September 2, 2023

Surendra Nath Jauhar's 37th Punya Thithi

13 August 1903 — 2 September 1986

Shri Kapil Sibal, the then Minister for Communications & IT and HRD released a commemorative Postage Stamp in New Delhi on 2nd September 2011 on Late Shri Surendra Nath Jauhar.

Despite his busy life as a freedom-fighter, business-man and the building of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch, and Sri Aurobindo Centre at Van Niwas, he always said,
"So little done, so much to do....".

Excerpts from "The last Karmabhoomi of the Karmayogi", by Ravindra Joshi

With a shattered body beset by serious ailments that would lay a lesser mortal on the bed, the indomitable old man, approaching the eightieth year of his life, took up the challenge of taking Sri Aurobindo's River of Light to the high mountains of the Himalaya. When he set his heart on transforming 'Ben Nevis', incidentally named after the highest mountain of England, into 'Van Niwas' and to make it a vibrant centre of high spiritual endeavour by Sri Aurobindo, there was nothing that could stop him. Neither his sick and tottering body, nor the enormous odds of building a huge edifice to house hundreds at the daunting height of over 7,400 ft., with no motorable road where every brick had to be carried on mule back, still the total absence of any help of encouragement in the desolate place where he was a complete stranger, and certainly not the harsh and inclement weather, the cold and damp climate, playing havoc to his sensitive body, incessant rain and fog making construction most difficult. Without any blueprints, without any technical assistance, he set about the Himalayan task. The inspirer and mentor of hundreds on the Godward path, he moved on with his eyes set on the Future.

Photos of Sri Surendra Nath Jauhar in Nainital

The sylvan solitude of the mountain top Shangrila began to reverberate with the music of chisel and hammer, of breaking and rebuilding, of churning and moulding of ferro cement, of endless caravans of mules! Bit by bit, inch by inch, he converted the old palace of pleasure into an Ashram for spiritual aspirants and seekers of Truth, with reasonably decent facilities for accommodating a large number of people. It nearly took the life out of him, but paradoxically enough it was this tireless activity which kept him alive! For this arduous work was his life breath, the purpose of his existence it paved the way to the realisation of his dream of establishing a Sri Aurobindo Centre at every nook and corner of the Himalayan mountains.

Even while under the process of rebuilding, Van Niwas started drawing seekers from all over the world, who found it an ideal place for embarking on the inner journey, for recharging their inner batteries, for attaining peace and bliss or whatever happened to be their cherished goal of life. Tara Jauhar, the dynamic daughter of the divine warrior, who had been moulded by the Mother Herself during her formative years in Pondicherry, began organising spiritually oriented camps here for young and old alike.

One of the cherished dreams of the Karmayogi was to enshrine the sacred relics of Sri Aurobindo in Van Niwas as soon as possible, so that, vivified by its soul, it would progress towards its divine destiny in rapid strides. But he was not destined to realise this dream during his lifetime, despite his all out efforts.

Surendra Nath Jauhar's 37th Punya Thithi

in Delhi Ashram

On September 2nd, 2023, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Delhi branch observed the 37th Punyatithi of Shri Surendra Nath Jauhar, fondly known as Chachaji. The day was filled with heartwarming moments:

The morning commenced with a soulful invocation by Srila di at 7 am in the Meditation hall, followed by a sacred havan and a touching flower offering at Chachaji's Samadhi.

In the afternoon, everyone enjoyed a film on Chachaji in the hall of grace .

As the evening set in, we were treated to a captivating musical performance by Shri Partha Chanda and Smt. Ranjini Chaturvedi. Their melodious renditions of patriotic, devotional, and classic tunes took us on a nostalgic journey. They reminisced about their school choir days at the Mother's International School, under the guidance of Karuna di and Rita Chatterjee di.

The evening culminated with a beautiful gesture as we offered lights of aspiration in the shrine area, symbolizing our collective reverence and gratitude.

A day filled with love, music, and cherished memories!