The Urn

The Urn at the Amphitheater was a central feature of Auroville’s inauguration ceremony. Into it was poured soil from most of the countries of the world, as well as each state of India. It still stands today at the center of the Amphitheater.

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Letter from former IAC members to Chairman, Governing Board

From former IAC members to Chairman, Governing Board: 

Dear Shri R. N. Ravi, 

Having served on the International Advisory Council of Auroville for a number of years, many of us have a deep admiration for Auroville and its accomplishments and have made lasting friendships with many Aurovilians. 

Recent alarming reports from trustworthy sources of conflict, intimidation and a police presence are not in the spirit of Auroville’s ideals which we were invited to promote and protect. These incidents have already been reported in local and national media and international social networking platforms. 

We are aware of the difficulty of your task and hope that in this auspicious year of Sri Aurobindo’s sesquicentennial when the world’s eyes will be turned towards his legacy that harmony prevails above all else. 

Most sincerely, 

Mark Tully, Vishakha Desai, Shaunaka Rishi Das, Kabir Shaikh, Julian Lines, Doudou Diene, Marc Luyckx Ghisi

Statement of Members

of the International Advisory Council

To: Respected Members of the Governing Board

11 December 2021

Like so many friends and well-wishers of Auroville, we have been pained by the polarization that has come into the Auroville Community, and it is imperative that we as a Council stay above such divisions. We understand the anger over the use of the police, and we understand the frustration of those who want to see the agreed upon development plan move forward. For sure, there have been missteps on all sides, but we are advising everyone not to linger in the anger and blame, but to work individually to calm emotions, step down and invoke the Mother. By allowing the vilification of the “other” we are working against the Mother’s ideal of human unity. This will not lead to a good result. To help with a cooling off period and to begin rebuilding trust, we would like to offer, in a spirit of goodwill for all, the following recommendations for everyone’s consideration, and assure you of our readiness to help in any way we can:

1. Let all sides refrain from bringing in external agencies to resolve Auroville’s internal issues, because it is not only an admission of failure, which will leave deep scars that will divide the community for a long time to come; it will also vitiate the atmosphere that might otherwise still bring about an internal resolution of issues.

2. In particular, to resolve disagreements among Aurovilians, we advise not to have recourse to call agencies of the state such as police or courts or to seek warrants, since that is explicitly against Mother’s will expressed on several occasions — “No army, no police” in particular.

3. We call on all to remember that in Mother’s own saying, the manner in which Auroville is built is as important, possibly more, than the outcome: “It’s not when Auroville has been completed: it’s the nations’ collaboration in creating something [that matters] – but creating something founded on the Truth instead of a rivalry in Falsehood’s creation. [What matters] is not when Auroville is ready – when Auroville is ready, it will be one city among all other cities and it’s only its own capacity of truth that will have power, but that … remains to be seen.” (21 September 1966) Therefore it is incumbent on all of us to help towards this “foundation on the Truth” and trust right now, not in a distant future.

4. We call for an actual practice of inclusiveness: differing views and perspectives are unavoidable, yet Auroville’s challenge is to bring them together and find ways to harmonize them. In particular: (1) Many experts in Auroville have done outstanding work in many fields; this expertise and experience must be fully utilized in the planning of a city; (2) A first step could be to identify common ground, such as any area of the development of the future city that stake-holders and experts will all agree on, and focus on that initially, rather than on contending issues; (3) Given recent developments, and Auroville’s outstanding work in eco-restoration for decades, which has earned it worldwide respect, a thorough environmental audit, by respected and independent experts, of current and future plans seems an urgent necessity.

Members of the International Advisory Council

Gabi Gillessen, Michel Danino, Hashmukh P. Rama, David Frawley, Dena Merriam

Statement of the AVI Board

Dear Dr. Jayanti Ravi,

Dear friends of the Auroville Working Committee,

It is with great dismay that we have learnt of the recent developments in Auroville and the major police operation which has led to several arrests among Auroville residents.

We are especially concerned that this event has taken place in the eve of Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi and that it has happened at a place which has been created by and for the youth of Auroville. We see it as a devastating sign in the light of Auroville’s efforts, which AVI is supporting by all means, to attract youth from all over the world, as also stipulated by the Governing Board in the minutes of its recent meeting. 

We urge all those involved in these operations to restrain themselves and take all necessary measures to de-escalate the situation in a spirit of mutual understanding and collaboration. We are very concerned that an aggravation of this conflict would only create a further and deeper division in the Auroville community as well as inner wounds that might take quite some time to heal, thus hampering the ideal of human unity we are all striving for.

Respectfully yours,

The Board of Auroville International (AVI)