Auroville will be the place of an unending education,
of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
- Auroville Charter
The Auroville Charter makes education a defining
characteristic of life in Auroville. There is a need however to make
certain distinctions between education as it is commonly understood,
and education as mentioned by Mother in the Auroville Charter and practiced
Education is usually understood as a course of study
to acquire a body of knowledge or skills undertaken to enhance one's
ability to do a particular job and be able to earn more money. The more
liberal definitions of education, where it is understood as development
and refinement of one's personality, without necessarily an eye to economic
advantage, have been out of use for long, and one finds only scattered
instances of the practice of education with such aims. Even so, what
has been envisaged for Auroville is far beyond and above the goals set
by liberal education.
In relation to the education offered at the Centre
of Education at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Mother had pointed out that
"We are not here to do (only a little better) what others do. We
are here to do what others cannot do because they do not have the idea
that it can be done."
Manís place in the world
Sri Aurobindo and Mother do not reject the utilitarian
or liberal perspectives. These form a very small part of their total
vision of education, which is based on a deep understanding of the human
personality, of man's place in the world, of the world itself and its
position in the order of the worlds, of how these worlds influence and
impinge on the human personality, of the nature of creation, - and deriving
from all these, the aim of human existence.
Man is seen as a multi-layered being composed of
the physical, vital and emotional, mental, psychic and spiritual personalities.
Each of these is further sub-divided, and each has a counterpart on
subtle planes surrounding the body. There is within man a spark of the
transcendent divine, and the aim of human existence, as seen by Auroville's
founders, is to become conscious of this reality and unite with it.
Each human being has his/her unique path to arrive at this union, and
this can be done in life, in matter itself, and not by removing oneself
from life as advocated by traditional spiritual practices.
Higher levels of consciousness
So far, man has developed mainly the physical, mental
and vital parts of his being, but now there is an evolutionary thrust
to develop still higher parts, which are contained within man and known
as the supramental personality. By the use of mind, man has now created
a complex structure of society using stupendous advances in technology
which have gone out of control. Only a move to higher levels of consciousness
can save the human race.
In the light of this high vision underlying Auroville, the internal
dynamics of the township are set in such a way that all its residents
are under constant pressure to exceed themselves, to continually seek
self-perfection. These pressures exist everywhere in the world at this
moment in time - yet there is a difference. Firstly, due to the collective
nature of Auroville the intensity here is much greater and, secondly,
its participants have the guidance of Mother and Sri Aurobindo for understanding
and correctly handling these pressures. As each has a unique path to
follow, the guidance to each comes by establishing contact with the
psychic being within.
Auroville contains many different individuals of
varying nationality, background and karmic path. Despite the great diversity
among them, it can generally be said that the movement of each individual
on his/her path to self perfection and growth in consciousness is what
we Ďliveí in Auroville as "unending education".
Text of Report to UNESCO on Education in AV