Why is this the time for a university in Auroville?
During the recent visit of the International Advisory Council, Dr. Doudou Dienne said to us at a meeting, with characteristic passion, You are sitting in the shadows. You must step forward into the light. And at another meeting, Marc Ghisi said, The world is waiting for you, get on with your transformation so that you can offer the world a model. They realize that society in the world today is in crisis.
The university system, when it began in the cathedral schools of Europe, brought together the best minds from across the continent to engage in deep learning, founded on the recent re-discovery of the works of Plato and Aristotle, and there were a few hundred years of intense spiritual and material research, leading to the Enlightenment and the age of science. Civilization is at the end of that arc of development today, and the university has become a bureaucratic institution where degrees are given in innumerable separate fields of study and specialization for the sake of furthering a particular paradigm, value system, or technology that will sell in the market place. The unity and depth of knowledge, which is the origin and is the goal of learning has ceased to be the focus. But many recognize this and are searching for something different, for meaning and value, and for solutions to the mounting crisis of society and of the earth as a whole.
An outstanding example is Rudy himself, who has done an incredible job of networking to bring this meeting together. He came here only a year ago, just when I had also returned, and this idea of higher education in Auroville came up again and again in our conversations. In this short period of time he has assimilated the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, he has read everything in the archives about the university idea from the beginning of Auroville, the University of the Future, CIRHU, SAWCHU, etc., and he has grasped the essence and importance of Auroville, in spite of our apparent lack of organization and direction. There are many others like him in the world who are ready for Auroville. But it is this other Auroville, an ideal Auroville that is calling us to be expressed and manifested.
This brings me to the second need for a university, by which I mean a systematic endeavor toward higher learning. A new kind of knowledge is needed, for Auroville as well as in the world. The Mother spoke of the kind of intelligence that would be able to organize Auroville even in the area of finance, as a higher intuitive consciousness that would be integral, comprehensive, and universal. We need to learn how to achieve this, and what a society needs to do to be receptive to such leadership and organization. We need to undertake research in all areas of knowledge that will lead to such an integral, comprehensive and universal consciousness. And if we begin to build a cognitive structure for achieving this I do not wish to speak at all of buildings and economic structures, or faculties and disciplines a new cognitive structure that we can envision and work together to create and establish, which has as its focus and goal a higher learning and knowledge, then others will come who are interested in this and who are also needed for the building of Auroville.