[India] Auroville vs Las Vegas, the unlikely comparison

*this article is based on a short stay in both cities

2 deserts, 2 crazy projects

Builing a city

In one side, there is a will of building a society based on entertainment, luxury, debauchery and lust… In this space, money is king and there is only one king. Every member of the society is obsessed by a common goal: getting richer and richer while everyone knows that dies are loaded and it is always the same ones that get richer…

In this city of Nevada, growth is made at all costs. It is mandatory to make it bigger and bigger and without taking into account the resources which are needed to achieve it. Doesn’t matter if it is necessary to pump more water every day from ground water… Doesn’t matter if the city is lighten night and day… Doesn’t matter!

In the other side, there is a city created in the 70’s ; result of thoughts initiated many years before by Sri Aurobindo and the one who supported him: “the mother”. This society puts human being in the center and takes up to look for human unity (in accordance with the environment).

In Auroville, individual worth would have a greater importance than that material wealth and social standing. Over there, human relationships will not be exclusively based on competition and strife. More important will be the creation of relationships in doing well. Actually, work would not be a way to earn one’s living but a way to express oneself and to develop one’s capacities and possibilities while being of service to the community as a whole. A dream!

This unlikely (even absurd) comparison came to me when we arrived in Auroville. While cycling on the red land of Auroville, it was difficult to understand enthusiasm around Las Vegas. How is it possible to admire a society where individualism is number one, where community has been abolished?! From which moment in the human history, men decided to praise to the skies such a philosophy to the cost of simple and human relations?

Of course, Auroville is a project which is more complex than it looks like and one has to stay longer to understand everything. But why always put disgrace on such approach? Why should we hear the word “sect”? Why should we make it insignificant when everyone is free to express himself, express his talents without harming environment?

Anyway, for us, few days in Auroville, with open eyes and hearts, it is:

An eco-movie festival to attend

Discovering for instance a movie about Nicobar Island (Andman archipalego) - Nicobar, a long way... - after the tsunami in 2004. Wondering for more than one hour about humanitary help - the good sides of course but also the bad sides. How humanitary help can change and impact a local situation and culture?!

By the same occasion, it is a private meeting with the movie maker Rrivu Laha for the next 2 days as he was staying in the same guesthouse than us. What a chance to talk about the movie in detail, understand the making-off, the different aspects… all around a chai masala 🙂


A reforestation project to discover : Sadhana Forest

Sadhana Forest has been created 15 years ago in a desert. The goal of Aviram and his family was to build a forest in a devastated place by climate changes of course but also by the negative influences of successive colonies. French and British removed all the virgin forest to grow cashew nuts… Full of patience, Sadhana forest developed thanks to support of indian and international volunteers. Today, the forest starts to be impressive and volunteers come from all over the world to learn reforestation techniques, water conservation, waste management and more simply community life… More than 9000 volunteers already contributed in this project… Wahou! How it is finally possible to enrich oneself as soon as one offers what he has and knows to offer…

A self-sufficient community life to wonder

In a world where we consume in such a crazy and blind way, it is interesting to sit down few minutes and think about our daily impact. What about a life based on elements which are straight around us (food, materials, sun, wind, rain, etc). And when some of the elements are missing, start to wander how it would be possible to get them locally in a sustainable way…

Finally, for dew days, reduce the speed and enjoy nature… relax and eat organic, healthy products. Become conscious of our power as a human being, just with our actions… and understand that union is the strength. If you want to go fast, go alone... If you want to go far, go together.

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