Stories of Auroville - Tim

As an Aurovilian one is often asked ‘How did you come to Auroville?’, in my case I am tempted to reply with the famous title of the book of Isak Dinesen ‘Out of Africa’. My wife and I had decided to take one year sabbatical with our two children to set out and travel through Africa to Johannesburg, ship ourselves across the Indian Ocean to Bombay and see parts of India and Nepal before returning to London. We were on the road with a converted Land-Rover, which was almost a self-sufficient home on wheels.
After setting over to India one of our destinations was ‘the new vibrating Auroville’ as recommended by a close friend in London, who had never been there but his sensitive nature clearly saw something. He was in hindsight Mother’s first instrument, because his guidance had spoken directly to something within us which such strength that we really stuck to this plan. The roads were bad, driving was increasingly tied, it was a real strain to drive safely in India. After a stop in Goa we reached Auroville on the 15th March 1973.
From Pondicherry directed out on a dirt track leading into the heart of the countryside, and the came heat and dirt kilometer after kilometer. At some point we were convinced that we had taken the wrong direction as ahead only lay a lone construction site and one tree. As we approached it a terrible noise came from the engine and our car stopped, for the first time in 25,000 km.

I couldn’t imagine a worse situation to be in but what happened next was incredible. When I went over to the nearby builduings the first man I spoke to was a westerner introducing himself as Jack Alexander.
I said ‘we are looking for Auroville’, ‘this is Auroville’ he replied. I answered ‘No I mean the city of Auroville’. He said ‘You’re in the city, although it is not yet build, you are in the very heart of the city area.’
During the next days I worked hard on getting the vehicle repaired but meanwhile we spend a lot of time working on the Matrimandir and helping in the kitchen. Perhaps because we had travelled through some sixteen countries, making friendly contact with so many people with different nations and cultures, we were also interested in the ideal of human unity in diversity that talked about. We were ripe for Auroville, all that it stood for and had to offer. The result was that we did not rush away but stay on and learn more about the project. We also got interested in seeing the Mother. Through several people we got a letter to the Mother and she invited us to join a group for a birthday darshan on March 25th.

The day came and it was a BIG DAY! After reaching the Ashram and climbing some stairs we lined up to enter Mother’s room. I am not specifically sensitive but I immediately noticed a strong and beautiful atmosphere inside the room. I had the distinct feeling of being in the presence of someone extraordinary, someone more than just an ordinary human being. It was my turn to go to her. I was in a daze, but I knelt with my forehead on the material of her garments on the edge of her chair. As I did so I felt Mother’s hand gently touch my head, then assuming that this was it I took the blessing packet stood up and went towards the door. After two steps something made me look again at Mother and I saw that she had mover her head and followed me with her eyes as I moved away. That is the moment that I felt that my bond with her was made.
I was going down the stairs in a state of utter peace, as though walking on air, conscious of nothing but a surging aspiration to improve myself and be worthy of Mother and what she had just given me. I felt that Mother had in fact given me the strength and determination to follow the path and reach the goal.
We stayed seven weeks in all to also experience Mother’s Balcony Darshan in April, the after visiting Nepal, returned overland to Europe via Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.

By the time we reached our home in London we had done over 40,000 km and had our passport stamped by 25 countries, but most important was the stamp on our hearts and psyche made by The Mother and Auroville. As we left Auroville to begin our long journey back to the UK, I had felt that we were actually leaving home, a home to which I wanted to return.
With Mother’s help I finally did in 1977, but this time ‘out of England’.