Another letter sent to the chairman of the Governing Board following the meeting of Nov. 7th [read the event]
Since the beginning of the present crisis in Auroville I have not been one to speak out much.
I have, however, listened, deeply and attentively, to the myriad of voices, inner and outer, that have expressed thoughts, ideas, and much pain resulting from the turmoil we have faced within our community of late.
I have agreed with some, disagreed with others, but only since attending your speech at the Unity Pavilion last week, have I felt a clear need to speak out and express the voice from within. So at the outset, I would like to thank you for being the catalyst for this – for enabling my voice to express itself.
It was surprising and painful for me to witness the one-sidedness of the gathering last week.
As a community we were looking forward to an exchange – to an open listening from all parties and a genuine willingness to seek solutions together, from an understanding that all members of our community potentially have solutions to offer and ideas to express.
However what emerged was a one-sided delivery, a little like a school-master presiding over his unruly and disobedient students who needed scolding and “pulling up by the socks”.
I left the meeting disappointed and somewhat disillusioned, as did many others, I believe.
Since the meeting, I have re-read the transcript of your speech and allowed my thoughts and ideas to stew within my being, until this moment when I bring myself to express them in the written form.
While I do see the truth in certain of the sentiments you have expressed, I feel a strong adversity to others.
Yes, Auroville is imperfect.
Yes, as a community we still have a long way to go to realise Mother’s dream and the ideals for Auroville.
Yes, there are certain elements within the community which are not in line with these ideals, yet as a community attempting to realise a divine anarchy, I believe there are forces and divine protections which are dealing with these elements and guiding them towards a reconciliation with the true ideals of Auroville.
This requires trust in the process. And these processes need time and patience. They cannot be forced or coerced.
This is not in the spirit of Auroville.
I think what stood out for me most in your address was the expression of a differentiation between the spiritual and the material.
I do not see these as being separate in Auroville.
As has already been expressed by several others who have written to you, many of us have come to Auroville and invested all of our material wealth to enable us to live a life focussed on deepening of the consciousness and knowing our inner selves towards a realisation of human unity.
However, Sri Aurobindo has not asked of us to explore this deepening of consciousness by retreating to a cave and relinquishing all that is material.
“All life is yoga” : We practice the yoga in all we do, we attempt to bring consciousness into every action we take.
Not all Aurovillians have an income from external sources which can enable them to spend hours a day meditating at the Matrimandir.
Some have needed to take up commercial activities within Auroville in order to sustain themselves here and enable the continuation of their spiritual work for and within the community.
However, I truly believe that many of these so-called “commercial activities” are a further expression of the spiritual in the material: conscious creations created by Aurovillians who use this process of creating commodities as a vehicle for furthering their inner growth, while at the same time generating the means to enable their continued presence in Auroville.
I found myself reacting to your words scorning those “doing business in Auroville” and claiming that the Matrimandir has become a tourist spot.
As an Aurovillian for the past 19 years, I have been giving most of my time to working with the children of Auroville.
I have invested all my material means into a home where my family can live.
A home for Auroville.
My life is a fine balance of the spiritual joined with the material. I see opportunities for inner growth in all aspects of my day, not only in the moments of concentration in the Matrimandir (which are, unfortunately not as many as I would like as apart from all the time invested in my work with children, I also run a small bakery in order to sustain my family financially).
I feel your address to us, the RA of Auroville, did not express a true seeing.
It did not see us as a community striving to bring down into reality the beautiful and challenging task that has been set for us by Mother in her dream and in the charter of Auroville.
It did not acknowledge the incredible work that has been done and the good-will that is present as we aspire, work, stumble, get up and try again to manifest what has never been done before.
There are many elements of our functioning that can be improved. Many of us acknowledge that the current crisis has been a wake-up call to re-organise, reinvest ourselves and work harder. But in order to continue to do so, we need to be united. We need a GB that can support us in our work and acknowledge this good-will, not scorn us for not being spiritual enough and having to make money to feed our children.
At the end of your address you requested that we, the Aurovillians, write to you and make recommendations for the way forward.
I believe our community is rich with a plethora of practical ideas that can be implemented in order to enable the progress and flourishing of our community on all levels. However, I believe that the platform, the underlying basis for these suggestions, needs to be support, understanding, collaboration- a platform of upholding one another, not putting each other down and scorning.
If our community is to continue to develop a system of divine anarchy, of self- and participatory governance, there needs to be collaboration and mutual support between the 3 bodies making up this unique system – the RA, the GB and the IAC.
With this division between the 3, how can creative ideas be shared and how can harmony be reinstalled in Auroville?
We are here to create something new.
Something that has never been attempted before. Something inspiring and beautiful.
None of this can manifest out of disharmony, division, and lack of trust.
The fear-based, scorning, scolding and threatening approach that many experienced through your address can yield none of the values that Auroville is here to manifest.
I ask for your faith and support that Auroville is indeed guided by a higher power and the manifestation of the dream can only happen when we surrender to this, not when control is exerted through threats and scorn.
In trust, and love.
With care and gratitude