On drugs and alcohol in Auroville

6 April 1968

Taped conversation

Original language: French

First publication: AM MA

Sources: MA, p. ; AMW, p.135

[Excerpt from a conversation with Satprem:]

I didn’t want to make rules for Auroville, but I’m going to be forced to begin formulating certain things because… it so happens there are difficulties. I don’t know how to go about it.

What I wanted to say came: it’s very simple [Mother picks up a written note], simply like this (it’s for very petty things):

You must choose between getting drunk and living in Auroville, the two are incompatible.

It’s not innocent drunkenness, I mean, it’s translated into acts of violence, it borders on madness.

And so naturally, once you’ve started, you can say this too

[Mother picks up another note:]

You must choose between living in falsehood and living in Auroville, the two are incompatible.

Provided that it’s true!

Satprem: One could say that those who get drunk do it to forget; well, you don’t come to Auroville to forget: on the contrary, you come to Auroville to remember.

Yes, we could put it that way.

But the idea was especially to stress the CHOICE: living in Auroville is a CHOICE. It’s a choice, an attitude one takes, a decision one makes. To live in Auroville is a choice, you are choosing a certain way of life. But if you choose one thing, there are other things which do not go along with it…. In any case, to live in Auroville is an ACTION, a decision that one takes, an action.

But this [Mother points to her note] is a concession to the present state of humanity because, to tell the truth, for Auroville it should be only some particular cases. What I mean is this: there may be people who drink but who all the same are fit to live in Auroville. So you can’t make a general rule. But if you don’t make a general rule, on what leg will you stand to tell someone (who has been accepted, that’s the difficulty), to tell him, “No, you have to change – either you stop that, or you cannot remain in Auroville…”?

Satprem: What is said about alcohol can also be said about drugs; you can say it about many other things as well.

Yes, many, many. It’s only a beginning. I saw, you know, that we’re going to be faced with necessities… These are necessities of choice – to say it’s either this or that.

It’s like drugs, there are people who do not suffer dangerous or harmful effects from drugs.

Basically, the freedom of each one is limited by the fact that it should not infringe upon the freedom of others. That’s the limit.

Satprem: It’s obviously difficult to make general rules.

It’s impossible.

Satprem: As for myself, I remember having taken opium for several years and it did me good, it soothed me, it calmed me down. To take it now would be absurd, but at that time it didn’t do me any harm.

Yes, but that I understand very well! I see that so well, in such a universal way… You know, a sentence like this [Mother points to her note] could be said only to an individual, that is, FOR YOU, it’s like that – it’s a choice between overcoming your weakness or your habit and living in Auroville, the two don’t go together. But then it’s a purely individual question; to another person you may not even have to mention it.

Satprem: That’s why the most general formula, would be to say that all self-forgetfulness is contrary to the life of Auroville. You don’t go to Auroville to forget, to forget yourself – all self-forget- fullness, in any form whatsoever.

Ah, but “self-forgetfulness”, if you see it from a moral standpoint!…

[Mother laughs]

Satprem: Forgetting your true self.

[Mother laughs]

As soon as it is formulated… It would be more correct to say:

All seeking for unconsciousness is contrary to the life of Auroville.

That’s more general. And then, if you want to be still more general, you could say:

Any backward or downward movement is in contradiction to the life of Auroville, which is a life of ascent and the future.

February 1971

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Original language: French

Sources: MoA, p.55; CWM, XIII, p.245; AMW, p.367

Drugs are prohibited in Auroville.

If there are any who take them, they do it furtively.

The ideal of Aurovilian, eager to become conscious of the Divine Consciousness, takes neither tobacco nor alcohol, nor drugs.

4 March 1971


Original language: French

First publication:

Sources: MoA, p.72; CWM, XIII, p.245; AMW, p.375

Alain Grandcolas: Three years ago, you said: `I have been asked what the rules are for life in Auroville. Thank God, as yet there are none. As long as there are none, there is hope.’

In July, again you were telling the young people of Aspiration, `I do not want to make rules for Auroville as I did for the Ashram.’ But recently you wrote, `Drugs are prohibited in Auroville’. Has there been a change in your vision of Auroville?

Perhaps Aurovilians have not yet attained the level of consciousness expected of them.

2 April 1971


Original language: French

First publication:

Sources: Archives, AMW, p.378

[Gilbert Gauché wrote the following text:]

“When a problem appears complicated, the first thing to do is to simplify it. That is a mathematical law applicable in all circumstances.

“Now, the attitude regarding drugs in Auroville is, in truth, quite simple. It is not that drugs should not be taken in Auroville; it is that IF ONE FEELS THE NEED TO TAKE DRUGS, one is not ready for Auroville. The world where drugs have their place is vast; one may lead an interesting and variegated life there, perhaps even a creative life. That world has its rules and its unruliness, its laws and its revolts. But the NEW WORLD to be born at Auroville is SOMETHING ELSE, and in this something else, drugs are neither good nor bad; they simply cannot exist.

“Nobody would dream, if he were not trained, of getting into a boxing ring and challenging a champion. For the true life also (and it is impossible to live in Auroville refusing Truth), a special training is necessary, a training accepted from one’s very depths.

“He who imagines he can have both those together, or even that he can turn his drug experience to good account in his search for Truth, is grossly mistaken. Sooner or later, he will be thrown out of the ring like the ill-trained boxer. And indeed, it will not be the well-trained champion who throws him out: it will be the force of Truth itself. By remaining in the old consciousness which accepts complacently the guises of ordinary life, the drug addict cuts himself off, without knowing it, from all inner progress. The truth within him knows that it cannot manifest under this disguise and it will itself bar his road.

“Hence, as far as he himself is concerned, his experience is bound to end in bankruptcy and in relation to others, he represents an obstacle and is seriously detrimental to their progress. So there are only two solutions left: to stop taking drugs, or to go away.

“If he chooses the first solution, he will make an act of will which must give him great help at the beginning of his new road. The higher consciousness immediately answers such acts of courage.

“If he will not make this act of courage or cannot do so, let him go away quietly, without bitterness or dramatization. When he has exhausted his experience, he will come back.

“Whatever happens, truth always triumphs. But to collaborate with it gives a joy which compared with chemical stimulants makes them seem pale and anemic. He who has felt even the faint beginnings of an experience in this field knows it well. And what he knows is so powerful that nothing, neither difficulties nor tempests nor rebuffs nor mockery, will ever destroy it.”

[When the previous text was read out to Mother she said:]

It is very good and very useful. You should make use of it.

15 April 1971


Original language: French

Sources: MoA, p.55; CWM, XIII, p.246; AMW, p.382

An Aurovilian: Is it true, Mother, that though you do not want drugs to be taken at Aspiration, you tolerate them on the other hand at the Centre or in other parts of Auroville?

This is a lie.

I have said, no drugs in auroville, and I do not go back on my words.

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