Gundula Maria Avenali (ehem. Schatz), Dipl.Ing., aka Puran Sukh Kaur, is the founder and director of the Waldzell Institute. In 2001 she had the inspiration to start Waldzell during a transformational stay at the famous Esalen Institute with the vision to create a place for interdisciplinary dialogue and integrative healing.
From 2004 to 2008 she organized the Waldzell Meetings at Melk Abbey with Andreas Salcher. In 2008, after a surgery, she fell into coma and had to close down the Institute for nearly two years. In autumn 2010 Gundula Avenali started the Institute again with new perspectives and initiatives.
In 2014, after a period of in-depth study of the science of Yoga, Gundula Avenali started the Waldzell Leadership Institute together with Sadhana Singh with the vision to offer an intense personal transformation program for those leaders of our society, who have the responsibility and opportunity to guide us into a better future.
Gundula Avenali has been dealing with natural sciences, modern technologies and spiritual teachings for the past 25 years. She has a degree in biotechnology and is a Yoga therapist and Yoga teacher. From 2001 to 2005 she was deputy mayor for the first district of Vienna.
Her special interest lies in the development of a holistic view and way of life. She focuses on how human beings can develop both individually and collectively in order to be prepared for the many challenges of the future. For her, Waldzell is a way to fill the theories identified with life and to bring about real change. The initiative “Architects of the Future” that supports young and inspired leaders of a new, more human and more sustainable society, is especially dear to her heart.
The Waldzell project stems from the belief that an increased number of people search for a fulfilled private life, which enables them to experience personal development as well as economic success. The idea is that the Age of Information will be followed by the Age of Consciousness characterized by the ‘society of meaning’, a system in which people search for a self-determined life, making it possible to have both inner growth and success in business.
Waldzell is a fictitious place in Hermann Hesse’s “Glass Bead Game” where selected people, the “Glass Bead Players”, create a total work of art, which is intellectual and aware. Its effect reaches far beyond the circle of players and essentially contributes to the spiritual further development of society.
Where precisely the name “Waldzell” of the elite school in Hermann Hesse’s “Glass Bead Game” comes from is unknown. We have chosen this name deliberately as a metaphor of Hermann Hesse’s “Waldzell”. For generations the allegory “Waldzell” ignites the desire in many people to make this imaginary place with all its fine sentiment and high spirits, become a reality. To create this keen and perceptive place, where extraordinary people meet, is the long-term aim of the “Waldzell Institute.”