Work for the Russian Pavilion was initiated in 1996, and in 2001 a foundation stone was laid in the area assigned for Russia. The Russian Pavilion Group supports many activities, among them the White Peacock ceramic studio, Russian language classes (on request), sessions with the Russian Singing Bells, the Russian library in the Unity Pavilion, and a small guest house for Russians visiting Auroville, the Dimitri House. For more info, website www.auroville.ru (in Russian)
Presently some sixty five Russians are residing in Auroville, while all together some sixty Aurovilians hail from the former USSR. Staunchly stimulated by a longtime friend of Auroville, the late Dimitri von Mohrenschildt - born in Russia in 1902 and American citizen since 1926 where he lectured as Professor in Russian Studies at Stanford University, and who passed away in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in June '02 at the age of 100 - plans, ideas and designs for a Pavilion of the Russian Culture have been coming and going during the last ten years. They may now bear fruit..
From September 2001 onwards Russian residents of Auroville have organised several meetings to take up the issue in a renewed effort to get the Russian Pavilion off the ground. The following text is based on a report published in the AVNews:
Concept of the Russian Pavilion
The ideal would be for every nation with a well-defined culture to have a pavilion representing that culture, built in a style that is most expressive of the customs of the country; it will exhibit the nation's most representative products, natural as well as manufactured, and also a best expressions of its intellectual and artistic genius and its spiritual tendencies. ...
Just as each individual has a psychic being which is his true self and which governs his destiny more or less overtly so too each nation has a psychic being which is its true being and moulds its destiny from behind the veil: it is the soul of the country, the national genius, the spirit of the people, the center of national aspiration, the fountainhead of all that is beautiful, noble, great and generous in the life of the country.
Aims of the Russian Pavilion
The Russian Pavilion aims at establishing the contact of the soul of Russia with Auroville. In this sense it could be seen as an embassy of the true soul of Russia in Auroville
It will coordinate research being done in the field of understanding of the true soul of Russia
It will be the centre of educational and cultural activities in Auroville related to our Motherland.
The first aim will therefore be to help individuals to become aware of the fundamental genius of the nation to which they belong, and at the same time to bring them into contact with the ways of life of other nations, so that they learn to know and respect equally the true spirit of all countries of the world.
Programme of the Russian Pavilion
The soul of Russia has been trying to express itself - sometimes being defeated and sometimes being successful. We can have an understanding of this soul by observing the course of historic events in the country, or the life of a politician, a writer, a saint; we can try to understand it through an artistic creation; we can see a reflection of it in some influential thought which may, while originating in our country, have become a property of humanity as a whole. Not often the soul of a nation can find a perfect expression, as is the case in ordinary human life where a person's soul rarely finds a pure expression. But even through an imperfection, through a mistake or distortion, we can try and find the truth of the soul which attempted to manifest but was distorted in the process.
Research of this kind will be made in the fields of history, culturology, literature, art, and will always take into account the spiritual background and the relevant knowledge given to us by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Only if our spiritual development allows us, we can come into contact with the soul of our country directly. The Russian Pavilion invites everybody who sincerely loves the Russian culture to take part in these researches. A deep understanding of the present and the future of our country can result from this.
The Pavilion will make it possible for Aurovilian children from Russian parentage to be educated in their parent's mother tongue
The Pavilion should enable Auroville to get to know the true soul of Russia
The educational programmes will be of a general kind - the basic knowledge of the language, art, history of the country - as well as a more special kind, based on the research done in the Pavilion
The Russian Pavilion, as all national pavilions in the International Zone, is a part of the CIRHU project (Centre for International Research in Human Unity)
The Pavilion will be is organising exhibitions, performances, film shows and other for the general audience of Auroville.
Main tasks for the immediate present
For the practical work of the Pavilion lots of materials are needed. A library is in the process of being created and it should eventually have all masterpieces of literature, philosophy, spiritual writings and science which are the brightest expressions of the Russian spirit
For serious research to be done, widely ranging reference material and other additional literature is needed
A representative collection of the Russian music needs to be accumulated, as well as of Russian art and movies
Facilities for high quality teaching of the Russian language need to be created. We have to strongly support and stimulate this, and bring to Auroville textbooks, tutoring programmes for computers, and good quality Russian books (especially children literature)
We need good Russian movies - with English translation or subtitles - to show them regularly in Auroville
The results of our work - the news of the Pavilion, the news on Auroville life in Russian, as well as results of research done by the Pavilion or coordinated by it - will be published on the Internet
Ph. 75986-71669 - Anna