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Interview With Smrithi Adinarayanan of Anaadi Foundation

Founded by Shri. Adinarayanan and Smt. Smrithi Adinarayanan, Anaadi Foundation is a Socio-spiritual organization dedicated to the self-development of individuals. Anaadi in Sanskrit means beginningless and Anaadi Foundation offers educational programs and conducts active research based on Indian Sciences including Indian Astronomy, Ayurveda, Cognitive-Neurosciences from a Yogic Perspective, and Indic ecology.

Adinarayanan is an Adjunct Professor of practice at NRCVEE, IIT Delhi. Smrithi was formerly an Edtech and Cognitive Science researcher teaching Computer Science and Engineering. Both are core group members of the Value Education panel at NCERT-MHRD, fellows of Europe Spirituality in Economics and Society (SPES) and teach at IIT Delhi.

In an email interview, Smt. Smrithi Adinarayanan shared about their life journey and their socio-cultural work through Anaadi foundation.

You and Adinarayanan ji were both in Academia for many years teaching computer science. Now, you are full time into Seva and Adhyatma. Please share with our readers about your life journey and what lead to this transformation.

Sh. Adinarayanan had a deep spiritual experience of Samadhi during his education in the US. One may say that it was a spontaneous experience. He was at a junction where his student life was complete and he had no specific plans for the future, what we may call as “sandhya kala”. This experience led him to delve deep into Yoga and meditation and also return to India to dedicate his life to making his inner experience available to as many young people as possible.

After our marriage, Adinarayanan ji and I were software engineers in Bangalore for some time. We used to have daily discussions about the kind of life we would like to lead. Though we were satisfied as software engineers, we felt that corporate life did not provide a multi-dimensional playing field. We had versatile interests and we felt academia is the best place to be. With our educational and industry experience in Computer Science, we moved to Amrita University in Coimbatore and worked there for more than a decade. We lived on the campus and we used to have an “open door policy”, as we called it. Students could come in at any time and spend time with us. We would have students visit us as early as 5.00 am in the morning for a Yoga session to 8.00 pm in the evening for a linux hacking or a carnatic music session. Amrita University had an excellent value system in place under the guidance of an enlightened master. We felt that there were a lot of youth outside Amrita looking for guidance and momentum in their lives. At the time, Sh. Adinarayanan had also completed his second round of Mouna Tapasya of about 40 days during that period. He has spent close to 150 days in total now. A clear message during the Tapasya was to inspire the youth and hence we left our jobs and started Anaadi Foundation in 2015. With a supportive family, this move was smooth. We have two sons who are an integral part of all the activities at Anaadi Foundation. Some of our well-qualified students who were dedicated to sadhana and dharma, joined us on this journey and helped us put up the various pillars of Anaadi Foundation together. Anaadi Foundation’s ashram located in Iyvar Malai in Tamil Nadu is a place for sadhana, seva and adhyatma. Yogic practices combined with karma yoga brings a sense of fulfillment to ashramites. We now offer programs at our ashram as well as at other institutions and platforms. We teach regularly at IIT Delhi and Sh. Adinarayanan is an adjunct professor of practice at National Resource Center for Value Education in Engineering at IIT Delhi.

You founded Anaadi foundation in 2015. How has the journey been till now? Please share with us about the activities of the foundation and the challenges you faced running it?

The journey has been fantastic. Anaadi Foundation is a creative expression of diverse interests of its members. Through our various programs, we get the opportunity to share the depth of Indian culture, sciences and values to young people. In 2018 we moved full-time into our ashram which is located in a spiritually significant region near Palani called Iyvar Malai (there are 2 hillocks). The local legends say that Iyvar Malai has been visited by the Pandavas. Iyvar Malai also has a Draupadi Amman temple and Jaina caves. It is visited by hundreds of people every year.

Anaadi Foundation offers a number of programs for all age groups. Located in a rural area and blessed with highly qualified members, Anaadi Foundation offers STEM and English education based programs to rural school children. Our annual rural science fair attracts more than 600 children. We also offer technology certification programs for rural youth to enhance their livelihood skills. Our community programs also include a free Ayurveda camp for 200 villagers every month.

On a regular basis we offer a Mouna Sadhana program which is a blend of asana, pranayama, dharana, dhyana for physical stability, Bhagavad Gita sessions for emotional clarity and personal journaling for cognitive clarity. We encourage the participants to participate every month for deeper benefits.

Together with this, Anaadi Foundation also engages in scientific exploration of interdisciplinary domains of Ayurveda, Yoga, Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence.

Our annual youth leadership retreat at Rishikesh is quite popular among the youth. Based on the Mahabharata, the program uncovers the various dimensions of Governance, education, Indian sciences, gender-issues, justice and dharma in the grand Ithihasa.

The founders and members also travel to various places sharing insights from our shastras, blending ancient and modern wisdom. Our monthly magazine Parnika, subscribed by more than 1200 people across the globe is offered every Pournami.

Every year you conduct a number of Himalayan Yatras. Can you share more about these events? Who can join them?

The very word Yatra means a journey that liberates, just as mantra and yantra are tools for liberation. What happens in a Yatra especially that involves a rigorous journey on foot with limited access to resources – the physical, emotional and cognitive processes begin transformation. Anaadi Foundation’s Himalayan Yatras are designed to give people a deep experience of some of the most gorgeous and spiritually significant places in the Himalayas. The circuits we usually take are Rishikesh-Ukhimath-Tunganath-Kedarnath, Rishikesh-Uttarkashi-Gangotri-Gomukh-Tapovan and Rishikesh-HemkundSahib-Valley of Flowers and Badrinath. The yatra is open to people of all ages. We also offer a 17 km pada yatra to Palani from our ashram multiple times a year.

In the past we have also offered specialised yatras focusing on a team of people exploring similar areas of work. In 2019, the Dravya Guna yatra was offered for Ayurvedic practitioners, students and faculty. The Dravya Guna Yatra has been designed to give a glimpse into some of the rare Himalayan herbs and their Ayurvedic benefits. The Himalayan region has numerous plants that are of medicinal value. This Yatra gave the participants an opportunity to map various herbs and their benefits. More thematic Yatras are planned for the future. Details of our yatra can be found at our website

I understand that Anaadi foundation is also involved in trans-disciplinary research and research on ecologically sustainable technologies. Can you share more about your work on these?

The members of Anaadi Foundation have versatile interests and capabilities. Hence transdisciplinary research and initiatives are a natural outcome. ATRI focuses on building rigor and quality research outcomes in the area of trans-disciplinary research directed towards the synthesis of Indic sciences such as Yoga, Siddha, Ayurveda etc., with modern systems like neuroscience, epigenetics, pharmacology, evolutionary biology, It also inspires young minds to understand the richness of Indian knowledge systems, contribute to its development and propagate the rich knowledge to the world for collective betterment of the global community. The use of modern technology to support Indic Health Systems is also being explored. Our monthly free Ayurveda camps have been a big hit among the local population.

We have also been conducting research and experiments based on the neuroscientific benefits of Yogic practices. In October 2019, we were part of the organizing team of a workshop on Mind, Meditation and Human Values offered by IIT-D. The workshop was intended to explore the mind through the disciplines of Yoga and meditation and their relationship with modern contemplative neuroscience and neurophenomenology. Participants, who were teachers and heads of universities and colleges were exposed to the theory and practice of these disciplines and how they enhance human values. Anaadi Foundation is also a member of Indian Yoga Association and we hope to take the benefits of our practice and research to a larger group of people.

Indian ecological practices, aligned with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, also has been a core work at our organization through our centre – CREST. We have been exploring models where the Gomata can be at the core of sustainable living and development. We have a small goshala and currently are successful in generating biogas and manure for organic farming. We hope to expand it in the future. The outcomes of this work will be along the lines of alternate energy-cooking and electrification, agricultural products, milk products and medicinal products based on cows. We also hope to inspire rural youth to take up entrepreneurship based on cows. A long-term vision is also to create opportunities for international collaborative research on cow based sustainability and economy.

One of our members, Shri Sooryanarayan is currently pursuing his PhD under Prof. K. Ramasubramanian at IIT Bombay on Indian Astronomy and Mathematics based on Sanskrit texts.

In 2019, there was an installation of the Vigrahas of Adi Shankaracharya and Mahavatara Babaji at your Ashrama during Guru Poornima celebration. Please share more about the event and the Vigrahas.

By the grace of the Gurus, Anaadi Foundation was registered on Guru Purnima in 2015. Every year we celebrate our foundation day on Guru Purnima. It was a great honor and saubhagya to consecrate the dhyanalayam at Anaadi Foundation with the divine presence of Adi Sankaracharya and Mahavatar Kriya Babaji on 16th July, 2019. More than 100 people participated in the consecration and the various events that followed. We are thankful to Hari Kiran ii of Indic Academy for the Adi Sankara vigraha and Padmashri Krishnakumar ji of Arya Vaidya Pharmacy for sponsoring Babaji’s murti. The pratishta was done with the blessings of His Holiness Jagadguru Bharathi Teertha Mahaswami of Sringeri and in the presence of Swamini Atmaprakashananda Saraswati, Arsha Vidya, UK.

Just as a school provides a supportive environment for gaining knowledge, a meditation hall provides a supportive environment for gaining confidence in stabilizing awareness of internal processes. Such aalayams are our tradition’s greatest gift to humanity and meditative spaces have the capability to transform society and impact the body and mind of individuals. Anaadi’s Kriya Dhyanalayam is an offering to the rural and urban community for peace, harmony and inner growth. It serves as a space for practice and experience of various yogic practices, meditative techniques and inward journey for the spiritual well-being of all.

Mahavatar Kriya Babaji is our Guru and he has been guiding us in various aspects of our life and work. The presence of Adi Sankaracharya has accelerated our thirst for jnana and every day we feel his guidance in the insights we get to make sense of the reality around us. Both the Gurus bless every devotee who visits the dhyanalayam with a thirst for dhyana and jnana. Mouna Sadhakas spend 3-5 days entirely in the dhyanalayam soaking in the presence of the Gurus. Their presence gives abhaya, clarity and a sense of security.

You can connect with Anaadi Foundation on social media:
Twitter: @anaadifdn @smrithirekha @adinarayananv
Facebook: anaadifoundation adinarayananv

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. Indic Today is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.

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