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The Dunagiri Team

Vivek Dewan

Chief Trustee

Born in1965, Vivek began his career as an Entrepreneur. While moving on this path, he realised about his social responsibilities and decided to contribute to the society as well, in a socialised manner. He changed some of his mundane activities to the social welfare and became a “social entrepreneur”.

He identified the social challenges and geared up himself to find innovative & immediate solutions to alleviate the problems from the society, simultaneously bringing up long-term changes. To apply his potential and commitment to make social impact, he employed a selfless, entrepreneurial intelligence, conceptual strength, innovative ideas and implemented them effectively, in a scaled-up diversified manner by breaking the old patterns. He is ambitious, energetic, persuasive and honest to his approach. His leadership quality makes his distinct from the rest.

One of the oldest centres of learning and knowledge, known to man - almost 3000 years old - continuously inhabited city of the world and the oldest in India “the oldest living city on earth” is Kashi. To preserve Kashi and to make it a World Heritage City, Mr. Dewan is coordinating with the Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India, State Government of Uttar Pradesh, and an important body “Kashi Vidwat Parishad” so as to get it certified and internationally approved by the UNESCO.

Mr. Dewan is closely associated with a large number of Religious, Social & Cultural Organizations, e.g. he is closely associated with swami Maheshwarananda and the “Yoga in Daily Life”, the organization which is spread almost in 20 countries, having more than 65 yoga centers in the West and the Asia Pacific region, ‘Yoga in Daily Life’ is also working on the project of Om Ashram located at Pali district, and the scale of the ashram is big, which can be seen from the moon and depicts the Indian history, even beyond the Harappa and Mohan Jodaro. Om depicts everything from the Satyug to the Kalyug.

 He is a Trustee of the INKO- Foundation, which is closely associated with Korea for over two decades. While primarily, it was formed with a view to facilitate mainly the Buddhist followers, who were travelling down to India and for whom it was difficult to speak other languages and were strict to their own language. Gradually, it added a large number of other social and religious activities to its arena. Now this organization is doing cultural exchange between India & korea.

Mr Dewan is also very closely associated with Chang Moo Jin, founder and a travel writer, who wrote the book Indo Ro Ganda, which means “Lets come and visit India”. After the successful publication of this book, it became a travel kit for the Buddhist travellers and an inter- cultural exchange program between the two Asian countries.

Mr. Dewan is also closely associated with like-minded social associations as a Trustee, Adviser & Member, such as, Kailash Mansarovar Manch, Kaya Kalp Yoga - having its Head Office in Hungry, Budapest, Vishwananda Ayurvedic Research and Development Centre, and many more...

Vajra 'Ben' Ashara

Founding Trustee

For over a decade Vajra Ashara has 'hands-on' studied numerous traditional health and healing modalities. Most of his extensive research has been focused on the rare and endangered medicinals of the alpine Himalaya. In 2009, he founded the  Dunagiri Foundation of Himalayan Herbal Research and Yogic Studies, which specializes in the conservation and cultivation of these high altitude Himalayan medicinals.  Also a cleansing specialist and wilderness survival expert, Vajra's well-rounded approach to life promotes the idea that being healed is a lifestyle, something we must engage in every day, in all aspects of our life. 

Vajra's interest in Himalaya medicinals began in 2001 after the Maha Khumba Mela in Allahabad. After the Mela, Vajra lived on a houseboat in Varanasi, and then traveled to Dharamsala where he fell ill to Hepatitus A. Luckily, a legendary Tibetan practitioner, Yeshi Donden, former doctor of HH Dalai Lama, was there to help Vajra on his way back to health. After three weeks of treatment, his strength was restored and he was ready for the next adventure.  He continued to Rishikesh, where he then began to walk to the source of Ganga, which took him one month.  Traveling very simply without shoes or any camping equipment, Vajra relied on the kindness of villagers and Sadhus to feed him and guide him on his journey. All the while, Vajra was always inquiring about someone who could teach him about Himalayan medicinals. After sifting through dozens of Sadhus and others in his path, he was discouraged by the lack of knowledge, and was unsure if he would find the teacher that he desired.

RamSo he continued his journey from the source of Ganga to the source of Yamuna. He decided to take a high mountain trail, less traveled, but of course more beautiful. Little did he know what he was about to experience. It was a 3 to 4 day walk to other side of the valley with a few villages on the way that he would depend on for food and shelter. On the 3rd day of his journey after resting at the temple at Dodi Tal, he crossed the Durba Pass. However, when he reached the top of the pass, there were several trails going in all directions, and he was unsure of which way to go. He ended up choosing the wrong path, and walking hours in the wrong direction, and the trail ended, the terrain was steep, and then a storm came. Vajra found himself toiling with life and death, and walked for hours in the rain until he found shelter under a small rock overhang where he spent the next 3 days waiting for the rain to stop. With no ability to start a fire due to the wet conditions, and no food, Vajra sat in this small cave and wondered if this might be his end. After the 3rd day, the sun came out, and Vajra mustered whatever energy he could find to crawl out from this cave, and find his way to the next village. Using only instinct and prayer as his guide, and after 8 hours of tumultuous trekking, he found a path that seemed to lead somewhere, and after 4 more hours, he arrived to a village. 

The kind and simple villagers fed him and were surprised at his state of being, and then Vajra continued down to the village of Hanumanchatti, one of the last villages on the way to Yamunotri, the source of Yamuna. Here, Vajra was looking for a place to rest, tend to his wounds, infections on his feet, cuts, bruises, and ill stomach. The villagers said that there was one Sadhu in a small Hanuman Temple on the hill, so he went to see if he could stay there for a few days. He found what would be the teacher he was looking for, Rameshwaranand Shantanand, an old ascetic yogi who had lived in high altitude for more than 40 years and had extensively studied these plants and their uses.

However, when Vajra met 'Ram', he was old and frail and seemed to be on his death bed. He was extremely thin with a deathly cough.  However when Ram saw Vajra, a spark was lit, and Ram felt that perhaps he had a reason to live, and they lived together for the next month, treating each others wounds, cooking, and becoming good friends. Ram then began to collect some herbs from the local passing villagers, and began to educate Vajra. This relationship continued for 3 years as Vajra would come every pilgrimage season to further his experience and receive the knowledge of Ram's lineage. They climbed many valleys together, identifying over 40 species, and also harvesting and preparing medicine to give to ailing villagers.

Through receiving this knowledge, and then becoming aware of the ecological issues in the region, in 2004, Vajra vowed to come back to Himalaya to serve these potent medicinals, and make sure that they are here for generations to come. It took him 5 years to generate the startup capital, and thus is the birth of The Dunagiri Foundation. 

Prashanti de Jager   

Founding Trustee

After earning many degrees at the University of Michigan, Prashanti moved to India in 1990 to study Advaita, Yoga, Ethnopharmacology and the Vedic Sciences. Traveling all over India training as a Yogi, Clinican and an Ethnopharmacologist he settled in Lucknow, North India, where he started to treat hundreds of locals and foreigners that came to him with a vast number of health issues.

To ensure high quality formulas for his clients he started an Ayurvedic herb company in 1993 in North India where he grew, wildcrafted and processed the herbs by hand. As the reputation for these herbs grew worldwide, a beautiful team/Vision called ‘Organic India’ emerged to serve the demand in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable way. Now thousands of farms in Northern India are transformed helping the farmers to lift the land out of the dire straits of the chemical/Monsanto mentality and into the realms of certified organic, Biodynamic, Fair Trade, Agnihotra herbal havens. These projects earned Organic India the award for “The Most Socially Responsible Company,” in the entire USA Natural Products Industry of about 25,000 companies.

Keeping these same intentions and joining forces with Vajra Ashara, Prashanti’s focus is shifting from the Plains of Northern India to the Himalayas where concurrent projects, like the Dunagiri Foundation Trust, support sustainable cultivation of rare and endangered herbs amongst the fragile ecosystems of the High Himalyas.  

As an ethnopharmacologist specializing in Himalayan herbs, Prashanti constantly is editing and writing articles for numerous magazines and his own books; he is teaching classes on herbs and Ayurvedic Medicine around the world from the Mayo Clinic to Children in local schools and is on the staff of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda.  He is a founder of the Urban Wellness Guild in NYC, the Pacific Center of Ayurveda in San Francisco and the Kailash Vedic Guild in Prague.

Prashanti is honored to sit on the Advisory and/or Scientific Boards of many exemplar ventures including Organic India, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, Light on Ayurveda Journal and the Balanced Rock Foundation. He also is a consultant and formulator throughout the Global Natural Product Industry. Always, as guided by his Teachers, he serves Global Sustainability via the promotion of responsible agriculture, the development of new paradigm win-win business models and the evolution of the collective mind via pure high quality diets and medicines and optimized life styles.

Tess Rosenbush

Ayurvedic Specialist

Dunagiri Foundation Trustee

Having a keen interest in healing plant medicines and yogic lifestyle, Tess naturally leaned toward the holistic science of Ayurveda early on.  By incorporating these ways in her own life and in raising her daughter and seeing profound results, she took this as her path of service and life practice to share with others.

Tess began her study in Ayurveda and Western Herbalism in 1998 and soon after in Tibetan Medicine. With a traditional approach rooted in the classical Ayurvedic texts, Tess has spent many years training with traditional teachers in India and the US, including advanced studies in Ayurvedic theory and clinical practice with senior Vaidyas (Ayurvedic doctors) from Punarvasu Prabodhini in Pune, India.

Tess has also worked as a main therapist for 4 years in a Pancha Karma retreat center, which gave her valuable experience treating her patients with focused attention and care. She is a skilled practitioner of external therapies and teaches Ayurvedic Body Therapies to existing students of Ayurveda.

Within the modality of Tibetan Medicine, Tess completed a four-year study with the Sorig Institute under the guidance of her teacher Dr. Nida Chenagtsang and other accomplished Tibetan doctors.  In Tibet, she joins yearly study programs incorporating clinical work treating patients in a remote regional hospital with Tibetan Medicine and external treatments.

Since 2004, Tess has held a private practice in Nevada City, CA, founding the Gunanatha Clinic with her husband Eric Rosenbush, incorporating Ayurveda and Tibetan therapies, as well as organizing clinical events and teachings. She has assisted low-cost clinics providing traditional medicine to chronically afflicted patients.  She is now working as a practitioner at the Samata Clinic in Northern Goa, and also manages the Amrita Kitchen, serving healthy, nourishing food.

Tess is an active member of the Dunagiri Foundation.  This enables her to do what she loves- spending time working in Himalayan villages with farmers and high altitude plant medicines during the year when she is not in Goa or abroad.

Eric Rosenbush, LAc. practices classical Tibetan, Chinese, Ayurvedic medicine, and Jyotish, based out of the GunaNatha clinic in California. As an instructor with the International Academy of Traditional Tibetan Medicine, he teaches Tibetan Medicine and and other subjects internationally.

He has focused his study on the classical texts and languages of Tibet, India, and China, and their living traditions of clinical practice. Eric studied Tibetan Medicine with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang and other Tibetan doctors in the US and Asia, and is the co-founder and educational director of the Sorig Institute of Tibetan Medicine in California. He is also a licensed acupuncturist, receiving a master’s degree in Chinese medicine from ACTCM in San Francisco, with further studies and clinical training in classical Chinese herbal medicine and diagnostics. Studies in Indian sciences include advanced Ayurvedic textual and clinical training with Punarvasu Prabodhini in Pune, India, and Jyotisha (Vedic astro-sciences) with Pt. Sanjay Rath in India.

Vision and Mission

History of Uttarakhand

The Legend of Dunagiri