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The Unity Pavilion

 

 

-from a report by Aurovilian Jaya (Sweden), one of the International Zone's coordinators:


The maquette of the future Unity Pavilion proudly sat through the ceremony, surrounded by rosepetals..
The 28th of February, Auroville's birthday, found the township enveloped in a thick mist, rarely seen at this time of the year. The air was full of the tiniest droplets of water which together with the full moon made for a beautiful and mysterious landscape. During the dawnfire celebration, the amphitheater held very many people this time, and all were sitting together in silence. The area around the Urn was beautifully decorated with oil lamps, and when the fire was lit… I don't remember having sees a fire like this… Such a clear flame of aspiration, so full of the promise of a new world manifesting. It filled one with awe.

Preparations

I had to leave the Bonfire early because of preparations for the Foundation laying ceremonies of the Unity Pavilion that would already begin at 6:30 a.m., and I can tell you it was hard to leave the fire. It was calling so strongly. The moon was full, and the sun would be rising opposite it, with this fire at its centre. Why want to be anywhere else?

But work taken up has to be done, and so I took my scooter and went to the future Unity Pavilion site, just next to Savitri Bhavan. The masons and mason helpers had already arrived and were mixing the cement that would be used for the first-brick-concreting during which all invitees and other friends could "lay a brick for the Unity Pavilion". We proceeded with putting out the mats and chairs, and started preparing the bricks. We mixed and poured turmeric powder over the 1000 bricks, and splashed kumkum powder on top which gave the bricks a beautiful appearance in terracotta, ochre yellow and deep red colouring. Then baskets of roses and New Creation jasmine flowers had to be prepared. Piero and Gloria, the architects of the Pavilion, arrived in a taxi bringing the model of the building. The arrangements where finalised, there was music, brochures, and sweets..

Bricks and bullockcarts

The people started arriving, but rather slowly as the function was directly after the dawnfire and few people must have wanted to hurry. By close to seven we decided to start; Jaya welcomed everybody on behalf of the International Zone team, and Jill gave a small presentation of the Unity Pavilion project after which Aster played a recording of a few lines where Mother speaks about the Unity of the Nations. We then shared a beautiful, early morning moment of silence together.

Aurovilians and friends laying a brick.., while others turned to see the arrival of...
Then everyone was invited to lay a brick. The bricks were heaped with flowers and placed in the trench where three masons cemented them in. And suddenly there were so many people. Aurovilians, friends from the Ashram and abroad, visiting students, guests.. Everybody eager to participate and lay a brick! In the middle of all this activity the participants of the Asia Urbs conference started arriving. Due to their 'sustainable transport' mode with which they had traveled from Matrimandir - via elephant, horse, bullock carts and bicycle rickshaws - they were late.

But what a sight to behold!

Temple elephant..

And then Lakshmi, Pondicherry's temple elephant, came up to the site to lay a brick as well.., after which she graciously received her cashew sweet, nimbly picking it up with her trunk..

... Pondy's temple elephant Lakshmi, who came to lay a brick as well..
There was so much Divine Grace, pouring blessings on us.
The air full of happiness and laughter, wherever you turned there was a friendly and happy smile to greet you. And all in all, some 800 bricks had been laid, a good beginning! Some people laid more than one, some people may not have laid one, but we were happy and amazed that so many people had come to join us to start this building.

Moment of binding togetherness

Slowly the function was over and together with the masons and helpers we tidied up the cement work, scattering the remaining rose petals over the brickwork. A moment of binding togetherness held us as we stood there on the site after all the people had left.

Jaya, main coordinator of the Unity Pavilion, is seen here handing her brick..

For me personally, this was not the end of the morning. A while after I had arrived home, a lot of jingling was heard in the forest just outside my house in Gaia. It was Lakshmi the elephant who was walking by, going homewards on a forest path less hard on her feet than the tar road.

So I went out and invited her to my house and had the great pleasure to not only feed her bananas, but also give her water and have her showering herself among my flowers before she continued her journey.

Thank you, Lakshmi

Contact: unity@auroville.org.in

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