On Cultural Inertia and Dharma (05-01-2008)
One might argue that it would have been more sensible to elect, for Auroville, a site equidistant from all cultures; if not geographically so – an island in the Pacific, uninhabited but blessed with its own fresh water-source, would have been a good bet, but perhaps too economically selective -, then at least in terms of the effort and perseverance required from every applicant, wherever they came from.
However, an essential part of Auroville’s destiny is that, in order to measure up to its given task, it must remain at all times in direct contact with the forces of the world.
And as only a spiritual awareness can comprehend, accept and support the purpose of Auroville and the necessity for its challenge to rise in today’ world, it is but natural that India must be its host.
Yet, every existing culture and society has, underlying its self-preservation, a tremendous force of inertia; peer-pressure is the excuse commonly given for submitting to it.
Conformity is another word for cultural and societal inertia, and it is no small mercy that Auroville was not so far wholly subjected to any such predominance.
That it was enabled to reach its 40th year of physical existence is entirely due to the prevalent grace of the Spirit in Mother India’s land and peoples.
Nonetheless there is a view that Auroville may presently be in great danger of succumbing, at least momentarily, under the combined weight of its own moral fatigue – it requires a kind of renewed innocence to sustain the flame of such an aspiration – and of the exponential revenge of the blindest and most prosaic traits of its host culture.
This double predicament needs to be addressed and there seems to be only one way to do so with any chance of success – to uphold Auroville’s own dharma.