Pilgrimage from the grave of Gandhi to Kennedy’s

Satish Kumar

“I see the bees buzzing, collecting a little nectar here and a little nectar there. Never too much. Never a flower has complained that a bee has taken too much nectar away. Nature in balance.”


Over the weekend, I had planned to see ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge‘, based on the tragic novel by Thomas Hardy and set in a fictional rustic England.

But all of a sudden, changed mind to watch BBC documentary “Earth Pilgrim”.

This exquisitely photographed film is a meditation on the moor that follows in the footsteps of Satish Kumar, a renowned ecologist and pilgrim for peace.

In the documentary, I found his lyrical and timely observations illuminating the sacred beauty of the wildlife, forests and rivers of Dartmoor.

It was in 2008 when Satish presented his 50-minute programme on the BBC as part of the Natural World series. A highly acclaimed documentary that mixed eastern philosophy with the western landscape of Dartmoor; the programme was claimed to have been watched by over 3.6 million people.

In this, Satish reflects on our connection to the natural environment. Using the traditional English landscape of Dartmoor as his natural muse, he offers a very Indian perspective through the changing seasons.

Through the film, he introduces the Dartmoor scenes and sights that most inspire him – gnarled oak woods, whirling starlings, rushing rivers, stags in rut, wild tracts of heather, cuckoos hungry for food, the metamorphosis of moths – and contemplates what they reveal, and the lessons they hold for humanity.

“I see the bees buzzing, collecting a little nectar here and a little nectar there. Never too much. Never a flower has complained that a bee has taken too much nectar away. Nature in balance. But this balance is tipping. Human beings go to nature and take, take, take, until all natural resources are depleted. Honey bees never do that. If I can learn that lesson of frugality and simplicity, I will be learning the art of living.”

Many more opinions expressed by Satish in the documentary, captivated my attention… “I am sitting under this tree and I am thinking this tree is a temple to the earth. I am thinking of my mother because she used to say to me that tree is the true teacher of humanity and a great teacher that we have. Even greater than the Buddha. And I would ask her what do you mean greater than the Buddha because Buddha was the greatest teacher in India and mother would say… even Buddha got his enlightenment while sitting under a tree. Nowadays people don’t get enlightenment because they don’t sit under a tree.”

Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Satish’s opinions may well be considered for being part of our school syllabus and national policy. Because Barack Obama may have got the Nobel for Peace, but the beautiful explanations rendered flawlessly by Satish in his “Earth Pilgrim” have the potential to be converted into a campaign to strip the ambitious Honolulu boy off the Nobel Peace chair.

One of the many Nobel cartoons on Obama.

Would someone tell me the American President’s contributions, if any, to our nature, to world peace!

True, in the words of Gandhi, with which the documentary also ends, Obama must first become the change he wants to see in the world. As, till date, though claiming himself to be the world leader and being acclaimed as the most powerful man on earth, the US President has not taken any test, what to talk of clearing any, to prove his credentials for the Nobel Peace Prize.

And let’s not forget Obama was elected as the US President on a message most succinctly defined by a single word: ‘change’. Where is that?



[Another documentary “HOME” (by Yann Arthus-Bertrand), which I had come across in 2009, categorically tells us that we are living in exceptional times. “Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth’s climate. The stakes are high for us and our children.”] 


  1. Excellent, EXCELLENT article. You really open my eyes here – and I love your style, very readable.


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