The following proposal was shared as early as August 2015 with a few people here and there and some members of working groups, and again in the early days of January 2016.
Apert from a few vague responses such as “I love it, there must be a few others in Auroville who feel the same way…”, nothing came of it, even when I suggested it could be circulated anonymously so as not to burden it with any personal reactions of prejudices.
So here it is, to be shared at large by whomever wherever, for it is I believe valid anywhere actually.
A Collective Call on Auroville’s 48th birthday.
Proposal for an event requiring everyone’s willing participation.
“Auroville, the City at the Service of Truth”
We in Auroville are the ones, the only ones, who can do this work; not because of any special capacities or abilities or qualities of ours, but simply because we have been, when we chose to join Auroville, GIVEN this work to do: to serve the Truth, to serve the Future of the earth, to serve the New Consciousness.
In life, in Matter, in every act and every movement and in every thought and feeling, we are committed to strive to serve the Truth of tomorrow.
Individually, this can be attempted anywhere in the world.
But it is only here in Auroville that the conditions have been assembled for this work to be done by a collectivity, a diverse, voluntary grouping of individuals.
When founding Auroville, the Mother cast its seed far and wide in the earth’s consciousness, for an unprecedented action on behalf of humanity as a whole, to prepare the basis and the cradle of a new species.
Each of us has in so many unique ways felt and heard and responded to this call.
We all are doing our best, we have met with many contradictions and oppositions and obstacles and dangers, within and without, we are faced with apparently insurmountable problems and we are still fumbling with our minds for the way forward in whatever we undertake.
Almost 48 years have passed, 4 times 12, 4 revolutions.
Looking into ourselves, looking into our collective condition as of today, it is obvious we have allowed for a distance to interfere with our direct experience of the truth of Auroville, of the truth that seeks to manifest on earth, of the Truth the earth NEEDS.
While the whole world is being precipitated in the throes of a vast and often terrible transition, we are extremely and uniquely privileged here in Auroville, for we have been GIVEN the best possible conditions to serve the earth by calling Truth in our humanity, on behalf of all.
Let us thankfully lay down the burden of our pride – the pride of the doers – and turn again, with renewed intensity and the clarity experience has made us gain, to the true Consciousness, concretely and in all simplicity.
Let us all, individually and together, make an act of reliance, so that It may lead and inspire us and make Auroville an actual, humble transmitter and channel for the beginning of a new creation.
How and where…
There are supposed to be around 2000 residents of Auroville today; there are the many who in various capacities and functions contribute to the life and growth of Auroville; there are the many who, near and far, strive to support and strengthen Auroville and all those whose lives would not be as meaningful without their involvement with Auroville.
Let them all be invited to join in this Call.
Let everyone gather along the Oval road of the Matrimandir area, on the dawn of Auroville’s 48th birthday.
Let all the Auroville children and all the children of Auroville schools and the children of our neighbors and friends, help prepare for the Call, requesting all the gods to join as well by giving them a voice.
In French, in English, in Tamil and in Sanskrit.
« Nous demandons à la Conscience nouvelle de nous guider pour que nous servions la Vérité et hâtions l’avènement de son règne sur toute la terre. Aum Namo Bhagavate »
“We ask the new Consciousness to guide us so we may serve the Truth and hasten the advent of its reign upon earth. Aum Namo Bhagavate“
(The Tamil text will be provided in time)
NETUMNO NAVACHETANAAM PRARTHAYAAMAHE
YATHAA SATYAM SEVEDHVAM
TASYA CHA SHAASANAAGAMANAM TVARAYEMAH
A Personal Note from a Recidivist
Reading this note of refusal, I felt: “alright, this road too has come to an end…”
I wrote back, briefly, to ask for the courtesy of a signed clarification, observing that the reasons for this censorship were unclear to me, since I had not attacked anyone personally.
On Tuesday the 6th of January 2009, I accessed again my e-mail and found two notes of reply; the first one an indignant and plainly hostile rebuttal, signed by Pascal, writing that I knew very well who were the editors and there was thus no question of courtesy and that, no matter what I said, my note would not be published in that form; the second note, also signed by Pascal, basically blamed me for trying to settle scores, just as the rumor is circulating of an impending change of management at Matrimandir, and advising me not to stir up the past and revive the pain that many had to go through, himself included, as then others could also revive their own grudges and resentments at what our team had “done” and none of this would serve any purpose… He maintained his refusal to publish my note.
I hesitated for a moment; should I simply leave it at that? Should I announce my decision not to contribute any more? Should I keep it open? Should I try and correct my text in such a way as not to offend those “sensibilities”? But Pascal’s note emphasized a definite hostility towards me, as if he had barely tolerated my contributions all these months and had now found his chance to block me…
I wondered too: perhaps he is right and I have only been driving towards that point of being able “to settle scores”?
But the whole point of my note and reflection on justice was different; only, with such ingrained mistrust towards me, he could simply not see it or else he could not believe it genuine.
Finally I opted for a fairly short answer to say that really I had not been sure who had sent the first note of refusal, as I had only recently got another scolding from Anne Marie about the length of my text; then that, although he may not believe it, I had not known of this rumor of an imminent change of management at Matrimandir until after I had written the text. - which is all true. Then I wrote that my concern had been to ask for an evaluation of our relationship with the official representatives as a result of having at least once sought their intervention in our internal affairs and forfeited our duty to reach for a living synthesis of the differing viewpoints. I added that I did not suppose I could make him question his own conviction of acting rightly in censoring my text, which he surely shared with some, but that this society he and they were intent on building which needed to practice such censorship was not appealing to others… This is more or less exactly what I wrote directly on the screen, but I could not print it as Jean Yves’s printer is still out of order.
There. Is this – it probably is – the last chance I had to contribute something of myself, of my sadhana, of my aspiration, to the collective, at least in this open manner?
The sort of process of resolution which took place every time I prepared one of these notes was not low, nor was it casual; it was really, I believe, a giving of oneself. I know at least a few people have felt it and, in that sense, I have no complaints.
Perhaps I shall find another way to contribute, serving soup at the collective kitchen, or making decorated cards for everybody…?
Aum Namo Bhagavate, Douce Mère.
- January 13, 2009: Days have passed; I had left the matter to rest and it was even quite comfortable to shift the attention away from this regular writing and to be content with the daily work, which is sufficient. But, gradually, I saw that the process of definition or formulation was arising again and that there was a sense in me that the points I had been trying to make were valid and needed to be reflected upon and also that this manner of contributing to the collective was meaningful and it was a way for me to stand straight.
A new note started to write itself, bits by bits, meaning after meaning, as it usually does, like small facets of a jewel that in turn catch the ambient light, quietly, until it orders itself into a vibrant crystal; at that stage, it is still distant, as if wrapped in a veil and, till I sit with a pen and paper and write first words, it does not reveal itself fully.
On Sunday evening, the 11th, I was in Puducherry, seated facing the ocean; everything was calm; the movement rose to begin drafting and the new note, slowly, like a birth, came out.
What interested me was the relief and the clean gratitude I then felt. This was right. The place I was sitting in is special: I have named it “Brihat”, for “Vast”, as in the ancient mantra “Satyam Ritam Brihat”, the True, the Just and Right, the Vast.
The next day I wrote it in clear, making a few corrections.
And today I e-mailed it to the editors of the “Auroville News and Notes”.
I enter it now, whether or not it is eventually published, which I shall not know till the 19th, after the Pongal festival, as the printing and distribution of the next issue will be delayed by it, unless of course Pascal, the editor, writes back within a day or two. If this note is also refused, this will be the end of this attempt and thus of this document as well.
- “A Personal Note from a Recidivist:
Recently, the musings which I had been contributing in the “AV News and Notes” came to a halt. The latest of these musings, which dwelt on the theme of shared collective justice, did not make it into the new year, having elicited the wrathful censorship of the editor, who judged that I was out to settle scores and must be prevented from stirring up a past that had brought him and others already enough pain.
I am sure he did his best and I thank him.
Thereupon I took my course of self-examination and it then seemed likely that I would hence remain silent.
However, there is a hitch! Let me explain…
From the first, my purpose in contributing in this fashion has been to call for and encourage the open expression of matured viewpoints; but it is slow in coming!
There seems to be a general wariness to disturb the status-quo and be seen as questioning anything or troubling the hard-earned public harmony.
And there ensues a sort of passive complacency in the face of an increasing number of signs and symptoms of a loss of spirit, a loss of inner meaning and a loss of respect.
Many of us choose to ignore it and concentrate on what they can do where they are, and this is legitimate. Indeed, we have outgrown the phase of endless shouting matches and sterile repetitive rhetorics and we are perhaps sobered, less ambitious, less arrogant and more ‘realist’.
But to be here in Auroville together and not to share enough flame seems too high a price for us all to pay for past excesses…
I maintain that every issue must be openly addressed and that no taboo must be condoned in this adventure.
But I also maintain that we absolutely need to develop the ethical sense which is the carrier and the first instrument in us of the Spirit of Auroville.
I maintain that unethical actions and choices taken by anyone of us or any group formation in our midst breed multiple effects which affect all of us in our progress.
But we have to be clear on our ethics, which are not shallow morals but living aids and guardians of this progress we are here to make.
It is of course, for instance, unethical for us to utter a lie, simply because it is a betrayal of the inner consciousness which is to govern Auroville.
And, learning to rely on the guidance of this ethical sense, one finds that it is also unethical, for us, to deny the necessity of arriving together at higher and wider synthesises and to prefer exclusivism and emotional judgment and rejection of views and approaches differing from ours, even though they arise and are born from the same source. It is unethical because it shuts us off from the unknown we are to explore, instead of further cultivating what is already known.
It is unethical for us to call for ordinary means, powers and structures to resolve our given difficulties, simply because it will eventually deprive us all of the shared discovery of the new means and resolutions we have come to seek.
And it is my view that the population of Auroville cannot and must not grow until we have secured among those already present this ethical sense, which can then be communicated directly, through life itself, rather than through a mountain of regulations – since there is certainly no need in the world for another pilfering of the Grace…!
However I must also record here that, once I had sent it, I felt uneasy, unquiet and almost upset; this is a known phenomenon for me, which I tend to attribute to the backlash such statements as I am making automatically trigger in the general atmosphere… Let us see…!
(Note written a few days later)
The next day, January 14th, I still felt the same unease; so, I went to check the e-mail and, sure enough, there was a message from the Editors, titled “Farewell”…!
I could not copy it, or print it, but here is the gist of it – it was civil enough and signed by both Pascal and Abha, but it carried a fairly strong hostility; they first blamed me for feeling slighted when, after more than one and a half year of publishing my notes they merely refused one single paragraph; then they remarked on my ability to misunderstand what is told me. Then came the main course: they said there was no way they would publish my second note, firstly because it began with what can only be seen as a personal attack on them and, secondly, because it was far too negative and they had had enough of this negativity and had received several complaints from people who scolded them for continuing to publish my articles; they stated that I behaved as if my fellow Aurovilians were all dim-wits and needed the benefit of my wisdom, but they had reached the conclusion that this was enough and no more, and they did not want me to go on spoiling the image of the “AV News and Notes”, which was read everywhere, and of Auroville in general; and it was their right to say so and to act accordingly. And this was, therefore, a farewell… They also advised me to write whatever I have to say in the “Intranet” – which is an electronic, supposedly “safe”, internal collective space extensively used by a number of Aurovilians who need to air their opinions and argue with one another…
I felt at once a marked relief and a sadness; but I did not wish to dwell on it and went back to work in the garden; this episode was over, no need to lament.
Later on, I berated myself: what a fool I had been not to pay closer attention, not to try to be more balanced, not to sustain the position of calling what must be, instead of emphasizing what must go… This went on for a while… Then I let myself drown into the worst possible opinion of my own actions and motivations, and succeeded in experiencing a rather intense self-disgust. Yes, these people were right and I had been indulging in easy, self-righteous criticism for far too long and I had actually, behind all my fine words, been pursuing my own agenda of revenge… And so on…
And it is true that, in the first note, of which one whole paragraph was refused, I had gone right in the open facing a fairly large number of people who had all been complicit in what I termed as unethical actions. How could I have been so naïve as to expect this sort of public statement would pass…!?
It would not be accurate to say that only this happened as, simultaneously, or at other levels, I also went through the process of offering, of presenting it all, without attachment or judgment, to the light of consciousness.
There has been pain, or sorrow too: how can I possibly serve?
Thirty years at Matrimandir were crossed out already and denied and now even this attempt to contribute has been terminated, and all of it is my own fault for causing others to become so hostile…
But the several processes involved will continue; the subject matter of this particular document – those notes which I was allowed to craft with, I still think and believe, the best of my understanding and ability – has come to an end.
Let it be whatever it is worth, in the Eye of the Lord.
On Offerings and Maintenance (20-12-2008)
Ruthless is the focus brought to bear, by such physical, ‘natural’ events as have recently occurred and are occurring with increasing frequency all over the earth, on where we stand in relation to the material reality in whose bosom we exist.
As complex individualized beings at once blessed and cursed to fulfill our destinies as co-rulers and co-creators, we generally tend to want, almost at any cost, to preserve whatever we have acquired in terms of physical independence and enjoyment. And we generally tend to willfully ignore the abuse we commit and the destruction we cause as long as we manage to remain insulated from their consequences.
One terrible factor in the equation of the present shift upon earth is that the great majority of us human beings cannot possibly continue to exist physically without, in practical terms, directly or indirectly, contributing to further damage.
In Auroville, we can do extremely little about it all, or so it would seem.
But we do have a little leeway, which most others do not have, or are as yet barred from having. For one thing, we are supposed to be somewhat united to the freedom of the conscious inner being and therefore endowed with a certain amount of detachment which, in turn, is supposed to provide us with a greater ability to choose more significant directions and courses of action.
And we do have clear aims. One of these aims is to reach a self-sustaining equilibrium with all forces at play, at the service of greater truth, greater harmony and a progressive and egoless incarnation of the delight of existence.
But we also have problems and issues, quite a range of them. One of these issues is how we maintain what we create – which of course partly results of what we create and how we create it…!
Our natural environment is not altogether favorable to lasting creations, what with the various companies of insects, rodents, worms and fungi, with rots and droughts and ubiquitous roots and tendrils, with scorching winds and lashing rains, all to be expected in a classic roll of seasons.
But Nisha the Cyclone, whose abode is the Bay of Bengal, has in its latest expansive outing further underlined the fact that, where maintenance is concerned, we have so far opted for a solution which is hardly innovative: to rely on the power of the money to make others subservient to our needs.
Since we have lost the knack of handling the broom, the shovel and the axe and have made room for a second class which must perforce take advantage of our diminished presence and awareness in the physical domain, we have effectively crippled our collective body and undermined its capacity of healthy response.
It is doubtful that we have the excuse, generally again, of being so engrossed in selfless inner work that our absorption would spontaneously elicit in others the willingness to serve and tidy up for us…!
Besides, as only those of us who can somehow lay their hands on sufficient funds to hire sufficient help can have sufficient repairs done, the sense of proprietorship is reinforced and the ideals of Auroville recede further into ‘a vain chimera’ – but perhaps we secretly neither want to change the world nor ourselves!
The thing is that, in the social manifestation of Auroville, a class divide based on mutual exploitation is a contradiction in terms with the spirit of integrality, fraternity and genuine collaboration which we have come to serve and may further disqualify us from assisting, in however modest a measure, the re-alignment that is so urgently wanted.
Why not, instead of this compliance with human habit, explore ways to all participate directly – and there are ways, certainly – in the care and maintenance of the creations we offer to the spirit of Auroville, so that we grow rather more aware of their condition and more united with the offering!
The next contribution would have been published on 03-01-09, if all had gone well… But things happened differently. I sent the article early on, in the evening of Sunday the 28th of December, 2008, from an Internet booth on the East Coast Road, as the computer in my brother’s house had been out of order and I was not sure to have access to any other computer connected to Internet before the following Wednesday, last day for entering contributions. Then I did not access my e-mail address for another week. When I received my copy of the current issue of the “Auroville News and Notes” on the following Saturday, I was surprised to find that my article was absent.
The next day, my brother Jean Yves and I managed finally to get Internet access on his system and I found a note from the Editors which had been sent me on the previous Monday: it was a terse and blunt refusal to publish one particular paragraph of my text (highlighted below) and it was unsigned.
Here is the full text:
On Various Collective Penances:
Justice is, at best, an elusive quantity.
It takes considerable self-persuasion, or self-delusion, to be satisfied with the tenets, modes of operation and outcomes of human justice; as for divine justice, it is surely wiser not to presume one understands it.
Partial retribution, universal retaliation, paying for one’s sins in this or another life, in this or another world, shifting of roles, atonement and penance, all these notions, whether strictly codified or vaguely, superstitiously apprehended, are perhaps but mere temperamental variations on the same mystifying theme.
There is, however, a more concrete and detailed kind of justice, a shared justice which, if one is given the opportunity as we are given here in Auroville to observe it at close quarters, has deeper and vaster implications and can be for ever learnt from, for the purpose of accelerated evolution.
We all know of it; it is woven in the texture of our lives and appears thus quite ordinary and we do not pay it the attention it requires to become the teacher it really is.
It has to do with all of us constantly sharing the effects of each of us’ movements, choices and actions.
Because in Auroville our collective body is still in a state of early growth, we can watch this justice at work, both in its immediate subtle action and its rippling motion.
One can pick any number of examples of this working, similar to a complex, simultaneous echo-chamber, by which each of us shares responsibility for the quality of the milieu on which, in turn, each and all of us depend for our progress.
Yet one may not be in a position to appreciate the objectivity of this process unless one is aware of the objective actuality of the inner ethical sense.
This ethical sense is not to be confused with the moralistic, righteous, do-gooder, holier-than-thou, parochial posturing, which is superficial and partisan.
It is much deeper: it is an organ of the inner life, without which no discernment is possible.
For us to betray or to ignore it is to draw a veil over the very purpose of Auroville’s existence.
A seemingly innocuous instance is: if and when one knowingly utters a lie. The immediate effect is a blow on the life of our ideal; the wide-ranging effect is an increase in the opacity of the milieu we share, further preventing us from receiving luminous answers and guidance.
A more elaborate instance: some years ago a rather unscrupulous coalition of rather unscrupulous interests chose to invite the direct intervention of a much larger organization to remove internally what were considered obstructions to the fulfillment of their agendas. The immediate effect was a blow on the very validity of our own processes of discovery and integration. The wider-ranging effects are still now rippling throughout our collective reality: our center is amputated by half, our organizational research tools appear almost redundant, our integrity in our relationship with the larger organization has been breached, distrust is rampant and our apprenticeship to a truly new discipline of awareness has been compromised.
None of us is immune to these effects.
It would seem appropriate as this new year begins that we each reach within for the courage and clarity needed to regain a basis of respect and independence for the sake of this adventure and of its significance for all.
Heavy rains started on the 24 th of November, the day of the Darshan; the next day a cyclone began blowing from the North-East; it went down the coast and returned up, devastating the entire coastal area and pouring a deluge of rains inland. This went on till the 27 th; the following night an enormous rain came down for hours. Then it eased off. Over 50 poles were snapped and most of the power lines were down in the Auroville area; hundreds of tall trees were felled, mainly mature, regal eucalyptus trees and Work trees, and many other trees were damaged in their fall; a formidable mess had been caused, which would take weeks to clear. In the city of Puducherry, many trees had also been felled, but the disaster was more in terms of flooding; entire sections of the city were inundated, and the sewage came up to the surface and mixed with the flood of rain water, while in the Cuddalore area where a couple of rivers join the Indian ocean, many villages were cut off and many thousands of people were rendered homeless and all crops were ruined.
I hesitated before writing another note; perhaps this “natural” event and the disruptions it had caused was an occasion to stop writing; but power had been returned to some of the communities and I went to Amrit’s house in Certitude on the following Tuesday to e-mail the following note from his computer, revising it as I typed it. I did not want to sound merely negative again and certainly intensive good and helpful work had been done by most Services in Auroville and we were all under stress from the clearing and the tidying up everywhere; but the absence of any coordinated effort and the rush of money-minded initiatives were too striking and, besides. I deeply felt that this calamity was part of the earth-wide disorder and carried an unprecedented force, which we had to look at from another perspective than just that of damage-control and repair… So, here is the note, which appeared on 06-12-08:
On Certainties and the Unknown
Ancient seers were enabled to reach certainties and to translate some of them in communicable terms; one of these certainties was that this whole universe, this world, this earth, this manifestation, all of this is meant for the Lord’s habitation; in other words, the evolution of consciousness into more and more refined forms is meant to fashion a fitting home for the divine, the divineness of being, the delight.
However, here we are today, billions of us secreting an unnameable mess everywhere we can reach and claim with our self-serving, arrogant, conceited sense of superiority.
But when forces of Nature are unleashed and vent their indiscriminate rage and fury, or simply exert their unqualifiable, indifferent and formidable strength, their awesome power is undoubtedly humbling. The mess they can cause in no time at all is vastly more spectacular indeed… Besides, they can reduce each and every one of us to a cringing creature and they give us a sobering measure of our knowledge and mastery.
Surely we all find it most necessary to draw whatever lessons can be drawn, as one can no longer elude the question: will this earth remain hospitable?
Yet, once the relentless savaging had moved on its way and some calm had returned in the air, one was jolted by another sobering realization: business is booming, deals are briskly struck and the hunt is on for benefits, while one barely sees any sign of any meaningful attempt, on the part of our several exalted administrations, to gather and orient energies and tap at the inner resources of the collective being, in order to make of this physical ordeal an occasion for progress… Mister Cash remains the undisputed, untroubled king of the show…
Those who diligently advocate the regime of virtual existence – be connected to the world via your portable screen and ear-plugs and ignore your neighbor -, as those who ponder day after day the need for more rules and the ways to break them, those who always manage to allocate the blame and those who always know perfectly well what must be done to build the city the earth needs… in fact, each and everyone of us, have we found a superior alternative to direct awareness or, for that matter, to the innocent and generous beauty that has just been felled…?