Integrating Swadharma in Sustaino’s Residential Community Operations


In the heart of Sustaino’s Integrated Life Residential Community, a unique concept flourishes—Swadharma. Rooted deeply in Indian philosophy, Swadharma represents the inherent duties and responsibilities unique to each individual, guiding them towards their true purpose in life. At Sustaino, we’ve adopted this concept not just as a philosophy but as a way of living, aligning actions with intrinsic nature to foster fulfillment and contentment. This article explores the concept of Swadharma, its impact on personal and communal well-being, and its practical application in Sustaino’s day-to-day operations.

The Essence of Swadharma

Swadharma goes beyond mere action; it’s about harmonizing your deeds with your inner nature. It’s the task that comes naturally, bringing joy and fulfillment, even in the absence of external accolades. Imagine a gardener who finds peace in the soil and plants; this is Swadharma in action—a form of Karma Yoga, where the act itself becomes a path to inner peace.

Swadharma at Sustaino

At Sustaino, embracing Swadharma means our employees, residents, volunteers, and interns contribute according to their Swabhava (inherent nature). Each person’s unique gifts enrich our community, creating a tapestry of mutual respect and growth. Our operational model not only enhances well-being but fosters personal development, allowing everyone to engage in tasks that resonate with their deepest inclinations.

The Credit System

In embracing Swadharma, our community members earn credits through tasks aligned with their true nature, exchangeable for meals or produce. This system supports both physical and mental health and nurtures a sense of purpose and belonging within the community.

Swadharma and Modern Concepts

Swadharma intersects beautifully with modern ideas like the Management’s Hedgehog Concept and the Japanese philosophy of Ikigai. Both focus on pursuing one’s true calling, similar to identifying and living one’s Swadharma. This intersection demonstrates how timeless principles can adapt and thrive in contemporary settings.

Beyond Swadharma: Embracing Paradharma and Advaitha

While Swadharma is central to our individual journey, at Sustaino, we recognize the evolution towards Paradharma as an integral part of personal and communal growth. Paradharma encourages us to extend our innate duties beyond the self, reaching out to the community and the environment. This selfless service represents a higher calling, where individual desires are transcended for the greater good.

As our consciousness evolves, the boundaries between Swadharma and Paradharma may become fluid, leading to the state of Advaitha. Advaitha, a profound concept in Indian philosophy, signifies ‘non-duality.’ It represents a state of oneness where the individual self merges with the universal self. In this state, distinctions between self-duty (Swadharma) and duty towards others (Paradharma) blur, as one begins to see every living being as an extension of oneself, and oneself in every living being.

This expanded consciousness fosters a deep sense of unity and interconnectedness. In the Advaitha perspective, serving others is not seen as a separate act but as an extension of serving one’s own true self. By embracing Paradharma, Sustaino community members not only contribute to the well-being of others but also embark on a journey towards spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment.

In practical terms, this means that our community members are encouraged to engage in acts that benefit the whole, from environmental stewardship to community service, all while recognizing these acts as integral to their own personal growth and fulfillment. This approach aligns with the ethos of Sustaino, where individual development and communal well-being are seen as inseparable.

In conclusion, the interplay of Swadharma and Paradharma, enriched by the principles of Advaitha, forms the cornerstone of our philosophy at Sustaino. It guides us to not only discover and fulfill our inherent duties but also to transcend them in service of a larger purpose. This holistic approach is what makes Sustaino’s Integrated Life Residential Community a beacon of personal growth, communal harmony, and spiritual awakening.