The orange hexagon ready to be lifted into place over the South (Maheshwari) entrance to Matrimandir
Finalizing the entrance shields
Work on the Matrimandir structure is complete in all its major aspects, but a few crucial areas remain to be finalized, and one of these is the placement of the discs over the South and East entrances to the building.
You may recall that each of the four entrances is decorated with a tall shield of rectangular gold tiles, and marked by a large disc of special design linked to the pillar’s distinctive significance.
The four pillars were given the names of the four aspects of Mahashakti by the Mother. The North pillar is Mahakali, the aspect of strength; the West is Mahasaraswati, the aspect of perfection in works; the South is Maheshwari, the aspect of wisdom; and the East is Mahalakshmi, the aspect of beauty and harmony. Each shield above the entrance features a large four-petalled disc having a particular geometric shape at its center. These centers have been clad in specially tinted gold-in-glass tiles. In the past we have shown you pictures of the red square marking the center of the Mahakali pillar and the light blue triangle marking Mahasaraswati’s entrance.
On June 29th this work was brought to its final stage with the last of the two colored geometric centers being lifted into place and fixed on their stainless steel legs: an orange hexagon for Maheshwari, and a pink circle for the Mahalakshmi pillar. The long-awaited completion of these two centerpieces has been a complicated work, as many specially shaped tiles had to be created for them. We were happy indeed to see this aspect of the Matrimandir construction reach its conclusion!
The Unity garden pathways
During June the concreting of the foundation for the many pathways in the Garden of Unity was completed. Then, under the somewhat cooler July skies, we began to lay the first of these paths with pink-green slate and red sandstone. Here you see the first of these pathways, the one which leads from the office to the Banyan Tree.
The Arrival of the Stone
Finally, at sunset on the 6th of June, the elusive stone for the garden of Existence arrived! The day had been blustery, with strong winds pushing patches of grey clouds across the sky, the approach of the summer monsoon.
Earlier in the day we got the news that the team at the quarry near Thiruvakarai was ready to load the stone onto the lorry that would bring it here. Three members of our team drove 40 kilometers to be present, to keep watch over this second stone for the garden. You may recall the dramatic loss of the first stone reported in the June newsletter, also in the quarries of Thiruvakarai which was lost when the quarry staff blew it to bits during one of their routine mine blasts. This time we wanted to be right on top of the situation, to guard against any mishaps.
The new stone, weighing about 12 tons, was slightly smaller than the other one but of a pleasing shape. Our garden designers were quite happy with it. It will be the focal point of the garden of Existence, the first of the 12 gardens to be built around the Matrimandir.
We had seen this stone three days earlier where it lay in a shallow depression on the bone-dry rocky landscape of the quarry field. All around it were stony outcroppings, scattered boulders and a number of old abandoned quarries, deep holes carved in the bedrock which had later on filled up with several meters of emerald green, mysteriously deep waters. One felt like just diving off one of the rock outcrops to cool off in those wonderful pools! That day itself we had agreed to purchase this stone, as it seemed to be just right for the garden, and now, three days later, it has arrived at the Matrimandir gardens site.
The stone just after unloading, as it was held aloft by the two cranes
A crowd began to gather as preparations were made for the unloading -- two cranes had to be called in as a single one would not have managed to lift this load from the lorry. By 9:20 p.m. the operation was ready to start: the lorry drove along the Eastern main path of the Matrimandir gardens and made a short turn to drive right into the garden of Existence plot. Then the two cranes were positioned, one behind and one to the right of the lorry. Their steel cables and chains were wrapped around the stone. Then they tried to lift it, but it was the rear ends of the cranes themselves that lifted off the ground instead!–such was the mass of the stone. With pulling and lifting, with a shifting of cables, the stone suddenly began to move, to become free of the lorry. Then it got stuck, one meter of the stone protruding from the back end of the lorry.
As its weight was set down momentarily, the whole front end of the lorry came off the ground this time! and there were shouts all around of “Lift up again, don’t let the stone down!” The cranes lifted again, and the front end of the big lorry settled back to the ground, and then, in one swift movement as both cranes took up the weight once again, the lorry was able to drive forward and away, and the stone was free, 12 tons suspended in mid air between the two cranes! The new arrival was then lowered to the ground and, through a long series of pushes and pulls, it was jockeyed towards its intended resting place in the garden.
The scene was reminiscent of so many other great moments in Matrimandir’s history, - of long evenings when events carried on, filled with the joyous energy of the occasion, late into the night. The garden area was lit by lights mounted in the trees around, and by the headlamps of the machines at work. Some 30 people were on hand, -- the gardens team, people to help with the moving, photographers and children too, all bathed in that timeless energy which has built the Matrimandir and sustains all of us here. We looked at each other and smiled, sharing the awareness of this special moment. A three-quarter moon illumined the scene through gaps in the swiftly moving clouds.
The sphere of Matrimandir was a silent witness in the background, glowing silver grey in the moonlight.
By midnight the work was done, the stone had been maneuvered into its final position. It had been turned so as to point towards the Banyan tree in the distance. Its front end had been raised, as per the designer’s plan, some 90 centimeters off the ground. Under the sloping lower face of the stone a small pool will be built, with a fountain playing there.
As the lights were turned off one by one and as the cranes drove away, the night’s perfect stillness reclaimed the area. Only the sound of the wind blowing in the Neems and the Bodhi tree remained, whispering to each other, perhaps, about this fascinating new Stone-Being who had arrived.
The Stone in the garden of Existence
Just a small note, at the end of this newsletter, to remind you that the timing for bookings is between 2 and 4 p.m. daily, and the number is (0413) 262 2268. With August Darshan just ahead, we expect things to be pretty busy around here and so we recommend that you make your booking a few days in advance in order to avoid disappointment. There will be some adjustments to the timings during this period, and so we would request you to carefully note the time slot that is given to you when you book. You’ll need to be here at least half an hour before the given time on the appointed day. You can expedite the booking process if you keep fresh
in your mind the date of your last visit. Please remember that visitors coming for the first time have to follow a different process than those who have already visited, so be clear about it while booking to save unnecessary embarrassment at the gate. We would also like to remind you that the Inner Chamber is for individual concentration and that we do not take any group bookings.
Address for donations and correspondence:
(Please make your cheque, money order or DD payable to ‘Matrimandir')
MATRIMANDIR – AUROVILLE 605101 – TAMIL NADU – INDIA
Bookings: Tel (+91) (0413) 262-2268; accounts: 262-2228
|Please note the new timings for visits to the Chamber:
Bookings : 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. daily
Concentration : 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. daily
First-time visits : 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. daily