The main topic of the August 2009 issue of Auroville Today deals with how to introduce Sri Aurobindo to those with no background in the yoga or spirituality. Some people suggest that the attempt should not be made, arguing that if an individual is ready he or she will discover Sri Aurobindo for themselves. Others believe it is valid to create some kind of bridge to Sri Aurobindo's work for those who might otherwise not come upon it or not want to read it. Four people offered their reflections: Georges van Vrekhem; Sachidananda Mohanty; David Hutchinson; and Manoj Das. They all have a deep knowledge of Sri Aurobindo's works and have been involved, at some time or another, in writing books or editing magazines which introduce him to a wider world.
The section ‘organisation' carries an article about how the new Working Committee and Auroville Council have been elected – posing the challenging question if we cannot evolve a better system next time. In the section ‘cycle-friendly Auroville' we report about a four-week workshop designed to make Auroville a more cycle-friendly place, which was joined by young people from all over India - “a great experience,” according to one of the participants. “It must be the year of the cycle paths,” said Gillian, the coordinator of cycle paths maintenance and development in Auroville.
In the section ‘commerce' we publish an interview with the promoters of Auroville.com where Auroville products – including subscriptions to Auroville Today! – can be ordered on-line. In the section City Services we publish an article about the Eco-Service, Auroville's trash-picking, garbage-sorting, and land-filling service that attempts to help the township deal responsibly with its waste. The issue further carries a profile of Kalyani, a French woman who joined Auroville in 1978.
Lastly, the issue carries an article about the first wind mill for Auroville, which will feed carbon-emission free energy into the net. Here follow a few of the articles. We wish you happy reading. Subscribe if you want to read more, or ask for a free copy. Details are elsewhere on this web page. Subscriptions can now also be ordered and paid on line through www.auroville.com/auroville-today .
Previous issues AV-today index June-July 2009
The June-July 2009 issue of Auroville Today deals with Auroville's writers, an almost forgotten and often ignored group of people. In six pages, we publish prose and poetry from Dennis Bailey (Namas), Navoditte, Meenakshi, Roger Harris, Monique Patenaude, Lloyd Hofman, Ruud Lohman, Alan, Akash Kapoor and Anu.
The issue further carries articles about Windarra Farm; about how Newcomers get organized; about Security – an issue of concern; the Auroville Archives; the Water therapies at Quiet Healing Centre; the Auroville International Meeting in The Netherlands; reflections from the outgoing Working Committee; and Sven's summer pictures.
A year ago we published an interview with Peter Heehs and a book review of his newly-published biography, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Since then the book has generated enormous controversy within the Aurobindonian community. Some people regard it as ground-breaking; others believe that it demeans Sri Aurobindo. The controversy has become so heated that civil and criminal cases have been lodged against the author.
One of the important issues thrown up by the controversy concerns how to introduce Sri Aurobindo to those with no background in the yoga or spirituality. Some people suggest that the attempt should not be made, arguing that if an individual is ready he or she will discover Sri Aurobindo for themselves. Others believe it is valid to create some kind of bridge to Sri Aurobindo's work for those who might otherwise not come upon it or not want to read it.
But what would that bridge look like? Would it be devotional, uncritical, allowing nothing which disturbs the impression of a smooth, inevitable, unfolding of avatarhood? Or is there a place for a biography which places Sri Aurobindo in the mundane world, which is willing to document his struggles and failures along with his enormous achievements? Which might not take for granted everything that his devotees take as articles of faith?
Where does the line run between over-simplification and providing greater accessibility to Sri Aurobindo and his work? Is it legitimate, for example, to downplay the occult dimension of his work if the biography is intended to introduce those sceptical of such matters to the richness of his thought? Can he be presented as a man rather than an Avatar? Can he be questioned?
We asked a number of people to reflect upon these questions. They come from different cultural backgrounds but all have a deep knowledge of Sri Aurobindo's works and all have been involved, at some time or another, in writing books or editing magazines which introduce him to a wider world. Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > Current issue > Introducing Sri Aurobindo Current issue Archive copies The Auroville Experience