There will be more detailed and personal recollections and eulogies, but we would like to use this opportunity to say at least a few words in tribute to this beautiful child of the Mother, who has influenced all of us by an outstanding book “The Golden Path” and with whom all of our team were fortunate to be acquainted.
Anie (born Anne on Dec 18, 1936) Nunnally was a descendant of one of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence, Edward Rutledge. Edward’s brother, Anie’s distant uncle, John Rutledge, was a member of the convention that framed the Constitution of the United States.
Anie graduated with a degree in music from the University of Southern Mississippi and attended the Manhattan School of Music and the Hunter College Opera Department. She appeared in the original Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Sound of Music” and toured for 14 months with Florence Henderson through United States and Canada in the 60s. Anie sang with the Estelle Liebling Singers and throughout her singing career performed major roles in musical, operatic and oratorio productions in the U.S. and Canada.
In early 1960s, Anie came to hear of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother from her then fiance, Richard Eggenberger (Narad) and the two of them came to live in Los Angeles, working closely with Jyotipriya at the East-West Cultural Center, before moving to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1969.At the ashram, she was given the name “Anie” by the Mother, who told her that she had been with her in past lives and that this new name is connected with her earlier incarnation in Egypt.
Anie spent from 1969 to early 1971 at Auroville with Narad, where they were among the earliest settlers. Narad was given charge of the Nursery by the Mother and Anie worked there as well. This work brought them both into close contact with the Mother. Later in 1971, she separated from Narad and came to live in Pondicherry, where the Mother put her in charge of a guest house. She also help Parichand in the sorting of flowers in the Flower Room.
In late 1972, Anie left Pondicherry to return to the U.S., where she was closely connected with the Sri Aurobindo Center in New York City, started in 1973, after Udar Pinto’s visit to the U.S. and subsidized by Eleanor Montgomery. After the closure of the NYC Center in 1976, she, along with her friend Lalit, housed the Center’s library and continued to hold meetings and meditations from her apartment. In 1983, after the passing of Eleanor Montgomery, Anie helped in restructuring the Foundation for World Education, a funding organization started by Mrs. Montgomery, and served as its Secretary until 1999.
In 1987, she moved from NYC to Woodstock, where she could be close to Matagiri. Here, she performed regularly with the choral group Ars Choralis, gave solo voice recitals, directed the music for “The Wizard of Oz” with the Shandaken Theatrical Society and served two seasons on the board of directors of the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra.
In 1993, she moved to Los Angeles and associated herself closely once more with the work of the East-West Cultural Center, also known as the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles. Here, she continued her life as a musician, by participating in the Center’s chanting programs as well as setting to music and singing several poems by Sri Aurobindo. She also taught music at the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center, offered voice and piano classes privately, as well as volunteered for the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra.
Over several visits to the Ashram in 1985, 1995 and 1999-2000, Anie took a number of interviews with people, whose life have been transformed by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. These interviews were published in 2005 as a book “The Golden Path”. Quoting review by Prof. Nadkarni, “This is indeed a gem of a book. It is neither a handbook of the philosophy of integral yoga nor a guide to the practice of it. It does something special; it opens for you a whole new world which very few know exists – the world illumined by Sri Aurobindo’s light and the Mother’s love. It gives the imaginative experience of directly bathing in the effulgence of their grace.”
The last chapter of her life Anie spent in Pondicherry, where she moved after developing a serious health complication. She passed away at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram’s nursing home on April 26, 2017. Shortly before her passing, she was seen doing a Nama Japa, taking the Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s names with love and devotion.