I am happy to be here today on the occasion of the golden jubilee week of Auroville. Sri Aurobindo’s vision of India’s spiritual leadership continues to inspire us, even today.
Indeed, Auroville is a manifestation of that vision.Over the last five decades, it has emerged as a hub of social, cultural, educational, economic and spiritual innovation.
It is important today to remember the vast extent of action and thought of Shri Aurobindo.
A man of action, a philosopher, a poet, there were so many facets to his character. And each of them was dedicated to the good of the nation and humanity.
In the words of RabindraNath Tagore:
Rabindranath, O Aurobindo, bows to thee!
O friend, my country's friend, O voice incarnate , free,
Of India's soul!
As The Mother had observed, Auroville was to be a universal town. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.
The large gathering here today, is a reflection of that idea. For ages, India has been a spiritual destination for the world. The great universities of Nalanda and Taxila hosted students from all over the world. Many of the world's great religions were born here. They motivate people from all walks of life,) to take to a spiritual path in their day to day dealings.
Recently, the United Nations has declared June 21 as International Day of Yoga, recognizing a great Indian tradition. Auroville has brought together men and women, young and old, cutting across boundaries and identities.
I understand that Auroville’s Charter was hand-written in French by the Divine Mother herself. According to the Charter, the Mother set five high principles for Auroville.
The first high principle of Auroville is that it belongs to all humanity. This is a reflection of our ancient credo of VasudhaivaKutumbakam -- the world is one family.
I am told, that the inauguration ceremony of Auroville in 1968 was attended by delegates of 124 nations. I learn that today, it has over two thousand, four hundred residents from forty-nine countries.
This leads us to the second high principle of Auroville. Anyone who is willingly in service of the Divine Consciousness is entitled to live in Auroville.
Maharishi Aurobindo’s philosophy of Consciousness integrates not just humans, but the entire universe.This matches with the ancient saying in the Ishavasya Upanishad.This has been translated by Mahatma Gandhi to mean “everything down to the tiniest atom is divine”.
The third founding principle of Auroville is that it will emerge as the bridge between the past and the future. If one looks at where the world and India were in 1968 when Auroville was founded, the world was living in compartments and in a state of cold war. The idea of Auroville saw the world getting integrated by trade, travel and communication.
Auroville was conceived with the vision of enveloping the whole of humanity in one small area. This would show that the future would see an integrated world. The fourth founding principle of Auroville is that it will connect the spiritual and material approaches of the contemporary world. As the world progresses materially through science and technology, it will increasingly long for and need spiritual orientation for social order and stability.
At Auroville, the material and the spiritual, co-exist in harmony.
The fifth basic principle of Auroville is that it will be a place of un-ending learning and constant progress, so that it never stagnates.
The progress of humanity calls for continuous thinking and re-thinking, so that the human mind does not become frozen into one idea.
The very fact that Auroville has brought together such huge diversity of people and ideas makes dialogue and debate natural.
Indian society is fundamentally diverse. It has fostered dialogue and a philosophic tradition. Auroville show-cases this ancient Indian tradition to the world by bringing together global diversity.
India has always allowed mutual respect and co-existence of different religions and cultures. India is home to the age old tradition of Gurukul, where learning is not confined to classrooms; where life is a living laboratory. Auroville too has developed as a place of un-ending and life-long education.
In ancient times, our sages and ‘Rishis’ would perform ‘yagya’ to begin great endeavours. Occasionally, those yagyas would shape the course of history.
One such ‘Yagna’ for unity was performed here exactly 50 years ago. Men and Women brought soils from all parts of the world. In the mixing of the soils, began the journey of one-ness.
The world has received positive vibrations from Auroville, in many forms, over the years.
Be it un-ending education, environment regeneration, renewable energy, organic agriculture, appropriate building technologies, water management, or waste management. Auroville has been a pioneer.
You have done a lot to promote quality education in the country. On the occasion of 50 years of Auroville, I hope you can enhance your efforts in this direction. Serving young minds through education will be a big tribute to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Many of you may not be aware, but I too, have been a follower of your efforts on education. Shri Kireet Bhai Joshi, an ardent disciple of Sri Aurobindo, and the Mother, was an eminent educationist.
He was also my Education Advisor, when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He is not amongst us today. But his contribution to the field of education in India, is worth remembering.
The Rig Veda states: “आनो भद्रा: क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वत:”; Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides.
May Auroville continue to come up with ideas to empower the ordinary citizens of this country.
May people from far and wide bring with them new ideas. May Auroville become the centre where these ideas are synthesized.
May Auroville serve as a beacon to the world.
May it be the guardian which calls for breaking down narrow walls of the mind. May it continue to invite everyone to celebrate the possibilities of humanity’s one-ness.
May the spirit of Maharishi Aurobindo and the Divine Mother, continue to guide Auroville to the eventual fulfilment of its lofty founding vision.