News & Notes 676:The Plants and Fishes

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676 icon.jpg   News & Notes 676
3 December 2016

The Plants and Fishes

“After what I have seen of plants and fishes in the region of Naples, in Sicily, I should be sorely tempted, if I were ten years younger, to make a journey to India – not for the purpose of discovering something new, but in order to view in my way what has been discovered” (J.W. von Goethe, a letter from Italy to Knebel, 18 Aug. 1787).

The many fascinating moments I spent in Two Banyans with Collin and Jean. For more than forty years they cared about the forest. The trees create oxygen and biomass; there is a great biodiversity in Two Banyans. Last time I visited the place I saw an extremely beautiful paradise flycatcher male which bathed in a small pond while a dove was drinking water from the pound. A lot of oxygen in Two Banyans makes for a high joyful mood in a human being.

Collin and Jean are very friendly people; they willingly spoke about their experience. Jean said: “I visited the Mother on a Darshan Day. She looked at me and laughed. Usually I don’t like it if somebody looks at me and laughs. But in that case I understood that the Mother saw my past, present and future. I was a hippie but She saw my future and my useful work for Auroville”.

The green yogins, eco-yogins, live in Two Banyans, they are devotees of Integral Yoga and they like the forest. Jean said: “10,000 or 20,000 years ago a dense jungle was here, maybe 100 species of orchids were in this place.” Now we have many orchids in the collections of the Matrimandir Nursery and at the Auroville Botanical Gardens. The flowers of some orchids are beautiful like the bright tropical fishes or butterflies. The orchids live on the trunks and branches of the trees (epiphytes), some of the orchids grow on the ground (terrestrial species).

In 1968 there were only a few trees in Auroville: a tamarind in the future Aspiration community, one banyan in the centre of the city, 2 banyans in the place of Collin and Jean etc. There was strong erosion in Auroville. After the heavy rains the ocean near the shores used to turn red: the soil moved down to the shores. Of course the pollution of the water was bad for the fish and for other oceanic dwellers.

Then Aurovilians planted numerous trees and the erosion stopped.