Punarnava Healing Community Inc.

262 Upland Road, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA

© 2018 Punarnava

a 501(C)3 corporation

Vaidyagrama- a journey within- some thoughts therein

September 6, 2017

 

This is a journey…… a journey within…and in the course of the journey, if we can be of some benefit to the community, that is great. We have believed for long that “currency” is the bane of modern living. All “abundance” is measured in currency thereby disconnecting us from the abundance of nature. And it is this abundance that we are trying to connect to on this journey. Left to us, in a few years’ time, we would remove “currency” completely from the Vaidyagrama community……. and get back to a “need" based existence rather than the “greed" based existence that we are all accustomed to today.

Please don’t get us wrong….resources are certainly required……and we definitely want to create abundant resources……but we want to primarily share those resources with the lesser fortunate amongst us who do not have the capacity to create resources even to address their basic needs….

We have always wondered where our desires will end…. we buy one home, then two homes, then three homes…..we buy one dress, then two dresses and so on…..we buy several pairs of shoes…….we keep investing for the future…. we keep hoarding up for our children…….we do all this in the name of our family….. we believe that we are not materially driven…we live in a world of delusion…..we don’t even know whether our children will ever want all of this……...everything is in multiples….and still our desires fail to cease…… we do meditation…we do chanting…we do yoga…….but the personal material desires continue for every one of us…….and it is these desires that prevent us from connecting with the real world……the world within us. It is these desires that are the root cause of much of our health issues……this is not me saying this…our Ayurveda texts very clearly say that ignorance, desire and aversion are the root cause of all disease!

 

We are happy to be altruistic; we are even more happy to be connected to a cause. And we happily become a part of the cause because it helps our ego (who creeps in unknowingly). At some point, we decide that we are bigger than the cause and that we should be given greater importance than the actual beneficiary in a cause. We have then well and truly become imprisoned by our ego; and still we believe that we are functioning independent of our ego.

 

We value our freedom and celebrate Independence Day every year; are we really free? Are we not chained by our egos which prevent us from experiencing our Real Natured and instead keep us tied down to our material desires? And thus Ayurveda goes on to say that “ignorance, desire and aversion lead to “a sense of I, attachment, doubt, ownership, indiscriminate thought process, inverted thought process and consequent wrong actions” all of which form the essential patho-physiology of all disease and grief!

At vaidyagrama, we started this journey from a “material minus”…….and we move forward at a slow pace……many have come selling us big dreams…..but we have chosen to stick to reality which means “being connected to the basics"…… even now as we explore a larger canvass, we are wondering how far to go…..we don’t want to compromise our basic principles in pursuit of a sold dream which takes us away from our vision…….we want to ensure that all the resources that we generate primarily go to building a healthy happy community (family)…. a model which can be replicated across the world.

People have wondered whether we are being ambitious….whether we are being mercenary…..for all the expansion programs that we have seem to give an impression to some people that we are mercenary………we are clear that the little that we have belongs to the community…..and that when we have the capacity to share, to give, to care, to reach out to more people, we need to do it…..we cannot be “frogs in a well” where only “I, me, mine, myself” matters…… this is where we started this journey……it is a journey from the material to the spiritual….not vice versa 

Our joy does not come from the earnings we get…..they are negligible…..our joy comes from the abundance that is being created for each and every one of us in terms of our deeper connect within and without…… this is the message that we are attempting to share with all who are members of this community…..that “currency” cannot buy us happiness.

 

Even those amongst us who looked at vaidyagrama as a material investment, are gradually moving around to seeing vaidyagrama as a spiritual investment. There are many for whom the process of creating vaidyagrama has itself been a source of much enrichment; and there are others who have donated any earnings from their investment in vaidyagrama to the community itself.


Thus as we re-connect and re-unite at many different levels, we believe that we can all do so much together for the community at large….and further experience the abundance that exists in us……we have created so many material blocks to this abundance…….and thus as we pursued the material, we have always felt “poor” and “uncared for” and “insecure"……..it is these blocks that we want to break through for every one of us…..where we are content with the material essentials and turn our entire focus onto spiritual abundance.

Thus at Vaidyagrama, we need to break through many accepted “corporate” and “professional” practices……we are endeavouring to bring in a sense of self-accountability, self governance and ownership in every one of us in Vaidyagrama….as you are aware, “freedom” is a much misused word in India and many parts of the world……and thus it is again a journey to self-governance….it can take many years but the intention is clear….we don’t want to be managing people and resources…..it is such a waste of our spiritual energy…….we want to move into a space where everybody is responsible and accountable……and while materially comfortable, primarily focussed on spiritual abundance.

We are trying to get people to move away from the conventional idea of investments and building homes for themselves……yes they need to be looked after and happy…..today Vaidyagrama is in a space where everybody who is responsible will easily be taken care of for life even if we don’t grow any further…..and yet we see insecurity in people…..we see people wanting more and more and more for themselves….we see people in this exploitative space where they don’t realise how much harm they are doing themselves by wanting more and more even if it is at the cost of others……people don’t realise how karma catches up with those of us whose focus on material greed exceeds spiritual need……all these are areas into which we have to put much focus in the coming years; we have created the infrastructure……but unless there is a paradigm shift in the thought process of every single person (whether it be the founders or investors or donors or colleagues or vendors or beneficiaries or the surrounding community) who is a part of the Vaidyagrama family, this is not going to be a self-sustainable community.

 

All of us need to see that we function mostly from the “I” space where almost always it is the “I at the cost of the We” - this is the space from where all our issues and conflicts and distress and disease begin; this is the root of all our global issues also. On the other hand, if we move into the “We” space where it is always the “We before the I”, then we will begin to see tRpti or contentment in taking care of the community; for even as the community is looked after, we realise that the “I” is also taken care of since the “I is a part of the We”. This is the space into which we all want to move at the earliest - the journey from “I” to “We” is not an easy journey; but that is the journey of this life on which we want to keep our focus and intention.

 

We are almost always focussed on “what we get rather than what we can give”. We have to move into a paradigm where we are completely in the “We” space, in the space of “giving unconditionally”; and move completely out of the “I” space, in the space of “what is there in it for me”. The Bhagavad Gita very clearly elaborates the different ways of giving wherein “unconditional giving” takes precedence over “transactional giving” and “inappropriate giving”.

And that is a reason why we are completely focussed on “growing” ourselves…and “growing” those around us……not materially but spiritually. We will all make mistakes….we are all naturally in the material space….it requires great willpower, determination and continous effort to lift ourselves and others into the spiritual space…into a more abundant space than any of us have ever known…... if patanjali, the author of the yoga sUtrAs, has used the words “abhyAsa” and “vairAgya”, it is knowing fully well the effort that goes into “abhyAsa” or continuous practice without seeing any results, and thereby leading to “vairAgya” or detachment from the projected fruit of the practice. Patanjali emphasises that “abhyAsa” and “vairAgya” form the base for “sukha” or the creation of a healthy happy environment within and without.

Thus we need to leave behind all our professional and corporate jargon and techniques…….and instead use that knowledge and experience to create a new space…a healthy space…a happy space…an abundant space….a spiritual space….a space where we are not stuck in that jargon and technique which has certainly not created contentment, health and happiness for almost all who have spent years and years in that space…… only then can we explore newer ways of reaching the global community.

 

People need to connect with Ayurveda not only for “dravya cikitsA” or a “product based treatment”; they also need to connect to Ayurveda for “adravya cikitsA” or a “process and practice based healing” which is more long term and sustainable; a process that includes treatments and herbs and oils and diet and lifestyle and silence and chanting and meditation; a process that addresses body, mind and spirit. “dravya cikitsA” is easily available; but “adravya cikitsA” is the more difficult one and hence more essential in the modern healing process.


Thus as we grow, we have to be very careful that we do not lose this spirit……it is a very thin line….as we become more professional, we lose the personal, we lose the spirit….striking a balance requires us to be constantly aware, constantly meditative…….that is when we can have new ideas and find new ways of implementation.

We created Vaidyagrama without any support….without any resources….bit by bit……with each of us engaged in multiple activities and being completely self-accountable in those initial stages…….now as the team has grown and more and more people have joined us over the years, the extent of activity that each of us have to do has considerably reduced……which is great if we devote the extra time to creative & spiritual activity and creating creative spaces…..we have become more and more reductionist over the years….. a danger that we need to be well aware of…….a situation where the eye does not know the nose and the nose does not know the ears……..the holism will start to evaporate…..the family will start to disintegrate…..thus professionalism makes us “separate” and “reductionist”…… all of these dangers need to be in our awareness….then we will take steps to ensure that we don’t fall into the same trap that so many before us have.

All of this is not idealism……all of this and much more is described in the vedas…..in the upanishads and the Puranas……and we want to build this model on the management advice from all these texts…..not the modern management and marketing jargon which kills the effort even before it begins. We want to create a community that has truly internalised the meaning of the word “Trupti” or contentment…..that is when we will have a self-sustainable need based society that celebrates abundance by sticking to the principles of Ayurveda and natural farming.

At this stage, 13 years after we established Punarnava Ayurveda, we wanted to give you a sense of where we are coming from….. there is definitely lots and lots that we can all do together…today Vaidyagrama is a strong platform on which we can build anything in the interest of the community at large…..it is a platform for each of us to test our ideas, our vision, our dreams which are in the spiritual space……..it is a platform from where we can go anywhere……let us together endeavour to make it a space for everybody to grow spiritually easily and effortlessly….to be content, healthy and happy every moment of our lives…..to change the paradigm in which we are all currently living.

 

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