Swaraj Kumar Banerjee
Presentation at UNDP, New Delhi, India in November 2002
The times we are living through have created a complexity of social issues which are extremely
difficult to comprehend. Hence, when we wander out into nature - sense of peace prevails - immediate relief from the confusion of our daily grind. If we attune our antennae-we realize the wisdom of nature and its simplicity only through observation.
For example, if one is to travel from Kurseong to Delhi, the social implications of travel and execution of the work at the Delhi end is indeed very complicated. One is focused on the execution of the job-hence one only has to cope with a few issues-without too much thought on the social implications. However, the moment one takes a little time out to mull over the social ramifications-it would be confounding, to the analyst. Hence an individual bestowed with intelligence and good education is inadequately equipped conceptually to fulfill the needed concepts for an understanding of our social situation. This is an urban phenomena in India, which is rapidly spreading to the rural scenario, with industrialisation of agriculture and improvements in all communication systems.
In the vast majority of villages, there still exists a different social system. The place of worship, or temple is the source of inspiration, where the community gathers. Time tested spiritual insights, handed down from the great era of the enlightened ones-the Rishis or Sages are still followed and practiced in social life. The magic mantras nurtured by the Brahmins or priests, touch the soul of the people, and social activities are based on this morality. The raying of the message, from the tip of the pyramid to the base, is reflected by the work on the land - which is the foundational base.This is the basis for holistic sustainable agriculture-where the work on the land is a streaming down of the cosmic forces and its effective conversion for the diverse life forms, even below the earth to its offerings from crops, fruits and other sustainable resources. It is a social unity.
As one settles down (throws down one's roots so as to say), one evolves to a clarity of thought processes - or logical thinking emerges out of this intellectual development. Technological sciences are a fallout of this logic. Scientific thought is localized to the physical world and is benefit of any spiritual stimuli. Hence, this thinking is dead. In the height of Kali Yuga - which we are living through now-this dead thinking dominates our lives at all levels.
Logical thinking creates industry and machines. Machines divide human labor-which in turn regulates production and ultimately the economy. To tune the economy-profitably, specialists are rampant at all macro and micro levels, of this society. The social unity is thereby lost in the jostle for one up-manship, which is based on fanning the ego for domination over needless competition. Bio-dynamic agriculture offers a positive solution to reverse this trend, regain lost ground and put one back on course for a positive evolution. Industrialized or conventional agriculture does create temporary surpluses as experienced by the introduction of chemical fertilizers, pesticides etc. But at what cost? These are all tools of long term destruction. The analogy to an alcoholic is a truism, as the temporary gains, can only be maintained by continual increased quantities of even greater toxicity of chemical inputs. Is it preferably to have an artificial, temporary stimuli by a shot of whisky (which level is attained by continual increased quantities after one year of regular drinking and proportionate increases with time - as a balanced diet? The history of Darjeeling tea clearly substantiates this fact, where the crop has been declining over the past three decades in spite of pouring lethal doses of chemicals as a magical cure all. After the initial euphoria of mega crop increases, the rapid decline in production, the devastation caused by thoughtless mono-cultural tea planting (coupled with weedicide applications), the dwindling productivity, the disruption of social unity has reduced this magical area to a state of utter chaos, hopelessness and the brink of disintegration. At Makaibari, this trend has not only been halted, but reversed by bio-dynamic practices. Bio-dynamic practices awaken one to realize that agricultural practices are determined by the evolution of the earth.
The earth is a cosmic creation-hence our thinking is determined by natural forced and not the machines of industry, emanating from our thoughts. We have the freedom to create machines-but all flora and vegetation grow by natural laws-stemming from the cosmos. All industrial production is independent of time, of any natural rhythm, of day or night, of seasons, whereas all agriculture is dependent on the rhythms of nature.
We at Darjeeling cannot grow first flush teas in the dormant cold weather. We have to wait for increased day lengths, climbing temperatures and gentle spring rains for the gathering of this vintage. Similarly we cannot expect to make second flush muscatels at autumn or the first flush - as a whole new set of natural forces are at play during these periods. (Understanding these forces and working in harmony with them, evolves and ultimately fulfils all concerned with it)ﾊ Natural forces are holistic in its production and reproduction, whereas machines are not. A tea bush yields tea leaves and tea seeds for replacement when desired. A machine wears out and has to be replaced. This is the fundamental difference between social order founded on dead thinking and one that stems from natural laws. In essence stress on economic and its offshoot greed have shifted our focus from living in a social order guided by sustainable natural forces to a confusing, destructive social scenario dictated by machines from our dead thinking.
The process at MB has been initiated by an honest attempt to liberate ourselves from the bondage's of industrialization. We have endeavored to translate the transform, the truth on the land, its environment and air.
We have limited water resources, we revere and preserve it by copious mulching.The mulch takes the impact of the monsoonal rains preventing erosion and top soil loss.It stymies weed growth but does not kill it.In its decay and decomposition it creates hospitable conditions for micro-organisms which in turn translates to soil health and fertility & of course healthy soil is healthy mankind.
Respecting all life forms, and treating the monocultural tea as a part of an evolutionary system (and not as a focal point of income) helps obviate false egoism.The focus is on the sub-tropical rain forests and its continual upkeep and improvement. The forests occupy twice the tea area. The tea is broken down in five more stages, of permanent and temporary legumes, alternative vegetation and trees (medicinal and fruit) the recycling of the pruned tea litter itself and the ground vegetation-interspersed with a variety of clover (indigenous and imported). The mulch generated from this floral diversity, has created a soil-which is truly unique. The icing in the cake is man's positive contribution. All villages are enthusiastically involved in the creation of Bio-dynamic compost from animal wastes-primarily cows. This living organism sustains the tea and vegetable gardens of the estate.
This awareness has been created by intense interaction - between individuals, groups and villages over a period of time. Man, can be a creator and destroyer with equal intensity. Bio-dynamics evolves man to be the medium to transform the dead earth-utilising the cosmic forces in a harmonious and tranquil way. It is not domination- for domination translates to creating self-imposed shackles. It is mutually beneficial upliftment resulting from positive interaction that liberates. In the ultimate analysis the creature that wins against the environment ultimately destroys itself.
 Mr. H. Koeps ＆ Mr. M. Klent-Tomorrow's Agriculture.
 J. Smillie-Soul of soil
 Rodolf Steiner- Occult Science