A visit to Anaadi Foundation

I have known the couple Adinarayanan and Smrithi Rekha for some time now. Sujatha, Madhav Balaji and myself had visited Palani and Udumalpet quite recently. We were ensconced in the guest house belonging to our friend Santossh , the Founder of Lambodhara Textiles in Thalaiyuthu near Palani. The sprawling guest house is located at Udumalpet. We visited our Kuladeivam Angala Parameswari (Palani) and we're fortunate to witness the Parentalu Pooja in Balasamudram. I used this opportunity to get in touch with Smrithi Rekha Adinarayanan of Anaadi Foundation.

The three of us had a nice lunch at the guest house and went over to the foothills of Iyvar Malai (a small hillock) in North Thathanaickenpatti (Palani Taluk). Anaadi Foundation is located on a nine acre campus. The word Anaadi means beginningless. Adinarayanan has been an evolved soul. I had learnt about his deep spiritual experiences some time ago. These instances have given him the ' Samadhi ' experience (he had realized this later). He moved over to India with the idea of dedicating himself to spirituality and serving the society. The couple got into a wedlock in 2004 and their 'Adharsha Dampatyam’ enabled them to cohesively lead a life of simplicity and purpose.

Adinarayanan and Smrithi spent some years in the infotech industry before moving into academics. It was during the academic period that Adinarayanan undertook Mouna Tapasya (vow of silence) for more than 150 days. This had motivated him to make the essence of the spiritual parampara of the country available to everyone. The couple continue to teach at a number of institutions including the IIT - Delhi. This initiative was undertaken for the well being of the world. The Anaadi Foundation has been reaching out to children , youth and families through their online and in presence programmes on Yoga, Itihasa - Purana and Vedanta blending unique insights from modern science.

They have been grihasthas (householders) and them being able to integrate sadhana into their daily life has inspired a lot of grihasthas. These inputs motivated us to visit the ashram. However, we were free from expectations and yet a big treasure was discovered. We entered the campus and were received by Sooryanarayanan. He was dressed in a simple manner and looked very rustic. A number of boys were found playing near him. We got to meet Smrithi thereafter. She was very happy to receive us and we were shown around. We visited Dhayanalayam first. The icons of Mahavtar Baba, Agastya and Adi Sankara were placed on a pedestal.

The icon of Adi Sankara had been offered by Indica, the organization founded by the visionary entrepreneur Harikiran Vadlamani. This shrine was circular and was fitted with a thatched roof and inner lining. The construction technique has ensured that the heat could not land on the devotees visiting the shrine. Madhav Balaji, Sujatha, Smrithi , Sooryanarayanan and myself sat down and meditated for a while. The circular shrine was lovely and it offered a marvelous experience to the three of us. Madhav Balaji wanted to spend some more time in the shrine.

We were taken to the rustic Yoga Vidya Ganapathy shrine in the same campus. A number of Desi cows were seen here. The dung from the cows were made into pipe shaped stuff and were being used as fuel. This campus has been using a digester and the bio gas is being used by the inmates. There are about 23 students (they are from Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra , Gujarat & West Bengal ) and 9 teachers here. The student applications had been around 100 and only 22 were shortlisted and accommodated. It was nice to see the highly qualified spiritually oriented teacher interacting with each other under the trees !

A few cookery experiments were going on. One of the students was embroidering and we could see a nice bird getting done . A teacher and a few students were playing an Indian game. It was refreshing to see people using our national language sanskrit in their activities. The hall cum auditorium doubled up as quarters for the students. The Dharma Gurukulam by Anaadi Foundation is offering rich lessons from the Indian Knowledge Systems. The students are being taught Samskritam, Ganita ( Maths ), Nakshatra Vidya ( Astronomy & Astrology ), Ayurveda, Siddha, Itihasa , Niti and lessons on sustainability ( Parishithi Vijnana ) . The day begins and 5 AM and goes on till 9 PM. Yoga, meditation, discussions, playtime and academics are part of the schedule. An hour is reserved for Yoganidra. Gaw Seva ( service to the cows is also included in the schedule.

The Bharatiya Guru Sishya Parampara system is in place here. Of course the students undergo the NIOS exams and move further in the regular academic spaces too. The teachers are fostering abundant growth everyday. Adinarayanan's parents Venkatacham and Subbulakshmi reside within the premises. Venkatachalam has worked in the atomic energy sector and has interacted with eminent scientists Vikram Sarabhai and Kalam. He had recently celebrated his eightieth birthday and we were lucky to receive his blessings. Sooryanarayanan was eager to share all the required inputs.

We understood that the students were completely Dharmic and a nice situation prevailed in terms of competition. The students competed with other in order to blow the conch for the prayer call. They were keen to either fast or stay up the full night. It was a unique experience. Sujatha was pleasantly surprised to learn about the background of the teachers ( Acharyas ). Brahmachari Sooryanarayanan was a PhD scholar at IIT - Bombay, Swami Shraddha Chaitanya Amartya Palreddy ( IIT Roorkee and NID Ahmedabad graduate ), AAdithyan Narayan, Dr M Shivani ( Ayurveda Vaidya ) , Bargavi Srinivas, Dr Vigneshwaran ( Cardiff University ) , Vishnupriya Varuneshwar ( IISc Graduate and PHD scholar at IIT Bombay ) are the Acharya team.

The institution has created its own syllabus and has published the text books required. Their textbooks are very well desgned. The illustrations, explanations found within the books are reader friendly and lucid. It is definitely the Ashram School for Indian Sciences and Values. They are definitely following the words of Swami Vivekananda. He had stated the following, " Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man ". The Founders and the Acharyas have understood that children of today are longing for a vibrant, rigorous and fulfilling environment where they are able to realize their full potential and be of service to the society. The standardized approach to education had made it difficult for the students to discover ' Swadharma' ( ie., what they are meant to do in life and their larger role in the society ).

" In order to create students who are curious about the universe, rooted to the self, societally conscious, self reliant, deeply interested in acquiring knowledge and ecologically sensitive , creating a joyous and holistic educational environment becomes important", stated Smrithi Rekha Adinarayanan. It was nice to see the students enjoying the uniquely designed curriculum. The diverse range of activities and the role of the Acharyas at Dharma Gurukulam by Anaadi Foundation will make not just the planet ecologically sustainable but will also make the mind and body of each student holistically sustainable.

A rare feet indeed. It is high time that we get out of our day to day chaos by emulating the teachings and approach of the denizens who are part of Anaadi Foundation. May God bless them to continue with their endeavours. We need the blessings of the Almighty to emulate them.

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Madhav Balaji , Sujatha and myself wanted to stay for a longer time. We were keen to do the Pournami Girivalam of the Ivarmalai along with the inmates of the Ashram. They have already extended their invitation. Let us together offer our best to such initiatives.

Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of The Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, entrepreneur, and a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.

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