Navadarshanam ("New Vision") is a small organization, a registered charitable Trust operating near a small village 50 km south of Bangalore, India. It investigates ecological and spiritual alternatives to the modern way of living and thinking.
Navadarshanam is an exploration of alternatives to the modern way of living and thinking. Its origin can be traced to a Study Circle that used to meet in Gandhi Peace Foundation and the Indian Institute of Technology at Delhi in the 1970s and 1980s. A decade of study, introspection and discussion among these concerned individuals led them to the conviction that the urban-industrial way of life was leading to alienation of the individual from self, nature and the Creative Power, resulting in ecological destruction, increasing poverty, unemployment and unmanageable levels of social disintegration and violence. To get away from this vicious cycle, they felt the need to explore alternatives to the modern way of living and thinking. In particular, they felt the need to explore the possibility of a new kind of science and technology: a science that would recognize the realities of the spiritual dimensions, and concomitant technologies that would enhance rather than destroy ecology. Central to this way of thinking is the recognition that there exist forces which are invisible to our physical senses, but are nevertheless the centres of power in shaping our universe and in taking care of its ecological balance.
To give these ideas practical shape, in 1990-91 they created a Trust and bought 115 acres of land next to a small hamlet about 50 km from Bangalore. This land was completely degraded and unproductive at that time. On this land, they have conducted experiments in the following five areas:
1. Eco-restoration: Merely by preventing grazing, the land has been converted from wasteland to a nascent forest. Thousands of trees have appeared, planted by the mysterious forces of nature invisible to the senses. Soil conditions have improved dramatically.
2. Natural farming: On this improved soil, in limited and carefully selected areas, fruit saplings and a few vegetables and cereals/pulses have been planted with minimum disturbance to those trees and bushes which have come up naturally. No chemicals and pesticides are used, the faith being that a healthy soil will take care of all plants in its bosom. This process is aided by lots of mulching around the plants.
3. Health and food: Based on the principles taught by a Swamiji of a nearby Ashram, food items and cooking methods have been classified according to digestibility/acidity-alkalinity. Diseases are seen as `absence of ease’, caused by undigested food, which disturb the ecology of the body. The subtler (‘pranic’) forces responsible for restoring this ecology are encouraged to play their role more effectively by changing our food patterns such that digestion is easy and effective. Food items developed along these principles have been made available to our network of friends in Bangalore.
4. Energy: Because of the ecologically damaging nature of the technologies that generate power these days, and also their centralized and user-unfriendly administration, connection from the state’s grid has been shunned. Instead, all power requirements, including that for pumping water and for lighting, is generated through solar panels and systems, wind power and also from oil made from the seeds of honge, one of the trees that nature has brought up in a big way during the regeneration process. Gobar gas (methane from cow dung), charcoal made on the land and wood stoves are used for cooking needs.
5. Housing: All dwelling units at Navadarshanam have been constructed with the help of alternative technologies, using eco-friendly concepts (such as compressed mud blocks). The philosophy adopted has been to combine ecology with economy. Thus, least amount of cement and steel has been used, instead the stress is on locally available material and labour. The house designs maximize the use of nature’s bounties – the breeze is such that no fans are needed even in the summer months, and no artificial lighting is required during day hours.
While the above five give an idea of the kind of work done by the Nd team, this represents only their work in the world ‘out there’. Their main stress has been on ‘inner work’ – purification of the mind. They wish to re-define ‘success’ and ‘progress’ for themselves in terms of inner work, rather than accumulation of goods or achievements at the worldly level, and hence constantly remind each other that it is freedom from the five passions – anger, sex, greed, attachment and ego – that is or should be their goal in life.
The Nd Story
Once upon a time, the Navadarshanam team members were young and idealistic. Through explorations of Gandhi's new science, which recognized Love as the fundamental law, the real meaning of progress, and a shared thirst for ecological and spiritual ways of thinking and living, this disparate group of persons was brought together to give birth to Navadarshanam. Read more...
19 Jun 2011 More residents at Navadarshanam
More residents at Navadarshanam - Veena and Murthy, and their friend Gopi are now making Navadarshanam their principal base. Prof Rajagopalan and Malathi have also moved into Navadarshanam. So has Pradeep Kuttuva, with his wife Shamala expected to join him in July - both of them will be at Navadarshanam for at least one year.
27 Mar 2009 New Residents at Nd
Nagarajan and his wife Padmini have joined the Nd team as new residents. Both have taken voluntary retirement from their careers in banking so that they can lead a life closer to nature, where they can explore the meaning and purpose of life at leisure
By ananthu on 7 Sep 2009
An Intensive Study Program on the theme "The Emerging Confluence of Science with Spirituality: with specific reference to the Quantum Enigma" was organized at Navadarshanam. It was a fully residential program, and was attended by 26 persons from different academic backgrounds. "Notes on the Science-Spirituality Confluence" gives an overview of what was covered. Please find the notes of the program here: Science-Spirituality Confluence Notes...
By om on 23 May 2009
I offer my greetings and salutations to all of you who have been associated with Atma Nirbhar - Ek Challenge, a great and inspiring adventure for the soul, for so many years.
Kaushik Das has labelled me as An Industrialist with a 'Difference'. Let me begin with an apt verse from Robert Frost's famous poem to weave together some episodes of my life's journey:
By ananthu on 11 Feb 2009
On 22nd December, 1916, Gandhiji delivered a talk to professional economists gathered at the Muir Central College Economic Society in Allahabad. The transcript of this lecture is a very useful input for anyone trying to fully understand Gandhi's approach to economics.
It is also full of humour, as evidenced in his opening remarks: