In a world that is increasingly disconnected from nature, the teachings of Satish Kumar offer a profound perspective. Known for his peace pilgrimage and his work as an editor of Resurgence magazine, Kumar advocates for a holistic worldview that integrates the care of the planet, nourishment of the soul, and the nurturing of the human community. This blog post explores the life, work, and teachings of Satish Kumar, as captured in his talk “Soil, Soul & Society” presented by Marion Institute TV.
Satish Kumar: A Peace Pilgrim
Satish Kumar’s journey towards peace began when he was a young man. Inspired by the arrest of British philosopher Bertrand Russell for protesting against nuclear weapons, Kumar and a friend decided to embark on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage. They walked from India to America without any money, relying solely on the kindness and hospitality of strangers. This journey, which started from the grave of Mahatma Gandhi and ended at the grave of John F. Kennedy, was a testament to their belief in peace and trust in humanity.
Soil, Soul, and Society
Kumar’s philosophy revolves around three interconnected elements: soil, soul, and society. He believes that we must make peace with these three aspects to achieve a sustainable and just world.
Soil represents the natural world. Kumar emphasizes that humans are not rulers or guardians of nature, but rather, friends of nature. He advocates for living in harmony with the natural world, recognizing that nature has intrinsic value beyond its utility to humans.
Soul represents our inner selves. According to Kumar, peace begins within each individual. He encourages everyone to discover their true potential and to make peace with themselves. He believes that every person is a special kind of artist, with the potential to bring about great change.
Society represents the human community. Kumar argues that true leadership comes from the people, not from political institutions. He believes that great transformations will come from grassroots movements, driven by individuals who have made peace with themselves and nature.
Satish Kumar is a beacon of hope in a world grappling with environmental, social, and economic challenges. His philosophy of soil, soul, and society offers a compelling vision for a sustainable and peaceful future. As we navigate the complexities of our time, Kumar’s teachings serve as a timely reminder of the power of trust, the importance of inner peace, and the potential of every individual to effect change. His life is a testament to the belief that peace is not just about the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice, the love of nature, and the celebration of life.