Mother and Sri Aurobindo's Plans for Founding Auroville
Loretta’s Talk to The Children of Transition School
September 15, 2017
Good morning everyone. I am happy to see all of you here. Your teacher told me that this year the children of Transition school are doing projects on Auroville, and she asked me to tell you about Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s plans for Auroville. You will see how the plans went on changing until finally Mother invited people from every country of the world to come to Auroville. The best way to understand why Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s plans for Auroville changed, and how they changed, is to know what they said about their plans and why they made those plans.
Auroville started in 1968. But more than 100 years ago, in 1912, Mother wrote about creating a place to help all of humanity to grow. Sri Aurobindo also wrote about people making a place to work for Truth, and when Mother moved to the Ashram they talked about creating a city. They talked about it again and again over the years. At first, they planned an ideal city for a few special people who were ready to receive the new spiritual forces and the new consciousness they came here to bring.
In the new city, these special people would change and grow more quickly than the rest of the world, and the spiritual changes in these few people would help the whole world to grow. Sri Aurobindo said this was the best way to keep peace among the nations of the world and to avoid a general conflict.
Mother and Sri Aurobindo came here to work for a new step in human evolution. They brought us a new consciousness. Mother usually called it the Divine Consciousness. This is a wonderful story all by itself. We don’t have time for all of it today, but I will tell you something about it.
You are all born in a very important time when human beings are starting to evolve into a new and higher kind of being. Sri Aurobindo called this new being a supramental being, because the way our mind works, the new consciousness and force cannot be understood by the mind. The new consciousness contains the totality of everything. Our human mind is made to cut everything into small manageable pieces and it believes that the small bit it is thinking about is everything. Then, when it goes on to another small bit, it believes that one is everything. This way of working means that our mind can only see a little of the truth of things at one time, not the whole truth all at once.
The human being has a developed mind. Man is the highest kind of being that has evolved on earth so far. In order to receive this new consciousness, man will have to evolve into a being that has the capacity to be conscious of the whole truth of everything all at once.
Therefore, Sri Aurobindo called this new being “supra-mental”, which means “beyond the mind”. In order for man to do this, everything in man will have to change. This is a totally new thing. We cannot change ourselves into a totally new being that we know nothing about. Mother explained that the new consciousness carries in itself the work to change man into this new kind of being, and the new consciousness will change us. It will take a lot of time, but everything will go faster if people cooperate.
When people can receive this new consciousness, they will become conscious of the Truth of themselves and their world. They will know that they are made of the great Love that creates our universe at every second. They will know that this is the Love that is the universe itself. It is us, but usually we can’t see it. When people have this new Divine Consciousness, all the darkness and falsehood that bring pain and suffering can no longer have any place and it will all go out of the creation. All spiritual seekers have always wanted this consciousness, and because of the work of Sri Aurobindo and Mother, now it will be much easier for people all over the world to have it.
Our earth is a special planet. Mother explained that our earth has been created by the universal forces as a place of first experiment and change for the rest of the universe. This special work is concentrated at one point; it is concentrated on our planet and on us.
The new step in evolution will begin here. Mother and Sri Aurobindo planned their new city as the special place on our special planet for the work to be done first and for this change to take place - first in the people who would be in the ideal city, then for the planet and then for the whole universe. They saw that these people could receive the new forces and could be the first humans to evolve faster. Here we have their first plan and their first reason; to make a city which was limited to a few special people. Auroville would help the rest of the world, but the world did not have to know about it right away.
While Sri Aurobindo was still here, Mother was given some land in Hyderabad to create her city, but that did not work out, so she did not try to make that city.
In 1960, 8 years before Auroville’s inauguration, Mother started to plan another new city; but not where Auroville is today. It was going to be on the shore of Ustery Lake, near the Ashram Lake Estate. She was going to call it New Horizon. That didn’t work out because the people who were going to do the work left, so Mother stopped trying to make that city also.
The plan of the city came to Mother again in 1965. At that time she also spoke of two other cities that had come to her. The first city tried to come on earth when she was only a child and the second city tried to come before she met Sri Aurobindo. Counting Auroville, this makes five cities that came for Mother to make in her lifetime here. Auroville is the one that she finally made. We now live in a city that continues to be a very important place for the whole world. We will see why when we follow the reasons that came to Mother and we learn how her plans changed and grew.
Starting in June of 1965, the second plan for Auroville was complete in Mother’s consciousness, and the whole world began to respond just as though some of Mother’s plan was already there in the universal world consciousness. Governments were ready to participate, money was offered, and people wrote to Mother and asked her if they could come to live in Auroville.
In the beginning Mother planned the physical things that would be in Auroville. She planned harbors, airports, theatres and houses. She already had the vision of the four zones and the International Pavilions; she already said that there should be no religion and that people should not use money here. However, we will see that after a while Mother no longer plans physical things that will be in the city. But before Auroville was inaugurated the outer, physical development of the city was a big part of her planning. All along, it was always the plan of a city for special beings who would receive the new consciousness.
One year later, in 1966, someone kept asking Mother to tell them what Truth is and how to know Truth. Sri Aurobindo told Mother, “The truth cannot be put into words, but it can be lived if one is pure and plastic enough”, and these words came to Mother, “That is why there is an Auroville. Auroville is the effort towards peace in sincerity and truth.”
Then Mother said that the importance of Auroville was that it was a means to keep the nations of the world from going to war against each other. She said, “If nations consent to understand that Auroville’s purpose is a means of avoiding war, Auroville will have the power to prevent war”. Here is the second reason for Auroville that came to Mother: Auroville would prevent war if the nations of the world knew about Auroville and agreed that Auroville was here to prevent war.
At this time Mother’s plans changed into making a new city the world would know about right away. No longer were the people living in Auroville to be unknown by the world.
The whole world had to know about Auroville. This was a big change. The second plan did not take the place of the first plan. Now Auroville had two reasons to be here.
A month later Mother had an experience of the actual conditions of all the Nations of the world and she said the conditions were difficult and dangerous because the men of all countries were acting more and more in a growing falsehood and they were using all their creative power to make terrible instruments of destruction.
Mother said these men even knew how terrible the destructive instruments were, but all along they made the excuse that because people knew how terrible it would be if they used these weapons on each other, no-one would want to use them. And so with this excuse, each country continued to make greater and greater weapons of destruction until man had the power to destroy himself and his own world.
Then Mother explained an occult truth which she said these men did not know. She said these forces of destruction are conscious living forces. They use their own force to manifest their own instruments of destruction, and now that men are open to these forces, the forces themselves are pushing men to bring their instruments into our world for their own purposes. When men have created these instruments of destruction, these destructive forces will push men to use their instruments to destroy each other. The men will think it is their own idea, because they don’t know about these beings and the men are not conscious enough to feel that they are being used.
Mother could see these dangers in the subtle planes. She saw the mass destruction of the world coming closer and closer, and she was really worried. She said that a call rose up in her and an aspiration rose in her to neutralize this error. Then she heard the answer come, clear and precise; “This is why you have created Auroville”. Here we have Mother’s third reason to make Auroville; not only to prevent war, but also to prevent the destruction of the world.
Mother said she had a clear vision that Auroville was a center of force and creation with a seed of Truth. She said if this seed of Truth could blossom and develop, the very movement of Auroville’s creation and its continuing growth into more and more Truth would be a working reaction against the terrible catastrophe that was coming. This would stop the men of all nations from destroying each other.
With this third reason for creating Auroville, Mother began to talk about her third plan. Now she said that every country would take part in building Auroville, not just that every country would know about Auroville and agree to its purpose. No longer was Mother’s new city only for a few special people. Now Auroville had three reasons to exist.
Mother said; “If this creation is awakened in every country, little by little it will have the power to react against the mistake they have made.” She said this would not happen because Auroville was finished and completely built so lots of people have a place to live here right away. It had to start right away and to go on happening all the time as all countries worked together to build something based on Truth. She said this would create real human unity; men of all nations would unite by working together to build Auroville. Then slowly and surely Auroville would divert a little of the force of destruction into becoming a force of Truth. Mother said, “We don’t need a lot. It is the quality that counts.”
What did Mother mean when she said we would build an Auroville based on Truth? We are always taught to tell the truth, and we all want to know the truth of things in our lives.
Is this what Mother meant? It is part of the Truth that Mother wanted people to live in, but she also wanted something deeper, more eternal. She wanted people to live and work in the real truth of themselves and the whole creation.
If the total realization of the Truth of ourselves and the creation is something that will come, the people who first came to start building Auroville could not start building in this realization. We are also here to build Auroville, and we do not have the realization either. But there is a starting place that everyone knows.
It is love, because love is the ultimate Truth of the whole creation. Love has many kinds of expression; tenderness, kindness, goodness, honesty, care, concern for the other person. Love expresses itself in patience, commitment, understanding, generosity, self-giving and thinking of the other person instead of oneself. I am sure you all can think of more things that love does. All of this builds true, lasting unity between people. What was happening in the world was that people were not doing these things. They were doing things to hurt, to destroy. Everyone can practice these truths of love, and yet people seem to forget about it. Auroville is a place to remember it and to do it, and it will not only help us, it will help the whole world.
When we look at the way Mother invited people to come to Auroville, we see that she did not ask for people who wanted to receive the new evolutionary forces or people who wanted to receive the Truth consciousness. Mother simply asked for all men of good will who wanted to work for human unity. She said this over and over again, all the time. And she always said; “Auroville IS THERE. Auroville WILL MANIFEST.” So we know that Mother’s being, which was so much more developed than our being, was able to see the subtle physical place where Auroville was going to come from and she saw it coming.
We can see that Mother did not forget any of her reasons or any of her plans. Instead she asked for people according to the third plan and then tell people about all of her reasons in her conditions for coming to Auroville and in the Auroville Charter.
Here are two conditions that Mother gave for admission to Auroville:
“(1) To be convinced of the essential unity of mankind and to have the will to collaborate for the material realization of that unity.” - This is for the second and third reasons Mother built her city - to agree to Auroville’s purpose, which would have the power to avoid war, and to work together for human unity, which would have the power to stop men from destroying the earth.
“(2) To have the will to collaborate in all that furthers future realizations.” This is for the first reason - to have people here who want to realize the new consciousness and who will cooperate with it so it can manifest in people who want to go forward with the next step in human evolution.
We saw that in the beginning Mother was planning the physical, material things that would be in Auroville, like harbors and airports and buildings. After she knew all the three reasons she stopped planning these things. She said, “The material conditions will be worked out as the realization proceeds.”
Mother saw that she could not plan ahead of time how Auroville would materialize physically or how it would look from outside, because she realized that Auroville’s creation on earth depends on people from many nations working together for the Truth and realizing the Truth inside themselves. Physical Auroville will manifest because of the Aurovilians’ ongoing realizations of Truth, not because Auroville’s buildings are built up as fast as possible so people can live here. It is the on-going process that counts, not the finished result. Mother once said that if Auroville was built right away and everything was finished very quickly, the purposes she started it for could not succeed.
Once Auroville was started and the new Aurovilians were asking for guidance, Mother’s answer was always that they should aspire for the Truth and the new Divine Consciousness. She always guided people’s inner work according to the first plan of having people here to receive the new consciousness. And she always went on telling people to work for human unity.
Then, about three and a half weeks before Auroville’s inauguration in February, 1968, the fourth reason for making Auroville came to Mother. Sri Aurobindo told Mother; “India has become the symbolic representation of all the difficulties of present-day humanity. India is the place of its re-building - the resurrection of a higher and truer life for everyone.”
This brought Mother a tremendous, powerful, clear vision. She said, “The same thing, which in the history of the universe has made the earth a symbolic representative of the universe so as to be able to concentrate the work at one point - the same thing is happening here - in that India is the representative of all human difficulties on earth - and it is in India that there will be the cure - and it is for THAT that I had to create Auroville.”
The fourth reason for Auroville and also the fourth plan came to Mother right before Auroville was inaugurated. Auroville is in India, and Auroville will help India to realize her own Divine work - to bring a higher and truer life for the whole world.
Now we have Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s four reasons and four plans for creating Auroville. Step by step the plans grew, and Auroville also grew, until Auroville has now become the place where people from all nations come to receive the new consciousness, according to the first plan. According to other three plans, people also come to Auroville to work together on into the future to bring the Truth to prevent war and to prevent destruction of the world and to help India to bring all people a higher and truer life.
You students have either been born here or have come here at an early age. You have seen that this is exactly what is happening all around us today. This is what will have to continue. Who will do this work? You, and you, and me, and all of us here in this room, and everyone else in Mother’s city of Auroville. We can see why Auroville is so important, and why it is so important that everyone here continues to work together to build Auroville.
Today we can look back and we can see that the war and the great destruction, has not happened. People from all the nations of the world continue to come to live together here in peace, and to work on living in true human unity by working together to build Auroville.
Now people all over the world are interested in building Auroville. People send money and they also send special things which are needed for building the city. Thousands and thousands of visitors come from all over the world because they like to be in the atmosphere of Auroville – the atmosphere of Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s presence and the atmosphere created by all the people working together to build the city.
There are people here who are consciously doing their best to cooperate in receiving the new consciousness. Now we hear of people all over the world who are also trying to receive it. We see that the work of Auroville and the reception of the new consciousness have spread all over the world.
This coming February 28th will be Auroville’s fiftieth birthday. The Nations of the world have worked together for Truth in Auroville for fifty years according to Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s plans.
The plan for Auroville has been in the universal consciousness for a very long time. We have a story that Mother told about another city which was planned to be like Auroville, and which was built over three thousand years ago.
We have seen that Auroville is fifth city which came to Mother. Here is Mother’s story about a new city in Ancient Egypt. I think you may have already learned about Ancient Egypt in school, and perhaps you also learned about the Pharoah called Akhenaton, who built his own, special city where people would have a new kind of life.
Everyone can read what Mother’s said about this. It is in Volume 6 of Mother’s Agenda on the date of June 1963. Mother speaks about being the ancient Egyptian Queen Tii, the mother of the Pharoah Amenhotep IV. Mother remembered this story because the person who was Amenhotep IV took birth again while Mother was in the Ashram. He was brought to Mother in June, 1963 when he was a young child. She recognized him and then she remembered that he had been her son Amenhotep IV., when she was Queen Tii in Ancient Egypt.
In Ancient Egypt they worshipped many gods. The sun-god was called Aton. When Amenhotep IV became the Pharoah he changed his name to Akhenaton, which means “one who serves Aton”, the sun god. He tried his best to change Egyptian worship of many gods into worship of only one god, the sun-god. Sri Aurobindo says that the sun universally stands for the supramental Truth, which is the new consciousness that he and Mother brought for the earth and mankind.
History tells us that Akhenaton, was strongly influenced by his mother, Queen Tii, who we now know was Mother. Pharoah Akhenaton moved the whole capital of Egypt from Thebes to a new city that he built. Akhenanon called his new city Amarna. Amarna means “City of the Horizon”. We know that in the 1960’s, Mother planned to build her new city, called “New Horizon” near Ustery Lake.
In 1369 BC Akhenaton founded his City of the Horizon with these words. “Here is the place that belongs to no person, no god. Nobody owns it. It is everybody’s place. The earth will find its joy in it. Hearts will be happy in it.”
In 1968 AD, three thousand, three hundred, thirty-seven years later, Mother founded Auroville. She said Auroville meant “city of dawn”. A city named for the time the sun comes up over the horizon. She used words very similar to the words Akhenaton used. Just like Akhenaton, Mother said, “Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole.” Mother also called Auroville “The city the earth needs.” Akhenaton said, “The earth will find its joy in it.”
In his new City of the Horizon, Akhenaton and his wife, Nefertiti built a temple to the light. Up to that time, all Egyptian temples were filled with statues and paintings of gods and goddesses and people went there to worship their many gods.
Akhenaton’s new temple was empty inside. There were no statues, no paintings; nothing for traditional worship. Mother put the Matrimandir in the center of Auroville. She said the Matrimandir should not have any images or photographs and it should not be used for any forms of worship or ritual. The inner chamber of the Matrimandir is lit by a ray of the sun at its center. Akhenaton means one who serves the sun god. We can see that long ago Akhenaton’s Temple to the Light in his City of the Horizon was like Mother’s Matrimandir in Auroville, her city of dawn.
Mother explained that; “Akhenaton’s revelation aimed at revealing to the humanity of that time the unity of the Divine with its manifestation.” This is the unity that the new beings in Auroville will also realize - the eternal Divine Truth of Love that they are and the Divine Truth of that Love which is also our physical universe.
Mother said that Akhenaton’s attempt was premature - men were not ready for it. She said that it had to be expressed more than three thousand years ago so it would keep on living on the mental plane. It has been in the universal mind, which is open to everyone, and it has come down through time to us here in Auroville and to people all over the world. Akhenaton and Mother were doing the same work when they each built their city. Mother was helping Akhenaton build his city in Ancient Egypt when she was his mother, Queen Tii.
When we hear Mother’s story we can see that Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s plans for creating Auroville are really great cosmic plans. We have another story about Aurovilians that was already known here in Tamil Nadu hundreds of years before Mother created Auroville. To show you even more how the coming of Auroville was already known, I am going to tell you an ancient Tamil prediction about the coming of Aurovilians from foreign lands and the prediction of some of the work that they would do here.
I think many of you know Meenakshi, who lives in the Matrimandir Nursery and has Ilignarkal school here in Auroville. Meenakshi has been recording the old Tamil legends and ancient stories from the old storytellers who are still here. She recorded the story from an old story-teller and she translated this recording into English for us.
I think many of you also know about the Irumbai Temple, which is close to Auroville’s border. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, with a stone Shiva Lingam in its holy inner chamber. The land of Auroville was once part of the Irumbai region, and long ago, when the Irumbai region was green and fertile, with gardens and crops and beautiful waterways, there came a terrible heatwave. The Monsoon rains failed and all the water dried up. A severe drought came upon the land. In desperation, the people sought the help of their King, the great Kurumba Raja. He sent a team of ministers to learn the cause of the draught.
The King’s ministers found that the cause of the heatwave and the draught was the powerful energy that radiated from a saint who was sitting under a Pepul tree near the Irumbai Shiva temple, and doing rigorous tapasya - powerful spiritual work on himself. “Tapasya” also means spiritual heat, and the heat generated by this yogi was so great that it affected the earth for miles around. His name was Kaduveli Siddha. Kaduveli Siddha had sat there for so long that ants had built their anthill up around him and you could not even see him any more.
The ministers tried to bring the Saint out of his state of Samadhi, but they failed. One by one, others also tried, but they all failed. Nothing could bring this Rishi back to worldly life. Finally, a beautiful young temple dancer named Valli took up the challenge to awaken him.
She observed that sometimes he would reach his hand out of the anthill to catch a Pepul leaf to chew and energize himself. So Valli prepared salted appalams, wafers in the shape of Pepul tree leaves. When Kaduveli Siddha reached his hand up out of the anthill she put an appalam there for him to catch.
The Siddha started eating the salted wafers and slowly his senses were awakened. When he stopped his tapasya the heatwave stopped. It rained again and Irumbai became green and beautiful again. All the people were happy. The ministers joyously celebrated the great event. And Valli continued to serve the great Siddha.
There was a thanksgiving festival in the temple, and Valli performed a wonderful dance in front of a cheering audience. When Kaduveli Siddha saw Valli’s dance, he did not see Valli dancing. He saw Lord Shiva dancing in Valli’s place. But while she was dancing, one of Valli’s anklets fell off her foot and Valli started to lose her rhythm and her balance. The great Siddha did not see that it was Valli. He only saw that something was wrong with the cosmic dance of his Lord. Quickly, he rushed to pick up the anklet. Quickly he tied it around Valli’s ankle while she was dancing.
All the people saw Kaduveli Siddha do this and they began to laugh at him. They made fun of him for having this relationship with a temple dancer. Kaduveli Siddha became furious. He called upon Lord Shiva to appear before all the laughing people to declare his innocence and to declare Valli’s devotion to the Lord.
The stone Shiva Lingam in the temple broke into pieces and fell all over the land. It burned up the green, growing things. The earth became dry again. Lord Shiva appeared before everyone and declared the greatness of the Siddha and the great devotion of Valli and her dutiful offering of dance with a pure heart.
The ministers of the court and the people of Irumbai realized their own smallness. They all fell at the feet of Lord Shiva. Then they prayed to Kaduveli Siddha to pardon them and to withdraw the curse he had set upon their land. They prayed to him to save their land from being dry and empty again. Kaduveli Siddha told the people, “The curse is given once for all. It cannot be reversed, but one day people from far off lands will come here. They will make this place green again.”
This is an ancient story about Auroville that we all see coming true. In 1968, when Auroville began, the land was completely dry and totally empty. I saw it in 1972, and wherever I looked there was nothing but wide red earth and huge blue sky. I found it all very beautiful and full of Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s force, but there was hardly even a blade of green grass anywhere.
You can see photographs of early Aurovilians planting tiny little trees which were no bigger than my little finger. They cared for these baby trees very carefully. They had to build a small fence around each little tree to keep the village goats from eating them. And every day they went out in the intense heat with barrels of water on wooden bullock carts with big, creaking wooden wheels and they watered the baby trees by pouring a cup of water on each one. These little trees grew into the big trees which we see all around us today. Kaduveli Siddha’s prediction is coming true. The people from foreign lands have come to Mother’s Auroville and they are making the land green again.
This is all part of Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s plans for creating Auroville. Each one of us is here to help build this special city in our own way. Whatever we are, whatever we have, whatever we do, these are the gifts we bring to Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s Auroville, so we give them to the whole world.
Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be the willing servitor of the divine consciousness.
Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realizations.
Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual human unity.
February 28, 1968