, in the attempt to open up to the mantric qualities and power of this incredible spiritual literature.
Kamala Srinivas is an Assistant Professor at SIES College, Mumbai. Her keen interests are Indian philosophy, environmental studies, and socio-political philosophy.
Georg Stollenwerk was led to the yoga of Sri Aurobindo through The Secret of the Veda. He has been with the Sri Aurobindo Center Berlin (SACB) since 2001, and on the Board of Auroville International Germany since 2006. Georg’s present personal focus lies on the study of Sri Aurobindo’s The Human Cycle with regard to the emergence of the nation’s soul. Savitri has always been the guide and reference for his inner journey and his path as a whole.
Sophia Tiers was given a copy of Savitri in the 80′s and felt that this was the story she wanted to live. She moved to San Francisco to study The Synthesis of Yoga and The Life Divine with a spiritual and psychic healer who applied the Mother’s healing in an unusual way. Sophia believes in the calling not to die, but to fully understand “the Mind of the Cells” and ascend. She has put the Prayer of the Cells to music with the refrain: “Om Namo Bhagavate, saranam mama.” She partakes of Savitri Readings at Savitri House, the home of the Sri Aurobindo Learning Center in Crestone, Colorado.
Akshay K. Vaishnaw is Alison’s husband, Maya and Leela’s father, and Kumar and Saraswathy’s friend. He works in the biotech industry. Firmly planted in the secular world, he is slowly learning more about the benefits of the spiritual life via his affiliation with Chinmaya Mission Boston.
Rema Vishwanath is a teacher at American International School, Chennai. She is a voracious reader, interested in philosophy, spirituality, and English classics.
Larry Winer has long been feeling a deepening informal complicity with Sri Aurobindo. He was once caught in the Samadhi courtyard in Pondicherry by a sudden sun shower.