Lake Of Knowledge
The Brahma Kumaris started building the campus for the Academy for a Better World, an institution of higher learning established by the Brahma Kumaris along with its sister institution, the World Renewal Spiritual Trust, and Rajyoga Education and Research Foundation, in 1991. The aim was to provide a training facility for the institution’s outreach to all sections of society. Within a few years, 28 acres of land near the institution’s headquarters in Mount Abu was transformed into a modern village complex in a quiet, rural setting.
The Academy, known in Hindi as Gyan Sarovar Vidyapeeth, offers residential programs and courses on development and practical implementation of human, moral and spiritual values and principles.
The campus includes Universal Harmony Hall, an auditorium that can seat 1,600 people and has facilities for simultaneous translation in 16 languages; the International Spiritual Art Gallery housing sculptures, murals, audio-visual and laser displays and other works of art from around the world; the International Center for Higher Learning comprising 13 seminar and training rooms; accommodation for up to 1,500 people; kitchen and dining facilities that can cater to 1,200 people at a time; three man-made lakes that irrigate the 15,000 trees planted to provide fruits and vegetables and a rural retreat atmosphere; and a solar water heater for cooking. The telephone exchange, computers and emergency lighting systems are powered by solar and wind energy, and a unique waste treatment plant is capable of treating 200,000 liters of washing, kitchen and bathroom waste water daily, of which nearly 80 percent is available for re-use.
In 1996, the Academy was presented to Habitat II, the second UN Conference on Human Settlements held in Istanbul, Turkey. It was recognised as part of the Best Practice Initiative for Human Settlements.