Auroville, often referred to as the “City of Dawn,” is more than a geographical location; it is a profound experiment in communal living and unity. Founded in 1968, this international township in southern India is dedicated to fostering human unity, sustainable living, and the pursuit of a higher consciousness. Central to the Auroville philosophy is the idea of living as one, where individuals come together to create a harmonious, collective life.
The Essence of Auroville: The core principle of Auroville revolves around the concept of human unity. It is a place where people from diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and cultures come together to live as one, transcending the boundaries of race, religion, and nationality. This shared vision forms the very essence of Auroville and informs all aspects of its collective life.
Collective Life in Auroville: Auroville’s collective life extends to all facets of existence. Residents live in various settlements, sharing not only physical spaces but also a common goal of mutual well-being and self-improvement. This collective spirit is reflected in the way resources, ideas, and responsibilities are shared within the community.
The Practice of Resource Sharing: Auroville’s approach to resource sharing is a striking example of its collective ethos. The community employs a system of “resource units” to ensure equitable access to shared resources. This system encourages responsibility and accountability while enabling everyone to benefit from the available assets, whether it’s tools, vehicles, or common facilities.
For instance, Auroville maintains a fleet of bicycles, collectively managed and available for residents to use. The practice of sharing bicycles not only reduces the environmental impact of individual car ownership but also encourages physical activity and fosters a strong sense of community.
Shared Responsibility and Work: The sense of living as one is particularly evident in the shared responsibilities and work practices within Auroville. The community offers a wide range of vocational training programs and workshops, enabling individuals to develop skills and contribute to the collective well-being. This shared sense of purpose and work helps bind the community together, fostering a deeper sense of unity and common purpose.
Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility: Auroville’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility is another reflection of its collective life. The community actively practices organic farming, renewable energy use, and zero-waste living. These sustainable practices are not mere buzzwords but a way of life, deeply integrated into the fabric of Auroville’s collective existence.
Collective Decision-Making: In Auroville, the decision-making process is deeply participatory and reflective of the community’s commitment to living as one. Major decisions are taken through collective discussions, and residents are encouraged to actively participate in shaping the policies and direction of the township. This participatory approach promotes a sense of ownership and fosters a shared vision for the future.
The Impact on Individuals: Living as one in Auroville has a profound impact on individuals. It encourages a sense of interconnectedness, cooperation, and the cultivation of a broader perspective. This collective life promotes personal growth, empathy, and a strong sense of belonging.
Individuals in Auroville have the opportunity to explore and develop their skills, passions, and interests. They are also encouraged to embrace simplicity, minimalism, and the value of experiences over material possessions. This way of life enhances personal well-being and nurtures a deeper sense of purpose.
Auroville’s Impact on Society: Auroville’s collective life is not confined to the township but has broader implications for society. It serves as a model of harmonious living, a testament to the possibility of transcending societal divisions and promoting human unity. The lessons learned from Auroville can be applied to the larger world, addressing global challenges such as environmental degradation, social inequality, and cultural conflicts.
A Blueprint for a More Connected Society: The concept of living as one in Auroville provides a blueprint for a more connected, inclusive, and harmonious society. It demonstrates that when individuals come together with a shared vision of unity and sustainable living, they can create a thriving community that benefits everyone. This model encourages us to explore the possibilities of transcending our differences and working together to build a more equitable and connected world.
Conclusion: Auroville’s collective life is a testament to the power of unity, shared responsibility, and sustainable living. It showcases the transformative potential of individuals coming together to create a harmonious and connected community. As the world grapples with pressing challenges of division, environmental degradation, and social inequality, Auroville’s concept of living as one offers valuable insights and inspiration for a more harmonious and integrated society. It demonstrates that the path to a better world begins with the simple act of coming together to live as one.