Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Before getting into the New Year, let’s start with my profound relief at obtaining a meal pass at 7 am on December 31st for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram dining hall. I was highly incented to go early to the Central Bureau by memories of the quality and vibration of the meals from almost nine years ago, and my wish to eat in the peaceful setting of the Ashram. I won’t spend this entire post writing about the food, which is very simple and pure: fresh-made bread torn into hot milk and two bananas for breakfast; dal and rice, and curd and banana for lunch. We stand in line to get our tickets punched, and then walk slowly up to those doing seva in serving the different courses. As we proceed in the line, we can look at photos of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and read their quotes, one by Sri Aurobindo writing about the Presence of the Mother in the food we are about to eat. Glance above and take in these Masters of light.

Today, New Year’s Eve day, also included my half-hour car ride to Auroville to make arrangements for “concentration in the inner chamber of the Mother’s Matrimandir” – I love how that sounds (read it a few times). When I arrived at the Visitor’s Bureau in Auroville, I was aware of how touristy the site had become since my first and last visit there years ago. The large photos and informational panels in the Bureau building, surrounded by several buildings containing fancy boutiques and large restaurants. The Matrimandir was still under construction when I was there, and now there is a whole administrative process to enter the temple (or what some call a shrine) for concentration. Today is Monday and I am scheduled for the first available group visit on Thursday. I had gone into the inner chamber four or five times in the past during a week; understandably the site has become very popular.

Auroville is a town constructed by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for members of the global community to live together in peace, harmony and unity, creating their lives together economically, practically, and spiritually. From what I read, there are currently 2300 people living there from 46 different countries. I provide here words describing Auroville and its charter:

The Mother’s first public message about Auroville: “Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.”

At the inauguration ceremony attended by delegates of 124 nations on February 28, 1968, the Mother gave Auroville this four-point charter setting forth her vision of integral living:

Auroville Charter

  1. Auroville belongs to nobody in particular.
    Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole.
    But to live in Auroville, one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
  2. Auroville will be the place of an unending education,
    of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
  3. 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.
  4. Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.

As I rode through the town, I noticed as I had before when I visited, the number of beautiful young Western “Hippie-like” seekers and locals (I lived through the 60’s, remember, and I was far from a Hippie as the “good child” of the family – read my book). Many have written about the success or lack of success of Auroville’s vision, and Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s intention, which is not surprising for being an “experimental lab” with so many varying nationalities. However, to be honest (Maa loves that phrase – like we’re not being honest otherwise!), I feel more comfortable in the peaceful and what I feel to be the pure surroundings of the Ashram – maybe it’s my age although I don’t think so. I know that I felt and will feel this peace and purity inside the Matrimandir, as I do sitting beside the Samadhi and the Mother’s bed. Of course, these aren’t in the “real world”.

I will update you in a later blog about my visit to the inner chamber. I end today’s blog with a summary of my hotel’s New Year’s celebration, which I will probably write tomorrow (January 1st), depending upon whether I remain at the party until midnight.

It’s 2013, we made it through 2012 and the world didn’t end!

Subsequent finish to this post: I didn’t remain at the party although it’s very loud and it’s outside the windows of my hotel room. Another 1½ hours until midnight, and I’ll be staying up since the music won’t end until what time I can’t say right now. I was sitting alone eating at a table outside my room in the hotel courtyard, thinking I can’t wait to write this blog to describe the surreal yet surprisingly peaceful experience I was having.

There are a few tables scattered throughout the courtyard, with a dancing platform on one side and a small bar on the other. The DJs (unfortunately not our Brandon, DJ Sol Rising) are playing American hip-hop and rap music at high volume, while a few of the middle aged (probably younger than I) Westerners and some Indians sit at the tables trying to speak to one another without success because of the volume of the music. The surreal part is the kind of music playing, the setting, the occasion, and the peaceful surroundings a few blocks away at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

Speaking of the latter, after I finished my meal (not bad veg), I was pulled to walk to the Ashram and just stand outside its doors soaking in the Shakti and Love of Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s Samadhi. Such peace, and such a blessing for the New Year.

I may get some of the desserts at the buffet when I finish this post, although I’m feeling physically cleansed from my Ayurvedic treatments – I may or may not, without having any guilt to begin 2013.

I wish you all a glorious, healthy, joyful, abundant, peaceful New Year and many more to come, blessed by the presence of Her Holiness Sai Maa in our lives, whether you have actually met Maa or not.