A search for equilibrium, learning and the inner journey are at the heart of Vana. Reflecting on our first few years, we believe that we have achieved something unprecedented in wellbeing.
We strive for equilibrium and wellbeing that is whole, at times by going against the current. Our ambition is to make Vana a place of learning, where all who visit can contribute and share. Vana never intended to exclude; we want all to benefit from our commitment to transform. Vanavasis, team members and friends are invited to walk on the Vana journey with us.
Authentic traditions of wellness, medicine and wisdom have been brought together at Vana with creative thought, deep commitment and personalised support. These exist in spaces that are homage to nature and the sublime. Nourishing cuisine, experiences for all the senses and a kind-hearted team complete the offering that is Vana. Ayurveda, Sowa Rigpa and Yoga have been thoughtfully integrated, yet rooted in their individual authenticity. Vana believes that by aspiring to achieve our best spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual self, we can live life more wholesomely. Know more…
The Vana logo and name are a homage to nature and the forest. Vana means ‘forest’ in Sanskrit and we take inspiration from its nourishing, nurturing and selfless qualities.
The common threads woven through Vana are:
Vana exists to serve its Vanavasis, its Team, its growing community of Shishyas, its country and Nature. Everyone with whom our karma intersects and whose wellbeing we enhance in some way, becomes part of the Vana Family. Each of these relationships is different but equally important. Know more…
Indian wisdom says that this human era is the Kalyug – the degenerate age of downfall. Delusion, greed and confusion characterise this time. But this also presents an opportunity for the fearless seeker. To unravel the mind and transform emotion; the essence of spiritual practice. Some might not have the knowing to articulate this aspiration, but find themselves attracted to places, people or situations that give momentum to their inner journey. Others have the merit or wisdom to conscientiously choose such a path. Vana’s life vision is to be of service and enhance wellbeing and this is what we look for, when we search for a Vana team member. Skills, intelligence, experience and elegance are all desirable. But for us, human qualities and the right intention supersede conventional attributes.
In time, we hope to provide opportunities to Vanavasis and other members of the Vana Family to serve and give of themselves to others, through Vana’s activities.
Humanity’s abuse of nature is rooted in certain misconceptions. First, that the earth, its resources and the beings on it were made for humans to exploit. Second, that nature must be conquered by science and its intelligence surpassed. Third, the perception that nature is outside of us, not that we are within it. These misconceptions lead to ignorance which breeds greed and ego, manifesting in uncontrolled exploitation and suffering, even within us.
At Vana, our starting point is different. We have always tried to keep our impact as limited as possible, taking from nature as mindfully as possible. We usually fall way short of our own ideal standards but that is not for lack of trying. Behind many of Vana’s stories, in fact at the foundation of its existence, is a reverence to nature. Come to Vana to explore and find out more.
Vana and Vana Foundation manifest the intentions of its founder Veer Singh. We have always believed that the land where our Retreat exists, the place Vana calls home, is blessed. But it is only through countless hours of work and creative energy, matched equally by willpower and focus,that we have come to make a small positive imprint. This is the beginning of Vana’s journey, intertwined intimately with that of Veer’s and his dedicated and well-intentioned team.
Over these first few years our team members continue to uncover Vana’s real purpose while finding their own. Meanwhile Vana evolves from its aspiration to be of service and enhance wellbeing to being of benefit to all sentient beings and even aspiring for their enlightenment. As the Retreat slowly brings in more facets of life into its fold, our foundation aspires to revive Indian wisdom and India’s greatest gift to the world, the Buddha’s teachings.
The seed of Vana was sown in Veer’s mind through his deep interest and respect for farming, traditional wisdom and nature. Spheres that we continue to nurture within Vana and beyond through Vana Foundation. We aspire to put the Indian farmer at the heart of India’s society once again, to make India the beacon of light for spiritual wisdom and to provoke a rebirth of some of its most meaningful and elegant traditions.
Behind Vana is the generosity, guidance and blessings of its founding family, nature and the sublime Gurus whose kindness are a motivation to Veer and the Vana Team.
Vana has unflinchingly set course on a path less travelled, yet far reaching and necessary for these times.
As Vana crossed its third birthday, we began to conceptualise a fuller palette of activity for the Retreat that would express Vana’s vision more holistically. Wellness has been our centrepiece, with cuisine, aesthetics, nature, music, art and human effort wrapped around it. Now, we wish to evolve to a new paradigm, where wisdom is both the foundation and the fruit, co-existing together with wellness, learning and giving.
The inner journey is the most challenging but essential aspect of one’s journey to greater wellbeing. In fact, it is beyond wellbeing, outside any definable references. As Vana, we cannot contrive someone’s journey beyond a point, but we can create opportunities through teachings, techniques, environment, people and resources. These must be rooted in the deepest wisdom traditions and offered only in their most authentic and undiluted form. Know more…
The year 2017 saw three firsts for Vana; our first Short Retreat, our first Vana School and our first Vana Foundation Workshop.
Short Retreats at Vana will always be based around a key aspect of Indian Wisdom and will usually be led by a Master. The purpose of a Short Retreat would be to deepen spiritual practice for both beginners and intermediates. They are available to a greater spectrum of people given their duration of only a few days and their modest fees. Short Retreats must be attended in their entirety and be approached with dedication and focus. Wellness treatments and usual retreat activities are not offered to those on a Short Retreat and cuisine arranged specifically. We usually call those attending them Shishyas, which means ‘students’ in Sanskrit. These retreats also provide an opportunity to meet a wonderful diversity of people with the common intent to learn and deepen their understanding. Short Retreats are open to existing Vanavasis, Vana Foundation and Vidyaloke Shishyas and their genuine nominees, and must be signed up to in advance. We hope to offer them a few times times each year and Vanavasis may include a Short Retreat as part of a longer retreat.
The Vana School for Young Vanavasis in August 2017, marked the completion of a long-standing project, to create an opportunity for children and young people to benefit from Vana’s intention and work. It also marked the beginning of a new journey and plan to host the Vana School each year with improvements each time.
Accompanied by their parents, the Vana School shall open Vana to the age group of 0 to 15 for a curated retreat replete with activities, learning, authentic experiences and fun. Each element and space of Vana is transformed and our team is reinforced by external facilitators that bring in new areas of expertise. Our aspiration is to offer the Vana School for a defined period of time every summer.
In July 2017, we also hosted our first workshop for Vana Foundation to support its efforts in social, emotional and ethical learning. Vana seemed the perfect canvas for people, ideas and knowledge to come together, to think creatively and develop positive motivations. Vana is a place for the individual journey amidst the collective journey. The ability to serve an ever far-reaching purpose, by using parts of Vana as a space for respectful learning and exchange, is also part of Vana’s ambition.
Each year various artists and musicians come through Vana’s doors, fleetingly or for residencies. This adds to Vana’s creative energy. Vanavasis benefit from these encounters and often wish to participate or learn more. Vana will therefore have its own art studio and also a music recording studio. May great minds and great artists forever cross paths at Vana and may it be a refuge for creativity!
Vana is not only our offering to the world but also home to our vision and mission. Various new initiatives are springing forth here through ideation and collaboration amongst the Vana and Vana Foundation Teams. These include Vidyaloke, Vanaveda, Vana Krishi, Vanapurna, Vana Lifestyle and more, all of whom call our Retreat their home, laboratory and place of inspiration.