Navajata’s earlier name was Keshav Dev Poddar. He first visited the Ashram with his father in his childhood. Those were the days when the Mother used to come on the terrace every morning. One day She noticed a young boy in a silk kurta, standing on the pavement with a sadhak. The Mother obviously recognised his soul. Later in the day She enquired who the boy was. ‘Keshave Dev, son of Ram Narayan’, She was told. And that was it. Keshav Dev’s destiny was made.
His childhood dream was to see the whole world as one happy family. This aspiration made him leave his vast flourishing business and surrender himself and his all to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The Mother blessed him with a new name – Navajata, ‘The New Born’.
He was a rare combination of an idealist and realist – a man of vision and a man of action. So many projects of the Ashram, the Society and Auroville were launched because the Mother had looked in that direction. What did it matter if there were no funds, no persons to work, no space nor proper equipment. The Mother wished and that was enough for Navajata. The thing had to be done and in a befitting manner. ‘My faithful’ – this is how the Mother called him.
Sri Aurobindo Society is the Mother’s creation. But the person the Mother chose to execute Her vision, to act as Her instrument, was Navajata. He was the first General Secretary and Treasurer of the Society under the Presidentship of the Mother. When the Mother left Her body in 1973, She continued to be the Permanent President and Navajata became the first Chairman of the Society, carrying often singlehanded the entire burden of work.
Navajata’s mission was to interpret the spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and his life was a lover’s labour for its realisation. His simple and lucid explanation of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga made spirituality practical and effective in the various activities of our daily lives.
For us all he was simply ‘Bhaiji’, a messenger of the the Mother’s Love and Grace. (A homage from those whom he helped to find refuge in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother).