I am writing this post sitting by a mud pool, smiling while looking at the tiny scratches on my skin I acquired while indulging in forest seva. I couldn’t be more proud of them if they were war scars.
Earlier that day during breakfast seva, Liz and I were talking about her brother who got a genealogy test done on himself. The results said that he is descended from ancestors of 4 different geographies. If we actually trace it further back, everyone on this planet will have the same set of ancestors and are related to each other. It made us realize how simple this world was before we complicated things with color, race, religion; before we drew borders and fought wars.
When I look around, Liz from the UK, Miley from France, Paul from Peru are making breakfast for the rest of the community. Volunteers from a dozen other countries are involved in various other activities. ‘Human Unity,’ my mind said.
It doesn’t belong to people of any one nationality and is independently run by volunteers, both long term and short term. Anybody is welcome here. It gives a different perspective on how one can live.
Sadhana forest works on co-existing in harmony with the environment and with nature. In this gift community, we take a few steps back and practice a way of life before complicated emotions and egos took over humans. Here, one lives close to nature, does Seva (self-less work) in growing an evergreen forest and helps develop and maintain a sustainable living community.
Sadhana forest was founded by Yorit and Aviram Rozin in 2003 with an aim of transforming 70 acres highly eroded land (once upon a time a rich forest) into an evergreen forest.
Sadhana focuses on the eco-friendly way of living. All the structures including the main hut, accommodations, kitchen are built with natural materials. The electricity is generated by solar systems.
The kitchen is equipped with Vegan, unprocessed cooking ingredients, fresh local produce of fruits and vegetables. The food is cooked on wood-burning stoves, aided by manual blenders and graters. Vineger is used as a bio-degradable disinfectant, the ash from firewood & coconut fibre is used to clean the utensils and cutlery.
Purified drinking water is available 24*7
The main hut has a living room, where all the volunteers eat together, organize workshops, chill and have conversations with fellow volunteers. It also has a small front office, first aid & nursing space, long-term volunteers office and a technology area to charge and use your electronic gadgets.
All the toilets are dry compost style.
A well-ventilated library always welcomes you to go pick some great books to read during non-seva hours. There is a free store near the library for clothes, tools, and other things. The yoga turf is a peaceful place amidst the verdant trees where you can attend yoga circles or practice meditation.
My favourite place to chill is the natural mud pool where I pamper myself or just chill on the shore with a book or jam with the other volunteers for some great music.
A typical day in Sadhana forest goes like this :
5:30 Am – Wake up call
6:00 Am – Morning circle, warm up, free hugs and dividing Sevas for the first session.
6:15 Am – 8:30 Am – First Seva
8:30 Am – 9:30 Am – Breakfast
9:30 Am – 12:15 Pm – Second Seva
12:30 pm – Lunch
Both the Sevas focuses on Planting new saplings, watering the plants and trees, mulching & nursing. Other sevas include water conservation, general community work like Kitchen, Animal care, firewood, repair & maintenance, Toilet hygiene, Running a free vegan chai shop for the locals and so on.
Apart from the regular
It’s been years since I lost my appetite for good music and it’s been forever since I had a real conversation with someone for fear of being judged.
At Sadhana, music is always in the air. Volunteers join in for a jam session almost every day with different instruments. Volunteers turn into artists, playing music in its purest form, i.e. not performing for anybody but themselves.
Conversations are as real as the wild forest breeze and flow like a freestyle song.
Sadhana is a gift community, which means there are a lot of workshops and art exchange meetups organized by the community members almost every day (not for monetary benefits; they are too valuable to price).
There is a non-talent show organized on Wednesdays where you can showcase your talents/nontalents and share your feelings and experiences with fellow volunteers.
Apart from being at Sadhana forest, you can also visit Auroville and partake in the activities there. Will write a detailed post about things to do in Auroville in my next post.
You can ref to join Sadhana forest page for more info: Sadhana forest India – Get involved
“MAY THERE BE MANY MORE FORESTS TO GROW PEOPLE’’
Also read: Living with a Thai family in Bangkok