On Us and Them (25-10-2008)

Basic spiritual experience reveals, thankfully, that the Divine is not separate from the world – including, stunningly, the whole of humanity!
Simple logic dictates, therefore, that service to the Divine is necessarily and at the same time service to the world as well.
Yet on this fundamental articulation, we continue to exhibit an ambivalence that is quite baffling, to say the least.
We are supposedly building Auroville on behalf of humanity, as a first cradle of a more harmonious and conscious future. Some of the buildings we have erected, and more that we wish to erect, bear high-sounding names that are universal declarations of intent; yet we appear extremely reticent to share them with the world.
The central building, key to the experiment and dedicated to Mahashakti, was funded almost entirely by ‘the world’; yet, and how hugely ridiculous, those who are ‘serious, sincere’ out there, even those who are known as donors, can only have access to it one hour a day, as if this was a favor extended to them from on high!
But perhaps where our figures of evasion are the most unprogressive is in what is termed ‘the International Zone’. For this is obviously the area of Auroville best suited to serve as interface and communicating organ with the world at large.
While we proudly celebrate 40 years of achievements at the Unesco headquarters and keep lobbying for more support from this and other such venerable institutions, we have not yet begun to view the general public as the crucial component it must be in the creation of the International Zone. Instead, we still leisurely examine our various emotional conflicts in relation to our respective cultures, as if it was all for us exclusively! But it isn’t; it can’t be; it is not meant to be.
The fact is that, even while we argue over which culture will next get acreage and funding, there are buildings and facilities under our care that are outrageously under-utilized and ought, instead, to be vibrant with activities welcoming all interested members of the general public, providing them with multiple sources of information and knowledge and giving them a living sense of the present evolutionary stakes.
Granted, we each and all require some privileged vital space and tranquility to pursue our sadhanas, but this is not an issue as such.
What is an issue for Auroville’s growth and effective functioning is our extreme reluctance to let humanity play in it its essential role.
Whether in the field of education per se, where this same ambivalence is also remarkable, or in that formidable area of representation of all the known cultural and civilizational streams that have contributed to Man’s evolution, we are the stewards of potential treasures that are meant to be shared; and this very sharing is the law of their increase.