Building Matrimandir is always about building Auroville, about building Aurovilians.
Each step that has been made on the long adventurous way has taught us something, has woven new threads into the fabric of Auroville, has shaped us all that little bit more. We pass through exhilarating times, then we fall into dark and difficult hours. We learn and we grow. The advances are not always, or frequently, obvious. The concrete structure grows, the skin and discs are mounted on the building, the sphere is completed ...the Chamber radiates silently at the center of it all…How have we grown? How have we been expected to grow? What are Aurovilians supposed to be in this world of crises and in the extremes of the present era?
Auroville, the Mother has said, wants to be the cradle of the superman. This is a huge concept, almost beyond understanding from our daily point of view. What is this all about, really? And what is the role of Matrimandir in the midst of it all? The Mother has used certain phrases to describe the Matrimandir: “It is like the Force, the cohesive force of Auroville”, “the soul of Auroville”, “the symbol of the Divine's answer to man's aspiration for perfection.”
Now that the main globe is built, and we labour on in the gardens, what does the Matrimandir hold in front of us? Can we possibly say what it contains, or even what it is?...Some say it's a transformer, radiating its powerful energies out into the world. The Mother said she would take it upon herself to make it into a very strong center…..(1971). Standing in the gardens, or sitting quietly in the Inner Chamber, its presence is self-evident, and one need not trouble oneself trying to figure out Matrimandir, or explain it to anyone. It simply IS, and more and more it establishes its field of other-dimensional Presence here at the center of Auroville.
All points are one, She has said…everything is connected, and this means surely that the very fact of the Matrimandir's presence is filling the air with something new, something that is linked to that aspiration for a superhumanity. We are here on the ground, and sometimes we catch a thread …things flow, all is sunny, one follows the movement. Then we try to “figure it out”, to “understand”…and things grind, go wrong, we feel stress, perhaps pain.
These days we are actively building the Garden of Unity near the Banyan tree. And the truth of these things is brought almost daily in front of our noses. If we have set positions on “how to do it”, then there will be others who disagree, who view things differently and the inevitable consequence is disharmony. Now we see this very clearly, and when such situations arise where many people are involved in decision-making, we learn to relax, to put our perceptions on the table, however different they may be, and then to offer them up for the working of a different energy to show the way, to indicate the solution, that can fill all needs and fit all perceptions. The Mother said: “That's what I want, to succeed in creating a place where all contraries can be united.”
Sometimes we say, “let's give it some time to let it soak in,” or, “let's let it ripen”, which actually means “let another force take up this work, this job of directing the flow”. Then, sometimes, we find an unexpectedly harmonious and dynamic outflow is the result and then things move forward in a surprising and sunlit manner.
It does not always work, we still manage to insist, to bring in our opinions a bit too forcefully, but we begin to learn. And this feels very right; this feels like a step which is so essential, almost a prerequisite for moving forward to a larger scale, into deeper waters. It is not of course a problem faced only here at Matrimandir, it is perhaps one of the biggest challenges we face in the functioning of Auroville on all levels, manifesting very much at the level of building Auroville in its widest, galaxy-shaped form.
Auroville is about building man, about building men, about opening that deepest link between us that, once it is there and consciously lived, will allow so much more to come.
We have been granted this privilege of building the Matrimandir. Even though the construction of the sphere of Matrimandir is over now, there is still a lot of room for the building process to continue, and through the play of the construction of the twelve gardens around the building, and the thirteenth, the Garden of Unity near the Banyan tree, we are faced, again and again, with this amazing opportunity -- the need to build ourselves and to let ourselves be built. And it can be a wonderfully joyous game…to let ourselves be shaped, to let our hard old layers be peeled off, swept away by the energy of this Center. If we can learn to laugh like children at play, if we can learn to be that simple, then yes, surely, we will find ourselves on the way towards being what She needs us to be in Auroville.
A new phase in the Gardens
The first week of January saw the start of a new endeavor here in the Matrimandir, with work beginning on the garden of Consciousness . You may recall that in our April issue last year we introduced the plans for the three gardens of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss which had just been finalized and agreed upon. Since then the work in the first garden, Existence, has been underway. Now that this garden is moving into its final stages, we have extended our work area to include the earth excavations required for the second garden, the garden of Consciousness .
The first step has been to dig into the red earth of the outer slope of this garden area and hollow out the shape of the large pond that will be in the focal point of the garden, with a high fountain emerging from a square stone base about two meters wide. Waters will flow from this source down a series of seven steps into the lower central area of the garden. The flow of water downward will symbolize the descent of the stream of consciousness and energy from its high occult source through the seven steps of manifestation to the material plane.
The excavation for the wide pond at the heart of the garden of Consciousness
Here, as in the garden of Existence, a spiraling pathway will lead one gradually from the edge of the garden into the sheltered pond area where one will be able to contemplate the pool and its fountain in silence. For this garden, the Mother chose the Hibiscus named “Supramental Consciousness” as the representative flower. This Hibiscus has large, double, bright yellow or golden flowers, and the Mother's comment on its significance was:
“ Gloriously awake and powerful. Luminous, sure of itself, infallible in its movements.”
It will be wonderful indeed to be graced with the presence of masses of these flowers when moving through the garden of Consciousness . Many other flowers, of golden and yellow hue, will bloom there too, with significances like Integral Prayer, Help, Supramental Influence in the cells and Birth of the true mental Sincerity. As the gardens of Matrimandir begin to manifest one by one, we can catch a glimpse of the incredible detailed beauty that will be established here within a few years time. To imagine the day when these twelve gardens are done is to imagine a wealth of beauty and a linked series of such special environments that one has simply to smile at the prospect. It will truly be an amazing necklace of jewels. To imagine moving through these gardens, or being still and silent in one or another of them, is already a source of great joy. The finished reality will surely be a treasure and a perfect vehicle to hold the golden sphere of Matrimandir with the silent white Chamber at its heart.
We are privileged indeed to be participating in this work, for it is less a process of creation or building than an unfolding or a revealing of something that has long been waiting to come.
A model of the Garden of Consciousness with the Existence garden in the background
For those of you who might have come to Matrimandir recently and seen some scaffoldings standing at various points around the building and wondered perhaps why these were still needed if the Matrimandir is “finished”, we can give a few words of explanation.
There are actually three works of detailed finishing that are still in process here. You will understand, no doubt, that even after one has finished a building, or a picture or a piece of music, there may always be a few aspects that one would like to improve upon, or that require more attention. And so it is with Matrimandir: it is a complex art form which tries always to move closer to perfection.
Around the four main entrances, where the tall golden shields rise with their different geometrical centers (the red square, orange hexagon, etc) work is in progress to improve the overall appearance of these shields. The legs of some discs are being modified so as to be less visible and to give a cleaner view of the body of the shield. This work has been completed on the western pillar, Mahasaraswati, and it is now going on in the south and east pillars. Shortly, we will take up the north entrance.
The sliding entrance door of Matrimandir being tested
Then, one sees a high, slanting scaffolding reaching up the eastern side of Matrimandir to touch the equator. This scaffolding is in place to enable the team to access and replace the very top row of discs on the building which were removed during the placement of the crane there some time ago. It allows the team to do its work without using the ramps inside the building with their white carpets and glass parapets which could conceivably be damaged with all the tools and equipment the team has to carry up.
Finally, from the vantage point of the marble lotus pool below Matrimandir, one can observe four small scaffoldings suspended from the pillars just where the entrance steps of each pillar join the curved bottom slab of the building. These work platforms are still in place to allow the finalization of the control systems for each of the curved moving doors that have been installed at these locations. The four doors are meant to move upwards along the curve of Matrimandir's outer skin and close the entranceways at the top of each flight of stairs into the building. Although the doors themselves are in place, the electronic controls to drive them are proving very difficult to master - a final challenge, perhaps, from the building! - and hence the need to keep these work platforms for the time being
These are the reasons for the presence of scaffoldings around a “finished” Matrimandir. We will not try to predict when they will finally all be gone, but be assured that we are not going to keep them there a moment longer than necessary!
Address for donations and correspondence:
(Please make your cheque, money order or DD payable to ‘Matrimandir')
MATRIMANDIR – AUROVILLE 605101 – TAMIL NADU – INDIA
Bookings: Tel (+91) (0413) 262-2268; accounts: 262-2228
|Please note the new timings for visits to the Chamber:
Bookings : 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. daily
Concentration : 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. daily
First-time visits : 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. daily