Auroville- A Utopian Dreamland?

All of us have, without a doubt, thought about this scenario: What would it be like to live in a world without religion? A world without any sort of politics? A world where there’s no paper and coin currency? Do we call such life almost utopian?

I was beyond shocked to find that such a place infact, actually exists. And no, it’s not some far off congregation of people in the West, who decided to recreate such settings. Surprisingly, it’s home to India. Auroville is an experimental township in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu, with some parts in the Union Territory of Puducherry, India.

And yes, we have A LOT of questions. How did such a thing come into being in the first place?

Auroville was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, known by the residents as ‘The Mother’. The township was a result of the dual philosophies of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, an Indian Philosopher, Poet and Yoga Guru. The Mother gathered a large number of followers into the Sri Aurobindo Ashram after she met him in Pondicherry, and later founded the International township of Auroville. Both of them worked their whole lives for the manifestation of a consciousness beyond mind; and thus wanted Auroville to be “a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.” On 28th February, 1968, around 5,000 people assembled near a banyan tree. They included representatives from 124 nations who brought their land’s soil with them. All those soils were mixed and put into a marble-clad, lotus-shaped urn, known as The Urn of Human Unity, which is currently kept in the amphitheater in the centre of the township. The place has been protected by the UNESCO since 1968.

What exactly is the township like? What goes on inside? How do people live there? And how does one become a member?

Auroville is recognised as the first and only internationally endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation consciousness.

At the very centre of the township is the ‘Peace Zone’ comprising of The Mantrimandir, known as the ‘Soul of the City’, the amphitheater and other peaceful gardens and lakes. The Mantrimandir(image below)is a huge spectacle in the area. Perfect silence is maintained inside to ensure tranquility. The Inner Chamber of the Mantrimandir is devoid of any kinds of pictures, incense or anything related to religion, as The Mother believed that religion has failed since it is divided, and what the new consciousness wants is: no more divisions. Besides the peace area, there are 4 other zones, namely the ‘Residential Zone’ , ‘Industrial Zone’ , ‘Cultural Zone’ and the ‘International Zone’.

As for Auroville’s economic endeavours, there is no physical currency and all exchanges happen digitally via an ‘Aurocard’ provided to all citizens. The residents donate monthly so as to run the budget and can contribute through work, money or kind. The Government of India owns the place but only has a small share when it comes to providing funds. Auroville also has a store selling organic products and it produces and re sells items like stationery, which acts as a means of income since it is open to everybody around the world.

Auroville today has 2500 permanent residents from all over the world, 1/3rd of those being Indians. Originally, The Mother decided who could join by looking them directly into the eye, which a lot of people deemed as being a spiritual experience. Now, the applicants have to prove that they are especially dedicated to the cause. Deciding to live in Auroville is not a decision to be taken lightly, though. The people who apply are required to leave everything behind and come to live in Auroville for 2 years and work there for free, willingly. After that time period, a group reviews the person’s case and decides if they can stay or not.

The township is certainly one of its kind and has provided a safe place for a lot of people even though it has been subjected to various allegations in the past; from the congregation being called ‘a utopian cult’ or even being accused of not addressing various crimes taking place inside. Such experiments may seem skeptical at first but we can never undermine the efforts it took to make this happen. And again, will wonders ever cease?

À Bientôt :))

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarabdeep says:

    Wow !! Really informative piece
    Thank you Arushi for acquainting me with this place

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou very much 😀

      Like

  2. Hello from the USA. I never heard of this community before. It’s pretty amazing that it exists. I wouldn’t want to live there, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s actually pretty much understandable. It’s quite fascinating. though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kaivalyasharma says:

    Fascinating indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thankyou very much!

      Like

  4. Harish says:

    Interesting one! There are few such places which ppl don’t much about..
    Hopefully this place doesn’t have too many dark secrets!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thankyou:))
      we really hope so

      Like

  5. seerat says:

    For a person who often wonders about dystopian worlds from Atwood’s words to exist in a more beautiful way, this is such a huge surprise. Thnx for introducing to this wonder, we weren’t acquainted to at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thankyou seerat<3 and yes we all wonder, indeed:))

      Liked by 1 person

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