Visiting Art of Living Ashram was indeed a treat to the eye. We students of PGDM 2017-19 were accompanied by Prof Dr. Anni Arnav and Asst. Prof. Prabha Kiran to the ashram on 17 July 2017.
Sri Sri Ravishankar Ashram is located at Kanakapura road, Bangalore. A gigantic arch welcomed us. The campus was engulfed in green, resembled a small bio system. Tranquility was at its epitome.
Mr. Ishwar, our guide directed us to a large hall. Mr. Rritvik, an Art of Living teacher, briefed us about the schedule. He also gave us immense information about the functionality, vision and mission of the organization. The most important learning being with Mr. Ritvik was to know how the mind could be managed with scientifically proven breathing methods.
We set out to witness the massive Ashram. First was the majestic Vishalakshi Mantap (named after Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji’s mother)which was nothing less than an architectural marvel, the intricate details, standing 108 ft. tall comprising of 3 floors. It resembled a blossomed lotus having over 1008 petals.
We were guided to board the bus that drove past RadhaKunj garden, Panchakarma and arrived at the Gurukul. It had an unrealistic feel being amid the ancient Indian Vedic, all of us were awestruck. The entrance of Gurukul had a temple in which three gods that is Panchmuki Ganesh, Maha Vishnu and Mahalaxmi idols were elegantly decorated.
Students from the age group of 9-14 comprised the school, which teaches them the four Vedas mainly Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda. The students were the main people who ensured the smooth functionality of Gurukul.
Our culturally important and revered species were waiting for us at the Goshala!! Yes you read that right. Divergent species of cows and bulls were welcoming us all around waiting to be pampered by us. Even before arriving at this place the fresh fragrance of the dairy told us where we were approaching.
This was the place that all of us enjoyed, watching the indigenous breeds. There were 14 out of the 37 existing Indian breeds at this place, Gir breed from Gujrat being in majority. Over 550 cows and 50 bulls exist there which were given their individual name to give them the respect they deserve. All the cows were well feed and maintained in good health; these cows were exposed to mantras and music, which ensured good yield. One thing that all of us appreciated, was the manual milking of all these cows. Special privilege to pregnant cows and their young calf had been given in terms of feeding and stay. All the cattle products and byproducts from milk to cow dung were put into use. Resource management was to be learnt at this stage.
We proceeded further towards Mr. Binay’s hut that was build entirely using reusable material. A techie who worked with IT industry for a decade and yet chose to preach the ancient way of living, Mr. Binay highlighted the issues with our generation, at the same time explained us how Vedic and ancient techniques were superior.
Post meeting Mr. Binay, light showers greeted us which pushed us to have a brisk walk towards our bus. The ride continues forward to reach the Ayurveda hospital. This was located at a farther place and the drive was memorable as we climbed through the hills, the view was just amazingly GREEN!
The hospital followed similar pattern like all other buildings in the campus with goddess Danavantri at the entrance.
Hospital had all the modern facilities and the one that caught our attention was the HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen) therapy that enriches the body and enhances the healing process. The hospital was unique as it combined Allopathy, Naturopathy and Ayurvedic in its treatment methods.
By now all of us were dead tired and all we wanted was FOOD!! A quick visit to bio gas plant and water treatment lead us to Anapoorna dinning hall.
Each unit has so much for us to learn from. Like the bio gas plant and water treatment that used waste food and water to supplement needs of the organization.
Then was the showstopper of the day ANNAPURNA MEGA KITCHEN (as it was covered by NATGEO), its a gigantic kitchen that serves an average of 5000 meals each day!!
During Navaratri the demands spikes to 1 lakh meals, isn’t it mind blowing? Now for the reality that will keep you surprised, only 12 staff personals run the system supported by the volunteers.Their efficiency is to be admired as no delay in serving happens and continuous feeding is done.
The last leg of the trip involved fun activity that enhanced concentration and created bonding between us. As the dusk approached it was time to return to our college, a fun filled excited day had come to an end. We saw the industry up close and carried lot of lessons back.
All of us understood that managing different tasks happening at the ashram was a challenge. We were exposed to learn how things are organized and done at ease. Transformation from barren land to greenery all around requires a lot of passion, hard-work and a driving force behind people to achieve such great fest. A disciplined, organized and sustainable environment is what our industry needs to adapt. Utilization of resources efficiently is critical which we look forward to imbibe in our day-to-day activities to transform our lives eventually.
Contribution by PGDM (2017-19):
Mounika Srinivas, Jasleen Ahluwalia, Rahul Somishetty, V. Pavan Kumar, Anirban Mukherjee, Vinayaka B S, SayantikaKar