Nestled at the very heart of Auroville lies a sanctuary of serenity and reflection, the Matrimandir Gardens. These meticulously designed gardens encircle the Matrimandir, Auroville’s soul, and offer visitors a profound opportunity to connect with the powers of consciousness while reveling in natural beauty. Each garden is a testament to the Mother’s vision of evoking states of consciousness through a landscape that transcends conventional gardens, serving as a pathway to inner peace and self-realization.
The City Layout and the Peace Area
At the center of Auroville, in what is known as the Peace Area, you will find the Matrimandir, the geographical heart of Auroville. This extraordinary edifice is surrounded by 12 majestic gardens, each symbolizing a different facet of consciousness. Adjacent to the Matrimandir stands a magnificent banyan tree, a silent sentinel of this sacred space. Nearby, an amphitheater houses the Urn of Human Unity, which contains soil from 121 nations and 23 Indian states, a potent symbol of unity in diversity. This serene area is embraced by a lake, still in the making, which will one day serve as a vital water source for the city.
The Role of the Gardens
The 12 gardens surrounding the Matrimandir bear names that reflect the powers of consciousness they represent: Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power, Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony, and Perfection. Each of these gardens serves as an avenue to explore different facets of the spiritual journey, and collectively, they embody the powers necessary for the complete manifestation of the Divine.
The sequence of these gardens is significant. The first three, Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss, are represented in Sanskrit as Sat-Chit-Ananda, the essence of the Divine. Perfection, symbolizing the ultimate aim of evolution, is placed last in the list. These gardens rotate counterclockwise, with the first and last gardens flanking the East radial pathway.
The Significance of the Flowers Chosen by the Mother
The Mother, with her deep insight, chose specific flowers to represent the essence of each garden. These selections hold profound significance in the context of spiritual exploration:
- Garden of Existence: Hibiscus (Pink) – Psychic Power in Existence.
- Garden of Consciousness: Hibiscus (Golden Yellow) – Supramental Consciousness.
- Garden of Bliss: Hibiscus (Pale Cream Yellow) – Ananda.
- Garden of Light: Hibiscus (White) – Light of the Purified Power.
- Garden of Life: Hibiscus (Light Red) – Power of the Consciousness.
- Garden of Power: Hibiscus (Reddish Pink) – Aesthetic Power.
- Garden of Wealth: Nymphaea (Mixed) – Wealth.
- Garden of Utility: Hibiscus (Pink) – Usefulness of the New Creation.
- Garden of Progress: Hibiscus (Cream-White) – Power to Progress.
- Garden of Youth: Hibiscus (Orange-Pink/Apricot-Yellow) – Beauty of Supramental Youth.
- Garden of Harmony: Hibiscus (Bright Golden Yellow) – Power of Harmony.
- Garden of Perfection: Plumeria/Frangipani (White/Yellow) – Psychological Perfection.
The Mother’s selection of these flowers adds depth to the spiritual symbolism of the gardens, with each bloom resonating with the consciousness it represents.
Sri Aurobindo’s Symbol and Its Connection with the Gardens
Sri Aurobindo’s symbol holds a deep connection with the Matrimandir Gardens. It consists of a descending triangle representing Sat-Chit-Ananda, an ascending triangle symbolizing the aspiring answer from matter in the form of life, light, and love, and a central square representing the perfect manifestation with the lotus at its center. Water, signifying multiplicity and creation, surrounds the square.
The connection between the gardens and Sri Aurobindo’s symbol is evident:
- Sat, Chit, and Ananda correspond to Gardens 1, 2, and 3.
- Life and Light are represented in Gardens 4 and 5.
- The Matrimandir itself embodies Love.
- Water symbolizes creation and surrounds both the Matrimandir and its gardens.
Max Théon’s Cosmic Square
Max Théon’s ‘Cosmic Square’ adds another layer of meaning to the gardens. In this square, Love is at the center, with its four sides symbolizing Might, Light, Life, and Utility. The connection between the gardens and the Cosmic Square is striking:
- Love at the center aligns with the Matrimandir, the Pavilion of Divine Love.
- Might is transformed into Power (Garden 6).
- Light and Life correspond to Gardens 4 and 5.
- Utility directly links to Garden 8.
Understanding these connections deepens our appreciation of the gardens’ profound significance in the spiritual journey of Auroville.
In conclusion, the Matrimandir Gardens are a living testament to the spiritual aspirations of Auroville. They serve as a profound pathway to inner peace and higher consciousness, allowing visitors to experience and connect with the powers of consciousness that the Mother envisioned. As you explore these gardens, you embark on a journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth, guided by the vibrant symbolism of each bloom and the collective unity of the twelve gardens. The Matrimandir Gardens truly stand as an oasis of serenity and reflection in Auroville, inviting all to partake in their transformative beauty.