Category Archives: Posts by Kamala Das

Manufacturing Consent – India’s Block to an Organic Future

By Jamie Rutherford
John Maynard Keynes cautioned that we live our lives under the illusion of freedom, but likely to be slaves to some defunct economist. Even that description understates the problem. The world may be caged by a defect of the entire economic profession, namely the idea that we can asses value in banknotes, or that we can understand our relationship to the material world using an abstract metric rather than a biological one. The extraordinary advances made by Western societies will , in the end, be subservient to the land and what it can provide and teach.

Admittedly, this started off as a Facebook rant serving the dual purpose of allowing me to write out my ideas for Act Naturally’s documentary project synopsis. I had quoted Paul Hawken’s book Blessed Unrest, and edited it for status update size:

“To calculate the geometrical quickening of our footprint on the planet, consider that the population is 1,000 x greater today than it was 7000 years ago. People use 100 to 100,000 x more resources and energy than their ancestors did. The earth today withstands at least 100,000 x the impact than did in 5000 b.c.e… We have the same impact in 5 minutes than our ancestors had in a year. It is not merely a question of overdrawing our natural capital account; it is also a matter of destroying the currency.”

I like to coin the phenomena he’s talking about as Industrial Catabolism. The worldwide mantra for business is “growth” stated in so many mindless ways as we need to grow the economy”, or “economic growth”, “unprecedented growth” etc. But this concept unchecked is self-defeating on a finite planet. Nothing in life grows and grows in a linear fashion without some kind of recycling. A tumor that grows beyond carrying capacity destroys its host. Nature shows us, there are limits, which is not a popular concept among those in speculative industries.

I found it interesting to read the Wikipedia definition of economic growth. It is “defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of its members.”

To satisfy the wants of its members is the key phrase. This is actually quite an empowering definition to read considering unchecked growth in the economy is a driving factor for ecological and social devastation. It means that it is not inevitable, and that we- as in you, me, and everyone, casts our votes with our participation in the system. Wants are tenable, not fixed, and not absolute. Wants can change to slow down the industrial catabolism if we can take personal responsibility over what we want. But we have to know what to take responsibility for, and advertising and public relations campaigns, “experts” and daily editorializing and gossiping, has made this task very confusing.


Alot of energy is spent to manufacture, manipulate, and engineer these wants for us. Wants are like chains on our freedom, chains on our planet and polarizing chains to each other. A long time ago, before we were born, the fabric of our enslavement was promoted by those who understood that wants were manipulable. Consider master public relations propagandist Edward Bernays. If you’ve never heard of him you should watch the Century of the Self.

In his book History as a Weapon (1928) he writes, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Again, alot of energy is spent to socially engineer these wants for us.

Can any who reads this prove this man wrong through your own experience? From my experience, habits and even beliefs have their root in an unconscious ignorance that so few explore.  We crave and avoid the pleasurable and painful and to my surprise what we find pleasurable and painful emotionally is seeded in the subconscious.  Once we think about our pleasures an pains long enough, they embed in our bodies – even in the patterns of neural connections in our brain. 

Liberation from the control of the senses requires discipline. Yoga, or some internalized practice, where one begins to investigate “who/what” operates the body/mind/sense complex is a way to distance oneself from this manipulation.

We must take personal responsibility for our perceptions which bind us to systems of control that are hiding in the minds shadows. These subconscious desires and fears as Bernays would put them, are easily preyed upon through advertising; the shape and color of a logo, the language spin of an article, the fast flickering visuals of the television.

Then, we repeat this blather to others, in idle chit-chat, in our educational institutions, gossip and self righteous proselytizing; repeating and amplifying the failed narratives which become teachings for the next generation.

Let’s consider something. People in “developed and developing” countries, which actually means, countries who promote consumerism as the driving social value, commonly have a television in their home or business. In the United States, television has been commercially available since the 1920s! As Wikipedia states, “a television set has become commonplace in homes, businesses and institutions, particularly as a vehicle for advertising, a source of entertainment, and news.”

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'” — George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3

Advertising funds the programs you watch, the radio you listen to and the articles you read. Search algorithms serve you customized content based on previous searches. And those search terms where inspired by group dynamics influenced by subconscious programming.  Surely, neither you nor me has an original though in our head.

It’s all unsubstantiated information, served in such vasts and confusing amounts that you couldn’t possibly prove or disprove the constant onslaught of contradiction.


In Journal of Cognitive Liberties, Vol.2. Issue No.2 Pages 59-66, Wes More, describes in his article Opiate for the Masses,

“When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly.1 The crossover from left to right releases a surge of the body’s natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.). Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming (we rarely call them addictive). These include cracking knuckles, strenuous exercise, and orgasm. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two………..

First of all, when you’re watching television the higher brain regions (like the midbrain and the neo-cortex) are shut down, and most activity shifts to the lower brain regions (like the limbic system). The neurological processes that take place in these regions cannot accurately be called “cognitive.” The lower or reptile brain simply stands poised to react to the environment using deeply embedded “fight or flight” response programs. Moreover, these lower brain regions cannot distinguish reality from fabricated images (a job performed by the neo-cortex), so they react to television content as though it were real, releasing appropriate hormones and so on. Studies have proven that, in the long run, too much activity in the lower brain leads to atrophy in the higher brain regions………….

It is interesting to note that the lower/reptile/limbic brain correlates to the bio-survival circuit of the Leary/Wilson 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness. This is our primal circuit, the base “presence” that we normally associate with consciousness. This is the circuit where we receive our first neurological imprint (the oral imprint), which conditions us to advance toward anything warm, pleasurable and/or protective in the environment. The bio-survival circuit is our most infantile, our most primal way of dealing with reality…………..

Levels of brain activity are measured by an electroencenograph (EEG) machine. While watching television, the brain appears to slow to a halt, registering low alpha wave readings on the EEG. This is caused by the radiant light produced by cathode ray technology within the television set. Even if you’re reading text on a television screen the brain registers low levels of activity. Once again, regardless of the content being presented, television essentially turns off your nervous system.

In other words, we are activated on a subconsious and emotional level, generally beyond the control of our neo cortex that judges real from unreal all the while being bathed in pleasure/reward habit forming endorphins that keep us peering at the images.

Psychophysiologist Thomas Mulholland found that after just 30 seconds of watching television the brain begins to produce alpha waves, which indicates torpid (almost comatose) rates of activity. Alpha brain waves are associated with unfocused, overly receptive states of consciousness. A high frequency alpha waves does not occur normally when the eyes are open. In fact, Mulholland’s research implies that watching television is neurologically analogous to staring at a blank wall.

I should note that the goal of hypnotists is to induce slow brain wave states. Alpha waves are present during the “light hypnotic” state used by hypno-therapists for suggestion therapy.

When Mulholland’s research was published it greatly impacted the television industry, at least in the marketing and advertising sector. Understanding that viewers automatically enter a trance state while watching television which made them more susceptible to suggestion, advertisers began designing commercials that produce unconscious emotional states or moods within the viewer. The aim of commercials is not to appeal to the rational or conscious mind (which usually dismisses advertisements) but rather to implant moods that the consumer will associate with the product when it is encountered in real life.  What do we sell to those moods? Food, pharmaceuticals, and things.  Self-definition through things and the infantile obsessions of the marketplace could be our ruin. 

When we see product displays at a store, for instance, those positive emotions are triggered. Endorsements from beloved athletes and other celebrities evoke the same associations. If you’ve ever doubted the power of television advertising, bear this in mind: commercials work better if you’re not paying attention to them! Don’t think of the pink elephant. Whatever your do. Don’t imagine the pink elephant. See how quickly this works? 

Edward Bernays was in the business of “manufacturing consent”. He was highly successful because he understood a few things about the human condition; in general humans trust organized systems of information (media), they are conditioned to submit their consciousness to authority and hierarchal structures, they are social creatures, and are emotionally manipulatable. In this regard, the age old debate whether human nature is good or bad, doesn’t matter. Human nature is malleable and the more unaware an individual is of his/her own thoughts and desires , the more manipulatable he/she is.

Being unaware is profitable and being profitable in a expansion paradigm is exploits something from a distance. Here, we do the work of the man for the man through the power of an unquestioned purchase where seldom see the consequences in the rain forest, in a village far far away, or with a family we will never meet.

Belief systems and politically motivated narratives all  have an origination agenda, and are maintained through social engineering and replication of values and assumptions.


For example, in the 19th century the United States, people and politicians had a mainstream attitude of expansionism and nationalism. This belief was labeled “Manifest Destiny”.  Manifest Destiny was an accepted “general notion” rather than an official policy. This allowed America to expand its borders, adding Oregon, California, and Texas, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, through military and diplomatic maneuvers aimed at continental expansion.

Historian, William E. Weeks has noted that three key themes were usually touched upon by advocates of Manifest Destiny, 1. virtue of the American people and their institutions. The belief that the American way is superior. 2. The mission to spread these institutions thereby redeeming and making the world in the image of the U.S; and 3. a mandate from God to do this work. In other words, the killing and relocation of the native population is justified because the American way was mandated by God to reform those perceived as needing an image upgrade.

The voting public, military men, housewives, etc. upheld these values in their social interactions, from the pulpit, in the street and through laws that were passed. The inhabitants of America, there long before the  Manifest Destiny or Columbus infact, suffered a ruthless genocide and uprooting because of the “power of ideas” – the power of a social narrative and the inability for the common mind to resist consensus programming. What followed was forcible resettling of Native Americans as the citizenry of the United States forged westward.

In 1830, the Indian Removal Act was passed by then president Andrew Jackson, to expand the Presidents power to conduct treaties, to exchange Native American land east of Mississippi river for lands west of the river. It took until 1924, when Native Americas were finally recognized by the U.S government as “citizens.”

Many Native cultures were matrilineal. This meant people occupied lands for use by the entire community, for growing food and hunting. The Manifest Destiny was inherently patriarchal, stemming from ideas of European patriarchy that used ideas of individual property rights, and ownership over nature. The flag of Manifest Destiny did not recognize native lands as “legal”, nor the stewardship of these lands by the inhabitants. The inhabitants were unquestionably externalities to the physical expression of ideas.


Another politically motivated story, or what I like to call “engineered myth” is that India can’t feed her people without foreign intervention and philanthropy that purport the use of subsidized wheat and rice, GM seeds and chemicals. This myth takes hold in times of crisis such as during a drought or famine, as it relies on the fear of starvation and death to work the minds of the public. This myth has three parts,:

1. Those promoting the myth do so because they stand to profit from the GM seeds and chemicals. In other words, market access is guaranteed if the general population plays along with the story- thus ensuring the idea will not be met with resistance. Politicians are also rewarded by enforcing the myth through responsive legislation;

2. The second part is that the myth plays on emotion, particularly the primal fear of starvation rooted in cultural imprints of past famines, food shortages, etc.;

3. The third part is that the myth must be seeded, until it saturates the media, which saturates the commons, and replicates on its own. Once this occurs it is detached from its original creators. A meme, which represent a thoughtform or belief, acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices. Memes self-replicate through various modes of transmission, from one person to the next, through gesture, writing. etc.

The second part of the myth, the primal fear of starvation is maintained by the first (laws and legislation) and second (advertising) parts. Brilliant.

Edward Bernays in History as a Weapon writes,

“The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and cliches and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.

Fortunately, the sincere and gifted politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mold and form the will of the people. “

Mr. Bernays is talking about meme transmission.


The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations entered the market of philanthropy in India, to lay the groundwork for an agricultural shift that would use chemical inputs, special seeds, and western agricultural techniques to improve food production, inspired still byManifest Destiny style nationalism. To do this they had to convince the country of India that it couldn’t feed it’s people, and thus needed assistance. In other words, to access the Indian market, there would have to be a reason why Indians would widely adopt American agricultural techniques. The perfect sales pitch was hunger and famine, starvation and drought. The assumption is that rural peasants aren’t smart enough to manage their problem, and the elite class must intervene. India, simply couldn’t feed her people without their help.

Fredrick Gates, a wealthy baptist minister, became Rockefeller’s key philanthropic and business adviser. He helped him set up well-funded foundations that were run by experts who decided what topics of reform were relevant and profitable, actualizing Rockefellers idea that for every dollar given away in philanthropy you ought to be able to make at least a hundred back. The foundation operating as a tax free entity, would identify problems, (or create them), then provide the solution. When there was no problem, they would find one to solve. This is the beginning of  philanthrocapitalism.

The Rockefeller and Ford foundation come requisite with a mindset that the rich are the best qualified to determine what the poor needs, eats, lives and what kind of work they can do. Read on.

In 1902 John. D Rockefeller met with a group of southern educators to establish The General Education Board for educating other “races”, starting with “negros” but not limited only to them. To get a peak inside the motivation behind the boards outreach we have only to read a letter from one of its founders. In the Board’s Occasional Letter No. 1, Fredrick Gates  writes,

In our dreams, we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions fade from our minds, and unhampered by traditions, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk!

We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into Philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply.”

There is a inherent belief encapsulated in his writings and that is, that the general public should yield to the agendas of those who “know better.” This is not all together different than the mindset of the Manifest Destiny.

In 1925 public relations specialist, Edward Bernays was hired to make Standard Oil, founder and tycon family the Rockefellers to improve their public image. Standard Oil was widely criticized as a monopoly, and polluter, though it made John D. Rockefeller the richest man in modern history. After Ida Tarbell’s muckraking book, The History of the Standard Oil Company, came out, Bernays stepped in to spin the Rockefeller “image”. Bernays was quoted as saying, “it is possible to regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies.”

He said these” new techniques of regmintation of minds, had to be used by the intelligent miniorities in order to make sure that the Slobs stay on the right course.”(From Chomsky’s “What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream”: A talk at Z Media Institute, June 1997). The slobs he is referring to is the general public, me and you, because we are not smart enough, empowered enough or strong enough to rule ourselves. How does that make you feel?

As a side note, Bernays was not the main PR representative to the Rockefellers. A contemporary and competitor of Edward Bernays, was Ivy Lee. He was retained by John D. Rockefeller to manage the public image of his family and Standard Oil. Shortly before his death, the U.S. Congress had been investigating Lee’s work for the controversial IG Farben company in Nazi Germany.

The Ford Foundation focused originally on setting up educational television and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Like the Rockefeller Foundation, public relations was a major part of their outreach to the American people, though that will be covered in a later article.

“In 1935, the Rockefeller Foundation set up an office in New Delhi to oversee all of its activities in India. This center was in operation for more than 30 years. It was the headquarters from which the foundation implemented its expanded activities in medicine, agriculture, and the humanities in the golden age of American involvement during the 1950s and 1960s.”

“During the golden age of the foundation’s work in India, roughly 1948 to 1973, it expanded its operations in India. By 1966, it had 15 of its personnel in India helping to oversee numerous proposals and grants in medicine, agriculture, the social sciences, and the humanities.” (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)………

“The first president of this new Ford Foundation, who eventually detached from the Ford Motor Company, was Paul Hoffman. He decided that India, one of the two Asian giants, and the non-Communist one, was to be a focus of serious investment by the Ford Foundation for the good of the future of India and the good of the free worldAssistance to India would demonstrate what free men with wealth and wisdom could do to help other men to follow them down the same or a similar path of development.”

“Although Hoffman’s vision cannot be explored here, he seemed to think that alleviating poverty in India would put Indians firmly in the Western camp and further democratic rights.” (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Hoffman recruited an agricultural sociologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Douglas Ensminger, to be the foundation’s representative in India. The latter visited India in 1951 and took up his job in 1952. He became, in time,the most powerful and longest-lasting representative of the foundation abroad. Not only did Ensminger develop a unique tie to the government of India through Nehru and other top officials, but he formed unusual ties to the trustees of the foundation in the United States that allowed him occasionally to go around administrators including the foundation’s presidents in New York, who were supposedly supervising him.”

“Ensminger, in his lengthy topical [*112] and repetitious memoir of his India days, described himself as a “change agent” loosed in a society tied up in tradition, static, going nowhere, but desperately needing changes. He was going to help to show them the way and he had considerable resources to utilize. n17″ (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Ensminger and the Ford Foundation more generally stressed the importance of American technical assistance to so-called developing, or Third World, areas during the 1950s and 1960s. Technical assistance in practice meant that a substantial part of the grants was spent on bringing foreign experts to show the Indians the way. These were most often Americans but included a smattering of Europeans, Canadians, and others as well. Although elaborate orientation programs were worked out for these visiting foreigners who were to teach Indians about a variety of subjects….”(Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Technical assistance in practice meant that a substantial part of the grants was spent on bringing foreign experts to show the Indians the way.”

“However, this was the heyday of American overseas aid and institution building in the new nations of South Asia and confidence started high–both as to what the foreigners could give and how India and also Pakistan could progress rapidly.”

“In the period from 1951 to 1995, the Ford Foundation made about 2500 grants to India; it expended $ 128 million by one account and $ 275 million by another. In any case, the number of grants and diverse projects to which they have been applied is staggering. Much early attention was given to the community development area, a special interest of Nehru and one which appealed to Ensminger and the foundation as well. ….in the Ensminger period, technical aid to agriculture was stressed rather than holistic community development.”(Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

“Ensminger recruited F. Champion Ward from the University of Chicago to serve as educational specialist for the foundation in India. Inter alia, Ward hoped that [*113] by giving grants for general education to a number of Indian universities, he would help them to provide the kind of wide view that he thought students at America’s best universities were getting.” ‘ (Source: Lexin Nexis database: The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science. November, 1997 554 Annals 104.)

It is important to understand that what was taught in the agricultural and medical universities in India during those times were technologies that had already existed in industrialized nations. Those technologies were largely based on oil based solutions – from synthetic fertilizers, to motorized pumps and tractors, to pesticides, because those technologies were introduced by a few select billionaire families, notably Standard Oil and its offshoots (Exxon, Mobil, Amaco, Chevron). I think one can assume without it being fallacious that when a oil tycoon and not a farmer creates the solution of how India will feed her people, that solution will include oil. Certainly history has prooved this to be true.

The energy for increasing production “did not come from an increase in incipient sunlight, nor did it result from introducing agriculture to new vistas of land. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation. ” Since fertilizers are largely what made the Green Revolution possible, they forever changed agricultural practices because the high yield varieties developed during this time cannot grow successfully without the help of fertilizers. “(

What was taught in the Rockefeller/Ford sponsored curriculum in India’s universities were new techniques in mono cropping, irrigation, use of pesticides, and synthetic nitrogen based fertilizer as well as using two high yielding crop varieties that worked well with industrial techniques.

Prior to the Green Revolution,  India was growing food and did feed her people, and when she didn’t it wasn’t the farming techniques that were at fault. India, including now Pakistan and Bangledesh, has had 90 famines in the last 2500 years. It is difficult to estimate the total number of deaths, a conservative estimate puts it near 60 million. I challenge my readers to find me an example where subsequent starvation wasn’t because of one of the following:

Government inaction, devaluation of farming, inadequate transportation of food, routing of food to specialized projects -such as to the military, export of food is not rerouted back into the country, lowered feasibility of migrate do to cultural tensions,  failure in Colonial leadership to respond quickly to food shortages, lack of reduction in the price of food, and finally, the loss of employment of agricultural labors and artisans.

Dying from malnutrition, happens regardless of natural catastrophe, even though the likelihood is expanded.  If we are foolish enough to believe, however that subsidized wheat and rice given to the poor will meet the nutritional challenges of a hard working life, we are fooling ourselves and not comprehending the actual intent of foreign aid programs in time of “need”.  The United States never gives away something for nothing.  (This too is another article I will attempt to write in the coming months)

 Before the Green Revolution India grew polycultures of native and sometimes hybridized seed, planting in relation to the monsoon. People and land were at the mercy of natural boundaries. Population could not grow beyond the capacity of the land and weather patterns to support food production. It was  common that India was subject to famine and flood just like she is today, and nowhere in the world, not even in the mighty west, can people stave off natural disasters.

India had adapted her agriculture to meet climactic challenges the best she could.  India has a wealth of  time honored techniques, the were not barcodable. Take for instance the commentary by Zero Budget Natural Farming. This was written by Subhash Palekar, a farmer who grew up using traditional methods, then was educated in an agricultural university to use chemicals and after observing their destruction, returned to traditional agriculture. He writes,

“Since thousands of years, our farmers were treating their seeds by local cow urine, cow dung and little soil from the bund of the farm or land of the farm. This was the traditional method and also a totally scientific method. But, after the arrival of Agricultural Universities, all good things in Agricultural sector were destroyed and all unnatural and so unscientific techniques were imposed on the farmers and indirectly on the urban consumers. Agricultural Universities propose you now all dangerous poisons for seed treatment. When you apply any poisonous fungicides or medicines to the seed, all useful effective (our friends) microorganisms are destroyed in the soil. When these poisonous chemicals treated seeds germinate and grow, these poisons are also sucked by the roots with the soil water solution and are deposited in the body organs of the plant i.e. vegetables, grains, fruits, tubers etc. When we eat these produce, these poisons are transmitted to our body and causes T. B., Diabetes, Cancer, Heart problems to the eater consumers. As well as, when farmers purchase these fungicides & medicines for seed treatment, a big exploitation of the farmers occurs.”

 It is true that after the Green Revolution, the production of wheat and rice soared. To credit the numeric rise to the miracle seeds and pesticides is to fail at the exercise of critical thinking. Poly means many. So simply put farmers were growing many things on one piece  of land or in cooperation with other farmers to meet their nutritional needs.  If you replace every varied crop they were growing with just one, the numbers of that one crop is going to rise. If you give that one thing a veritable “growth hormone booster” a synthetic fertilizer, it will yield higher results but for how long? Every short cut comes with a cost.

 The charts and graphs used for proof of the Green Revolutions success are smoke and mirrors to make us believe that somehow the Green Revolution was a miracle that fed the world. Meanwhile the charts and graphs, by their very nature, distance us from the socio-ecological impact of what was thought up by foundations started by an oil tycoon and automobile manufacturer…not a farmer.

What is interesting about the drift away from traditional agriculture is that it the profit, monetarily and nutritionally drifted into the pockets of the philanthropists. Take a look:

Oxen drawn plows /REPLACED WITH / Oil/gas powered tractors and machinery (ideology set up by Standard Oil/Ford Motor Company founders, profits guaranteed by Rockefeller/Ford global enterprises, industry offshoots)

Fertilizer from cows, preparations from cow urine/dung and other plants /REPLACED WITH/Nitrogen based synthetic fertilizer which are typically synthesized using fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. Profits guaranteed by Rockefeller/Ford global enterprises, industry offshoots.)

Natural pesticides, using ferments of cow urine/dung/ and other plants, ash, safe pest levels maintained through companion planting and polyculture, and other biological solutions /REPLACED WITH/ Methyl iodide, glycosphosphate (Monsanto), endosulphan (originator Bayer Crop Science), organophosphate pesticides, Malathion (originated in America now manufactured in India Atrazine (Sygenta -GM Seeds, Monsanto competitor) Sandoz ( Ciba Geigy (chemicals, gm,) Sandoz, and Geigy now called Novaris (pharmaceutical) )Diazinon, Chloropyrifos, Chlordane, Lindane, Pemethrin, Cypermethrin. These are regulated by government control agencies, made of fossil fuels and higher chemisty and owned by pharmaceutical, biotech and agrobusiness giants. (list names a few only)

Seed Saving. Farmers saved seeds year by year, created their own farm level characteration of traits /REPLACED WITH/ Genetically modified and hybrid seeds patented as intellectual property and sold through Monsanto, Sygenta, Bayer, Dow, Dupont (see seed industry structure)

This structure moved the control of India’s food supply out of farmers hands and into corporate interest, nationally and abroad.

You might be scratching your head and thinking I thought you were talking about the Rockefeller and Ford Foundation and a socially engineered myth? True, and every story has its initial motivation, in this case, it’s a world view , much like the Manifest Destiny, that promotes the rich and powerful solving problems for the “underprivledged”. In other words, problems they attempt to solve are ultimately spun by foundations who lay the framework of the problems the Corporations must solve through their world view. 

Knowingly or unknowingly, they also create the problem, or an axillary problem from the solutions. In the meantime, foundations, corporations, and governments all share members, and missions. Because of the reach and power of a few, the “myth” permeates government and universities, then the general population follow in-step via massive public relations campaigns.

Take for instance this speach given by Gordon Conway, from the Rockefeller Foundation on June 24, 1999.

“The Rockefeller Foundation has funded over $100 million dollars of plant biotechnology research and trained over four hundred scientists from Asia, Africa and Latin America. While this may not sound like much by Monsanto standards, our grantees have made significant progress. At several locations in Asia there is now a critical mass of talent applying the new tools of biotechnology to rice improvement.”

…”Trying to ensure a future that includes the poor and excluded is not only a huge job, it is, you may say, not Monsanto’s job. Monsanto’s job is to provide a decent return to your shareholders by running a sustainable, innovative and responsible enterprise.”

The intention is so blatant it’s astounding.

This article is admittedly focused on the myth and story. Presenting the scientific evidence against or for genetically modified foods is another article. Outside of the lab result slinging, expert testimony, and political endorsements, is the broader issue – who profits from our basic necessity to eat? When  investigation turns up that it’s not the farmers but chemical companies with appalling environmental records, oil empires that have drug the world into war, and pharmaceutical companies whose profits increase when a population gets sicker and sicker, one has to question if the creator of such technology has our best interest in mind or is deluded by their own ideology. When we do consider the adoption of such technology on a global scale, as Monsanto advises, we must consider the implications. Long -term testing would seem like the only ethical solution, to appease both sides of the debate.  However, as we have seen through the manipulation of government, including the United States F.D.A, and India through the recent push for the BRAI bill,  the exact opposite is happening.  Technology with no long term broad spectrum world wide studies is being pushed on all of us, without labeling or conscious.

“The conscious choice of a few genes for mobilization and widespread replication substitutes human judgement for natural selection. From a theological viewpoint it is questionable that the agribusiness scientific staff have the collective wisdom to determine what constitutes the good when it comes to desirable genes. The fact that their choice could be self-sustaining (e.g., if the gene escaped into the wild) is cause for further concern. Initially, this and other adverse impacts potentially resulting from mass scale transgenic operations are likely to be invisible.” (Marc Lappe and Britt Baily, Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food [Monroe, Me.:Common Courage, 1998], 114 )

“Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?”


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, is now partnering with The Rockefeller Foundation to launch a Green Revolution in sub-Saharan Africa to “revolutionize food production and reduce hunger and poverty and to enhance agricultural science.”

That sounds great, but who gets to participate. Let’s look at the foundation’s connections. The Gates Foundation has holdings in

  • Walmart (9.2 million shares)
  • McDonald’s (9.4 million shares)
  • ExxonMobil (6.3 million shares) : Exxon Mobil Corporation was formed in 1999 by the merger of two major oil companies, Exxon and Mobil. Both Exxon and Mobil were descendants of Standard Oil started by John D. Rockefeller which was established in 1870. Sound familiar?
  • Berkshire Hathaway (76.4 million Class B shares)
  • Monsanto (500,000 shares)

On the board of the foundation is also pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, banks and Dupont Pioneer Hybrid. The Rockefeller foundation has contributed $50 million. Critics, including myself think that the foundation has a preference to make grants which benefit who the foundation holds stocks with, such as Monsanto. As a side note, recently Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet both visited India to encourage the billionaires to invest in social programs, like the Gates Foundation. All of this is a matter of public record, available for any of my readers to find

Something less obvious is happening here. The word Corporation and Multinational is getting linked as culpable co-creators in the ecological and social devastation on the earth.   The Gates Foundation, can now hide behind its billions while making billions by using the powerful public relations spin and oxymoron of philanthrocapitalism. Meanwhile, all those attached to the Gates Foundation can declare to the public that they are supporting a good cause!

“The term was coined by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green, the British authors of Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, which identified an emerging trend towards blending charitable giving with market disciplines. The great benefactors of the past tended to operate through cumbersome, if well-meaning, foundations over which they retained relatively little control, beyond an insistence on having their names slapped upon municipal parks, museums and hospitals. (

But all that has changed:

“In other words, as a long critique in the American magazine Foreign Affairs puts it, the foundation gives with one hand and takes away with the other. In his book Small Change: Why Business Won’t Change the World, Michael Edwards, a former World Bank adviser, asks: “Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?” In this sense, say opponents of the new philanthropy, the needy are being written out of their own story, with the world’s attention focused instead on the people doing the giving. “


This is a question India needs to ask her self? “Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?”

How much foreign involvement, nepotism, corruption and farmer cleansing will the Indian population take before it revolts against the silly myth of the market place?


A critical eye will easily find that the bylines of successes presented in ad campaigns, official company reports, and the nightly news, are contradictory. The  World Health Organization, (WHO) which is by no means a neutral or anti-globalization organization states that in India:

“At the other end of the malnutrition scale, obesity is one of today’s most blatantly visible – yet most neglected – public health problems. Paradoxically coexisting with undernutrition, an escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity – “globesity” – is taking over many parts of the world”

But wait wasn’t the wheat and rice of the Green Revolution a success?

The WHO shows a chart that says that 37% of India’s lower middle class suffer from nutritional, communicable, and perinatal deaths, and the likelihood of cancer is 6%. Systolic blood pressure and glucose is also rising. They go on to say that,

“Over the last few decades, traditional societies in many developing countries have experienced rapid and unplanned urbanization, which has led to lifestyles characterized by unhealthy nutrition, reduced physical activity and tobacco consumption.1 These unhealthy lifestyles are associated with common modifiable risk factors for chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and obesity.2

So the World Health Organization admits that in India,  urbanization – which is the forcing of  peasants and farmers off their land due to market forces, such as debt and unemployment, is causing health problems. But urbanization is caused by trade liberalization, and a devaluing of the agricultural sector. Urbanization has happened because high agricultural input costs for pesticides, fertilizers, tractors, patented seeds, etc. have creating spiraling indebtedness and land has been reprocessed -water tables have lowered, or water is unavailable -once fertile land is now ruined – soaked in chemicals and stripped of life and finally billboards blasting the youth with images of urban sexy-sleek living is luring able bodies from the fields. And, why would they want to stay? The government has cut back subsidies and support to the agriculture sector, and international competition has lowered the price the farmer can get for their food to demeaning levels.

Ultimately, this means there is a problem with the glowing promises of the foundations who state they are solving the  problem of an imagined future of starvation, but in truth the solution is creating more problems, so the corporations still have to solve the problem. There appears to be an endless supply of future profit!  Yet, to a lay person, their also appears to be crack in the facade!

The World Health Organization continues:

“It is expected that by 2020 in developing countries, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) will account for 69% of all deaths, with cardiovascular diseases in the lead.3 The prevalence of diabetes mellitus will almost double in the next 25 years and at least 75% of those affected will be in developing countries. The burden of disease will be worse in these countries, as the majority of sufferers are expected to be relatively young, of lower socioeconomic status and to suffer from severe disease of premature onset.4


If one observes the last 45 years since the Green Revolution began, and drops the ideology taught through the media, and through biotechnology and agricultural university curriculum, one can piece together the truth of what has happened.  Observe and remember.

In the book Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken’s explains the differences between observation and ideology. He explains it in the context of a new movement that has sprung up in response to what its observed. This movement includes millions of N.G.Os and non-profits springing up around the globe to combat the ravages of globalization, human rights atrocities, environmental destruction etc.  Included in this movement is the organic, sustainable, non-gmo, natural farming groups.

“One of the differences between the bottom-up movement now erupting around the world and established ideologies is that the movement develops its ideas based on observation, where as ideologies act on the basis of belief or theory, the same distinction that separated evolution from creationism.”

“The movement doesn’t attempt to disprove capitalism, globalization or religion fundamentalism, but tries to make sense of what it discovers in forest, favalas, farms rivers, and cities. Are ideologues in the movement? To be sure, but fundamentally the movement is from the part of humanity which has assumed the task of protecting and saving itself. If we accept that the metaphor of an organism can be applied to humankind, we can image in a collective movement that would protect repair and restore that organisms capacity to endure when threatened. If so, that capacity to respond would function like an immune system, which operates independently of an individual persons intent.”

“Specifically the shared activity of hundreds of thousands of nonprofit organizations can be seen as humanities immune response to toxins like political corruption, economic disease and ecological degradation.”

Try some observation yourself.  Ask yourself   the following: Am I healthier now than I was ten years ago? Is any member of my family on prescriptions or overweight? How many people do I know who have cancer or have died from a heart attack? Is there more environmental pollution? Are there more homeless in the cities? Am I fulfilled with the work that I do? Is my water safe to drink? Does my food have chemicals? preservatives? What are the brands of food I eat? Where does my food come from? Does anyone I know smoke? Is someone in my family addicted to drugs or alcohol?   Are there more birds? Is there more trash in the streets?

As mentioned before, the selling of a social myth, on a wide-scale is possible through the advent of the television. Television does not make for watchful observers! Why does pharmaceutical companies advertise on television when its your doctor who can decide your access to such medicine? Simple, it’s auto suggesting a disease, that you might think you have. Repeat the story long enough and you will manifest it.  Are you depressed? having trouble sleeping? Stressed out? Television repeats ideologies, with no room for us to insert our experience or opinion. The felt sense of immediate experience, our experience – our direct observation, is the only way to really know, is it true? If we operated from this informing our choices, how would the world look?

Dr. Vinod Verma,  who has written eighteen books on Ayurveda, Yoga and is a neurobiologist from Paris University. She  has also worked in a pharmaceutical company in Germany.  She writes regarding the western influence of Indian agriculture,

“Until about fifteen yeas after the independence of India, the above-described wisdom (cyclical crops, natural pesticides, planting with astrological cycles) was part of the school curriculum. However the policy makers of independent India ignored the indigenous wisdom and followed the West blindly. Many centuries of foreign rule was enough to make the English speaking Indian elite slavish in their mentality.  However, the Indian farmer was very wise and it is well known that the farmers always kept a piece of land for themselves where they did not use urea or chemical pesticides.  They used the traditional Indian methods to grow food for themselves. Not that they knew the destructive effects of the chemicals they were cajoled into using, it was simple a question of taste and flavor for them.”

“Gradually, we lost the great tradition of our natural way of farming an took to the unnatural and harsh ways from the West. Of course it was the vested interest of the West to find a market for their products in our big and highly populated country. we cannot blame the est but our own foolishness to ignore our indigenous wisdom, which is now sought after by the whole world. Humanity as a whole has realized that destroying nature means destroying life on our globe.”

Activist, and an analyst of the impact of the global economy on cultures and agriculture worldwide, Helena Norberg Hodge describes the changes she witnessed in Ladkhi people in India from 1970 to present day. Ladakh is a present day example of  what happens when you push -industrial consumerism on top of natural conservation. A similar situation plays out in all native, indigenous, pantheistic, subsistence, first peoples nations globally.

“When I first arrived in Leh, the capital of 5,000 inhabitants, cows were the most likely cause of congestion and the air was crystal clear. Within five minutes’ walk in any direction from the town centre were barley fields, dotted with large farmhouses. For the next twenty years I watched Leh turn into an urban sprawl. The streets became choked with traffic, and the air tasted of diesel fumes. ‘Housing colonies’ of soulless, cement boxes spread into the dusty desert. The once pristine streams became polluted, the water undrinkable. For the first time, there were homeless people. The increased economic pressures led to unemployment and competition. Within a few years, friction between different communities appeared. All of these things had not existed for the previous 500 years.”

If we are willing to apply the ideology that India can’t feed her people without the help of GMO and chemical agriculture, perhaps to be objective we should also  look at the consequences of what has happened since the implementation of that ideology. On a state by state macro level, these changes range from lowering yeilds after the initial peak, fallow lands, polluted water ways, loss of biodiversity, displacement of the small farm from the center of the community, loss of holistic nutrition, escalating debt, privatization of resources and the list continues.  If we rely on observation, we have only to look at examples like Ladakh to see that India has been able to feed her people.

The changes in Ladakh pre 1970s to now gives us an excellent example of how the problem of feeding India is not actually an issue of adopting new technologies, rather, it is an example of the negative side effects of industrial development in relationship to agricultural self-sufficiency and a political failure to respond to the negatives. Who gets the profit and who is exploited? In the case of Leh, self-sufficiency was replaced with Tata transports carrying branded and packaged foods, Coca Cola and cigarettes, denatured wheat, and a slew of consumerables, soon to be followed by tourists.

One can argue that Ladakh has a very sparse population in relationship to Mumbai, so therefore another system will have to be put in place to meet this challenge. As it is true that 21,000 people per square kilometer such as the case in Mumbai presents extreme challenges, the principles remain the same.  If urbanization is failing, encouraging the agricultural sector on the outsides to be vibrant, self-sustaining, environmentally friendly and productive for the long term makes more sense than increasing the urban population, displacing the farmers, and ignoring the fact that the population is going to grow.  Urban gardening initiatives, roof top gardening, school and kitchen gardens, natueco methods, seed saving, community supported agriculture, city planning that includes arable land for farming at its center,  hydroponics, public community gardens instead of another high rise for foreign investors, the introduction of microlivestock, verticle gardening, and the list goes on and on are all apossiblity if the blockage created by the story of how India can’t feed her people without chemicals and gmo, is removed.

The story  and those believing it,  is the only thing keeping the patriarchial Manifest Destiny domination paradigm in power. We, you and me, are the ones we’ve been waiting for. There is more power in our choices than you could ever imagine. There is more intelligence in a seed, and more energy  in the free gift of the sun than ever can be replicated in a laboratory. All that is nature, was given to us for FREE, as a natural right. Believing otherwise makes nature and ourselves exploitable.

If   a community is confused and lacking a far reaching vision,  look to success stories like Auroville, Kodaikanal farm in Tamil Nadu, the Khet Virasat Mission in Fardikot,  Navdanya,  Timbuktu Organics,  Shri S.A. Dabholkar,  the Biogas plant at Srirangapatna in Karnataka, and thousands more.  The answers to can India feed her people are there, and repeatable.

“John Maynard Keynes cautioned that we live our lives under the illusion of freedom, but likely to be slaves to some defunct economist. Even that description understates the problem. The world may be caged by a defect of the entire economic profession, namely the idea that we can asses value in banknotes, or that we can understand our relationship to the material world using an abstract metric rather than a biological one. The extraordinary advances made by Western societies will , in the end, be subservient to the land and what it can provide and teach. There are no economies of scale; there is only natures economy. We cannot turn back the clock, or return to any prior state on the planet, but we will never know ourselves until we know where we are on this land. There is no reason that we cannot build an exquisitely designed economy that matches biology in its diversity and integrates complexity rather than extinguishing it. In accomplishing this, there is much to be gained from those who have not forgotten the land. ” (Paul Hawken,  Blessed Unrest pg. 100)

None of these changes can occur under the amensia of the present myth. A new story must be told, one that includes a future, – a future free of any style of Manifest Destiny, where a priveldged few rule an overpowering mass of people

Indian rural reporter P. Sainath wrote,

“Every freedom fighter of repute doubled as a journalist, informing the public. Speaking for myself, I will not cede this high ground; it is extremely important that mainstream journalism include the true stories of India.”

Act Naturally

Act Naturally sponsors documentary on farmer suicides, their causes, and solutions.

Act Naturally sponsors documentary on farmer suicides, their causes, and solutions..

Farmer Suicides: Why?

By Lua Cheia

Farmer Suicides: Why?

India is home to 1.25 billion people 722% of which live in villages. As much as 60% of the work force works in agriculture in some capacity. Over the last two decades however, more and more people have been seeking non-agricultural work in cities, and urban townships. Mass migration from rural to urban areas has increased rapidly since 1991. An estimated 70-73 million people have migrated away from rural India because of a myriad of problems, such as lack of education, jobs, farming support, and opportunity and a lack of infrastructure for things like clean water and health care.

 In 1991 an exchange rate crisis caused by fiscal and balance of payment deficits, pushed India near bankruptcy. As part of a bailout deal with India, the International Monetary Fund directed India to sell 67 tons of gold to the IMF, which was transferred to London as collateral. Also, India had to devalue the rupee and restructure economically to make the country more open to foreign trade. Since independence from the British in 1947, India had operated a state-controlled economy called the License Raj system. As part of the deal with the IMF, India got rid of the License Raj system and liberalized the economy.

A key player in the economic restructuring was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan. Singh. He moved India from a socialist economy into a capitalist one. He opened international trade and investment, initiated privatization of certain public sector companies, enacted inflation control measures, broke up state monopolies, and removed obstacles standing in the way of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). At this time, India entered into an era of globalization.

 Trade liberalization, and globalization has forced India to compete with more developed countries, when only a percentage of her people were of the mind or education level to do so. There is no doubt however that economic reforms have brought with it many opportunities and chances for education, greater access to health care and public utilities, and an international competitor and contributor to many technological fields, among other things. Act Naturally acknowledges that there have been positive changes. Our work however, focuses on those who have been left behind as India heralds a new age of prosperity.

 Not everyone in the world, and certainly not in India’s rural expanse, participated in the machine of money exchange and consumerism to the scale that would make India attractive to foreign investment. At the time of these vast economic changes some villages still bartered wheat for haircuts and shoe repair, saved seeds, and used cow manure to grow their crops. Over the next two decades, generations of people; their values, culture, customs, means of producing food, relationship to land, and way of relating to wants and needs would have a new system, one that required money at its core to be successful, overlaid on top of their day to day challenges.

 “With an influx of new money, products, and advertising these “poor people,” became overnight poster children for modernization by the developers. They all were  potential markets. Tantalizing ads selling everything from new cellphones, to Coke, to diapers, to Himalayan shampoo, sparked conversation, then desire for a disposable world of stuff that has/had no real relevance to  their practical day to day reality but never the less, with enough exposure, had tantalizing appeal . It was as if these new products could do something that nothing else had done – improve their social standing. The older generation was skeptical, but the younger generation craved it immediately.

The self definition through things fetish was engineered long ago by advertising agencies, and has had immense success in  America. India patterns its success off of western business models. It’s a carrot on a stick that the farmer is chasing right off of his field.” — Kamla Vishvas

 The promise of money in more urban areas to carve out a better life, has become the mantra that moves the young and old away from their family plots and often into cramped urban conditions. But that is not the only reason. The introduction of chemical agriculture since India’s Green Revolution began in 1966, has created more input costs to the farmer and these prices too have risen. The lack of government support for farming, because of an uneven focus on the IT, Biotech and Pharmaceutical industry, has left many farmers to the agendas of agribusiness giants like Monsanto, Carghil and ADM all American made.

 As reported in PRAXIS: The Fletcher Journal of Human Security,  in an article entitled, “The Paradox of Indias Bread Basket: Farmer Suicides in Punjab” written  by Mallika Kaur;

 “During the Green Revolution, production was improved with the use of modified seeds that increased yield only when combined with expensive chemical fertilizers and irrigation. Unable to afford sufficient amounts of these expensive inputs, small farmers found their holdings becoming progressively less profitable. Meanwhile, grain prices remained comparatively low even as input costs increased. Now, three decades later, the small and marginal farmers of Punjab, in trying to pursue environmentally and economically unsustainable agrarian practices, are accumulating high debt while lacking alternative sources of income. As a result, farmers, their unions, concerned NGOs, and several academics conclude that agriculture has become a losing proposition in Indian Punjab, the farming heartland of South Asia for generations.”

Farmers go into more and more debt year after year since signing initial contracts for “crop packages” – genetically modified seeds like BT-Cotton, that require companion herbicide for best results. These expensive seeds require the farmer to buy them year after year as it is a breach of contract with Monsanto to save seed. Every year he must take out a loan from someone or somewhere. Most rural farmers do not have official documentation of their land. This means credit and collateral is questionable, so they choose to deal with private money lenders even though private money lending is officially illegal. When a farmer can no longer pay their debt, two common scenarios play out. 1. They commit suicide or; 2.  Their  family land is seized by debt collectors.

These pressures, coupled with land grabs by foreign interests made possible by the SEZ or Special Economic Zones Act passed in 2005, and the Land Acquisition Act, has meant that more and more agricultural lands are abandoned, sold to foreign interests for nonagricultural purposes, seized by private money lenders cashing in on their debts, and/or turned fallow do to exhaustion of the ecosystem with chemicals.

It is not coincidence that the issue of farmer suicides was brought to the attention of the government in the early 90s just as India was liberalizing trade, by a journalist who focused on rural reporting named P. Sainath. Palagummi Sainath was the rural Affairs editor of the Hindu at that time. Although the numbers have a margin of error do to difficulties with official reporting, it is estimated by the NCRB that over 200, 000 farmers have committed suicide in the last 15 years. The NCRB is the National Crime Records Bureau, part of the Ministry of Home Affairs,  is responsible for collecting and analyzing crime data in India. Some reporters say the number is as high as one suicide every half hour!

Summary of Causes

There are many causes for the stress in the farming community that leads some farmers take their own lives. They are dominantly related to public policy and economic strategy. Act Naturally has identified 22!:

  • Lack of support from a government that is focused more on India’s  technological future
  • Legal tender system forced through majority rule on communities that bartered
  • No advice from the government on how to conduct agricultural operations or adjust to changes in climate
  • Income from farming is not enough to meet the minimum needs of the family
  • Widening gap “price scissors” between industrial and agricultural prices
  • World Trade Organization and developed nations’ subsidies that make India’s products uncompetitive in world markets thus lowering demand and price. This is particularly true in the case of cotton farmers in Vidarbha whose cotton competes against subsidized U.S. cotton
  • Corruption at every level of government siphons off certain relief monies before they reach the intended
  • Absence of adequate social support infrastructure at the level of village. No counselors. Issue is taboo.
  • Rising prices of dowry causing huge hardships on family. The price of everything in the open economy is more, and the husbands families are demanding more as they seen grander lives advertised
  • Relief packages organized by the central government did not take in account farmer’s demands, or those of civil society organizations, local government bodies or panchayats as reported by an audit of the state done by Green Earth Social Development Consulting.
  • The same open market policy followed by India which has been a boon to foreign investors coming into the IT industry and benefiting Indian IT Engineers is causing an ever widening price gap between the food the farmers must eat to survive and the price the farmers get for their food in the market.
  • Rising cost of cultivation
  • Lowering water tables and lack of irrigation facilities. Expensive bore wells are now needed in some states. Poorer farmers can’t afford, and their lands are  bought out by larger more successful farms.
  • Reduction in agricultural subsidies
  • Environmental pollution
  • A push for cash cropping and mono cropping means a total loss of income when crop fails
  • Pressure to use genetically modified  seeds that are not acclimated to the fluxes in India’s climate. Pests are adapting.
  • Subdivision of land through successive generations of sons in certain areas make the size of land too small to grow enough food to sell
  • Compensation for acquired lands are often mismanaged by farmers who have not had experience or education on money management. Money is spent quickly. After it’s gone there is no land to produce a livelihood
  • Compensation for lands acquired under the Land Acquisition Act and SEZ are often under the fair market price
  • Threat of violence to farmer and family from illegal debt collectors

 In the next blog article, I’ll introduce the solutions. There are many ways  in which NGOs, non-profits, farming educators,  local governments, cooperatives, unions, members of independent media, activists, volunteers and philanthropists  can come together, bypassing culturally tolerated systems of corruption, to direct efforts that fortify the stability of India’s farmers. These are outlined  in the next issue.

Chiku: Summer Yumminess

By Kamala Das

I’m fond of exotic things. At the Ashram last week, a teacher handed me a brown kiwi looking fruit called a chiku, pronounced “cheekoo”. It was a odd little  fellow with a malty brown sugary succulence, and an inner texture liken to a ripe pear.  I found out later that it is called a Manikara zapota, or Sapodilla and is a very special evergreen tree.

In the past, these “trees were known   the source of chicle, the elastic gum which is made from the latex of the bark and which was the main ingredient of chewing-gum. They are native to Mexio, Central America and the Caribbean, but are also propagated in India and Pakistan.  “From germination, the Sapodilla tree will usually take anywhere from 5–8 years to bear fruit. The Sapodilla trees yield  fruit twice a year, though flowering may continue year round” (Wikipedia)

Inside my fruit, was four seeds. I took these and am trying to sprout them. It takes a long time for the cotyledons to break out of the seed cases and then they grow very slowly for 18 months, then Considering the length of time it takes for them to grow, If I can just get them started, I’ll transfer them into a used paint bucket and gift them to a local family with a back yard. They provide ample shade once grown and plenty of carbohydrate, saponins, tannins, and  vitamin A an C.  Sapodilla is also rich in minerals including copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and calcium and electrolytes including sodium and potassium, trace amounts of protein and the bark contains latex! Yes latex. It’s used to alleviate diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and constipation and boosts digestive enzyme content.  Syrup made from the Sapodilla fruit is also an expectorant. From what I hear, almost all Chikus are grown organically!  Though this tree will grow in poor soils.

I’ve heard that a puree of them in ghee can be used for halwa. Mmmm. Chicku halwa!!!!  Now thats something I have to find!

If you have some cool facts about Chiku, or Sapodilla…send them to me! I would love to know more about this fascinating fruit!

Pick up a chiku instead of a Snickers and act naturally! – KV

Ayurvedic Farming: An Ancient Relationship to the Earth (Revision)

By Kamala Das

Ayurvedic Farming: An Ancient Relationship to the Earth

It has been a beautiful journey the past the past 10 days. I studied Ayurveda at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh and went to Uttar Kashi to spend a day with Swamini Pramananda, by mother Ganga. There  she conducted puja for the river and forest. Afterwards  we talked about the  natives ways of the Garhwali people and communed in deep ecology, meditating on the limitless consciousness that lights all our lives and all those living, inanimate, and mysterious things.

Swami Pramananda gifted all her students her wisdom, and I would love to be able to share all of it in this blog, however, I will only share what is relevant to the topics of this post: Ayurvedic farming.  Swami Pramananda commented on the tsunami in Japan. She said,

“Tsunamis and disasters are all a part of Prakritis balancing act.”  Earth, is a body. And it, like our body goes out of balance.

“Prakriti is also a word for nature. The cosmos consisting of form, color and appearance is there only when both Purusha (Universal Consciousness) and Prakriti (nature) combine. To make this idea comprehensible to the embodied being and to create reverence for the cosmos, the Vedic sages have compared the cosmos to the human body.” (P42 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India).

“A thousand are the heads of a mans cosmos, a thousand his eyes, and thousand his feet!…He is all that is, all the way, all that will be…from his mind originated the moon, from his eyes, the sun, from his mouth, the fire and from his prana, the air came forth. From his navel originated the space, and from his head the heaven; the earth originated from his feet, and directions (east, west, etc) came from his ears.” (Rig Veda, X-90 1,2,13,14)

According to the teachings of Ayurveda, every manifested thing including humans are made of Five Elements: Akash – space, Vayu – air, Agni – fire, Jal – water, and Prithvi – earth.  The coordinate interaction of these five elements is the causative factor for all function in the universe.

“With these philosophical views and a profound understanding of the cosmos, the ancient Indians had a great wisdom about nature and they respected and revered it. ..Indians had developed advanced methods of agriculture. Their knowledge of cyclical crops that rejuvenate the earth and other plants that nourish the earth was tremendous. ” (p. 43 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India)

“Ayurvedic sages wrote two thousand six hundred years ago that the food or medicinal plants grown in a polluted environment lose their rasa (taste or pharmaceutical properties) and gandha (flavour) and change their characteristic life and health promoting qualities.  It is further added that when there is kala vikriti, meaning the seasons are not on time and the rainfall pattern is disturbed, then also the nutritional and medicinal qualities of various foods are destroyed.” (p.45 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India)

Indian mythology holds that  an Ayurvedic  doctor named Caraka pronounced “Charaka”,  wrote an Ayurvedic text called the चरक संहिता Caraka Samhita, in the 2nd to 3rd century B.C.E.  It is the fundamentals of Ayurvedic practice. The slokas in the Chapter Vimanasthanam reveal:

“While people differ in dissimilar entities like constitution etc, there are other common factors that cause derangements and diseases that have similar period and symptoms and they can spread and destroy the community. These factors  in communities are air, water, place and time.”

1. Air, is out of balance if it is not in accordance with the season, excessively moist, speedy, harsh, cold, hot, rough blocking, terrible sounding, excessively clashing, whistling and affected with unsuitable smell, vapours, gravel dust and smoke…

2. Water should be known as devoid of  merit when it is excessively deranged in respect to smell color, taste, and touch;  is too slimy, deserted by aquatic birds, and aquatic animals are reduced.

3. Place should be considered as unwholesome when normal color, smell, taste and touch is too much affects…it contains excessive moisture, is troubled by reptiles, violent animals, mosquitos, locusts, flies,rats owls, vultures, jackals, etc has fallen, dried and damaged crops, smokey winds, birds and dogs cry there, bewilderments and painful conditions of various animals and birds; a community  with abandoned and destroyed virtues like truthfulness, modesty, conduct, behavior and other merits, rivers constantly agitated and over flooded, frequent occurrence of meteorites, thunder-bolts and earthquakes…the sun, the moon and the stars with rough, coppery, reddish white and cloudy appearance.

4. Time  should be known as unwholesome if it is having sings contrary and excessive of deficient to those of the season.

(If) all these conditions prevail, the earth also does not provide properly the rasa – taste, virya – potency, vipaka – digestive effect, and prabhava –   various pharmaceutical properties and their effects to herbs,  consequently do to the absence of the requisite properties “

Ayurveda uses three constitutional types called doshas. They can be thought of as characteristics of the body, mind, sense complex that fall into three categories, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  To explain them in detail requires another blog entry. However, we can say that  like our body, the earth, once disturbed, depending on the type of disturbance can display signs relative to an imbalance in the characteristics in these doshas. Each dosha has a balanced state, of which the body functions optimally and efficiently. The characteristics or gunas active to these doshas, when unbalanced, disturb the dosha.

Each dosha has a predominant mix of one or  two elements and a causative factor. According to Dr. Harsh Agarwal who taught the Yoga and Ayurveda class from April 15 – 24th at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh,

Vata is predominantly space and air.  It’s causative factor is for movement in the body. Vata is them most powerful dosha. It is the only dry dosha and easily prone to denaturing disturbances.

Pitta is fire. It’s causative factor is digestion and metabolism.

Kapha elements are earth and water. It’s causative factors are the growth of body tissues.”

Consider an example of a externally imposed vata imbalance in an forest, and in human lungs.  If a once lush balanced ecology in a forest is logged heavily, removing water, and earth in the form of trees and canopy vegetation (formed by kapha), vata (air) becomes disturbed.   In Ayurveda when kapha is decreased, vata will increase. Thus, when earthen boundaries are removed,  (like the trees) and the earth anchors in the form of tree roots loosen their grip in the earth (in the case of clear cutting where only the stump is left), the soil becomes crumbly, disturbs easily by wind and dries out.   The earth and more specifically, the  soil that is left behind has characteristics similar to that of a vata imbalance in the human body; the skin is dry and rough  and body weight erodes away. Pitta is furthermore disturbed.  The soil ecology, its ability to sustain and regenerate life,  deteriorates do to new extremes in water and sun (fire) that affects the photosynthesis of understory plants, liken to the metabolism (pitta) of a human body.

When rainfall does occur, the water moves swiftly, creating soil erosion. Eroded sediment can pollute streams which in turn influences the survival of aquatic plants and fish. “Computer models have shown that clear cutting can modify the energy and hydrologic balance of areas resulting in local or regional climate change. “

Bodies have microclimates created when the organs are functioning properly. The lungs, for example are a microclimate in the body. In Ayurveda, the lungs, (like a forest) and the stomach are important sites of kapha dosha, the force in the body which is governed by the elements of water and earth.  Similar to the forest, the lungs have aveolus, likened to the leaves of a tree where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged.  If these tiny moist permeable sacs are “dried” do to smoking, vata is imbalanced. This imbalance has ranging effects to imbalances  in metabolism (pitta),  excess vascular constriction (vata), and decreased lung capacity (blood/oxygen exchange (kapha)

A  microclimate is sustained by the active members of an interdependent ecology, and the trees play a very important role. On a warm, windy day, up to 100 litres of water is removed from the soil by a tree and  transported through the tree’s xylem system and moved into the atmosphere.  (Vata/Kapha) The tree relies on a intricate system of large perennial roots and smaller short-lived feeder roots that uptake water and oxygen and mineral food (kapha) from the soil, and send it through  the hydrolic system in the trunk, to the leaves for  respiration through the “mouths” on a leaf called stomas.

Once a forest has been clearcut,  the atmospheric  and ground moisture changes (kapha) and the  shade is gone the temperature increases during the day and decreases at night (vata).  Less carbon dioxide is trapped in the atmosphere around the clear cut.  As a consequence the soil organisms that feed on decaying matter die or move into deeper earth and thus homeostasis has been disturbed (pitta). The building of humus (a kapha process), by which tree leaves, and an exact relationship or moisture and heat create verdant topsoil at once slows. All these changes represent a tri-doshic imbalance to the ecology.

We must understand our role in a certain  ecology to understand the ecology’s role within us. By some trick in the English language, the ecosystem  in which we exist is assigned a word “environment” and therefore a certain separation occurs between us and the external environment. There is no separation, what we do to our environment is directly proportional to what we do to ourselves.

“Today we have polluted air and polluted soil. Our foods are grown with chemical fertilizers and sprayed with pesticides; the vegetation has lost its fundamental characteristic qualities and has assimilated all these poisons. (p.46 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India).

“Pesticides that kill insects, also kill a tiny part of the living element in us. According to Ayurveda, the same principles govern the whole cosmos, and the living (chetan) and non-iving (jada) are made with the five elements,  ether or space, air, fire, water and earth. The poison that kills insects also destroy the life-giving nourishment… the earth which is the giver of all, and finally the water which renders fluidity to life.” (pg. 46 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India)

“By consuming such food laced with pesticides over the years, we accumulate a lot of toxins in our system. Depending upon the years,  individual constitution and fundamental health (ojas), people become easy victims to serious disorders like cancer, kidney failure, blood disorders, allergies, asthma and so on.” (pg 46 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India.)

Ojas  the “essential energy of the body which can be equated with the “fluid of life”. Those who practice Ayurveda say that Ojas is the sap of one’s life energy which, when sufficient, is equated with immunity and, when deficient, results in weakness, fatigue and ultimately disease.” (Wikipedia)

“According to the Charaka Samhita, prajna aparadha or the intellectual error is the root cause of many problems……The root cause of the derangement of all is unrighteousness or adharma (loss of righteousness).  ….Consequently, when righteousness has disappeared, unrighteousness has the upper hand and the gods have deserted the place, the seasons get affected and because of this, it does not rain on time, or at all, or there is abnormal rainfall, winds do not blow properly, the land is affected, water reservoirs are dried up; herbs give up their natural properties and acquire morbidity. Then epidemics break out due to polluted contacts and edibles.” (pg. 50 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India).

In Vedic tradition the word god is used to describe forces of nature.  Still in small villages, and strong-willed communities in India, trees are honored with prayer and puja. Cement sitting spaces are molded around their trunks. Satsang and gatherings occur under their shade.  If in you and the daily ritual of your community has in it, honoring nature as god and holding it sacred, it is not likely that that same community will then cut the tree down without an exercise of awareness.

“Before we used pesticides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers in India, our farmers dealt with all these problems with traditional methods. With the imposition of these poisons, both by the government and the companies which make them, the several thousand years old traditional wisdom was gradually forgotten. …Our traditional farmers have a thorough understanding of nature and its various moods. According to Ayurveda, preventative as well as curative medication is the same for humans, animals and plants. Health means balance and harmony in the five elements which constitute all that  exists in the cosmos. All that brings balance and harmony is called hitaker or for the well-being, and on the contrary, substances or actions that lead to imbalance are bad or damaging (adhitakar).

When the balance is lost, living beings become prey to the ailments.  The second major theme of  health in Ayurveda is prevention. That is done with appropriate nourishment, lifestyle and by enhancing ojas with the intake  of special ojas enhancing natural products called rasayana.  This is applicable for all living beings, including plants. It means right treatment  -water and manure for all crops according to the seasons.” (pg. 49 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India).

“The farmer must also keep in mind the ojas aspects of the earth. The earth that has been subjected to artificial fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides has lost its pranashakti or life force. The plants which grow on such soil are obviously weak in their immunity and vitality and are easily attacked by pests.  It is easy to understand this if you think of an individual who has been repeatedly taking antibiotics to treat infections. This person becomes very weak is more vulnerable to external attacks of bacterial and virus. Crops and tress grown in soil devoid of ojas cannot provide us ojas. By eating this kind of food, we gradually become low in ojas and vulnerable to ailments due to external (challenges).” (pg.50 Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India)

Some Ayurvedic medications that have been employed in the mainstream for human consumption, have also been used to correct nutritional imbalances in farming. To treat an ailing tree, as an exampole, the author of the book suggests, “Triphala is a powder maid of dried fruits of amla, harad and behedra in equal quantities. It is used by soaking this powder overnight in water” and applying it to the base of the tree.

There is an extensive list of corrective remedies to enhance soil fertility in Ayurvedic Farming. These all include cow urine preparations with ferments of tumeric, rotten fruits, nettels, vegetables, cow dung, and essential micro-organisms.  This is an extensive subject, and will be covered more in  depth when I write about the Natueco method and Amrita Pani in my next post.

Finally related to the topic of Ayurvedic Farming, a beautiful post by a Dr. Shirish Bhatet a Yahoo group in 2005, explains:

There is a polarity between yields and quality, between substance and
lack of it, between big quantity of products and very small
quantities of subtle ethereal oils. Regarding the definition of
quality, a polarity can be observed between something very physical,
such as the weight, substance – and something very subtle, such as
ethereal oils.

In natural farming we are trying to rediscover what is important in

The entire plant life is a product of the earth and the sun – as some
people say, the Mother Earth, and the Father Sun. In many cultures,
the sun is masculine and the earth is feminine.

Sun is associated with warmth, heat, seasonal rhythm, space and light
(Tejas). On the other hand earth is associated with coolness,
minerals, gravity, water, soil and darkness.

Light (Tejas) Principle

The colors of the beautiful high altitude flowers are a powerful manifestation of light. Color is the response of substances to light, the potential between the light and the earth. The high altitude regions are full of light, due to higher reach of higher frequency spectrum received from sun, with less filtration from cloud
cover or carbon dioxide filter.

This leads to very special structures of medicinal plants: the flowers are very colorful and bright, the leaves are very delicate – and with a lot of medicinal value. With hardly any substance, high altitude medicinal plants tend to be small but very powerful. The light (Teja) that they accumulate is all transformed into essential oils. The more light, the more essential oils are produced. These medicinal plants pass through the whole winter with very little water. They are processing all this light, and they have to concentrate everything into essential oils. Hence maximum number of medicinal herbs in India come from Himalayan mountains. In Ramayana, Laxmana brought a herb from Himalaya and carried it to Sri Lanka to revive Laxmana who was unconscious.

The tannin in the tea leaf, for example, is nothing but concentrated sunlight. It is this sunlight which activates our senses, working on very subtle principles.

Use of Polarity Principles

An example: Curcure (Equisetum arvense L.) in English called Field Horsetail is a plant without leaf. It consists only of stem. It grows in shady places, and is very rich in silica. The amount of silica, almost 90%, is one of the highest in the plant world. Silica is a mineral, belonging to the earth, but it lets the light go through.

Where do we find silica? In sand. Sixty or seventy per cent of the  earth’s crust is silica. And if you want to know how silica is connected to life, just look at a window: the glass is pure silica. There is silica in spectacles, silica in the eyes and skin, in the hair – and in leaves. Silica has an affinity to light. In fact, it
draws light.

With silica as a carrier of light, we can make use of the polarity of light and darkness in agriculture. Equisetum arvense contains a lot of silica, and therefore belongs to the realm of light. On the contrary, fungus belongs to the realm of cold, moisture and darkness.

We can use a product from one realm to control an imbalance in another. Equisetum arvense is an excellent fungicide. In India, people hang a twig of this plant in houses to ward off insects and even mosquitoes.

Out of his own insight, Rudolf Steiner introduced several preparations to treat the soil to health. Similar principles are also used by Indian farmers in using natural materials, ashes, animal bones, horns etc. Naturally occurring plant and animal materials are combined in specific recipes in certain seasons of the year and then placed in compost piles. These preparations bear concentrated forces
within them and are used to organise the chaotic elements within the compost piles. When the process is complete, the resulting preparations are medicines for the Earth which draw new life forces from the cosmos. Effects of the preparations have been verified scientifically.

One of the preparations is made from silica powder, processed in a special way. It is applied to the plants at the time when they are producing the part that shall be harvested. In case of medicinal plants, if, for example, the root is harvested for medicinal purposes, silica is applied when the root is forming. The same
applies for the flower, leaf, etc.

This silica powder preparation helps to increase the concentration of silica in the plant. With silica, the plant increases its rate of photosynthesis, draws more light(Tejas), and produces more of those finer aspects. The medicinal value of plants cultivated under such conditions will be naturally higher and their pests lesser.

Silica is an excellent remedy for the foggy Darjeeling/Utakmand climate. The monsoon mists hold back the plant, whereas silica will activate the plant growth. Too much shade also creates a situation for fungus, which silica counteracts. In this way one can balance an unfavorable climatic situation with biodynamic preparations.

One of the soil medicine is made from quartz crystals: the crystal form of silica. These crystals have geometric forms, perfect hexagonal shapes. The geometry shows another polarity of form and formlessness: in silica we have these beautiful shapes, and in fungus we have amorphous shapes, without form.

Geometric Principles and Medicinal Values

High altitude flowers are of the most perfect shapes, like stars: they have the most beautiful, artistic quality. The same applies for this quartz. These perfect shapes are based on the same geometric principle. It belongs to the heights, near the light, close to the stars. In pentagonal and hexagonal flowers we find the same geometrical principles as in crystals.

The differences between the root and the flower of such high altitude medicinal plants reveal the polarity that is being discussed. The flower is very nicely  shaped, though every species is different. But why do we not study the roots to differentiate those plants?

Because they are all more-or-less the same. There is no differentiation at the root level, and yet there is this high differentiation at the flower level.

How do these plants know that they have to grow like this? Why are
they shaped and coloured like this? For example, this plant has five petals, five sepals, five stamens, so it is shaped by the principle of five, but where does it come from? It is these principles that form the plant, and along with it its medicinal values.

We can release this formative principle in our plants and understand how it starts shaping them and bringing forth these fine aspects of scent, aroma, taste, colour and medical properties.

In comparison, in tropical plants the principle of flower has been pushed into the leaf. Tropical climate produces fleshy plants that would never grow in the high altitude regions. These plants need moisture. It is warmth, which, combined with light, manifests in these plants in the leaves instead of in the flower.

Many plants, where this principle of warmth pushing into the leaf operates, develop a lot of poison. When this principle, that belongs to the flower, has been pushed as far as into the root, it colors even the roots. Color at the root level means that what belongs to the flower has been pushed deep inside the plant.

Cosmic Integration: The Zodiac Principles

The ultimate fine-tuning of natural principles lies in harnessing cosmic influences for cultivation. Only at particular times of the month or year are the cosmic influences are most supportive to the growth of a particular part of the plant.

The cosmic factor that determines a month is the moon. The movement of the moon in relation to the Zodiac is most interesting. The Zodiac symbols are Greek in origin. The Chinese developed a different system, and the Tibetans created their own amalgamation of the Indian and Chinese systems. Most Indian farmers have their agricultural schedule tied to movement of sun in different stars (Nakshatras).

All the different systems have twelve constellations, though represented by different figures and animals. Within these twelve signs there are four groups of three constellations each which have the same qualities. They are related to the four elements, earth, water, fire, air. These four elements can be placed in relation to the four parts of the plant: the root, the leaf, the flower and the

– The roots are associated with the earth: there is no base and ground without earth.
– The leaves relate to the water element: the more water, more foliage.
– The flower corresponds to air and light: there is no light without air. (There is no light on the moon because there is no atmosphere.)
– Fruits are associated with fire: there is no ripening without warmth.

Cultivating the soil on specific days means harnessing the cosmic influences for the particular plant. Recent research has shown that in one month there are three periods which are variously beneficial for the root, the leaf, the flower and the fruit. These period are governed by the moon cycle. The different parts of the plant are stimulated, one at a time, three times in a month. Researchers
discovered this by planting radishes every day and then observing their growth. Radishes from one day would be of very of good quality while those from another day would be smaller and less healthier. In between would be radishes with shrivelled roots or too much leaf. Anybody can try this experiment. The researchers found that the yields can be increased 20 to 30% just by cultivating at the right time. In case the seeds are sown during a period unfavourable to
their nature they can later be transplanted during the appropriate sign.

The zodiac signs that belong to fire element are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Plant parts associated are fruits, grain and cereals. The signs belonging to earth elements are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, the associated plant parts being roots. Water element associates with signs Cancer, Scorpio and pisces and plant parts are leaves. Hence plants having more leaves require more water too. Airy
signs are Libra, Gemini and aquarius, the associated plant parts being flowers.

To understand zodiac principles, let us take few examples. The Kapha is treated as earth and water. The growth of new cells can take place in the presence of Kapha. Thus if you wish to gain weight, one must eat roots. Underground foods such as radish, potato, carrot, beet etc help building tissues and gain weight. Hence cancer patients are given these juices. Leaves restore water element. Cancer, scorpion and pisces are very sensitive and affectionate signs. The root of cancer according to Hamer theory lies in psychic conflicts. To correct the conflicts, thirteen different juices which include leafy vegetable juices are prescribed in Gerson therapy. So the theory fits well. Fire has energy, and fruits/grains have to be used when gaining quick energy. Association of airy signs with flowers can be understood by thinking that most flowers contain the basic reproductive mechanism including attraction factors such as color,
smell, honey etc. And in astrology, 3rd, 7th and 11th sign as well as houses are considered as those belonging to reproductive forces (Kama- trikona). The saffron is found in a flower and its use in fertility medicines is well known. Honey is also well known by the word honeymoon. “

I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring the interconnected dimentionality of all living things.

Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India (Part 1)

By Kamala Das

The following are excerpts from an amazing book called Annan Brahma: Organic Food in India by Anjali Pathak.

The perspective and scope is familiar and prophetic. I have always, intuitively and as a matter of “vicara” deep discernment, understood that what we consume and how we consume energy for each body, is directly mirrored to the health and vitality of the earth as a living breathing “body” of relationships.  Naturally Intelligence works efficiently; stepping away from this free way, into a world of man-made systems ultimately impacts our body and the earth with no exception.

The writers of Act Naturally have written articles with similar sentiment shared in Anjali’s work, however this book knits together the problems and solutions in a brief and accessible way. I hope you enjoy this summary.  Annam means Mother Nature’s food, specific to the fulfillment of each of her species. And Brahma is Ishvara, ever pervasive consciousness- God. So literally, The Food of God. –KV

We re going to present this material several parts, the first, this article covering the books Preface;  second article on Ayurvedic Farming and third on Natueco farming method as taught by Professor S.A. Dabholkar.

May the universe never abuse food. Breath is food. The body eats foods. The body rests on breath. Breath rests on the body. Food is resting on food. The one who knows this becomes rich in food and great in spirit.

(Taittiriya Upanishad 11.7)

“Having served many years spreading the work of Ayurveda, it is overwhelming to witness America’s rapid movement toward impending health, economic, environmental, social, familial and individual crisis. The rampant violence, disease, and despair across the American landscape have prompted endless scientific research costing trillions of dollars, especially in the areas of food, diet and health; yet the fight against disease and the denigration of life is failing. This predicament arises in great part from the popularized killer diet that has replaced a diet consisting of wholesome foods. A fact that prompts a multitude of questions: Why is the population deliberately imbibing polluted products and poisoned foods? Obviously, billions of people the world over are now doing precisely that. Does this malady arise from personal choice of by designed addiction? Certainly, even the lease education person would realized that consuming polluted “fast foods,” commercially grown “poisoned foods,” or genetically engineered “mutated foods” would negatively impact one’s health and well being. But that appears NOT to be the case. Many seem to be unaware that these so-called “food” products create potentially lethal forms of addiction, habit-forming behaviors that do not nourish nature and heal. One of the most significant questions we can ask is: Why is there so little education that these poisonous foods are linked to disease, despair, and disharmony not only in the human population but in all species and the planet itself?” (p.5)

“India is a land crammed with manifold layers of contradictions; ancient and yet modern, at one end of the spectrum she is on the verge of massive technological and scientific growth aligned with material prosperity , and at the other extreme she teeters on the brink of devastating human poverty with progressive drought and the potential death of the land looming. Somewhere in the center of it all, she has a spirit of stoicism, which has helped her survive many waves of barbaric incursions. However too successfully ward off the killer diet, aware of a very different nature, India must reconcile her profound extremes. The issue of nutritional safety and food security must be addressed as one of the nation’s highest priorities. For this, we need to educate our people about organic, wholesome ways to care for ourselves and by extension, create health for families and communities. In so doing, we must examine the native stock of India’s vast ancestral wealth of knowledge. To promote health and inner harmony for all, we must inform our youths about the necessity for healthful, conscientious behaviors and inspire them with authentically packaged knowledge that fosters awareness and self-respect. And we must do so because of our spiritual beliefs regardless of our cultural differences.” (p.6)

“As in Mother Nature’s cosmos, there is an intricate balance between trillions of interactions with the body. This vital knowledge is conveyed in the ancient Ayurveda, yet remains virtually unknown, undiscovered by modern science. Evidently the education on how to attain wholesome physical, emotional and spiritual health is particularly lacking in at-risk communities who are largely unaware that the hidden price they are paying for convenience foods comes from the irreplaceable fold of their health, memory, fertility, spirituality and their future.” (p.7)

“Let’s examine another grotesque myth: The idea that through bioengineering transgenic foods we can produce more foods, shape them the way we want, enhance their tastes and have their shelf-lives last forever. What bio-engineers do not recognize is that by tampering with the DNA codes of a species, they are in fact plunking ones species’ unique set of memory imprints into that of another, and creating massive mutation by melding energetically dissonant memory forms together, the effects of which are far more devastating than humanity can imagine. This desacralized methodology is a harbinger for progressive havoc and disease among all life on the planet. “ (p.7)

“Perhaps because it is our primal human nature to mindlessly grasp for prosperity, and, more importantly, to want to be a part of the commonality that binds us together, we buy into illusory ideals of wealth and progress.” (p.8)

“In short, commercial food producers have largely decimated the imperative balance of nutrients carefully and cosmically designed by Mother Nature for each of her creates. The proliferation of rubbish, poisons, and empty fillers we now call “food” is not a result of individual choice alone, but shockingly a progressive trend toward communal loss of memory. In short, it is the disorientation of collective amnesia following the greediness of corporate profitability.” (p.9)

The food shopping list for the average householder in India is now glaringly similar to that of a householder in the U.S. frozen pre-cooked foods; packaged foods like pasta, cheese, noodles, biscuits, cookies; and frozen concentrate fruit juices, reinforced with an armament of additives, sugars and preservatives. The greasy burgers and pizza, lifeless breads, grains stripped of their bran layers, exported foods, transported unseasonable foods, hydrogenated and refined cooking coils, refined flours, refined white sugars, and packaged curd are now staples on the Indian householder’s shopping list. Ultimately when we lose our health, sanity, community and family to disease, poverty and violence – joining the general malaise of humanity – we are apt to discover the glaring truth: that we have been victims of prosperity, robbed of our most precious human right, the right to free will.” (p.9)”

Thousands of years ago Vedic seers advocated the cosmic education of annam – Mother Nature’s food – specific to the fulfillment of each of her species. They tell us that what grows on the earth – plant and mineral life (with the exception of some animal milk) – is annam, and that this food is the only means for nourishing the human body. Each and every physical thing in the universe is composed of the same five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. Thus we are formed from the same ingredients as the trees, sky, sun and grains of sand or drops of rain. The five elements in our food feed the five elements in our bodies. Essentially, the tanmatras (subtle energies), panchabhutas(subtle elements) and rasas (subtle tastes) of Mother Nature’s food are energetically and nutritionally designed to feed, nourish, and heal each an d every one of the dhatus (vital tissues) of the body, mind and sense complex I accord with its innate requirements, both divine and mundane. (p.10)

“…The seven stages of a fruitful plant are identical to the seven stages of a fruitful human life. The life cycle of a plant begins with a good seed, one that retains its essential nature from the ell of universal memory and has not been tampered with or genetically manipulated. The seed successively transforms to sprout, young plant, mature plant, flowering plant, fruitful plant, and then returns back to the earth as seed. At every state, the plant maybe harvested and prepared as food. After it has been ingested and a human being is physically and spiritually nourished, the waste and roughage are restored to the earth. “ (p.11)

“In Ayurveda, we learn that within the unique construction of each and every person are vital clues to the quantity, and nature of food an individual body requires; that intake must be balanced with the size, shape and gender of the human prakriti, metabolic constitution. …For instance did you know that when you cup your hands together (open in anjali mudra), you can measure the exact quantity of food that your stomach is designed to hold? And when you close your hands with palms touching (anjali or prayer mudra), you send a signal to your digestive system that you are filled and satisfied, prompting it to close out its operations.  Food is the only matter that connects you to the memory of your karmas: past, present, and future; it is the only substance that can progress your cosmic nature into discovering who you truly are. IN short, it reveals your unique package of personal karma.” (p.11)

(Above selections are audited from the Preface to Annam Brahma: Organic Food in India. Preface written by Sri Swamini Mayatitananda, Wise Earth School of Ayurveda).

Click the link to read an interview with the writer Anjali Pathak.

Next post on Ayurvedic Farming. Kamla is attending a conference at the Swami Dayananda Ashram in Rishikesh on Ayurveda, Yoga and Nutrition for the next eleven days. Posts will be slow in coming. If you would like to post something, or have ideas for future posts, please write us at

Ohm Shanti Ohm


Part 1. The effects of privatization, from poverty to the psychology of reliance. Part 2. Looking to freedom fighters like Professor MD Nanjundaswamy to inspire resistance.

by Kamala Das The privatization and development of once public resources and always earths resources, is no longer a political or economic issue, it is an issue of our natural right to life and free-survival.  To understand this viewpoint, let me first … Continue reading