Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Satish Kumar

At 9, he renounced the world and became a wandering monk. Dissuaded by an inner voice at the age of eighteen, he became a campaigner for land reform, working to turn Gandhi's vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality. At 26, he walked halfway around the globe -- 8000 miles without any money -- for peace.

But Satish Kumar was just warming up and his "path without destination" had barely begun.

For the last 30 years, Satish has been the editor of an internationally acclaimed magazine -- Resurgence. In 1991, he founded Schumacher College in the UK. Satish was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Plymouth in 2000 and the next year, another one in Literature from Lancaster. In November 2001, he received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award for promoting Gandhian values abroad. To date, he has written several books and is considered one of the leading spiritual thinkers in Britian.

The journey continues on for Satish: "I'm a pilgrim of life, so from that point of view, I'm on a pilgrimage every day. Once one lives as a pilgrim, one lives lightly on the earth, with both detachment and engagement. It's all a pilgrimage."

On Monday, October 20th, we will have the delightful opportunity to hear such a noted and eloquent speaker, as Satish Kumar shares his personal journey and inspirations that paved his unending 'path without destination'. This inspiring evening of dialogue and conversation is hosted in our home and there is no cost to attend; please RSVP for more details (sorry, we can only fit the first 80 folks!).

Soil, Soul, and Society

Inspired by a story on Bertrand Russell in the newspaper, 26 year old Satish undertook an 8000 mile peace pilgrimage, walking from Gandhi's grave in India to Kennedy's grave in Washington D.C., through deserts, mountains, storms and snow. His mentor, Vinoba Bhave, gave him two special weapons: "One, go without any money on you. And secondly, you are vegetarian; remain vegetarian." And so it was. It was an adventure during which he was thrown into jail in France, faced a loaded gun in America -- and still delivered packets of "peace tea" to the leaders of the four nuclear powers.

In 1973, Satish and his wife June settled in England, taking the editorship of Resurgence magazine, and he has been the editor ever since. Whether it is through starting projects like the Small School in Hartland or guiding new ventures in Britain, the emphasis of Satish's work is in bridging ecological, spiritual and educational values.

"We have to create a new synthesis where the environmental movement, the spiritual movement, and the social movement come together. We need to create a new trinity--soil, soul, and society. Soil represents the natural world. Unless we take care of the earth, we cannot take care of society. We also need to take care of the soul. Unless we’re able to seek fulfillment and joy, we won’t find peace--no matter how much money we accumulate. And then there’s social justice, which includes concern for the old, the sick, the poor, and people of different races."

Following Indian tradition, in his fiftieth year, he undertook another pilgrimage: again carrying no money, he walked to the holy places of Britain -- Glastonbury, Canterbury, Lindisfarne and Iona. Meeting old friends and making new ones along the way, this pilgrimage was a celebration of his love of life and nature.

Unlike many crusaders for worthy causes, Satish and June actually live the simple life they celebrate. "People tell us we are very inefficient and nave," he adds, a sly grin crossing his face. "I say yes, we are inefficient and nave, but we are happy. You keep your efficiency and we'll keep our happiness."

Does Satish ever gets discouraged about changing the world? "Spiritual consciousness holds that the world is sacred," he answers firmly. "We must celebrate it rather than just try to improve it. Take joy in what's here. Outcome is not the point; we must do what is right."

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