Dreams don’t die
Trees die. People die. Institutions fall. Buildings fall. Governments fall. But dreams don’t die!
I was 20-something, when I first came to Auroville on my own. At the Information Center, there was a small A5 card. Made out of handmade paper, the colour of red-earth. And screen-painted by Lumiere in gold, the outline of the urn of the Human Unity, and the Charter of Auroville: “Auroville belongs to no one in particular . . .” I stood mesmerized by that very first line–its meaning reverberating deep within my being. Later, I read, a small text by the Mother, titled “The Great Adventure”, and I knew Auroville was my Home.
(I put Auroville in italics because for me, there were always two Aurovilles, the Auroville of our dreams and the anarchic Auroville that was our physical reality. To be honest, I am periodically disenchanted with the physical Auroville, and to my friends, I used to say, I am not sure how long I will stay here but it will always be “one of my homes.”)
Even after all these years, I still get goose pimples when I hear Mother’s “A Dream” read aloud. And those lines from “A True Aurovilian” were so emancipating, so empowering, just that first clause was enough to endow life with a purpose:
The first necessity is the inner discovery in order to know what one truly is behind social, moral, cultural, racial and hereditary appearances. At the centre there is a being free, vast and knowing, who awaits our discovery and who ought to become the active centre of our being and our life in Auroville.
The “Minutes of the 57th Governing Board Meeting” and “Office Order 491 dated 15th July 2021 (read with corrigendum dated 25th October 2021)” did not have the same effect on me. I tried reading it twice.
It had the opposite effect, a shrinking, a contraction of the heart, a constriction in the throat. Hope died in my breast. Colour seemed to leach out of the sky.
Throughout the tumult of the past few days, I have been on the sidelines. But today, I finally went to the Youth Center, walked around the trees and the buildings, greeted and smiled at all whom I knew, helped two kids (of different sizes and weights) on the gigantic tree-trunk of a see-saw, and then I sat down by the embers of a dying fire, and not quite knowing why, I wept.
The Auroville of Auroville Foundation that will be superimposed on Auroville, our physical land and home, will perhaps offer free housing to its residents, an international hub for important events, wide roads to welcome humanity and VIPs in escorted cars, but ah methinks (and so many of us think) it will not offer “a space for our soul to discover itself and our spirit to flourish.” It will not give us that sense of Freedom and the right for Self-Determination, that Sri Aurobindo himself deemed as necessities for a spiritual path.
The Charter, A Dream, To be a True Aurovilian are not legal documents. The Auroville Foundation Act is. So many came when there was no Foundation Act, and yet, without any legal safeguards, they gave all they had and more, their blood and sweat and toil, freely and smilingly, purely on the basis of what the Mother said . . .it was they who showed me the way: that Auroville must be built by resources that are freely given . . .
I cannot say what will become of us in this new Auroville that is already in the making.
But I walked out of the Youth Center with a smile on my lips and my head held high, telling myself “Dreams don’t die.”