The Chairman of Auroville Foundation has asked the Working Committee Council to call this Resident Assembly to give a report on the last Governing Board Meeting which happened in Delhi, on June 24.
24th of June at Delhi − Normally we have been holding meetings at Auroville and this time also we would have liked if the meeting could have been held in Auroville. But two members of the Governing Board did not have such good health to be able to travel right up to here, so we held the meeting at Delhi. And after the meeting, the Governing Board suggested that I should personally come here and present to you the minutes of that meeting and present to you explanations and answers to your questions.
I shall for the sake of brevity not take time in introducing the minutes but while reading the paragraphs, I shall comment and suggest to you the explanations whenever required. I don't know if everybody has got a copy of the minutes of this meeting? May I request you to kindly give everyone one copy?
The Governing Board in its 28th meeting held on 24th June, 2003 at Delhi has studied this statement concerning Matrimandir. In the minutes of the meeting of the Finance Committee which was held on 11th and 12th of June 2003, the Board endorses that statement. Once again, may I request that this statement of the Finance Committee be given to everyone.
The text of the minutes of the meeting concerning Matrimandir is important and I shall like to read it to you because it explains the consideration which led to the decision of the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee took note of the reports of the Matrimandir Core Group Members and noted with concern the issues raised by Mr Roger Anger, architect of Matrimandir and Auroville vied his letters dated 7th and 9th June stating inter alia that some expenditure has been incurred in Matrimandir and Peace Area on works which are not supported by the architect. Mr Roger Anger vied his letter dated 9th June has particularly stated as follows: Work continues on parts of the Matrimandir for which the designs have not been approved by me; example − gardening and landscaping work outside the Matrimandir area. I am told that an amount of Rs 60 lakhs has been received as a donation specified for the gardens, out of this amount only Rs 8 lakhs was remaining as per the statement given by Arjun to the Governing Board in February this year. I am unable to identify work for that much money on the site. There are delays or complete stoppage of works for which designs have been approved. Even items which have been approved by the Core Group are not being taken up: example − Petal Meditation Rooms, completion of level two including ramp starter, ventilation of Matrimandir etc. Matrimandir has high fixed costs. I was told that in the order of Rs 5-7 lakhs a month, delays in the work and execution of unauthorised works will have a substantial impact on the total construction cost.
The two letters of Mr Roger Anger mentioned above are given as annexure I (a & b).
The Finance Committee also took a report of the Matrimandir workers team giving the report of the major work areas and the required man-power to accomplish certain works. This report is given as Annexure II.
The Finance Committee also took note of the letter dated 10th May 2003 from the working Committee of Auroville containing following suggestions that where decisions pertaining strictly to financial, administrative or management issues cannot be reached by consensus in the Core Group they should be taken by simple majority of those present at the meeting, we should have a quorum of four, out of five members. That during the time of his stay in France, the architect nominates a person to replace him at the meetings of the Core Group that there is immediate cessation of all work at the Matrimandir, which has not been agreed to by the architect and the work that has been agreed to by the Core Group is expeditiously executed. That the design of the Petals is respected and the trees growing on them are removed at the earliest. That their proper consideration is given to bona fide concerns and or questions raised by the Aurovillians until they are answered satisfactorily for all concerned. This particularly applies to matters which require the advice of specialists such as ventilation, air-conditioning, sound-safety, access for the handicapped, garden and irrigation. That an onsite engineer, onsite architect agreed to by the chief architect are appointed as quickly as possible. That no expenditures are incurred except those approved by the Core Group. A copy of this letter is Annexure III.
The Finance committee felt anguished that despite all possible efforts by the Members of the Governing Board, individually and collectively, various matters relating to the Matrimandir and the Peace Area remain unresolved. In view of this the Committee felt compelled to take a view regarding the modalities of future execution of the work in the Matrimandir and the Peace Area. The committee was of the opinion that the Matrimandir Core Group constituted by the Governing Board in its meeting held on 14th-15th February, 2003 has not been able to make much headway, though started with all good intentions. The Committee continued to feel that the decision taken by the Governing Board in its last meeting provided an ideal framework for resolution of all differences pertaining to this issue. However, since it appears that the Matrimandir Core Group is unable to sort out the differences of opinion amongst its members and considering the report of the architect stating that some of expenditure continues to be incurred on items, not approved by him. The Committee was of the view that henceforth no expenditure be incurred out of the funds meant for Matrimandir and Peace Area without the approval of the Finance Committee. This will however not apply to the expenditure to be incurred if agreed and approved by the Matrimandir Core Group, Secretary or officiating Secretary of Auroville Foundation was asked to inform all concerned accordingly.
The Finance Committee also resolved that in order to facilitate the functioning of the Matrimandir Core Group in the absence of the architect, his duly authorized representative may represent him in the meetings of the Matrimandir Core Group.
Taking note of the present ground situation and considering various aspects of the matter the Committee also felt that it would be desirable for the Secretary Auroville Foundation or in his absence an official of Auroville Foundation nominated by him to be associated with the disbursement and utilization of funds meant for the Matrimandir and Peace Area. The Committee therefore resolved that the Secretary or officiating Secretary of Auroville Foundation should be made one of the necessary or compulsory signatories in all checks issued out of the lands, out of the funds meant for Matrimandir and the Peace Area. The Committee asked the Secretary, officiating Secretary Auroville Foundation to inform all concerned including banks where the accounts of these funds are operated accordingly.The Committee also advised the Secretary or the officiating Secretary that while implementing this decision he should ensure that no hardship is caused to the employees or paid workers of Matrimandir and all payments due to them are made timely and their services are utilized gainfully.
So in the first para of the Governing Board's decision this decision taken by the Finance Committee was endorsed. The Governing Board has also studied the latest statements that have been received from the Working Committee and the Members of the Matrimandir Core Group, the Governing Board has also been furnished with all the material relevant to the study of the Mother's vision and directions, concerning Matrimandir and Auroville. Having taken into account all the views in regard to the Mother's visions and directions the Board has come to the conclusion that
a) The Mother has appointed Mr. Roger Anger as the architect of Auroville and Matrimandir and there are responsibilities as the architect must be respected and supported.
b) Mr. Roger Anger has had numerous conversations with the Mother right from 1965 up to 1973 on the subject of Matrimandir and Auroville and his statements in regard to what the Mother has explained to him of her vision and her directions for Auroville and for Matrimandir and the adjoining areas now called Peace Area should be respected and implemented. The Governing Board requests all the members of Auroville to come forward to contribute to the expeditious completion of the Matrimandir and the Peace Area and carry out the required activities and works in the spirit of collaboration and dedicated service.
By way of comment I would only add that while coming to draft this particular portion the Governing Board was very grateful to three reports which were laid before the Board. The report is a comprehensive study made by Jill, a study made by Twan and a study made by Serge. These three reports have helped greatly the Governing Board and I would like to thank all the three members of Auroville for the services they've rendered to the Governing Board for arriving at this conclusion.
The next paragraph is devoted to regret and I shall read out this particular paragraph with anguish and pain and let me read it out to you. The Governing Board regrets the aggressive negativity that has been expressed in one of the statements which have been received. Would you like to give this copy of the letter which has been received?
(The current has gone, there is no power, there is no power just will come back.)
I shall read a little aloud. Basing its action upon allegations, claims and demands made by one of its own members Mr. Roger Anger, the Governing Board appears to have resolved upon the unprecedented step of taking over the Matrimandir's finances. The new arrangement which has not even the validation of dereliction of duty or misappropriation of funds turns Matrimandir, the symbol of the universal Mother, the soul of Auroville into a mere Government department with the many consequent implications. The whims of the architect through his representatives and government are made supreme; this is completely contrary to the spirit of self-governance and autonomy envisioned for Auroville by the Mother for she installed no exclusive leaders in Auroville.
The Parliament of India hardly intervened in Auroville to create the rule of any small faction; it stepped in to remove political exploitation born of similar claims of exclusive control. Auroville was granted every possibility for freedom and self-governance only so it could grow straight and true towards its dream of a new society.
It has now been completely demonstrated to what Matrimandir is reduced to . We are informed that no financial transactions may take place during the absence of the new statutory compulsory signatory appointed by the Finance Committee. The work site of Matrimandir can close shop if it must, suppliers and other working partnerships as also workers, donors brought together February 1968 the day She inaugurated Auroville Mother declared: 'at last there is a place where nothing will the right to impose itself as the exclusive truth, this is Auroville. To serve this dream we stand for the true and right to which our lives have been given, come what may.
I shall only explain to you the anguish and pain with which the Members of the Governing Board studied this letter. First it was pointed out that this letter purports to have been written at the request of the whole of Auroville because this letter is written on the letterhead of Matrimandir and at the bottom of the letter there is an indication Matrimandir Auroville. Of course it is understood by us that I don't think that this was at the behest of the Auroville people but this is an implication of this kind of a statement on the letterhead of Matrimandir.
Secondly, and this is perhaps the most damaging statement for the whole of Auroville because this statement says: the whims of the architect through his representatives in Government are made supreme. You can see the loaded statement which means that there were three members of the Government on the Finance Committee and I would like to explain to you and I would like to declare here with your consent that the allegation that is made against these three wonderful people is completely negated by all of us.
I would like to assure our friends in the Finance Committee, there are three members of the Finance Committee who are members of the Government; one is Mr. Pipersanya, who is a Financial Advisor. He is one of the best officers of the Government, with an impeccable record of services of the highest order. He heads at least 200 boards in the country, financial boards in the country. He is one of the greatest admirers of Auroville, only recently he has been responsible for the sanction of one crores of rupees to SAIIR for which the check was given to Mr. Allain Bernard when he was recently in Delhi and it was done particularly with his help, even at the last moment on 31st of March, in the late afternoon when the offices were to be closed a considerable sum of money, I think it was about 35 lakhs of rupees were still to be sanctioned and issued. Within a couple of hours because of his intervention he sanctioned 35 lakhs of rupees for Auroville; this is the friendship of this very good officer.
Second is Mr Balakrishnan, he is a joint secretary in charge of the UNESCO office. This is the officer who has always advocated that Auroville should resolve its own problems, by its own efforts this is he believes in it; this is his personal belief apart from his official belief. Recently only because of his intervention and help, Auroville was able to mount an exhibition on Auroville at UNESCO in Paris, he's extremely generous. Now the third member is Mr. Murthy, whom all of us know very well.
Now this statement which is here indicates that these three members are representatives of the architect. For a ministry official to be called a representative of any particular party in the country is extremely damaging. It has a further implication that if they have become representatives, if at all; unless you contradict it very clearly they can be representatives only by certain means which are not above the board. In any case unless they are extremely gullible, incapable of applying their own minds they would not become representatives; there are serious implications also which I need not bring out.
Finally even the architect by saying the whims of the architect, you may disagree with x or y or z but in an official letter a statement of this kind, I am sure you would agree is extremely unacceptable. At the lowest it would mean that Mother has appointed an architect who is whimsical. These are the implications and I leave it to the members of Auroville and I will not ask you now to comment on this but I will because this letter has been written and which purports to have been written on behalf of Auroville that is why I am obliged to bring it to your notice and also because I would like to declare on behalf of Auroville that we have the highest respect for the impartiality, for integrity and for helpfulness of these three important officers of the Finance Committee.
There is another statement which was pointed out by some of the Members of the Governing Board, with great pain I must tell you that the Governing Board was extremely pained and I would like Auroville people to take care of this aspect. We may disagree with the governing body if they want to disagree but there are ways of showing or disagreement here for example they say: the Parliament of India hardly intervened in Auroville to create the rule of any small faction, Finance Committee or the Governing Board, it refers to according to me to Finance Committee or to Governing Board and both of them have been labelled as a faction and on behalf of the Governing Board I would like to say that this is to say the least, unacceptable. The Governing Board is no faction, the Finance Committee is no faction. The Governing Board and Finance Committee are for the whole of Auroville, everyone in Auroville, is not a faction.
Then there is a reference to a statement, we are informed that no financial transactions may take place during the absence of the new statutory compulsory statutory signatory appointed by the Finance Committee. I should explain the background to this. Mr. Srinivas murthy is a signatory cum signatory for the sake of the Governing Board he was required to go to Delhi for a few days and therefore he was to be absent from here for a few days. Now such likely events take place in every organization in the world, where one of the signatories may not be immediately available. Many of you have been executives in important organizations and three or four days' delay would not have the kind of consequence which has been described here, to such an extent that it says: that the worksite of Matrimandir can close shop if it must. Is this the consequence of a signatory going out of station for three or four days, is this the indication?
Suppliers and other working partnerships as also workers, donors brought together in a relationship of trust through years of painstaking effort, are all to be subjected to this highly politicized condition. What is the politicized condition I have been subjected to? We all honour all the donors, all the workers, all the partnerships; I must say I am extremely grateful to all the Matrimandir workers, all have been working for years and years and years. I tell you with all my heart, I fully appreciate the services which have been rendered by all of the people who have been working on Matrimandir for years and years. It's a selfless service, dedicated service and I'd like to appreciate all the services they were rendered, and all the work they have done. But is this a correct thing to say that simply because three or four days of absence of a signatory, all these people are being subjected to politicized conditions? Then it says that by this action the Governing Board has inexorably positioned many of us in direct opposition and this is written on behalf of Matrimandir and Auroville. It declares to the Governing Board that many of us are in direct opposition to the Governing Board.
It is for the members of the Governing Board, it is for the members of Auroville to understand each other. Of course there can be agreements, disagreements but this kind of declaration and then finally there is a statement, a very precious statement from the Mother it says: 'at last there is a place where nothing will have the right to impose itself as the exclusive Truth.' One of the very important members of the Governing Board made the following remark: this very precious statement has been quoted by the author of the letter and the tenor of his letter, the manner of his letter and the contents of the letter indicate that the author of the letter believes that he alone is in possession of the exclusive Truth.
I make no comments with any names, I am only saying that this is a serious matter and therefore I am stating this, if it was an ordinary letter, if it was a letter confidential given to the members of the Governing Board, I assure you I would not have presented this letter to you at all. I am presenting this to you because it has been purported to be written on behalf of Auroville. I do not say what you should do but at least I would like your agreement to one statement that the members of the Governing Board, members of the Finance Committee who have been accused here in terms of law this is a statement of defamation, which in India is regarded as a crime and I would not like Auroville people to allow this statement to go unchecked, it is for the members of Auroville to that this statement is unacceptable and it stands withdrawn. It is to this letter that a reference is made in these minutes of the meeting of the Governing Board, I shall now read out to you.
The Governing Board regrets the aggressive negativity that has been expressed in one of the statements which have been received. The Board reiterates that it has been assigned a heavy responsibility to promote the spirit and Ideals of Auroville. It finds today with anguish that despite notable achievements, Auroville has not yet succeeded in demonstrating the spirit of united endeavour, vibrant with those four essential elements that the Mother has laid down in one of her important messages to Matrimandir namely harmony, goodwill, discipline and truth. In this situation the Governing Board has the sacred duty to intervene and help Auroville to be put on the road towards fulfilment of the Ideals of Auroville. It has been reported that the Matrimandir Core Group has not functioned harmoniously and fruitfully to the extent expected. It has even been reported that there is no team spirit. The Board however urges the Core Group to make one more effort to manifest true team spirit; the matter may be referred to the Governing Body if any difficulties arise. This is now a constructive suggestion which has been made by the Governing Board which I read out to you.
The Governing Board suggests that this year being the Mother's 125th birth anniversary should appropriately be dedicated by all the Members of Auroville individually and collectively to unity and harmony in every field of activity on the lines indicated in the Charter of Auroville and in the directives given by the Mother. The board also suggests the 21st February 2004 be dedicated to a meaningful event that would demonstrate the living spirit of Auroville, the spirit of collaboration and agreement and rededication to the realization of the Dream that lies at the basis of the establishment of Auroville.
On this subject I should request all the members of Auroville to meet together and conceive of a plan by which this day, 21st February 2004 can be celebrated by Auroville. The final paragraph refers to another letter, which was a happy letter and this is the letter and receipt of which the clouds of pain which had spread over the meeting were dispersed and I would like you to read this letter.
This letter was sent by Serge, Luosia, Srimoi, Otto, Luciba, Anandi, which said: we are long-term Aurovillians greatly concerned with the general situation in Auroville and we are distressed about the fact that so many years after the creation of Auroville, we have not been able to manifest the Ideals envisaged by the Mother. We have given a lot of thoughts on how to stimulate the active promotion of these Ideals and how to ensure that they are actually realized in Auroville. We are very keen to strive constantly to contemplate, study, experiment and work with the voluntary optimism that the Ideals given to us by the Mother have to be and will be realized. We know that many other Aurovilians share our concern and would be ready to participate in an effort to give a concrete shape in collaboration with all, to the Ideals contained in the Charter of Auroville and to the directions that the Mother has given particularly in regard to education, economy, entry, organization and the development of the city. An education that will not be for passing examinations but for the integral development of the being; an economy in which money will not be the sovereign lord; an organization that will be vibrant with a living sense of collaboration and brotherhood; the development of a city that will be the living and beautiful symbol of the society of the future, we offer ourselves to help in this effort. With our deep gratitude for your invaluable contribution to the realization of the Ideals of Auroville.
This letter was received with great happiness and on behalf of the Governing Board I would like to express its thankfulness to all those who signed this letter and sent it to the Governing Board.
I would like to add two more points which were made by the Governing Board Members at this meeting. One was an expression of happiness at the exhibition that was held at UNESCO. The exhibition on Auroville, this was at the initiative particularly of Doctor LM Singhvi, one of the members of the Governing Board who is also a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO. And because of his good offices the Director General of UNESCO himself came to inaugurate this exhibition. I was myself personally present at that time and I can express to you what a great event it was for Auroville and also for UNESCO. I had expected about 30-40 people to participate in this event, instead I found 300 people coming from Paris to this building and to share three hours on the first day and three hours on the next day. It was a remarkable experience. At the time of inauguration of the exhibition we had the Director General himself speaking with great warmth and appreciation of Auroville. We also had the President of the General Conference of UNESCO Mr. Jalali, who has never come here but has only heard and read about it. He spoke on this occasion with great warmth and asked himself to be invited to Auroville, which I shall do on behalf of the Auroville Foundation.
The Education Secretary of the Government of India flew specially from Delhi to Paris in order to be part of this program on both the days. Dr Singhvi spoke on this occasion with tremendous eloquence, inspiration and force. The members of Auroville who had gone there, they spoke, each one briefly, lucidly and their speeches inspired a great deal of enthusiasm among the people who participated in this event. Two or three other internationalists, two of whom will soon become the Members of the Auroville International Advisory Council, happen to be present at that time and they also spoke on this occasion.
The exhibition inauguration was followed by reception for which the expenses were fully borne by UNESCO itself, it consisted of a dance program and songs from Rajasthan and of course reception implied a lot of things to eat and so on but it was a huge crowd of people. The entire hall was full. It was a real celebration of Auroville and I would like to share with you the happiness that we experienced at that stage.
The second point which was made by Dr Singhvi at this meeting was the decision he had taken to install a full-size statue of Sri Aurobindo in the Parliament. As you know Dr Singhvi has been an ardent admirer of Sri Aurobindo, one who reads Savitri almost every day and in all his speeches he very often quotes from the works of Sri Aurobindo. When he was High Commissioner of India in the UK, he installed 20 statues of Sri Aurobindo in the UK. It's a tremendous feat and he has now proposed a nine feet statue to be installed at the very entrance of the central hall of the Parliament. He has collected the necessary funds for this and he and I are constantly working towards this end so that as soon as possible the statue is erected and installed. You must remember that it is not easy to get permission of the Parliament to get a place and that to a very important place for a statue to be installed in the Parliament House. It is because of his persistent effort and his tremendous leadership in the country that he has been able to get this permission from the Parliament.
He is also planning to have another statue of Sri Aurobindo installed in what is called Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, it is on Janpath in New Delhi and he and I both have gone round this place and fixed a very important point where this statue can be installed; for this also Dr Singhvi we have collected the necessary money and we are soon going to order the creation of this statue and then we shall be able to install this statue, these two important tidings were given by Dr Singhvi and I also like to share with you, to share this statement with you and I shall be here to answer any questions that you might have, you can take a little time if you want to reflect, I shall continue to be with you and I shall explain anything that you need me to explain.
(I don't think there are any questions that we should not dissociate ourselves from this letter, so the working committee can on behalf of the Resident Assembly write to its members.)
I thank you very much; I thank you so much because I tell you it is heavily weighing on my heart. Thank you.
No, no the decision was taken on 11th of June, 12th of June. May I suggest that this particular matter since Sanjeev has now declared we do not discuss this matter further. If you want to discuss this matter separately, you may do so but for me Sanjeev's declaration, it suits me very much.
The Core Group continues to subsist and it was felt by the Governing Board that as it was also enunciated by the Finance Committee this Core Group was established after a long difficult hour of deliberation in the Governing Board Meeting of 14th and 15th February. And although it has not worked well, it is felt that we must try our best to ensure that this Core Group functions in a team spirit. It is for the Core Group to determine its future course of action, to determine its own agenda and to fulfil the tasks that have been given. At one time it was suggested and this was a suggestion made by the Working Committee that the decisions in the Core Group should be taken by majority, instead of by consensus, when that consensus is not feasible or not available. This particular proposition was considered by the Governing Board and it was felt, it is for the Core Group to take its own decision regarding its own procedures and the Governing Board did not want to give any directions in this regard. But I believe that if members of Auroville could intervene to help this Core Group in many ways this help can come. There is nothing to prevent Auroville members from helping this Core Group to develop and to demonstrate a team spirit. And personally I believe that this is possible even though it is very difficult but it is possible and I think this effort should be made.
I don't have an answer to the first question because I do not know. In fact I’m not aware of what you said in that newsletter. As far as the second question, is a good suggestion and I think let it be addressed to the Core Group, particularly when it meets, I think the very first meeting your letter should go to them and make this demand and I’m sure it's a very good demand and I personally feel that it should be so. So this is how I would say I don't think Core Group people, like I don't think anyone of the Core Group accepting Mr Murthy, nobody is here. So let us wait for the answer for that moment. (........)
I have been thinking about this very important suggestion which has come from the Governing Board. One of the ideas that I have is and like many ideas they may not be very practicable but anyway let me share my enthusiasm for this by saying that I would like Auroville to invite two youths from every country of the world as was done in 1968. Perhaps UNESCO can be approached for financial help. Government of India can be approached for financial help and if air travel is not so easily available we can suggest even you know sometimes Japan they invite people by boat, by steamer and this is also something very interesting because during the steamer travel the students concerned may have the time to study, it's a good time for study. And if we have got Auroville International Centers all over the world or at least in many parts of the world and people can be sponsored, I mean young people can be sponsored by each Auroville International Centre. Some countries can send their delegates through embassies because in the embassy there are many, many people working and two students from each country's embassy can be brought here. Our own Auroville has got at least 30 countries represented. So I think if something of this kind can be envisaged, you can declare two or three days of a very big event and all people of Auroville participating and helping and you can have dramas, sessions of songs, even two or three roads can be made available for painting on the roads. It is done in many places of the world when you have big events for children. I have gone often into Bulgaria in particular in Bulgaria they declare four or five main roads completely closed for three days and children go on painting on the roads and then people come to see the exhibitions of these paintings and it enthuses children very much to see their paintings being visited by so many people all on roads, open.
There can be also sessions of discussions, some sessions of contemplation together, the readings from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, readings from some of the eminent people of the world which followed the line that Sri Aurobindo was given knowingly or unknowingly. There can be visits to many places by these young people who come to see different parts of Auroville what great work has been done, what achievements have been realized by Auroville during these years, So this is my suggestion you make I like to consider but this is only one suggestion, you can think of many suggestions but I’ll be very happy if something of this kind is done, proposed. And we still have a few months before it can be realized, if you make a real program let us say by the month of 15th of August, you should really firm up a program, declare it and then work for it. So that by 21st February 2004 something concrete can be realized and then we can have Governing Board Members also coming at that time and many other prominent people of India also can be invited as was the case when inauguration took place. There were 5000 people here on that day when the inauguration took place and I was myself present at that time in charge of all the young people who came at that time.
( inaudible conversation........)
You know I welcome this question very much because if all of you recall, whenever I have spoken on this subject here, I have welcomed very much all the endeavours of Auroville to create procedures and processes by which decisions are taken in Auroville in the light of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo's teaching. I had said that about seven documents were prepared in Auroville during the last two or three years and I've been extremely happy that this effort is being made and I would like that this effort continues. Only three points I would like to make, the word self-governance is a very important word and we must understand the depth of this word because self may mean ego or it may mean the true soul. And I would very much like that self-governance is the governance by the soul of Auroville and our effort should be in that direction and nothing short of it.
There have been many societies in the world which are self-governing but here when Sri Aurobindo has spoken of self-governance he has written at length in his Human Cycle and has spoken of the necessity to underline the idea of the soul. It is not governance by us, it is governance by the Divine; the goal of Auroville should be governance by the Divine. As Sri Aurobindo has written in The Life Divine: 'the allegiance of the individual is neither to himself, nor to the group, nor to the society, nor to the state, not even to humanity but to the Truth and to the Divine.' and this is a very important statement.
Once when I was reading to the Mother a document which I had prepared full of aspiration to create a number of Aurovilles in the whole country, I had quoted this statement of Sri Aurobindo on this subject and when I read this statement − allegiance of the individual is to the truth and to the Divine alone. When I read this statement Mother was ecstatic. And she told me, 'Absoluma' this is the most important thing to be laid down' therefore I would like on this occasion to say that while we are making an effort, we should make such an effort that this idea is accepted, and is made operative which is very difficult. It is easy to make procedures of decision making in an ordinary manner.
There's also a very important statement Mother has made 'public opinion is falsehood' and I would like to underline this statement 'public opinion is falsehood'. It is not by public opinion that the decisions must be taken. It is by seeing what is the Truth, it's a quest of the Truth, is one of the most, it is the most difficult thing in the world, I admit. We may say that oh! we cannot do it but we are here to do that. How to discover the Truth? In spite of everything, this is the starting point of our whole quest. That is why Mother said: 'The program of Auroville is research' and we have to do research on this.
And the third point I would like to make is that in this process − I would like you to underline that we should not have the sense of we and the government. When I say this there may be some kind of a feeling of unease among many of you but I would like to tell you that in a true universal consciousness, truth can come from anywhere so-called government, so-called no government. If you are open to the Truth, we will not say: oh! It has come from the Government therefore banish it − no.
I shall tell you one very important and interesting incident which occurred in 1968-69; a commission from the Government of India was to visit the Ashram to examine our Centre of Education at the Ashram. As I was registrar at that time, I was in charge of organizing the reception of this group, a very important group and I had written down the program of this Commission for Mother's very kind approval and her blessings. So I had put up the program to the Mother, which was taken up by one of the secretaries to the Mother and it was read out to the Mother and then she wrote on that paper in big, big words; love and blessings. Now it so happened that at that time Pranab da was present just near Mother and he felt very uneasy with what Mother had written. So he asked the question to the Mother: Mother, why do you approve this, do you yourself approve really, yourself? So Mother said Pavitra wants it. So he said I am asking you, what is your own view? So Mother said Kireet wants it. This whole account was given to me by Pranav da himself. So he said but Mother, you can always stop it, don't you see that if you move in this direction, ultimately the Government will control us. So Mother said: yes, the Government will control us and we shall control the Government. To my mind this is of course, Pranav da of course was very, very angry and he came down actually and his usual, sometimes you know his very dear brother of ours and he came down and he happened to meet me just at the Ashram gate. He had just come down from the Mother and he narrated the whole account, in a very angry tone and he said: do you think I would accept what Mother has said? Sri Aurobindo has never said this.
At that time I had not read Mother's statement, which I read later on in Mother's Agenda. Where she said the following: 'There are three things which are necessary for the Supramental victory.' I am not quoting exactly in the words that she has written; I am giving the gist of it. First conquest of health, second conquest of wealth, and third conquest of the Government. It is very clearly written and then Mother said on each item and she says: 'that for health is a question of personal sadhana; for wealth, she has described in detail the conquest of wealth. And she said that I don't go into details but she said: it is only when there is a conquest of sexual impulse in the world that the wealth will come to the Divine work. This is a secret that Mother has revealed to all of us. And third she said conquest of the Government, She said Sri Aurobindo had considered this problem at length and his conclusion was: it is not enough to influence the Government. That is not a real victory over the Government; She said: We should be the Government.
Now this is how I look upon the problem of the Government. It is not a question of avoiding the Government, not listening to the Government, becoming blind to the Government or preventing the Government, not at all. As I said, the truth may come from any side. We are concerned with the Truth and manifestation of the Truth.
This whole idea that Government versus Auroville, I think is not correct. The very proposition of establishing Auroville is in a sense a challenge to all the Governments of the world. You cannot establish this particular island of light and love, unless all the Governments of the world accept it and we are very much concerned with the acceptance of this great ideal by humanity and by Governments of the world and this we have to understand at least to my mind it is a very important thing and I have been myself working in this direction for the last 25 years. Therefore I can tell you that there should be no such, I am against the Government or Government should not do this, Government should not do that, we should only see whether what is proposed is right or wrong from the Divine's point of view. Whether Divine governance is enhanced, whether the Truth is manifested or not manifested, this is the only criterion; let us not look at institutions and through the blinkers of institutions we look and codify our own thinking. Our thinking should be wide, universal.
If you read the Ideal of Human Unity the whole message of that ideal is what? Free peoples, free nations and the world Government; a world Government which is not a state because Sri Aurobindo says: 'the state being what it is, is never an ideal framework in which the unity of mankind can be manifested but so long as it is necessary and it is also; this is very important statement qualification, so long as it is necessary; so long as our humanity has not reached the point, where state will no more be necessary and that is the real Divine anarchy. The ideal form of the world Government is Divine anarchy. Until that comes about we have to work all together. In fact I only speak of collaboration, cooperation. What does it mean? It's not by saying: oh! We are opposed to the Government. No, not at all why? Why should the Government if ipso facto should be something abhorrent, why? All things are divine in the world. So our whole attitude when we speak of self-governance what do we mean by self-governance as I said. Certainly we want that we should be free to work for the Ideals of Auroville, the Charter of Auroville but how are we to be free? This is a very important question. How are we to be free? Free from what, in what conditions and the whole world is around us; the moment you take a donation from somebody you are bound to that donor, even a simple thing as that. To be really free, you should be a master of wealth. It's not a question whether you take money or not, or whether the donor puts a condition on it or not. Inwardly, the moment you take any donation from somebody you are creating an obligation, some kind of exchange and obligation of an exchange. The true freedom is the mastery, mastery of the Government. It's not a question of keeping the Government outside saying: oh! Please don't enter here. Whether you like it or not, Government is everywhere today in the modern world, Government is everywhere. You are getting exemption from income tax. The Government is giving you this exemption. If donors give you the money, donors are giving to the Mother not to you and not to me. We have to understand this very important fact and therefore we have responsibility and accountability to the Divine.
So the whole category, I personally believe and I would like to tell you very frankly, when I hear: oh! Why is the Governing Board is intervening, why should it interfere? Not at all. I must tell your Governing Board is a great friend of yours, every one of them. In fact, the Governing Board is in fact − you there is no distance as far as I can see. This Governing Board particularly consists of eminent people, accepting me all are eminent people and it's a fact. I’m not an I’m only a wayfarer actually but it's true I mean Dr Singhvi very eminent man, Doctor Chattopadhaya former Minister, former Governor of a state in India, the foremost philosopher of India such eminence and Dr Kashyap, who has who is as expert in Constitutional Law. Even today is the advisor of all the Government people, President, Prime Minister, everyone and he is your advisor. Why should you say well the Governing Board coming, why should you take a decision why? What is the problem? They are here with you to serve you and I tell you I am your servant particularly. It's not that I am coming from outside and as it were imposing something or not at all. It is to help in the work of Auroville, we want to move, advance, let us advance together. It's not a question that if the Governing Board decides therefore we have not decided, not at all, why? What is this bifurcation? As Mother said somebody had once written a letter to the Mother. Mother, when we teach history, geography, science, we can teach very easily to children but when it comes to spiritual matters then only you can teach us. So Mother said: 'you are still at the level where you make distinctions? This is spiritual and this is not spiritual. What is not spiritual, history is spiritual, geography spiritual, science is spiritual, what is not spiritual; everything is spiritual. This whole consciousness which says this versus this is itself a wrong consciousness. We should only see whether some things are right or wrong from the Divine point of view; wherever it may come from. So my conclusion is that we should work in such a way that self-governance ultimately becomes Divine governance and our whole program is a very difficult program.
I have read many, many documents which have come from Auroville, which are exceedingly good. I must tell you Auroville has done marvellously well in preparing those documents. One day when you prepare the series of documents and bring them out in a book form, it will be read as a part of curriculum somewhere in the world. If you want to ultimately develop towards the great goal of Divine governance, these are the steps which were taken in the history. Last time when I said that the last document was presented to the Auroville Resident Assembly; I had said that this is a historic document and I really believe it is a historic document. What has been stated there stands even though it may not have worked immediately so well. There are some deficiencies and lacuna which are to be worked out. But I think if you move in the right direction, we shall be guided and we shall get the help and I am sure, we shall be able to give not only to ourselves but to the world a model as to how Divine governance can be realized. I thank you very much for the question that you raised and I am very grateful. Thank you so much.
(there is another quotation of the Mother which speaks of decisions by those who have decided to permanently live in Auroville now as I see it there is a real truth in that also and there it limits in my view the work of the Governing Board which is essential and necessary but since it is composed of representatives of Government, who are not permanently decided to live in all over and are not part of the life, of our world hence they are in a sense objective viewers of the events of our own that this direction also needs to be taken into account and I don't think the point of view that you have expressed about Government intervention in Auroville. I think there is a lot of scope for discussion and arriving at some kind of a conclusion together about it. Because let us not end with a finality one way or the other.)
No, no, I don't want any finality at all. I would like to explain this very important point. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches, (right) so not only in Auroville anywhere, everywhere. Decisions must be taken by the individual who is suffering and he's the best person to take a decision. I agree and Mother has said it and it is quite true and Mother has said 'always my one statement should be read in conjunction with all other statements'. She has said another statement which should be taken into account: 'there should be a body of people with intuitive intelligence and they should really take decisions.' This is also another statement of the Mother. She also said I told you, yes, Government will control us and we shall control Government this also is the Truth. Put all the three together and you get finality for the moment; all the propositions, don't say one against the other, no all the propositions you take together to get the right measure. (........)
Thank you, but I think there's a big question about entry and all that in fact I would like that this program is a very big program and when the occasions arise, I would like to be participant in your discussions because I really would like very much that many issues which are there, require a lot of clarity and we need to put so many statements of the Mother together in a very neat and synthetic manner. As Mother has said: 'do not take my words to be dogma but to be a force in action' and that also we have to keep in mind. You see there is also many, many times even here even by taking this statement people say Mother said this 30 years ago is no more true; that also has to be taken into account, many things are to be sorted out because you have to understand it's a very complex teaching of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, very subtle teaching.
Sri Aurobindo while commenting on the Gita he distinguishes between two kinds of truths, − perennial truths and provisional truths, temporary truths and says the Gita has both the elements and therefore while studying the Gita; we should distinguish which is a perennial truth and which is not. And therefore by studying the Mother's words, you should not say what Mother said is now gone because Mother said is only force in action therefore tomorrow it is no more valid that is also not true. But also to say Mother said 20 years ago now today is the same if it were true that also is not true. You have to, it requires a tremendous, what might be said a kind of subtlety to understand, to go into the real depth what really Mother means and we should all sit together and this is what I said that instead of debating and all that, we should sit as in the Upanishads, all people sitting together in contemplation.
I think your whole method of Residents Assembly should change, it should not be debating society, it should it's an exchange of our perceptions, our intuitions, our deeper insights. And I think if this is done and I think from now onwards we should take the resolution to do that. Governing Board or whatever board it is, ultimately everything for us is true if it is divinely willed, even if we decide everything and only we have the right to decide, if we are not clear about what Divine wants and even what we decide is wrong. So it is not a question of only we have the right to decide, not that way I would say only Divine, as it is right to decide not that way, why say only the Divine has the right to decide for us. And unless we open up to this aspect of the Truth, all other truths are subordinate. So I would suggest that we need to bring together so many statements together and not work only upon one and when you debate we bring one statement against another statement. as if no other statements exist. We should really and this requires a lot of study of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
In fact, my own life is devoted even today. I am like a schoolboy actually when I read Sri Aurobindo's books, I feel I’m a schoolboy still learning my first elementary lessons because it is so profound. Only a few days ago I was required to write an article on globalization and the ideal of human unity. And when I read in this context, when this new question has come of globalization even when Sri Aurobindo wrote the book at that time the word globalization had not come into the forefront or in any way. Sri Aurobindo spoke of unity of mankind but the globalization which is a special meaning today has a quite a different connotation. And then I when I was reading globalization and the Ideal of Human Unity, I felt that I was an elementary boy, studying Sri Aurobindo's work for the first time and I think this is how we should look upon instead of saying that we already know and we have got already our ideas is already prefabricated and we know what Mother has said and Sri Aurobindo has said. I would like to say in all humility, please let us sit together, it's quite possible that what you say is quite true and fully true but also let me understand. And I think it is actually once Mother's very big question was put to the Mother about a certain situation and Mother said: will you accept my answer? And then the person who said to the Mother: yes, Mother. So she said give me paper and I’ll write on it and she wrote only one word on it 'understanding' and underlined it. This is the real message of the Mother, 'understanding'. Yes, you want to say something?
Since you've raised very important questions and if you allow me I shall try to understand from you more deeply. First it is true that every member of the Core Group was asked to write his or her view and each one wrote in his personal capacity a letter. Whereas here it was not said that since I have been asked to answer this question I am writing as a member of the Core Group, it should have been made clear in the letter, which was not. It was written on the letterhead of Matrimandir; which says very clearly Matrimandir Auroville, therefore a misunderstanding can arise now that you explained to me, it enumerates the situation and I agree, I admit it. Secondly, your question about Governing Board being outside and this is what I am saying that today there is an Auroville Foundation Act, in which we have all agreed to work together, whether we like it or not, whether we agree to it or not, we all have come here together today under a certain condition in which Auroville Foundation Act has been accepted by the very fact that we are living here, we mean that we have accepted the Act. In this Act, Governing Board is not outside Auroville, in this Act it says very clearly the Auroville Foundation consists of three authorities − Governing Board, International Advisory Council and the Residents Assembly and all the three together constitute Auroville Foundation, therefore to say that Governing Body is an outside Body in the framework of Act, is not true, it's not an outside authority.
The third point that you mentioned is that this question about Roger being the architect, I don't think on this question any doubt arises in the minds of anybody. Mother has written a letter in 65, in it Mother has said in answer to what Roger wrote to her; this letter has now been displayed everywhere, it is known to everybody, where Mother has said it is with joy that I accept your acceptance and I knew from the beginning that you are the man of the Project, these are the words of the Mother. As we are all disciples of the Mother we accept, we accept this preposition. So I don't think that Roger being an architect is not in question, according to me.
The second statement which is made is that responsibilities go with any particular work and therefore what is said in the resolution is that his responsibilities as an architect must be respected and supported. Now the other question that you have raised where it is said: Mother's vision, what is Mother's vision? This is a question which has been for four years it has been debated, it is not as if no views have been taken into account, everybody's views have been taken into account including the latest book of Diwakar that was also present in the meeting in the Governing Board the latest book, the studies made by Jill, studies made by Twan, studies made by Serge, studies made by Matrimandir Group for the last three years these studies exist, studies made by Divakar, all these views have been considered; you cannot say that these views have not been taken into account, they all have been taken into account and then this particular view has been developed and presented. So you cannot say that you have been blind to somebody's views, not at all. I cannot say that you have been blind at all. I tell you very truthfully. Arjun is my very dear brother and I would like to declare it here. On the 14th and 15th of February when the Core Group was being established I would like to declare at that time the first person whose name I announced for that Core Group was myself and I said Arjun will be the member of the Core Group. And at that time I declared that as far as Arjun is concerned his financial dealings are absolutely honest and he's a man of integrity and this even today I would like to underline. It's not a question of Arjun versus me, not at all, he is my very dear friend, my dear brother but having taken into account all the points of view, this is the view of the Governing Board and this is all that I would like to say in answer to your question. Whether we have considered the views or not, I would say certainly. All the views have been considered in detail, I tell you in depth. As far as I am concerned, I tell you it is with my blood that I have tried to understand the situation, it's a fact.
I had already told you here when I had my heart operation the first thing which I got in my heart was a tremendous psychological pain when I awoke from my anaesthesia, the first thing that I experienced was a pain and when I asked inwardly, deeply to whom I call Mother in my heart. Mother said it is Matrimandir. The one problem which pains me tremendously and deeply is Matrimandir. She gave me guidance on the spot which I already shared with everybody but immediately I did not rush out to say it because my mind is double, I have sometimes some intuitions, I feel that I am guided sometimes but also I have very positive, intellectual, critical mind and I tell you I assure you my dear sister, I have studied the problem of Matrimandir with my blood before I would give a certain statement, I tell you from my side personally, people may disagree with me, it's all right but I can assure from my side at least there is no prejudice at all involved in this particular decision that I have in this regard. I have discussed the matter in depth, even today I’m discussing, even yesterday I discussed with Jill some of the questions I had, latest. So that I do not want to do injustice at all to anybody but it is true that I want Truth and nothing but the Truth, exactly what Mother has said. I am completely satisfied with what the Governing Board has said today. This is all I can tell you with all my heart, my soul and I tell you I am a servant of Auroville and I would not like to say anything which will be harmful to Auroville, this I can tell you everywhere. My whole life is a testimony to this fact. I have worked and worked incessantly for the upliftment, for the prosperity of Auroville, for the realization of ideals. In fact I live my life only for one thing − Ideals of Auroville, not only for Auroville but for the whole world. Well! This is what I can tell you in answer to your question. All right. (........) That is true actually; it is true that four years the discussions have been going on. Shall we have a moment of silence now; we shall have meditation for two minutes.