MUM student Jesse Bryant hails from the small town of McPherson, Kansas, where he grew up helping in the family vegetable garden and working summer jobs on surrounding farms. After finishing high school, Jesse served in the US Army for five years.
In 2014 Jesse’s father persuaded the whole family to learn the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Jesse noticed several immediate benefits. “TM helped me sleep better and helped me concentrate,” he said. “It made me calmer and made it easier to see things the way they are without interjecting my own feelings and thoughts.” Inspired by his experience, Jesse wanted to learn more about the TM® technique, so he applied to MUM. During his first semester, he completed the TM-Sidhi® program.
Following his interest in organic farming, Jesse majored in sustainable living. In addition to studying organic agriculture, he took classes in renewable energy and natural building. During an MUM break, he also attended a straw bale building workshop in Oklahoma.
His favorite experience was learning about traditional Indian recipes for organic compost, soil fertilizer, and pest repellents from Dr. Thimmaiah, professor of regenerative agriculture. Jesse became intrigued with the application of Vedic knowledge to agriculture, and spent his free time in the library combing through texts of the Vedic literature.
On the recommendation of Professor Thimmaiah, Jesse did a four-week internship in the Bhrugu Aranya ecovillage in Poland, where residents practice the Vedic custom of Agnihotra fire ceremony to purify the atmosphere and enhance the soil with the ashes from the fire. In addition to working in the garden and greenhouse, Jesse helped with the construction of a building made with straw and clay. “I think that the internship served my studies very well, and it may indeed be the perfect ending note to my degree in sustainable living,” he said.