Satish Kumar is a great man. The term great is thrown around far too often these days but when it comes to Satish Kumar great is probably not enough. An Indian peace and environment activist, former Jain monk, editor, nuclear disarmament advocate, pacifist and founder and director of Programmes of the Schumacher College international centre for ecological studies and of The Small School. If that is not enough Kumar sits on the Advisory Board of Our Future Planet, was elected vice-president of the RSPCA and has been setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years.
Satish Kumar was just nine when he left home to join the wandering Jains. He was just 18 when he decided to leave the monk-hood and dedicate himself to Gandhi’s vision of transforming a peaceful world into reality.
In his early 20's he embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage carrying no money. He walked from India to America, via Moscow, London and Paris, to deliver a packet of ‘peace tea’ to the then leaders of the world’s four nuclear powers.
Here are 11 great ideas from a truly great man.....
1. "Look at what realists have done for us. They have led us to war and climate change, poverty on an unimaginable scale, and wholesale ecological destruction. Half of humanity goes to bed hungry because of all the realistic leaders in the world. I tell people who call me "unrealistic" to show me what their realism has done. Realism is an outdated, overplayed and wholly exaggerated concept."
2. “The way to healthy living is to shift from quantitative economic growth to quality of life, food, water and air - to shift from craving to contentment and from greed to gratitude”
3. “The force and the strength for peace will come from people. And that will happen when people start to realize that all the diversity and differences we see of nationalities, of religions, of cultures, of languages, are all beautiful diversities, for they are only on the surface. And deep down we share the same humanity, the global humanity.”
4. “If we go on using the Earth uncaringly and without replenishing it, then we are just greedy consumers.”
5. “We live under the power of Modern Consciousness, which means that we are obsessed with progress. Wherever you are is not good enough. We always want to achieve something, rather than experience something. The opposite of this is Spiritual Consciousness. By that I mean you find enchantment in every action you do, rather in just the results of your action. Spiritual Consciousness is not a particular religion but a way of being.”
6. “There is at the moment in the world a battle going on between those who are pursuing materialistic paths-globalises of economic growth and those hell-bent on this 'big is better' idea-on the one hand, and on the other hand those who are dedicated to spiritual renewal, more small-scale development, more human scale, more sustainability, more crafts and arts. Where human beings are not just sold to companies and money and those kinds of things. Where human beings have a sacred path.”
7. “This was Mahatma Gandhi’s idea, moving from ownership to relationship—seeing that land does not belong to us. We belong to the land. We are not the owners of the land. We are the friends of the land, like friends of the earth. The fundamental shift is in this consciousness that land does not belong to us, we belong to the land.”
8. “Human happiness, true prosperity and joyful living can only emerge from a life of elegant simplicity, embedded in the arts and crafts.”
9. “We must realize that violence is not confined to physical violence. Fear is violence, caste discrimination is violence, exploitation of others, however subtle, is violence, segregation is violence, thinking ill of others and condemning others are violence. In order to reduce individual acts of physical violence, we must work to eliminate violence at all levels, mental, verbal, personal, and social, including violence to animals, plants, and all other forms of life.”
10. “What we call 'economic growth' is in fact a growth in waste and a decline in the health of natural habitat”
11. “Without the land, the rivers, the oceans, the forests, the sunshine, the minerals and thousands of natural resources we would have no economy whatsoever”
Satish Kumar continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity and is a highly regarded speaker throughout the world. Satish Kumar is a visionary and a leader, a beautiful man dedicated and committed to a healthier and better world.
By Evan Sutter