Antithesis of Yoga
The Antithesis of Yoga is a nonfictional novel of the first 25 years of wonderful and terrible life in the City of the Future. Auroville, The City Earth Needs near Pondicherry India, is a global spiritual township started by The Mother in 1968. For those interested in learning about the history of Aurovile, and would like to meet the fascinating people and hear the often amazing stories of the beginnings of this Utopian experiment they can find here a first hand account of the tumultuous years of Auroville’s early development.
Roslyn, an American hippie single mother had imagined she had had a vision calling her to India. She traveled to Pondicherry overland across Europe and Asia, not knowing her destination was Pondicherry. She arrived with her eight month old daughter Bliss in August 1969. She thought she had found Shangri la. Pondicherry was nothing like anywhere she had been. It sparkled.
She soon met many interesting, exotic people, John Kelly, a New York City fireman who had had visions of Mother and Sri Aurobindo in the trenches in WWII; and Ananta. a Boston Bhramin saddhu who had built a temple to Zeus on the island Mother had given him; the Countess de B, a hero of the French Resistance; the tantric guru, Panditji; and many others. But Roslyn was completely captivated by The Mother and Her vision and ideals for Auroville.
Roslyn’s first glimpse of Auroville was a red eroded plain, pockmarked with impoverished villages. There was not a tree to be seen. There was no electricity in the area. There was 100% illiteracy among the villagers. But that was not what Roslyn saw. She saw a place where a utopia would be built by sun eyed children of a new dawn.
There were many adventures, misadventures and challenges along the way.
This book tells some of the story of the great adventure of the beginning of the town. Auroville today is a town in South India visited by VIP’s, students and people from all over the world, the home of people from more than 30 countries, the winner of a Green Oscar, the site of the Matrimandir, and has applied for World Heritage status. It is a successful experiment in developing a spiritual global community.
Print Length: 450 pages
Publisher: Auro e-Books
Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle
Table of Contents
- A Dream
- Chapter I. Once Upon A Time
- Chapter II. Great Sir and the Heavenly Lady
- Chapter III. Go and Come Back
- Chapter IV. Mother’s World
- Chapter V. The City of The Future
- Chapter VI. A New Life in a New World
- Chapter VII. Living The Dream
- Chapter VIII. Not as easy as I thought
- Chapter IX. A Long Vacation
- Chapter X. Everybody has a Dream
- Chapter XI. Revolution
- Chapter XII. Back in the Cauldron
- Chapter XIII. Seesaw
- Chapter XIV. From bad to worse
- Chapter XV. Not Politically Correct
- Chapter XVI. Business
- Chapter XVII. Alone in the Forest
- Chapter XVIII. Very Alone in the Forest
- Chapter XIX. Smash!
- Chapter XX. Dieu Ex Machina
- Chapter XXI. Denouement
- Chapter XXII. A Break
- Chapter XXIII. Finalle
Chapter I. Once Upon A Time
A death bound littleness is not all we are;
Immortal, our forgotten vastnesses
Await discovery in our summit selves
Unmeasured breadths and depths of being are ours.
Deep in us a forgotten kinship points,
And a faint voice of ecstasy and prayer
Calls to those lucent lost immensities,
Even when we fail to look into our souls,
Or life embedded in earthly consciousness,
Still have we parts that grow towards the light.
Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Savitri’
Our path is towards a threefold union. First, on the path of integral yoga is the yoga of knowledge, in spiritual essence by identity. Second is the yoga of devotion, to liberation from ignorance and identification with the real and eternal. Third is the yoga of will in union by dwelling in our soul in the highest being, consciousness, dynamic union of likeness or oneness of nature between that and our instrumental being.
Knowledge is the growing consciousness of a consciousness above deciding the movements of mind. The sign of transformation of the mind is experienced with a controlled change of consciousness, with a growing direct experience, vision, feeling of the Supreme; a growing recognition of the Divine in itself, in all things. The mind is taken into a growing preoccupation and will feel itself widening into a more illumined means of expression of the one fundamental knowledge. The central consciousness will take up more and more the outer mental activities of knowledge and turn them into more and more spiritualized mind, an instrument on the surface as well as in its own deeper spiritual empire. Love is the deepest and most intense knowledge, the highest luminous cave of nature. The dynamic process is the development of the true soul to take the place of the false soul of desire, the sublimation of human into divine love, and the elevation of the consciousness from its mental to its spiritual and Supramental plane, where power has both the soul and life force and can be utterly separate from the veils and prevarication of the ego.
The psychic has a flame of will insistent on perfection, on an alchemic transmutation of nature. The most intimate character of the psychic is pressure towards the Divine through joy, love and oneness.
(From Jim Bean’s notes on Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Synthesis of Yoga’)
As the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean along the California coast of the United States of America, it is rising over the Bay of Bengal in India, heralding a new day in Auroville, “The City of Dawn.”
Nothing belongs to anybody in particular in Auroville. Roslyn had lived in Auroville for twenty years. Then she had lived for two years in California. Because nothing belongs to anybody in particular in Auroville when she returned in 1990 she could not reclaim the house she had been living in when she left.
The only empty house she could find was the house built by Jim Bean. He had been her “true love” who stopped talking to her nine years before he died. He promised Dhyan, who had fallen off the Matrimandir — the Sanctuary of Truth in the center of Auroville — and broken her back, that until she could walk he would not talk to Roslyn.
In 1986 Jim Bean died and Dhyan committed sati. They had been in the process of building the house. Nobody could figure out what to do with the house. It became a guesthouse. It was oppressively gloomy and dirty and empty when Roslyn returned to Auroville. She moved in because she had no other place to stay. She had not wanted to come back to Auroville.
She had gone to the house only once before, to pay last respects to Jim Bean’s body, before he was buried. That day the house was entirely gray, cement and stone, looking like Gormenghast.
Jim Bean’s body was laid out on a table, cushioned on ice, wrapped in a white sheet surrounded with baskets of jasmine. When Roslyn looked at his face she was overwhelmed by the expression she saw there. He had been the most gentle and sweetest person in the world. There was a rictus of rage on his face that nearly knocked her over. She laid the orchid she had brought him over his heart symbolizing eternal love for The Divine, and left. The only things in the place that was not horrible were the flowers filling the center courtyard, bright pink flowers Mother had named, Sri Aurobindo’s compassion. It was the only thing that made the house bearable. She hated the place and never wanted to see it again in her life. Her best friend had moved into the caretaker’s house next to Jim Bean’s house a few months later, and Roslyn had told her, “I will never visit you there. I hate that place. If you ever want to see me you will have to come here to the forest.” And there she was in that house, and not at all happy. The caretaker, Heinie, asked her if she wanted to live in the house before he left for Germany, and she very truthfully replied, “No!”
The house was an amazingly beautiful space, and as the grime slowly dissolved with Vim powder and elbow grease. The memories of the good old days surfaced. Sometimes she felt Jim Bean was there with her in the house.
Roslyn had been fleeing from her memories. She had escaped to California. The time had come for her to face the memories, and she felt fate’s irony that she was in that house which was the symbol of the story. The house rises lonely and majestic at the edge of a canyon, at the end of a road, in the middle of a forest. There, one could transcend loneliness; the peace of solitude is possible. The house is built into the land in harmony with the movements of the sun and moon. It is exquisite. In the summer the front of the house receives and absorbs the sun and acts as an umbrella to shade the terrace. In the winter the sun shines on the terrace, so it is never unpleasantly cold: unless it rains for too many days in a row. Roslyn had to face the shockingly tragic deaths of Jim Bean and Dhyan to find the beauty in the house. The whole place seemed covered with a gray miasma of nobody-cares-enough.
Her days of returning to Auroville became days of pain, exhaustion, and helplessness and she felt as if they would again overwhelm her. She wept and wept and wept, as though the tears could change the past. Even five years after the deaths of Jim Bean and Dhyan the loss was undiminished. They were also part of Auroville, part of the great exciting adventure that Auroville promised to be, and so completely committed to Auroville that they would not live anywhere else. They died before the house was finished. Having no other place to go, Roslyn had gone there and found herself in the monument which Jim and Dhyan had built. It had become a guesthouse.
She entered as a guest, and was given a room upstairs on the terrace that was worse than bleak. It was grim. It was a cell. The mattress was hopeless. There were cupboards for her clothes and cosmetics. The bathroom was grim. The kitchen was filthy. The white walls were overlaid with a patina of grime. The cupboards were full of ants. The house was full of flies during the day and mosquitoes and bats at night, and occupied by a fleet of frogs.
It was looked after by a caretaker, Heinie, who had been given the house to look after by Dhyan’s daughter’s father. When Roslyn mentioned it was very dirty, she was told to leave if she did not like it.
She had nowhere to go, so she shut up. But every morning, as a type of spiritual practice and a gesture of respect to Jim Bean, she spent twenty minutes scrubbing a bit of the house with a brush and soap and Vim powder. She went around the house opening the windows, which at once transformed the gloomy cavern into a box of light. She felt that Jim Bean was alive in a spiritual dimension in the house, as a friendly spirit.
Once upon a time Roslyn had been very very young, in the star shower of laughing gas, during the era of strawberry fields forever. Her parents had given her every comfort, care and advantage they could imagine. They were sadly disappointed with how she used those gifts.
She found herself on a rainbow bridge between the past and the future.