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Auroville from Above

Auroville from Above

A change of perspective can result in a change consciousness. Five hours after the launch of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, astronaut Harrison Schmitt took a photo of the Earth from space which has become one of the most reproduced images anywhere. What made this image of the blue planet swimming in the black void of space so influential was that it emphasized both the beauty and precariousness of our existence, and the fact that we need to work together to preserve it.

Auroville from Above had a similar impact on some of the viewers. “What a change of perspective!” wrote one, “It feels like helping us to realize the amazing place/gift we are living in.”

The project was conceived in 2018 as an idea to create a photo book of aerial pictures of Auroville, complemented with inspiring quotes from Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. This also became an exhibition. “We had a basic idea to create a book of photos all around Auroville of places we know very well but have never seen from the sky,” says Julie. “We also had the initial idea of doing places less known. However, in the process we discovered so much more that the project became more and more refined,” notes Om. “For example, even something as simple as the colours and textures of the soil, the lushness of the trees and the intensity of the sky change almost minute by minute, offering us a new canvas to work with each time.”

“It really expanded our vision of Auroville,” notes Julie. “When you go up a little bit higher, you realize how much you didn’t know about this place, and you also realize there is more than one way to see things. For example, in the panorama photos you see how tiny we are in comparison to the trees.”

Om and Julie

In fact, one of the revelations of this exhibition is how green Auroville looks from the sky. Even in the city, the buildings poke almost apologetically above rolling waves of trees. “When you look from this perspective,” says Om, “you appreciate the tremendous collective effort that was made to plant this forest.”

Another discovery was the uniqueness of Auroville’s architecture. From above, one can admire the sweeping curves of Savitri Bhavan, the mandala pattern of the Tibetan Pavilion, the sprung thrust of the Amphitheatre, and the unusual geometry of places like Humanscapes. In fact, some designs seem to work much better from the air than from ground level. One revelation is the Garden of Bliss which, from a higher elevation, suddenly acquires a new interest and beauty.

“You also see that some buildings are consciously placed – like the way that the main line of Savitri Bhavan is exactly orientated to the Matrimandir,” says Om. “Then again, I’d always assumed that the two pathways around the Urn were symmetrical – but they’re not! Also, you see immediately where architects have made an effort to incorporate nature into their designs, as in the kindergarten, and where, on the contrary, they have simply created a block without reference to the natural surroundings.”

The narrative structure of the exhibition is a day in Auroville: it begins and ends with panoramas of the community spread out under wonderful morning and evening skies. An early morning photo, which is one of their favourites, is titled ‘Gratitude’. It shows early morning light pouring down through the mist and forest, while a lone cyclist circles a tree. “Because of the mist we were actually considering whether we would shoot or not, but when we lifted the drone and saw this golden light pouring down, everything came together for a few seconds: it really was the City of Dawn,” says Julie.

“For me, images like this are a reminder of the original Auroville,” says Om. “Growing up here you hear a lot about the ideals of Auroville, but as you get older you start seeing we are not really there yet. This is also why we included the quotes, not only to complement the images but also to remind us of what we are supposed to be.”

“We wanted to present the beauty of Auroville rather than the problems,” says Julie. “For me, Auroville is beauty; this is the ideal Auroville for me. By diving into this project we re-centred ourselves. Seeing so much more of the beauty from this unique perspective brought us back to the vision, and made us feel so lucky and grateful to be part of this place.”

Alan,
Originally published at:
https://auroville.org/avtoday

A 120 page book, Aerial Auroville, accompanies the exhibition.
For further information contact
thedronezone@auroville.org.in


The Spiritual Evolution of the Soul by Larry Seidlitz

The Spiritual Evolution of the Soul

Essentials of Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophy and Yoga

This book provides a concise and detailed summary of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and yoga while focusing on one of its main themes: the spiritual evolution of the soul. It covers essential ideas in the philosophy such as the nature of the Divine and its relation to the universe, the processes of involution and evolution, the relation of the soul and nature, the processes of karma and rebirth, the evolution of societies, the main principles and practices of the Integral Yoga, the psychic, spiritual, and supramental transformations of consciousness, and the concept and realization of the superman, the intermediary between the human and the supramental being. It concludes with a consideration of the validity and relevance of the philosophy and yoga for contemporary life.

Larry Seidlitz, Ph.D. is a practitioner and scholar of the Integral Yoga. This is his third book on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and yoga, and he has also written essays on the topic for various journals. He was editor of the USA-based journal on the Integral Yoga Collaboration for 16 years, edits books and papers for other scholars on the Yoga, and conducts online courses on the Yoga for the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research. Formerly a research psychologist in the USA, he now resides near Auroville and is associated with both the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville.

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The English of Savitri Volume 6

The English of Savitri
volume 6

This is the sixth volume of the English of Savitri series, based on transcripts of classes led by the author at Savitri Bhavan, in this case from 23 June to 29 December 2016. The transcripts have been carefully revised and edited for conciseness and clarity, while aiming to preserve the informal atmosphere of the course. This volume contains detailed explanations of the texts of the two closing Books of Sri Aurobindo’s epic: Book Eleven – The Book of Everlasting Day and Book Twelve – Epilogue: The Return to Earth. Each sentence is examined closely and explanations are given about vocabulary, sentence structure and imagery. The aim is to assist a deeper understanding and appreciation of the poem which the Mother has characterised as ‘the supreme revelation of Sri Au robin do’s vision’.

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Auroville: Sun-Word Rising by Savitra

Auroville: Sun-Word Rising

A Trust for the Earth

Few people today — even those who presently live in Auroville or serve on AVI Boards — know the actual history of Auroville’s emergence. And unfortunately, records of that unique era have largely been lost in time. Auroville: Sun-Word Rising, originally published by the Community of Auroville in 1980, was an honest attempt to chronicle that AV timeline when the Mother was still physically present as well as the period which followed Her passing. Based on extensive notes and documentation, the book strives to tell a truer story that needed to be told despite those who wished to silence it. For it fills in the missing links that can help us understand how Auroville arrived at where it is today. After all, if we don’t know our past, how can we understand our present, heal past wounds, cocreate a truer future?

The opening passages of this 3-Part work begin in America, tracking the author’s personal quest through the 1960s that eventually led him to the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother… Which in turn led him to London where he began his odyssey, hitchhiking to India to meet the Mother. That meeting led him to stay on in India. And soon after, the Mother accepted him into the Ashram, then into Auroville where he joined that first wave of pioneers scattered like seeds on a barren red-clay plateau. Part 2 transitions through a tale of two Aurovilles: The Auroville rising forth under the Mother’s nurturing Presence. And the Auroville labouring to carry on its mission through the grief of Her passing and the unforeseen crises and conflicts that would follow Her passing.

For indeed, despite the obstacles and oppositions which that fledgling AV Community faced, it courageously laboured on, bringing new life to that arid plateau, establishing settlements, schools, farms and the beginning of a reforestation programme that would eventually transform a dying landscape into lush tropical forests. It would also evolve a home-grown decision-making process that would be severely challenged by outside forces following the Mother’s passing (as Parts 2 and 3 document). Those challenges would eventually lead to a Government intervention in 1980, followed by a Supreme Court Case and the eventual Auroville Foundation Act passed by Parliament in 1988. In this light, perhaps Auroville’s first decade reflects a microcosm of the pressing evolutionary challenges our species and planet face today.


Book Details

Author: Savitra
Print Length: 300 pages
Publisher: The Community of Auroville
Original source: Auroville Archives
Contributors: Gilles Guigan, Krishna V.
Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle
Language: English


Book Download

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Auroville Saga: Antithesis of Yoga by Jocelyn

Antithesis of Yoga by Jocelyn

Antithesis of Yoga

non-fiction novel

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.

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Savitri Bhavan – The Buildings

Savitri Bhavan – The Buildings

This booklet has been created in response to the widespread interest in the architecture of Savitri Bhavan expressed by students and professionals.

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The English of Savitri Volume 5

The English of Savitri
volume 5

This is the fifth volume of the English of Savitri series based on transcripts of classes led by the author at Savitri Bhavan, in this case from 6 January to 11 August 2011. The transcripts have been carefully revised and edited for conciseness and clarity, while aiming to preserve the informal atmosphere of the course. This volume contains detailed explanations of the first four Cantos of Book Two, The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds. Each sentence is examined closely and explanations are given about vocabulary, sentence structure and imagery. The aim is to assist a deeper understanding and appreciation of the poem which the Mother has characterised as ‘the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s vision’.

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The English of Savitri Volume 4

The English of Savitri
volume 4

This is the fourth volume of the English of Savitri series based on transcripts of classes led by the author at Savitri Bhavan, in this case from October 8, 2015 to June 6, 2016. The transcripts have been carefully revised and edited for conciseness and clarity, while aiming to preserve the informal atmosphere of the course. This volume contains a summary of the two cantos of Book Nine of Sri Aurobindo’s epic Savitri – A Legend and a Symbol, followed by detailed explanations of the four Cantos of Book Ten, The Book of the Double Twilight. Each sentence is examined closely and explanations are given about vocabulary, sentence structure and imagery. The aim is to assist a deeper understanding and appreciation of the poem which the Mother has characterised as ‘the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s vision’.

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The English of Savitri Volume 3

The English of Savitri Volume 3

The English of Savitri
volume 3

This is the third volume in the English of Savitri series based on transcripts of classes led by the author at Savitri Bhavan, in this case from July 2014 to July 2015. The transcripts have been carefully revised and edited for conciseness and clarity, while aiming to preserve the informal atmosphere of the course. This volume contains summaries of Books Four, Five, Six and Eight of Sri Aurobindo’s epic Savitri 一 A Legend and a Symbol as well as providing detailed explanations of all the seven cantos of Book Seven, The Book of Yoga, thus covering the whole of Part Two of the poem. Each sentence is examined closely and explanations are given about vocabulary, sentence structure and imagery. The aim is to assist a deeper understanding and appreciation of the poem which the Mother has characterised as ‘the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s vision’

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The English of Savitri Volume 2

The English of Savitri volume 2

The English of Savitri
volume 2

Like the previous book in the series, The English of Savitri Volume 2 is based on transcripts of classes led by the author at Savitri Bhavan, in this case from December 2012 to June 2013. The transcripts have been carefully revised and edited for conciseness and clarity, while aiming to preserve the informal atmosphere of the course. This second volume covers the four cantos of Book Three, The Book of the Divine Mother, of Sri Aurobindo’s epic, Savitria legend and a symbol. Each sentence in the poem is examined closely and explanations are given about vocabulary, sentence-structure and imagery. The aim is to assist a deeper understanding and appreciation of the poem which the Mother has characterised as ‘the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo’s vision’.

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