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Reports from the Ground

I wonder if anyone is reading these blog posts or not. We are slowly slipping into oblivion for the world. Boy ! We all are so busy moving forward, running the rat race , finding the solution to our own personal problems – that we have no time at all to stop at look at what’s happening with others. It’s true for us as well. We are no exceptions. We are also so damn busy making our own lives better in this small piece of land.

Is it enough to be happy alone ? Can one be happy alone or is being together a precondition for happiness ?

What positive action can we take while living a simple life at the farm  ? Is it not a positive action in itself ?

Farm is growing in its own speed. Things are evolving, lots of new trees are up and alive. Cows have increased. Soil appears stronger, biodiversity looks better. Human relationships remain an issue. Why is it so difficult to work together, live together ?

The Madman’s farm as of 2018 September.

Nevertheless, we still sleep with a smile on our face at the end of the day. Our health and happiness is growing, no doubt – it’s not as rosy as it appears to others. Most importantly, we do get a feel that we are definitely living a real life and this journey is so much worth. Every pain, every learning, every day is just such a blessing that we can’t be more grateful. 🙂

 

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Am I dead ? – No, I’ve gone Lazy !

I am sure when you come to farm’s website and see now new updates on timeline, no new posts, no new event announcements  – you may wonder, if we are dead already !

Well, farm is up. We are still living here. Our experiments and explorations are On , it’s just that we have become too lazy to come over the net, write an article about something. When we began years back, sharing our story was an important aspect of our lives. I would regularly take out time to update website and send updates. In fact, I almost rolled out a quarterly newsletter at one stage.  But things change, farm changed, I changed.

I slowly started seeing futility of the exercise. I was no longer moved by accolades that I would receive for the work we are doing. I was no longer depressed by strong criticism. To be here, to walk into forest, to spend time with my wife and my child, to water the plants, to spot a new bird, to escape a scorpion bite – such tiny things appear enough.

I no longer enjoyed receiving guests who would ask the same questions, throw back same compliments and then go back to their same old life. They’d talk great things about us, their own lives untouched. It makes me lose the very motivation to put efforts in spreading the word about what we are doing and justify our lifestyles. So, slowly I’ve stopped doing almost everything.

So, yes you can say – I’ve grown lazy. I’ve grown little indifferent. I’ve grown little cynical. I am just happy that I am growing.

Looking forward to seeing you at farm someday. We still await and cherish guests who can relate to true spirit of this place, of this journey. Come….

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A madman from the Himalayas

We had a very unusual get together at our farm recently. A hindu saint from Himalayas was invited to our farm along with his few friends who delivered a small discourse and stayed overnight. People from nearby villages were also invited. Interestingly this was the first time we had so many villagers visiting us in 5 years !

Satsang at the Madmans farm

Swami Nityanand Giri Ji is a hindu saint who lives in Kailash Ashram nea Rishikesh. He was a direct disciple of Swami Shri Ramsukhdas Ji Maharaj ( Who is one of the main author of many books published by Geeta Press, Gorakhpur).

With Asharams, Ram-Raheems and Nirmal Babas leading the Saint fraternity…I frankly had little hope in anyone with orange cloths! However, i just happen to meet Nitryanand Ji in a religious event in a nearby village and could clearly see in just few minutes of his talks and behavior that he is not the same team. He belonged to the group – which includes very few saints who are trying to maintain the santicity of orange cloths.

He was with Central government working in Delhi before he decided to dedicate his life to inner search. He is far from money. Doesn’t take money for anything and a sincere celibate. What I like most about him is – he walks his talks ! Whatever he teaches others – he himself does it sincerely.

Swami Nityanand Giri Ji (Left) with a fellow Sanyassi

Nevertheless, It was a very differnt kind of joy to have all these saints here and talk about Law of karma, social situations today and various other questions till late night of wintery January. It was a celeberation of a different kind. What also astonished us was the deep faith that people still have in religion and how it has power to bind people. People who were enemies to each other , came and sat in the same area on this night !

There was so much I learnt …so much I enjoyed….I am just so grateful to all the saints and all the people who came !

I’ll end it with one of the quotes by Shri Ramsukhdas ji Maharaj –

God has full responsiblity for your needs and has no responsiblity for your wants. So, worry not about your needs, they’ll be met. and Worry not about your wants – for they will never be met. Just don’t worry and live every moment in Joy,

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Tedx Talk – Living your Own Life

Frankly, this talk was not very well prepared and hence I do not consider it as a worthy talk. Also, it was long since I spoke in public – so my language, my speech all went for a toss. Infact, I missed many of my core points (like impact of media on our choices). I forgot some of my examples. Infact, after the speech I think I left audience more confused than clear.

One of the listener comes to me and says, ” So, what do you do now ? ” and I was like …damn…did I really mess up my speech !

Nevertheless, here is the talk anyway. I enjoyed the whole process. From trying to think of one idea worth spreading from your life to actually speaking it out. It was a good instrospective exercise.

 

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Love and hate for animals

Before moving to farm, I had a very rosy picture about cows, goats, dogs, snakes etc.. perhaps just like most city dwellers. But farm exposes one to all kinds of reality.

Here, I’ve been exposed to the good side of animals which makes me love them and also the bad side which makes me yell at them.

Cows, for instance when move about in farm – really make it complete, look so beautiful – and ofcourse all the manuring benefits. Their charm is amazing. But these same animals have damaged most of our plants. We take care of a plant for months and just one day is enough for them to totally ruin the plant forever. This has happened to many of our plants.

Dogs, again – are so damn cute and friendly. But some of them, can go inside your kitchen, steal few packets of food and just runaway.

Wild boars, deers ruin a lot of crop.

Even birds, are so adorable. Just the sight of a flying bird is so relaxing and mesmerizing. But there are times when hundreds of birds (like parrots) eat away your crops in large quantity.

Ofcourse, a lot of (so called) destructive behavior of animals is due to Human interventions in first place – like cutting down forests -their natural habitats.

So my rosy picture has finally met reality. I now know that everything is equally good and bad. Everything has two sides and we need to slowly learn ways to live together – happily !

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Can we really change something ?

We are trying to create a food forest, a sustainable farm – a simple life at the farm. Every morning, as I wake up the first thing I hear after the early morning bird songs, is the sound of the axe. Almost everday, I can hear the “thudd” strokes of axe from the nearby forest. Villagers carrying logs of wood to sell in nearby town is also a common sight. So are the news of higher level tree felling done by some private contractors or powerful individuals.

Though, I try to ignore and move on – continuing whatever we are doing. But – subliminally, the frustration and hopelessness is stregthened with every thudd. It makes me wonder, what if in due years to come – entire forest is being cut ! What good is a small green patch in midst of desert ? What good is a small natural, organic farm in midst of hundreds of acres of chemical farms ? And the ultimate culmination of it is at the question – “Can we really change something ? ”

Yes, I’ve heard all the inspiring stories about starfish and importance of “our own tiny act of goodness”. I am exposed to the philosophy of doing good things inspite of everything. But, the question in picture is more to do with larger change. Can all these small initiatives across the world, really bring a change ?

Ofcourse, this is a very subjective discussion and one can go on any side that suits us. But, I am talking of a real fundamental change that can change our direction of future. Will it happen ?

Perhaps not ! The world will move on in the direction it is on. Things will continue to get worse. The strength and momentum of destruction is far too strong than all the jazz of “green” ecological friendly attempts. I must accept this and still find a deeper motivation to do what I want to do.

World will not change if few leaders become honest.
World will not change if some of us become responsible citizens.
World will not change if some of us retort to better greener lifestyles.
However, world will also not be the same.

Thus, I do see the meaning in doing our own things but I do want to get out of the dream of changing the world – which got me here in the first place. If something really changes in the due course time, it will only be incidental and a gift from above. It is difficult to accept the insignificance of our existence and impact of our absence or presence. But then, there is something called the reality.