Sunday, 19 February 2012

Where Nature Speaks:

I came across this quote while surfing the net the other day. This supposedly controversial speech was given by Chief Seattle when native Indians were forced to sell their land to white settlers in America. Controversy aside, I found this speech particularly poignant and was deeply touched by it.

“Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man. The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man --- all belong to the same family.”
Whether it’s the Native Indians of America, the Aborigines of Australia or the various tribes that live in the Himalayas and across the plains of our country, all believe in Animism or Spirits of Nature. They hold Earth and nature sacred and far more important than themselves. Where we understand nature through science, they still communicate directly with the trees, rivers, mountains and birds. In India, many tribal villages have a sacred grove in the forests where they live that is left untouched...not even a leaf is plucked from here.  In high Himalayas, mountains and rivers are worshipped and held sacred.

We consider ourselves clever, scoff at such beliefs and think of them as ‘primitive’. We work in glass cubicles, live in concrete houses with children who think the source of water is a municipal tanker. Living in skyscrapers, travelling in jet planes and changing technology every six months give us the illusion that we are improving our lives. And in the whole process, we have forgotten just how dependent we are on nature for our survival and growth....a fact which these indigenous groups always knew and understood.
The Native Indians were brutally razed, the Aborigines have been left with a raw deal in their hands and there is a huge ongoing debate about mainstreaming of tribes in India. What their future will be and what our future will be is yet to be seen. All we can do now is to try to understand and correct ourselves in the process.

So take a while and leave the city. Walk barefoot on the grass, feel the sun on your skin and hear the leaves rustle and the wind whisper.  Watch the clouds go by, dip your feet in the river and see the stars in the night sky...only then you will know that they have been right all along.

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