Plato’s Republic, Thomas Moore’s Utopia and….Sri Aurobindo’s Auroville? Perhaps not the answer I would have filled in yesterday, but after an engaging talk from Deepti Tewari, a local teacher and longtime Aurovillian, it makes a lot of sense. What I made from Deepti’s words is that Auroville at it’s core is a society that realizes that things in this world are not perfect and they are committed to trying to improve it. Though we may have found political systems better than kings and dictators and agreed on certain human rights inherent to all humans, we certainly have not reached a society where every person and their individual rights are protected. Auroville is an experiment trying to get closer.
Though not connected to any religion, Auroville is a very spiritual place, where each practices a yoga, a way or system, to try to evolve spiritually and become better individuals, neighbors, citizens and a better community. As described in its charter, Auroville is a place of “unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.” After nearly 45 years of existence, Deepti stressed that the town is still far from being a utopia. But everyday the people here are striving to be better.
So far we’ve really seen some proof of this desire. We explore the town and are met with smiles, and friendly responses to questions. We are able to leave our valuables in our rooms unattended without fear that they will be taken, and walk around without nervousness that we’ll be harassed. We see genuine desire from all of the Aurovillians we meet, I can say personally from Sacha, Luc and Kalsang, to help us feel settled in quickly so that logistical things like phone cards and scooters are taken care of and we are able to dive deeper into the real purpose of our visit.
The three days that we’ve spent here have left me full of hope and inspiration to complete a project that will have a positive and meaningful affect on the community. There is much to learn from the attitude of the Aurovillians on their search for a better way of living.