In the evening of the 3rd of September – the day of Chaturthy when all of India celebrates Lord Ganesha – another of us passed away: Aruna was thrown off her two-wheeler by a speeding bus on the East Coast Road, and passed a couple of hours later from massive internal bleeding; she would have been 60 on the 19th. Aruna had been a very close friend to me for a number of years; we hardly ever saw each other anymore, but it didn’t mean that the contact was lost. Her brutal passing left me silent, almost immobilized. At the time, and all during the preparations and celebrations for Sri Ganesh, I had been groping for the writing of another note; this event filled it with further meaning and somehow kept it even shorter than usual.
Later that week, I read in that issue of the “AV News and Notes” a report from the Working Committee including their draft proposal for a new mandate for, of all things, the “Road Service”! It struck me as symptomatic of the trend we were routinely embarked upon collectively, a sort of caricature of the lack of adventurous spirit that befalls people when they are actually left free to organize their own lives! It inspired me to pen another, short note. I sent both to the editors of our weekly bulletin and both were published on 13-09-08.
A response to the proposed WC mandate for the Road Service (title entered by the editors):
“The guiding principles of action in Auroville are simple.
To begin with, every activity is meant to be conducted in a spirit of service.
And so, every activity attracts the individual nature best suited for it, while every individual turns to the activity that best corresponds to one’s nature. (And if we would ALL honestly observe these principles, there might be far less confusion and superficiality in our lives here…)
In that light, it is perfectly fine to bring clarity on the listing of aims, targets and responsibilities which form the domain of action of any “Service” of Auroville, as long as this listing remains open-ended.
But to seek to dictate the duration of one’s dedication to any given activity or ‘Service’ in Auroville is counter-productive, detrimental both to the individual’s movement of self-giving and to the collective atmosphere and can only discourage one’s efforts at perfecting one’s service to Auroville. This petty policing has, in fact, become a plague.
What ought to be encouraged instead is a dual practice: on the one hand we must learn to express any justified remonstration or criticism in a clear, helpful, frank, fraternal and balanced manner; on the other hand we must learn to absorb, assimilate and integrate the truth of any criticism directed at the quality of our service.
We surely haven’t come here to be ‘executives’! Let us forget all these chairs and positions and opt for the untrodden paths…!