Quest to experience holistic life & Integral society

A Quest… and a Journey

I have been led by an unending quest to decipher the different faculties that help us to assimilate learning experiences and make us who we are. How does each step that one takes correlate to the design laid out for one’s life; how does each element interweave to find its place in the overall design and thus compel one to play the role that one is supposed to play? Also, how does each person’s role unfold to create the social interplay?

Like most of us, I have been taught various subjects in our educational system, but have always found myself dissatisfied to see each as a delinked part and have constantly been striving to encompass that elusive totality, knowing which each part seems to have its right place in the scheme of things and the right time of its existence. This yearning has led me to look beyond the limits and reach of each subject, and integrate various disciplines in my work – be it being a father, teacher, planner – it doesn’t matter, for one is also more than one’s given role at any time. With this underlying idea, life itself became a canvas, and each journey a possibility and a wonderful opportunity for its transformation. This quest kept nudging me constantly, guiding me to pursue education in a holistic way and to temper life to merge all ideas, concepts, beliefs and aims and emerge in an integral way of living.

Lalit explaining the master plan of Auroville to an international student delegation

In the beginning, this quest was a little stream which led me to study Urban and Regional Planning, which I believed to encompass more area than my education in architecture. In time, this stream widened into a river and I was propelled towards Auroville. A township based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the vision of Human Unity, Auroville offers an extensive possibility to explore and experiment. This is where I found my true home and where the avenues of mixing and merging my different aspects of work and personality became not just possible, but also inevitable. Here in Auroville, my quest manifested from being an idea to a form that I see framing my life in its entirety.

An opportunity to work for more than 10 years on very challenging aspects and issues of Auroville's Holistic Planning & Development and working on Auroville's Master Plan, helped develop an insight about the dynamics of societal growth and the real life challenges of collective organisation and underlying problems of human nature. It was a great lesson and experience that brought a clear insight that my role as a planner was limited, it needed to be enlarged by integrating the more important and basic issue, that of education. I began to extend my experience to students of different schools and colleges and from different disciplines by facilitating workshops in Auroville. I had landed as a learning facilitator, knowing well that learning for each student is only a process of awakening what already is seeded within! This work required a platform based in Auroville, and thus came up the ‘Auroville Integral Sustainability Institute’, AISI in Auroville in 2012’, for holding research programmes and hosting workshops on interdisciplinary learning & capacity building.

I would like to end this blog on the note that the existing educational situation and ways are too limited to deal with the present day problems that humanity faces; the emerging future demands newer ways of learning and assimilating. On threshold of one more step on this journey, and thanking the quest for guiding me up till here, I pray and hope for more ways and possibilities to unfold, to lead us all to a substantial breakthrough in our educational practices. I wish to continue taking part in this journey leading to the ever widening vistas of experiential learning.

Posted as narrated by Lalit Kishor Bhati, Architect & Planner from Auroville, Pondicherry, India. He is also one of the key members of "Auroville Integral Sustainability Institute".

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