Ananthu did his B.Tech. (Electrical Engineering) from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 1965. After completing a Master’s Degree from Stanford University, he worked for the Xerox Corporation for a while before returning to India in 1969. In Delhi, he worked for IBM for some time before setting up a software company. Ananthu had always been interested in social causes and this drew him to the J.P.Movement. In 1976, he joined the Gandhi Peace Foundation, where he worked for 14 years before moving to Navadarshanam. Ananthu shifted from Delhi to Thaly in 1991 along with his wife. He lived at Navadarshanam till 2012, when he shifted to his guru’s ashram at Beas in Punjab. But he comes to Navadarshanam often, continues to be a Founder Trustee, and helps with the programs here.
Jyoti (Ph.D. in Sociology) studied, then later taught at St.Xavier’s College in Mumbai. After marriage, she moved to Delhi and joined the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. Jyoti and Ananthu started a Study Circle in Delhi in 1978. This Circle was the crucible for the birth of Navdarshanam in 1990. Many concerned individuals, including faculty members of IIT Delhi and Delhi University, were part of this exercise.
Jyoti had been suffering from a rare lung disease for several years and she passed away in Navadarshanam on March 8, 2008.
Atmaram (AMP, Harvard and LL.B., Calcutta) is a Gandhian activist and a trustee of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi. He is also the Honorary Director, International Centre, Kolkata. He had earlier been a corporate CEO and President, All India Management Association. Atmaram lives in Kolkata and visits Navadarshanam occasionally.
An aerospace engineer from IIT, Gopi was a technologist based in California for over 20 years. While living in California, he left the technology industry to explore his life-long passion for growing food and leading a simple life. He worked on farms in the US and formally studied permaculture and sustainable farming practices. He has been associated with Navadarshanam for several years and has been living at Navadarshanam since 2009, pursuing a spiritual path and working on the land.
Nagarajan (M.Com, University of Madras) and Padmini ( B.Sc., B.Ed., CAIIB) were in the banking sector for years before quitting midway. They had been associated with Navadarshanam for many years and moved into the community in 2008.
Om got his B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in 1963 and joined the family business. During a big labour strike, he was attracted to the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) movement, where he learnt that the union leaders who were traditionally seen as foes could actually become fellow-fighters for a bigger cause. When he turned the searchlight inwards, he began to see where he himself needed to change.
Since then, he has divided his energies between R&D work and social causes. Apart from MRA, he has given a lot of his time to other organizations and campaigns. He has also been an active spiritual seeker, learning skills in yoga and meditation from different sources. Om divides his time between Tezpur and Navadarshanam.
Pushpa (M.A., Allahabad) fully supports her husband Om in his involvement with Navadarshanam. She has many creative talents including playing the sitar, gardening, painting on glass and preparing health food.
Partap Aggarwal (Ph.D. in Anthropology, Cornell) returned to India after teaching in the US. Convinced that the kind of ‘progress’ that has taken place in the West was not the ideal way, he became the Coordinator of the Friends Rural Centre at Rasulia, Hoshangabad, where he was inspired by the idea of natural farming and Mansanubo Fukuoka. Partapji lives in Bangalore and visits Navadarshanam occassionally.
Sudesh Aggarwal, mother of three children and home-maker has been a full participant in all the adventures of her husband Partapji.
Rajagopalan (B.E., Madras and Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur) taught at IIT Kanpur and IIT Madras for over 30 years. He is the author of several books on environment and makes presentations and conducts workshops on the topic all over India. Malathi (Ph.D in Educational Psychology) had been teaching in a private college in Chennai for many years. After living in Navadarshanam for a few years, Rajagopalan and Malathi now live in Bangalore.
Rama is a botanist and a farmer in Delhi. She was deeply influenced by the book ‘One Straw Revolution’ and met Fukuoka at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in 1988. She then joined Ananthu and Jyoti in their explorations of the alternatives to the modern style of living and thinking.
K.S. Ravi is a Chartered Accountant practicing for the last 25 years. He worked in the Accountant General’s office for three years before taking up practice. While in practice, he has been supporting various social causes by participating in the activities of grass- root level organizations as well as offering his services to NGOs in the areas of rural development, micro credit, supporting SHGs, supporting farmers, and supporting organizations that produce and market organic foods.
Swami Sahajananda was a Textile Engineer in Coimbatore, when he became a disciple of Swami Chinmayananda. Later, he set up his own Atheetha Ashram in the Thally region of Tamilnadu’s Krishnagiri district, about 8 km from Navadarshanam. Swamiji had great interest in food, health and alternative medicine and used to run health camps.
Atheetha Ahram acted as the base for the initial launch of Navadarshanam. Swamiji passed away in August, 1993.