Reflections on A Comprehensive Therapy in Auroville

In this paper, I reflect on the fundamental nature of a comprehensive psychotherapy for Auroville. I begin with the Mother’s observations on what it means to be an Aurovilian. I then discuss the basic guidelines for doing psychotherapy in Auroville as well as her comments about a retreat center for those in need. I expand the notion of a retreat center to include individuals who proactively feel the need for a retreat from time to time for purposes of self-education and self-reflection. I then examine Sri Aurobindo’s observations on the nature of a complete psychology from his point of view, and indicate how Jung’s understanding of psychology is compatible. I also show how both the neurotic and psychotic psyches are perversions of the healthy psyche and not fundamentally different. A large part of the paper is dedicated to the psycho-cultural differences between India and the West, an understanding that is essential for doing psychotherapy in Auroville.

My assumption is always that individuals have unique paths, but their family, social, and cultural backgrounds are important considerations for them to come to terms with their swabhava-adhikara [personality type] and swadharma [law of action]. I also discuss the place of suffering in life, and what it means to be a psychotherapist. For a depth approach to psychological healing, empathy/sympathy with the client is essential. I end the paper with comments by the Mother on the purpose for Auroville, which puts the practice of psychotherapy in Auroville in proper perspective. Although this paper is specifically about psychology in Auroville, the basic premises can be adapted to other cultural environments, by making necessary modifications according to the culture in question. I am personally interested in Auroville and, thanks to its well-articulated purpose and defining paradigm, I believe it to be the most relevant cultural experiment today for understanding the future. From my experience, the psychological teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as well as Jung are the most far-reaching and integral, and therefore highly relevant to understanding the depth psychological demands for today and the future.