Auroville was born on 28 February 1968 as its founder, the Mother, created the Auroville Charter that consists of four main ideas that underpin her vision for the place, the ideas of which the resident have to apply in their daily life, policy development and decision making. The Charter therefore is an omnipresent referent that guides the people who live and work here.
The Auroville Charter that the All India Radio (AIR) broadcast the Charter in 16 languages when Auroville was inaugurated is as follows:
- Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But, to live in Auroville, one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
- Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
- Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realisations.
- Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual human unity.
During the inauguration, the youth from 124 different nations and 23 Indian states, deposited a handful of their native soil into the Urn, in the form of a symbolic lotus bud, located in the centre of the Amphitheatre. The original Charter that was written in French by the Mother rests along with this soil, sealed in the Urn, as a message and promise.
It was in 1954, when the Mother spelled out an alternative formula of a new way to live describing the new society as “balanced, just, harmonious and dynamic.”
she said that somewhere on earth, there should be a place which no nation could claim, where all humans with a sincere aspiration and goodwill could live freely as citizens, obeying the authority of supreme Truth; a place of peace, concord and harmony where the fighting instincts of man would be used to conquer his sufferings and miseries, to surmount his weaknesses and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities; a place where the needs of the spirit and the concern for progress would take precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the search for pleasure and material enjoyment.
She believed that in that place, children would grow and develop integrally without losing contact with their souls; education would be given not for passing examinations or obtaining certificates and posts but to enrich existing faculties and bring forth new ones. The titles and positions would be replaced by opportunities to serve and organise; the bodily needs of each one would be equally provided for, and intellectual, moral and spiritual superiority would be expressed in the general organisation not by an increase in the pleasures and powers of life but by increased duties and responsibilities.
That beauty in all its artistic forms, painting, sculpture, music, literature, would be equally accessible to all; the ability to share in the joy it brings would be limited only by the capacities of each one and not by social or financial position.
A place where money would no longer be the sovereign lord; individual worth would have a far greater importance than that of material wealth and social standing. There, work would not be a way to earn one’s living but a way to express oneself and to develop one’s capacities and possibilities while being of service to the community as a whole, which, for its own part, would provide for each individual’s subsistence and sphere of action.
In short, she wanted it to be a place where human relationships, normally based almost exclusively on competition and strife, would be replaced by relationships of emulation in doing well, of collaboration and real brotherhood.
But at the time she knew that the earth was not ready to realise such an ideal and called it ‘A Dream’. And the earth is certainly not ready to realize such an ideal, for mankind does not yet possess the necessary knowledge to understand and accept it nor the indispensable conscious force to execute it. However, the fact that Auroville is steadily growing, and its residents carry forward her vision and ideal gives hope that this dream is on the way of becoming a reality, though on a small scale. So far, the achievement is far from perfect, it is progressive; little by little advancing towards the goal, which, one day shall be a practical and effective means of coming out of the present chaos of the world and going into a more true and harmonious new life.
One of the most remarkable concepts of Auroville is its master plan, laid out in form of a galaxy in which several ‘arms’ or Lines of Force seem to unwind from a central region. At the centre is the Matrimandir or the “soul of Auroville,” a place for individual silent concentration. Radiating beyond its gardens are four Zones focusing on important aspects – Industrial, cultural, residential and international. while surrounding the city is a Green Belt, consisting of forested areas, farms and sanctuaries with scattered settlements for those involved in green work.
Though, the most striking fact is that the Mother said that it should not be turned into a religion because religions are divided. They wanted people to be religious to the exclusion of other religions, and every branch of knowledge has been a failure because it has been exclusive and Auroville wants no divisions.