Satish Kumar has been a pilgrim ever since, at the age of eight, he joined the brotherhood of wandering Jain monks in his native India. Later he walked the length and breadth of India with Gandhi’s successor Vinoba Bhave, persuading landowners to donate a portion of their lands to the poor, and in the 1960s he made an 8,000-mile pilgrimage for peace, which included walking from India over the Himalayas to Paris via Moscow.
In 2008, Satish Kumar presented a 50-minute programme on the BBC as part of the Natural World series. A highly acclaimed documentary that mixed eastern philosophy with the western landscape of Dartmoor; the programme was watched by over 3.6 million people.
In this unique BBC 2 Natural World documentary Resurgence Editor Satish Kumar reflects on our connection to our natural environment. Using the traditional English landscape of Dartmoor as his natural muse he offers a very Indian perspective through the changing seasons. Through the film, he introduces the Dartmoor scenes and sights that most inspire him – gnarled oak woods, whirling starlings, rushing rivers, stags in rut, wild tracts of heather, cuckoos hungry for food, the metamorphosis of moths – and contemplates what they reveal, and the lessons they hold for humanity.
‘I see the bees buzzing, collecting a little nectar here and a little nectar there. Never too much. Never a flower has complained that a bee has taken too much nectar away. Nature in balance. But this balance is tipping. Human beings go to nature and take, take, take, until all natural resources are depleted. Honey bees never do that. If I can learn that lesson of frugality and simplicity, I will be learning the art of living.’
~ Satish Kumar
In Earth Pilgrim Satish draws on this personal experience and also his understanding of the spiritual traditions of both East and West. The book takes the form of conversations between Satish and others about the inner and outer aspects of pilgrimage: “To be a pilgrim is to be on a path of adventure, to move out of our comfort zones, to let go of our prejudices and preconditioning, to make strides towards the unknown.” If we want to tread the pilgrim’s path, we need to go beyond ideas of good and evil, and to be dedicated to our quest - to our natural calling. We need to shed not just our unnecessary material possessions but also our burdens of fear, anxiety, doubt and worry; in this way we can find spiritual renewal and enter on the great adventure into the unknown. Paradoxically, being on a pilgrimage doesn’t necessarily mean travelling from one place to another - it means a state of mind, a state of consciousness, a state of fearlessness.
Satish believes that at this stage of human history we now need a new kind of pilgrim, unattached to any form of dogma - ‘Earth Pilgrims’ who are concerned with this world, not the next, and who are seeking a deep commitment to life in the here and now, upon this Earth, in this world. We need to realise that we are all connected, and through that connectivity we become pilgrims.
Source : Resurgence ~ At The Heart of Earth, Art & Spirit
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