On the 23rd of November 11 people
attended the session at the SAWCHU building.
Longtime Aurovilians Shraddhavan
(U.K.) and Gilles Guigan (France) came to the Study Circle and
spoke about the research they have made on what the Mother said
on the Form and Life of the City. They gave an account of
Auroville´s history as the concept evolved in its early stages.
Most of us are familiar with this history but it can be
rewarding to return to it and sense the early spirit that sought
to manifest in various ways at different times.
As a project of the Sri Aurobindo Society, the idea of a
township was first presented in 1964 at a conference devoted to
Human Unity and Spiritual Values. However, the idea goes
actually further back in time.
In the very first version, Sri
Aurobindo would live with his disciples by a hill and a
river, at a site near Hyderabad since in the 1930s land had
been offered to the Mother in that area.
The second, much later version saw
a Housing Society near the Lake Estate, adjacent to
Pondicherry. It was the young ashramite Huta who inspired
the Mother to remember a dream of hers around the beginning
of the century. This caused the Mother to take up the plans
of the project again. At that time the project area
stretched from the lake to the seaside, and the residential
area was to be next to the lake. For some time, the project
was also planned to be located on the Madras road and land
was purchased in this area.
However, the site was changed and
eventually the Banyan tree became identified as the centre
of the town.
The four petals / zones
In the late sixties, the Mother was
presented with three conceptual forms of the city: one was
rectangular, two were circular - the nebula and the galaxy.
She felt that the rectangular shape was not appropriate for
Auroville, and drew the basic concept based
on four flower petals in two known versions. The four
petals represent the four aspects of the Mother. The buildings
to come in each of the four sections were to be made in different
geometrical shapes and colours. The sections were International
in the south, Residential in the west, Cultural in the north
and Industrial in the east. The Industrial section was to
expand towards the coast with heavy industries outside the
circular town area. Between the sections were intermediate
zones with among other things a post office, shops, railway
station and an aerodrome.
During the meeting of today, a part of
the session was devoted to the Peace area and the history of
Matrimandir from its early concept - inspired by the Golden
Temple in Kyoto - to the later versions. The Peace Area in the
early version of the Mother's vision, including the lake around
Matrimandir and the parks, seems to have been very large. The
area was to be heavily surrounded with woods to maintain the
area's complete serenity.
Unchanging aim and purpose of Auroville
Finally Shraddhavan read a letter from
the Mother addressed to the workers of the Ashram at the
occasion of a violent strike in 1954. This was the first version
of a paper that she later would write, now known as 'The Dream'.
This letter reminded us of the unchanging aim and purpose of
Auroville: the creation of a city devoted to finding the
conditions -outer and inner- for a living embodiment of Human