Musing on Samriddhi
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What does it mean?
Samriddhi is a settlement in Auroville's Green Belt. Translation for this Sanskrit word is 'spiritual prosperity', but spiritual prosperity - what does that mean?
People in Auroville live in 'Bliss' or 'Transformation' or 'Aspiration', but what does it mean for me to live in 'spiritual prosperity'? Samriddhi - it has become a mantra for almost half a lifetime now.
The dictionary explains prosperity: "prosperity is the condition in which a person or a community is doing well economically and has a good standard of living". Well, this is not quite what our life looked like at the very beginning. So to understand more of what Samriddhi meant for me, and to write this article, I went to see a lady called Auroculture. At the time, Auroculture still lived in the Ashram, and it was she who gave this name when my then partner Jean-Marie started to plant the first trees here in 1975.
"To have at every moment integrally all that is needed" is Auroculture's explanation for Samriddhi. And she adds, "When I saw this noble French man completely devoting himself to that barrenness around him, I planted the flower Divine Help."
Yes! Come and see the place now!
The olden days
Only through divine help all those miracles could happen which I witnessed after joining Jean-Marie to work and live with him in Samriddhi. It was difficult for me to see the meaning of prosperity in those very first years. We lived so basically, so simply.. I worked like the women in the villages - grinding our rice on the yandiram, cooking on a wooden fire, sleeping on a mat which I wove of kush grass, drawing our water from the only water source, our handpump, renewing the floor of our hut once a week with a mixture of cow dung and water. I also looked after the tree nursery and planted flowers. Jean-Marie gave me seeds of 'Offering' and 'Frankness', and I managed to have a small plant of 'Sweetness of Thought exclusively turned towards the Divine'.
Red soil under bare feet
In those years every day's gesture became a prayer, an offering to the earth, an aspiration for some change to come. Though I did not know what change, what future?
The moments counted. The nights were filled with music. The sound of Krishna's flute. Jean-Marie knew how to play the flute, and turned my life into magic and wonder, while the days were filled with the touch of the earth. I loved to walk through our young forest and feel the red sandy soil under my bare feet. As if I grew roots into the ground. As if I married this land. A marriage of love.
Those were our pioneering years towards the end of the '70s. Which ended with the birth of my son, Sa'adi, in the south of France on 8-8-80. My love and concern for Samriddhi was carried further by strong and determined men - Michael, Alan and Diego - who all of them are still here, deeply caring about this stretch of Auroville forest. It is these men who turned Samriddhi into the paradise which I found during my first visit back to Auroville, after 7 years of separation. I could hardly believe my eyes!
Now I see the meaning
Today I am living again in Samriddhi. Back home. And now I see its meaning: Samriddhi means indeed having at every moment integrally all that is needed. This is still the message that the flute whispers through the trees. This is what this earth, which we made fertile here, gives us always in return.
Un hommage à la terre
If you wish to know more about other Aurovilians living in Samriddhi, there is Ange, the potter; Annemarie and Alan from Auroville Today; Karuna, the mother of the sweet girl Chandra; Michael, sweet brother of the early days and classical forester; Ricardo the carpenter; Steve, who will soon leave us for a new place, Udumbu; and then Diego and myself. All of us have fantastic stories to tell. You can email us if you want to know more.
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