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Launch Of IKS Meta Retreats : Invitation To Subject Matter Experts

Launch Of IKS Meta Retreats : Invitation To Subject Matter Experts

IKS Meta-Retreats are immersive intellectual explorations spanning 2-3 days, led by an Acharya in the ambience of a Gurukula and conducted with an attitude of Shraddha. Acharya, is the subject matter expert (SME), seeking to explore a specific topic, discipline, or domain along with a cohort. 9-12 participants who possess shradda and the right experience in the chosen theme form the cohort. This cohort then comes together with an upanishadic attitude of learning through immersion at a location that echoes the ambience of a Gurukula.

After organising four such pilot IKS Meta-Retreats that were conceptualised and curated internally, INDICA is now pleased to invite applications from all IKS subject matter experts (SMEs) interested in exploring a specific theme. The applicant must have rich experience in a particular subject, domain, or discipline. The cohort will be carefully selected by the SME and INDICA consisting of practitioners, academics, thinkers, and activists . The retreat will be held at a location and environment that facilitates reflection and immersion.

INDICA seeks the following outcomes from every Meta-Retreat for advancing the chosen theme:

  • A vision paper
  • A group project
  • A personal goal by each participant

IKS Subject Matter Experts who are keen on leading a Meta-Retreat may send us their bio at A 300 word summary mentioning the subject, domain, or discipline they seek to explore along with the names of cohort participants they would like to invite should also be furnished.

Travel, logistics, and accommodation at the Retreat will be hosted and managed by INDICA.

IKS Meta Retreats held so far

INDICA conceptualised and curated the following 4 pilot Meta-Retreats since November 2023.

Sr. No Theme Cohort Leader # Participants
1 Towards a Self-Conscious Nation State Shivakumar
11 Akshay Alladi, Kalyan Halley, Manish Maheshwari, Dr. Nagaraj Paturi, Nithin Sridhar, Raghava Krishna, Rinkoo Wadhera, Dr. Srinivas J, Surendranath Chandranath
2 Hinduism – The Hope of Philosophy Dr. Joydeep Bagchi 9 Amritanshu Pandey, Dr. Pingali Gopal, Megh Kalyanasundaram, Prof. Ramesh G, Dr. Suryanarayana J, Shrikant Ramdas, Shrinivas Udumudi, Vinay Kulkarni
3 Oral Storytelling Traditions – The Road Ahead Deepa Kiran 10 Dr. Diti Vyas, Dr. Janardhan Ghosh, Kavita Meegama, Lavanya Prasad, Lavanya Srinivas, Vikram Sridhar, Surya Swapna, Tarini Chandrashekhar, Varada Shambhus
4 Tech for Dharma, Tech with Dharma Surendranath
Ajit Padmanabh
10 Prof. Dr. Arnab Chakraborty, Anugraha Nagaich, Dhrupad Vipat, Prof. Dr. Mohan Raghavan, Nikhilesh Ghushe, Ratul Sinha, Subramaniam Vishwanathan, Subramaniyan Chidambaran


All the above retreats were held at Bilvam Foundation, Tiruvannamalai. The 2-Day program broadly had 8 sessions which were organised around the following elements weaving together an immersive and transformative experience.

  • Invocation
  • Cohort Introduction and Concerns around the subject
  • A Stock Taking of the Present
  • A Deep Dive into the Past to understand the Present
  • Problems, Concerns, Conflicts that require Resolution
  • The Emergence and the Opportunities
  • Desired Future
  • How do we get to the Desired Future
  • The Next Steps

The Evenings were spent in informal conversations around the subject with a visit to the Arunachala Shiva Temple and Ramana Maharshi Ashram.

A more detailed report of each of the retreats can be found below.

Shivakumar GV
Director – INDICA (Guru-Sadhaka Sachiva)
Convenor & Co-Curator of Meta-Retreats


Report on IKS Meta-Retreats Held


Towards a Self-Conscious Nation State – Nov: 2023

The first Meta-Retreat was held on the theme ‘Towards a Self-Conscious Nation State’ in the month of November-2023 at Bilvam Foundation Retreat, Tiruvannamalai. The objective of the Meta-Retreat was to imagine a future for our civilization where the past, present and future are in a cultural continuum and harmony – the civilizational Saatatya – while acknowledging and solving existing problems.

Bharatavarsha has gone through a tumultuous 1000 years. The Dharmic balance of the individual, society and the state has been altered. Our ancestors fought their civilizational challenges in remarkable ways. With Bhagavad-Anugraha, we have risen time and again. We have seen several renaissance. Time has come for one more Renaissance/Reconstruction/Navodaya. This Navodaya requires cultural leaders with a penchant to seek a continuum with our multidimensional past while synthesising with the present and resolving problems. The future we imagine must be a harmonious one. This Meta-Retreat was designed to take a stock of the national flow and imagine a sustainable future for the Nation State.

In this Meta-Retreat, we sought to focus on a couple of important themes with the widest impact on our national renaissance. The discussion covered several fundamental elements such as Uber Dharmic Principles of our times, nature of the State, Constitution, reconfiguring Institutions towards Dharma, Sanskrit promotion, reconfiguration of Temple ecosystems, a modern Dharmic society of Communities, the threat posed by Liberal Atheism and the development of an Indic lens that helps us develop a native gaze – all in the context of imagining a culturally Bharateeya version of the Nation-State. The discussion was led by Ajay and Shivakumar GV.

The discussion has prepared grounds for

  • Vision Paper on Elements of a Self-Conscious ie., Dharmic Nation-State
  • A Commissioned Anthology on RajaDharma

The Vision Paper is in works to be produced and published in 2024-25. The Anthology would be announced in due course of time and would take 2 years for publication.

Hinduism – The Hope of Philosophy – Jan 2024

INDICA organised a Meta-Retreat with Dr. Joydeep Bagchee as Acharya at Bilvam Foundation, Tiruvannamalai from 25th Jan to 27-Jan titled “Hinduism: The Hope of Philosophy”.

Hinduism has faced several challenges in the last 200 years – a combination of direct religious pressure, colonial domination and industrial dynamic. It has undergone several transformations both desirable and undesirable. These transformations are a combination of force applied and internal reformations, both organic and inorganic. That it was thriving itself may have invited significant religious and colonial pressure from outside to conquer. In this Retreat, Dr. Bagchee presented his visionary perspective. The participant cohort consisted of a specially curated 12 members consisting of academicians, scholars and scholar-activists who are deeply immersed in Hinduism studies from different stand-points and seeking to shape an aspect of our civilization in their own chosen domains.

In Dr. Bagchee’s words, “All nineteenth-century reformers agree in the diagnosis that Hinduism has failed and that, if Indian society is to be saved, Hinduism will have to be radically reformed. Thus began a massive project of transforming Indian society—away from the archaic pattern to a modern society. This analysis, however, is premised on the equation of a successful society with Western society or, rather, with the limited glimpse that colonisation afforded the colonised of Western society. Traded by Baptist missionaries into believing that the material and military advantages of European powers resulted from the superior moral consciousness of Christianity, Indian reformers concluded that the defeat of native polities was evidence of God acting in history. The logical consequence was to jettison Hindu “idolatry,” and to break the power of the Brahmin “priesthood” that kept Hindus in a condition of slavery. Today, of course, we can no longer share Hegel’s view that the philosophy of history is a theodicy, “a justification of the ways of God.” Neither can we share the Enlightenment’s faith in the inevitability of progress.

As two hundred years of environmental, societal, and human casualties rack up, we are learning to become sceptical of all utopias—whether Marxist or consumerist. In such a situation, the tragic, egalitarian, and conservative worldview of Hinduism may hold valuable lessons for us. Above all, I wish to revisit the question: exactly how and on what scale of values has Hinduism ‘failed’?”

Using Nietzsche, Dr. Bagchee proposed a startling thesis: missionaries and reformers attacked Hinduism, not because it had failed, but because it was thriving.

Oral Storytelling Traditions – The Road Ahead – Mar 2024

INDICA organised a Meta-Retreat on “Oral Story Telling Traditions – Many Journeys Ahead” with Smt. Deepa Kiran as the Acharya. This was a coming together of many minds engaged with oral storytelling: practitioners, academics and cultural thinkers, who appreciate and contemplate its varied dimensions, diverse forms, altering terrains and other features from the age-old to the contemporary.

We are charting a new course for the Nation based on Dharma. It is important to take stock of our storytelling forms and resinstrument them as we re-narrativize our past and present. We must have our stories of the future and for the future as well.

The Meta-Retreat consisted of practitioners, academics, thinkers of Oral StoryTelling Traditions who came on this platform to exchange thoughts, engage with each other and explore the subject. They raised curiosities together to gain insights by retracing the path taken, reviewing the existing landscape and envisioning the journey ahead. The discussion covered a wide range of topics such as a review and reimagination of the role and scope of oral storytelling, strengths and limitations of traditional and contemporary practices, and forms and instruments needed for the future.

The discussion has prepared grounds for

  • Vision Paper on the directions in which Oral Storytelling Forms need en evolution is under works.
  • A Group Initiative on Innovation in Storytelling: The participants have drawn their choice of initiatives in Storytelling in which they seek collaboration and they are interested in collaborating. A common Initiative is under works and will be arrived at in a month and executed.

The Vision Paper will be produced and published in 2024-25. The Group Initiative would be executed in the year 2024-25.

Tech for Dharma and Tech with Dharma – April 2024

INDICA organised a MeRetreat on ”Tech for Dharma, Tech with Dharma” with Surendranath C, INDICA Leader and IT Professional and Ajit Padmanabh, IT Entrepreneur and a Visionary as the Acharyas.

Our success as a civilization will depend on how well we craft a Technology future for ourselves – where it serves our purposes and develops an intrinsic harmony with Dharma. Both have been a significant challenge for us in the previous decades. In this Meta-Retreat, the cohort explored critical elements of a Dharmic Technology future.

The objective of the Meta-Retreat is two fold. Firstly, how do we leverage current Technologies towards our national renaissance ie., to organise life for Dharma in our times. Secondly, how do we transform Technology itself to protect, develop and nurture Dharmic sensitivities? What does it even mean for Technology to be intrinsically Dharmic – in the process of its creation, in its form and the outcomes it generates. Day-1 was anchored on the former and Day-2 explored the latter.

A 10 member cohort – distinguished members with a good appreciation for Dharm, experience with Technology and with a passion to transform it, invested in the renaissance of our civilization came together with Ajit and Suren leading the discussion. The technologies touched upon ranged from Food processing, Healthcare, SocialMedia to AI and Metaverse.

The elements of a Vision Paper and Common Group Initiative were identified – which will be finalised in a month’s time. The Vision Paper will be produced and published in 2024-25.