Arun Vaidya

Multiplicity of the Oneness is an intriguing spiritual reality. The Indian scriptures have frequently propounded that He is everything and that everything is He. In Oneness, being different is an accentuation of diversity in harmony expressing and seeking delight of many-fold manifestation. In the context of this spiritual truth, it is not so surprising that the Mother’s two creations – Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville both have Her dream as the inspirational genesis. It was in 1954 that the Mother openly talked about Sri Aurobindo Ashram as Her dream:

“There should be somewhere upon earth a place that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all human beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world, obeying one single authority, that of the supreme Truth; a place of peace, concord, harmony, where all the fighting instincts of man would be used exclusively to conquer the causes of his suffering and misery, to surmount his weakness and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities; a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the seeking for pleasures and material enjoyments.

In this place, children would be able to grow and develop integrally without losing contact with their soul. Education would be given, not with a view to passing examinations and getting certificates and posts, but for enriching the existing faculties and bringing forth new ones. In this place, titles and positions would be supplanted by opportunities to serve and organize. The needs of the body will be provided for equally in the case of each and everyone. In the general organisation intellectual, moral and spiritual superiority will find expression not in the enhancement of the pleasures and powers of life but in the increase of duties and responsibilities.

Artistic beauty in all forms, painting, sculpture, music, literature, will be available equally to all, the opportunity to share in the joys they bring being limited solely by each one’s capacities and not by social or financial position. For in this ideal place money would be no more the sovereign lord. Individual merit will have a greater importance than the value due to material wealth and social position. Work would not be there as the means of gaining one’s livelihood, it would be the means whereby to express oneself, develop one’s capacities and possibilities, while doing at the same time service to the whole group, which on its side would provide for each one’s subsistence and for the field of his work. In brief, it would be a place where the relations among human beings, usually based almost exclusively upon competition and strife, would be replaced by relations of emulation for doing better, for collaboration, relations of real brotherhood.

The earth is certainly not ready to realise 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 seeking to do at the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo on a small scale, in proportion to our modest means. The achievement is indeed far from being perfect but 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.” 1

To create a platform for the Truth Consciousness seeking to manifest in the world, first the Ashram was formed. It provided diverse elements of mankind for the march of transformation of collective consciousness and to play the pivotal role as a laboratory of mankind’s spiritualization with the intense practice of Integral Yoga.

Integral Yoga is also the “Purna Yoga” – the Complete Yoga because of its all-encompassing objectives. Sri Aurobindo had asserted that, “By this Yoga we not only seek the Infinite, but we call upon the Infinite to unfold in human life.” 2 Sri Aurobindo had cautioned his disciples, “The knowledge of God is not to be gained by weighing the feeble argument of reason for or against his existence; it is to be gained only by self-transcending and absolute consecration, aspiration and experience. Nor does that experience proceed by anything like rational scientific experiment or rational philosophic thinking.” 3 He had clearly demarcated the path required for us to follow: “A divine life upon earth, the ideal we have placed before us, can only come about by a spiritual change of our being and a radical and fundamental change, an evolution or revolution of our nature. The embodied being upon earth would have to rise out of the domination over it of its veils of mind, life and body into the full consciousness and possession of its spiritual reality, and its nature also would have to be lifted out of the consciousness and power of consciousness proper to a mental, vital and physical being into the greater consciousness and greater power of being and the larger and freer life of the spirit.” 4 For a better understanding and pursuit of such an all-encompassing unique and pioneering spiritual endeavor, one needs to follow the Sunlit Path charted by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. However, there is a categorical pre-requirement of purity of soul to be the seeker of the Truth:

“Yes, there are happy ways near to God’s sun;
But few are they who tread the sunlit path;
Only the pure in soul can walk in light.” 5

Sri Aurobindo provided the contextual ideal of human unity and its spiritual relevance is increasingly becoming urgent:

“A spiritual religion of humanity is the hope of the future. By this is not meant what is ordinarily called a universal religion, a system, a thing of creed and intellectual belief and dogma and outward rite. Mankind has tried unity by that means; it has failed and deserved to fail, because there can be no universal religious system, one in mental creed and vital form. The inner spirit is indeed one, but more than any other the spiritual life insists on freedom and variation in its self-expression and means of development. A religion of humanity means the growing realisation that there is a secret Spirit, a divine Reality, in which we are all one, that humanity is its highest present vehicle on earth, that the human race and the human being are the means by which it will progressively reveal itself here. … There must be the realisation by the individual that only in the life of his fellow-men is his own life complete. There must be the realisation by the [human] race that only on the free and full life of the individual can its own perfection and permanent happiness be founded. … In this direction lies the eventual road. No doubt, if this is only an idea like the rest, it will go the way of all ideas. But if it is at all a truth of our being, then it must be the truth to which all is moving and in it must be found the means of a fundamental, an inner, a complete, a real human unity which would be the one secure base of a unification of human life. A spiritual oneness which would create a psychological oneness not dependent upon any intellectual or outward uniformity and compel a oneness of life not bound up with its mechanical means of unification, but ready always to enrich its secure unity by a free inner variation and a freely varied outer self-expression, this would be the basis for a higher type of human existence.” 6

The Mother was also very emphatic about the importance of human unity for the human race to collectively seek the Supramental Truth and she had categorically expressed in Bulletin of Physical Education, 
“… The most important [idea] one is that the unity of the human race can be achieved neither through uniformity nor through domination and subjection. A synthetic organisation of all nations, each one occupying its own place in accordance with its own genius and the role it has to play in the whole, can alone effect a comprehensive and progressive unification which may have some chance of enduring. And if the synthesis is to be a living thing, the grouping should be done around a central idea as high and wide as possible, and in which all tendencies, even the most contradictory, would find their respective places. That idea is to give man the conditions of life necessary for preparing him to manifest the new force that will create the race of tomorrow.

All urges of rivalry, all struggles for precedence and dominion should disappear giving place to a will for harmonious organisation, for clear-sighted and effective collaboration. …”

The Mother founded Auroville on February 28, 1968 as the continuation and expansion of her objective of the Truth manifestation upon earth and the integral transformation of mankind. Under the endorsement of UNESCO, 121 countries and the States of India participated in its inauguration. Each of them sent its soil with a pair of young woman and man as its representatives to put its soil in an urn in the amphitheatre that is in front of the Matrimandir as a symbol of human unity on a global scale.

Auroville is the attempt towards collective realisation. It is a chosen site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual human unity among all men of goodwill who thirst for progress and aspire to a higher and truer life. It is not for comfort and satisfaction of desires that one comes to Auroville; it is for growth of consciousness and consecration to the Truth that has to be realised. It is an ideal example of collective workings of designated representatives to manage a centralized shared economy for the progress and to hasten the growth of the collective and individual consciousness aspiring to manifest unity, mutuality and harmony at all levels. It is envisioned that with sincere adherence to these guiding principles, Auroville economics will be conducive in offering to all Aurovilians the joy of work and the space for inner growth according to their innate nature and aspirations for a simple, enriched and beautiful life.

The Darshan Day message of February 21, 2006 – The Mother’s Birthday is

“A spirit of its celestial source aware
Translating heaven into a human shape
Descended into earth’s imperfect mould …
She took again her divine unfinished task:
Survivor of death and the aeonic years,
Once more with her fathomless heart she fronted Time.” 7

The statement … “Once more with her fathomless heart she fronted Time” … is at once reassuring and poignant. It is a reminder of the repeated shortcomings of the mankind and an assurance that in spite of that the Divine does not abandon us! May be we could strive a little more and a little harder with sincerity and persistency to be deserving of the Grace and progressively minimize the constant need of it due to our ceaseless negligence and unabated faults. Yes, we all do need to learn from the lessons of the past:

In 1369 B. C., Pharaoh Akhnaton and his Queen Nefertiti built the new capital of Egypt called Amarna in response to their spiritual convictions and ushered in the era of monotheism in a time of deeply entrenched polytheism. They were the daring pioneer of the new religion to dispense with the partial truth aspects of polytheism that was preventing the due recognition and acceptance of the unalloyed Truth – Ra – Sun – Light. This is what the Supramental Truth Consciousness of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga is focusing on! 
In the center of this city, a temple was built in reverence the unalloyed Truth – Ra – Sun – Light, which is how the Matrimandir at Auroville is envision to be! The following charter of Amarna is so much comparable to Auroville’s:

“Here is the place which belongs to no prince, to no god.
No one owns it.
Here is a place for all of us …
The earth will find joy in it.
Here the hearts will be happy.”

In 1347 B.C., the power shifted to the general Horemheb and he obliterated Amarna with vengeance to wipe out any of its ideals!

As the divine Providence would have it, the representatives of Auroville, with selective extractions and alterations of some texts chose the Mother’s Dream expressed in connection with Sri Aurobindo Ashram as the Mother’s dream for Auroville:

“There should be somewhere upon earth a place that no nation could claim as its own, a place 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 weakness and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities; a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the seeking for pleasures and material enjoyments.

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 for enriching the existing faculties and bringing forth new ones. In this place, titles and positions would be replaced by opportunities to serve and organize; 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 accessibility 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 upon competition and strife, would be replaced by relations of emulation in doing well, of collaboration, and real brotherhood.” 8

Maybe the first step of unity of humanity begins with the spiritual union of the two creations of the Mother: Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville where the Dream of the Mother finds its roots. In 1347 B.C., Akhnaton’s ideal was willfully destroyed and his dream city was reduced to rubble by an army general who revived and reverted to the past traditions. One of the four “Matter Forces” as characterized by Sri Aurobindo — Affinity to the Laws of Past (Dragon) prevailed once again! The question remains, would we at this time rise above our petty selves and meet the challenge of the time to be worthy of the “Hour of the God”? Would the silent majority remain silent for ever in the cozy comfort of as is – this time the Eternal Inertia (Rock), one of the four “Matter Forces” as characterized by Sri Aurobindo or would it actively invoke the “Mother of Radiance” and seek transformation of itself and collective consciousness to collaborate and hasten the success of the divine plan? “You say Auroville is a dream. Yes, it is a ‘dream’ of the Lord and generally these ‘dreams’ turn out to be true – much more than the human so-called realities.” 9

A human frailty may surface here and there in this grand transformational process, creating its own challenges and delaying the rate of spiritual progress. But the march continues steadily even if slowly, towards the objective of unification of spirit and its realisation in collective endeavors and community dwelling for the harmony to prevail. After all, the direct and indirect participants of Auroville do represent humanity at large, which is even now far from being perfect and still struggling to establish harmony within to manifest it in the collective domain. If humanity were more open to the Divine Consciousness, more willing to adhere to the principles of Integral Yoga, and more ready and willing to follow the light of the Supramental Truth then maybe all the direct and indirect participants as affiliates, associates and well-wishers of Auroville would be better instruments and workers of the Divine. If it were the case then the Auroville work could have progressed faster; and time, talent, and resources deployed would have found a greater level of success in reflecting the manifestation of Bliss, Beauty, and Truth. Auroville is a great reminder that the fault lies not with the circumstances and somewhere outside but within all of us around the world. Auroville is the greatest opportunity for the human spirit to collectively progress and aspire for the divine Truth. It provides an uncommon opportunity to experience that aspiration; and above all, it demonstrates the descent and functioning of the Supreme’s light to enable us to work collectively to collaborate and to live collectively in harmony with accentuated individuality. Auroville still remains the vibrant symbol of mankind’s hope and aspiration for the future. All the participants and supporters of Auroville in their respective roles from around the world are the harbingers of the new dawn of our civilisation.

The Mother had emphasized several times that the Matrimandir (literally, Temple of the Mother– the central globe structure with a meditation hall) is the soul of Auroville in the symbolic spiritual sense. Ananda Reddy’s interpretation of Matrimandir foundation stone is very insightful:

“What astounds me, thinking philosophically, is that the Mother has given Matrimandir the foundation of AUM, chiseled in hard granite, with her name signed underneath. For no other building has the Mother given AUM for its foundation. In one of her writings, she gave the significance of AUM as “the signature of the Lord”. What does it mean? The scriptures say that from AUM the world was created. We have here a second AUM in Matter, in the foundation of the Matrimandir – which itself is the symbol of the Supramental action of the world. That places the true importance of the Matrimandir not only in the presence of the Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s symbols and of the crystal, but deep in its very foundation. It turns Matrimandir literally into the cradle of a New Creation, from Matter upwards, just as the first one had been from the Spirit downwards.” 10

The Mother’s Christmas message of 1972 is for the world at large but it is so relevant to all those involved with Auroville:

“We want to show to the world
that man can become a true
servitor of the Divine.
Who will collaborate in all sincerity?”11

Published in Mother India, June 2007, pp 440-446.


1. Bulletin of Physical Education, August, 1954, Vol. VI, No. 3, pp. 113-117, Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
2. CWSA, Vols. 23 (The Synthesis of Yoga), p. 57.
3. A Practical Guide to Integral Yoga, (Compiled Extracts), Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1973, p. 20.
4. CWSA, Vol. 13 (Essays in Philosophy and Yoga) , p. 558.
5. CWSA,, Vol. 34 (Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol), p. 448.
6. CWSA,, Vol. 25 (The Human Cycle), pp. 577-578.
7. CWSA,, Vol. 34 (Savitri — A Legend and a Symbol), p. 353.
8. Auroville—Aims and Ideals (Selections from the writings and conversations of the Mother) ,
Savitri Bhavan, Auroville, September 2005
9. Ibid, p. 11. 
10. Auroville Today, No. 143, December 2000, p. 4.
11. CWM, Vol. 15 (Words of the Mother), p. 198.