The Sacred Grove – Centre for Exploring Consciousness is set on 17 acres of land, surrounded by hills and paddy fields in the village of Pedda Kondamari, around 4 kms from Chowdepalle town, and roughly 29 kilometers from the headquarters of The Satsang Foundation at Madanapalle, A.P.
The Sacred Grove is evolving under the direction of Sri M along with practical inputs from a team he has set up to spearhead this Centre. Its multi-faceted aspects are – a study-center or a library for Swadhyaya (self-study), Sadhak Nivas (cottages for seekers) for a peaceful Retreat, Vrikshavalli – a plantation of indigenous trees, flowering bushes and creepers, Goshala of indigenous breed of cows, fruit orchards and natural farming, and a Wellness Centre for Yoga and Ayurveda-based therapies.
A well-designed and furnished library overlooks the plantation of indigenous trees and a serene courtyard, and provides a suitable ambience to support a seeker’s journey. In the spirit of Sri M’s approach to spirituality, the library houses books from all traditions, allowing winds of wisdom to blow from all directions. While setting up of the library is an ongoing process, approximately 1250 books have already been acquired and catalogued, consisting of literature on ancient wisdom and its modern expressions. An audio-visual section in the library helps connect and dialogue with the Teachings.
Gradually, doors are being opened for music to integrate with meditation and self-inquiry. This connection with the written word, live streaming and recorded satsangs, and select music is going to be sensitively woven into the daily schedule at the Study Centre. Needless to say, there will be a section dedicated to Sri M’s satsangs under different themes such as the Upanishads and ancient Indian Texts.
Sadhak Nivas has been designed as a cluster of 12 cottages that comprise two units each and can accommodate 48 inmates at any given time. As of now, five elegantly designed cottages are ready and fully functional to accommodate 20 Sadhaks on a twin-sharing basis. Two volunteer rooms with a pantry, registration cum accounts office and a director’s cottage are all part of this Sadhak Nivas and support the smooth functioning of the Centre.
Cows of indigenous origin have been welcomed into a beautifully designed Goshala, surrounded with fodder fields. This has opened up possibilities of integration with the concept of natural farming. So, while the Goshala provides fertilizers and pesticides for the millet & paddy farms and fruit orchards, the fields nurture desi, A2 milk cows with chemical-free fodder.
The shrine dedicated to Madanagopal (Krishna), the reigning deity of the Sacred Grove, complements the Goshala complex with musical notes of flute rising with the dawn and setting with Godhuli lagna (sunset time). This space, dedicated to collecting milk, setting curd, and churning butter is the hub of much activity. It is also called “Madanagopal ka Dhaba”, a kitchen that provides meals for the inmates, workers and occasional guests.
Plantation of indigenous trees, mango groves and fruit orchards bring a special connection with nature and promise a healthy diet. After three years of careful collection, planting, and nurturing of indigenous species of trees, a rich Vrikshavalli of 50 varieties is seen growing in front of the library and Sadhak Nivas. A fruit orchard is coming up near the space ear-marked for the meditation hall.
Understanding the need for physical and mental well-being as crucial to the Sadhak’s journey of inner contemplation and self-study, Sri M has integrated the traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda based therapy in the Wellness Center for Yoga and Ayurveda at The Sacred Grove.
One may wonder how a Goshala, farming, and tree plantation are going to integrate with a library and wellness center at a Center for exploring consciousness!
It indeed reminds us of Aranyaka Sanskriti – when the Rishis led an integrated life of Jnana, Dhyana and Karma Yoga amidst, and connected deeply with the verdant forests.
The Sacred Grove – Center for Exploring Consciousness is expected to be inaugurated by July 2022.