Meet Auroville: Aditya from Essence of Nature

Where are you from? How has it shaped who you are today?

It was early in the year 2000, when my parents and I moved to Auroville from Mumbai. I spent my entire childhood in Auroville surrounded by people and friends from all over world from different cultures, many of whom that had stayed with me from kindergarten till the end of high school. This opened my mind to myriad possibilities that I never appreciated until I left Auroville after high school at 18. After spending just 2 years in Bangalore I realized the modernization of Indian culture. It was this “modernization” and conditional social acceptance which came only when certain criteria were met. This series of dogmatic steps, including but not limited to, schooling, job, marriage, children and retirement, that truly made me realize and understand the unique possibilities my life had. Auroville taught me in Sri Aurobindo’s own words that, “All life is yoga.”

Why activated nuts? What is the inspiration behind Essence of Nature?

Essence of Nature, EoN, came into being when I began a journey of negativity. I started saying no to almost everything, to almost everyone, to any action that did not give me fulfilment. On this journey of the most positive negativity I realized I could never work for anyone that did not add value to the lives of those that used their products or services. Having worked with my parents from the age of 12 in a business that I saw being built from scratch I was passionate of creating an enterprise of my own. It was then that at 21, after saying no to a lot of opportunities, I started my on journey as a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur is anyone who runs a profitable business with the focus being on adding value to their customers, on doing the “right” thing and profits being a by-product of this endeavour.

Can you explain what is so special about activated nuts and nutbutters? What is the difference to the usual nut mixtures?

EoN entered the Indian market as being the sole manufacturer of Sprouted Nuts & Seeds. Indians love nuts, yet we don’t eat them right. Our 5000-year-old manuscript on healing and plants tells us how to eat them, yet in the process of modernization we forgot our ancient wisdom. There are only 2 types of nuts available in the market. Either they are raw and full of nutrients or we roast them at high temperatures for a wonderful crunch. Neither of these options delivers on the potential that nuts and seeds carry. All nuts are seeds become trees or plants not necessarily a part of our bodies. Therefore one may have a hard time digesting nuts and feel a little lethargic for a few hours after. This is because of an acid available in every seed and nut, it is known as Phytic acid. This brilliant natural preservative ensures the seeds’ integrity until the time comes for its journey of transformation to a tree or a plant. It is this acid that allows a bird to eat fruit from trees and carry the potent seeds in its digestive tract which when dropped as droppings are in the best environment to start their journey into trees and plants.

What we do is simple. Over 2 and a half days we mimic nature and trick the nuts and seeds into thinking the time becomes a tree. We then pause the process resulting in a nut that is a class apart from any other. It’s raw, it’s natural & it’s activated. In the process we have neutralized the phytic acid while maintaining temperatures at less than 48 degrees Celsius. This is to ensure that all nuts stay raw.

How is it to run a start up in Auroville? What are your challenges?

Working in Auroville and running a company of your own is very rewarding and has its set of challenges. The community support one receives is humbling. The vibes of my peers some of whom are endeavouring in their own social enterprises instils a sense of common purpose. Working surrounded by nature is a joy. Gaining and keeping talent is difficult as most working professional still chase the conditional social acceptance. It is also challenging for me to stay driven as I become so used to the comforts and the luxury that comes hand in hand for those staying in a community like Auroville. It is only when I travel outside that my conviction for my work and the value being added drive me to work harder. It is when I leave the bubble of comfort even for a day that I feel the need to give back in a way.

How does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me is never typical. No entrepreneur, in the starting stages of a company, has a “typical” day. To run a business is to face problems and obstacles daily. Solving problems is what I do day in and day out. There are a few consistencies in my day such as visiting cafes inside of Auroville eating vegan foods, with a book in hand and surrounded by nature that give me joy. Every day includes sport either badminton, or exercising or a simple walk in the cycle paths of Auroville.

What is your vision for Essence of Nature? What are the next steps?

My vision for EoN is to develop a brand that resonates with my ideal customers. It is to influence the masses to opt for a healthier and more conscious product while remembering to sustain not only themselves but the environment. These are far-reaching goals and I am idealistic and young. These two go well together…

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