=1 "The ashram and the town"

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The ashram and the town

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which Sri Aurobindo put under the guidance of the Mother in 1926, has always been a laboratory in which a new consciousness was tried out, at first in a small group and at length with hundreds and even thousands of people, including visitors as well as permanent members. The ashram represents a concentrated preparation for that which now becomes Topic::Auroville, for a constantly expanding consciousness. This collective realization, which started in the ashram, of a coming universal spirituality comprehending all human activities, has now to be transplanted into a wider field, the town. Here we will find it in a less concentrated, more relaxed form perhaps, more accessible to a larger number of people. The town will be a great step toward realizing concretely the oneness of humanity above religions, races and nations, above political and economic divisions.

Auroville itself, though at first under the guidance of members of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, will not be an ashram or school of yoga. It will be a true town, which means a true community. Life in a group is an indispensable instrument for individual and collective maturation. Man, the individual, can realize himself, reach his own fulfilment, only in a wide collectivity.

Auroville will provide an environment in which an =1 consciousness can be born and reared and in which it can flourish. There will be no preaching, as there is none in the ashram. There will simply be people around you who have dedicated their lives to oneness and to the ideals which Sri Aurobindo has put before mankind. There will be guidance for those who are looking for guidance, but no imposition of opinions, as there is none in the ashram. In an =1 society you need not belong to anyone else, only to yourself, and the aim is to belong exclusively to your higher self and to nothing else. For this, one has to proceed in full freedom and follow his own path. Both the environment and the continuous stimulation toward this lofty way of life you will find in Auroville whether you are a simple worker or a university professor.

Auroville is the creation of a yogic consciousness, but also a result of the unconscious yoga of nature in man. All mankind is longing for the city =1, and it is this longing which has become conscious and stands behind the building of the town. It is not the first time in the history of mankind that an ashram or monastery has become a town. It happened at the beginning of all the great evolutionary steps through which man has passed. A new way of life, a new way of thinking and feeling had first to be tried out in a small group protected by monastery walls. Only then could it be transplanted into the life of a greater community, perhaps in the form of a town. Taxila and Nalanda were such university towns at the beginning of the Buddhist expansion in India. Later through northern Europe Christianity spread by means of monasteries. These small communities attracted settlements around them which became towns, and many names of cities in Europe today indicate this monastic origin: Monaco, Munich, for example, and all names ending with -minster.

This transplantation was not a transference of the monastic way of life to the towns, for the larger communities were by no means monasteries. It was a burgeoning of new knowledge, of a better manipulation of consciousness, a new mastery over nature, a higher degree of organization, a step into the future.

We have come now in the evolution of mankind to the launching pad where take-off to a planetary society is at the count-down phase. Auroville, ushering in a new cycle of civilization, is an adventure in spirituality, a spirituality of freedom which eschews all propaganda, and whose aspirants change themselves rather than others, according to their own faith in the future.