Cyril R. Raphael

abt hist peo cyril1 Born in Allahabad, the hotbed of India's Independence Movement at the out break of World War II, Cyril was the 7th son of a 7th son - his father Dr.Stephen Charles, and mother Beryl Rose – a sensitive poetess and pianist.

Growing – up and going to school in new, Independent India, fired-up Cyril – as it did so many young people at the time – with all sorts of thoughts and desires of service to the nation.

Anglo-Indian communities were leaving India in droves with the misplaced notion of a better future for the children in England.

It was a horrific day for him, when a few weeks before giving his Senior Cambridge school leaving exams, he got passport papers to sign.

A myriad dreams and fantasies that had been shared with his 22 class mates for years, was going up in flames. Every idea for not going to the UK the young Cyril placed before his elders was firmly rejected, and it was not much later that he found himself standing on the deck of a P&O liner that was slowly slipping out to sea. He watched till he could no longer see the "Gateway to India".

The wrenching agony of the experience was relieved to a great extent when Cyril discovered the entire Indian Cricket team were also on board traveling to England to play a Test series. It was almost magical for a young cricket fanatic to spend two weeks with so many of one's hero's! It was to be the first of several experiences that showed him that great opportunity is buried some where in every deep crisis.

Management studies in London and running youth clubs for the "Teddy Boys" of the time and a job with BOAC (now British Air) gave wings to childhood ambitions to see the world. Forty eight countries later and vast experience in "planning", Cyril grew tired of the British weather, and in the mid-sixties he moved to Canada and its vast open spaces.

He does not tire of being called a "Flower – Child Hippy" and experienced the magical, creative and hopeful energy that characterized the sixties and seventies.abt hist peo cyril2

In Canada and the USA life drew him towards the electronic media, as also towards the Tourism industry and periodic stints in alternative living on a commune he established in Southern British Columbia called "Akasha".

Through it all Cyril kept coming back regularly to India. 1976 found him in his native Allahabad at a Maha Kumbh Mela (Festival) that comes around every 12 years. This one was considered particularly auspicious as 7 planets were in a straight line in the heavens!

Deeply moving and spiritual experiences, stumbling on and meeting larger than life people and moving about for days amongst millions of people, he knew that he had come home.

Six months later, after quietly liquidating most of his assets in Canada and tying neat bows in many relationships with immediate family and friends he packed his life into 2 suitcases and returned to India never to go back west again.

cyriljiwithswamiji Literally, within a week of being in India he chanced on Swamy Manmathan an itinerant social reformer, who was about to start Sri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram.

It was again a magical first meeting, so solid, so sure, so arrived, that not even Swamijis assassination 13 years later could stop the "calling" (if you like).

Cyrilji, lovingly addressed as Uncleji, resides and works on the SBMA Anjanisain campus. He has lived for many years with the young boys of the boys hostel and enjoys looking after the chickens and cows. Cyril ji is the current Chief advisor of SBMA.

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