Pondicherry isn’t quite the idyllic setting I had imagined where French speaking locals eat alfresco on the cobbled streets whilst indulging in carafe after carafe of red wine. It is very nice though all the same. I particularly love how the French quarter is painted predominantly in hermes yellow with framed white window sills and excessive amounts of roof tiles.
I was keen to visit Auroville whilst in the area as I am so intrigued by the concept of a universal community. I love that there are groups of people who are actively demonstrating their belief that the world is one family. I think this is quite poignant considering what’s going on in our world at the moment.
‘Auroville is the ideal place for those who want to know the joy and liberation of losing the sense of personal possession’.
There is a quote from ‘the mother’ (creator of Auroville) that says “There should be somewhere on earth a place which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of good will who have a sincere aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme truth, a place of peace, concord and harmony”.
After learning more about Auroville we were both really excited by their forward thinking, environmentally friendly and non discriminative outlook. The only thing I felt was out of place is the Matrimandir (huge golden ball!). It directs sunlight inside a purely white room where they ‘concentrate but don’t meditate’. This looks and sounds too much like Scientology for my liking.
There remains a lot of mystery behind this intimate community though as we can’t quite get our heads around how it can work when you have to leave behind all personal possessions and no longer use money. How do the people pay for their houses, bills and food if there is no currency? From what we have gathered, members of Auroville do pay a certain amount into the community and they receive an Auroville card where the amount is converted into tokens rather than a recognised currency, but what happens when your tokens run out? How is the community structured so that everybody has a job with equal pay? These answers don’t seem readily available which adds to my curiosity. Thankfully we have two lovely friends from Budapest who are going to live in Auroville for a couple of months so hopefully we can get a better insight from them.
The population is mostly made up of Indians (43%) French (14%) German (9%), only 2% are British.
The walkways are lined with beautiful quotes, Equality and Courage seem like they were written with our beautiful friend Anthony Hard in mind.