Here’s a report from Rakhal (from France) who is a long-time co-facilitator of the introduction program for newcomers, and now co-facilitates the Yucca Program for AV newcomers with new Aurovilians Ramya (from nearby village Kuilyapalayam) & Palma (from Hungary).
Welcoming Newcomers to Auroville
The City of Dawn has become attractive, and for many reasons. And while the “essence” of Auroville is eternal, its development has evolved and flourished in all kinds of unexpected and creative ways over the years. Parallel with this growth, there has been the need to welcome newcomers in a more supportive way and provide them with a sort of “compass” in line with Auroville’s essential purpose.
Starting in November 2009, the “Aspiration” program of 6 days was organised 41 times for a total of 690 newcomers. This program became so appreciated by the newcomers and the community that it was decided to inscribe in the new Entry Policy, and since November 2017 these sessions have become a pre-requisite for joining Auroville.
Now called the “Yucca Program” (for the yucca flower which The Mother named “Initiation”) newcomer sessions are held every month. In 18 months, 376 newcomers have benefited from it – a rate 3 times higher than during the preceding 9 years!
The most recent sessions included newcomers from Spain, France, Tamil Nadu and other Indian States, Iran, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Italy, the USA, Russia, Israel, Nepal and Hong Kong. The youngest member was not quite 19, the eldest 45 or 50. These are some comments from the participants on the last day of the most recent April program:
“It helped me feel welcome from the community at large… it also helped me explore more deeply the true purpose of being here.”
“It helps me integrate with the community and the underlying vision of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother of human unity and continuity of evolution of consciousness and life on Earth.”
“… Developing the calm in myself and the search for the psychic being.”
“… New things like City planning, I even was not interested in before that caught me completely.”
“… And have a focus on what is calling me really inside. Surrender, trust.”
“It has begun my journey outside of the social sphere in which I have become comfortable during my time in Auroville to date.”
“Even though I have been in Auroville for many years, during these 3 days I have learnt a lot which is very interesting and useful.”
But perhaps the most important part is the concrete atmosphere of togetherness and the gratitude of everyone present, including of the organisers. This we clearly owed to the presence of The Mother, answering our aspiration to welcome and call for Auroville in each of us through this program. In every one of these sessions, we have repeatedly had the perception that it is The Mother who is welcoming the Newcomers – all these people who want to generously participate in the Great Adventure that is Auroville... It looks like The Mother “enjoys” greeting Auroville’s Newcomers.