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Auroville, Human Unity and Organization

Shraddalu Ranade



A talk by Sraddhalu Ranade


So how shall we put into practice a living human unity?

Not by compelling any facet of diversity to be subservient to another. Allowing each its uniqueness and its full freedom, and yet recognising the equality of status of each one. It appears to the mind at least a contradictory objective, very difficult to put into practice. Human attempts in the last century have led to two blocks of ideology: the communist ideology that seeks to achieve equality; in order to achieve it, it suppresses freedom – or the capitalist ideology which builds on freedom; in order to achieve freedom, it suppresses oneness, it suppresses equality. Equality and freedom, Sri Aurobindo says, cannot coexist unless there is a third component which is that sense of oneness deep within.

And so, this seeking that we have for each one to have his utter freedom and yet be equal can only be based on a sense of unity within. Humanity has experimented with all kinds of unity: unity on a material level, as I said, which fails; unity on the principle of life force, which generally leads to reactions as intensely as the first movement of affection comes; unity on an an ideological, intellectual basis also, which leads to a uniformity. And the only unity which will not limit this diversity is that essential unity that always exists, supporting the diversity.

Therefore, for each one of us to consciously align ourselves in awareness to that existent unity within is the only foundation on which we can come together and work together. This becomes a challenge of a psychological, yogic process.

It means each one of us has to begin to introspect. We can't expect ourselves to just sit in one place and have it done for us. We have to work for it. If we do not work for it, the pressure of circumstances will push us to work for it. And if we still resist, the pressure will crush us, as happens in so many places in the world.

Somewhere Nature, or the wisdom of the Divine through Nature, which has built up this whole external apparatus of the cosmos and evolution, has decided that now is the time to find the deeper unity. And so everything in the world, and all political, social, economic events are driving us to discovering this unity. It's no more a choice: We have to do it. If we don't do it, we don't deserve to exist - we get crushed.

Dawnfire Jan.1st,2006. Photo by Manohar


At such a point, there is also the knowledge awakened from deep within the human heart.

The divine wisdom does not just create a problem, it also offers the solution. And that's why we find all over the world, in the heart of every human being, there is an aspiration, an idealism awakened in the mind, a seeking ….

[Auroville] represents a space in which that thing which is bound to happen one day in humanity can be realised here and now, and become a prototype from which the rest of humanity can awaken and find its external forms.


The challenge involves such a huge diversity of human types, that there can be no framework in which the external life can be organised. And that's why you will find in the Charter of Auroville no compelled framework at all. There was this question placed yesterday about the hierarchy and operations and conflict resolution, and the persons who answered those questions started with, ”We're still in the process,” and ended with, ”We're still in the process.”

And in a sense, the nature of human unity that we are seeking to realize in this utter freedom, will always be ”in the process” because the external organization is necessarily a reflection of the state of the people at that moment. Any structure that Auroville evolves for now is very good; it's excellent, for now. And tomorrow, as the consciousness of the community changes, it will have to change. So let's not look at the process of organization remaining a process as a handicap or a limitation. It's how it's meant to be, and it should always remain a process. The day you create a set of rules that sticks forever, you will be breaking that freedom. You will be breaking the unity. In fact, every framework created for now is a step allowing you to climb above it and freeing you from it therefore.


This is the great insight which we find in the Vedic aspiration; the whole ascent of evolution is like a ladder: You have to cling to a rung, the rung immediately above you, not the highest rung. You'll look at the highest, seek for the highest, but catch the one next to you, pull yourself up to it, and then you have to let go. If you keep on clinging to that which has helped you so far, you are stuck with it. You have to let go and climb to the next rung. So every structure, every device that we create will necessarily be transitional and will have to be abandoned. Plan it that way. Plan for something new to supersede, to replace as we grow. And every possibility of devices will be experimented with. And each experiment will be necessary, because it's one more rung which you have to take and overpass. The key here is, while we have to go through every single step, we need not go through it slowly, we need not to take long over each. Sri Aurobindo uses this phrase often in dealing with problems of inner progress, and certain very sticky types of problems of human nature, he always says:”Well, you have to go through it and overpass.”

When we seek to practice that ideal of human unity, awakening from deep within us, in a source which is so deep that we are not conscious of it, we will cross every step vertically and inward horizontally, quickly and overpass, until we get to the essence.


A Residents' meeting in SAWCHU building. Photo by Manohar.


How can we get to that essence most rapidly? That's the practical question we have to deal with. The forms will evolve, and we will work for it; but we can find the right form of the moment only when we attune ourselves to that Source. It knows; it becomes the form.

So how do we get to that as quickly as possible? There is one most powerful force, that force with which the Divine, having manifested the universe draws it back into Himself, into His Oneness – and that is the power of love. Love is that power in which the Divine knows His Oneness with every fragment, and every grain and atom of the cosmos, and every being and every person and every aspiration, and draws it all into Himself in that fusing delight of unity. It is that Love which awakes from deep in our hearts the urge to find truth, beauty, love, immortality, knowledge. It is that Love which, turning itself to an object begins the process of fusion with that which it loves. And if we can turn the love deep in our hearts towards the One, surge out and give ourselves utterly in that love to the One, that is the fastest way by which our consciousness can come in touch with it and fuse itself and find its oneness with it. And in that oneness with the Divine in utter self-giving and love we discover our oneness with all the cosmos, which is an expression of the Divine.


”Our self shall be one self in all through Her.”


If each one of us turns our love in aspiration towards the Divine Mother, and find each other in Her heart, that is the basis on which the oneness of the entire world can be, and will be, spontaneously organised. An effort like Auroville succeeds only to the extent that each one of us consciously offers himself in love to the ideal.

If you can feel that ideal as a living presence of the Divine Mother, it is easier. For those who do not feel it that way, it is still an ideal, a truth which holds: giving oneself to that Truth. Once we understand that there is no other way on which the true unity can be organised, can be expressed, the path becomes very easy. We do not struggle with the conflicts which emerge from artificial arrangements. Even when we sit together, it will not be: Let's create a framework, in which we will solve this problem. It will rather be:”Let's first align ourselves within us to the one truth that we seek.” And in that state of alignment we will find spontaneously ideas flowing, frameworks emerging, however intermediate at that moment, they are the truth of that moment.

So this is the deeper approach to human unity that we have to practice. And I do not see in that any more Auroville as an experiment. It was perhaps an experiment when it started; perhaps in the first two decades even there was a struggle and confusion in the formations of identity of the Auroville consciousness; but of late, in the last few years at least, the concreteness of the Auroville identity and aspiration can be felt so palpably that the formation or the truth that Auroville represents feels irrevocable. And while for practical purposes we can continue to call it an experiment, because it is always growing in new forms and new possibilities, but the base is solid.



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