Mother knows best

One of the most striking things about Auroville for first time visitors are the constant references and shrines to a french woman called ‘The Mother’. The Mother devised and instigated Auroville, as well as having a nearby Ashram. The Mother decreed that there should be no religion in Auroville, which is really odd as everyone talks about The Mother as a divine being in human incarnation and there are shrines to her absolutely everywhere. When anyone talks about ‘The Mother’, it is always in a respectful and religious tone. This can make Auroville really seem like a cult at first, but there are many people who have a more down to earth view of it all.

The Mother

In a previous post, I touched on the fact that the Matrimandir is guarded to ensure peace and serenity. This is why I loved taking the photo above, which summed it up for me!
I got permission from the media outreach team here to photograph the Banyan tree by the Matrimandir which is usually out of bounds for photographers. So I turned up with an escort to photograph the people who meditate there and rapidly regretted this plan. Never in my time as a photographer have I encountered such hate, anger and aggression while on a job. First from the security people, then from Aurovilians. Bearing in mind that I usually photograph pop and rock stars with a lot of security, this took some doing. This was not because I was bothering anybody, but because ‘The sign says no photography’! Unbelievable, as this is where everybody is supposed to meditate and become enlightened and loving. Even when the official media representative explained, people would not calm down. Auroville is supposed to be a place with no rules, so it would seem that they really go over the top in protecting the few rules they do have to the point of mindlessness.

Matrimandir
Matrimandir
Matrimandir

One Response to “Mother knows best”

  1. bhavana Says:

    hi bob and rose!
    i got this link from the GEN announcement of a Global EcoVillages Network course which will be held in Auroville. Tlaloc made a good choice, your candid remarks will add just the right preparation for visitors who have only read the website. Thanks!

    I clicked to make a comment on the photo of the lady meditating at the Banyan. It looks to me like Aurora, a Chilean-American who is battling with cancer. Nice to see this portrait of her, making good use of the force at the Banyan. What your comments allow, with irony, is the indescribable reality of that force, which helps and heals, whether one’s mind takes the Mother seriously or not.

    Much love to you both,
    be happy,
    bhavana

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