Today we are publishing a small write-up on the inauguration ceremony of Auroville which took place on 28 February 1968. The author of this article Shri Surendra Singh Chouhan is an ex-student of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE); after finishing his Higher Course he taught for a year in SAICE. He is an international educator and presently teaching Philosophy to the Chinese students in Shanghai under the auspices of Shanghai Normal University.
With warm regards,
Auroville Inauguration Ceremony
Surendra Singh Chouhan
Here is an account of the divine event which took place 40 years ago and it seems as if it was only yesterday, such has been the lasting impact of this event in my heart and mind and soul. The week before the inaugural ceremony was a hectic one. There were a series of meetings, briefings, interactions and brain-storming sessions to explain the raison d’être of Auroville and its UNESCO link. These conferences with the delegates were led by Shri Navajata-ji, Dr. Indra Sen, Kireet bhai and other eminent persons. The meetings were held in the courtyard of the Library and in the old Society Office premises. Shri Navajata-ji was always very convincing and impressive with his unique style of putting across his point of view very softly. Dr. Indra Sen and Kireet bhai added a psycho-spiritual flavour in their dialogue with the delegates, and I still recall the freshness and aura of innocence around the faces of the young visiting delegates from all over the world. Many socialist countries did not send their delegates, so a pinch of sea-salt was taken as a symbol of world-unity as the oceans touch the boundaries of the continents and countries. The scene then shifted to the central site of the inaugural ceremony—the heart and soul of Auroville. An urn was placed at the center of the amphitheatre, the site of which had been auspiciously selected. It was going to be filled with the soil of the various countries.
The momentous day arrived. The Auroville charter is a masterpiece of the vision of the Divine Mother. It was read in different languages to the large gathering. Sri Madav-ji [M.P. Pandit] read it in Sanskrit. The Ashram was represented by Vijay [Poddar] and his sister Kiran. And, lo and behold, the proceeding commenced. A boy and a girl from the participant countries or those of us from the School who represented a country, held in our hands the placards bearing the name of the country. I represented Morocco with Sanjukta Lall. The Divine Mother’s voice was relayed from her room. Her voice came through most powerful and resonant and hearing it was a supremely divine experience. Then we all walked slowly around the amphitheatre and moved towards the urn which was at the centre, carrying in our hands the soil or the pinch of salt as the case may be. And one by one we placed the sacred soil of so many countries, heralding a new era of world unity. It was a wonderful feeling to be a part of this divine event, at once glorious and profoundly symbolic.
This remembrance would remain incomplete without a special mention of the exceptional spiritual nature of the atmosphere. It was simply electric and ethereal, as if a light was pouring down from heaven. Throughout the days, commencing from 21st February until the great day, 28th February, we were caught in a mood of a great aspiration.
One remembered the memorable line from Savitri, “Built is the golden tower, the flame-child born.” But these are mere mortal reminiscences. Human language is incapable of recapturing the grace, glory and the all-pervading power of this event which comes once in a millennium.
[Courtesy: The Golden Chain, February 2008]