Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sri Aurobindo.... This resonates with me

"This understanding is not to be gained by reasoning, not by tapasya, nor by much learning, but whom This Self chooses To him it reveals it's own body". Well, that is the same thing as what we call divine grace,- it is an action from above or from within independent of mental causes which decides it's own movement. We can call it divine grace, we can call it the Self within choosing it's own hour and way to manifest to the mental instrument on the surface : we can call it the flowering of the inner being or inner nature to self realization and self knowledge. As something in us approaches it or as it presents itself to us, so the mind sees it. But in reality it is the same Thing and the same process of the being in nature. From Sri Aurobindo, Growing Within posted by Passionvine @ 4:06 PM Saturday, April 08, 2006


I purchased a new book called 'Savitri' by Aurobindo and it's quite a difficult read. It's so beautiful and infinitely poetic...I wonder if I can post an excerpt, let's see...Here's the first page:
Book One: The Book of Beginnings
Canto One: The Symbol Dawn
It was the hour before the Gods awake.
Across the path of the divine Event
The huge foreboding mind of Night, alone
In her unlit temple of eternity,
Lay stretched immobile upon Silence' marge.
So as you can see this book should keep me busy for just about the rest of my life! posted by Akash @ 17:14 Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

An alternative form of existence

Sunday, April 02, 2006 Auro-villains Day 12 - 31 March 2006 # posted by Dan @ 11:48 AM
Pondicherry is a former French enclave, and the French colonian streets and architecture, together with the good food and wine in this evening's restaurant, went a long way to calming our nerves. I probably would have been pleased to leave pondicherry directly after this. It felt - on my limited experience - as though it had an unpleasant edge some of the other towns didn't: traders who were that bit too pushy and taxi drivers willing to mow you down. The "Sri Aurobindo Ashram College" was a rock of calm in the middle of these stormy waters. Sri Aurobindo was a poet and political leader, as well as a contemporary of Gandhi's. As independence drew near his thoughts turned to the long-term future of India in the world. A master Yogi, he focused on divine spirituality and inner consciousness rejecting all divisions of religion, race, borders or political systems.
Only the supreme truth rather than any doctrine could be followed (if you consider that not to be a doctrine). He set up the Ashram (or spiritual community) and founded a community to follow the route of peace and harmony. This was when he met Mira Alfassa, or "the mother", who continued his work, forming industries to support and develop the community and further the cause of divine spirituality. They also formed a new settlement called "Auroville" (picture slow, lilting flute and recorder music, floating candles and yoga positions). The college had a very calm garden and "samadi" - a water trough filled with flowers where people were meditating. After some time thinking, we moved onto the Aurobindo paper mill, where they produce paper sustainably from all sorts of fibrous material.
The idea aspired to is one where each human is valued equally, regardless of the function they perform or title they hold. These are opportunities to serve mankind. We were shown around the mill by an Aurovillian who explained the purpose of spirituality in the world as he saw it, and the limitations of the materialistic life of the west. OK, this comes on like some of dubious cult or unattainable dream. Well, alarm bells did start ringing when he talked about how the world was already working towards an end to poverty and solving the requirement for food and shelter in humanity. Too long in Aurovile perhaps? I am always interested by anything which purports to provide an alternative form of existence. It was the horizontal decision making, small community groups and non-hierarchical status of people (the Aurovillians) which interested me because it sounded like a working example or anarchism. Of course, it wasn't, because it still abides by one authority - that of divine spirituality, which means little to an agnostic man from the Home Counties. Regardless, I'd already decided that I liked our first Aurovillian because he had a look of intrigue about him. He had an assured and calm nature, but then so do charismatic con-men.
Around the paper mill (somewhat looked down upon in the Aurovillian community for being open to the public) Aurovillians went about their business in much the same way you would expect. The only difference is that you can dictate your own working patterns to some extent. I wanted to see further into this community, so we went to Auroville. To what extent they'd made this new town (planned to hold 50,000 people and inaugurated by 'the mother' in 1968) work and progress, could only be measured by a visit. That afternoon we set off from Pondicherry, and when the terrain changed to lush and verdant vegitation, we were driving through the residential zone of Auroville. Other than a few westerners, the settlements looked like most other indian villages,bar a few more dwellings being constructed. This was oringally arid waste-land that had been changed via innovative irrigation into a productive fertile area. Apprently 5,000 jobs had been created for the non-Aurovillian community around the locality, but of course this is perpetuating the market economy and non-spritual path outside. A short hop further on, past lazing dogs in green lanes, we arrived in "Peace" - the centre of Auroville, and one of five zones (the others being creative, residential, industrial and one which escapes my memory)..
My first impression was that the place was quiet, reflecting its small population. In amongst the well-tended gardens and pleasant buildings sits an information centre, where we were shown a video about Auroville and then the central worship place, "Matri Mandir". I quite liked the place, but the Aurovillians themselves are stand-offish so you couldn't find out a great deal. We walked over to the Matri Mandir, but looking at the huge globe in which meditation took place, you didn't gain much 'Auro-insight'. I'm afraid the whole place had undertones of restriction of free will, simply because of the restrictions placed upon those who visited Auroville. An Aurovillian explaining the Matri Mandir and ampitheatre to the crowd of trendy and bored Bengali shool kids seemed very authoritarian to me. We couldn't move inside certain roped off zones and found out that residents have to adhere to a fairly defined set of codes. A big problem for me is the use of the word 'spirituality', of which I have very little understanding myself. Without a strong sense of sprituality as a instinct and destination, rather than a duplicitous religion or a loaded agenda it is hard to judge Auroville. I wouldn't describe myself as spiritual; perhaps soulful from time to time!
I should remember that this is a work in progress and that Auroville was never expected to function without complications to begin with - rather that it would develop in stages, towards the ultimate goal of the human race guided solely by spirituality. Common practical problems you could ask of Auroville would be personal disputes and judicial issues, as well as the extent to which they rely on the outside community; I'll need to do some more research on this. As I expected, a number of committes formed via representatives of small groups decided on the day to day matters in Auroville, similar to Anarchist based systems. I was impressed on leaving Auroville that at least they'd made the community work since 1968, aspiring to ideals which I found at least partly commendable myself. They have made an alternative (if far from perfect), society function largely outside the bounds of the state, the UN, the IMF, the WTO and the World Bank for almost four decades. I think that itself is an encouraging signal to humankind.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Listen voices of your inner self

A visit to Aurobindo Ashram is a must. The Ashram opens at 8 in the morning. There is Samadhi of Sri Arobindo and The Mother. The Samadhi is bedecked with flowers. It gave me great joy and peace sitting near the Samadhi on meditation. I also participated in the evening Mass Meditation held around the Samadhi.The next important place in Pondichery is Auroville. Based upon the work and inspiration of Sri Aurobindo and given shape by The Mother, Auroville is intended as a site for the manifestation of human unity in diversity.
Inside auroville they are totally committed to non-conventional energy. Wind farm and solar photovoltaic systems are used. It seems inside the complex they don’t allow any motor vehicle. Only battery operated vehicles ply to commute the old and invalids to the Matrimandir. From the Reception center of Auroville to the Matrimandir one need to take a walk of one Kilometer. I took full advantage of this gentle walk through forest of various known and unknown plants and trees inhaling all the greenery around there with each breath. As all the visitors were busy in refreshing themselves at the information centre, I was the sole person walking through the forest.
There was a kind of peaceful silence all around except the sound of a woodpecker somewhere unseen. The flowering trees were in full bloom at the peak of spring. It seems this whole land of 25 square kms were dry land and was converted to such a beautiful forest by the auroville community. What a great creation! Now a days in the midst of chaotic human tendency of destroying natural resources in the name of development, it is a great achievement of human spirit to create such a nice environment.
The center of Auroville is a Banyan tree circling which the total development of the community is planned. Near that banyan tree is the Golden Globe of Matrimandir. As the Matrimandir was under renovation, we had to comeback without seeing the inside of it. It seems there is meditation hall at the center of the Matrimandir. A single crystal globe is kept at the center of this meditation hall. The meditation hall is illuminated by the sun rays falling on this crystal globe from an opening on the top of the Matrimandir.We sat on the nearby amphitheatre. The marble urn of lotus bud shape, in which the earth collected from 124 countries around the world are kept, is at the center of the amphitheatre. The tour of Auroville was so invigorating that my mind was not ready to comeback so soon. But one has to come back to earth.
If you want to have a quiet vacation, to speak only to the gentle waves of sea, to listen voices of your inner self, to glimpse unforgettable scenes of sun rising over the sea, to walk through the green forest, to alleviate your mind and spirit to a different level, you must visit Pondichery. posted by bikash 10:10 AM