From Permaculture to Prema-culture

Updated: Jun 4, 2018

Sat Yoga Ashram Welcomes Scott Pittman and 35 Permaculture Institute Students to Arunachala.


“Can we sustain a community of new design and new visible structure if we do not have a new invisible essence? A consciousness that is capable of sustaining a loving relationship with one another and with our world and with spirit?” ~ Shunyamurti

On a clear and sunny January morning, the Sat Yoga Ashram hosted 35 students on a full-day ashram tour, part of a 2 week course on permaculture design, led by Scott Pittman, founder and director of the Permaculture Institute based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Durga, co-facilitator of the Permaculture Design Course and also Sat Yoga Ashram’s Agriculture Department Coordinator, organized this auspicious visit, a confluence of the sustainable with the spiritual. 


Please enjoy this beautiful film of Shunyamurti’s teaching from the visit:

Where Permaculture Meets Prema-culture


The world is looking for new ideas and new paradigms for truly sustainable ways to live in peace and harmony with nature and with one-another. One such modality is permaculture, a philosophy and ecological design system, that works with nature by implementing regenerative and self-maintained habitats, as well as agricultural systems, modeled from natural ecosystems. It is a philosophy for sustainable living. 


Sat Yoga Ashram adds a spiritual dimension and foundation to these sustainable practices with the introduction of Prema. Prema is the Sanskrit word for Divine Love. Sat Yoga incorporates the intention of loving unconditionally and maintaining love as the primary purpose of all we do, from the creative cultivation of our food, to reforestation and land restoration, to our communal and inter-subjective relationships.

Durga explained why the visit to the ashram was vital to the course, “This field trip allowed the course participants to observe an environment rich in visible as well as invisible sustainable structures and to appreciate the complexity of designing for an emergent community. To learn first hand from the many active ashram projects and accomplishments such as our water grid, wastewater management, erosion control, gardening and so much more. This provided a very real example of how to make sustainability on the physical plane happen. But the main intention of the visit to the Ashram, was the invaluable opportunity to be able to share an example of a thriving invisible structure, where 30 beings of very diverse backgrounds are living, sharing, cooperating and restoring their souls and the land.”


Upon arrival at the ashram, the group of permaculture students gathered under the Tree of Life with Sat Yogis for an inspired teaching by Shunyamurti. A pristine energy field, sun rays gently dancing on leaves and branches, and the sounds of birdsong and classical guitar, all nourished a feeling of divine love that was palpably present.

After the talk and meditation, the group took a tour, learning about many of the sustainable projects already in practice at the Sat Yoga Ashram. The day culminated in a celebratory feast that was the reflection of a coming together of permaculture and prema-culture. The Ashram Kitchen blessed us with magical dishes for over 50 people, almost entirely created from Arunachala-grown produce.  An overflow of communion and flavor revealed the completion of the cycle from heart, to field, to plate…to divine heart!

READ MORE about Scott Pittman and the Permaculture Institute.

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