Sunday 29 June 2014



Some excerpts from the early chapters of Satish Kumar's YOU ARE THEREFORE I AM

Ch 1 – Learning from Nature

“Nature is the greatest teacher,” said my mother while we were walking from home to the farm. 

Mother believed that the whole of life should be lived as a spiritual practice, as a meditation. Self-realisation is not something for tomorrow, not somewhere in the distance;  it is here and now in all our actions, guided by reverence for matter, reverence for work, reverence for life.

[Mother:] We human beings have to let go of our pride, our separateness, and not bother about our individual identity.  If we immerse ourselves in the process of life, and trust in the process of the universe, and identify ourselves with others, we can become the tree of a thousand branches and a million plums.

Bees go from flower to flower, taking only a little nectar here and little nectar there, and doing no harm to the flower.  How gentle and restrained they are. … But what do human beings do? When we start to extract the bounties of the earth, we know no limits, we go on taking and taking until the earth is depleted.

[Satish’s father said:] “ I am in business to make friends, and serve the community.  Profit for me is by the way.  One has to make profit and balance the books, otherwise the business will go bust, but profit is not the main motivation. … Profit is necessary but not primary. Making friends and forming relationships is much more fun.  This is why I am in business.”

[Mother:] Too many possessions take too much of your time. You have to clean them, look after them, use them, store them;  if you are busy with material things, when do you have time for reflection, meditation and service to the community?

For Mother, walking was much more than physical exercise, it was a meditation.  …
Mother was not self-centred. That is why she was out and about, flowing with the wind and finding spirit in nature. …
As I walked with her, Mother would teach me to breathe properly, and ask me to pay full attention to breathing. “Paying attention is meditation,” Mother would say.  …
Breathing connects you with the world.  You are sharing the same breath of life, the same air, with all humanity. You are connected with everyone through this invisible medium…

Ch 2 – A Hindu Mind

Why is “Aum shanti shanti shanti” universally recognised as the supreme mantra? 
[Satish’s mother asks of Gopalji, Satish’s brahmin teacher, a forty-year-old philosopher:]

If you chant this mantra, the very sound of it is enough to make you return to your centre.

Aum is an affirmative mantra.  It simply means ‘yes’ – yes to existence, yes to the sun and the moon, yes to trees and rivers, yes to our friends and families, yes to you and me, yes to this brew we are drinking, yes to life and its beauty.  It is a mantra of acceptance and openness, a mantra of positive thinking. We should chant it as often as we can.

‘Shanti’ in Sanskrit simply means peace. …
First of all we have to make peace with ourselves by accepting who we are. … Without inner peace no outer peace can be realised. …
Once I have made peace with myself I have to make peace with the world. … So we need to recognise the essential and intrinsic goodness of the world, and build upon it the ideal world of our dreams. Then we will have world peace.  …
When there is world peace, then we make peace with nature, with the cosmos, with the gods – with the universe. … We send our noble thoughts of peace to all corners of the universe, and we let noble thoughts of peace come to us from all corners of the universe. …
Personal, political, and planetary peace are to be pursued together.  One includes and reinforces the other. 

Monday 2 June 2014

YOU ARE Therefore I AM

On July 6th, we turn to a book by Satish Kumar, subtitled 'A Declaration of Dependence': 'YOU ARE Therefore I AM' (Green Books, 2002), focusing on Part One, Encounters with Meaning. This first part gives a flavour of Hinduism and Jainism and hints at Kumar's own particular brand of Eastern wisdom. Join us at Wychwood Library from 7.00pm to no later than 9.00pm. 

Satish Kumar wrote an autobiography, also published by Green Books, called No Destination. You can read more about him on the website here