Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Inner knowledge and inner technique can change the world

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 Auroville We took a short day trip from Pondicherry to a township named Auroville. Part of their charter;

"For millennia, we have been developing outer means, outer instruments, outer techniques of living, and finally those means and techniques are crushing us. The sign of the new humanity is a reversal in the standpoint, and the understanding that inner knowledge and inner technique can change the world and master it without crushing it."

Auroville is an international commune of 1800 residents started in 1968. It is a VERY BEAUTIFUL place. The residents renounce religion and meditate for 6-7 hrs a day in the meditation center, Matrimandir. With their free time, they do what it takes to keep the community together. They strongly stress education and applying learning and understanding from the world at large. They engage in ; research into a cashless economy, environmental regeneration, organic farming, renewable energy, health care, education, handicrafts, etc.
In addition to sustaining this in Auroville, the township also provides a major source of employment to the 40,000 inhabitants of local villages and works with those villages to improve their infrastructure and provide education and health care.On our arrival, I was very impressed with the visitor center. A series of unique buildings built into a hillside and with many terraces w/vines and trees. It was a very clean, cool and modern place. The walk to the meditation center was about a 10 minutes walk on a beautiful path- lots of shade, a beautiful rock garden, benches to rest under a huge Banyon tree. The path is supposed to be walked in silence.... so I skipped ahead of the kids a bit to take that feeling in.
The center itself, Matimandir, is a huge golden ball (very Epcot center-ish) with a point at the top bringing in light to a prism where it is reflected on the walls. There is a deeper meaning to each reflection point....but, I didn't take notes on that. I may have remembered, except that when I got to the center, I discovered that I couldn't enter it. It was closed for remodel. "When will it be opened?", I asked the security guard. "Six months, Maam". Drats.
Well, of course, I sat down and did the meditation that I came to do, anyway! Back at the visitor center, I did some shopping....could have done a lot more. It's probably good that the kids needed to go!
It is certainly one of my favorite adventures on this trip and points directly to the need to come to India again. I want to go inside Matimandir to meditate.
The reflection that I have on's rather interesting that this community renouncing all religion is in India- a place filled with religious history and practice so powerful that it is an intricate part of daily life. Here churches aren't important for most. Religion is practiced wherever you are. If you are Hindu (most are), there are temples everywhere, but you don't need to go to a temple and you don't enter into a religious community to offer puja....there doesn't have to be a service and other's an innate part of each individual.
In Auroville, the inhabitants renounce all religion, but it feels no different. It's an extremely spiritual place. It's just practiced in a different way. What I've been surprised by is that regardless of each person's religious beliefs, the culture here really respects all religion and is quite open and welcoming to anyone- even a Western female tourist. Peace-W:) Posted by A Reedy Adventure at 8:00 PM

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