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  • Daniele Gennara

Bye bye Puducherry

On February 14, after a month, we left India and landed in Sri Lanka.

It was a good time, we tried to get into Indian life, sometimes with good results and sometimes not.


Puducherry was chosen mainly for four reasons:

1. It is on the sea

2. It is an indian small town

3. It is the city of Sri Aurobindo

4. It is located near Auroville


How was reality? As in any other place, here there are pros and cons too.


The sea

We like the sea, its smell, the water. We like to be able to get to the beach and walk, to have this natural element as the limit of the city.

In Puducherry city you can not swim because between the beach and the sea there are artificial rocks, and the waves always have a good strength, but moving north and south there are quiet beaches, such as paradise beach, reachable in half an hour by car, or in an hour by bike.

In this period of the year (January and February) the temperature is perfect: we have always been in t-shirts and, except for the hour of maximum solar radiation, the wind that blows from the ocean has always mitigated the climate making the city very pleasant.



It's a small town.

Yes, it is true, the city has 'only' 600,000 inhabitants, but here you can hear all six hundred thousand.

The city has a French colonial core, the so-called White Town, formed by a network of orthogonal streets along the coast. Many buildings are charming, with a colonial style still intact, most of the restaurants are good in quality with a French touch, traffic is relatively quiet.

The streets intersect at 90 degrees and this causes a continuous horn jam, but the total number of vehicles is acceptable. Thanks to the new platform works already described, this part of town can only get better.

Once you leave the White Town things change and the hustle takes over: although infinitely smaller than Chennai the substance does not change, and it is difficult to walk quietly through the streets. Don't get me wrong: in a month of staying here we have never been in danger or felt threatened, the Indians are a peaceful people; we talk about pollution and chaos.​



Sri Aurobindo

He was a great Indian philosopher, promoter of the independence of India, without divisions led by the British, the true united India also includes Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar) and Sri Lanka, and that would have avoided the forced displacement of many families according to their religion.

Sri Aurobondo, thanks to the theoretical and practical support of Mirra Alfassa, better known as The Mother, has given rise to a movement that is currently much larger than we thought: throughout Puducherry there are ashrams, schools, shops, businesses and research activities, medical centers, which belong to the great Sri Aurobindo Sociaty (https://www.aurosociety.org/), recognized by the Indian government as a Not-for-profit Organization and a research institute.

"Sri Aurobindo Society seeks to bring a dynamic spirituality into material life and all its activities, so that the global problems can find a true solution, and the dreams of humanity, through the ages, can be realized". Admirable.

Unlike other Eastern philosophers Sri Aurobindo was convinced that the two poles of existence, matter and spirit, coexist in us in this world, and it is here where, thanks to higher consciousness, men can continue their own evolution and refine their present state.

In Puducherry we saw how much the theory has managed to produce remarkable realities. We visited the Sri Aurobindo international centre of education three times and we will dedicate a specific article for it. There is even an Italian magazine called Domani (http://www.sriaurobindo.it/).

Park guest house, one of the Ashrams of Sri Aurobindo Sociaty


Auroville

It was a beautiful surprise.

After Sri Aurobindo's death, The Mother continued his work through a vision: establish an entire city dedicated to the great philosopher, where the inhabitants could live in search of their own evolution.

As The Mother wrote in the incipit of The Dream, "There should be somewhere on earth a place which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of goodwill who have a sincere aspiration could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme Truth".



To conclude, a consideration.

Depending on the different needs and sensitivities of each person a place can offer better services than another, or have a more accessible beach, or a milder weather, a lifestyle more akin to your own.

Auroville is above these considerations that apply everywhere but not here. 

It is not easy to live in a new city that works in a completely different way from the others, it is not possible to isolate oneself and live without the whole world. The city is full of contradictions. 

But as the inhabitants of Auroville say 'there are no impossible difficulties to overcome, there are only great challenges'.

We are glad to have elected this place among the 12 of our trip simply because Auroville is truly a unique city (and we will explain why).