AUM 2011: A new world is born

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Narad Eggenberger

"OM choir: The new music"

Narad Eggenberger


Narad (Richard Eggenberger) is a longtime member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville as well as a musician, poet, landscaper, horticulturist, and gardener.

As a youth he took voice lessons and prepared for an operatic career at the Metropolitan Opera on a scholarship from one of the leading mezzosopranos of the day, Regina Resnick.

When he was 23, he came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and had his first darshan of the Mother, who made him an ashramite and gave him permission to teach music in the ashram school. He formed an ashram choir that soon built a program of choral music covering many centuries. Mother also gave him the task of bringing down "the new music."

Narad went back to U.S. in 1962, working with a landscape design and installation firm and attending college to learn plant combination theory and other aspects of subtropical horticulture.

In 1969 he returned to Pondicherry, where Mother gave him the task of creating a beautiful garden for the Matrimandir. In the early 1970s he set up the Matrimandir Nursery for collecting, studying, and propagating rare and beautiful plants from all over the world. He worked personally with the Mother on the spiritual significances of flowers and edited the book Flowers and Their Messages, the first book published by the ashram on the spiritual significance of flowers. Mother also gave Narad the work of reading Savitri every week under the Banyan, which he did for 10 years. 

In the 1980s, Narad returned to the U.S., where he continued to extend his deep knowledge of plants and trees and to collect specimens for the Ashram and Auroville. He is past president of the Plumaria Society of America and is the author of numerous books and articles on tropical plants.

Meanwhile, after more than four decades of listening to thousands of works of music, seeking the new music everywhere, and singing (though not often, having given up all thought of a concert career), Narad had the insight that the new music was to descend in a collective body — one body with many tones, opening in surrender and aspiration. About seven years ago he began the OM choirs, which have brought a new kind of conscious music to the Ashram, Auroville, and many places around the world.

Information courtesy Sri Aurobindo Ashram

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