Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Jiva Institute in Faridabad

I am writing from the Jiva Institute in Faridabad, where Satya Narayan and his brothers have their main center of activities. There are three of them involved in the Institute, one is an Ayurvedic doctor (Dr. Pratap Chauhan) who has now become something of a celebrity. He appears on television giving advice on health and people can then call in to ask questions about their personal health problems. Next door there is a very nice, modern, private clinic where people can get the Pancha Karma treatment.

The main buildings also house a private school which one brother's wife runs as the principal. Two of Satya Narayan's nieces also work in the business, in sales and publicity, i.e. sending out Ayurvedic medicine, etc. There is also an American man named Steve Rudolph who has an MA in education who plans the curriculum and also helps with the marketing side of things. I think that he has had a lot to do with the very slick packaging, etc., that has no doubt helped this organization grow so rapidly.

The story that Pratap told me is that the brothers here were all inspired by SN when he came back from America an Iskcon devotee. He was a graduate of IIT, an engineer working in the States, and everyone fully expected him to be the main provider for the family of five brothers. Instead he had become a vairagi. But all the members of the family ended up following him to Haridas Shastri and taking initiation and they developed this idea of Ayurveda, spirituality and education.

So I will spend the night here. SN is going to speak at a program in Delhi and I will accompany him. Tomorrow they are sending a car from Rishikesh. It is a five to seven hour ride. So I should be exhausted by the end of it.

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Added afterwards.

I went with SN to his engagement. He spoke to a weekly satsanga at the IFFCO building in Saket. IFFCO is a big fertilizer company and their headquarters is about as nice and modern a building as you will find anywhere in India. Not a trace of inattention to detail anywhere. The lecture took place in a board room with the long table and swivel chairs for everyone. About twenty people attended.

They chose the subject, which was "The virtues as described in Bhagavad Gita." SN spoke on chapter 16.1-3, the daivi sampad. He focused a lot on sattva-suddhi, the second in the Gita list, and not much on the others.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jagatji,

This is Nila Madhava. I leave for India tonight. What is the best way to reach you? Please send me an email. It would be great to meet you.

- NMd

Anonymous said...

What a very inspiring tale of SN. Being a graduate of IIT is no mean feat, something like being an MIT graduate in the US.

And he gave it all up for Krishna, and even brought in his whole family to boot!

Anonymous said...

Western styled office. Indeed, India's decades of waiting and longing finally pays off: the West HAS arrived, and it is called Faridabad and it is called so many such other senseless, mindless developments throught the entirety of the country. Heartbreaking waste of an otherwise vital opportunity to factual guidance.

India adopts the destructive glitter of the West, and the West foolishly turns a blind eye to the copycat foolishness of India. Great, the world is now in for the ride where the blind leads the irresponsible, the greedy, the tacky and the overcafeinatted; a ride into deeper, unexplored levels of madness.

Faridabad is that stretch of uglyness just before Delhi that one must endure on one's every Vrindavana-Indira Gandhi International ride. Gigantic billboards alongside the over-polluted highway announce with pride the erection of yet another super modern skyscraper for residence, businesses, or just for the heck of it - grotesc monuments to India's present dark, unwise age.

About IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited): in its mission statement IFFCO says, "IFFCO's mission is to enable Indian farmers to prosper through timely supply of reliable, high quality agricultural inputs and services in an environmentally sustainable manner and to undertake other activitities to improve their welfare".

And further down in its by-laws it states that some of the cooperative's objective is "to set up Plant or Plants for manufacture of chemical fertilisers and allied products/bye-products (and more, read below*).

Now, is there a single Indian in India's thousands of years of experience in the field of mysticism that can reconcile the two absolutely oposite activities of manufacturing and distribution of chemical fertilisers and promotion of environmentally sustainable methods? No. It is impossible. In that Bhagavad-gita lecture to the sweivelling chairs, Satya Narayan would have done well telling the IFFCO that not even God has bothered to attempt the feat - one must choose sustainability or destruction, both simoultaneously is not part of the lila.

But cheating and unaccountability is that one sacred cow that East and West have equally shared throughout the centuries. In the West it has adopted the name of Freedom, while in India it has taken the exotic name of Liberation. We, the riders, with only a one-way ticket for a try, well, it looks like we are not going to get either.

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*(ii) to undertake production, processing and manufacture of insecticides, pesticides, seeds, agricultural machinery and implements and other agricultural production requisites by setting up or taking on lease manufacturing units either directly or in collaboration with or as a joint venture with other Cooperative Institution/Public Sector Enterprise or any other agency;

(iii) to acquire, establish, construct, provide and maintain and administer factories, townships, estates, railway sidings, build yards, wells, water reservoirs, channels, pumping installations, purification plants, pipe lines, carriages, storage sheds and accommodation of all descriptions for facilitating the business of IFFCO;

Jagat said...

Good points about IFFCO and Faridabad.