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Integral Design

Over the years, ideas of sustainability, service and family, became the core values around which Upasana grew. Beneath these values, run the underlying thread of serving the divine. In an attempt to articulate this spiritual idea, the concept of integral design came into being. While design was their core capacity, they chose to apply it across a wide spectrum, while redesigning their own personal lives and applying it in an external context. The integrality took form with the integration of their inner and .

“There was no fragmentation with work and spiritual life, money or fashion, culture or identity. All this was brought together into one melting pot”, explains our co-creators.

While exploring what Upasana represents, the attempt to understand and formulate the term ‘Integral design’ arose. As the Founders states, “It was very close to our hearts, because it is very much part of the reason we are at Auroville. It goes back to the integral yoga of Shri Aurobindo and Mother. It’s a yoga that integrates all aspects, a yoga that embraces everything. The meeting of the spirit and matter, together. And everything that is connected with it, the whole evolution.”

It is from this context that a specialized application of integral yoga, in the field of design is derived and that is where the idea of integral design comes from. Integral design starts with an integral designer. So essentially everything starts from oneself. The idea is not product-centric, but what the product expresses is what we are inwardly- the state of our inner being.

Our Co-Creators explains the essence of integral design while stating a poignant truth- “To design a campaign against smoking and still being a chain smoker, implies an inner division, a division of things into your professional work and private life separated into compartments. This is not integral design.”

Integral yoga is closer to what Gandhi once said, “My life is my message.”

What we are, how we live, whatever we do, every little thing ought to be an expression of your inner most authentic self. We are expressing ourselves. Whatever we do carries the rhythms of the movements within ourselves. So design cannot be separate from what we are. That is why in it is so central to redesign oneself, integrate oneself, to find inner harmony, inner joy.

Only from that foundation one can act, and that action has to reflect every little detail of your life, the totality of your being. Your whole being is there in what you do. It has to be there. Free from conflicts, multi layered harmony- in their physical function, economic function, meaning it embodies, multi layered integration, with society and its requirements. This comes as a natural consequence of being deeply anchored within oneself in one’s own deeper truth. Which is one with everything else. The multi layered harmony that emerges as what manifests, as a product or an activity is a direct consequence, an indicator. So as our journey goes deeper and higher inwardly, so shall be the quality of the outcome- the manifestation, the work. We cannot separate these two.

Thus there is a constant inner exploration, inner discovery, that enhances the outer action and the insights that come from the outer enhance the inner. And eventually both merging and becoming one single movement of truth, goodness and beauty: an integral way of evolving, a design of future of a newer fashion.


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