Friday, August 13, 2010
PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH A GENTLE BUT EXTRAORDINARY HERO: SATISH KUMAR
When Dilip Mukerjea first told me about his personal encounter with the peace pilgrim, ecological activist & earth educator Satish Kumar, I was astounded by the man's "stranger than fiction" exploits.
At nine years of age, Satish Kumar renounced the world, left his home in rural India, & joined a wandering brotherhood of beggar monks until an inner voice guided him to Gandhi's vision of a peaceful world.
Spurred to action, he undertook a 8,000 mile pilgrimage - walking from India to America with no cash in his pockets, & through deserts, mountains, storms & snow. It was an adventure during which he was thrown into jail in France, faced a loaded gun in America – and delivered packets of ‘peace tea’ to the leaders of the four nuclear powers.
Apparently, his life was inspired, other than his mother, by five great activists & thinkers, namely:
- Indian sage Vinola Bhave;
- J Krishnamurti;
- Bertrand Russell;
- Martin Luther King;
- E F Schumacher;
to engage in social, ecological & non-violent political issues.
His inspiring journey eventually led him to settle in England where he became one of the leaders of the "Small is Beautiful" movement, & was the guiding spirit behind a number of ecological, spiritual & educational ventures.
Today, for more than 35 years, he is the editor of the Resurgence magazine.
He also teaches, lectures & runs workshops internationally - including Singapore - on reverential ecology, holistic education & voluntary simplicity.
More information about Satish Kumar can be found at this link.
As shown in the foregoing snapshot, Satish Kumar received a personal memento from Dilip, in the form of a hand-crafted mind-map, which captured his lecture in Singapore.
By the way, Satish Kumar has written several wonderful books, including his autobiography, 'Path Without Destination: The Long Walk of a Gentle Hero'.
I like to leave the following beautiful quote from one of his other books, as an epilogue in this post, as well as an apt reminder of what it takes all of us to exercise our innate creative potential:
"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 & preconditioning, to make strides towards the unknown."