One morning this Spring, during the annual PrintVis company gathering in Denmark, our team had the opportunity to visit the facilities of one of our oldest local customers, Narayana Press.

We gathered inside a pleasant conference room whose walls were lined from floor to ceiling with books of all sizes, stocks and colors. Each and every book had been printed on the premises.  Sitting and enjoying coffee and pastries with our gracious hosts, Tine and Erik, we listened as they shared the fascinating origins of Narayana Press.

Not Your Typical Commercial Print House

In the heart of Denmark, over rolling fields and farmlands, tucked in along the Horsens Fjord coastline, sits this remarkable printing company with an equally remarkable history.

Narayana Press was founded in 1955 in the foothills of the Himalayas by Indian writer and philosopher Swami Narayanananda, to publish volumes of his philosophical and spiritual teachings. In 1961 some of his students in Denmark acquired a small offset machine and began a publishing branch in Copenhagen, translating his works to Danish.

By 1967, the students set up an ashram on an agricultural property in the middle of Denmark (a small town called Gylling), where they and fellow acolytes of the Swami established a serene, self-sufficient, monastic life. The humble printing operations relocated from Copenhagen and began to grow. The Danish Ministry of Culture even gifted the commune a small offset press in appreciation for the beneficial and wholesome lifestyle they saw flourishing there.

Modernizing in Harmony with Nature

Over the following decades, Narayana’s machine park and the technical acumen of its workers expanded greatly. They began to produce high-quality, specialty books on subjects such as design, architecture, fine art and photography, travel, and cooking. These are the types of books often referred to as “coffee table books” because they are themselves individual works of art. By the 80’s and 90’s Narayana had grown to a full commercial print enterprise with a reputation for superior quality and craftsmanship.

Today, Narayana Press is a state-of-the-art publishing house that manages to balance high-tech with a deep environmental consciousness and dedication to waste reduction and environmentally friendly production methods. They hold multiple environmental certifications, use FSC-certified papers exclusively, and rely solely on power sourced from wind turbines.

It’s quite common to encounter the artists and photographers in the different prepress rooms there, working one-to-one with the Narayana staff to perfect their projects.

PrintVis Tours Narayana

Narayana Press is one of PrintVis’ oldest customers, using our MIS/ERP solution to manage their book printing operations for over 20 years. As we strolled the facility, we were struck by the amazing level of cleanliness, the perfectly controlled climate, and even the low noise factor – all extraordinary for the usually loud and messy atmosphere that comes with a printing house.

It’s a Saturday but their state-of-the-art equipment – including Koenig and Bauer KBA Rapida 106 and Man Roland 700 – are in full production mode. Everything is beautifully maintained and organized. In prepress we watch an Agfa Avalon N16-80 XT thermal platesetter practically running itself, slowly but surely producing plate after plate after plate.

PrintVis is used here for estimation and quoting, project management, purchasing of items and especially outsourcing management (postpress and bindery). JDF integration, shop floor data collection, planned shipments, invoicing and financial management are other key functions of the system that Narayana depends on every day.

Outside of their impressive and immaculate facility we find happy Jersey cows frolicking in vast fields of clover, beekeeping facilities where they produce their own honey, thriving greenhouses with abundant horticulture that sustains the entire community (both residents and employees) by means of a full and bustling kitchen.

A bit later we venture into their meditation temple, taking off our shoes before entering. Tine tells us they meditate every day at 4 a.m. The silent interior is profoundly still and serene. On one wall is an etched plaque bearing the principal philosophy of Swami Narayanananda, quite aptly concluding with the phrase:

“He who works for it gets it.”

Narayana Press sets a shining example of the rewards attained from good, hard work and serious dedication to craft.

Learn more about Narayana Press here.