Students at the Amritapuri Campus recently had a chance to participate in a unique activity with their Chancellor Amma. Huge bundles of stalk, harvested from the ashram rice fields, were brought to the ashram. The stalk bundles were threshed by the ashram residents, who separated the grain from the chaff. One evening, when Amma joined in, many others did too, including students who live in the hostels on the ashram premises. Later, they asked her about the significance of the activity.
Amma took the opportunity to tell students about the importance of agriculture. “Try to grow your own vegetables which are not loaded with harmful chemicals,” she said, and added that the youth in the West are very quick to respond to such advice from Amma. Amma also recounted to them her childhood memories of communing with nature. Most children who grow up in cities these days have no chance to similarly experience the manifold joys that nature offers us. (read complete story)
The students have begun to implement their Chancellor’s advice. Within one week they had organized a 3-day workshop on organic farming at the university. They had invited Mr. Peter Ash, a professional farmer from the US then visiting the ashram, to offer theoretical and practical sessions to 90+ students. Basic dos and don’ts including how to make compost, how to distinguish between clay and good soil, etc. were learned. (see news)
A few days prior to the workshop, and after Amma had spoken to them, many of the students had also watched a screening at the university of Al Gore’s award-winning documentary film — An Inconvenient Truth. They had participated in a lecture by Dr. Diana Wais, who had been involved with the making of this film, and had been on a visit to the ashram at the time. (see news)
There is growing awareness all over the world today about the damage mankind has inflicted on nature. As a result, people are starting to adopt less wasteful ways of living and want to do something for the environment. The students at Amrita are no exception. With their new-found knowledge of organic farming, they are sure to soon start growing organic vegetables, thus doing exactly what their Chancellor advised them to do.
January 21, 2009