After Chennai and Mahabalipuram, we have been to Auroville.
Auroville, a couple of kms away from Pondicherry (Puducherry –most of the cities have two names as before and after independence-), is an alternative living project, open to everybody all around the world, which is founded by The Mother (Mirra Alfassa) and following her principles.
Like anybody else, who visits Auroville for the first time, we go to Visitor’s Centre first. Our exploration begins after settling in one of the guesthouses of Auroville. Population of Auroville, which is designed for 50.000 people to live in a self-sustainable way, is about 2500 at present. Because of that, settlements are dispersed and far from each other, also not completely self-sustainable yet. Both visitors and residents are riding motorbikes in Auroville, but we prefer to rent a bicycle.
At the center of the settlement, there is Matrimandir, the symbol of Auroville. To enter the building, which is designed like a huge globe, reservation is needed. It is all white inside, as it’s mostly made by using marble, and white socks are given to the visitors. At the center of the globe, meditation room stands. In the middle of the room, there is a small glass globe, in which the vision of the sky is reflected by the optical mirrors at the top of the building.
For the landscape of the garden of Matrimandir, a lot of work has done. At the center of the garden, a huge and old banyan tree exists. For us, it’s enough for meditation and simpler.
Town Hall, the governing center of Auroville, and Solar Kitchen, where the community food is prepared, are the most important common areas. But to eat in Solar Kitchen, an Aurocard is needed and to get a card, you should go to Town Center. As a big project, it functions pretty bureaucratic…
Besides yoga, Ayurveda, dance and personal development course, in which everybody can participate, it’s also possible to enjoy activities organized in Auroville for free, as a visitor.
If you want to stay for a long time and be a volunteer, there are plenty of jobs one can join in Auroville. You can go to Guest Centre, on the second floor of Solar Kitchen, and choose the work suitable for you from the list. There are some farms that provide accommodation in return of voluntary work, and those who gives just lunch. There are some places in which you can work for one day and leave, and some farms accept volunteers minimum for one month.
If you want to join Auroville and become an Aurovillian, there is a one year process… Through this period, you have to find a job and fulfill all your needs on your own, including accommodation. To become an Aurovillian, accepting the principles of Auroville* and living in harmony with it is the most important requirement. After being an Aurovillian, you can benefit from accommodation and health facilities for free, and start getting a wage in return of your service for Auroville.
All the money earned by the enterprises belongs to Auroville is collected and used to sustain and develop Auroville. The wages of Aurovillians are paid this way also…
Auroville, half of which is populated by non-Indians (mostly Europeans), feels like a place in India but it is far different from India. It potential is seen in the villages around it. The way of living in villages is dramatically changed.
After three days we spent by exploring Auroville, we go to a place out of the settlement of Auroville, founded by Aviram and Yorit Rozin; to work voluntarily in a reforestation project and to experience the community life in Sadhana Forest.
*Principles of Auroville:
- Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville, one must be the willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
- Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
- 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.
- Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.