Saturday, January 28, 2012

Part III: What the Builders of the Auroville Matrimandir Did Not Understand

[This is Part III of The Chronicles of the Inner Chamber; readers of this series may first want to read the blog's 'Introduction' and the Matrimandir Action Committee's 'Manifesto',  Part I - Preface, or Part II before continuing.]

Entering the Chamber  
In the January 1992 issue of Auroville Today, there is an interview featured prominently with the executing architect/engineer of the Auroville Matrimandir, Piero Cicionesi. It is an English translation of the original Italian published in the Ashram journal, Domani.  PC makes the following statement:
‘When the Mother spoke to us about the project, she told us that the important thing was that the symbols and the sphere with the sun ray upon it should be in their right place…therefore, the immense effort of architects and engineers and workers to create the structure has been nothing but a preparation for the realisation of the room according to Mother’s vision. The existing structure has been made with the maximum respect for Mother’s vision, as transcribed by Udar, an Ashram engineer. His drawing still exists and it contains the measurements of the Chamber. The room today is as faithful to the original design as it can possibly be. Only one thing couldn’t be respected: the under-ground entrance with direct access to the room at ground level. In the final project, this particular aspect has been lost due to the room being 15 metres above ground level in the middle of the sphere….’
This sounds reasonable and honest. But let us analyse carefully this statement and contrast it with other statements, as well as with facts on the ground.
          In so doing, it will become clear that from the very beginning there was no real intention of following the Mother’s directives as given during the 18 days of her discussions with Satprem and Paolo. For it is to those discussions that PC refers, since there is no other record where the Mother makes mention of the sphere, the ray playing upon it, accurate measurements, and so forth. Before proceeding, note that in this same issue of Auroville Today, in the ‘Chronology of Mother’s Construction’, page 3, the dates go from 31.12.1969 (before the Mother had her Vision) to March 1970 with the presentation of Roger’s designs. Those precious, historical 18 days, when the Mother explained and defended her Vision and handed Satprem and Paolo her plan, are eliminated. They just do not exist for Auroville and its followers.
          It would therefore appear from this interview that the executing architect made every possible effort to create the Chamber of the Mother’s original vision, using Udar Pinto’s drawing as his guide. 
          In this Chronicle, we will take up just one aspect of PC’s statement for analysis to demonstrate that, 1) there was never any intention of following her directives with accuracy, professionalism and sincerity, and 2) there has been a deliberate campaign to convince the public – and perhaps the community of Aurovilleans themselves - that it was all ‘according to the Mother’s original plan’.
          Consider the statement in a Publisher’s Note of the German translation of The Gnostic Circle (Fischer Verlag, 1977, first edition 18,000 copies), by the same person. In The Gnostic Circle the author’s text  on page 256 reads:

(Translated from the German): ‘It must be mentioned here that it is getting clearer and clearer that the measurements and the plan given by the Mother are not being followed accurately in the construction. All the arrangements and dimensions we speak of here are, however, taken from the original plan the Mother had drawn up by an Ashram engineer, and her recorded talks about her vision-experience of the Temple which already exists on the subtle plane and is influencing ours.’

          Below is the Publisher’s Note by the editor in charge of the edition for Fischer Verlag, Ms Crystal Falk, with a statement from the architect regarding this text: 

(Translated from the German) ‘During the last supervision of the manuscript  before printing on 14.6.1977, the master builders of Matrimandir who are presently in Europe to get the marble for the Inner Chamber, have categorically stated that after some technical discussions the construction is now going to be done exactly according to the measurements and instructions of the original plan which the Mother had drawn up by the above-mentioned Ashram engineer [Udar Pinto]. For some time this appeared uncertain because of structural difficulties in building the outer supporting construction of Matrimandir, which required a spherical shape.’
When the book was released and this outrageous falsehood was discovered as a ‘Publisher’s Note’, without the author’s knowledge or consent, the publisher Fischer Verlag then agreed to make amends for the liberty taken by the person in charge, Crystal Falk, and print a corrigendum to be included in each copy.
           Receiving this news, the executing architect immediately sent the following letter to the Publisher. It is reproduced here in order to show the manner in which the Auroville letterhead and symbol are abused, sullied. For those who do not know German, the translation follows:

(8.4.1978) ‘It has come to my attention that the additional correcting Editor’s Note (page 256) referring to the Matrimandir construction in Auroville, is to be removed by Fischer Verlag. As the executing architect of the Matrimandir, I wish to repeat that said note absolutely conforms to truth and therefore has to remain in the book. In case Fischer Verlag really removes the Note, I should be obliged and forced to institute legal proceedings against the Verlag.’ (Signed) Piero Cicionesi

This transpired in the fall of 1977 and spring of 1978. But already by 1975-76, two years earlier, the construction had reached the point of no return. Two items in particular were fixed for all time and could no longer be changed, the two that the executing architect knew were in the original plan and would never find their way into the Chamber he was constructing in Auroville, even as he issued this statement. One was, of course, the entrance by way of a 15-step stairway, emerging into the room through an opening in the floor.
           This was given with great precision in the Mother’s original plan and further clarified in the 18-day discussions, when the disciple and the Italian architect, Paolo Tomasi, simply refused to take the Mother seriously about her desired entryway. 
What is significant to note is that at the very time the executing architect was issuing his statement to the Verlag while in Europe, his wife and fellow architect, Gloria, together with Matrimandir Workers, circulated an Open Letter in which they enumerate ALL THE CHANGES THAT WERE MADE compared to the Mother’s original! On the one hand he claims that NO CHANGES WERE MADE and the original is being followed in every detail since the ‘structural difficulties’ had been solved, while his wife and co-workers reveal just the contrary in their Open Letter. Which statement is true? We shall proceed to find out.
          PC knew at the time of issuing his threat of legal action to the Publisher, on Auroville stationary, that his statement was false. And fifteen years down the line (1992), he admits what he knowingly lied about then, - that the entry to the Chamber of the Mother’s original Vision could not be executed because of ‘structural difficulties’ – those very same ‘difficulties’ that had been ‘resolved’, according to his statement in the German The Gnostic Circle.
          This is an example of the deliberate efforts made over the years to hide the truth, to convince the public that it is indeed the Mother’s Vision that stands in Auroville. These Chronicles, one after another, will finally expose the lies.

What was lost
Let us now return to the Mother’s Vision and try to appreciate why she designed the entry in the manner she did and what the Knowledge states to confirm the perfection of her Seeing.
          Positioning of the entry into a temple, or any important edifice, is held to be extremely important in India, one of the very few countries in the world where sacred architecture is still practised, as it was throughout the ancient world. This passageway sets the tone for the entire experience of the aspirant thereafter. On this basis the rest of the Harmony unfolds. Therefore, if the first experience and the impact it produces is flawed, it can safely be said that the rest of the experience will be affected significantly.
          In a remarkable manner, the Mother captured almost the entire store of Vedic wisdom just by the 15-step stairway ascending into the Chamber from below – a rise into the room. She specified in her original plan that this passageway was to be positioned south, at a precise location in the floor. None of this was left to chance; all details were covered. There was no room for guessing or improvisation.
          Let us retract a bit and view this passageway within the entire structure. The Mother located the entrance into the temple itself according to the position of the rising Sun on April 4
th. This would correspond to approximately the 14th degree of the Sun’s apparent motion along the ecliptic, beginning at 0 degree Aries on the March Equinox. This indicates that the entire structure has an orientation based on the four Cardinal Points. Already we note a correspondence with Vedic culture in no uncertain terms.
This section of the ecliptic, the December Solstice and the shortest day of the year, is called Uttarayana in India, or the northernmost gateway. It is entrance into the North Cardinal Pole of the ecliptic and is held as the most sacred of all to this day. The entire nation continues to pay homage to this yearly passage on Makar Sankranti (Pongal, in Tamil Nadu), though the timing is woefully incorrect (by 23 days), and most do not understand its profound meaning and supporting knowledge. We find it revered even in the ancient Rig Veda where that ‘tenth month’ (Makar/Capricorn) is the period of victory of the Aryan Warrior.
          In all ancient cultures the December Solstice was known as the Festival of Light, because from that shortest day of the year the light begins to increase. Insofar as the focus of the Chamber is a descending solar ray, this solar experience of increase and effulgence is emphasised throughout the structure.

          The Mother honoured the ancient Vedic tradition in this way, specifically creating the entrance in such a manner that the aspirant would see the descending Ray throughout his/her rise into the Chamber, on the backdrop of this sacred most Uttarayana. For in the Mother’s words, ‘Each facet [of the 12 walls] represents a month of the year.’ (The Matrimandir Talks)
          This is the tone set for the Chamber that was to resonate throughout the being of the aspirant; indeed, throughout the world like expanding ripples in the sea of the Earth-consciousness. The North Pole, or the tenth month/facet of the Chamber, encapsulates the entire destiny of India. It is the point on the ecliptic of the soul of the Earth, which is geographically located in India. This is the ‘note’ sounded throughout the entire Chamber, according to the Mother’s Vision, and confirmed in each aspect of the room.
          Because of this centre/soul connection, when the precision the Mother sought is honoured, then via the traditional Laws of Correspondence and Equivalence associated with Vedic Knowledge, everything she established in her plan is extended beyond the confines of not only Auroville and India but to the whole world. Without the required ‘precision’ no such connections are made. Above all, and this is what the builders of the Auroville Matrimandir do not understand, a revelation of this highest order depends for its success on a precision that is implemented on the basis of wholeness, a discernible thread weaving throughout the plan and design. In the original, this consistency of knowledge exists. It does not exist in the Auroville Matrimandir. The first mistake was having changed the entrance into the Chamber. It did indeed set the tone for all the changes that followed, together with all the attempts to make the Chamber appear as ‘faithful to the original’, when in fact this was never possible.
          Apart from the knowledge content captured in the 15-step rise into the Chamber, there is the visual impact to consider, as well as the attitude engendered in the aspirant through this approachway. It is an act of reverence to enter the Chamber beneath the Core (pedestal and globe/ray) rather than on the same level and towering above. Insofar as the Ray is visible during the entire ascent into the room, (‘… On voyait le rayon…’), the aspirant has his vision squarely on the descending shaft of Light, from top to bottom where it meets the globe and fills it with an effulgent luminosity.
What was ‘gained’

In the Auroville Matrimandir the experience is entirely different. There are two entrances in what appears to be through the east and west walls. This indicates the opposite to the soul connection of her original plan and its single south entry from below.
          According to the Knowledge, it is only the north month/facet that affords an entry to the soul point, for both the aspirant and the world. All men and women of wisdom know this. Therefore it is held as the most auspicious time of the year, the most sacred of all the months. It is this month (facet) that Krishna extolled in the Bhagavad Gita as ‘the best of all’. It is this day, the December Solstice, that Bhisma chose for his passing, as the Mahabharat informs us; indeed, as the very day the Epic begins. Throughout the culture, throughout the Scriptures this period is elevated above all others. And this is what the Mother captured in her design. She did not wish to eliminate that tradition but rather to enhance it, to elevate it to greater heights.
          Because those who received this treasure lacked this Knowledge, for all times it must stand that what has been constructed IN THE MOTHER’S NAME, lacks this profound sense. The revised model enhances, rather, the ego. This is because the UNITARY poise is lost by the dual entry. What is enforced is the BINARY CREATION; that is, a creation orbiting a void at the centre. A creation strung up on the cross of atavism and nailed to the sex centre.
          Indeed, this is the definition of the human ego: a consciousness in orbit of a void. The soul is lacking as a unitary support through which the individual remains always in contact with the Source of Fullness and not emptiness. Indeed, we have that very symbolism reproduced in the AMM where the crystal is transparent, empty and dark. Contrast this with the luminous globe of the Mother’s Vision. 

In this manner it is shown how unless ALL items of the Vision are incorporated, beginning with the south floor entrance rising into the Chamber, the remaining elements will conform to that deviation. And so it has been, as we will note through these Chronicles, item after item. The point is, we cannot tolerate that these deviations, which lack any higher knowledge content, continue to be called ‘The Mother’s Vision’. They must be acknowledged for what they are: an architect’s improvisations, which he is determined to hide from the public. He must be asked why.  
(See the following diagrams, taken from The New Way, Volume 2, pp. 196 & 198,
Aeon Books, 1981).

Matrimandir Action Committee

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