- Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville, one must be the 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.
Auroville is a developing international township. It is located on the southeastern coast of India, near Pondicherry (south of Chennai/Madras). The community was founded by a woman known as The Mother, and members of Sri Aurobindo's Ashram in Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo was a political and spiritual leader in India during the first half of the twentieth century. Although not a guru in the traditional sense, his Integral Yoga has developed a huge following. After his death in 1950, The Mother (his "spiritual collaborator") became the guide for his ashram, and was inspired to build a community that would put their vision of human unity into practice. Auroville was officially established in February of 1968. Auroville is protected by the Indian government, and recognized by UNESCO, the European Union, and other international governments and organizations.
The plan for Auroville is to become a community of 50,000 people from all over the world. It will be completely self-sufficient, and no money will be used within the community. The Mother's original design for the layout consisted of a central location (the Matrimandir) with 4 zones radiating out: Cultural, International, Industrial, and Residential. Surrounding this is an area known as the Green Belt, which is the agricultural zone. At the moment, Auroville has a population of around 1500 people from 30 countries. Because they only own about half the land they want and need, people and services are scattered into around 100 seperate communities, and are very spread out. Money is very much a necessity, and the Aurovillian economy is dependant on tourism and local Tamil villages. There is quite a bit that goes on in Auroville, though. It is a village, and there are people providing all the goods and services that a village would need.
Auroville is home to the largest collection of alternative energy resources in India. Most visible is the Solar Kitchen, which is powered by a solar collection dish 15 meters in diameter. The Kitchen provides about 900 meals a day.
Auroville is a spiritual community, and most of the residents practice Integral Yoga. However there is no religion in Auroville. "Anyone still strongly attached to a specific religion, in the sense of wanting to commit themselves to it and practice it, would find that Auroville is not their place. While Auroville respects religions and has nothing against their practice, they do divide the people of the world, whereas Auroville is only interested in unity." (www.auroville.org)
To become a resident of Auroville, they ask that you come first and stay for 3 months, to experience the community. If, after that time, you decide that you want to stay, you apply as a Newcomer. This is a 2-year trial period. Newcomers live and work as Aurovillians. They are responsible for their own housing: building a house, staying in a guest house, or cohabitating with an Aurovillian. They must earn or pay for their food and other services. At the end of 2 years, they are reviewed by a committee, who then decides if the Newcomer has successfully integrated into the community. If they are approved, they become Aurovillians. If they do not meet the requirements, they are usually welcome to stay until they do (I've heard of people spending 6 or 8 years as Newcomers).
Although their intentions are generally good, Auroville has a long way to go before it becomes the community they want to be. But the residents are idealistic and believe in their cause, and that can take you a long way.