Friday, December 22, 2006

Why the delay?

Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today Current issue Archive copies Auroville Adventure August 2003 Publishing Sri Aurobindo's Complete Works - in conversation with Carel
"The estimate of four years was made by Jayantilal, the founder of the Archives, who initiated the project and has since passed away," Bob ventures carefully. "Jayantilal was an inveterate optimist who always minimised the difficulties. The rest of us had serious doubts about the four-year schedule, but he had none, so he boldly went ahead and announced it. As we expected, the work is taking longer than four years. But even the editors underestimated the time it would take!
"When we began, we had 20 years of work behind us. In 1975 Nolini-da passed on to the Archives all of Sri Aurobindo's manuscripts in his possession - more than 150 notebooks and thousands of loose sheets. In 1977 we started the journal Sri Aurobindo: Archives and Research in which over the next 18 years we published more than 2,000 pages of newly discovered writings, including most of the Record of Yoga. During this period we also brought out Essays Divine and Human and new editions of The Future Poetry and Savitri. By 1997 when the Complete Works began, we had half-a-dozen volumes ready or almost ready for publication and another half-a-dozen well underway. But after those books were printed, things slowed down. We have ten people working full-time on the job, another ten working part-time, but it is still a long process."
Why is it taking so long? "First," answers Richard, "because we are perfectionists. Otherwise this work would be rather pointless, since reasonably adequate editions of the major works are already available. We read the text of each volume at least twice against Sri Aurobindo's manuscripts and the early editions of his works. The exact procedure differs from one book to another, but to do it properly is always time-consuming. Second, we are including much more previously unpublished material than we had originally planned. The volumes we are bringing out are getting bigger and bigger. In the beginning they were four or five hundred pages each on the average, but the new ones are six or seven hundred pages or even more, and there will be more than the projected 35 volumes. Part of the reason for this is that we have had some surprises, especially with Sri Aurobindo's letters.
When we started, the volumes of letters were not our responsibility. Kishor Gandhi was to edit the letters. But then he passed away. All his material came to us. We had thought the letters were in pretty good shape, so we were planning to add some new letters and then print the books. But when we started comparing the Centenary edition of the letters with Sri Aurobindo's manuscripts, we found that many mistakes had been made when the letters were first transcribed. So now all the letters - thousands of them - are being compared with Sri Aurobindo's manuscripts to ensure their accuracy. Several people in the Archives are doing this full-time, leaving less manpower available for other volumes of the Complete Works.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Have you gone beyond democracy?

Current issue Archive copies Auroville Experience November 2006 Informal meeting with International Advisory Council - Report by Carel
The members of the International Advisory Council discuss how to find a proper organizational model for Auroville.
It was a busy time for International Advisory Council (IAC) members Doudou Diene, Marc Tully and Mark Luyckx Ghisi who visited Auroville from September 30th to October 2nd, 2006. The Working Committee had provided them with ample background information about various issues. They also spent much time listening to presentations of various groups. Yet, they felt that the time was too short to fully comprehend the realities so that they could give meaningful advice on various issues. One of these was the problem of Auroville's internal organization and decision making process. At the IAC's request, the Working Committee organized an impromptu meeting with concerned Aurovilians.
IAC chairman Mark Tully opened the discussion, saying that the Council members have become increasingly aware of the problem of organization and were very interested by the paper produced by the Auroville Council which lists the problems in a very concise manner. “We thought it would be good to meet with you informally. So please speak out.” That Aurovilians certainly did. The concerns voiced addressed not only the problem of Auroville's internal organization, but also the functioning of the IAC itself.

The functioning of the IAC
“As we have been encouraged not to be diplomatic, I'll be frank,” said Frederick . He reminded the IAC members that the IAC was the brainchild of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. She had formulated its role as ‘to advise and ensure that the Aurovilians have the freedom to organize their own activities', stating that it was important that Auroville not become a department of the Government of India. “But up to now,” said Frederick , “the IAC has not played that role fully.” And he expressed an anxiety: that the Governing Board might take decisions without having obtained the prior advice of the IAC. “Our apprehension is that the GB will increasingly interfere, like it has recently done in the management of the land purchase committee by appointing half its members. We are afraid that such decisions will never be rolled back, as it is always difficult in a bureaucratic process to undo an earlier decision.”
The IAC members replied that their interaction with the GB had substantially improved. Earlier, there had been a clear lacuna in the information which they should receive, but that problem has, to a large extent, been solved. “We are much better informed than at the last meeting, and much much better than the meeting before,” said Mark Tully, even though 90% of the information had come from the Working Committee and only 10% from the GB.
The concerns raised by Frederick had to a certain extent been addressed in the IAC's interaction with the GB. The IAC had insisted on absolute transparency, in line with the recent Open Government policy of the Government of India. Also the structure of power was discussed, and the need of subsidiarity; that every decision should be taken at the lowest possible level. “The highest level has a sfunction to devolve power to the lower level, not to impose its views as in a hierarchical society. In no way should the highest level short-circuit the lowest level,” explained Mark Luyckx Ghisi.
Doudou Diene, though welcoming Frederick 's comments, added another perspective. “We have just started,” he said, “and 2 years is nothing. Only now is the complexity of Auroville becoming more evident.” He said that the IAC had already taken the decision to have twice-yearly meetings coinciding with those of the Governing Board, instead of once a year as was customary for previous IACs. “In this way we will be in a better position to advise. We believe that advising implies being part of the process, before decisions are made and executed.” Mark Luyckx Ghisi then invited all Aurovilians to email their concerns and proposals directly to the members of the IAC.

Problems of internal organization
The second topic of the interaction was how to build an appropriate Auroville organization. The problems listed by the Auroville Council were further enunciated by various Aurovilians. The main issue, as many see it, is the lack of leaders. The Mother envisaged a system of governance by people with an intuitive intelligence. But many Aurovilians argue that Auroville does not have people who function from the level of intuitive intelligence, and therefore propose to follow the beaten paths of democracy and elect people to certain positions. Others would like to follow Mother's indications, even if it means that many mistakes will be made. What is the solution? How can we build an organization where things are organized by the highest consciousness available to give a unified course of action to the administrative bodies, services and units of Auroville?
The functioning of the Residents' Assembly (RA), created by the Auroville Foundation Act, is at the root of this problem. The Act makes it obvious that the RA is the authority to take decisions regarding the Auroville affairs. But it does not mention how the RA should function. Attempts to make this body an active entity have not been successful; its meetings are usually attended by less than 10% of Auroville's adult population. However, without the adequate support of the residents of Auroville, there is no way to make the Working Committee and the Council effective. This state of affairs has given rise to questions such as ‘Should democracy, in one form or another, be at the base of Auroville's organization or should we find a way around it?' ‘As The Mother did not favour democracy, how can we create a government that is not democratic but that is still supported by the community?' ‘Should we create our own brand of democracy, an Auroville democracy?'
Another problem that is coming up is how Aurovilians deal amongst themselves with interpersonal problems. There is a basic understanding that an Aurovilian will not file a police complaint against another Aurovilian or go to a court of law for redress of any perceived injustice. Auroville attempts to solve such problems by offering mediation. But if one party refuses mediation, it may become necessary to advise people to have recourse to ordinary ways of seeking justice.

Seek the help of professionals
“It's absolutely clear to us that Auroville is not intended to be an ordinary democracy, or should be subject to authoritarian rule,” said Mark Tully. To find an ideal organization he advised that Auroville seek the help of professionals. “You can't be frogs in a well. Arrange a series of visits or lectures by people who understand constitutional problems. There are lots of people of goodwill around, and we will be happy to introduce Auroville to a few of them.” He then reminded the Aurovilians that they are not here only to pursue their own spiritual development but also to demonstrate to the world that human beings can live in unity. “Fundamentally, that responsibility is yours. If you don't take it, neither the IAC nor anybody else can save you from interference from the GB: for they have their own responsibilities under the Foundation Act.”
Have you gone beyond democracy?
Mark Luyckx Ghisi then asked a searching question: “Auroville aspires for divine anarchy and believes it should go beyond democracy. But in order to go beyond democracy, you must first be democratic. Have the principles of democracy been sufficiently applied in Auroville?” He explained that the ABC of politics is division of powers into the legislative, executive and judiciary. “The three should never be mixed. But I have the impression that the three are not clearly separated in Auroville. You have a legislative, which is the Residents' Assembly; you have an executive, the Working Committee and the Auroville Council, bodies that are badly hampered in their functioning with all the strains of the work but without the power; and through your mediation system, there is a bit of judiciary. But there must be a check-and-balance situation to ensure that no authority acts beyond its powers.” He denied that the principle of separation of powers was too far-fetched for an Auroville of only 1400 adults. “The principle even works in small monastic orders. And it is easier to install now than when Auroville has 50,000 inhabitants.” The first step, therefore, would be to ensure that division of power is built into the Auroville organizational structure. But how to go beyond that? Even Mark Luyckx Ghisi was not able to give examples of organizations that have gone beyond democracy. “I was a member of one of the think-tanks of the European Commission and we've gone through all that we could find in political innovation. Only in business a movement has started,” he said. A reference was made to the work of Dee Hoc, the founder of Visa, who introduced the principle of a chaordic [a word coined by Dee Hoc implying the mixing of chaos and organization] society and of other initiatives where the vision of business with profit as prime objective is being replaced by a vision where profit is a consequence. But clearly, solutions have to be found by Auroville itself.
Doudou Diene concluded the meeting with the observation that this was the best meeting he had attended in Auroville. “I think you are in a creative tension, and there is much frustration. But at the same time there is a movement behind the frustration, showing that Auroville is very much alive.” And he ended, “You have a challenge – that Auroville be an example to the world. We have a challenge, how as the IAC we can be meaningful. We'll do everything we can to help you.”
See also: The International Advisory Council Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > November 2006 Current issue Archive copies The Auroville Experience

Sri Aurobindo Society - December 2006

News from Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry)
Upcoming Events
Anniversary Celebrations of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education - 1 & 2 December 2006
Physical demonstration at the Ashram's sportsground
The Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education was started in a very small way by the Mother on 2nd December 1943. The Centre tries to engage the students in a "Free Progress System" which is, in the Mother's words, "a progress guided by the soul and not subject to habits, conventions or preconceived ideas." The Centre has now grown to accommodate about 450 students with 150 teachers.
As part of the anniversary celebrations of its 63rd year, the Department of Physical Education of the Ashram will be presenting a beautiful physical demonstration on the theme of "Harmony & Beauty" at the Ashram's Sports ground on 2nd December 2006. There will also be a dance drama on Sri Aurobindo's Sanskrit work "Bhavani Bharati" in the Ashram's theatre in the evening of 1st December.
Maha-Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo - 5 December 2006
Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950. The Body was laid to rest in the Samadhi after four days, on 9 December 1950. The body did not show any sign of decay or decomposition during this period. A few saw a golden spiritual light around the body.
Our gratitude to the physical body of Sri Aurobindo was expressed by the Mother and has been inscribed on the Samadhi:
To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to Thee our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before Thee who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us, before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to Thee.
On 5 December 2006, there will be a visit to Sri Aurobindo's Room. There will also be collective meditation around the Samadhi in the morning and at the Playground in the evening. We give below a quote of the Mother on the significance of Sri Aurobindo's work and how we can participate in the birth of the New Creation:
Sri Aurobindo came upon earth to announce the manifestation of the supramental world and not merely did he announce this manifestation but embodied also in part the supramental force and showed by example what one must do to prepare oneself for manifesting it. The best thing we can do is to study all that he has told us and endeavour to follow his example and prepare ourselves for the new manifestation. This gives life its real sense and will help us to overcome all obstacles. Let us live for the new creation and we shall grow stronger and stronger by remaining young and progressive.
Dr. M.V. Nadkarni's forthcoming Series of Talks
The Society will organise a study camp by Dr. Mangesh Nadkarni at its Beach Office hall from 23 February to 5 March 2007 on Sri Aurobindo's "Savitri". As usual there will be two sessions daily 9:00 to 10:00 am and 10:30 to 11:45 am. The talks are open to all.
Currently his talks on Sri Aurobindo's "Essays on the Gita" are underway, from 26 November to 4 December 2006, at the Beach Office.
Recent Events
17 and 20 November 2006 - Maha-Samadhi of the MotherThe Mother left her body on 17th November 1973 and the body was laid in to rest in Samadhi on 20th November. The inmates of the Ashram and the devotees paid homage to the Mother and visited Her room on 17th November 2006. There was meditation around the Samadhi from 6:00 to 6:30 am. In the evening the meditation was at 7:25 pm at the Playground. The message card distributed during the occasion can be viewed by clicking here.
24 November 2006 - Siddhi Day
On 24th November, the 80th Anniversary of Siddhi Day - The Day of Victory - was celebrated in the Ashram to commemorate the descent of the Sri Krishna Consciousness or the Overmental Consciousness into the physical.
The day was observed by a visit to Sri Aurobindo's Room. There was collective meditation around the Samadhi in the morning and in the evening there was a march-past with music played by the Ashram band. The programme concluded with meditation at the Playground. The message card distributed during the occasion can be viewed by clicking here.
Annual Seminar of the Women's Council - 2006: "Progressive Friendship with the Divine"
The Women's Council of Sri Aurobindo Society organised its annual Seminar, on the theme of 'Progressive Friendship with the Divine', at the Society's Beach Office on 21, 22, 23 November 2006. The detailed report will be published in the next issue of our Newsletter.
Some Special Days in November - December 2006
25th December 2006 - Christmas
The Christmas day has been celebrated in the Ashram for many decades. Once the Mother was asked by a devotee about the special meaning of the Christmas day as celebrated in the Ashram, and here is the Mother's response:
Long before the Christian religion made December 25th the day of Christ's birth, this day was the festival of the return of the sun, the Day of Light. It is this very ancient symbol of the rebirth of the Light that we wish to celebrate here. And, here is a Christmas Message from the Mother:
May the New Light illumine your thoughts and your lives, govern your hearts and guide your action. Blessings.
News from Branches and Centres
News from Abroad Singapore Centre
The Singapore Centre organised a two day workshop on Vedic Chanting on 27 and 28 October 2006 in which about 30 participated. Ms. Gopika from Puducherry guided the chanting very effectively and taught chanting of simple mantras like 'Om' and 'Sahanaa Vavatu'. All the participants of the workshop are eagerly looking forward to more chanting workshops, the next of which will be organised in January 2007.
News from India
Bijapur (Karnataka)
Sri Aurobindo Society, Bijapur Center, has published a booklet in Kannada "Maatru Sahasra Naama", which is a collection of 1000 names of the Divine Mother, for free distribution. This booklet was released on the auspicious occasion of Naraka Chaturdashi, the 20th October 2006, at 6:30 pm, at Shri Hingulambika Mata Devasthana, Bhavsar Nagar, Bijapur. Members from Society Centres in Bijapur attended the function.
Shri C.V. Hiremath releasing the booklet "Maatru Sahasra Naam".To his right is Shri Purushottam Galgali
The function was presided by Shri Purushottam Galgali. Shri C V Hiremath, Deputy Director for Public Instruction for Bijapur District, was the Chief Guest. Also present on the dais were Shri P. N. Kulkarni, Secretary of Bijapur Centre, Dr. Jagadish, Zonal Secretary, Shri S. M. Awati, Education Coordinator (Bijapur-Urban), and Shri P. K. Date, Education Coordinator (Bijapur-Rural).
The function began with a prayer recited by Smt. Parimala Joshi. Shri S.C. Shedashyal introduced the Guests of Honour to the audience. Shri C V Hiremath released the booklet "Maatru Sahasra Naam". Shri P N Kulkarni introduced the audience to the booklet, which was followed by the felicitation of the chief guests. Shri P.K. Date shared his experiences of his visit to Ashram and Sri Aurobindo International Education Centre.
Sri C.V. Hiremath spoke as the Chief Guest. Shri Purushottam Galagali, delivered the presidential speech, during which he explained to the new members of the Society the Mother's Symbol and it's importance. He also gave a brief overview and interpretations of a few names in the Sahasra-naam. Shri Venkatesh Kulkarni presented the Vote of thanks.
All the Centres of Karnataka may contact the Bijapur Center for free copies of the booklet, at the following address: Smt. S K KulkarniSri Aurobindo Society - Bijapur Center#38, Sri Mira Kripa, Shakti Nagar,Bijapur - 586101.Ph: 08352-272458
Noida Branch (U.P.)
Shri Vishnu Prakash Goyal, Vice President, Sri Aurobindo Society State Committee for U.P. & Uttaranchal, lighting the lamp to mark inauguration of the school Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan at Sri Aurobindo Bhavan
Darshan Day - Maha Samadhi Diwas:: A collective meditation was held at Sri Aurobindo Bhawan, Noida, on the occasion of Maha Samadhi Day of the Mother, on 17 November 2006. About 45 persons participated. Before the collective meditation Shri O.P. Dani, Chairman, Noida Branch, briefly spoke about the life and teaching of the Mother. Further, in the morning of the Maha Samadhi Diwas, a school for the children from a poor background was opened by Noida Branch, to which about 75 children came. The school has been named "Sri Aurobindo Shiksha Niketan".
The collective meditation at the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan on Siddhi Diwas
Darshan Day - Siddhi Diwas:: A collective meditation was held at Sri Aurobindo Bhawan, Noida, on the occasion of Siddhi Diwas, on 24 November 2006. About 40 persons participated. Shri O.P. Dani briefly spoke about the importance of Siddhi Diwas.
Paigemberpur (U.P.)
15th August 2006: The Paigemberpur centre celebrated the occasion with a march past with Mother's Flag, followed by reading of some inspiring words from Sri Aurobindo. After that, the children performed a drill, followed by bhajan singing and prasad distribution.
Dussera: On the auspicicious occasion of Dussera, for the first time in the Centre, there was a collective silent meditation with the Mother's new year music. After that all the men lit a diya, the women lighted agarbattis and the children recited shlokas. Many people of the village attended this programme.
Shri Kaivalyabhai speaking to the students
Students, wrapt in listening
Talk by Kavalya Bhai: A talk was held at Poornanand College in Jaspur by Kavlyabhai on "Being a Good Indian".
Porbandar (Gujarat)
Participants of the Camp, during the Prayer session
The Youth Council of Porbandar Branch organised a two-day Youth Camp on 28 and 29 October 2006. The Camp consisted of prayers, self introduction, talk on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother by Jyotiben Thanki, warming up exercises, surya namaskar, group discussion on "Happiness" based on the writings of the Mother, questions-answers session with Jyotiben Thanki, talk on "A Call to the Youth of India" by Devpurkarji, Vande Mataram song teaching, guided meditation by Jignesh Prasnani etc. About 40 students participated. Booklets on the life of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Ideal Child and writings on Happiness by the Mother were distributed. It was the fourth youth camp in Porbandar and it was very successful.
Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh)
Dr. M.V.Nadkarni giving the Talks
The Gwalior Centre arranged the following talks of Dr. M.V. Nadkarni:
28 October 2006 - 'Introduction to Savitri' 29 October 2006 - 'Sri Aurobindo Society - The significance of our role in its work
Maj. General S.N. Mukherjee, Vice Chancellor of Laxmibai Institute of Physical Education, offering floral pranam to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
On 29 October a Symposium on "Education in the Light of Sri Aurobindo" was also organised. Shri Vijay K Poddar, Chairman of the Madhya Pradesh & Chhatisgarh State Committee of Sri Aurobindo Society, presided over the Symposium. Maj. General S.N. Mukherjee, Vice Chancellor of Laxmibai Institute of Physical Education, was the Chief Guest. Dr. M.V. Nadkarni and Dr. S.C. Tyagi spoke on the subject. Dr. Nadkarni also spoke on 'New Directions in Higher Education in India'.
Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh)
Sri Aurobindo's sacred Relics were enshrined at the Khandwa branch on 12 November 2006 at 10:30 am. The ceremony was performed with devotion and care. About 200 people attended the ceremony. The sacred Relics were installed by Shri Pradeep Narang, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, and Shri G.S. Gour, Secretary of the Khandwa branch.
After the enshrinement ceremony, talks on Sri Aurobindo's Yoga and the importance of Sri Aurobindo's sacred Relics were delivered by Shri Pradeep Narang, Shri Nandakumar Singh Chauhan, Member of Parliament, Khandwa, Dr. Suman Kochar, Vice Chairperson of the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh State Committee of Sri Aurobindo Society, Dr. Suresh Tyagi, Secretary of the Hindi Zonal Committee of Sri Aurobindo Society, and Dr. Alok Pandey of Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry. The function was presided over by Dr. Prem Jaiswal
Ranchi (Hesal branch), (Jharkhand)
On 15 August 2006 a drawing competition was organised to celebrate Sri Aurobindo's birth anniversary. About 90 students participated in three age groups.
On 2 September, 2006 a programme on child nutrition was organised in which advice regarding child nutrition was given by eminent local doctors. About 50 women with their children attended the programme.
Jaggayyapet (Andhra Pradesh)
The Jaggayyapet Centre organised an one-day youth camp on 12 November 2006. The theme of the Camp was "Youth and the Future of India". About 100 students from seven colleges, chosen on the basis of an essay writing competition on the topic "Honest work is Body's Prayer to the Divine" and "You can serve the Nation and God through your work alone", participated in the Camp. Shri P.C. Swaroop, Co-ordinator of A.P. Youth Activities presided. Shri K.V. Rao and Shri K. Bhaskara Rao gave talks on the following topics:
1. All Life is Yoga2. Yoga is Perfection in Action3. Work is Body's Prayer to the Divine4. You Can Serve the Nation Through Perfection in Duty
Prof. K. Prakasam, Principal, SGS Degree College, and Shri V.J. Rama Rao, Manager, Saptagiri Grameeva Bank, gave talks on "Challenges before the youth in Globalisation" and "Aim of Life" respectively. An interactive session on "Positive thinking" and "Positive action" was organised by Shri T. Joshi, Personality Development expert.
Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh)
The 7th anniversary of the enshrinement of Sri Aurobindo's sacred Relics was celebrated at the Tirupati branch on 12 September 2006. Shri M. Balarama Reddy, Chairman, Tirupati branch, presided over the function. Shri V. Subba Rao, Secretary of the A.P. State Committee of the Society was the Chief Guest. He spoke on the importance of the sacred Relics.
The second stage of four more class-rooms of Sri Aurobindo Vidyalaya were inaugurated on this occasion. Shri B. Venkatramaiah, Chairman of the A.P. State Committee, spoke on the efforts being made by the Tirupati branch members to construct a meditation hall, a library, and furnish the guest rooms.
Godavarikhani (Andhra Pradesh)
The Godavarikhani Centre conducted an inter-school Gita chanting competition for the primary and high school students on 8 October 2006 under the Chairmanship of Shri Ganta Narayana. 138 students participated in the competition.
Indore (Madhya Pradesh)
The members of the Indore branch meet every Thursday and Sunday in the morning. Writings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are read, followed by collective meditation.
The branch organised an Art Development Shivir from 11 May - 25 June 2006. Forty ladies were given training in Stitching by Shri Gopal Chawda, in applying Henna by Kumari Namita Neema, and in playing Tabla by Smt. Madhvi Chandolkar.
A Yoga and Meditation Shivir was organised from 17 May - 4 June 2006, at Vaishnav Bal Mandir, in which 60 persons participated. Dr. Suman Kocher, Secretary of the branch, conducted the Shivir. The participants were given orientation in Asanas, Pranayama, Yoga-nidraa and the Teaching of Sri Aurobindo.
Jaipur (Rajasthan)
The Jaipur Centre organised a two-day Study Camp on the 13th chapter of the Gita conducted by Shri Kaivalya Smart of Surat branch on 14 and 15 October 2006.
16 October 2006 Shri Amod Kumar arranged a talk by Shri Kaivalya Smart on "How to think" to the gathering of about 150 students at a school at Jaipur.
Mumbai (Maharashtra)
Shri Kaivalya Smart organised a one-day Camp at the Dombivli Centre on the occasion of their annual day on the 29 October 2006. The Camp was conducted in Tamil by Shri N. Thiruvenkatam, Chairman of Tamil Nadu State Committee of Sri Aurobindo Society.
Shri N. Thiruvenkatam also gave a talk in English at the Churchgate branch on 28 October 2006.
Vadodara (Gujarat)
Vadodra Branch of Sri Aurobindo Society has published a 68-page book "Sri Aurobindo and Baroda" in English, covering the period of 13 years of Sri Aurobindo's stay at Baroda. Copies of the book are being freely distributed to Sri Aurobindo Centres and the devotees who are genuinely interested in the subject, till the stocks last. Those wishing to get this book can send an M.O. of Rs.5/- per book towards the packing and forwarding expenses to: Sri Aurobindo Society - Vadodra Branch, Sri Aurobindo Nivas, Dandia Bazar, Vadodara - 390 001.
Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)
The Allahabad Centre organised a meeting on "Form and Manifestation of Supermind". Dr. J.P. Singh, Development Secretary, Uttar Pradesh, gave the introductory speech. Dr. Devki Nandan Srivastava spoke on the subject.
Raibrelly (Uttar Pradesh)
A Seminar was organised in Raibrelly on "The Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo". The speakers were Dr. J.P. Singh, Dr. J.N. Lal and Dr. Arvind Prakash. The function was chaired by Dr. Malik
Dr. M.V. Nadkarni gave a talk at the Delhi branch of the Society 30 October 2006. The subject of the talk was "To know oneself is to forget oneself".

home about the site 15th August the mother sri aurobindo about sas sas activities onlife, online calendar sas & you the ashram centre of education auroville pondicherry sitemap what's new related links archive feedback audio "Om namoh bhagvate..."

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Life Education Trust - 29.09.2006

Proceedings of the meeting of the General Body of the
New Life Education Trust held at Matrubhaban, Cuttack on 29.09.2006

The meeting started at 10.30 AM with Sri Sriballav Panigrahi, President
on Chair with 2mts silence Prayer to The Mother.
First The Secretary read out the proceedings of the last General
Body Meeting held on 20.10.2004 at Matrubhaban, Cuttack and this was
Secretary’s Report : Then he presented a report for the term 2004-05-
06. He mentioned in his report that the present situation is very difficult.
The total Integral Education movement in Orissa is facing challenges.
There is doubt, disbelief, fear, depression among the persons who are
working in the field. There is also the attack of our ego and self interest.
Disharmony spreading from one school to another school. It seems, we
are at the midst of a very difficult situation.
He also mentioned that our path must be like that. Mother has said,
“you tell of difficulties, I am talking about impossibilites”. Our path must
be difficult because we are doing an adventure. No adventure in the past
has ever been easy. Sweet Mother’s Grace and Babaji Maharaj & Prapatti’s
Tapasya are giving us protection. Otherwise we would have been no
where. We are able to laugh in the midst of danger. Let us march towards
that luminous goal in spite of all danger and difficulties. He stressed to
keep Harmony among everyone which is extremely essential. In his
report, The Secretary presented districtwise total data of the schools, data
on total no. of Executive Body Meeting, Teacher Training, Students Meet,
Regional Meets, Sanskrit Workshop, Printing of Text Books, Govt. Special
Financial Assistance, Govt. liasion, Internal Audit, State level Sri Aurobindo
Study Circle Committee, Sri Aurobindo University. He also mentioned
that the Office of the New Life Education Trust has been opened by Sri
Sriballav Panigrahi, President at Matrubhaban, Cuttack on 26th Sept’
2006 at 10AM and Sri Binod Debata the representative of Angul District
has already taken up the charge of Cuttack office. He requested the
members to come forward and join hands in this massive task and
extended his gratitude to everybody for their co-operation. (Report
After the Secretary finished his report, President requested the
Treasurer Cum Joint Secretary to place the accounts of 2004-05 & 05-
06 and the Joint Secretary Cum Treasurer Sri Sankar Mohanty presented
the account (Copy of Accounts enclosed). Then the President asked the
members to discuss on the report of the Secretary & Accounts placed by
the Treasurer in which the following members participated.
Saroj Pattanaik of Rourkela appreciated the report of the Secretary. He
also appreciated the procedure of school affiliation in which both District
Co-ordinator & Trust Co-ordinator recommend. He showed his concern
over the fact that about 1/4th of the schools opened so far have not been
affiliated for which immediate arrangements may be made. He also
appreciated the procedure of students meet in which District students
meet will be among the Std-V, Zonal students meet among the students
of Std. VI, VII and State level students meet among the High School
students. He also mentioned that even if the Internal audit is complete
still one Chattered Accountant may be engaged to prepare the Accounts
of the Trust. He appreciated the opening of office at Matrubhaban within
a very short time.
2. Pravakar Mishra of Saheed Nagar proposed to impose certain
principles for opening of Integral Schools. He placed a complain that two
Integral Schools have been opened within a radius of 1/2 km of Saheed
Nagar Integral School for which 25% of their students have been reduced.
He requested the Trust members to seriously think before allowing new
schools and see that they do not run away from the ideology.
Prof. M.N. Sahu, Adviser emphasised that the Trust be strict in granting
affiliation to new schools after looking to Distance, land, building, Teachers,
Study Circles etc. Let the school first take permission and then open.
P. Tripathy, Secretary clarified that the new schools are granted affiliation
after Joint verification made by both District Co-ordinator and New Life
Education Trust Co-ordinator. Hence they can take this into consideration
before recommending for affiliation. When the schools are already opened
and students have already passed class V, we have to countersign their
certificates just to allow the students to read further. Since the problems
are raised from Bhubaneswar, the distance does not matter much.
Moreover, the senior Pathachakra members are also involved in opening
of the new schools who could easily advise them to maintain certain
disciplines before opening of schools.
Prof. M.N. Sahu, Adviser advised that the list of affiliated and nonaffiliated
schools be circulated.
B.P. Das, Vice-President described the problems of two such Integral
Schools near his residence at Nayapalli. He advised that the Integral
Schools should always be opened in consultation with the Study Circle
Members. He congratulated the Secretary for his excellent and
comprehensive report. He appreciated the new idea Sri Aurobindo
University & said that this was the dream of Babaji Maharaj.
S. Panigrahi, President said that in society the Integral Schools have
proved their worth. People have liked them and put confidence on them.
There are other schools in the same name to create confusion in the
society. He advised that the list of affiliated Integral Schools be circulated
among the CI/DI of Schools.
B.P. Das, Vice-President suggested that the schools running without
proper procedure be considered for de-affiliation.
Prof. M.N. Sahu advised to open Study Circles in everybody’s house.
S. Mohanty, Joint Secretary cum Tresurer said that the non affiliated
schools be visited by the District Organisers. They may be given a fixed
time during which they may complete their visit and send report. Let them
not come in the last moment.
G. Mishra,Vice-President said that a resolution was made in the meeting
of the Core Committee that Study Circle would be opened in the house
of each M.C. Members. Let that be ascertained. Each school may join in
the activities of Sri Aurobindo University and at least 2 or 3 teachers
partcipate. Recognition procedure be made clear to all new Sri Aurobindo
Integral Education Centers. Let each Integral School resolve in their
meeting to take part in Sri Aurobindo University and send their resolutions
to the Sri Aurobindo University which may encourage the organisers of
Sri Aurobindo University.
Anjali Tripathy of Gopinathpur proposed to prepare a Calender of
events for the whole year. A state level list of activities of the Trust may
also be get published. She emphasised that atleast one teacher from
each Integral School participate in the state level Teachers’ meet. She
also proposed to prepare a Catalogue and Issue Register for the books
available both at Cuttack & Khandagiri Trust Office.
Sanjay Kr. Mohapatra of Kalupadaghat, agreed to the proposals of
Anjali Apa and insisted that Dist. meets / Zonal meets should not clash
with state level meets.
Secretary clarified that the Calender of events as proposed by Anjali
has already been printed in the Matrubhaban Patra. However this will be
again published separately & circulated.
Dr. B. Mohapatra Joint Secratary emphasized that all meets should
have co-ordinations among themselves. State level Mahila Samilani,
State level Girls’ Child Meet are going to be organised at different places
in which all should participate. She said that somebody objected to
conduct separately Girls’ Child Meet but when Babaji was told about this
he gave his opinion that whoever may oppose you continue doing it.
She also requested everybody to take part in Sri Aurobindo University
Maheswar Mahakud of Kendujhar , mentioned that few years back the
participation of teachers in the annual meet was very high. Everybody felt
that in future, schools will be more and teachers will be more too. In order
to restrict the no. for smooth management, each school will be requested
to send a limited no of teachers. But to our dissapointment this year only
200 teachers have participated. He also mentioned that the schools are
becoming indifferent after getting affiliation. We should look to the
qualitative side and there should be some imposition too.
Sarat Ghose of Raghunathpur (Soro) insisted that the meeting should
start at exact time under any circumstance. He said that the new schools
are getting open more in urban areas than rural area. Dissatisfied
members of one Integral Schools are opening another school in the near
by area. It is seen that new schools opened are more active than the old
schools. It is to be decided that which school should be given affiliation.
He expressed his gratitude to the Secretary for his report. He also
requested that let the report consist the no of teachers, students and
other details. We may keep more time for the Executive Body meeting
since the total schools have been 429. He requested to have more
seminars and meeting in the Zone & District level, Conduct Refresher
Training Camp for more times, start a permanent Training Centre and
conduct three monthly training round the year. About text books he
expressed his concern as some schools have still not introduced Trust
Books in their schools. Let the books have qualitative value and errorless.
The review be perfect. Regarding Govt. grant he said that the schools
those are receiving Govt. grant are not co-operating. Since the amount
have been reduced, we may try to get the actual amount but for that the
schools those are receiving grant should co-operate and deposit the
Utilisation Certificate very early which is actually not done. Let us decide
whether we shall receive money from the Govt. or not. The Internal audit
may be done more seriously.
Lambodar Dey of Kharidchhak said once Babaji Maharaj had said not
to discourage anybody who has opened a new school but to show him
the right way. But we are giving so much empasis on giving affiliation by
restricting them.
Sashikanta Bhoi of Kaptipada requsted to print the handbook of Physical
Education and prepare guide books to teach sanskrit easily. He also
proposed to have workshops on different subjects on Zonal level.
Prafulla Panda of Sambalpur appreciated the standard of Text books.
He insisted that affiliation of school may be withdrawn if nobody from that
school participate in the state level meet. Let us give time for 6 months
and if they don’t change their affiliation be withdrawn. He also insisted
that the list of schools who are not maintaining the minimum discipline
should be circulated. He insisted also to increase the zonal activities.
Sudhi Bhai of Indrabati proposed that there may not be any text books
for Std-I but let there be teacher’s guide book. Let the students be made
free from the burden of text books. He insisted that the education should
be from Heart but not from Mind.
Hari Bhai of Koraput proposed to conduct teachers & students meet on
rotation basis at different schools. He said that the Govt. is insisting to
open NCC and wanted to know if we can start Army of Light instade of
Pradeep Bhai of Bonai expressed his gratitude to the Trust for the
workers meet. Requested to open a permanent Training Centre as early
as possible at least within 3 months period and separately for Nurs/KG
Teachers, Primary Teachers & High School Teachers.
Fakir Sankhua of Soro expressed his gratitude for the total programme
of the workers meet in which “ Group Discussion” was very lively. The
Questions & Answers were very effective. Requested to reduce the
delegation fees so that members of all categories may attend and listen
to the discussion.
Satyanarayan Babu of Sambalpur, requested to reprint the handbook
of Instruction and Syllabus. He also requested to take a decision if
experience Certificate can be given for IGNOU Admission.
Ganesh Mohapatra of Kuliana requested to accelerate the Govt. liasioning
work. Also appreciated the idea of a Permanent Training Centre. He
expressed his grief for fighting among the school members. This gives
bad impact on the students. He invited to conduct the next Trust meeting
at Baripada.
Binendra Mohanty of Kohla expressed that the text books are all of old
pattern, have nothing new in them. We may start permanent research in
it. The Study Circle members are in the management of the school but
their own children are reading in English Medium School. At certain
Centres rich persons having no connection with “The Mother & Sri
Aurobindo” have been taken in the managing committee and they are
creating all type of problems. Let there be a guide line to open an Integral
School. Let the Trust utilise some of it’s powers to the indisciplined
Bibhu Bhai of Kodala proposed to conduct one state level student’s
sports meet.
Ramesh Panda of Gania said that this workers meet is partly successful.
Let there be more activities so that everybody can know each other. Even
the member of Study Circle have not been able to change their attitude.
No harmony among the teachers and M.C. Members. Let us practise what
we read in Study Circles.
Sarat Panda of Berhampur explained that worker’s meet was having
more participation initially but now the no. have been reduced. There
should be Study Circles in the houses of teachers and M.C. members.
Each District co-ordinator, Zonal Co-ordinator & State co-ordinator should
at least visit once the schools in their district during the year.
Srinibas Bhai of Jagatsinghpur proposed that the Teachers should be
careful to bring out the internal qualities of the child. They should not get
upset or angry with the students. Let there be training centre for teachers
6 monthly / 10 monthly etc.
Ajaya Bal of Dhenkanal said that New Life Education Trust is not an
administrative body. It is a co-ordinating body. SFA has been disbursed
through NLET. We have already published Text Books for the entire state.
These are very good efforts. Let the approval of MC be also done by
NLET. Let each members of MC should have Study Circles in their
Benu Bhai of Karanda complained that they are facing troubles in Govt.
offices. District and Block Co-ordinators may try to visit and help.
Pradeepta Panigrahi of Khallikote said that the no. of non affiliated
schools are more because of the conditions of affiliation that they can
apply for affiliation after 2 years. of opening of the schools. They should
have own land and building. Trust Co-ordinators must visit the newly
opened schools. Each school should send at least one representative to
the annual meet of the workers. He extends his satisfaction for the group
discussion made in the workers’ meet.
Urmila Apa of Charampa emphasised to have Study Circles in each
organisers house. They must be aware about ideal of Mother & Sri
Aurobindo. Let each Teacher of the school should participate in such
meets by rotation. Let not one teacher always participate in each meet
from a school. She complained that some schools are not sending
teachers and in some school teachers are not agreeing to attend. She
insisted to conduct state level parents’ meet by the Trust and expressed
her gratitude to Trust for the nice arrangement.
Lalit Mohan Khuntia of Balangir expressed that there in no coordinaton
among the Dist. & Zonal co-ordinators. Trust members should not directly
approach the schools. There should have refresher camps twice a year
instead of once. He insisted that the audit report may be circulated
among all schools. He said that all plans projects are coming out of our
aspirations like Dasakarmadhara, Sri Aurobindo University etc. Let our
Education be in such a spirit that it can challenge the Govt. Education
and all so called sophisticated Education. We don’t have any
misappropriation problem. He appreciated the idea of Sri Aurobindo
University and emphasized that each school should at least have 1 or
2 teachers who will participate in it’s programme.
Secretary Sri P. Tripathy then clarified the following points.
1. Regarding less attendance, Secretary said that the no of students in
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry has been reduced. Have they been
worried? Nothing depends on the number. It matters whether the number
those who attended have utilised their time or not. For that matter, we
have said several times that it has become more intense, more fruitful.
2. Regarding accepting money from Govt. he said that we shall receive
money from Govt. as long as our ideal is not compormised. After we
receive special recognition from Govt. this problem will not be there.
3. Regarding what Babaji Maharaj had said about opening of new
schools he said that Babaji Maharaj can not be quoted anywhere and
everywhere. Of course we should not be very strict but we should also
be careful about our ideal.
4. Regarding the delegate fees to attend the meet he said that the
school which can pay, should pay. Those who can’t pay may be given
some concession but in any case this will never help in increasing the
no of delegates, because there are teachers who have come paying
themselves as the school has not paid them and there are others for
whom the school has paid but they have not come. Unless one feels the
necessacity of attending the meet, one shall not come.
5. Regarding NCC or Army of Light he said that the Govt. authorities
those are insisting us to open NCC can be made to convince that Army
of Light is a better organisation to keep the students Active, Disciplined
and Spiritual and they may not give pressure further to start NCC.
6. Regarding the recognition of our schools, the Secretary said that the
declaration of our school by Govt. as special type of school will solve all
these problems.
7. About Permanent Training Centre, he said that this matter have been
discussed in the last two Core Committee Meetings and after detail
discussion this will be opened but there are many questions to be
solved such as substitute teacher, Course Fees, accomodation etc.
8. About conducting the Trust meeting by rotation he pointed out that
such experiments have been made previously when the total strength
have been less than the quorrum.
9. Answering to a complain that the text books are of old pattern he
said that this is very ridiculous to be heard as we have so many times
requested everybody to come forward to help us and assist us in correcting
the books. It is painful that you don’t participate in preparing the Text
books and complain. However, he requested that whoever may come to
help in this regard is welcome. Even if required some monetary help can
be made to them for this purpose also.
10. Regarding approval of MC by the NLET he said this too can be
solved once we are declared as special type of school.
11. Regarding conducting state level guardians meet he said that we
may request the Principal/Secretary to bring one or two guardians with
them for the Secretary / Principal meet initially. If it gives some result we
may ask more to participate.
12. Regarding conducting refresher training twice a year he said that
our refresher training can not be conducted for less than 15 days and
we don’t have vacation more than 15days twice. It is only during summer
we are having a long holiday in which this can be accomodated.
President Sri Sriballav Panigrahi in his Presidential Remark said that
the Secretary has very clearly answered to all the querries and doubts
keeping in view the ideal of Integral Education. He said that the journey
is long hence we should be ready for that. Initially a few people were
members in the NLET but now there are so many members and even
this no. may increase also. But to conduct a meeting since at least one
third members are essential, we started a Core Committee. He said that
all the proposals raised by the members are very thoughtful and shall
be taken care in the immediate meetings of the Executive Body or Core
Committee. He said that Integral Education movement is a tringular effort
consisting of Teachers -Organisers, Parents and Students. Unless the
parents co-operate, no real progress can be made. A new experiment is
started at Sambalpur by organising parents meet with children. We may
wait to see its result. He very much appreciated the idea of starting a
Permanent Training Centre as the Orientation will definitely help in running
the Integral Movement. He said this may be for two types of teachers like
beginners and experienced. We need Integral Training for Integral
Education. The Sri Aurobindo University may take up the responsibility
of Teachers Training Programme. Initially schools were opened and
gradually they will improve but in any case if they don’t obey the principles,
disciplines, we may think of issuing them de-affiliation or de-link.
Regarding mistake in the Text Books he said that some mistakes
may occur in the beginning but gradually we shall try for perfection. He
said The Mother has emphasized in reading Sri Aurobindo as
Sri Aurobindo is the real answer to everything in life. Whosoever works
in the schools may be organiser or teacher should read Sri Aurobindo.
He said that contradiction are natural but we must overcome them. He
congratulated the Secretary for his beautiful report and brilliant clarification
raised by the members. He said that we are trying our best in the Govt.
level to find out something to our problems but the internal disharmony
in our institutions must be taken care of by ourselves. He said that
Integral Education is imparted with a very minimum expenditure. He
again reminded that Sri Aurobindo has said each teacher ought to be a
yogi. Here each of us should be yogi. He thanked the Education Minister
Sri Bishnu Das and Finance Minister Sri Prafulla Ghadei for having
attended the meet and given assurance to help us in declaring us as
special type of Education. Lastly extended everybody a Saradiya
Ramesh Rout of Panikoili proposed a list of following 25 members for
the next term 2006 -08 for selection of office bearers of NLET.
1. Sriballav Panigrahi 9. Bimal Prasana Das 17Niranjan Mohapatra
2. Prafulla Kr. Panda 10. Sankar Mohanty 18. Arabinda Das
3. Satyanarayan Babu 11. Sanjay Mohapatra 19.Pradeepta Panigrahi
4. Saroj Kr. Pattanaik 12. Gadadhar Mishra 20. Lambodar Dey
5. Lalit Mohan Khuntia 13. Prasad Tripathy 21. Sarat Ch. Ghose
6. Prasanta Kr. Swain 14. Bijayeeni Mohapatra 22. Ganesh Ch. Mohapatra
7. Ganesh Prasad 15. Anjali Tripathy 23.Maheswar Mahakud
8. Aparti Ch. Dash 16. Ramesh Ch. Dalai 24. Madan Mohan Dani
25. Bijay Kr. Das
Sashikanta Bhai of Kaptipada seconded this proposal and this was
accepted by everybody. It was decided that an emergency meeting will
be held on 22nd Oct. to select the office bearers for the next term and
to find out the reasons for less participation in the meet.
Dr. Bijayeeni Mohapatra, Jt. Secretary proposed a Vote of Thanks
and the General Body meeting ended with 2 mts silence prayer at the
Feet of the Sweet Mother & Sri Aurobindo.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture

Chronology of Events
29th July 1960
Smt. Lakshmi Devi Loyalka offers the property at 3, Regent Park, Calcutta to The Mother, in memory of her deceased husband.
Feb 1968
The Mother says: "We shall call it Lakshmi's House and it will be The home of Grace"
3rd Feb 1968
"Grihapravesh" - a simple house-warming ceremony at Lakshmi's House. Sri Arun Tagore takes up residence here as "caretaker". Sri Pradyot Kr. Bhattacharya starts staying here on his visits to Calcutta.
13th Nov 1968
"Shakti Centre" starts with The Mother's Blessings: Smt Asha Rajgharia is the Secretary, Smt Maya Mitra is the music teacher and Smt Rekha Sen is in charge of embroidery etc
4th Sep 1972
Arun Nursery School is started with The Mother's Blessing: Smt Bharati Dutta is the Head-mistress, Number of children is 3
July 1975
Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture is registered as a Society under West Bengal Societies Act,1961
17th July 1975
Sri Arun Tagore returns to The Mother's feet
Winter of 1975-76
Annual Exhibition is started
Feb 1976
"Devasangha" is started
Arun Flower Nursery is started
24th Jun 1977
Sri Aurobindo's sacred relics are installed
22nd Nov 1978
West Bengal Government recognizes Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture as a charitable institution.
Around 1978-79
Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture is recognized as a "nominee" of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry
"Health & Healing" Unit is started
early 1980s
Sri Aurobindo's statue is installed in Meditation Room
The expanded school (later named TFFS) is started with Joya Mitter as Principal
31st Aug 1984
The name "The Future Foundation School" is approved by the Trust.
22nd Nov 1984
Sri Pradyot Kr. Bhattacharya returns to The Mother's feet
02nd Aug 1986
Provisional affiliation for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE - Year 10) course is received from Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations
Jan 1988
Dyuman Bhai visits the Lakshmi's House
3rd Jan 1988
Dyuman Bhai inaugurates "Hall of Light"
8th Oct 1990
Provisional affiliation for Indian School Certificate (ISC - Year 12) course is received from Council of Indian School Certificate Examinations
March 1991
First batch of ICSE (Class X) students from F.F.S.
March 1993
First batch of ISC (Class XII) students from F.F.S.
6th Jan 1993
Foundation stone of the school's new building is laid by Dr Karan Singh
7th Jan 1995
Galerie La Mere is started
9th Aug 1996
Sri Aurobindo Research Centre is started
15th Aug 1997
"Sri Aurobindo Parichay" gallery is started
21st Feb 1998
The Mother's statue is installed in the Meditation room
1st Aug 1998
"Sanskriti" Museum is started
15th Aug 1998
"Smaraniya Bichar Sanghra" at Alipore Court
24th July 1999
Smt Joya Mitter returns to The Mother's feet
Sri Ranjan Mitter takes up the post of Prinicipal of the school
2nd June 2000
Affiliation for ISC and ICSE courses is confirmed by CISCE
Humanities stream for ISC course is started with the permission of CISCE


Academie Mondiale starts

15th August 2004
Sri Aurobindo's statue is installed in Darshan Room

Friday, December 08, 2006

Community as Ecovillage

Auroville was originally conceived to become a city for 50,000 people. More photos » Youth from 124 countries placed soil from their home countries in the inaugural urn on February 28, 1968. More photos » All-night birthday celebrations take place near the Matrimandir every February 28th. More photos »
History and Vision Based on the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfalssa (a.k.a. "The Mother") , Auroville is a grand experiment in building human unity with the vision of becoming a universal township for 50,000 people. On February 28th, 1968 over 5,000 people from 124 nations assembled for the inauguration of Auroville. After the festivities ended, a handful of people remained to begin the task of transforming a devastated landscape into a vibrant ecosystem and a thriving international community. It worked. Today, Auroville extends over 2 square miles and is home to 1,900 members from 40 nations.
Community as Ecovillage Through overgrazing of cattle and the monsoon rains, Auroville began on land that, as one early visitor described it, "was quickly dying back into a moon." In the first 10 years, over a million trees were planted. The forest slowly grew back, which in turn attracted birds that brought with them seeds from trees they hadn't planted. A positive feedback loop was created and today, Auroville is green and lush. But that is only the beginning of the story. From its 15 organic farms to its 150+ houses fully powered by photovoltaic panels; from its cost-effective building techniques using ferrocement and unfired earth to its ecological wastewater treatment facilities (a.k.a. "Living Machines"), Auroville has become internationally recognized as a leader in sustainable technologies and is well on its way to becoming "a city the Earth needs."
Community Highlights
Even over the course of a semester, students will only scratch the surface of what Auroville has to offer. Some opportunities that are available include:
Cultural activities such as live music and theater, art galleries, and independent video
Classes on everything from Balkan Dancing and Aerobics to Reiki and Aikido
Sports including tennis, basketball, volleyball, and soccer
A wide variety of restaurants serving Indian and western cuisine
Community celebrations such as Auroville's anniversary on February 28th
Seeking silence in the Matrimandir, a stunning meditation sanctuary in the center of Auroville
Regional Highlights
Nearby Pondicherry with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, bookstores, and great restaurants
Repos Beach where Aurovillians often go to swim and relax
Historical sites and 4-billion-year-old exposed rock formations in beautiful Hampi
Early morning boat ride looking for elephants in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Tamil culture and festivals such as Holi in March and Deepvali in November
Darshan at Mata Amritanandamayi Devi's Ashram on an island in the backwaters of Kerala

Accommodations While in Auroville students stay in one of the communities within Auroville (e.g. Verité, College Guest House). The rooms, typically built with compressed stabilized Earth bricks and thatch roofs, are simple, yet comfortable.
Diet Students generally prepare their own breakfasts, eat lunches at the Solar Kitchen and have dinner in their host community or at one of the restaurants in Auroville. A couple days a week, they eat at the various restaurants in Auroville. Typical foods are rice and ragi with different locally grown vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, cabbage and beans. Students in general love the traditional plates of idli and dosa (a rice and lentil paste) with a lentil curry called dal. The food is mostly vegetarian with many vegan options. Food grown in Auroville is 100% organic and provides for about 20% of the total food needs of the community.
Climate Auroville is situated on a low-lying plateau in sub-tropical India. Daytime temperatures range from a low of 74-85¡F (December to March) to a high of about 105¡F (June). While occasional rains bring temperatures down staring in July, the main monsoon rains come from October through December when daytime temperatures average 77-83¡F.
Health Students are required to take health precautions standard for travel to this region. These are outlined in the Student Handbook, which is available upon acceptance. Once in India, there are several health centers in Auroville with both allopathic and homeopathic services as well as two well-equipped hospitals within 30 minutes.
Links and Resources
Auroville Community -
Auroville as Ecovillage -
Auroville Health Facilities -
Fireflies Ashram -
Sri Aurobindo Ashram -
Integral Yoga -
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary -
CDC Health Information -
Learn More About this Program » View Photos from this Program » Learn About Other Programs »Check Out the Student Weblogs » Learn How to Apply » Contact Us » Contact Info: Wim Aspeslagh(Auroville Liaison, not a general AV contact)AdventureAuroville 605 101Tamil Nadu, Living Routes is an independent, non-profit educational organization