In The Times of India, New Delhi, dated 7 April 1988, the following news item appeared under the title, ‘More than just another temple in the making’:
Auroville, April 6 (PTI)
Not far from the beach township of Pondicherry, a small community of people are set to create an architectural marvel.
The Matrimandir – an exotic structure being built by devotees of the Mother, is more than a temple.
Its single beam of light coming in through the roof to fall on a perfect glass sphere – was envisioned by the Mother as were the dimensions of the room and communicated to her disciples.
The room is expected to be completed later this year and the glass sphere, being made by the famous Zeiss Company of West Germany, is due to arrive here in a couple of months.
The glass sphere, as described by the Mother, is 70cms in diameter, a dimension which most glass companies in India found impossible to achieve and perfect.
The vision seen by the Mother was that of a single beam of light coming in through the roof of the otherwise completely sealed 12-sided room, and falling on the sphere to create a divine effulgence.
‘This is difficult to achieve.’ Says Piero, an engineer – volunteer at Auroville, who is supervising the construction.
He has developed the prototype of the heliostat, which will track the sun throughout the day and ensure that the source of light is constant.
Apart from this, four reflectors are to be used on the roof of the room to either augment sunlight on cloudy days or keep the beam on the sphere during the night time.
Joan, the lady who handles the information centre at Bharat Nivas in Auroville, explains that the sphere had to be perfect – this was the Mother’s dream. The sphere is exactly of the dimensions envisioned and the room is within a millimetre of the dimensions given by the Mother.
The room is suspended inside a massive concrete mesh globe mounted on four concrete supports. The entire structure is higher than a three-story building.
‘It is the centre of our life here,’ says Joan (all Aurovilians go only by their first name). She goes on to explain how beautiful the area would be once the landscaping is complete and the 12 gardens and lakes come up.
Even if the divinity of the entire structure is lost to the not so spiritually inclined, the Matrimandir would definitely be a structure of great architectural beauty and scientific interest.
The mandir will perhaps be one of the most high-tech spiritual centres in the country, with its precision lighting, computer controlled sun tracking and the architecture somewhat reminiscent of the early generation of science fiction films.
This article confirms many things. But before all else I should point out that the date of its publication, 7 April, is significant in terms of the ongoing work. This is the date, 15 years earlier, of the Mother’s recorded encounter with the great Negator, the subject of Part 2 of ‘The Mother’s Dream’ which is presently being featured in VISHAAL. Similar to that encounter, this article is also a form of unmasking.
But its contents should not surprise us. This sort of misleading propaganda has been put out periodically by the builders of Matrimandir in Auroville. Their purpose is quite clear. They wish to convince the public that what they are building follows the Mother’s original plan in all its details and measurements (‘…to within a millimetre of the dimensions given by the Mother…’).
Of course this is not so. Or has the chamber’s diameter stretched itself to the required 24-metre INNER measurement by some freak intervention from above, some miracle? This would be heart warming, but I doubt it is the case, because Sri Aurobindo’s work is not one of miracles but transformation. It is a question of poising the consciousness around a new and higher Axis, precisely what is symbolised in the correct axial measurement of the Temple, now lost in that physical building coming up in Auroville. But the consciousness presiding over Auroville affairs is the old and untransformed one. This present news item is another proof.
It is pointless to discuss all the variations from the Mother’s original plan here. I have done elaborate analyses of these deviations elsewhere. The seeker in quest of true Knowledge has now a wealth of material to study so that contact can be made with the real content of the Mother’s original vision. The reason why I am presenting this particular news item rather than the numerous others which have appeared with similar content over the past ten years is simply because the date of its appearance forces me to do so, coming on the heels of the in-depth analysis of the Mother’s Yoga of Transformation in which this date, 7 April, was memorable and played such a significant role for posterity and the cause of Truth. As students of the new way know, there are no ‘coincidences’ in this work. Time is an ally in our endeavour, and this is just one example of its confirmative action.
Another reason for presenting this piece to our readers is that it displays the quality of the collective consciousness presiding over affairs in Auroville. For the disturbing factor in the above piece is the manner in which it reveals an intent to deceive. This is a situation I have had to contend with from the beginning of my efforts to have the Mother’s original vision of the room adopted, rather than the architects’ revised version. Sincere disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, who may still consider Auroville to be a valid integer in the Mother’s work, and who wish to join their destinies to that project have to ask themselves now if this is the consciousness they wish to have lodged at the heart of that endeavour.
In the newspaper report, ‘Joan’, the spokesperson for the builders, states that ‘the room is within a millimetre of the dimensions given by the Mother’. But let me point out that the dimensions this ‘Joan’ refers to are taken from the first plan drawn up for the Mother by Udar Pinto, an engineer in the Ashram, immediately after her vision and at her request. The student would do well to reread the Matrimandir Talks reproduced in TVN, 1/5 and 1/6 of December l986 and February 1987, to gain a background regarding the ‘error’ I will now describe. And it is this erroneous measurement that the builders claim is so exact. If they had been unaware of this error there would be no deception on their part, this is clear. However, the facts are different. It is precisely this item to be rectified that was the focal point of our efforts to have the true vision executed rather than the architects’. And all along, even while knowing that Udar Pinto’s drawing contained this error, and even while they had every possibility to rectify the mistake before construction of the room began, they refused to alter their plans and incorporate the dimension the Mother had repeatedly insisted upon during the 18 days in which she dealt with this question of ‘changes’ with her disciple and the architects. (See the Matrimandir Talks cited above.) Thus these facts, along with others which we have documented, prove that there is a wilful attempt to deceive the public.
The reason is quite obvious. The builders no doubt feel confident that no one will take a measuring tape and verify the dimensions of the room – even if the powers-that-be in Auroville would permit entry into the chamber for such a purpose. Furthermore, to make matters more secure in their favour, the curious measurer would be shown that original drawing done by Udar Pinto to support their position, in which this error is contained. Then they would be able to declare that the room is ‘within a millimetre of the dimensions given by the Mother’, and none would know the difference.
The error in question concerns the room’s diameter. The Mother wanted the chamber to measure 24 metres inside, wall to wall. In the Matrimandir Talks she makes this abundantly clear, and those Talks were circulated privately to the architects and builders in the first half of 1974, long before the chamber was built. But the first drawing placed this 24-metre diameter measurement OUTSIDE the walls. Thus calculating the thickness of the walls, the chamber would come to measure close to one metre less than the desired 24. So what, it may be argued. Then, of course, why be concerned with dimensions at all?
It is patently absurd to suppose that a client would request an architect to make a room 24 metres in diameter and intend the measurement to be taken OUTSIDE the room’s walls! But, leaving aside this simple logic, the Mother herself emphasised the inner 24-metre measurement in the transcribed Talks (‘It is understood that the 24 metres ends at the walls…’).
If Udar Pinto’s erroneous plan is the document the architects are using to support their outer wall measurement before the innocent enquirer, then we must demand from them a certain degree of consistency. That same plan contains a number of other errors, like 11 columns instead of the stipulated 12. Does this mean that, in spite of the Mother’s request for 12 columns, even if the architects were to reincorporate them in the executed building, then they should only place 11 in the room since this is what the original plan indicates? Or else there is the question of the pedestal with Sri Aurobindo’s symbol in the Temple’s core. The original drawing gives a square base of a certain height and width. The height is arranged in order to accommodate the interlaced triangles of Sri Aurobindo’s symbol. But the symbol Udar Pinto used is the old one; it was revised by the Mother in 1964 and that one was then adopted as the official symbol. To be consistent, the builders of the temple should also make the pedestal as Pinto had drawn, erroneous as it was. They are not doing so. They have made a pedestal concoction of their own that bears no relation to Udar Pinto’s, much less to the true Seeing.
These are the inconsistencies in behaviour which are continuously surfacing in this question of the correct plan for the Matrimandir. I have been pointing them out for a long time, but to no avail; no one seems to care or to be concerned that these behavioural patterns reflect undesirable states of consciousness. Indeed, those involved in Auroville affairs sometimes go to pathetic and often ludicrous extents to justify their pigheadedness. One such example was an article in an Auroville journal, written by one of the Matrimandir workers, Rudh Lohman (now deceased), criticising my position in all sorts of derogatory ways and ending his exposition by quoting the Mother on the altered perceptions of the 4th dimension, that the inside of a balloon is outside, and so forth. On this basis he ingeniously concludes that the OUTSIDE measurement of the room’s diameter is fine, since that was the Mother’s way of perceiving things! Needless to say, this sort of argument only results in making something of an imbecile out of the Mother. That her vision was so convoluted and contorted as to require these mental acrobatics is certainly hard to accept. But what does a position of this nature say of the person who holds it? Or of the publishers who print such nonsense?
At this point it is well to explain how Udar Pinto made the error that he did – placing the measurement of the room’s diameter outside the encircling walls rather than on the inside where it belongs. If we observe the drawing he made for the Mother the issue becomes immediately clear. He was using the Mother’s 12-petalled circular symbol as a guideline; indeed, her symbol does provide the horizontal plan of the chamber. Therefore, on this basis, he first drew a circle and gave this figure the value of 24 metres diameter in his geometric construction. But then, instead of placing the 12 walls of the dodecagonal room he was drawing at the outside of this circle, he started filling in the circle and placing all the items indicated by the Mother on the inside of its periphery. This meant that in effect the room, instead of bearing a 24-metre diameter, as the Mother requested (which he did incorporate in the first circle), became close to one metre less, depending upon the thickness of the walls.
In his haste to present the first drawing to the Mother, it is evident that Pinto had no time to study what he had drawn, for in so doing he would have immediately understood the problem and rectified his mistake. Thereafter, when this error was pointed out it seems to have become a sore point and bruised egos were the result. It was difficult to discuss the issue dispassionately; it appears that each one had his own reason for protecting this error and ensuring its survival in the final construction. If there had been real sincerity in dealing with this crucial matter, it would not have required any great intelligence to realise what was amiss in Pinto’s drawing. Alas, this simple intelligence and goodwill were never present. There was only chaos, confusion, clashes of ego and bad will. To illustrate, the architects in charge, Piero and Gloria Cicionesi, consistently refused to attend any meetings we convened to discuss these important points. At the most, what I have from Gloria Cicionesi is an ‘Open Letter to Patrizia’, as a reply to my document, What is Wrong with Matrimandir? which circulated in the Ashram in January/February of 1977. In her Open Letter she goes to great lengths to explain why the changes HAD TO BE MADE – for structural reasons. At the very same time her husband, Piero, was in Europe issuing a written statement to my German publishers to the exact contrary: all structural problems had been solved and the original plan was being implemented in its entirety! I refer to this statement and what it generated further on.
From Gloria Cicionesi’s letter to me I will reproduce for VISHAALreaders what she had to say concerning this issue: the 24-metre diameter. Her mother tongue is not English, but I prefer to reproduce her own words in spite of grammatical mistakes. The reader can make the necessary adjustments. The date of her letter is 18 April, 1977:
‘It is true that Mother has said “the 24mt. ends to the walls”. However, the plan was made with the 24mt. ending to the outside of the walls, and as She herself has held the plan in her hands and given it to the peoples no one thought is possible to question it, as She did not insist on this dimension being the floor dimension, at least not clearly enough for us to intervene. The walls were given by her the thickness of 30cms. But later on, the engineers consulted in Madras, when studying the various problems raised by such an extraordinary concrete structure, asked for the thickness of 40cms.’
Needless to say this is a shocking statement and fully reveals the deceptive consciousness which has been ever present in Matrimandir affairs: the Mother blessed the plan with her touch when she gave it to the architects, therefore that error could not be changed after this sacred act – but they had no difficulty in changing any and every other item in that holy plan to suit their designs. Faced with this sort of consciousness, the following was the reply I gave to this point of Gloria Cicionesi’s Open Letter. By then I was in no mood to mince words:
‘1) 24 metres floor diameter: Your justification for the incorporation of this error is unacceptable. There was ample time to have rectified this mistake when the matter could still have been done on paper. Now to bring the measurement to its correct point will unfortunately entail a loss of time, energy and money.
‘Once and for all the insistency that the Mother held the plan which contained the mistake and then gave it to the architect, making it impossible after that sacred gesture to alter any errors found therein, must be fully unmasked and brought to an end. If such were the case, then the public, and consistency and coherency, would demand that not only do you respect the error of the 24 metres, but that you also respect the other error found in the plan she held and gave you; you would have to put only eleven columns in the Room instead of twelve, as the plan indicated. Moreover, you must respect every other detail therein, especially the entrance from below, the 15 steps with all their exact dimensions, the pedestal and globe as indicated on the plan, and the thickness of the walls, etc.
‘As you have already altered these, then you had best stop using this argument… “as She herself has held the plan in her hands and given it to the peoples no one thought is possible to question it…”
‘Next you state, “…as She did not insist on this dimension being the floor dimension, at least not clearly enough for us to intervene.” This statement gives us the right to seriously question the competence of those who are handling the construction of Matrimandir. When one asks for the diameter of a room to be 24 metres, that this should “end at the walls”, what is one measuring? The ether? With such a lack of understanding of one of the basic and elementary items of architecture, it is no wonder such a self-evident matter has been made so impossible.’
I continue thereafter to refute each of her points and also to enumerate the many official published statements which attempt to deceive the public, encouraging disciples and devotees of the Mother to believe that her plan was being implemented in all its original details. As the reader can observe, matters have not changed much in the intervening eleven years since the time of the above open correspondence. We are all clear about the fact that the measurement had to be inner and that the Mother’s own words to this effect must suffice and not anyone else’s ‘interpretation’. And since the main point rejected by the presiding architect was precisely this question of changing the measurement to accommodate the inner 24-metre diameter, then what ‘miracle’ has transpired since our last fruitless efforts in this direction to make it now possible for the builders to claim in Indian newspapers that ‘to the millimetre’ the dimensions are the Mothers?
On March 20, 1977, the original architect of the temple, Roger Anger, issued the following statement:
‘As I have already said many times, I have no objection at all if the dimensions of the inner chamber of the Matrimandir are changed and the pillars are put.’
Even at the time of this statement to change the inner dimensions would
have required a considerable amount of demolishing and reconstruction, since the four major supporting ribs of the room were already in place. Yet Roger Anger had no effective voice or power over the construction any more. Piero Cicionesi had taken complete control and he refused consistently even to meet with us and discuss the issues. Thus the fact that the chief architect’s approval had been secured was of little avail. Those overseeing the work on the site simply refused to comply.
Kai Sievertsen, the draftsman who made all the diagrams for The New Way, worked closely with me on this question of precision and accuracy. At my request he made a survey of the room in the early part of January, 1977, before I issued my document to the Ashram. The idea was to check the measurements for ourselves before ‘going public’. We wanted to be sure before proceeding further that the 24-metre inner diameter had not been incorporated since the dissemination of false statements had had its effect in creating doubts in people’s minds. His measuring on the site confirmed that the measurement was outer; he also made several precise drawings based on his findings to show what the position was of the construction concerning this point. The drawings are in my files.
How then, I am forced to ask, can the builders issue a statement now that the dimensions are ‘within a millimetre’ of exactitude, since no rectification was ever done? As I have stated, this is clearly another attempt to dupe the public.
I believe readers of VISHAAL would also be interested in another aspect of this story – a rather unusual one. There was an astrologer-clairvoyant in Bangalore, a Mr. Jain, who was receiving numerous visits from an ashramite, insofar as Mr. Jain seemed to possess rather remarkable powers of seeing. This ashramite would visit me from time to time for a game of chess, when he would describe his trips to the astrologer in quest of his readings.
It seems that the astrologer’s system was the following: the client would bring him a given number of questions in a sealed envelope; they had to be either 3, 6 or 9. This was placed unopened on the astrologer’s table. The client was then requested to select a card from a stack. The chosen one would indicate to the astrologer what category the questions belonged to and where the answers were to be found from a collection of very old leaves. On the basis of the selected card Mr. Jain would search for the correct parchment and proceed to answer the questions from its contents.
On one occasion this ashramite asked Mr. Jain a question about me. He was told various accurate things, that this would be my last birth (Indians are always keen to know that liberation from the coils of birth and death is at hand!), and that I would attain ‘tremendous spiritual knowledge’ and would bring the light to hundreds of thousands of people. The interesting part was that without seeing the questions at all, the astrologer also gave my friend the first initial of my name, stated that I was a woman and that I lived in a town on the sea whose name began with a ‘p’. This was Pondicherry where I was then living.
The astrologer’s reputation for accuracy came to be known to a certain group of people living in Auroville. At that time, late 1974, these people wanted the Mother’s plan readopted in all its details, since they were studying sacred geometry and felt they had a certain authoritative voice in the matter. But they considered that the OUTER measurement of 24 metres (then the main issue) was the harmonious one. As proof they cited the fact that such an outer wall measurement would give a neat 6 metres breadth to each of the 12 walls in the chamber, This was ‘proof’ of its correctness for them and therefore no rectification in the architects’ plan was required in that particular matter. Of course I contested this position, above all citing the Mother’s own words regarding the need for an inner 24-metre diameter. Thus we were at odds on this point.
Hearing about Mr. Jain’s amazing powers, one of the members of this group, named Constance, set out for Bangalore with a question concerning the temple and its plan. With his customary proficiency Mr. Jain proceeded to discuss the Temple, its plan, and so forth, without any knowledge of the contents of the sealed envelope. He referred to the plan drawn up by Udar Pinto as the only one to follow. However, there were some mistakes in it, he declared. He referred to the diameter of the room and insisted that the error had to be rectified: it should be INNER room measurement, wall to wall, In addition, he provided Constance with the authoritative source in ancient Indian sacred texts on temple building, where the rule for this dimension could be found.
I had a certain contact with that group at the time and this incident was reported to me immediately after it took place, and all these details were written out. Needless to say, the accuracy of Mr. Jain’s reply was astonishing, to the point where he even gave the engineer’s name and with specific reference to the error in his plan. Yet the seer also stated that the Mother was very happy ‘with Udar Pinto and only Udar Pinto’ for his work, regardless of the error that had to be rectified.
This episode took place in 1975, at the height of the debate with the architects over this measurement. It should be pointed out that if this had been a case of mind-reading or a capacity to ‘see’ what the closed envelope contained, Constance had different ideas in his mind than the astrologer’s reply. He upheld the OUTER measurement and no doubt had desired to receive a confirmation for his stand. Thus the fact that he was contradicted certainly adds weight to the objectivity of the reply.
This incident generated a certain amount of interest in both Auroville and the Ashram among those who were involved in the matter. I believe that in any other spiritually oriented community this astrologer-clairvoyant’s reading would have been sufficient to make the builders of that community’s temple immediately accept to make the due rectifications. Here was an outside opinion, unemotional, uninvolved in the politics or the frenzy which by then the matter had generated. Yet in Auroville nothing of the sort happened. Mr. Jain’s verdict followed the same fate as my findings, and the same fate as the Mother’s own insistency. The architects in charge just would not budge.
And while on the subject of clairvoyants, there is another interesting anecdote regarding the Temple. In July of 1977, when the episode was nearing its unfortunate and conclusive end, I received a letter from one of my brothers, from Rome, Italy. It was dated July 11, 1977. In it my brother describes a meeting he had with a friend, an unexpected encounter in the Pantheon Square. (I mention the place because the Pantheon, curiously, has a design similar to the Mother’s chamber, with an opening in the ceiling in the centre of the structure.)
My brother was unaware that this person had clairvoyant tendencies. She began ‘seeing images’ and relating what she was seeing. She told him various accurate things about a work he was doing at the time…’details that only I knew about.’ When she finished with this matter, my brother wrote
‘…Then she went on to talk about you. Said you were going through a difficult period and that you might have to consider leaving the ashram this year. Nonetheless this was very good for your personal development, as it would bring the solitude necessary for a deeper realisation. She saw the temple controversy and said that the original measurements must be insisted on. She saw a connection with Egypt. She also mentioned you may have to go outside your immediate circle for help in this situation. She couldn’t see far enough ahead to see the outcome, so obviously you are not to know for now.’
Again in this prediction there is a considerable degree of accuracy, especially concerning the need to leave the Ashram for a deeper realisation. Though the time factor was not correct, this did come to pass, yet when my brother wrote, this was not even remotely envisioned. But the turn of events did allow for this exodus and the ‘deeper realisation’ came to pass.
This clairvoyant was only a casual acquaintance of my brother. I do not believe she even knew he had a sister, much less anything of the temple episode or that ‘the original measurements must be insisted on’.
When I review the numerous documents and extensive correspondence on my files regarding this issue, I see what an utter confusion had gripped that collectivity. It was truly as I have described in ‘The Mother’s Dream’ – simple and plain chaos. For example, Udar Pinto, the sympathetic but erring engineer, wrote the following to me on 12 May, 1977, when I had pointed out certain contradictions in the statements he was issuing:
‘…This is a strange note of mine as I contradict myself in it. I see that I have mentioned all along that the 24-metre measurement was outside the room, now I seem to say it is inside. I really cannot understand myself and so how can anyone else understand me or trust this poor memory of mine?
‘However, I repeat that all this can be solved if we all agree that after due discussion and consultation the final decision is taken by someone who has been entrusted by the Mother to do so. This, I now see, is Shyam Sunder (the then administrator of Auroville). So we leave it to him to say what is to be done, after he has consulted with those concerned. This is my clear direction now.’
In my reply to the above, I contest the authority he was attempting to
invest in Shyam Sunder. Already in 1975 I had had my fullest experience of Shyam Sunder’s poise of consciousness. Overtaken as he was by personal ambition, he was hardly the one to uphold truth in this matter:
‘…It is good to have another clear statement of your views on this issue, especially the question of the 24 metres and that of authority.
‘I have one point I would like to have clarified in your memo, and for this reason I am writing to you. Under point 9, b, you quote passages from the Matrimandir Talks, the Mother’s conversations with Satprem about the Inner Room vision. These passages confirm the measurement as being inside. You state: “From this it seems that according to the Mother’s vision as shown to Satprem, the 24-metre measurement is inside the room. Hence the apparent contradiction from this, and with my own experience of the Mother’s working. I conclude that it need not be made a point of dispute whether the 24-metre measurement is inside or outside.”
‘The objection I have is that you fail to state that the Mother at
the time she made those comments quoted in your memo was precisely discussing your drawing with Satprem, referring constantly to it. It was not a ‘vision shown to Satprem”, but the vision as drawn by you. It is only unfortunate that at that moment Satprem did not tell the Mother of the discrepancy [Udar’s error regarding the floor’s diameter]. In all fairness I believe this must be clarified because it considerably alters the point you make.
‘About authority. When one needs a bridge one goes to an engineer for the design; when one needs a dress one naturally goes to a tailor; when one builds a temple the authority rests with the one who knows of temples, I would suppose. With all due respect, does Shyam Sunder know anything of these matters? It might be unfair to put him in a position to decide on matters he is not versed in.
‘Once more, I thank you for your letter and wish to express to
you our gratitude for the fact that, had it not been for your original drawing, many details of the Mother’s vision would have now been lost.’
It is well to provide VISHAAL readers who are interested in this matter with a complete copy of a memo I sent to the then administrator of Auroville, Shyam Sunder, on 9 May, 1975, since apart from giving the background for my refusal to accept him as any ‘authority’ in this issue, it also brings to light the prevailing attitude when we sought to have the Mother’s plan adopted. We are presenting it in the Supplement to this issue of VISHAAL as Appendix 1, under separate cover.
Thus between the summer of 1974 and the fall of 1977, concerted efforts were made to rectify, above all else, this particular error. But the matter reached a dead end. The architect in charge had had his way.
The news item under discussion unmasks the self-serving ‘logic’ of the
builders and highlights what I have been discussing in ‘The Mother’s Dream’: the exaltation of the ego of the instrument. There is hardly a better way to give a practical example of this condition than by presenting a reply I was forced to write to the editor of Gazette Aurovilliene, the Mother’s official organ for Auroville news. We reproduce this reply in full as Appendix 2 of this issue’s Supplement. Its subject matter is pertinent to our discussion since my ‘Note to the Editor’ centres on the manipulation of the public, using Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s words for this purpose. And now there is this most recent statement in The Times of India issued by the same builders of the Matrimandir. For what is the impression this article conveys?
The Mother’s Temple has become, in effect, the builders’ temple. But to
use the word ‘temple’ is incorrect; the builders’ display piece would be more accurate. As their statements to the press reveal, the object they are building, to quote the newspaper, is ‘an architectural marvel’. It is a technological and engineering colossus – and it has very little to do with the real essence of the Mother’s Temple. The technological aspect should be secondary; first comes its sacred content. That special and coveted quality emerges when the Seer’s vision is reproduced in full. This has not been done in the Matrimandir, and hence the journalist aptly writes:
‘Even if the divinity of the entire structure is lost to the not so spiritually inclined, the Matrimandir would definitely be a structure of great architectural beauty and scientific interest.’
This is a pathetic comment for it is entirely true of the builders themselves – ‘not so spiritually inclined’ – to the extent that any attempts to use the sacred and spiritual content as a basis for rectification was hotly combatted and even ridiculed (see the adjoining Appendices). Yet The New Way stands as testimony to the greatness of that higher content. No ‘architectural marvel’ in the world can compete with that sacred content. For the problem with our society today is precisely the fact that technology, rather than serving the higher consciousness of an evolving humanity, has come to serve the inferior nature of the mental species. We seek in our work to rectify this situation. Therefore it should not be surprising to find that this old consciousness, with its deceptive, self-serving interests, should have lodged itself at the very heart of the Mother’s work. It is there that the battle is fought for the world. India, more than any other country, has to face this problem today. Yet right on her soil there is this ‘architectural marvel’ which stands as a symbol of the refusal of the old creation to accept the higher Truth.
Yet in the field of technology itself, a dispute of this nature would be decided a priori in favour of the authoritative designer’s model. Let us take as an example the creation of an aircraft. What would happen if an aeronautical engineer were to pass on his design for a new supersonic craft to the manufacturers, and during its assembling various overseers of the project were to introduce significant changes in the design, with no understanding of aeronautics nor the overall purpose of the craft but basing their innovations entirely on aesthetic considerations or similar irrelevant concerns? And what if these interfering agents actually succeeded in producing this revised model. Knowing the background and the incompetence of the revisers, would anyone accept to board such a craft? Would it fulfil its original purpose? Would it even be able to stay aloft?
The situation with the Mother’s Temple is no different at all. A unique structure of this nature has a purpose, a function. This may be elusive, impossible to pinpoint with our insensitive faculties, but this does not abrogate the Temple’s destined function, which some do perceive and experience. And these are the ones authorised to hold that no changes should be made by interfering architects who know nothing of these matters, who know only what they have learned in western universities of secular design and function. Similar to the aircraft in our example, to enter such a ‘temple’ and thus to allow one’s consciousness and inner being to be manipulated by these agents is to invite trouble.
The builders of the Matrimandir in Auroville are disseminating false information to counteract my work which highlights the lamentable state of affairs their rigidity gave rise to. I would not choose to engage my energies in this sort of debate, but sometimes it is impossible to avoid the issue, given the work I am destined to do. Among other things, this consists in revealing a new body of knowledge – higher knowledge – in which the Mother’s original vision is central. Indeed, it is the cornerstone of the structure. But the possibility for this vision to take its rightful place in the heart of the new gnostic structure, lies in the accuracy of its measurements and design. I have proven this amply in all my written works, in particular the three volumes of The New Way. No unbiased person can fail to recognise these facts. Thus, in the normal course of fulfilling my duty, my responsibility to this work, it is inevitable that from time to time this issue will arise and must be faced. The two versions – the Mother’s as presented in my work, and the architects’, as presented in the building they have constructed in Auroville – stand side by side. They offer a choice to seekers: Does one want to accept as the central symbol of the Mother’s work a structure that simply extols science and technology and the ego of the instrument, or does one cling to the truth of the original vision and its sacred and higher content as the true centre of the new creation?
The Mother made it clear that she did not want any changes in her plan
– and she gave the reason why. On 17 January 1970, just before she abandoned any further attempt to convince the disciple and architects to follow her instructions, she stated,
‘…Because, you see, to accept changes, it is necessary that I be certain that the origin of the inspiration is of the same quality as mine. For the building, I know very well that people are needed who know their job and who do the work. But for the inspiration it is necessary that I be certain that the origin of the inspiration is AT LEAST of the same level as mine…And I am not sure, because I saw it so clearly. And immediately with Paolo’s ideas I saw the mixture. His ideas are all mental, I can guarantee it because it is easy for me to see that. Well, they bring all the same MIXTURE that there is in everything that is done in the world. And that…what is the use in beginning again, again, again…?’
And further on she declared, ‘…Who is there who knows? It is only when one sees. There is not one who sees’.… And she concluded the matter, saying,
‘I LOOK, isn’t that so, someone gives me a paper as you have just done when you gave me that drawing [the architect’s version of the chamber]. I look in this way and I see very well what in that paper is the result of something from above and what has become mixed and what is…. Like that. But one is not going to say it! – to begin with, they would not believe me.’
Would they believe me, if they had not believed the Mother? The answer lies in the building in Auroville. It might also be instructive to point out that these crucial passages concerning precisely the question of changes and the Mother’s feelings about the issue, were deleted from the transcripts of the Talks when they were circulated at the time we were dealing with this very question: Had the Mother accepted the changes? Like Gazette Aurovilliene this selective editing is another example of the sort of willful deception I am exposing. These crucial passages were released and published only in June of 1981, long after those changes had been made concrete. On my part, I have sustained from the very beginning exactly what the Mother had sustained before me. The Appendices we are presenting in the Supplement to this issue are the proof, as well as the three volumes of The New Way. I believed in the beginning that pure logic and higher knowledge, not to speak of devotion to the Mother, would hold sway and oblige the builders to see the rightness of this issue. But that was not the case at all: the more we sought to have the plan rectified, the more resistance sprang up – until finally, by 1977, rectification became impossible.
Well and good. But insofar as the architects and residents of Auroville
knew the issues then, had access to all the information required to help them decide what the Mother wanted, and yet they preferred to go the way of the exaltation of the ego of the instrument, why do they now bother at all to mention the question of ‘exact dimensions’ in their statements to the public?
First of all, as mentioned previously, it is to counteract my position regarding the changes; and secondly, perhaps the critical juncture Auroville has reached is the cause.
In November of 1980, the Government of India took over the project due to disputes between two factions over control, with the stipulation that after a certain number of years, once the problems had been sorted out, the Government would hand over the management of the project to those it considered fit to administrate its affairs. The time of that decisive hand-over has now been reached, therefore it would seem that the increased spate of disinformation concerning Matrimandir is an attempt to convince the Government, and the people of India to whom sacred geometry and sacred architecture are of great importance, that all is well, that my contentions are false, that the dimensions are exact ‘to the millimetre’.
But all is far from well. In November, 1980, I found myself obliged to make a recorded statement to the Government in the form of a petition. The issue then was the very one we are discussing here: disinformation on the part of the architect in charge, Piero Cicionesi. Not only was it a blatant case of misrepresentation of facts, it was also a gross interference in one of my own publications.
That petition and the points it raised are still valid today. Better than anything else, it can give sincere seekers an idea of the forces we are dealing with in our work. Therefore the editors of VISHAAL are presenting the entire petition as Appendix 3 in the Supplement to this issue.
A far more truthful attitude on the part of the builders of Matrimandir would be to dismiss the question of measurements entirely. They have proven time and again that they have no regard for such matters; their only concern is their own experience. Let them admit this openly and stop seeking to dupe the public. But the fact that they do not do so carries this matter into another dimension altogether. It concerns deception, duplicity, falsehood – lying, plain and simple. And when followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother now face the prospect of Auroville being placed in the hands of these elements, the question is no longer an ‘esoteric’ one. The Matrimandir lost its true sacredness in 1976; that can no longer be retrieved. The issue now at stake is truth or falsehood, in the most human terms, at the most basic level. To pretend that a new world can arise out of an Auroville which is lorded over by a consciousness that sees no harm in duping the public, willfully and calculatedly, is to deceive oneself pathetically.
In the constricted space of the old consciousness, can we discuss ‘truth’ at all? The old creation is described by the theory of relativity. There is no objective truth within the boundaries of the mental creation. Everything depends on where observation is made and positions shift constantly on unstable foundations laid in sand, – just like the shifting opinions we were forced to deal with in our fruitless efforts of those former times. It is this mental prison that made the Mother declare unequivocally that the architects’ changes were ‘all mental’, only a consciousness equal to hers had any right to introduce changes.
If Auroville had remained ‘the only hope’, matters would be bleak, to say the least. And so, we give thanks to the Supreme for Truth and Light and Power and Knowledge, for clarity of vision and the courage to live it daily. We thank God for these things that do live on and are victorious, for the ‘true and recognised centre’ and the new creation that arises from that pure Seed. We do give thanks for the New Way.
‘Skambha’, April 1988
N.B. The three Appendices to this article can be found in the Supplement for this issue, under separate cover.