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Auroville Experience

March 2008


Three-day psychology conference in Auroville

- Robert

The Sri Aurobindo World Centre for Human Unity was the venue of a three day conference with presentations on subjects like global warming, beauty, architecture, transformation, and economy. A fascinated audience listened to speakers Michael Murphy, Marc Luycks Ghisi and Georges Van Vrekhem among others. Some excerpts:

Michael Murphy, member of the International Advisory Council and co-founder of the Esalen Institute in California gave a presentation on “Possibilities of a new matter and a new flesh”. According to Mr. Murphy, “scientists are discovering more and more that great philosophers, like Plato, were also yogis. Things that were always taken as metaphors are real. Supernormal things, like stigmata as described by witnesses, are foreshadowing of what will be normal in future.” At present his Esalen Institute is working on a database of supernormal human events. A group of scientists are trying to develop a theory about them. “We are strongly influenced by Sri Aurobindo, who wrote in his time about the Superman and described the transformation of the cells,” says Murphy. He has found in the archives of the Sri Aurobindo ashram in Puducherry evidence of experiments that Sri Aurobindo did to find out more about “the overmind”, as described in his book The Life Divine. “I found pages from him experimenting with it, saying “experiment failed”, but also “experiment succeeded”. Michael Murphy invited the Ashram and Auroville to do more research together with the Esalen Institute.

Aster Patel addressing the audience at the seminar.Photo Singeravelou

Replace money by ‘chakra' system

Aurovilian Olivier Hetzel gave an insight on money. He sketched how money is created in the present world economy: “It is created out of debt. You go to the bank to take a loan on a house, that money is created and given to you. You have to pay it back. But what is not created is the interest you pay on it. It means that there is always a shortage of money and some of us have to go bankrupt.” But according to Olivier there are other, more honest, ways of creating an economy. For instance the Auroville system of putting money on your account. “If you put one thousand rupees on your account, you can use the amount of one thousand credits. At the same time the organisation can put the money in a bank and get interest. In that way you instantly create two thousand rupees out of one thousand.”
Olivier introduced a so called “chakra” system in which he sees seven levels:

1 The global common financial system in any presently known form, bank notes, credit cards, bank accounts, bonds, stocks, mortgages, mutual funds etc.

2 The community-deposit account (the Auroville cash account which is the first layer of community currency used for personal fund deposits.)

3 The community activity and exchanges account (the Auroville kind account) which is the virtual system of exchange amongst community services, individuals and activities.

4 The monastic or ashram system (the Auroville Pour Tous distribution centre) which provides for the basic needs of community members who contribute in recognized, meaningful ways to the collective through work, kind, or cash contributions.

5 The mutual credit system (ACCESS – Auroville's Conscious Community Exchange System for Sustainability), which allows for individual exchanges of goods and services on a direct and personal level and is very suited for art, healing, education and freelance skills.

6 The gift economy (free services) which relates to the countless and unaccounted for, help in kind we extend to our close friends and family members.

7 The economy of self (our personal spiritual connection), which refers to the amount and quality of time spent alone in dedication with our higher selves, as the preciousness of these moments often allows us huge savings of other life resources through inner intuitive guidance, insights and deep healings.

Olivier advised Auroville not to embrace any one of these methods, but to use all of them in a complementary way. On the same topic, Marc Luyckx Ghisi warned the audience of the dangers of the stock markets. According to Marc, who will publish a book on the subject, it is very hard to asses the value a company nowadays, for they are trading in non measurable products. What is the value of a computer programme that adds value to another programme? Marc Luyckx warned of manipulation on the financial markets. “One of the biggest threats for the future”.


Computers are not intuitive

Ram Seghal addressed the audience on technology and intuition. Ram grew up in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and is now Group Advisor at Rediffusion DYR and its group of companies. “Can technology lead us to our goal?” was his question. Ram Seghal described how Kasparov, the chess world champion, played against an IBM computer. He won 8 out of 10 games. What does Kasparov have that the machine does not? “The answer is: intuition”, says Ram Seghal. He also gave the example of the visit of the world richest Indian to Kolkota ( Calcutta ), the city of his youth. Lakshmi Mittal was thrilled to see the changes. He was excited about the many flyovers, dotting the skyline of the city. “This is progress”, he said. Ratan Tata, very recently, launched a very inexpensive small car in the same city. The question Ram Seghal asked himself was, “Is it about economics or politics or is it about the acute shortage of higher intuitive power that is needed to build cities in which mobility does not mean cars?” And: “…man will soon discover that true creativity that can provide perfect solutions to all earth's problems will come from spheres far beyond the human mind. He will have to climb much higher than he has ever done before. In fact, it is the beginning of a spiritual journey. Seghal sees the answer in Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine. Sri Aurobindo writes that we need to go beyond the mind and reason. For if we examine carefully, we shall find that intuition is our first teacher. Intuition brings those brilliant messages from the unknown, which are the beginnings of higher knowledge. One will need to leave behind all that one knows, the courage to travel towards the unknown by braking all the shackles. This, I believe, is the path that the divine is unfolding.


Is the supermind an illusion?

A third speaker who quoted from Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine was the writer and Aurovilian Georges Van Vrekhem. “Is Sri Aurobindo's theory of the supermind only a grandiose illusion”, Van Vrekhem asked, “or will humanity die out before anything like the apparition of the supramental being can happen on our planet?” He continued: “Sri Aurobindo has made predictions. In his writings in the Arya, later published in book form, one can read that: 1. India had to become free; 2. Asia had to awake; 3. humanity had to become one; 4. Indian spirituality had to spread through the whole world; 5. the human species would be succeeded by a new species of supramental beings. It should be borne in mind that these predictions were made during the First World War and its immediate aftermath, when reasonable people could only consider them as chimaeras. In 1947, in a text broadcasted on the occasion of India 's freedom, Sri Aurobindo summarized these predictions himself and called them his “five dreams”. When one considers what has become of these “dreams” at present, one cannot but agree that all five have been realised to a considerable degree. Thus they may be held to be a rational justification of Sri Aurobindo's visions of the future. He wrote that a next evolutionary step is inevitable, a statement which, considering the evolutionary process, can only be doubted for fear that our Earth might not survive its present predicament. But the fundamental cause of this predicament is precisely the Umwertung aller Werte, the revaluation of all values required to create the new, as yet unknown ones. In this so-called post-modern period of a humanity caught in the vortex of its unification, Sri Aurobindo's vision provides us with the interpretation of the apparent chaos. “Mentally conditioned by the physical sciences, few people still believe in miracles, but I know of two which are historically proven. The first is Joan of Arc, the young French village girl who, at the head of a medieval army, defeated the English, put her king on his throne, and told her judges frankly: Je suis venue de par Dieu – I have come from God. The other miracle is Auroville, the utopia of all utopias, which after forty years in quasi impossible circumstances and despite all ordeals, is still there – and growing,” concluded Van Vrekhem.


Towards a New Imagination

Writer and Aurovilian Anu Majumdar spoke about a New Imagination we are facing in the future. She took as an example the classic Indian tale Ramayana: “When the Ramayana was serialised on Indian TV some years ago, week after week people wept with the noble heroes, all programmed by dharma, and with the sad and helpless heroines caught in their destinies. It was a pitiful tribute to Valmiki. But people just loved it. It was a phenomenal success.” Anu compared this story with Sri Aurobindo's Savitri. “In Savitri the battlefield changes. It is the inner war without escape, but no victory is declared nor revenge sought afterwards. Savitri is a gateway to the new myth”, said Anu. “But is is difficult to find, for the news everyday is still about war. In his essay, The Passing of War, published in the volume War and Self-Determination, Sri Aurobindo wrote: ‘The progress of humanity proceeds by a series of imaginations which the Will in the race turns into accomplished facts and a train of illusions…One of the illusions is the expectation of the passing of war. This grand event in human progress is always being confidently expected, but since we are now all scientific and rational beings, we no longer expect it by a divine intervention but assign sound physical and economic reasons for it… But now we see militarism and commercialism united in a loving clasp, driving by their force the most irrational, the most monstrous wars of modern times...' And Sri Aurobindo goes on to say that the illusion was to ignore the one thing that matters: human nature.”

What then could be a new imagination that could transform the Will of human nature and life? Where could one possibly find it? The answer is Auroville, according to Anu. “It was right before my eyes: Auroville, a dream, still unknown and growing up in the world, a tiny blueprint for all the transformations to come. Not the literal story of Auroville and its few inhabitants, but that of the new consciousness which belongs to every single person on earth. And the power of this consciousness to transform the divisions of human mind and life with unity. Auroville, the Mother said, was the last hope against war and catastrophe.”


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