It was a morning in April when I reached Auroville after spending a night in Pondicherry. In some parts of our country, April proves itself to be the cruellest month. Pondicherry is one such place. Its squeaky clean and broad seaside streets, open unhindered sunlight from a vast shining sky, and a sufficient amount of humidity in the stillness of the wind make the mornings much less enjoyable. The sea at the Promenade beachside is extremely calm, which manifolds the motionlessness of heat. Apart from the tourists enjoying the sea view and a good breakfast or snacks at the coffee and snacks shop on the seaside, not many people are seen along the Promenade street.
The scene is quite different in Auroville. Up the coastal belt in Tamil Nadu, at a distance of 10 kms distance from Pondicherry, Auroville has set up and is still expanding a township at a rather slow but steady pace.The UNESCO-approved internationally recognised township project is a shelter for people who aim to be part of a larger collective, which aims to create a universe of its own, spiralling on its own axis of spiritual ideas, promoting peace and unity within mankind.
Auroville’s entire environment immediately strikes a first-time visitor as different from any other. I am not trying to be blindly appreciative of its strategic planning, but the placement of several stores, cafes, its several destinations, gardens and of course, its residents and their attitude, the calmness in their approach are not similar to what we find in commerce-oriented hospitality. A rather tranquil and confident flow of faith–in humanity, in the core teachings of the Mother, and the utmost sense of discipline to follow their faith–lead to liberalism, goodness and strength of human mind.It is promoted by Auroville’s governance as the organic source of the community’s strength for individual and collective realisation of their inner power to change the traditional perspective of the greater society they are still a part of.
This conscious effort to make a change through a strategic system creates an impact on anyone who is a long-term resident or happens to be there on a short stay. Auroville does not promote practising any religious faith as it is against the fundamentals ofMother’s teachings. Religions divide mankind based on their particular rituals which overshadow the inherent goodness promoted by the religious scripts.Hence, people are strongly discouraged to practise their individual religious faith here. Instead, the residents are expected to practise meditation and connect based on several aspects and mediums of spirituality.The residents of theAurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry rely more on yoga and some other group activities which can bind their community by fulfilling a socio-cultural requirement for sustenance.The Aurovillians on the other hand, are primarily encouraged to identify the fundamentals of a real requirement, and develop and share the related skill accordingly.
The Matrimandir, surrounded by an enormous open space and targeted garden areas, is the life force of Auroville.It is the supreme symbol of awareness and intelligence that helps redefine humanity and turn its limitations to its strengths with a single goal of reshaping the future.The giant golden spherical space is used to organise several programs to realise the interconnection and interaction between the human consciousness and its effect on other physical matters and vice versa.
The store that sells journals made of handmade paper to black soap which is said to soak even venom from a snake-bite; the hammock seller who sells large colourful hammocks and other small artefacts; the boutique that sell clothes, books, handmade jewelleries and musical instruments made of wood and metal; the not-so-organised eatery beside the narrow earthen road which serves international vegan dishes and is surrounded by open terrace with a few table-chair sets for people who just need a bite and coffee to finish whatever they are working on; or, the loud and glitzy snacks shop amidst the hammock store, essential oil store and garden sitting area–everything and all those people enjoying working there as residents–all seem to be in a symmetry which they follow to maintain the equilibrium in Auroville’s evolving system.
While Auroville is not a cult, like any other cult, a specific requirement needs to be realised by any individual before deciding to come and be a part of this still evolving and growing non-materialistic governance.Nothing much is expected from residents except that they will be spiritually focussed and connected to the principles of Auroville. However, everyone has their own part to play to build, maintain, and strengthen a collective network of thinkers, irrespective of their locations, who can ignite and also improvise the source and surface of critical thinking–breaking the psychological barrier imposed by the inorganic falsehood of life.
Donation to LILA is eligible for tax exemption u/s 80 G (5) (VI) of the Income Tax Act 1961 vide order no. NQ CIT (E) 6139 DEL-LE25902-16032015 dated 16/03/2015