The Auroville Foundation Act as seen by Kireet Joshi

Dec 19, 2021 | Organisation & governance

“This particular act has been so designed that even as it is, whatever it is, you have complete freedom to develop Auroville according to the Charter of Auroville, there’s nobody who can prevent you, as long as you say and you can show that you want nothing but the Charter of Auroville. You have complete freedom.

And how is this been designed? There are three provisions in the Act. We say there will be a governing body, there will be an international Advisory Council, and there will be a Residents Assembly and all the three are equal authorities. And what will be the relationship between these three bodies? The relationship is of mutuality and this word ‘mutuality’ is very important.

The true soul experience is an experience of mutuality. Egoistic experience is an experience which wants to throw away everybody else, egoistically, as if we have nothing to do with anybody else. Even if you try to do it, it is impossible. In this world, as Sri Aurobindo says, there are always three terms of existence: the individual, the group in which he lives, and largest group which is humanity as a whole. And nobody can get rid of these three terms. The world cannot get rid of groups and the individuals, individual cannot give up group or their largest group, and no group can exist without a membership of individuals and the largest group around. The three are inter related. There is a spiritual unity of the three, individual, groups and the largest group.

Therefore, if you are really spiritually governed, you will see mutuality of the three. It is in mutuality of the three but it depends how you develop this mutuality. And Sri Aurobindo says “by no mechanical law can you attain to this mutuality”. It is only when you develop true brotherhood and you exercise true brotherhood that this mutuality can be experienced and can be realised. Now, this Auroville Act has been so enacted that, whether you like it or not, you are bound to develop brotherhood. It’s a kind of a gift. This act is of such a nature that you are bound, even if you want to throw away brotherhood, you are bound to have it, it’s like a spiritual compulsion. It is laid down that Auroville will be organised by the people of Auroville. Secondly that the freedom of individuals in Auroville, as long as they develop according to the Charter, nobody can infringe it, not even Governing Board. Governing Board, of course, has the power of control, supervision, to see that everything is run smoothly and, particularly, that it is bound to promote the ideals of Auroville. This fundamental heavy responsibility assigned to it ensure that the aims of the Charter are fully promoted and implemented.

The most important function of the International Advisory Council is to advise and to make sure that the freedom of the members of Auroville is guaranteed. This is the function of the Advisory Council. If the Governing Board takes any arbitrary action by which the freedom of Auroville is infringed, if you can prove that this action infringes the freedom of Auroville to promote the Charter of Auroville, it can be knocked downed. So you can see the mutuality. The Governing Board has to salute the Residents Assembly, has to give assurance to the Advisory Council that its actions are not arbitrary, Residents Assembly has to salute the Governing Board—nothing wrong in saluting anybody. This is the called mutuality, saluting each other is a fundamental law of life. To egoism, this kind of a salute is very difficult to digest. Why should I salute anybody in the world? But so long as we live in that consciousness, we are not acting according to the Charter of Auroville.”

From a talk given in Auroville on the 19th July 2003

Olivier