About me & Auroville
‘In 1968, as a young adult, I discovered my religion wasn’t enough anymore. The inner meaning and purpose of Life in the physical world couldn’t be just to go back to a Paradise (or a Nirvana) in a non-physical reality, however wonderfully divine it would be. Original sin (or illusory Maya) was just not a positive enough reason for finding myself in that body of mine, trying to make sense of what was going on down here and what was Life about. There simply had to be something more to it – but what?…
I was contemplating to quit Life altogether, as the ultimate act of protest and inner freedom, when the divine Grace, through a most extraordinary book, ‘The Life Divine’ by Sri Aurobindo, introduced me in 1971 to another way of looking at it, which included not only the Evolution scientists tell us about, but an Evolution revealed as actually spiritual too. The real aim of it all, what our souls are volunteering for when we incarnate, lifetime after lifetime, was not escaping this world, but progressively transforming it, by the very inner power of the Spirit which is in ourselves and in everything else too. The time had come actually for a new step in terrestrial evolution, which would enable us to realize most of our ‘utopian’ ideals and gradually what could be truly called a ‘life divine’, right here on Earth.
That wonderful, capital information about an actually spiritual and still continuing Evolution changed everything for me. My whole life became ever increasingly a constant process of conscious evolution.
In 1972 I went to India in order to join Auroville, the UNESCO-backed international township developing near Pondicherry, founded in 1968 by The Mother, spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo: conceived of as a living laboratory for Humanity as a whole, this experiment was meant to explore on a collective scale all the inner and outer ways of living which may help a conscious evolution of the individuals, and so, would also help a new, truer kind of society to emerge.
The photo above is of the white marble-mosaic clad urn that stands at the centre of Auroville along with the Banyan Tree and now also the Inner Concentration Hall called ‘Matrimandir’. In that hollow Urn, on the Foundation Day of Auroville (February 28th, 1968), was placed first the silver tube containing the Charter of Auroville, handwritten by the Mother; then some sand from Sri Aurobindo’s ‘samadhi’; then all the handfuls of earth brought from their respective lands by a young girl and boy representing each country that is part of UNESCO; and finally a handful of red laterite from Auroville’s arid plateau itself. Then the Urn was sealed, keeping its highly charged contents protected and quietly emanating for the years to come their call for Humanity’s Unity.
A young Certfified Teacher in the Classics, in 1972 I was most welcome in the new-born Auroville schools, but for teaching simply the French language.
Soon the construction of the Matrimandir was what I thought more important so it is there that I started working next; and yet at the same time, as a strong inspiration for that kept coming to me, I went on creating materials for introducing particularly children to that wonderful evolutive vision which had made life at last meaningful and interesting for me. This activity is still very much part of the research work I now do since 1984 in the context of the ‘Laboratory of Evolution’, a Centre for Research, Documentation and Teaching about Evolution and its corollary, Human Unity, that I was led to found at that time in Auroville and have been heading since then. There is a reliable little team of other Aurovilians looking after the Specialized Library which is taking up most of the space in the small building we have as our still temporary space for this Centre. Thanks to the presence there of the Library Team, I can myself stay at home for my research, writing and teaching activities, an arrangement that allows me to also help in running the Auroville community where I live.
That settlement on the beach is one that has a welcoming function for the Aurovilians and Guests from the other parts of Auroville, and I like to be part of this welcoming role, particularly at our little Community Kitchen, for the ‘Early Breakfast’ and the ‘Simple Dinners’ I have been organizing there. I am also receiving the Guests who come to stay in our small or big Guest-Huts built of natural local materials, most fitting in this natural environment.
Add to all these outer activities this new one, blogging, and you will see that there isn’t much room left for meditation… except if it is made to happen during the outer activities themselves – something they call in India ‘Karma Yoga’: the Yoga of Work… This is mostly what life in Auroville is about, also because there is so much to be done here…