the magic of India
Auroville, Matrimandir and
the crystal orb
visionary mysticism delusion on cosmic scale – Thanks to Paolo Tommasi it's just like paradise in the land of long hugs and Cosmic Signs

City of Dawn

"The Matrimandir wants to be the symbol
of the Divine's answer to man's aspiration for perfection. Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive human unity. The Matrimandir wants to be the symbol of the Universal Mother according to Sri Aurobindo's teaching." 


Auroville, like Mickey-Ganesh, is heavy on symbolism, light on meaning –– more is less
Auroville shrine entrails
Big Lingham: Orb Energy sustained, holding to be one with the Universe in Auroville
Crystal Ball
made in Deutschland by Zeiss in Oberkochen for money –– love played no role in its fabrication but now ordained to guide the future. Costing more than a quarter of a million DM the Matrimandir Orb is the largest man made glass sphere fabricated to date. A suitable trinket to catch the eye, and transfix one's gaze –– orient a movement.

Orb Energy: The Mysterious Architect Paolo Tommasi had a vision as most architects do. To rebuild society to conform to the design of the builder is in evidence, yet another experiment for adherents to gather around to tout a new way of seeing, beholding –– being.

In the land of temples,
no movement is obtained without a proper shrine to focus the mind and spirit to action.


sanctioned by UNESCO charter The Egalitarian Meritocracy endures, ah, but to be white helps

Auroville shining city crop circle
Auroville crop circle, Galactic Interface,
Auroville vision, scale is everything.
Minimalism taken to the level of Kitsch

The experimental colony plunked down just north of Pondicherry has been in the act of becoming since February 28, 1968. For 35 years the expats have survived without a swimming pool, forced to swim in the ocean, but with the growth curve and influx of devoted lovers of anything mystical, Matrimandir the Temple, and Auroville are slated for more growth; the ideal is stated in the plans, a galactic sprawl of a city–state on the model of Brasilia must hold to the plan as architects and planners are determined to create the paragon of planned expropriation for an expat's refuge from the Sturm und Drang -- a harbor in the storm.
The orb floats on the scape like a terribly outsized puff ball mushroom, yellow and latticed “Just like a Buckyball” the orb is a bucky-ball but with a spin, Its thematic fantasy is a lotus blossom to take up a half mile of space. Within the buckey ball is a manufactured crystal orb. The Zeiss crystal, largest in the world (costing 230,000 DM) sits in a sky-lit white room in the temple-core. As far as I can determine, the sole function of this space is to house this man made glass ball. This is a religious experience for those adherents to Swami Aurobindo's teachings. As ardent temple goers, innocent Indians visit the shrine by the bus load, they queue in long lines to file up the ramped approach and on up the ramped interior in darkened corridors to the viewing room. One files by to peep into the sacred room in which the Matrimandir crystal orb levitates ––– one is allowed to pause and see the magic for, perhaps, one second before one is shuttled out to be thrust back to earth again. The Indians, used to real temples, appear a bit confused as they pass out of the bowels of the Buckeyball to be disgourged back into the light of the day. "Was there a there there? I'm not sure, I didn't get a good look.".
While the colony grows with more expats and the children of expats and the friends of the expats and the children's children, the community has a quality of a closed camp of privilege–– a compound where the hired help commute to labor in the villas and grounds of the colonialists. The whites live in royal splendor while the darkies work in the fields all day. Not far from the vision of the Raj 150 years ago, where the darkies labored, a pliant privileged few become clerks and tallymen to serve, symbolically, as chocolate sprinkles on the whipped cream of a banana split.
The pool controversy serves well, metaphorically, as a concrete symbol for the paradox of Auroville. Its origional mission, to bring the Indian into the international realm as a player on the world stage through spiritual awareness has been eclipsed by pomp and circumstance, intrigue and favor. The meritocracy has blossomed into another animal, turgid and elitist.
It levitates on the dry plane. On a hazy horizon the specter looms large, Matrimandir the temple, is a Geodesic Dome of concrete, sprinkled with gold shields –– out scale. Red earth parched and pounded, most of which scraped into the sea bodes of an unlikely place for paradise.
Welcome to Auroville in Tamilnadu, India, the land of Long Hugs where the magic never ends and meditation solves all disparity between the haves and have-nots. As an Expat from Europe, Australia or the US you will find a niche to explore your metaphysics; tolerance and wealth live in harmony at Auroville –– it usually does.
When I visited the experiment created with money taken from Indian people to spawn an International Community, the main buzz was the coming swimming pool for the Aurovillains. The cost in rupees and the need for a full fledged resort would not be complete without a pool as a locus of leisure -- the temple was for the pilgrim tourists. The pool was to be located about fifty meters from the crunch of surf on Bay of Bengal. Tropical, humid and flat the country is depleted, its people have demanded too much for centuries. Climate and terrain, have conspired with overuse, the results are grooved wadis and gulches lowering the already precarious water table washing productive soils to the fishes.
From the center, in the bowels of Matrimandir on a perfect seance one might divine the psychic needs of the inner circle. As the chosen ones gather around the oversized glass sphere, beachball size and pearlesent, the elders might divine whether to pool or not to pool. In the middle of a very dry season the politics of swimming pools seemed to take most of the expat energy.
Auroville is surrounded by tribals living in subsistence enclaves as they have done for centuries, The Aurovillians have forced a money economy upon the native. The growth of Auroville has depleted resources and the water table adding to unrest among the natives. Just before my arrival a tribal was killed by an Aurovillain while burgling a vacant villa -- tensions were high. An elder of Auroville was stabbed by an unseen assailant just prior to my arrival. Restive natives have divided the expats into factions sensitive to the consumption of resources and those wishing to push the envelope of paradise.

Auroville: Orb Energy with Crystal Orb
Orb Energy: The Crystal Orb
is 70 cm in diameter, about the size of a beach ball. This sphere does not levitate as many have suggested but sits on a gold plate base in the womb of the Buckyball. The effect is theatrically mystical, with light and mirrors adding to the effect. Close to a Los Vegas Night Club act, the Orb is to be seen by the viewer for a fraction of a second from a distance, then one is moved on to file out of the dome. Visiting is allowed on sunny days only, as Geodesic domes are famous for leaks; a leaking temple does not bode well for the purveyors of a mystical notion (to believe is to understand) designed to last a thousand years.

Sources say
, Sai Baba, the Avatar is soon to be onboard the movement. With his karisma, powers of miracle making and vibuthi production, all is well . . .

There really must be something done about the temple leaks before Sai Baba arrives, He's a 24/7 kinda-a-guy when it come to miracles, "a waterlogged temple is not good for business."

Private Seance By the Select

The inner sanctum of Auroville Culture gathers in select groups to gaze upon the Orb for enlightenment and guidance divining their cosmic role in the order of our universe. This is done exclusively by the ones deemed worthy by dint of supplication to the Inner Order, just like the Mormons in their temple.



The Mother's Temple is the field of the "Third" in the Supramental Line, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet, who, through an extensive knowledge of Vedic Cosmology, has unveiled the Mother's precious secret and given it to the world. She has reconstructed the Mother's original temple plan in her book, "The New Way", and explains the ancient cosmological formulas contained in its architecture. Embedded in its structure and measurements is a new knowledge, beyond both science and spirituality, one which promises to reconcile them both into a fully integrated synthesis. A "New Way" which will allow for a collective experience entirely different from anything the world has ever known.

The Dalai Lama Visits Auroville

Visiting dignitary, the Esteemed Dalai Lama of Dharamsala has visited Auroville's many peoples. The Dalai Lama visits in many places, all of which are precious moments with the Dalai Lama.
He, the Dalai Lama being but one Buddhist among many Buddhists in McLeod Ganj –– he is the autocrat-democrat of McLeod Ganj.


Celestial Signs appear after dark,
"unknown knowns are known unknowns that have been forgotten"

The Indian, in reality has moved beyond into the material. Having chutzpah and moxie, the Indian has used education and hard work in place of spiritual succor to a higher power. A new species is born but without being drawn through the vortex of the Golden Orb of Auroville. The Auro - villains are genetic white noise, a fifth flipper, a vestigial something left from another age.

If one visits the Auroville website there is evidence of much conjecture into the locus of sacred and profane notions of reality a la Auroville. Notions of overwhelming force within the buckeyball and the glass orb creates a blessed space for the select to gather to receive revelations much like the Mormon Temple, Matrimandir relies on unmeasured testimonials and pseudo science to create an aura of profound confusion or enlightenment, either way the palace intrigue is palpable.

I left Auroville before the swimming pool fiasco was decided, however I would expect the pro-pool people won the day as they were blessed by seniority. To have their way is important -- their grandchildren would not have to tiptoe through the mine field of human coprolites (hardened shit left by the tribals) to get to the beach for a swim. The fruits of their labor will lower the water table just a little more.

Epilogue: If less is more, it follows, more is less. If less is more and more is less, then one could also postulate, less is less and more is more. Subjectivity is a naughty web of conjecture.

Gus O. Kahan

Temple Orb, Auroville
Golden Orb of Matrimandir fully engaged in evening Vibhuti production
copyright Scari©2003
all rights reserved Scari.Org

More Murder
in Paradise

Auroville is just another garden of good and evil (soap opera and passion play) there are forces in Auroville unreconciled to the utopian ideals fostered by the Auroville Manifesto. Passions flare when displacement from one's home and sustenance is part of the price of cosmic perfection in the unity of beings all over the world.



From the Hindu

Monday, Feb 02, 2004

Tamil Nadu

Dutch national found dead at Auroville
By Our Special Correspondent
VILLUPURAM, FEB. 1. A Dutch national, Sytze Douwe Van Loo (39), was found dead at his residence at Auroville, Udumbu, near here today.
The police suspect he was attacked with sharp weapons in the head and arms. The phone had stains of blood and things were found scattered all over.
A special police team and forensic experts rushed to the spot. The township of Auroville will remain closed to all visitors for three days from tomorrow. The working committee, Auroville Foundation, said the Matrimandir and the Visitors' Reception Centre would also remain closed on these days. Mr. Sytze Douwe Van Loo had been living in Auroville since 1996. The Dutch Embassy in New Delhi and the Dutch Consulates in Chennai and Mumbai have been informed of the incident





Live the Truth of Tomorrow
Indian Maiden, Auroville

native in habitat
auroville native

Native Aurovillian Tribal with celebratory garb in habitat. Margaret Mead would be flummoxed by this indigenous tribal of Tamil Nadu. If Franz Boaz were to behold this enclave, his entire lifes work would be undone. It can only be guessed what Zora Neale Hurston might spin of the passions of Auroville; a combination of the Gilded Six Bits and Go Tell My Horse.


Auroville Tsunami

















































































































































































Note: This case is not so well known as the Ramakrishna Mission and Arya Samaj petitions. When the Central Government set up a probe to enquire into reports of mismanagement and diversion of govt. funds by Sri Aurobindo Society, the society sought minority status from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court dismissing the petition, quoted from the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and Mother. This is the most ineteresting part of the judgement and relevant extracts have been posted. Important passages have been highlighted in bold for the benefit of readers.EXTRACTS FROM THE JUDGEMENT


       The first two petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution of India filed in this Court and the third under Article 226 of the Con-stitution filed in the Calcutta High Court and later on transferred to this Court, seek to challenge the vires of the Auroville (Emergency Provisions) Ordinance, 1980 (Ordinance No. 19 of. 1980), later, on replaced by the Auroville (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1980 .(Act No. 59 of 1980). The fourth is an appeal by special leave against the order of the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court dated 21st. of November, 1980 vacating the interim order passed by a single judge in the writ petition. All these cases raise common questions of constitutional importance and, therefore, they were posted before the Constitution Bench.
... The disciples and devoted followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with a view to propagate and practise the ideals and beliefs of Sri Aurobindo formed a Society called Sri Aurobindo Society in the year 1960. The petitioner Society at all material times was and is still a Society duly registered under the provisions of the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961. This Society is completely distinct from Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry ...
. . . The Mother as the founder-president also conceived of a project of setting up a cultural township known as 'Auroville' where- people of different countries are expected to engage in cultural, educati-onal and scientific and other pursuits aiming at human unity. The Society has been a channel of funds for setting up the cultural township known as- Auroville..
At the initiative of the Government of, India, -the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation being of the opinion that the Auroville project would contribute to international under-standing and promotion of peace sponsored the project by proposing a resolution to this effect at its General Conference in 1966 * This resolution was unanimously adopted at this Conference. By a further resolution passed in 1968 the UNESCO invited its member States and international non-governmental organisations to participate in the development of Auroville as an international cultural township to bring together the values of different cultures and civilisations in a harmoni-ous environment with integrated living standards which correspond to men's physical and spiritual needs. 1970 UNESCO had directed its Director-General to take such steps as may be feasible, within the budgetary provisions to promote the development of Auroville as an important international cultural programme. Sri Aurobindo Society received large funds in the shape of grants from different organisations in India and abroad for development of the township. The assistance included contributions from the State Governments of the value of Rs.66.50 lakhs and the Central Government of the value of Rs.26.14 lakhs.
After the death of the Mother on 17th of November 1973 a number of problems of varying nature affecting the smooth running of the .project cropped up. The Government of India on receiving complaints about mismanagement of the project and misuse of funds by Sri Auro-bindo Society set up a committee under the chairmanship of the Governor of Pondicherry with representatives of the Government of Tamil Nadu and of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Central Government to look into the matter. The committee made a detailed scrutiny of the accounts of Sri Aurobindo Society relating to Auroville and found instances of serious irregularities in the management of the Society, misutilisation of its funds and their diversion to other purposes. Further, various other serious difficulties had arisen pla-guing the management of Auroville and rendering thereby any further growth of the township almost impossible in the circumstances that taking over of the management of, Auroville became imperative to ensure growth of the township in tune with its objectives.
Keeping in view the international character of the project and considering the government's involvement. in actively, sponsoring the project through UNESCO, the growth and management of the project had become the primary responsibility of the Government of India. The ideals of the project formed India's highest aspirations, which could not be allowed to be defeated or frustrated. Sri Aurobindo Society had lost complete control over the situation and the members of the Auroville approached the Government of India to give protection against oppression and victimisation at the hands of the said Society. There were internal quarrels between the various' factions of Sri Aurobindo Society. There have also been instances of law and order situation. Financial management of the project has not been sound and several instances of mismanagement, diversion of funds have been revealed . ......
...The Constitutional validity of the Act has been challenged on four grounds:
1. Parliament has no legislative competence to enact the impugned statute.
2. The impugned Act infringes Articles 25, 26, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.
3. The impugned Act is violative of Article 14 of the   Constitution; and
4. The Act was mala fide ...
In The Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt wherein the ' following propositions of law have been laid down:
(1) Religion means "a system of beliefs or doctrines which are regarded by those who profess that religion as conducive to their spiritual well-being."
(2)     A religion is not merely an opinion, doctrine or belief. It has its outward expression in acts as well.
(3)       Religion need not be theistic.
(4) "Religious denomination" means a religious sect or body having a common faith and organisation and designated by a distinctive name.
(5)  A law which takes away the rights of administration from the hands of a religious denomination altogether and vests in another authority would amount to violation of the right guaranteed under clause (d) of Art. 26.
The aforesaid propositions have been consistently followed in later cases including The Durgah Committee, Ajmer & Anr. v. Syed Hussain Ali & Ors. and can be regarded as well settled.
The words "Religious denomination" in Article 26 of the Constitution must take their colour from the word 'religion' and if this be so, the expression "religious denomination" must also satisfy three conditions:
(1) It must be a collection of individuals who have a system of beliefs or doctrines which they regard as conducive to their spiritual well-being, that is, a common faith;
(2) common organisation; and
(3) designation by a distinctive. name.
In view of the propositions laid down. by the Court in the aforesaid reported cases we have to examine the teachings of Sri Aurobindo to see whether they constitute a religion...
The Solicitor-General for the Union of India and Mr. F. S. Nariman, counsel for the respondents Nos. 6 to 238 (resident members of Auroville), on the other hand contended that the teachings of Sri Aurobindo do not constitute religion nor is the Society and the Auroville a religious denomination, and in any case there is no violation of article 26 of the Constitution in as much as the impugned Act has taken over only the management of Auroville from the Society and does not interfere with the freedom contemplated by Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution.'
Reference was made to rule 9 of the Rules and Regulations of Sri Aurobindo Society, which deals with membership of the Society -dnd provides:
"9. Any person or institution or organisation either in India or abroad who subscribes to the aims and objects of Society, and whose application for membership is approved by the Executive Committee, will be member of the Society. The membership. is open to people everywhere without any distinction of nationality, religion, caste, creed or sex".
       The only condition for membership is that the person seeking the membership of the Society must subscribe to the aims and objects of the Society. It was further urged that what is. universal cannot be a religious denomination. In order to constitute a separate denomi-nation, there must be something distinct from another. A denomination, argues the counsel, is one which is different from the other and if the Society was a religious denomination, then the person seeking admission to the institution would lose his previous religion. He cannot be a member of two religions at one and the same time. But this is not the position in becoming a member of the Society and Auroville. A religious denomination must necessarily be a new one and new methodology must be provided for a religion...
1... The Society itself treated Auroville not as a religious institu-tion. Auroville is a township which was conceived, planned and developed as a centre of international culture for the promotion of the ideals which are central to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). These ideals have been explained and proclaimed extensively in the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In the year 1966, Sri Aurobindo Society, devoted as it was to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and guided by the Mother, proposed this cultural township to UNESCO for the commemoration of the 20th, anniversary of the UNESCO. The Union of India took up the matter with UNESCO and it did so on the explicit understanding that Auroville as proposed was in full consonance and conformity with India's highest ideals and aspirations and that would help Auroville promote the aims and objects of UNESCO...
... The foundation stone of Auroville was laid on 28th February 1968 with the participation of youth of many nations, representing the coming together of all Nations in a spirit of human unity. The UNESCO conceived Auroville township as an instrument of education, promoting mutual respect and understanding between people in keeping with the spirit of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Universal Declaration of Principles of International Cultural Cooperation.
The Government of India took active part in making the UNESCO interested in the project and take decision as aforesaid for the develop-ment of Auroville as an international cultural township with the parti-cipation of countries who are members of the UNESCO.
Sri Aurobindo Society had brought the proposal of Auroville to the Government of India and explained that Auroville was to be an international and cultural township. This fact is evident from the brochure submitted by Sri Aurobindo Society to the Government of India.
The Charter of Auroville given by the Mother also indicates that it is not a religious institution, as is evident from the following:
1. Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be the willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
2.  Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of       constant progress, and a youth that never ages.
3. Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realisations.
4. Auroville will be the site of material and spiritual research
       for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.
On the own admission of the General Secretary of Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, Auroville was to be a symbol of international cooperation, an effort to promote international understanding by bringing together in close juxtaposition the values and ideals of different civilisations and cultures. The cultures of different regions of the earth will be represented in Auroville in such a way as to be accessible to all not merely intellectually in ideas, theories, principles and languages, but also in habits and customs; art in all forms - pain-tings, sculpture, music, architecture, decor, dance; as well as physically through natural scenery, dress, games, sports and diet. It will be a representation in a concrete and living manner; it will have a museum, an art gallery, a library of books, recorded music etc. It will also have other objects which will express its intellectual, scientific and artistic genius, spiritual tendencies and national characteristics.
While participating in UNESCO meeting "Design for Integrated Living Programmes in Auroville" was presented and that also goes a long way to show that it was only a cultural township and not a religious institution.
Numerous utterings by Sri Aurobindo or the Mother unmistakably show that the Ashram or Society or Auroville is not a religious institu-tion. In Sri Aurobindo's own words (The Teaching and the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo, 1934, p . 6):
"The Ashram is not a religious association. Those who are here come from all religions and some are of no religion. There is no creed or set of dogmas, no governing religious body; there are only the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and certain psychological practices of concentration and meditation, etc. for the enlarging of the
consciousness, receptivity to the Truth, mastery over the desires, the discovery of the divine self and consciousness concealed within each human being, a higher evolution of the nature."
Sri Aurobindo himself said:
"I may say that it ii far from my purpose to propagate any religion, new or old."                        
Sri Aurobindo says again-" We are not a party or a church or religion."
Sri Aurobindo exposes:
"Churches and creeds have, for example, stood violently in the way of philosophy and science, burned a Giordano Bruno, imprisoned a Galileo, and so generally misconducted themselves in this matter that philosophy and science had in self-defence to turn upon Religion and rend her to pieces in order to get a free field for. their legitimate development.-
The Mother said on 19.3.1973: " Here we do not have religion.-
Sri Aurobindo says again:
Yogic methods have something of the same relation to the customary psychological workings of man as has to scientific handling of the natural force of electricity or of steam to the normal operations of steam and of electricity. And the two, are formed upon a knowledge developed and confirmed by regular experiments, a practical analysis and constant results. All methods grouped under the common name of Yoga are special psychological processes grounded on a fixed truth of nature and developing, out of normal functions, powers and results which were always latent but which her ordinary movements do not easily or do not often manifest."
It is pertinent to quote Mother's answer to a question:
"Q. Sweet Mother, what is the difference between Yoga and religion? Mother's Ans: Ah! My child. . It is as though you were asking me the difference between a dog and cat."
.There can be no better proof than what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother themselves thought of their teachings and their institutions to find out whether the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and his Integral Yoga constitute a religion or a philosophy. The above utterings from time to time by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother hardly leave any doubt about the nature of the institution. It was on the basis that it was not a religious institution that the Society collected funds from the Central Government and the Governments of States and from abroad and the other non-governmental agencies....
... Mr. F. S. Nariman appearing for respondents Nos.6 to 238 '(Members of Auroville) adopted the arguments advanced by the Solicitor General, Mr. K. Parasaran, and supplemented the same. He submitted that the Society was registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and a purely religious society could not have been registered under the Societies Registration Act. Section 20 of the Societies Registration Act provides what kind of societies can be registered under the Act. It does not talk of religious institutions, Of course, it includes- a society with charitable purposes. Section 2 of the Charitable Endowments Act, however, excludes charity as a religious purpose. It was further contended that the nature of the institution can be judged by the Memorandum of Association. The Memorandum of Association does not talk of any religion. The purpose of the Society was to make known to the member s and the people in general the aims and ideals of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother; their system of Integral Yoga and to work for its fulfilment in all possible ways; to train selected students and teachers from all over the world in the Integral System of Education, i.e. the spiritual, psychic, mental, vital and physical to help in cash or in kind by way of donations etc. ; to organise, encourage, promote and assist in the study, research, and pursuit of science, literature and fine arts etc. Nowhere it talks of propagating religion. This is the surest index to know whether the Auroville or the Society was a religious institution.
It was further contended that a religious denomination must be professed by that body but from the very beginning the Society has eschewed the word 'religion' in its constitution. The Society professed to be a scientific research organisation to the donors and got income-tax exemption on the footing that it was not a religious institution. The Society has claimed exemption from income-tax under s.80 for the donors and under s. 35 for itself on that ground. Ashram Trust was different from Auroville Ashram. The Ashram trust also applied for income-tax exemption and got it on that very ground. So also Aurobindo Society claimed exemption on the footing that it was not a religious institution and got it. They professed to the Government also that they were not a religious institution in their application for financial assistance under the Central scheme of Assistance to voluntary Hindu organisations.
On the basis of the materials placed before us viz., Memorandum of Association of the Society, the several applications made by the Society claiming exemption under s.35 and s.80 of Income-tax Act, the repeated utterings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that the Society and Auroville were not religious institutions and host of other docu-ments there is no room for doubt that neither the Society nor Auro-ville constitute a religious denomination and the teachings of Sri Aurobindo only represented his philosophy and not a religion...
... This leads us to the third ground, namely, the impugned Act being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution inasmuch as Sri Aurobindo Society has been singled out for hostile treatment, and the legislation is against this particular institution. In order to appreciate this, argument it would be necessary to refer to the circumstances,which led to the passing of the impugned Act. . .
... For the first few years the development of Auroville showed a remarkable, progress and things were growing at a rapid pace. A number of Indians and foreigners settled down in Auroville and devoted themselves to various activities of planning, designing, agriculture, education, construction and other works such as those of hand-made paper and other crafts and industries. A remarkable harmony among members of Auroville was visible and this gave promise to the Government of India of an early fulfilment of the ideals for which Auroville was established and encouraged by UNESCO and other international organisations of the world.
       After the passing away of the Mother in 1973. however, the situation changed and the Government received information that the affairs of the Society were not being properly managed, that there was mismanagement of the funds of the Society and diversion of the funds meant for Auroville to other purposes.
The accounts of Sri Aurobindo Society were audited up to the year ending 31st December, 1974. For the years 1960 to 1971 the audit was conducted by late Shri Satinath Chattopadhyaya, Chartered Accountant and for the years 1972 to 1974 by Shri T.R. Thulsiram, Chartered Accountant and Internal Auditor of the Society. The letter addressed by him to the President, Sri Aurobindo Society dated May 269 1976 relating to the affairs of Bharat Niwas as on 31st March, 1976 is revealing one and the relevant portion is extracted below:
"Thus we have an unutilised deficit of about 10 lakhs at the end of 31-12-74 and of about 12 lakhs at the end of 1975 or up to 31-3-76. The situation has not improved until now. The activities of construction have almost come to a close after 31-12-74. Fur-ther, there are heavy bank over-drafts apart from the reduction in D.O. facilities and freezing of the money in D.O. account. Therefore, In these circumstances it is clearly seen that government monies received for the specific purpose of Bharat Niwas have been diverted for other purposes and there are no more free liquid resources either as cash or in bank accounts. So we cannot explain saying that monies are immediately available for construction and that the construction activities are being continued without stop. This really is a serious matter that calls for the proper solution.
Therefore, in the above circumstances, it is absolutely necessary that earlier steps be taken to correct the situation, before serious audit objections are raised by the Government Auditors. We are afraid to say that we ourselves would be constrained to make a qualified report of audit, if the state of affairs does not get corrected immediately."
The situation in Auroville became so acute that at the instance of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, an enquiry was conducted in 1976 by the Chief Secretary, Pondicherry, into certain aspects of the functioning of Sri Aurobindo Society. The report of the Chief Secretary mentioned instances of serious irregularities in the management of the Society, suspected misuse of funds and auditors' comments about the misutilisation of funds and its diversion, and it was suggested that a further probe in the financial matters of the Society and organisations connected with the Auroville Project may be made by a team of competent auditors...
An important finding of this Committee was that the earlier apprehension about instances of serious irregularities in the manage-ment of the Society, misutilisation of the fund and the diversion was confirmed. This Committee also submitted to the Government of India two volumes of the audit report. Some of the other impor-tant findings of the Committee based on audit reports were as follows:
"The professional services required from Architects for the cons-truction of Phase I of Bharat Niwas were not rendered by them and still full payment was made to these architects.     
"Rs.13.30 lacs sanctioned by various State Governments for construction of pavilions of their respective States were diverted and utilised towards construction in Bharat Niwas for common zone facilities - this was without the approval of the State Government.
"Whilst the books of Bharat Niwas show that there was an unutilised balance of Rs.22.64 lacs the Project was without any liquid resources - thus showing that moneys received out of Govt. grants were diverted for other activities notwithstanding that this position was brought to the notice of the Society by their statutory auditor in its letter dated 26-5-76.
"Although there was no fresh receipt of steel in Bharat Niwas Phase 2 the stock was purportedly revalued at a higher rate of Rs. 2000 per metric ton against the earlier rate of Rs.1700 per metric ton adopted on 31-12-73. This resulted in an over-statement of the value of stock to the amount of Rs. 42,000/-.
"There was a transfer of materials of stock worth Rs. 2.30 lacs to Auro Stores by a journal entry on 31-12-75. Auro Stores is a concern of Navjattas. The audit team concluded that as a result of this there was an unreal expenditure which had not resulted in outflow of resources and resulted in overstatement of expenditure on Bharat Niwas.
“An undischarged amount of Rs. 1.45 lacs payable to the contractors Messrs E.C.C. Ltd. towards the construction of Bharat Niwas stood included in total expenditure as on 31.12.74 – the utilisation certificates furnished with regard to total expenditure -were held to be incorrect to that extent.
"Although materials purchased out of Govt. grants could not be hypothecated without the approval of the Government the Society hypothecated steel from Auro Stores and obtained a loan of Rs. 6.88 lacs from the State Bank of India - resulting in an expenditure of interest charge of Rs. 9561.40 which was held to be inadmissible and an irregularity.
"Although the Society completed construction of Health Centre in Dec. 1973 at a total cost of over Rs. 2 lacs and the Health Centre started functioning from Dec. 1973 the Society had not furnished the utilisation certificate in the prescribed form nor was the completion report duly certified by the PWD authorities.
" Rs. one lac was stated to have been received for the "Project of World University" - and the money was stated to be utilised. There is no such World University in Auroville.
"A difference of Rs. 1,29,848/- was noticed in the case of the value of a piece of land purchased - the value of the land said to have been purchased and not entered in the register was Rs. 88,525/- and the amount said to have been paid in excess of the value for the land actually purchased was Rs. 31,322/-
"The operation of purchase of lands was through individuals who were given huge sums of money as advances. It was noticed that in one transaction an amount of Rs. 43,250/- representing the balance out of advance paid to one V. Sundermurthy was adjusted as being the cost of stamp papers whilst adjusting all other advances during 1971. The voucher for this amount also did not give the details of the document numbers in respect of which stamp papers worth Rs. 43,250/- were used.
"In 1975-76 land to the extent of 23.86 acres was purchased at the cost of Rs. 91,496/- but was registered in the names of four individuals and the value of the lands so registered in individual names wore treated as advances to these individuals. The names of these individuals were “Maggi”, “Kali”, “Shyamala” and "Ravindra Reddy".
"The audit team found that assets and liabilities of the project were overstated to the extent of Rs.5,10,670/-
"The balance-sheet of Auroville Project has been so framed that the assets side does not throw any fight as to whether the corres-ponding assets from donations have been acquired and the problem is aggravated by the fact that a register of assets is not maintained.
"There was a complete lack of financial control which was the most serious drawback of the system and this want of financial control was revealed in a number of established and conventional procedures which would have serious implications.
"It was not possible for the Audit Team to establish nor the Society could establish that moneys paid were really exchanged with certain materials or goods of corresponding value. The lack of adequate scrutiny resulted in the fact that in most of the cases the bills were not supported by adequate details of materials having been passed.
"The expenditure of Auroville project working out to nearly 3 crores, there was no system of control of expenditure - no rules and regulations or procedures according to which a particular individual or office bearer could incur an expenditure only upto a particular limit and not above that. Persons who were authorised to operate bank accounts had full authority to draw as they wanted and there was no system of reporting or feed-back.
"In view of the large scale construction activities, large amounts of stores materials of various descriptions were being handled by the project. We have not come across proper records of stores and stock accounts being maintained by the project. This indeed was a serious drawback since in the absence of such a system it was not possible to verify from the records that the moneys which were shown as having been spent for purchase of materials were really paid in exchange of the materials of the required quantity and quality and whether the material purchased was actually received by the project, whether the quantity which was shown as having been utilised for the construction has been actually so utilised and the balance of stores which represented by the value was the real balance representing the various stock items.
"Huge amounts of cash were being handled by persons operating the main account and the number of individuals who were given advances - there was no system under which cash could be verified at any interval.
"Even apart from the audit report, one very important point may be mentioned. The Society has been claiming that they have been holding more than Rs. 20 lacs in reserve in the account of Aurobindo Society to meet their obligations with regard to Auroville. And yet the Society has incurred heavy debts in the name of Auroville and allocated huge accumulation of interest to the extent of Rs. 20 lacs."
The Committee came to the conclusion that the time was ripe for taking recourse to either of the following two alternatives:
(a) Incorporation of Sri Aurobindo Society by a statute as a society of national importance and bringing it under Entry 63 of the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution;
(b) Take-over of the management of Auroville project by the Government for a limited period by legislation under Art. 31 (A) (1) (b) of the Constitution. . .
…There had arisen acute law and order situation in the Auroville. . . the funds meant for the Auroville had been diverted towards other purposes and the atmosphere was getting out of hand. In the circums-tances the Government intervened and promulgated the Ordinance and later on substituted it by the impugned enactment. It cannot be said that it is violative of Article 14...
... Obviously, there were serious irregularities in the management of the said Society as has been pointed out in the earlier part of the judgement. There has been misutilisation of funds and their diversion to other purposes. This is evident from the audit report. There was no material change in the situation on the date of the impugned ordi-nance or the Act, rather the situation had grown from bad to worse and the sordid situation prevailing in the Auroville so pointed out by the parties fully justified the promulgation of the Ordinance and the passing of the enactment... The amount donated for the construction of the cultural township Auroville and other institutions was to the tune of Rs. 3 crores. It was the responsibility of the Government to see that the amount was not misutilised and the management was properly carried out . . .
... Mr Venugopal tried to explain the various adverse remarks made by the auditors. On a perusal of the audit report, which is a voluminous one, all we can say is that on the facts found by the audit committee, the report is rather a mild one. There seems to be serious irregularities in the accounts. A substantial amount received by way of donations had not been properly spent, there being misutilisation and diversion of funds ...
... Now we turn to the last but not the least important ground of mala fides. The Act is sought to be challenged on the ground that it is mala fide. This argument is on the basis that Kireet Joshi who had his own axe to grind in the matter, was instrumental in getting the impugned Ordinance and the Act passed. This argument has been advanced only to be rejected. Allegations about mala fides are more easily made than made out. It will be too much to contend that Kireet Joshi, who was only an Educational Adviser to the Government of India, Ministry of Education and Culture (Department of Education), was responsible for the impugned enactment. The impugned enact-ment was passed following the due procedure and merely because he made a complaint about the situation prevailing in the manage-ment of Auroville and the Society, it cannot be said that the impu-gned enactment was passed at his behest.
For the reasons given above all the writ petitions must fail. In view of the final decision on the writ petitions themselves, it is not necessary to pass any specific order in the appeal filed against the interim order in one of the writ petitions. The parties in the circums-tances of the case are left to bear their own costs.
     .....................C. J.
New Delhi,
November 8, 1982.
I have the good fortune of having before me the scholarly Judgement of my brother Misra L. I agree with my brother Misra J. t the Writ Petitions must fail. With much that he has said, also, I agree. But with a little, to my own lasting regret, I do not agree. It therefore, proper for me to explain the points of my disagreement.
…We do not desire to 'enter into any polemics over Sri Aurobindo's teachings as it is not within the judicial province to do so except to the limited extent of finding out whether his teachings have the necessary spiritual content to qualify as religious doctrine and how his followers understood these teachings...
…Sri Aurobindo, of course, disclaimed that he was founding a religion. No great religious teacher ever claimed that he was, founding a new religion or a new school of religious thought. The question is not whether Sri Aurobindo refused to claim or denied that he was founding a new religion or a new school of religious thought but whether his disciples and the community thought so.
…If the followers of Sri Aurobindo constitute a 'religious nomination as, to my mind, they undoubtedly do, the members of Sri Aurobindo Society are certainly a distinct and identifiable section of the ‘religious denomination’…
... But, the question is has the Fundamental Right guaranteed by Art.26 been infringed by the Auroville (Emergency Provisions) Act 1980. We have to notice straightaway that the Act did not take away the management of Sri Aurobindo Society. What it did or purposed to do was "to provide for the taking over, in the public interest, of the management of Auroville for a limited period and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto" . . .
... the question arises whether Auroville is an institution established and maintained for religious and charitable purposes and whether its management of Auroville is 'a matter of religion '. Auroville is a township and not a place of worship. It is a township dedicated not to the practice and propagation of any religious doc-trine but to promote international understanding and world peace, surely, a secular and not a religious activity.... The management of the International, cultural township of Auroville is not, in our opinion, a matter of religion. . . .
On the several other questions argued before us I accept the conclusion of Misra J. . The Writ Petitions are accordingly dismissed but in the circumstances there will be no order regarding costs.
. J.
New Delhi,
8th November, 1982.