Today was my first long day clocking about 100km. I started the ride at 8:30am with some bananas and awesome kafi.
> > Pic 1. Breakfast South Indian style with a belly, missing the moustache > >
It was an amazing day, the ride was scenic and as the locals call it – ECR (East Coast Road) was a great road to ride on. Some pictures to whet your appetite.
> > Pic 2. Scenic Road! > >
At about 10:30am I had an awesome breakfast #2 at a local street side shop
> > Pic 3. Breakfast #2. > >
I called Rishi’s father (Rod) at about noon to let him know that I’m about 20km from Auroville at Markalam. After making my way in to Pondicherry at about 2:15pm and a short break for some Lemon juice I reached the Auroville visitor center at about 3pm.
> > Pic 4. Entering Pondicherry and place (Mango Resort) where I relaxed with Lemon juice. > >
Now on to the main topic of this post:
Auroville is utopian concept very well implemented in my opinion. This ashram intends to create a new way of life inclusive of all nationalities of the world.
Auroville’s make a plethora of things –
> > Pic 6. Auroville-an Art > >
This ashram was setup by the Mother in co-ordination with Aurobindo ashram, with big help from government of India (Imagine visa’s for folks from 50+ countries and permission for them to work and keep the identity of Ashram intact).
> > Pic 7. Founder of Auroville and her deep study of flowers. > >
Auroville wants to create a place where nation can show their identity through pavilions and invite their citizens to join in the Auroville experiment.
> > Pic 8. Unity Pavilion > >
Last but not the least the they have an amazing meditation hall called the “Matri-Mandir”. This gold plated dome with italian marble is 50m in diameter and create an amazing sense of peace! It’s a feat and a must see primarily because of its serenity!
> > Pic 9. Center of Auroville – Matrimandir and the banyan tree. > >
Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophy
Thanks to discussion with Rishi’s father – Rod, I was introduced to works of Sri Aurobindo esp. Savitri and The Life Divine. He infact has written a short book which introduces these two.
Pic 10. Rod’s book – Mantra, Metrics and Meaning.
The short of the long I learnt from our discussion is – Sri Aurobindo had a very non-traditional take on Hinduism. His point in Life divine is to enrich your life through creativity and not through extreme penance. One should give up low feeling like – pride and ego but a higher level will flow in. Creativity can be expressed in power, love and numerous other forms like Krishna did. This is deemed to be the true vedantic version of Hinduism.
Thanks to my gracious host today (Rod & Kirti Hemsell)
> > Pic 11 .Rod and Kirti > >
I’ll make a brief stop at Pondicherry tommorrow then head onward to Tanjavur from Chidambaram tomorrow (slight change of plans here)