India pt.4: Auroville (Evolution)
Settled and stable once again in a reasonably priced hotel; I decide to head out for coffee in the international zone and see what trails there are to follow. Not wishing to miss the experience of transcending in the Matrimandir I set course towards the giant golden egg in hopes of finding a means to book such a visit.
I begin by exploring the visitors centre and learn that Auroville was not built for it's initial settlers but instead to inspire later generations of visitors. As I depart I stumble into a systematic cluster of parameters that are apparently the mothers symbol; a dodecad of archetypal qualities to flowers - woah!
Following the trail further there are a number of tokens clearly left behind for adept scavengers like myself. I'm delighted to find this work as it ties into the material that I've been studying at h3uni.org and consequentially wonder if Aurobindo and Gurdjieff migh have ever crossed paths?
Continuing along the path I collect all twelve of the tokens above en route towards the giant cosmic egg. Just before my arrival at the viewing spot, I pause a moment to enjoy the sprawling Banyan tree; it's gigantic and seems to have several other trees grafted into its extensive branches for both support and nourishment. I have to send Jimi this beauty so snap a picture!
Looking out over the gardens from the viewing spot it dawns on me that Auroville is far from complete; even the gardens around matrimandir are still under construction as they are apparently still putting in the water works.
A flashback of my time at Liminal Village in Italy arises where I helped Roberto with a grey water pool, though this is on another scale altogether! Sandro would have loved the diggers here for sure; he always had a hard-on for the big toys and these were a level up on the ones he was driving!
I set off back down the road again with no idea where I'm headed, hedging along the outer perimeter before hitting the gate house. Maybe I can book a meditation here? I check in with the guards who say no and are utterly unhelpful about how to book so I message Laurence to find out how he managed to do so before continuing my hunt for the next serendipitous token.
Hmmm, I've been walking for a while and haven't found much yet. I'm enjoying my jaunt but finding only a few curiosities despite the amusing street signs; I decide to visit Humbleness avenue before venturing into Prosperity as this seems like an appropriate order to proceed as one certainly doesn't wanna do it the other way around... Besides some pretty flowers there's are not many interesting curiosities so decide to trek back towards my initial point of departure at the visitors centre.
This leads me past by some rather aggressive dogs that come after my heels and need to be scared off by threatening them with a coconut while barking and growling back; they run when chased which I internalise as a life lesson.
En route back there are numerous colourful temples with pantheons of rainbow gods as well as some smouldering grey ones that look like portals to the underworld. Some beautiful mandalas round these parts too; Rangoli's as tribute to Lakshmi (or as Rishi put it NFT's to god)!
Back at visitors centers I decide to plunder the information boards for hidden parameter clusters; the Aurovillians have done a good job with their systematic groupings - bravo you beauties - you've been preserving your esoteric transmission exceptionally well; though I'm still not sure exactly sure the magickal roots this place, it's pretty enigmatic and the lineage feels legit! (Max Théon apparently).
Checking Twitter out that evening I notice Joe Brewer's emitted some warning signals related to the Regen Foundation after having been messed around and instrumentalised by them. Feeling a degree of accountability towards that unfolding I ask him if he minds sharing some of the details and after some initial reflection on these I recall the letter that arrived from chaosmos the day before within Jashs gift and decide it's time to sink the boat by publicly sharing my own experience and testimony on Twitter - aye - what a dramatic universe!
Expecting a bunch of vitriol in response I decide to turn off my phone and start Friday with some legitimate Vedic healing, which did not disappoint. The shaman had a collection of wooden chisels that he used to affect 144 points in the feet which I note as an interesting multiple of twelve... empirically speaking my energetics were notably effected from this therapy and I became unusually chatty for my pre-caffeinated state. I learnt the shaman made all his own medicine as well though I didn't try them due to the relatively high cost.
Feet in good shape (for once), I set off for morning coffee and to check the activity board. It really didn't seem like there was much on bar some "power yoga" a couple of hours later so I decided to kill some time by walking out to the movement centre in order to give that a go. As it was my friends birthday a few days prior, I'd been trying to call through to wish him well and finally got through on the walk. He'd recently become a father and seemed pretty happy to be white picket fencing with his beautiful and caring wife Maddie.
The power yoga session certainly lived up to its name; starting slowly but quickly picking up pace to become exceptionally challenging (for me at least). The instructor noticed my struggles and reaffirmed the invitation to retreat into child pose whenever we felt necessary, which is something I was already doing whenever things got too tough for me. This is something that a friend experienced in Samkyha mentioned as a stumbling block on his journey so was only too happy to surrender when past my capacity. I thanked the instructor for a fantastic stretch and set out on my way; I felt a liveliness in my feet and my general ergonomics from the legs to chest were feeling pretty damn good at this point!
Saturday I decide to entertain myself with some of challenges Laurence had implicitly set me up with earlier in the week; "Transcend in the Matramandir", "grab some cookies from the Auroville bakery; choconut", "Tantos has excellent food" etc. - and since Jash wanted to head in the rough direction got in the car with him and ticked the latter challenges off the list and sent back the evidence.
Jash is headed back to the hotel so drops me near the Svram research centre for musical instruments where I test out everything in store and then join a tour in the sound garden. The tour introduction has already started and as I'm paying for my ticket the larger than life host asks some rather metaphysical questions that I respond to with a cosmological quip that he enjoys (I can't remember what).
From here we break into groups with different guides and tour the garden; my guide seems quite the miser who's just stating surface level information so I break off and investigate the toys on my own. This somewhat pisses him off as he gets rather upset once I happen upon the cymatic plates; he accuses me of disrespecting the instrument and ignorance of it, to which I demonstrate considerable knowledge otherwise and he kinda changes his tone. At this point I've played with the various instruments anyway so decide to leave the garden based on his unplayful vibe.
As I've also been mistakenly charged 10x the tours ticket price I return to the music store to get a refund and as I'm leaving bump into the host who actually turns out to be the store owner. He begins to engage me with Aurovillian metaphysical philosophy and we end up in a bit of a satsang together around the spiritualisation of matter and such. He's delightfully entertaining and seems to be sharing some pretty advanced teachings and intuitions. Somewhere in the passing hours he informs me that I was brought to Auroville for a reason which seems both true and a truism!
As the sun begins to set I head back to the hotel to find Rishi and Jash in a design jam. They suggest a gig in the same area where I started the day and since Laurence already challenged me to grab a cheesecake in Aurojar cafe after recieving my previous messages the proposition appeals.
I depart on foot to close out the loose end and send through both a proof and a request for less hedonistic challenges. He asks me if I ticked off the matrimandir, which I've booked for the final day before departure and awake at 7:30am for such a privilege.
Arriving to the visitors centre there's a queue to the auditorium where one is informed of Aurovilles history and symbology. We then jump into a bus to the cosmic egg and are permitted entry into the gardens once we've turned in our phones and electronic devices. From here we are led into the Matrimandir in a ritualistic fashion, replacing shoes with white socks and then following a spiral catwalk from the ground floor to the meditation chamber.
In here, a beam of light enters through a hole in the roof channelling the sun into the largest contact ball I've ever seen; at 70cm its apparently the largest perfect glass sphere in the world... This is supposedly symbolic of concentration in that it focuses the light downward into the marble lilly pond several floors below. Holding it's weight are several hexads stuck together that are supposedly Aurobindos symbol, though more widely known as Solomons seal or the star of David.
The chamber has round walls so it's an (intentional?) acoustics nightmare; every tiny sound carries and coughs reverberate loudly! There is little to no silence in the room; despite it being mandated. I wonder if this is all an elaborate joke referencing our inability for stillness?
After leaving the inner sanctum we are left to investigate the grounds and invited to meditate in one of the twelve energy centres of our own choosing (based on the mothers symbol above). These little enclaves were kinda cool with their coloured lighting and funky shapes on the wall; nothing too special but would make cool saunas - which is what the one I visited was due to lack of air conditioning!
The marble lilly pond below was also kinda cool, though I honestly got culty swimming pool vibes from the whole place. It's a decent spectacle but frankly it felt pretty plastic and material - which they are assumedly trying to spiritualise! I found it all to be quite interesting magick none the less; especially the geometric symbols at each entrance. What's the messaging here? And what's the meaning?
Having started the tour inside the centre of the cosmic egg, we are freed to check out the truly beautiful gardens. Similar to the mothers symbol there are twelve petals around the egg that each representing a different cosmic quality. Only four of the twelve gardens were complete; though several others were under construction. Here's a photo from the Auroville website.
Finishing up here I return to the hotel to say goodbye to Rishi and Jash before hopping into a cab to the airport. It turns out my first flight is delayed, which scuppers my exit. I'm told that I can get a refund for this and grab an alternative ticket to Mumbai for $30~ which I take.
Checking in for a flight to Vietnam I'm asked if for a covid test; whoops, nope forgot about that... Vaccination, nope. "Where can I get one?". "Outside" says the checkin agent and takes me towards the exit. She asks the security where it is and they say its closed down. Crap. I decide to google an answer and make a dash for it given my limited time. The first recommendation is non existent so I google an alternative and try jumping in a cab. The driver points out that there is a test centre just over by the entrance and there actually is... aye, thank god for this guy!
I ask for two tests the immediate one and the one 48 hour test I need to give the check-in desk for Vietnam. The lady here is cool with that but doesn't have a card reader, she let's me take the tests before running inside with all my bags in search of an ATM. Literally all the ATM's in the airport however are outta cash or not working so I ask an American tourist if he'd be able to help me out.
He kindly agrees and I give him the spare change I have for his larger denomination bill before bringing it back to the PCR lady only to find out I've given him too much change! Since I'm only a little short however she agrees to let it slide.
Exhausted from running around with my bags and several kilos of books I finally make it to the check-in desk to and the celebratory fanfare of agents who didn't think I was gonna make it. They give me extra leg room seats and I head to boarding.
💎 Good bye India, you're a precious jewel! 💎
Before we depart here's a selection of Rangoli and other tokens found on my Easter egg hunt around Auroville that don't quite fit anywhere else!