“Become the CEO of your own life… Earn less money, have more time. Consume less, buy less, have less possessions. Have good food… You cannot have a happy life on a bad diet. Everything else simple. Elegant simplicity…Walk to work, and work less.” – Satish Kumar
EPISODE SEVEN – SATISH KUMAR – JAINISM, ECONOMY AND ECOLOGY
SOIL, SOUL AND SOCIETY: A NEW TRINITY FOR OUR TIME
Listen to the conversation:
About this interview:
How to live as a pilgrim, embracing elegant simplicity to find fellowship with all life.
In this episode Amisha sits down with Satish Kumar, who is the originator and co-founder of Schumacher College, editor of Resurgence magazine, a former monk and a global activist.
Together they discuss his childhood as part of a Jain monastic order and the encounter with death which began his spiritual education. He shares the story of walking out of monastic life in the middle of the night and, subsequently, walking on for 8000 miles without money and without fear – from the birthplace of Ghandi to four nuclear capitals of the western world – as a pilgrim for peace.
Satish explores in detail the Jain philosophy of nonviolence which underpins his way of being in the world and gives advice for stressed urbanites on how to live life as a pilgrim rather than a commuter – explaining why we would benefit from all working only 3 days a week, and how domestic clutter equates to violence against nature and ourselves. He gives guidance on how we can cultivate trust as a practise in our everyday lives, as a strategy to gradually overcome fear, leading to a healing of the separation between ourselves and the living world around us.
Satish understands on a deep level that we are all one human community and speaks of the experiences that nurtured this world view in him. In order to return humanity to the feeling of fellowship with all life, Satish has put forward what he calls “a new trinity for our time” in his recent book ‘Soil, Soul and Society’. He shares with Amisha how the ideas expounded in this work are put into action at Schumacher College and the Small School where gardening, cooking, cleaning and craftsmanship are revered and people learn by an education of head, heart and hands all together.
“We have misunderstood or lost the meaning of the word economy…How all living things are interconnected and support each other and how to manage all of that without any diminishment of species or resources. The word economy is a twin word with ecology… Ecology means knowledge of home. If you don’t know your home, how are you going to manage it?” – Satish Kumar
Satish Kumar is a former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, he has been quietly setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality. Inspired in his early 20s by the example of the British peace activist Bertrand Russell, Satish embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage together with E.P. Menon. Carrying no money and depending on the kindness and hospitality of strangers, they walked from India to America, via Moscow, London and Paris, to deliver a humble packet of ‘peace tea’ to the then leaders of the world’s four nuclear powers.
In 1973 Satish settled in the United Kingdom taking up the post of editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he has held ever since, making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine. During this time, he has been the guiding spirit behind a number of now internationally-respected ecological and educational ventures including Schumacher College in South Devon where he is still a Visiting Fellow. He is the author of books including his autobiography, No Destination, You Are, Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence and The Buddha and the Terrorist. He made the documentary Earth Pilgrim.
To find out more about Satish Kumar, visit Resurgence Magazine.
To connect or work with Amisha Ghadiali, visit www.amisha.co.uk
Resources from this episode:
Books by Satish Kumar including: No Destination: Autobiography of a Pilgrim, You Are, Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence, Spiritual Compass: The Three Qualities of Life and Soul, Soil, Society: a new trinity for our time.
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