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T  H  E     M  A  T  R  I  M  A  N  D  I  R    
T  H  E     M  O  T  H  E  R '  S    T  E  M  P  L  E     


'Indian sacred architecture goes back to something timelessly ancient
and now, outside India, almost wholly lost. It is an altar raised to the divine Self,
a house of the Cosmic Spirit, an appeal and an aspiration to the Infinite'
Sri Aurobindo, The Foundations of Indian Culture

 

AS SHE NEARED THE END OF HER EARTHLY LIFE, the Mother gave her final and most precious gift to humanity. It was a plan for a Vedic temple. She had 'seen' it's inner chamber on the plane of Truth-Consciousness in what she described as a simultaneous vision and knowledge. Her perception was microscopic, said the Mother, "...absolutely precise of the value of vibrations in relation to a higher vibration". Out of this Cosmic epiphany she recorded not only the arrangement of the elements of the room, but its fundamental measurements as well. While it is extremely simple in design, her temple plan is the highest order of sacred architecture that has ever been revealed... an integral perfection of cosmic symbolism. It is an image of the cosmos in microcosm, and in its dimensions are written the credentials of the Evolutionary Avatars and the keys to the mysteries of Supramental Time.

Sri Aurobindo describes the temple's inner chamber and its correspondences with the Soul in his epic poem, "Savitri", Book 1, Canto 5.

    All that the Gods have learned is there self-known.
    There in a hidden chamber closed and mute,
    are kept the record graphs of the Cosmic Scribe,
    and there the tables of the sacred law,
    There is the Book of Being's index page
    The text and glossary of the Vedic truth are there;
    the rhythms and meters of the stars
    significant of the movements of our fate:
    The symbol powers of number and form,
    and the secret code of the history of the world
    and natures correspondences with the soul
    are written in the mystic heart of life.

To the seer, familiar with the laws of correspondence and equivalency, the Mother's temple is the Soul of the Earth and the symbol of the "Future Realisation". It was to be built at the center of the microcosmic world, which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had founded in Pondicherry - the one point where its axial power could establish itself and bring harmony to the earth. The Mother insisted that it be built according to her "seeing'. She said, "...I no longer need anyone to see what it should be, I know." She had seen this form of the temple directly on the plane of Truth-Consciousness and mentions over and over the importance of it's symbolic meaning. When others would suggest alterations she would tell them, "...from the mental point of view it is very attractive, but in vision...", or in response to a suggestion of substituting blocks for the columns she responded, "...no, that has no meaning.". Her original plan was a symbolic and mathematical perfection and represented the very pinnacle of the Vedic Truth. It is to our time what the Great Pyramid of Giza was to the ancient Egyptians.

In the occult sciences it is well known that a discrepancy between an archetypal form seen in the plane of truth, and that which is built in its name on the earth, will bring about destruction and disintegration in the field of its influence. To alter one number, one dimension of a gnostic structure, would be equivalent to throwing its entire system into chaos, yet this is exactly what happened following the Mother's passing. The Mother's closest disciples rejected her immaculate vision in favor of their own mentalized version.

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet who was living in Pondicherry at that time, and who understood the sense of the Mother plan, made numerous attempts to have her original vision preserved. She spoke to the architects and builders, published detailed information about the occult symbolism contained in the temple's measurements and even predicted the disasters which would follow if they deviated from the Mother's plan. But in spite of her warnings, the Mother's immaculate vision was mutilated beyond recognition. One by one the elements of its design were fundamentally altered until not one was left intact. And when this abomination began to take form in concrete and steel, its distorted dimensions began to produce calamitous effects in the field of its occult influence. [See: The 'Shadow Temple' and its occult correspondence with the Indian hieroglyphic landmass]

For over three decades, and in spite of evidence from the Mother's own journals, the 'inner circle' in Auroville continues to deny that they made unauthorized changes in the original temple plan. They respond to the concerns of devotees who have seen evidence of their errors by saying:

"...We cannot believe that the Mother's Divine Consciousness is a stickler after exactness of measurement. She would not have made a radical issue out of any inaccuracy which might have crept into the structure of the Matrimandir..."

Today we are able to see the consequences of this arrogant egoism both in Auroville and around the world. The Mother's Temple has been destroyed, the seat of Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's work has been taken over by the Indian government, and the greatest spiritual teaching of the age has been usurped and held hostage by people of little or no realization. Auroville, which was to have been the "City of Dawn" - the destined 'Cradle of the Future', is described in the Indian press as:

    "...a dream turned sour, a utopia gone to waste. It's concept of universal fraternity lies in tatters, torn asunder by factional fighting, power games, politics and nationality issues..."                            The Illustrated Weekly of India

The following article is an account of this tragedy. It is taken directly from tape recordings of the Mother's conversations with her closest disciples. They are preserved in her journals, which are known as the 'Agendas'. These conversations chronicle the Mother's original 'seeing' of her Temple and the history of its deformation.

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The Matrimandir and the History of its Deformation

[From Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet's article 'The Titanic or Vedic Superman: India's Choice for the Millennium - 'the Perversity of Goodwill', written on 17 January 1994 and published in The Vishaal Newsletter, Vol 8/6 February 1994]

***

LISTENING TO THE TAPED RECORDINGS OF THE MOTHER'S DISCUSSIONS on the Matrimandir with the disciple, Satprem, is a profoundly disheartening experience, for it reveals the inability of the human being to follow the Mother in her seeing and to offer the least resistances possible to the fulfilment of her will. Indeed, what is evident as we listen is that from the beginning there was no desire at all on the part of any of the dramatis personae to serve as channels for the implementation of her vision. From the outset the disciple, for one, reveals that his sole interest is to secure the Mother's approval for his protege's vision in place of hers. This is quite apparent if one listens to the entire sequence of recordings - those made public, that is - from 31.12.1969 to 17.1.1970. 1 would, like to close this portion of our study with a brief summary and analysis of the contents of those recordings for readers who do not have the tapes, and also as a guide for those who do.

31.12.1969: In this conversation the Mother makes it clear that she has not seen the temple as yet. She has an idea based on a preliminary 'seeing', this is clear, since she describes the chamber in this session with the disciple very close to what she did come to see, perhaps within hours of their meeting. Rather than provide us with the details we seek to reconstruct her vision accurately, this discussion centres mostly on the problems with the official architect in charge of the entire project and his reluctance to start with the centre of the township, the temple. His preference, according to the Mother, is to build the city first and then the centre. But the most important feature of this session is the disciple's presentation of his protégé's ideas. He tells the Mother about Paolo Tommasi's 'inspiration' as to what needs to be done and reads out PT's letter to her. The gist is that the centre should be built first and only after that the city. In addition, he emphasises that this 'unification around the centre' will help to bring down the vision.

The extremely interesting part to note is his repeated reference to an axis, a centre, which he feels should serve to gather the dispersed energies in Auroville for the positive completion of that task at hand. Given the role that these two played subsequently, precisely in the destruction of that (occult) axis and centre the Mother so meticulously arranged for her temple, this recording takes on historical importance and is a document of immense value, for it casts light on the difficulty a 'sincere goodwill' poses when not accompanied by a sincere yoga. The important part to focus on in this tape is the insistence on PT's vision and ideas because subsequent developments will reveal that throughout the entire exercise, spanning 18 days, he clings tenaciously to his part in the affair, his instrumentation, even after the Mother had informed them all that she had SEEN, that she no longer needed them for the purpose. But even as early as this discussion the objective listener can easily appreciate that the Mother intuited the essential lines of the chamber and was only waiting for that decisive experience to come which would both confirm her intuition as well as provide the missing and essential details of the chamber. Indeed, immediately after this first session with Satprem, she did receive that confirmation. This came through the 'felt vision', or the actual discovery on the subtle plane of that chamber. She entered the temple in the subtle physical, saw, and thereafter recorded what she saw. At that point, she did not need anyone to help 'bring down the vision', and she stated this quite emphatically though fruitlessly.

3.1.1970: The disciple informs the Mother that PT waits outside her room to see her. The Mother begins enthusiastically to tell Satprem, before seeing PT, of her experience, that she has now SEEN. She tells the disciple in minute detail what she 'saw', 'lived'. He suggests that she should tell PT rather than him, but the Mother prefers to talk to Satprem about it, until she has the plans drawn up. After describing the experience of seeing in full, she declares. 'I have had the vision of that room, -so I do not need anyone to see what that should be: I KNOW. And an engineer is needed rather than an architect, because an architect ... It has to be as simple as possible.' The disciple then relates that he transmitted everything the Mother had told him (31.12.1969) about the 'large empty room' and how touched PT was by this idea, that it coincided with his - this emptiness. The Mother makes it clear that she would rather have the plans in hand before seeing PT, but agrees to see him nonetheless since he is waiting. When PT enters she again describes her vision but begins by stating straight-away that... 'I have seen, I have seen the interior', and that in a few days she will have the plans and drawings because... 'the exterior, I do not know at all, but the inside I KNOW'. Then begins another long, detailed description of every aspect other vision, remarking from time to time that she will soon have the plans. PT appears to listen intently. She ends by stating again, '...So, as soon as my papers (plans) are ready, I will call you to show you.

After PT leaves the room the Mother again broaches the subject of the harmony (or disharmony) between the competing architects, Roger Anger and PT, and how she would prefer to have PT present to handle building the centre [after all, he seemed so enthusiastic] while RA is absent, and when he returns and works on the township PT should be absent, and so on. But again she stresses her preference for an engineer, '...It is for this reason that I am going to have these sketches to show him, (PT), done by an engineer, because it is not an architect's job, it is a job for an engineer ... very precise ... very precise.' And then regarding the importance of the right calculations, she states, 'That is what is important, the Sun's play on the centre (the Globe). Because that becomes the symbol - the symbol of the future realisation.'

To note in this portion is the repeated insistence that she wants an engineer not an architect, and that she will soon have the plans to show. In other words, she comes across in this tape as fully sure of her vision and her ability to get precise plans done by the engineer. At which point, with plans in hand, they can proceed to execute them. Time and again, to both Satprem and PT, she declares: I HAVE SEEN, I do not need anyone.

10.1.1970: Satprem begins by telling the Mother he has a letter for her from PT. The Mother interjects, saying she plans to meet PT in the afternoon. Then she informs the disciple that she has the plans of the chamber. She has him unroll them and begins a long explanation of each and every detail. It is clear that everything has been meticulously worked out by her with the engineer. Referring continuously to the plans, she discusses the centre of the room, her horizontal symbol, Sri Aurobindo's four symbols forming a square upholding a translucent globe   ('...as yet we do not know what material'). Then the Mother discusses the entry as a descent under the walls and into the room from below, with these memorable words, 'It is another symbol. Everything is symbolic,.' She explains that Sri Aurobindo's symbols are to be carved in stone of an orange-gold colour, the only colour in the room, and again ...A globe that is not transparent but translucent'

When she finishes, Satprem reads PT's letter. It is necessary to reproduce his letter in full because more than anything else in this sordid display of ignorance and self-importance, this letter reveals the precise nature of the difficulties the Mother faced in having her vision executed. To appreciate in full the nature of this intransigent obstinacy, it must be recalled that just a week earlier PT met with the Mother and she told him what she had seen, she would give him the plans, she now did not need anyone, and she did not want an architect, only an engineer. Nevertheless, he wrote,

    'Very sweet Mother, 'I saw R [the official architect] Sunday, he came to my room, we had lunch together. With love, I arranged for you and R some very beautiful flowers. You, you were with us. We spoke a lot. I felt R like a brother. 'I told him that Auroville cannot be born like any other city (urban problems, social, economic, all that: later). The beginning must be 'something else'. For that reason we should start with the Centre. This Centre must be our lever, our fixed point, the thing on which we can steady ourselves to leap to the other side because it is only from the other side that one can begin to understand what Auroville should be. And this Centre should be the form which manifests in matter the content which You can transmit to us on all the planes (even the Occult). We, we should be simply the open and sincere mediums through whom you can make that concrete. 'And I told him how I felt the need to approach all that by living the experience internally, all united - people from the orient and the occident - in a vast movement of love, because it is the only cement possible to build 'something else'. 'And the Centre can give us that love immediately because it is love for You! 'I told him that, practically, we can begin by a moment of silence, all gathered together, and try to make a total blank, and on that blank, with the aspiration of everyone, make the signs for the beginning descend. But all united and all together, especially those who are spiritually more advanced, the Indians. 'R was in full agreement. He said really we must do that.'

The Mother's immediate response to his letter was revealing: 'I am seeing P this afternoon and I will give him the plans. Because this is what I have seen.' Then, she does not dwell on his desire to unite and call down the 'signs' of what should be, she returns again to the details: white marble, where to get it, Sri Aurobindo's symbols ... and the translucent globe. Most important, she specifies the correct diameter of the globe: 70 cms, asking the disciple to confirm this in the plans. He does. Then the entry by descent and ascent into the room is emphasised and the fact that to gain access to the chamber certain conditions would have to be met ('...It must be somewhat initiatic.)

17.1.1970: The disciple begins by presenting the ideas of PT and her Italian secretary, Nata, regarding the outer shape of the building. The Mother comments that she is open to suggestions since she only saw the inside. (The implication being that the interior is her creation, her domain, not the architects'.) But from this discussion on the outer form the talk spins off to every item of her plan, until by the end of a long and grueling attempt to defend the elements of her vision which had been systematically attacked, we realise that the Mother was in the presence of obstinate ignorance in the guise of 'love' and 'goodwill'. For example, the twelve columns are attacked as being 'another symbol of the old creation'; (PT's words). If it was necessary to have them for a 'symbolic' representation (after all the Mother had said, everything was symbolic), then one could put 12 blocks, or backrests about 50 cms high. To this nonsense the Mother replies, '-That has no meaning. 'A symbolic meaning?, the disciple questions '...because you spoke of the pillars as backrests.' She insists she saw pillars. He insists that something could be put in their place as 'symbols'. She keeps insisting. He retorts. And on and on it goes. The recording of much of this was not kept, only the transcripts which appear in The Mother's Agenda, Volume 11 (1970). Reading these transcripts, it is pathetic to discover that even with the precise plans in hand, her disciples and devotees saw fit to dismantle her vision bit by bit. Nothing was sacred. Midway through this grueling exercise, Satprem even makes this astounding remark about PT's 'plan' of the room which he brought to the Mother: 'But when Paolo showed me his plan, I had the impression of something very beautiful ... I will tell you what I felt. I felt: I am assisting at the birth of Auroville.' The Mother wastes no time. She replies: 'it is not true,' Satprem insists: 'The material birth, I mean.' Again the Mother is emphatic: 'Yes, 'yes, I understand well', but it is not true.' After this', according to the transcripts, she enters into a long concentration. The recording commences again, after these pages and pages of the Mother's futile attempts to protect her SEEING, when finally she states:

'You know, I do not believe in external decisions. Quite simply, I believe in only one thing: the force of Consciousness which makes a PRESSURE .. And the Pressure goes on augmenting.' She then explains that she cannot move about to oversee things as she used to, - in other words, to make sure things get done as she wants. Therefore she relies on the 'pressure of the Consciousness', ... "All the rest, those are things men do; they do them more or less well, and then it lives, and then it dies., and then it changes and then it is deformed, and then - that is what they do... '. Finally the discussion concludes with these words, 'So, since there are not many who can understand, I say nothing: I watch and I wait. I LOOK .. Someone gives me a paper like you have just done when you gave me that drawing [PT's plan of the temple], I look,, like that, and I see very well what in that paper comes from above, and what is a mixture and what is... Like that. But one cannot say it! - to begin, they would not believe me.' After a moment of silence, the Mother interestingly begins discussing the terminology Sri Aurobindo used to describe the new species he envisioned, which would replace 'the old man'. She comments that she understands why he called it 'supramental' and not superman. In other words, she realised she was faced with precisely that aberration: the exaltation of 'man', the ego of the instrument, and the deranged mental approach which has brought so much calamity to the world.

What becomes evident at the end of this disturbing exercise is that at no point along the way did the Mother enjoy the collaboration of instruments ready to execute HER vision. The transcripts and recordings reveal an obsession with their own ideas, to the point that we are justified in asking whether they even heard the Mother. In this context, it may be of interest to report that in late 1974 or early 1975, when the first wave of opposition to the architects arose before construction of the room had reached the point of no return, I invited PT to describe his experience with the Mother to me. Since the points in question were salvation of a few important items, particularly the 24-metre inner wall room diameter, entry from below, and the twelve columns, I wanted to solicit his help and to know what it was like to have heard the Mother describe her vision immediately after it had occurred. He explained how 'charged' her room was, how extraordinary the experience was to listen to her. Naturally I then asked how it was that he came back to her with all the above changes ('...columns are another symbol of the old creation') when her description to him had been so remarkable, so powerful. He had no reply. The conclusion must be that these were representative instruments sent to implement a vision, but certainly not the Mother's; that their obstinacy was total and that the Mother, given her age (92) and frailty and inability to oversee the construction herself, could not pretend to emerge victorious from this 18-day Kurukshetra battle, which closed on that most significant date, 17 January. Thus she concluded with these words '...But one is not going to say it. To begin, they would not believe me.'

What now stands in Auroville is not merely a 'mixture'. It is the representation of what the Mother did not care to elaborate upon then: the contours in every detail of the Titan's Consciousness, the shadow of the Gnostic Light, the perversion of Sri Aurobindo's truth and the objective of his mission. Lamentably, what was recorded during those fateful 18 days was the description of the binary creation with all its flaws and 'goodwill'. Indeed, the Mother's 'helpers' displayed one of the principal characteristics of the Titanic Consciousness: self-important ego of the instrument. None heard her because they were too full of themselves.

It is clear that given her age and physical condition, the Mother could not deal with her entourage as she might have done in her younger days. She relied heavily on that 'consciousness exerting a pressure'. But in this case it would appear as if nothing had been accomplished, inasmuch as the shadow-temple has come up and appears to be an everlasting 'symbol' of the old creation, in the Mother's own name. In other words, a travesty of her truth. But the Divine Strategy has been revealed in the course of the years following the Mother's passing, though its confirmation has often been through negative and disturbing happenings. At this point there is one thing that stands beyond all doubt. Seekers are given a choice: this or that. It is an important feature of the divine Strategy in that the next stage for humanity is characterised by a conscious choice. For this there must be a clear understanding of what our options are. We cannot be expected to choose between this and that unless we know the contours of both the Titanic and the Vedic Consciousness. Hence, this exercise, unpleasant as it may be for seekers, especially those who consider that 'spirituality' cannot be tainted by 'controversy' (and there are many in this old mindset), has been a necessary and all-important part of our study. From here, having dissected the Shadow in all thoroughness, we shall move on to the Light, to a discussion of the means at the Mother's disposal to bring about the establishment of her Truth in the world. For this to happen the sincere seeker must be armed with a fine discrimination so that the shadow is not mistaken for that Light.

Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet © - Aeon Centre of Cosmology at Skambha: 17 January, 1994


FOR MORE INFORMATION regarding the details of the significance of the Mother's Temple (Matrimandir) and the failures made in the execution of the Mother's Sacred Vision and Gnosis, see:

 The Matrimandir Action Committe (blogged on The Flawed Auroville Matrimandir)

dot The New Way - a study in the rise and establishment of a gnostic society, Volumes 1 & 2. In this book Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet reconstructs the Mother's original temple plan 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.

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