Auroville; Disneyland for the Soul.

Photo of Auroville; Disneyland for the Soul. 1/1 by Nandita Sharma

Milky moon washed fields with ecstasy lingering inches above the ground. The comfort of this ecstasy pressing to be felt. The coolness of the moon floods the roads, partaking in nights of revelry. A place truly deserving of its shine. Teachings of mastering the mind dominate since the ‘heavens within you are more beautiful than heavens beyond’ along with the practice of mastering your physical being since ‘you never really understand unless you understand with your body’.

Could I see myself living in this village for the rest of my life with the material renunciations which are a precondition to live in a place like Auroville? Or in other words, what will I be missing out on if I dedicate my life to this geographically semi remote but spiritually integrated place in Puducherry?

Auroville is an experimental township of 2,600 citizens, a cashless economy and by far my most favourite place in this world. One’s occupation is seen as a form of therapy and not an economic obligation. The foundation takes care of all the basic needs of its citizens. Mother Mira along with Sri Aurobindo had envisioned a land which belonged to no single country, where people from all over the world came together to realize human unity and attain divine consciousness through yoga and meditation.

Life in Auroville finds a significant majority of Indian, French, American, Dutch, Russian and German permanent residents who collectively identify themselves as Aurovillians. Aurovillians along with the short term visitors engage in volunteer work in kitchens, organic farms, bamboo/ music workshops, schools, hospitals and healing centers mutually creating utility for each other. The night welcomes dance circles, pop rock events, fairs and easy conversations with seasoned travelers from all around the world. From French film makers to French farmers, Indian writers turned tattoo artists to ex-Israeli army officials turned bartenders, each with a personal and collective proposal to make the world a better place.

In the middle of the township around which the entire village is built is the Matrimandir, a huge golf ball like golden structure. Inside the dome, one can see two candles with their tiny flames and the soft sound of flowing water muffling the silence. The interiors reflect a warm pink glow. A spiraling ramp covered with a plush white carpet of merino wool rises and leads you into the concentration room. A longitudinal stream of sunlight enters a crystal ball placed in the centre, illuminating the section. The room changes its colors as the clouds filter and play with the sun while intermittently visible flickers of the rays dance in the centre of the crystal. The silence distancing our bodies but bringing the conscience closer to those of forty others present. Interluded with the sound of coughs and sneezes, of course, we were still pretty human.

The air carried a song which I had known all my life but it was only now that I was hearing it for the first time. If not material renunciation for Auroville, going back to the city brought a heavy sense of renunciation of Auroville which had caught my heart joyous, body at peace and the mind at play. I found my self letting go of a utopic nowhere which was like a Disneyland for the soul.