Let’s begin with a little introspection on Dharma. What does Dharma mean to us? Is it just a set of rules laid out to worship God and to congregate people socially and politically or is there more to it beyond that?
Dharma has been loosely translated into religion as we know today. But if you look closely, every dharma originated as a set of practices created by people dwelling in a particular area so they could sustain the test of time.
The root of the Sanskrit word Dharma is ‘to sustain’ (as in Dhyana, ‘sustained awareness’). In ancient times, religious codes of conduct had special places for plants and trees which help us sustain the way we live. Dharma is about designing a system where the well-being of people is achieved as a natural outcome of the process rather than by special attention and intervention. For instance, whenever we are ill, we can visit the Doctor and pop some pills to recover, but the illness itself can be avoided to a certain extent by the right exercise and food. Many religions (dharmas) prescribe fasting and exercise to its followers precisely for living sustainability.
In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, there is a conversation between Bhishma and Yudhishthira where Bhishma outlines how good governance leads to abundance. Bhishma says: ‘When governance is done as per Dharma (sustainably), then we call it the Golden Age, and the earth yields crops without being tilled, and herbs and plants grow in luxuriance. Barks, leaves, fruits and roots become vigorous and abundant’. A well-designed agri-practice can have an ecological everlasting impact!
When we refer to what we offer at Beforest as a lifestyle solution. It is not just about buying a part of a collective, but inculcating a lifestyle which is based on sustainable principles. Our endeavour is to create good governance practices at our community level so that abundance is created not by effort but by design itself.