Friederike Mühlhans

I left school and my cosy little home-town in May 1968, only to plunge right into the ’68 student movement. Growing up in post-war Germany had generated a special longing for peace, reconciliation and honesty, especially in dealing with our past. In my own family I had experienced the deep scars and wounds of war trauma, never openly faced by mixed with bitterly suppressed guilt feelings. full of hope and big ideals, we were now challenging the old system, which we held responsible for old and new wars and the horrors they entailed.

It took me a while to discover that the real revolution had already taken place in South India and had given birth to the true “68 baby”- Auroville. first I had another kind of world revolution on my mind and engaged myself in a leftist organization. Following my childhood dreams of “all peoples of the world free and united ” I became involved with the support of different anti-colonial liberation movements of that time, mainly of Africa. We truly felt we could change the world by fighting the unjust, suppressive outer circumstances. Slowly, however, doubt began growing inside me. I experienced many of my fellow campaigners behaving – openly or covertly – like the old racist, the old suppressor and power-lover themselves. I started asking myself(half-consciously to begin with): can we actually change the world by changing “they system” or do we have to look for something else, something more profound?
To find this “something else” was then y inner quest. my two children were the first response. In their sweetness and innocence they were revealing my own shortcomings and deficits. I started getting a glimpse of what it means to educate not only your kids but in the first instance yourself. Then in 1981, without further detours: a book on the bedside table of a friend, The Mother by Sri Aurobindo. it attracted me magically. And some days later the first photo of Sri Aurobindo and the thunderbolt feeling “But I know him!!!” His language and message so crystal clear, refreshing the seeker in me like cool water from a mountain source- I became deeply immersed in His and the Mother’s writings, which opened me up to a series of powerful inner experiences.
Finally in January 1991 Christoph, who is now my husband and I could travel to India and feel the force of the atmosphere They had left behind. The rest is quickly told: from then on we tried to stay in Auroville for some weeks every year. Our children and meanwhile also grandchildren, have caught the Auroville virus too, luckily. Christoph and I got involved with AVI Germany in 1995. I have been part of the AVI Germany Board since 1997. Keeping the connection with Auroville and the AVI umbrella association alive and contributing to our quarterly newsletter are my main functions on our board of five. I have also served on the international AVI Board since 2001 and as the AVI Secretary since 2003.
behind these dry facts I can say that both the Yoga of Mother and Sri Aurobindo and Auroville are the centre of my life. And I firmly believe that it is iin harmony with the mother’s wishes and plans that people like us “outside” constitute a most needed international network and outpost for Auroville, as an integral part of Her great revolutionary adventure.
To conclude i would like to point out that to establish personal connections and friendships beyond “the work” is part and parcel of my love for Auroville. we very much appreciate regular visits of our Auroville and AVI friends at home in Hamburg. And I always cherish the moments when our hearts open up to something deeper inside and the work day masks drop, which most of us wear. We are called to discover the secrets of collective yoga, not to establish” a new system”, however well functioning it may be in the end. Wouldn’t it help if we relied more on the cultivation of friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood, inside and outside of Auroville?
Many people of my generation have started off being fighters, fighting for something or against something. I always remember what a young Aurovilian once told me, describing his generation: We’re not fighters, we’re lovers.” That is what I actually experience while dealing with the younger generation and that is why I am full of hope, for Auroville and for the world at large.

Courtesy: Auroville International, the worldwide network of Auroville Friends.