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Our obsession with being occupied and surrounded by people all the time leaves us with a feeling of emptiness when all that reaches your ears are the sounds of the waves crashing the shore and the buzzing of the insects. The silence took some time to sink in but once it did, I slept like a corpse.
Instructed to reach the visitor’s area by 8.45am, we reached before time. At 9, we were directed towards the video room. They played the video on the history of Auroville. It lasted for 15 minutes. We hopped onto the bus to Matrimandir. The architectural significance of Matrimandir was explained by a French resident, essentially for the people who had not been to the visitor’s area before. It was followed by a question answer session. She explained the protocols to be followed inside Matrimandir:
Photo Courtesy : www.aroville.org
My excitement knew no boundaries. We entered and found number of volunteers helping maintain the decorum. Guided through the alleys covered with the white carpet, we reached the inner chamber, the place I had wanted to experience since the day I read about it.
- The cool interiors and the pure white carpets, woven in Agra with the finest of wool imported from New Zealand, was a stark contrast to the warm exteriors.
- The crystal globe in the middle of the chamber is the largest optically perfect glass globe in the world. The heliostat directs the sun ray in a way that it strikes the crystal exactly in the center.
Photo courtesy : www.auroville.org
White mats are placed around the crystal for the people practicing meditation. I sat there in stillness for 15 minutes and came out with an experience that is ineffable. The energy in the chamber transcends you to a different level of consciousness, you float, you let go, and you are free. Something has changed in me since then.
|The art workshop|
By the time we returned to the visitors’ area, it was lunch time. We headed straight to the cafeteria and ordered a meal. Once we fueled ourselves, we went to the day long free art workshop organized in the open area next to the Dreamers’ Café. From someone who hasn’t touched a brush in life to a professional artist, everybody was invited. We had a chat with the organizer, a young art teacher in Auroville. “The idea is to spread joy, to open up your senses and to let the expressions flow.” she said. I couldn’t have agreed more. My art was definitely a work of an amateur but it served the purpose. So artistically stimulated was I, if skilled, I could have created The Last Supper, then and there.
Tea by the sea
We returned to Samarpan, took a nap and woke up to the aromatic tea we could never get enough of. Donata had invited us to accompany her to Pondicherry for a Manipuri dance performance. Unfortunately, the rain played spoilsport and we had to return to Auroville. We insisted Donata to have dinner with us. We went to an Italian restaurant called Tanto. A couple from Italy volunteers in Tanto for four hours a day. Over a chat with them, we ordered Chicken Cotoletta served with salad and French fries and Tiramisu for the dessert. The food was lip-smacking and the company made it more delightful.
Click here for Part 1