Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Peace in the world is what Auroville stands for

Travel: Universal Township The Statesman Monday, 4 August 2008
The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity, writes Anima Ganguly

Auroville is an international township in Tamil Nadu, south India. Here people of all countries live in peace and harmony, above all creeds, politics and nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity. It is about 8-10 kilometres north of Pondicherry. You can go by bus, taxi or auto rickshaw. The climate is tropical with the main monsoon in the months of October to December. From December to March is the nicest time of the year to visit.Auroville was founded on 28 February, 1968 inspired by the vision of Sri Aurobindo and Mother of Pondicherry. Over 1800 people of India and 40 other nations are building a township dedicated to an experiment in human unity with the eventual hope of contributing to international understanding and the evolution of human consciousness.

Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live here, one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness. The township will be a place of an unending education, of constant progress and a youth that never ages. Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future.

The Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research coordinates educational and cultural activities within and around Auroville. In addition to school and physical education facilities, are various active research and publication centres.At the inauguration ceremony of Auroville on 28 February, 1968 representatives of 124 countries and 23 Indian states placed a handful of earth from their homelands in a lotus shaped urn at the centre of Future Township, in a symbolic gesture of human unity. Once a barren plateau of largely red earth, thanks to the untiring tree planting efforts of the first pioneers, Auroville has been transformed into a lush green landscape in which a city is progressively beginning to take shape, radiating out from the centre, the Matrimandir into four zones -each focusing on an important aspect of community life. A green belt will surround the entire city area. Over the past 40 years, with the assistance of private donors, and national and international private donors, governmental and non-governmental organizations, Auroville has grown into an expanding community consisting of some 90 plus settlements of varying size.

The residents are engaged in a wide range of activities, including research into a cashless economy, organic farming, renewable energy, appropriate building technology, village development, handicrafts, small scale industries, health care, education and many other fields. A major source of employment for the 40,000 inhabitants of the local villages, Auroville works closely with them to improve their infrastructure and provide education and health care. In 1988 the Government of India passed the Auroville Foundation Act with a view to making long term arrangements for the better management and further development of Auroville in accordance with its character.

I visited Auroville and it is hard to describe what it is about. It is a community of multinational without nationality - a place where free expression is encouraged and whose centre is the Matrimandir ~ a symbol of the Aurovillian hopes and aspiration and also of the Divine's answer to man's inspiration for perfection. You can see breathtaking diversity of housing ranging from huts woven from palm fronds and wood cottages and jaw dropping spaceship designs and studio residences. Everywhere there is evidence of sophisticated aesthetics and venturesome innovations. The defining moment of a visit to Auroville is the introduction to Matrimandir. The Matrimandir is an astounding sight, an enormous sphere supported by four pillars, seeming to emerge from a crater in the ground like consciousness from matter. It started in February 1971, which the Mother - the founder of Auroville called the "Soul of Auroville". Mother once said, “new words are needed to express new ideas, new forms are necessary to manifest new forces."

Auroville is meant to hasten the advent of the supramental reality upon Earth. It is quite a difficult task getting an appointment to go and see Matrimandir. You have to wear special socks and have to be silent inside. After entering inside, you go to the inner chamber.The room is low-lit, completely white, and circular. There are pillows to sit on. In the centre of the intense whiteness of the chamber, is a large crystal globe. Sunlight pierces a rent in the roof above and is transmuted by the sensational translucent globe into a rainbow of delicate pastels. It is mystical, very other worldly, and very beautiful. I found myself there sinking into the profound silence.

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam Azad wrote on 01-11-04 after emerging from the chamber, 'Matrimandir is beautiful divine creation. When I spent few minutes in the concentration chamber, I felt time is infinite, something echoed in me, can I give words to the Divine call: divine beauty, divine peace entered into me and blossomed happiness in my body and soul."Present activities in Auroville include wasteland reclamation and reforestation, organic farming, village development, education, health care renewable energy, appropriate building technology, arts, and culture, handicrafts, small scale industries, architecture and town planning.

Auroville aspires to be a universal town where people from all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. As the Poet said, "When there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world." Peace in the world is what Auroville stands for.

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