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3. Auroville

It was Mother's dream to create a place where MAN could seek the Divine without having to dredge for food and shelter. It was in fulfilment of this dream that she founded Sri Aurobindo Ashram for those who dedicated themselves to Yoga. With the same underlying principle and the same actuating aspiration Mother founded AUROVILLE --town of Sri Aurobindo-- for those who have not taken to yoga as their main ideal in life. Auroville is an international city meant for those whose ideal is to live according to truth. The ideal caught the attention of the Soviet leader Khrushchev, but before he could take concrete interest in the project his political career took a different turn.

 Mother was no believer in religion. She was fond of saying that the time for religions was over and the future belonged to spirituality.

 The city has, in the conception of the initial architects, several zones with roads on which automobiles are prohibited. The soul of Auroville is Matrimandir or ‘Mother's temple'. Matrimandir is constructed as a sphere that houses in its centre a meditation hall. The construction is uniquely arranged so that  sunlight enters the building during all hours of the day through a small hole in the roof. At the time of the foundation in 1968 an urn of lotus bud shape was constructed, into which earth from all nations of the world was deposited by youth from each nation.

 Mother's conception of the city and life there includes several features. Money has no role to play in Auroville. Cars are banned. No administration with authority over the lives of the members is created. No one is appointed as the head or leader whom all should obey. Each member is to be guided by his inner light only. Any structure of authority that is created is to be functional and not to have legal or administrative power vested in it.

 One main reason Mother had in mind in founding Auroville was that the city must be a symbol of human unity and thus prevent the next world war by its very presence on earth. She even declared that as long as Auroville existed, no war would break out. Human tendencies of pugnacity, competition, spite, jealousy, rivalry are bound to surface in a cosmopolitan place where hundreds of men and women gather and live. Their daily lives offer thousands of occasions for human interactions. Mother wanted those innumerable occasions to become the anvil on which human nature would consent to be beaten into a divine shape. If in Auroville Man shapes himself anew in the image of the Divine and endeavours to transform his own human nature into Divine nature, life on earth would gently turn to the Divine. This was Mother's intention. She even said that Auroville was a field of experimentation, not an exhibition of already accomplished perfection.

 It was Mother's way to name the different communities in Auroville as peace, harmony, aspiration, etc.

 The spiritual atmosphere in the city is very powerful and unmistakable. No one can miss it. It is easy to imagine what amount of uncertainties would loom large in the life of a city where there is no central authority, no fixed provision of income, no one enjoys property rights, no one has any say over anyone else. Every day must dawn in Divine Grace and be lived in faith and grace. Still, people who visit the place are powerfully attracted to live there. To a visitor's query, an Aurovillian doing duty at the Indian pavilion, Bharat Nivas, answered, "Nothing is certain here, but everything works." More than the comment of the man, the visitor was struck by the Aurovillian's sparkling face expressing the inner light.

 Auroville was founded in 1968. A regular visitor to the Ashram in 1960 was crossing a road junction and suddenly noticed the figures of Mother and Sri Aurobindo in the distance. The splendour of the vision was great and so real that he lost himself totally. A few days later when the devotee was crossing the same spot the vision recurred. Only then he took notice of the spot on the road where he had had the same vision miles away in the sky. He could make nothing of it, even though it made him grateful to Mother for the Darshan in the subtle plane. Several years later when Auroville was founded, he understood that the spot of his vision was the future site of the city.

 Mother desired some exotic plants that would grow only in the Arctic region to be planted in Auroville. Seeing the question on the faces of the disciples, she explained that in future the climate would change and snow would fall in Auroville.

 Having founded Auroville to prevent future wars, Mother was following the news of the stockpiling of armaments. She was sad and commented that the very accumulation would compel its masters to find a use for the weapons.

book | by Dr. Radut