This Experimental Town Doesn’t Belong To Anybody And Is Trying To Unite Mankind
In a materialistic and controlled society like ours, there is an inherent desire to control and own everything.
There is freedom of speech and democracy in 167 countries in the world, yet there is a divide in thoughts and how we live collectively. The truth is our world as we once knew, doesn’t exist. We have evolved but so have our needs and our desires for worldly pleasures. Greedy personal agendas, political motives, being slaves to corporate gluttony and the government trying to control and watch every move has communally done more damage than we could have ever imagined. But there’s a tiny population that is trying to create an alternative society. This group believes in giving their energy to something higher than themselves and trust that that is the aim of human life. In order to do so this community has gone back to the basics and is in the process of recreating a new world in their humble attempt to reunite and save humanity.
Experiment of human unity
Auroville is a 46 year old experimental town located in Pondicherry, India. The people in this town have been attempting to prove a simple theory that unity, conscious awareness and the strength of our interconnection is the way forward to making monumental strides in creating a better life for humanity on Earth.
The town is the plantation and dream of Sri Aurobindo, a philosopher and a yogi and a French poet, Mirra Alfassa.
Aurobindo was a revolutionary, a predecessor to Mahatma Gandhi. During his fight for India’s independence from the British rule, he was arrested. In his time of solitude, he created and refined a process called ‘Integral yoga’. It focuses on involution which precedes evolution, where a being is meant to transform rather than transcend life.
Aurobindo later moved to southern India and became a spiritual reformer, commencing his dreams on human progress and spiritual evolution. Mirra Alfassa met him on his spiritual retreat and on realisation of their combined vision for a better world, she stayed back. Together they spent their lives practicing and teaching a life meant to realise divine consciousness on Earth.
After Aurobindo's death, Alfassa took it upon herself to build a beautiful place on Earth so people of different diversities could live as a united family.
The interesting thing is this experimental township doesn't belong to anybody, no government, no country and is open to everyone.
The concept was put before the Government of India, who not only backed it but took it to UNESCO who passed a unanimous motion calling the Auroville, a mission of importance to the future of humanity.
In 1968, the message was spread and people had to fill application forms to be part of the community. Only people with a similar mindset and unique skills were initially invited to live.
People from all over the world came to celebrate the inauguration of Auroville. As part of the celebration, one man and one woman from 120 nations brought samples of their native soil and combined them in the earn in the centre of the amphitheatre.
People from all walks of life gave up their materialistic dreams and careers to recreate a better life. When money became available Alfassa brought chunks of land around a lone Banyan tree on a barren plateau and later she decided that the Banyan tree, which was the only tree in the area, would be considered the centre of this town.
Initially the land they bought was very harsh, making it incredibly hard for habitation and growing food but the sense of a big adventure kept the townspeople going. The diligent process and repeated labour led to the greening of the environment and they were successfully able to convert a dry and barren flat terrain into an oasis of beauty.
In the last forty something years, the tenacity of the people in this community has transformed the town into a place which today comprises of schools, residential buildings and businesses. The land was small; the resources were limited, but the people of Auroville made it possible for 50000 people to live in a land of 5km without compromising on the quality of life. The inhabitants built everything from scratch and introduced education and businesses to improve finances so they could improve things in the town. They incorporated all the good aspects of living including: organic farming, water management and use of renewable energy. The township built by French architect Roger Anger consisted of various zones which include: industrial, residential, international and a peace zone which is the matrimandir complex.
“The matrimandir is the soul of auroville. Let the matrimandir be the living symbol of aurville’s aspiration for the divine.” – Mirra Alfassa
One of the key things Alfassa wanted when she started Matrimandir was a project that would unite people so that they could build it together. Alfassa also gave the townsfolk a charter which believes in unending education from the womb to tomb.
Teachers in Auroville encourage the students to awaken the powers and skills that sleep within. They understand that there are domains of knowledge beyond the mind, which all have an equal importance. Because this is such a unique approach towards education, the possibilities are many which enables them to develop their unique personality and skills.
According to the people of the town unending education, constant progress gives birth to a youth that never ages.
At present, Auroville employs thousands of people from neighbouring villages and aids towards their education and development.
Everything is self made. They have their own design centre, organic farms, press, research hubs and schools.
For the people of Auroville, the reward is the desire for a meaningful life. Their life is dedicated to a purpose. Every member of the town believes in an expression of higher consciousness where people organise themselves spontaneously without fixed rules and laws, without an army or police. It is free society, free to make mistakes and free to find solutions.
Auroville’s role is also to be somewhere to strongly be a model of how humanity can live together, utilise the spaces, material resources and self governance.
Although people in Auroville think that coming into this is not an easy life; it means coming to a gigantic effort for progress. Because everyone has their own experience or ideal of how Auroville should be, conflict resolution is monumental in this community. But their ultimate mission is if they can continue to achieve unity in the microcosm of the world, then it would be an exemplary example to the outside world.
It is great to see that amidst global, political, biological, environmental and personal crisis, there is a coming of a new consciousness. As a society we are still in the process of discovering our needs but the truth is we can live with much less. When we discover this process, we won’t miss or need them. This is when we will learn to produce more meaning and less objects and the only way that is possible is by living a full and abundant life. Maybe then the concept of no money and no governance could arrive. Even though we are very far from this collective awakening, this is a start. For now, it’s not about succeeding but about creating a path.
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