Friday, September 24, 2010

Puducherry, the pivot

Sri Aurobindo Ashram has had an uneasy existence in Puducherry from the outset. It has been an alien presence for the local population for obvious reasons. The clout and capital it has acquired over the years has been a cause of jealousy for the city politicians. As a large organization in a small town, the Ashram exerts a disproportionate weightage all over. More so because it is run by strings pulled from various national and international locations in a town which itself is a Union Territory.

No individual or organization can be immune to its environment. A prolonged life induces diverse adaptations and inculcates an instinct towards symbiotic relationships. The emergence of Auroville has further cemented this propensity and the Ashram today is a major stake holder in the life and economy of this erstwhile French colony. With its enterprises scattered all across, the Ashram is vulnerable to making contracts and compromises with the local administration as well as other major players.

These logistical obligations when judged against the subtleties of Integral Yoga present an opaque picture of practice. The Ashram as a source of inspiration for numerous devotees the world over and the Ashram as a corporate entity entailing large scale production, consumption, and commerce seem to stand as strangers to each other. But that is the dialectics The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have designed deliberately. Harmony in humanity will generate from such kneading of unlikely elements which are otherwise despised. [TNM]    

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