I had the distinct feeling of being in the presence of someone extraordinary, someone more than just an ordinary human being.
“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 making it to India, one of our destinations was ‘the new vibrating Auroville’, as recommended by a close friend in London. He 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, with 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, we were directed out towards Auroville on a dirt track leading into the heart of the countryside; kilometre after kilometre of heat and dirt. 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 of our car and it stopped, for the first time in 25,000 km, right next to the Banyan tree.
I couldn’t imagine a worse situation to be in, to have the car break down in the middle of nowhere. But what happened next was incredible. When I went over to the nearby buildings, 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, and we spent a lot of time working on the Matrimandir and helping in the kitchen. Perhaps because we had traveled through sixteen countries, making friendly contact with so many different people, we were so interested in the ideal of human unity in diversity that was talked about. We were ripe for Auroville, all that it stood for and had to offer. Because of that, we did not rush away but stayed on to learn more about the project. We learned about the Mother, and finally, we were invited to join a birthday darshan on March 25th.
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 to be worthy of Mother and what she had just given me. I felt that Mother had given me the strength and determination to follow the path, and reach the goal.”
This is an excerpt from the book ‘Turning Points’ by Auroville Press.
To read more about Tim’s journey, have a look at the book here.