To live and work in Auroville requires one to move away from the norms of conventional social economic systems and enter into a more "giving" space where personal needs and desires are secondary to the collective good.
Conditions for living in Auroville
On 19.6.1967, the Mother declared that
“from the psychological point of view, the required conditions for living in Auroville are:
To be convinced of the essential unity of [humankind] ... and to have the will to collaborate for the material manifestation of that unity.
To have the will to collaborate in all that furthers future realisations.
The material conditions will be worked out as the realisation proceeds."
Thereafter, the Mother clearly indicated the broad lines that were to be observed in our material life. These are to form the basis of our collective existence, but should not be applied in a dogmatic and rigid manner. Therefore the framework of the collective life of Auroville should be vast and very flexible; it is evolutionary in character and will change according to the individual and collective growth of consciousness and with the progressive emergence and expression of the inherent truth of Auroville.
The foundations of this way of living are trust, sincerity, responsibility, and goodwill.
1. Collective life
Auroville wants to be a city where people from all over the world live in harmony, striving to realise human unity and to be at the service of the Truth beyond all social, political and religious convictions. Thus all are invited to come and join us in this evolutionary endeavour. While it is not for us to question the ways of spiritual development or the private spiritual practices of any individual, Auroville must not be used as a place for proselytising or recruiting followers to any political, religious or spiritual organisation.
Relations in Auroville should be based on sincere collaboration and fraternity. Conflicts among residents are to be solved within the community, in a manner that is consonant with the spirit of Auroville. Any form of violence or abuse has no place in Auroville.
A friendly relationship with the local population as well as respect for their culture and traditions is indispensable. Learning to speak Tamil will greatly facilitate this relationship.
Respect for nature and the environment is expected from all.
The laws of India are to be respected. Anyone breaking these laws may be subject to trial in a court of justice, which could result in a period of imprisonment or in expulsion from the country. In this respect everyone should be aware that the use of drugs, which has been prohibited in Auroville by the Mother, is also prohibited by the laws of India.
2. Work, contribution, and money
Each one should be aware that we are here to build a city of 50,000 inhabitants as a means of realising a "living embodiment of an actual human unity". Participation through meaningful work is an essential aspect of living in Auroville. Everyone is expected to take up an activity that corresponds to the needs of the community in harmony with the capacities, priorities and needs of each individual.
Everyone is expected to contribute to the collective welfare in work, kind, and/or money. Productive units are expected to contribute a substantial part of their income or production to the township. Affluent Aurovilians who do not depend on the community for their livelihood are encouraged to make regular or incidental donations to the community or to any of its projects.
Since one important aim is that Aurovilians receive no money equivalent as ‘payment’ for their work, and that there be no circulation of money within the township, the community is responsible for providing for the regular needs of each person as much as possible.
To increase Auroville’s economic strength and to help develop a cashless economy, individuals with the financial means to do so are expected to contribute at least enough for all their expenses in Auroville and as generously as they can to the general expenses of the community through the Central Fund. They are also encouraged to keep their financial assets in Auroville. Newcomers are expected to contribute at least enough for their own expenses for at least the first year.
Though intensive efforts are being made, Auroville is not yet in a position to meet the totality of needs – especially housing – of all residents. Experiments are going on and all new Aurovilians are expected to participate in the economic experiment that is presently being developed in Auroville.
3. Property and Housing
Each resident is expected to deal with his or her resources at the highest level of his/her consciousness. In Auroville, all is, according to Mother, collective property to be used for the welfare of all. Money and assets in the township are under the trusteeship of individuals, project holders, and managers of services or commercial units. They are to be utilised for the activities and development of the township as well as for the promotion of the ideals of Auroville. No one has any ownership rights over houses and other buildings, services, projects or commercial activities in Auroville. Selling or renting these assets for personal profit is unacceptable. All activities are part of the overall Auroville framework and all financial transactions regarding them take place through the official channels of Auroville.
Until a few years ago, because our numbers were small and the area vast, housing was individual and spread out. Then the trend changed to building in clusters, but still by individuals. Now there is a call for something else. Housing will be built and owned by the collective and assigned to individuals and families on the basis of need. All who can will be asked to contribute generously to the housing fund.
During the Newcomer period, you will have the possibility to live in a Newcomer house or a guesthouse according to the availability of such accommodation. Ideally, you will have the choice between various types of housing which will be presented to you by the Housing Service. You must be aware that Auroville is presently facing a critical housing shortage and that the availability, type, and size of accommodation may depend on your ability to contribute for it.
To avoid adding to the already considerable number of Aurovilians who do not have a place of their own or who live in substandard conditions, the community has decided that as of January 2001, Newcomers will be admitted on the condition that they provide for their own housing. While this usually means coming with the money to build or buy a place, it also includes being offered permanent, decent housing by someone else. Those who do not have the possibility of getting their own housing will be asked to wait until something is available for them.
Auroville is intended to be a place of unending education for all and there are already many opportunities for the various categories of people (including people from the surrounding villages) who live in the area to develop their potential and learn new skills.
As a newcomer you will be also encouraged to follow various programs of study which will enable you to deepen your understanding of the aims and ideals of Auroville, India and the local culture, to learn the 4 languages Mother wanted to be spoken in Auroville (English, Tamil, simple Sanskrit, French) and discover other aspects of Aurovilian and Indian life. There are many possibilities to learn new skills and to participate in physical, social, cultural and other collective activities.
Though Auroville is responsible for meeting the educational needs of its youth, parents should be aware that the Community is not bound, nor presently able, to financially support education outside of Auroville. Studies are presently going on to find solutions to the existing challenges. Parents with school-aged children who wish them to attend Auroville schools should contact the Auroville Board of Education in order to be properly informed about the various aspects and challenges of the present educational experiment in Auroville.
At present individuals are responsible for their own transportation. However there is a need to study how to change the current pattern before we replicate the traffic problems of most cities of the world, and the situation becomes irreversible. The recent increase in the number of motorised vehicles on our roads is causing pollution and making our roads unsafe, while Mother envisaged non-polluting public transport. So while you still have to invest in individual vehicles, you should be aware that in the future a way would have to be found to reduce the number of private and polluting vehicles in the city and greenbelt.
6. Health Care
While there are many alternative healing practices (homeopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, etc) available to you, allopathic health care is widely prevalent but for specialized services/tests we have to rely on hospitals in Pondicherry and Chennai. All residents of Auroville are expected to have health coverage or insurance of some sort by becoming the member of Health Fund. You may wish to consult your medical practitioners for advice regarding typhoid fever and other vaccinations before leaving your country.