Saturday, February 27, 2010

My spirits were lifted when I saw the composting tubs, the recycling facilities

Thekkedy leeches « Grow Your Own Gorgeousness By Bethan Stritton
Four days ago we left Auroville and travelled east to the Ghat mountains to a hill-station called Kodai. Many of the wealthier Aurovillian children come to a boarding school in Kodai and it was because of their fond words about the place that we decided to go.
Go Green Toolshed » Blog Archive » Sustainable living transcends ...
Her experience there, working at
Sadhana Forest, a sustainableliving community on the outskirts ofAuroville, Tamil Nadu, India, was life-changing for the Camarillo native. When she returned to the States, Gravelle continued her ...
Auroville is a “project in human unity”, an international community based just over the Pondicherry border in Northern Tamil Nadu. The once barren landscape is now lush and green thanks to the tree planting efforts of the first inhabitants and is home to over 1800 people from India and 35 other countries. The residents are involved in a range of activities including a cashless economy, environmental regeneration, organic farming , appropriate building technology and renewable energy.
I thought that Auroville would be the mecca of environmental awareness but that’s certainly not the case when it comes to waste management. Their visitors centre is over run by hordes of tourists every day yet the three recycling bins that they have are just used as general garbage bins.
Their environmental displays don’t mention anything about the way their waste is managed and the guide leaflet and map doesn’t list it’s Eco-service. There is rubbish everywhere and the surrounding Tamil villages are clogged with garbage…
On a positive note I visited Sadhana Forest, an Auroville community practicing indigenous reforestation and sustainable living. A truly amazing place where volunteers live and work together to work on the land . My spirits were lifted when I saw the composting tubs, the recycling facilities, their fabulous handwashing contraption, the compost toilets, their urine fertilizer, the natural shampoos, soaps etc. Solar panels, homegrown veggies, the list goes on and on… 
Sadhana Forest is providing a great opportunity for people to gain and share skills, live in a truly environmentally friendly way and to meet other people that really appreciate the planet that we live on. You get out what you put in. This wonderful, friendly place has a lot to offer and is to be commended on its work. See www.sadhanaforest@auroville.org.in for more details.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Many of the fixed ways that I saw the world were deeply challenged

It was truly an experience of “Incredible India” (as the tourist board slogan says). And like so many Westerners before and after me, I fell in love with the country, in all its grace, mystique, and contradictions. It was the first place that I truly awoke to the deeper spiritual dimensions of reality. It was the place where I was immersed in a culture so foreign to mine that many of the fixed ways that I saw the world were deeply challenged. And it was the first place in which I became truly grateful for every aspect of my life in the West, and awoke to how incredibly fortunate I have been to be born with such inherited wealth.

In the 1960s, Sri Aurobindo, one of India’s great revolutionary seers, decided that life was full of immorality. He thus conceived the idea for a city that was to act as an experiment in human unity. Somewhere that displaced the importance of material desires. A so-called ‘Township Utopia’ in the making. A place where ‘the only authority is the supreme truth.’ You get the picture.
His successor, ‘The Mother’, chose a spot that was once a flourishing forest of snakes, elephants and tigers – thanks to the British and the French, it had become a barren and eroded plateau. Forty years, a million new trees and some yoga later, Auroville stands as the ‘New Age’ city of our time. Matri Mandir (above) is the golden, spiritual-epicentre of all this – the place where ‘man goes to find his consciousness.’ It is space-age, looks bound for Star Trek, and altogether out of place in a land of organic farms and solar-powered forest retreats. But whatever twists your noodle.
At first, Auroville pissed me off. I wasn’t able to stay anywhere unless I committed to two weeks. I couldn’t even buy groceries, or a drink in a cafe, unless I had a membership card. In the end, I had to find an expensive guesthouse. My first thought, as I ambled past buffalos and mud, was that these people had given up their material lives to come and live on the set of Dallas. I respected that, but I had my doubts about a place that was supposed to be ‘open to all’.
From what I had seen, the sum of Auroville’s ideals didn’t quite add up. Matri Mandir was an expensive, day-trip tourist attraction, and in a place that prided itself on solar power and other eco-friendly methods, every single person rode a motorbike. Crime existed there, and I encountered some really brattish Western kids. There were some good people, and some good things going on, though.
I was walking along the road the next day with my backpack, not sure what to do, when an English guy on a motorbike asked if I wanted a lift. Next thing I know, I was working on his organic farm and living in a hexagon-shaped tree-hut.
I pulled up weeds and shovelled soil during the day, cycled through the monsoon and avoided cobras in the night.
Auroville, and Solitude Farm in particular, was like living The Blair Witch Project. There were countless evenings in which I felt fearful of my surroundings, but on my last night I bricked it.
I’d just been to a see an eco-film in the forest, and had left my bike at a cafe. When I returned it was gone. I wouldn’t have minded, but it was raining so hard I had to stand in the shelter. Bloody monsoon season. I waited for an hour but it didn’t let up. I was stuck, until a friend luckily came past and gave me a lift. It was so dark we got lost a few times, by which time I was completely drenched..
The entrance to Soltiude Farm was the opening of a horror movie. Little boy lost in a sea with no light. I waded through with a sense of trepidation: afraid of the seeping clutches of muddy rivers once known as a path, and the surround-sound of terror delivered by insects, geckos and God Knows What Else. It was raining so much it felt like time for a Noah’s Ark rematch. My flashlight wouldn’t work. This is starting to get ridiculous. A thunder bolt furiously blazed the sky. And I was close to crying like a little girl.
I survived the weather, didn’t cry and made it back to my tree-hut…and listened to Solitude’s soundtrack all night:

Novelist, poet and artist, Dee Sunshine, shines brightly, occasionally transcends the mundane with a blog that grabs you by the tender, fleshy bits and ... Thursday, February 18, 2010 The Matrimandir, Auroville
I have forgiven Auroville for their horrible, mindless bureaucracy after seeing inside the Matrimandir. Oh my God, it is possibly one of the most brilliant places I have ever been inside. From the viewing point outside, about 500 metres away, it looks like a giant gold golf ball, but one close inspection, it is a shimmering jewel of elaborate craftmanship. Inside, it is even more stunning. You sweep up a spiral walkway, over white carpet, up into the domed, pillared meditation space, which is lit by the sun pouring down onto a crystal ball. The light created, is soft and foggy, and without effort, you are transported into a meditative space. It was wonderful, incredible and many other adjectival superlatives... and worth every second of the forty years the Aurovillians spent creating it. So... from now, until I leave Auroville, I shall be visiting the Matrimandir every day.

As for Auroville itself, well it is almost impenetrable, a forest of dirt tracks leading every which way, and getting lost is part of the deal. I enjoy this though, scooting about on my motorbike, skidding on the sand, slipping into unknown places... it is a bit like Easy Rider, or at lerast that's how I feel. In
India, it goes without saying, not a single motorbike would pass a UK MOT, and as for safety helmets... well they are more or less non-existent. And that's what I love about India, none of that nanny state interference. Just before I entered this internet cafe I saw a father mount his motorbike with 4 children. Off they went, happy as clams...

My love affair with
India continues unabated. I wish I could endure internet cafes for longer, so I could tell you all my stories. So many stories to tell. Maybe next time I will bring my mini laptop and write in more detail... for now, I'm afraid these wee snippets will have to suffice. posted by Dee Sunshine 10:57 AM

I have had two almost full days to myself here at Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The silence of the place and the solitude it has afforded me have been luscious. There is a new meditation hall here now, with large images of Aurobindo and the Mother, who are of course revered as deities, a large wooden floor and even a mezzanine space. Posted by Cyprian Consiglio at 2:02 AM

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Roads that pulsate with a rhythm of peace and harmony and beauty

"When you reach [the STABLE, PERMANENT, IMMOBILE core of your being] you can begin to ‘shape your destiny’. Which simply means that you will draw to yourself only those situations which are in harmony with THAT, which conspire to further THAT, which serve to enhance and make manifest THAT, and only THAT."    I'm posting the below 'Letter from Skambha' as a further exploration of simultaneous
That was in the Veda Vijnana Gurukulam, Channenahalli, Bangalore. Recently, during a Two Day National Seminar I met a remarkable person, an aspirant who holds doctorate in "Vedic Psychology in the Light of Sri Aurobindo." A product of the Pondiche… Dr. S.Ramakrishnan added a blog post SAKSIVC. Namaste.
AurovilleRadio - Petrol Bunk in Auroville?
Today's news offers a few moments from Wednesday's jazz concert with Edmund Held on trumpet, Mishko M'Ba on bass and Holger Jetter on violin. And some points concerning  just what 'stewardship' means in relation to housing, plus points to consider around the issue of a petrol bunk in Auroville; as there will be a petrol station on the plateau. The question is whether Auroville should own it? 
In today's news you can listen to an excerpt from last week's concert  at Pitanga performed by cellist Martin Merker and pianist Anna Adamik. The next music recital will be performed on the 13th of February (6 pm) at the Salle Auropax in Auromodel.
We also have info about the Litter Free Auroville action: a recent initiative enacted in Auroville. A vision statement formulated as a result of this event:  “We dream of Auroville area as clean as a first class operation theatre. We then dream of Auroville roads as “singing” roads, roads that pulsate with a rhythm of peace and harmony and beauty. We dream of enchanting landscapes and charming atmospheres in Auroville and that this will percolate its message of hope and goodwill all over
India, the world, and pave the way for a happy and luminous future for all.” 
Auroville Marathon | Facebook
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Auroville International Township's Apps - Earthdance Network
Auroville International Township doesn't have any friends on yet. ... Auroville International Township hasn't added any Apps yet. Welcome to ...
Beyond Boundaries: Flying... [Now in Auroville, we are grounding and exploring. Our first couple of days were spent integrating, sharing stories and incorporating our experiences. We are staying at a beautiful quite community based on the spiritual principles of integral yoga, a perfect place to settle into the large and diverse community of this eco city and begin our inquiry into Auroville. Monday, January 25, 2010 Reunited.]
By Siri Gunnarson Saturday, February 13, 2010 Time flies... A month at Auroville has passed, and tonight we begin the journey to Indonesia. Wow. My time here at Auroville has been deep. Facing the plethora of projects and communities within this eco-city, we have been busy visiting and finding ways to support farms, reforestation projects, community centers and much much more.
Fully in the process, we all entered the field of Auroville as participants, finding our individual ways 'in'. A spiritual community based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, we began our time grounding in the philosophy and intention behind Auroville.
There is a strong field here, it is a place where I can feel the power of the work that is and has been done... a place that makes my heart deepen. I feel a real resonation with this way, and have loved the opportunity to meditate in the Matri Mandir, an amazing golden sphere structure at the central of this community.
Gathering and pollinating, making connections, this time has passed so quickly and I have taken in so much. I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of Auroville, and yet the founding member of one of the reforestation Projects here, Sadhana Forest, told us he has not seen nearly as many of the projects here as we have.
Well, 'go time' is approaching, tonight we have our final de-briefs and closing council before heading to the airport. Indonesia will be a whole other experience, and very quickly we will be in a remote location working with a very different community.
The depth and breadth of this work amazes me daily, and I feel myself moved. I am increasingly finding this pilgrimage to be an opening and training into my future work. I feel blessed to be here, and to have the opportunity to work with the other BBs for such a long, intensive time.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Posted by Siri Gunnarson at 4:01 AM
Seeking Ganesh: Auroville Part 1: Our first community attempt By J. Paige
"Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity." ...
Dialogues III « Jaydei's Blog By jaydei
Have you heard of Auroville ? It's not an educational place but one rich in philosophy! I would love to visit if only i could earn it for myself. As i told u before, part time jobs are hard to get for students and since I look like I'm ...
I also wanted to move to a cheaper room, wanted in a kind of obsessive manner (my room was Rs 400, not too expensive), so when I found a Rs 225 room in place which is run by Sri Aurobindo Ashram I payed for it first, and then started to ...
Balasaheb Deoras. Balasaheb Deoras Shri Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras ..... propounded by great men like Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi, ...
Plain & Simple: Doudou Diene, Uma Prajapati, and Bindu Mohanty
Explore the vision and ideals of Auroville, the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, basic aspects of individual and collective practice, and share moments of silence and inner reflection. Timings:
09:00 – 12:00 and 14:15 ...
Aurora Mirabilis: Vishnu Eschner and Soleil Lithman
About the Speaker: Vishnu Eschner has spent the majority of his adult life in yogic pursuits, culminating in the last 19 years as resident and co-director of Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham, anintegral yoga ashram in
Lodi, California...
This man, Peter is the same person, who is the mastermind in mutilating Savitri, the mantra of Supramental Transformation, then also this Manoj and company sailed together in the same boat. Devotees throughout the world should join together with Gitanjali to fight for Truth. Posted by bijan ghosh advocate supreme court to Savitri Era Open Forum at 3:40 PM, February 12, 2010
Peter Heehs has given more rights than he has himself acquired ...
February 13, 2010.  ... Tusar N.Mohapatra, President, Savitri Era Party. ...

Monday, February 08, 2010

Birkhoff, Whitehead, and Synge; Weyl, Eddington, and Dirac

*Cosmos* from Marginal Revolution by Tyler Cowen
The author is John North and the subtitle is An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology.  Excerpt:

Other alternatives to Einstein's general theory of relativity were the theories of gravitation developed by G.D. Birkhoff, A.N. Whitehead, and J.L. Synge.  All of them had cosmological implications.  They were symptomatic of a period of great intellectual vitality.  They were no doubt partly motivated by a desire to create something comparable with what Einstein had produced.  Some ideas of a very different kind were then being put forth by Hermann Weyl, Eddington, and Dirac -- the first two in 1930, and Dirac in 1937-38.  They seemed to many to be suggesting that cosmological observation was superfluous, and that all could be deducted from the constants of physics.  Eddington, for instance, thought that all the dimensionless constants (pure numbers) obtained by suitably multiplying and dividing powers of the constants of physics -- the mass of a proton, the charge on an electron, and so forth -- turn out to be close to unity, or of the order of 10 raised to the power 79.  This vast number he thought might characterize the number of particles in the universe. 

This is a truly splendid history of science book, especially if you are snowed in for a weekend.  It has plenty of material on the early history of astronomy and on the one topic I know something about -- the Aztecs -- it seems very good to me and very accurate.