Today was the first day of yoga and also the first official day of our program. We started out by meeting with Shivaya in the Tibetan Pavilion. Shivaya is the Aurovillian who coordinates our service learning placement here. We talked about what our interests are and what we hope to do while here.
After that we went and checked out the post office, the library, and the Unity Pavilion. The library has been flooding frequently so they are building a new library fairly close to the Solar Kitchen that won’t need to be evacuated frequently. The Unity Pavilion is a building that has a hanging banner for each country represented in Auroville. The banner has information about that country and their culture and also their involvement in Auroville. Some of these countries are going to or have built a pavilion that represents their country in the International Zone.
After lunch at the visitor center, we saw a movie about the Mother and the principle beliefs about Auroville. It is required viewing to get in to see the Matrimandir. This is required just to go see the outside of the structure. To get inside we had to make an appointment to go inside several days out.
After making our appointments we rode to the financial center where we met up with Gill, a French architect, who has been living in Auroville since the 80’s. He worked on the Matrimandir and was able to give us a history about the initial plans about the Matrimandir and how they evolved over time. The Matrimandir is the giant golden sphere. It was designed by the Mother to be a place to pursue intense concentration, in a quite space. If you want some very basic info, follow this link. I’ll write a whole post on this eventually.
Afterwards we went to the Solar kitchen for dinner and got into an intense discussion about how we felt about the Matrimandir and the amount of money spent on it. Additionally, it is a large gold temple and seems very much against the principles of Auroville. It was a great discussion.
Then we went back home and listened to music and talked about our ideas about how we want to make things better in the world. We were exhausted from riding around all day and passed out around 9:30pm.