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.