Auroville, the Divine’s Dream
“There should be somewhere on earth a place which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of goodwill who have a sincere aspiration could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme Truth; a place of peace, concord and harmony where all the fighting instincts of man would be used exclusively to conquer the causes of his sufferings and miseries, to surmount his weaknesses and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities; a place where the needs of the spirit and the concern for progress would take precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the search for pleasure and material enjoyment.
In this place, children would be able to grow and develop integrally without losing contact with their souls; education would be given not for passing examinations or obtaining certificates and posts but to enrich existing faculties and bring forth new ones. In this place, titles and positions would be replaced by opportunities to serve and organise; the bodily needs of each one would be equally provided for, and intellectual, moral and spiritual superiority would be expressed in the general organisation not by an increase in the pleasures and powers of life but by increased duties and responsibilities.
Beauty in all its artistic forms, painting, sculpture, music, literature, would be equally accessible to all; the ability to share in the joy it brings would be limited only by the capacities of each one and not by social or financial position.
For in this ideal place money would no longer be the sovereign lord; individual worth would have a far greater importance than that of material wealth and social standing. There, work would not be a way to earn one’s living but a way to express oneself and to develop one’s capacities and possibilities while being of service to the community as a whole, which, for its own part, would provide for each individual’s subsistence and sphere of action.
In short, it would be a place where human relationships, which are normally based almost exclusively on competition and strife, would be replaced by relationships of emulation in doing well, of collaboration and real brotherhood.
The earth is certainly not ready to realize such an ideal, for mankind does not yet possess the necessary knowledge to understand and accept it nor the indispensable conscious force to execute it. That is why I call it a dream. Yet, this dream is on the way of becoming a reality. That is exactly what we are doing on a small scale, in proportion to our modest means. The achievement is indeed far from being perfect, it is progressive; little by little we advance towards our goal, which, we hope, one day we shall be able to hold before the world as a practical and effective means of coming out of the present chaos in order to be born into a more true, more harmonious new life.~ The Mother, CWM, 12: 93
“All those who wish to live and work at Auroville must have an integral goodwill, a constant aspiration to know the Truth and to submit to it, enough plasticity to confront the exigencies of work and an endless will to progress so as to move forward towards the ultimate Truth.”~ The Mother, CWM, 13: 202
“Earth needs a place where men can live away from all national rivalries, social conventions, self-contradictory moralities and contending religions; a place where human beings, freed from all slavery to the past, can devote themselves wholly to the discovery and practice of the Divine Consciousness that is seeking to manifest.~ The Mother, CWM, 13: 202
Auroville wants to be this place and offers itself to all who aspire to live the Truth of tomorrow.“
28 February 1968 – Inauguration of Auroville
At 10:30 AM, the Mother’s voice came live via All India Radio during the inauguration ceremony as She read the Auroville Charter (click here to listen to a recording of the message).
“Greetings from Auroville to all men of goodwill.
“Are invited to Auroville all those who thirst for progress and aspire to a higher and truer life.”
1) Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
2) Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
3) Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realisations.
4) Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by over 5000 people assembled at what is now known as the Ampitheatre. Some soil from Sri Aurobindo’s Samadhi and a hand-written note by the Mother giving the Auroville charter were placed in an urn, a marble clad structure in the shape of a lotus bud located at the center of the ampitheatre. Youth representing 124 different nations and 23 Indian states deposited a handful of their native soil into the same urn, sending a powerful message and a promise.
Matrimandir – the Soul of Auroville
In June of 1965, the Mother revealed to a few disciples about her vision of a beautiful pavilion at the center of Auroville and said that this would be the pavilion of the Mother, “the true Mother, the principle of the Mother.” She named it Matrimandir.
“The Matrimandir wants to be the symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection. Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive human unity.~ The Mother, CWM, 13: 223
“The Matrimandir wants to be the symbol of the Universal Mother according to Sri Aurobindo’s teaching.
The Matrimandir will be the soul of Auroville.
The sooner the soul is there, the better it will be for everybody and especially for the Aurovillians.”
On August 14, 1970 a dedication ceremony for the Matrimandir took place around a small pond near the banyan tree. The Mother gave the following message on the occasion of the laying of the Matrimandir foundation-stone:
“Let the Matrimandir be the living symbol of Auroville’s aspiration for the Divine.”~ CWM, 13: 223
“Lay all on her; she is the cause of all.”
The Matrimandir has four entrances, each corresponding to the four aspects of the Mother. These are represented by different geometrical shapes, yantras, at each of the entrances.
North: Mahakali (Strength): Square
South: Maheshwari (Wisdom): Hexagon
East: Mahalakshmi (Harmony): Circle
West: Mahasaraswati (Perfection): Triangle
“Four great Aspects of the Mother, four of her leading Powers and Personalities have stood in front in her guidance of this universe and in her dealings with the terrestrial play. One is her personality of calm wideness and comprehending wisdom and tranquil benignity and inexhaustible compassion and sovereign and surpassing majesty and all-ruling greatness. Another embodies her power of splendid strength and irresistible passion, her warrior mood, her overwhelming will, her impetuous swiftness and world-shaking force. A third is vivid and sweet and wonderful with her deep secret of beauty and harmony and ﬁne rhythm, her intricate and subtle opulence, her compelling attraction and captivating grace. The fourth is equipped with her close and profound capacity of intimate knowledge and careful ﬂawless work and quiet and exact perfection in all things. Wisdom, Strength, Harmony, Perfection are their several attributes and it is these powers that they bring with them into the world, manifest in a human disguise in their Vibhutis and shall found in the divine degree of their ascension in those who can open their earthly nature to the direct and living inﬂuence of the Mother. To the four we give the four great names, Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati.”~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, 32: 17-18
The spherical structure of Matrimandir is supported by four foundation pillars. At the beginning of the construction of these four pillars the Mother had given a beautiful message:
“Let Auroville be the symbol of a progressive Unity.~ The Mother, CWM, 13: 226
And the best way to realise this is a unity of aspiration towards the Divine Perfection in work and in feeling, in a consecration of the entire life.” (21 February 1972)
November 17th, 1973, 7:25 PM: The date and time chosen by the Divine Mother to leave her physical form. One of the clocks in the Ashram school stopped at 7:25 PM. The last bit of small concrete work required to finish the last small part of the fourth pillar of the Matrimandir, the part on which the whole spherical structure would rest, was finished at that exact moment: 7:25 p.m.
“Matrimandir”―which I always see as a very big room, absolutely bare, receiving a light that comes from above, arranged in such a way that the light from above would be concentrated on one place where there would be… whatever we want to put as the centre of the city. At first, we had thought of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol, but we can put whatever we want. Like that, with a ray of light striking it all the time, which turns, turns, turns… with the sun, you understand. If that is properly done, it will be very good. And then underneath, so that people can sit and meditate, or simply rest, nothing, nothing, except something comfortable underneath so that they can sit without getting tired, probably with some pillars, which would serve as back-rests at the same time. Something like that. And that is what I always see. And the room should be high, so that the sun can enter as a ray, according to the time of day, and strike the centre which will be there. If that is done, it will be very good.”~ The Mother, CWM, 13: 277
The pristine white inner chamber of the Matrimandir is a place for silent concentration. There is a huge crystal ball in its middle, resting on Sri Aurobindo’s symbol, on which the concentrated light beam from the roof gets focused. This light is the only source of illumination during the concentration when all the artificial sources of light are turned off. There are no images, no flower offerings of any kind, no set practice of any kind.
“No ﬁxed meditations, none of all that, but they must stay there in silence, in silence and concentration.”~ The Mother, CWM, 13: 285
Located beneath the Matrimandir is a beautiful, serene lotus pond, another place for meditating in silence. At the center of this pond is another crystal on which the light beam passing through the crystal from the inner chamber gets concentrated and is then dispersed all around. A perfect representation of the descent of Light and Grace from the above into the depths of the matter, and for transforming earthly life into the Life Divine. The white marble lotus flower surrounding the crystal represents Aditi, the Divine Mother because only through Her such a transformation will happen. Through the petals of this flower a small volume of water flows constantly, representing the manifestation.
The cool and calming ambiance of this space is conducive for entering into silence, for meditating on the Savitri, “the Divine Word, daughter of the Sun, goddess of the supreme Truth” (Sri Aurobindo, Savitri)
“When superman is born as Nature’s king~ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, 34: 708-709
His presence shall transfigure Matter’s world:
He shall light up Truth’s fire in Nature’s night,
He shall lay upon the earth Truth’s greater law;
Man too shall turn towards the Spirit’s call.
Awake to his hidden possibility,
Awake to all that slept within his heart
And all that Nature meant when earth was formed
And the Spirit made this ignorant world his home,
He shall aspire to Truth and God and Bliss.
Interpreter of a diviner law
And instrument of a supreme design,
The higher kind shall lean to lift up man.
Man shall desire to climb to his own heights.
The truth above shall wake a nether truth,
Even the dumb earth become a sentient force.
The Spirit’s tops and Nature’s base shall draw
Near to the secret of their separate truth
And know each other as one deity.
The Spirit shall look out through Matter’s gaze
And Matter shall reveal the Spirit’s face.
Then man and superman shall be at one
And all the earth become a single life.“