Auroville, founded in a UNESCO sponsored ceremony in 1968, is especially important to the Nakashima Foundation for Peace
because George Nakashima lived and grew in his spiritual understanding at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in nearby Pondicherry.
Pondicherry is where George built what many recognize as the first modern building in India, the guest house Golconde.
This Sacred Peace Table, along with the ones at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow and
hopefully soon another at the Tutu Center in Cape Town, South Africa, represent the spirit of George Nakashima and the work of the Foundation.
Please join us on February 11th for this historic and profound occasion at the corresponding time in your location.
5 pm India time – 3:30 pm Moscow time – 6:30 am NYC time
I shall be in Auroville, initiating the event for the Hall of Peace and the Nakashima Sacred Peace Table.
If you are interested in joining those gathering around the Altar for Peace at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC,
please contact Irene Goldman (click here)
The Auroville event will also be streamed live on too see it [popup url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27MlE8KDmlg”]click here[/popup]
George Nakashima is one of the first American disciples of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. He lived at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram from 1938-39.
He had gone there from Tokyo to design and help construct Golconda. This project was one of great importance to The Mother and so he worked closely with Her. Being deeply moved by the atmosphere, Nakashima joined the community.
Sri Aurobindo gave him the name of Sundarananda, “One who delights in beauty”, and he considered himself a karma yogi devoted to creating works of beauty out of wood.
Towards the end of his life, Nakashima had a vision of creating “Altars of Peace” for each continent. These Altars/Sacred Tables of Peace have been placed in New York, Auroville, Moscow and a planned one for Cape Town at the Desmond Tutu Peace Center.
The first Nakashima Altar of Peace was consecrated in 1986 in the world’s largest gothic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It was a New Year’s Eve service, ecumenical in spirit with representatives of many religions and diplomats of many countries joining in prayer and song.
The 2nd Sacred Peace Table was built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in 1995. It is made from the same monumental black walnut tree as the 1st and was also blessed at the Cathedral. It served as a unifying presence at The Hague Appeal for Peace in May 1999 and now resides in the newly renovated Russian Academy of Art.
A 3rd Sacred Peace Table, built for Asia and sent to India in 1996, has a permanent home in the “City of Peace”, Auroville, which sprang from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry where Nakashima was once a disciple.
The Cathedral suffered a fire in 2001. The Altar of Peace is the first artifact of the Cathedral’s collection to be reinstalled. It was rededicated on June 7, 2009.
The 400 rose petals which were held by the participants during the meditation and then offered in silent prayer were afterwards used in the compost for the Cathedral’s garden. This is in keeping with the strong environmental concern that Nakashima had as a pioneering ecologist.
Sundarananda is internationally recognized and in 1983 was given The Third Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese Foreign Office under the aegis of the Emperor and the Japanese Government. He had been given the Gold Medal for craftsmanship awarded by the American Institute of Architects in 1952, was named a Fellow of the American Crafts Council in 1979 and is the recipient of the 1981 Hazlett Award for the crafts bestowed by the state of Pennsylvania for his contribution to the arts.
His many achievements include the furnishings for the country home of the late Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, Pocantico Hills, in Tarrytown, N.Y., an example of which was in the anniversary exhibit of The Asia Society, interiors for Columbia University and Mt. Holyoke College and a room in The Arts of Japan Galleries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The World Monuments Fund has recently placed his studio in New Hope, Pa. on its watch list.