Community Life / Spirituality

A Short Guide to the Matrimandir

Let the Matrimandir be the living symbol of Auroville’s aspiration for the Divine.

The Mother, 21 February 1971

Many visitors come each year to see the Matrimandir, the golden globe which sits at the centre of our emerging township. Are you planning to visit, or just curious to know more about the meaning and purpose of this beautiful building? We have compiled the basics on the Matrimandir here for you. If you are interested to know more after reading this article, please have a look at the different books that have been written about the Matrimandir over the years, which you can find here. 

The Temple of the Mother

At the very centre of Auroville one finds the ‘Soul of Auroville’, the Matrimandir. From the outside, it looks like a large golden sphere which seems to be emerging out of the earth, symbolizing the birth of a new consciousness. The Mother has often spoken of the importance of the Matrimandir as the physical and energetic focal point of the City. Today, the Matrimandir is the space where Aurovilians gather to learn concentration, to go inward, and to be supported and inspired by this very special environment. 

The name ‘Matrimandir’ literally means ‘Temple of the Mother’. According to Sri Aurobindo’s teaching, the Mother stands for the great evolutionary, conscious and intelligent principle of Life, which seeks to help humanity evolve beyond its present limitations. Despite its name however, the Matrimandir is not a temple in the traditional sense; you will not see any offerings or rites when you come to visit. Instead, it is a place of silence where each individual makes their own offering to the Divine through the practice of concentration. 

The Inner Chamber

If you find the time to book a tour, you will be able to visit the Inner Chamber at the core of the Matrimandir. This spacious, white room is dedicated to complete silence – you might be able to hear a pin drop, if it wasn’t for the thick white carpet beneath your feet. The Inner Chamber has a small opening high in the ceiling, through which a beam of sunlight comes down. The light directly hits the crystal globe that rests in the centre of the room. Meditators are illumined by a soft glow, of which Mother has said:

‘The most important thing is this: the play of the sun on the centre. Because that becomes the symbol, the symbol of future realisations’

The sunlight from the top is guided all the way through the Matrimandir, down into the lotus pond that rests underneath it. The light represents the descent of the Divine Force. 

If you want to have a sneak peak of the Inner Chamber or you did not find the time to book a tour, please see this short walk-through video. 

The Petals, Gardens, and Banyan Tree 

At the base, the Matrimandir holds 12 small meditation rooms that represent a different quality of the Mother. These ‘Petals’ each breathe a different atmosphere by changes in colour and design, to help the meditator focus on that specific quality. In turn, the Petals are surrounded by 12 gardens, some of which are still under construction. Each Garden is designed to bring out a different experience and we really recommend that you take the time to explore the beautiful Gardens in silence. 

Finally, one very important feature of the Matrimandir Gardens is the Banyan Tree, which is the original centre point of Auroville chosen by the Mother. For a long time, it was the place where community meetings were held. 

If you would like to visit the Matrimandir, please find out more here.

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