A FESTIVAL OF ANTHROPOSOPHY, OCT/NOV 2014
“THE MYSTERY OF THE ETHERIC”
Report by Aban Bana
The second Festival of Anthroposophy, was organised by the “Anthroposophical Society in India” and hosted by “Friends of Camphill India”. The venue was the Camphill village in Bannerghatta, Bangalore, from October 31 to November 2, 2014. This year the theme was “The Mystery of the Etheric”. The entire festival was prepared by the Bangalore Team, comprising of the Camphill members, the Bangalore Steiner School, the various Bangalore Kindergartens and friends, and coordinated skillfully by Francis and Anantha Aradhya and their children Arun, Padma and Uma. Many of the participants stayed at the venue. Others stayed with families in Bangalore and commuted.
The main lectures and activities took place in the open ground, which was arranged to accommodate 250 people comfortably, while the various courses were held in the rooms of the Camphill village. The delicious, organic-vegetarian meals were served in the open and a most ingenuous pathway was made for the dishwashing ceremony! All in all, the smooth-flowing manner in which the entire three days passed was remarkable.
The Festival began with a cultural programme and the lighting of the ceremonial lamps. There was a play, “The Waters of Life” performed by the Bangalore Steiner School children, followed by a verse “Stars once spake to Man” of Dr Rudolf Steiner, presented in Eurythmy, and a welcome address by Francis. Each keynote lecture in the Festival began with Eurythmy to verses in Sanskrit from the ancient scriptures of India. The Eurythmy was presented by Dilnawaz, with the accompanying speech formation by Aban. In the evening, the Friends of Camphill India group and the BSS performed a shadow play “The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lilly” with speech and music. It was awe-inspiring!
Each day had one or two key-note lectures which always addressed the Festival theme, viewing it from different perspectives. The key-note speakers were Jean-Michel Florin, one of the leaders of the section for agriculture at the Goetheanum, Dornach; Dr Simon Bednarek, a medical doctor from Australia; Anandhi and Seshadri, Waldorf teachers from Hyderabad and Mumbai respectively; and Dilnawaz, curative Eurythmist from Mumbai. Each one of the lectures was thought-provoking and unique, and ended with a moment of silence during which the members of the audience had time to write a poem which captured the essence of what they had just heard. Some of the poems were quite moving.
Between the lectures, participants could choose from a variety of courses like folk-dancing, organic cooking, compost-making, Eurythmy, singing, pottery, painting, games, etc. These courses were very well received by one and all. The weather also cooperated and we had pleasant, sunny days throughout!
The Festival ended with thanks-giving to all those who had worked so hard to create this amazing weekend of joy and togetherness. Old friends met, new friends were made, ideas exchanged, questions answered, new questions arose, new doors opened. Anthroposophy and Dr Rudolf Steiner came closer to the participants than ever before. One could perceive the many possibilities of Anthroposophy, which transforms the earth and manifests itself in our every-day life. Thank you, Rudolf Steiner, for this possibility!
A FESTIVAL OF ANTHROPOSOPHY, OCTOBER 2013
“THE HEALING IMPULSE OF ANTHROPOSOPHY IN INDIA”
– report by Aban Bana
The city of Hyderabad in India has always been active in holding events. It has four Waldorf Schools and many Anthroposophical institutions. The Anthroposophical Society in India organised ,and Sloka Waldorf school hosted ,a three-day Festival of Anthroposophy in October 2013, which had the theme “The Healing Impulse of Anthroposophy in India”.
About 150 people from India and abroad participated in the Festival. Although there was a great deal of unseasonal rain and cold, due to the cyclone on the east coast of India, the entire mood at the Festival was warm and sunny throughout.
The Festival was inaugurated with the traditional lighting of lamps and singing of Vedic hymns, followed by music, dance and Eurythmy presentations by Waldorf school children.
The speakers at the Festival, representing the different fields of Anthroposophy, gave very inspiring talks, focusing on the healing impulse of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy within the society in our times. Participants had the opportunity to attend the many and varied artistic activities between the talks.
There were cultural performances by the two Camphill Villages. One of them was a unique collaboration of the Camphill community in Bangalore with the local Steiner School to create a splendid shadow play.
The seven students of the newly founded Bio Dynamic Agriculture College in Tamil Nadu, together with their teacher, made an imaginative representation of planets and Zodiac signs to create the planting calendar for the month of November.
On the last day there was a plenum to discuss future events within the Anthroposophical movement in India. One important feature is that there is very good communication and networking between the various Anthroposophical institutions within the country. The Festival ended with the Foundation Stone Meditation of Rudolf Steiner.
The lecture cycle “Occult Physiology” held in 1911, Rudolf Steiner had shown how spiritual science could give a new insight into the inner human organism. Then at Easter 1920, Steiner gave the first medical lecture course for doctors, pharmacists and medical students at the Goetheanum in Dornach. This was the foundation of a medical science based on Anthroposophy. Steiner developed a number of new remedies, for example the Iscador therapy for cancer, using the mistletoe plant as the basic substance. In 1921 the Clinical-Therapeutical Institute was founded in Arlesheim, near Dornach, Switzerland. This hospital is also known as Ita-Wegman Clinic, in remembrance of the Dutch lady-doctor Ita Wegman, who worked with Rudolf Steiner in this field. Together they wrote the book, “Fundamentals of Therapy” which contains a comprehensive summary of this medical knowledge. Gradually laboratories were founded to supply medicines, the most well known being Weleda, also in Arlesheim. There is now the Lukas Clinic, in for Cancer Research nearby, and the adjoining laboratory Hiscia for Iscador preparations.
Anthroposophical Medicine also gave rise to new forms of healing, the most important being Curative Eurythmy, the therapeutical use of movements based on the elements of speech, vowels and consonants. The curative eurythmist has to undergo a specialised training and works together with the doctor. Other therapies used within Anthroposophical medicine are painting, sculpture, music, speech formation.
Chennai in Tamil Nadu, South India, now has a new impulse in the form of the first Anthroposophical Clinic in India. The personality who is behind this enterprise is Dr Veera Panch. Her devotion and meticulous work in the direction of Anthroposophical medicine has activated her to co-organise seminars and conferences, together with her colleagues, including the IPMT under the guidance of Dr Michaela Gloeckler.
The inauguration of Malli Mandala (pure comprehension) Anthroposophical Clinic for health and well-being was on the 12th of June 2013. In the presence of Indian Anthroposophists and well-wishers, the function began with an invocation to the Divine Beings, who were very much part of this initiative.
This clinic holds a very special place also in the social life of the people of Chennai. Dr Veera offers an open house, where anyone can have an entry to the clinic. Anyone tired from the scorching heat of south India can simply walk into the clinic, drink water, make some tea, read from the small collection of Anthroposophical literature, play on the musical instruments laid out like lyre, xylophone, flutes, etc. or just rest in the coolness of the rooms, beautifully adorned with flowers and wall-paintings.
As for the patients, apart from medical treatment they are offered therapies like music, painting and basic exercises in hygienic Eurythmy which Dr Veera and her team have been practicing for many years with the Indian Eurythmy therapist Dilnawaz Bana.
Dr Veera’s hospitality extends also to our friends abroad. As the Indian saying goes: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the whole world is but one family). So welcome one and all who are visiting India to Malli Mandala in Chennai!
~ Dilnawaz Bana
After the First World War, when the world was thrown into despairing darkness, there shone a ray of light, showing the way to experience the human being on a new and different level. A group of doctors in Central Europe assembled together and requested Dr. Rudolf Steiner to help them understand the Human Being in relation to health and illness, according to the higher cosmic laws, which sustain life on earth. On the basis of this question arose Anthroposophically oriented medicine to experience the human being in totality with all the forces in and around us.
Dr. Steiner’s medicinal view, which he presented to the doctors, is holistic and “Goethean” in its approach. Each part of the human being is related to the whole and the whole represented in every part of the organism. The forces of metamorphosis activate the organism and give each individual his or her own uniqueness of personality. Therefore each and every event in the life of a person is also a part in the wholeness of one’s destiny and connected most intrinsically and intimately with the organism. This makes each individual different.
Paracelsus, an initiate and physician of 15th century Europe, had observed this phenomena when he stated that “Nature is a spread out human beingand the human being is condensed nature”. He further adds “I have looked at them all, stones, plants and animals and they appear to be like the letters of the alphabet scattered on the pages of nature, while the human being is the complete and living word”. The whole world of nature reflects and unfolds in the individual, as nature is an infinitely differentiated human being. So in nature as also in humans, one sidedness means getting separated from the whole like a fall out of paradise. With the fall come illnesses as tipping over of a balance. Thus restoring balance, making whole or healing, happens on a higher level, on a new consciousness. The effort to overcome being ill brings a sense of inner freedom. “Healing” is answerable only after the person becomes ill because illness itself creates in oneself a new sense of awareness and raises one’s consciousness to face a different and more meaningful life style than what one had before. It is a rite of initiation into becoming whole and is supported by the efforts of the patient into receiving nature-oriented treatment which all organisms deserve.
Unfortunately, chemically based, hard-drug oriented medicine can rob the person of precious freedom to develop further and in making the effort of working on one’s self to become whole again. This is the apth of knowledge, which the illness offers. Becoming healthy takes a greater priority than remaining placid, since it is a process, which assimilates a new dimension in one’s personality, enriching one’s life. The whole procedure is celebrating life in its fullest. This spiritual entry into the doors of perception creates a sense of responsibility also towards one’s outer environment. The “inner doctor” activates the outer doctor. This in turn stimulates awe, respect and reverence, the forces of which work on the immune system. Here Dr. Steiner talks about moral forces, which facilitate the healthy working of the physical body. The forces of love, devotion, hope, all work on the different processes of the physical body.
Dr. Steiner raises medicine to a higher realm of moral responsibility as a process of purification not only of physical but of moral toxins as well, creating inner strength, which helps to restore a new balance. On the basis of such spiritual/practical insight into the depths of the problems confronting an individual, one can treat any tropical illness so as to cleanse out the entire system and to guard it from danger of relapse. Balance needs polarity, in order to create a center. Dr. Steiner speaks about the human system as a means of transforming the outer world and making it one’s own. This could lead to the fact that even a small leaf of salad can turn lethal for the organism, if the person who eats it is not able to make it “one’s own”. Transforming is a process of alchemy like digestion, not just for food but for sense impressions as well. This ability to transform is an activity of the immune system. For example, a tired, a traumatic or a dissipating situation, which a person is not able to work through, makes one susceptible to acute or chronic illnesses. That is why such an inner process of alchemy is also necessary for new impressions during travels, which one confronts already before departure to a different country. Such a spectrum of interaction of the environment has to be transformed in order to maintain a healthy balance of the body, mind and soul. If this balance is disturbed, and if the alchemical transformation in the person does not take place, then one becomes susceptible to all kinds of diseases, from malaria to dengue and God knows what else. Then is the time when one needs a holistic approach to eradicate the disease.
Since time immemorial, the “trinity based approach” has been implemented in a number of traditional forms of medicine. Be it Ayurveda, with the threefold aspect of Kafa, Pita and Vata, or the Paracelsian trinity of Salt, Mercury and Sulfur, humanity has experienced to a certain extent the threefold based treatment on all levels, from the physical to the spiritual.
The Anthroposophical approach distinguishes three systems, which can be characterized by a variety of names:
The sensory-nervous system, which is primarily located in the head, relates to thinking
The rhythmical system, primarily located in the region of the chest, relates to feeling
The metabolic-limb system, which is located in the limbs and digestive organs, relates to the will or the action aspect of our personality
This threefold system is not only interconnected, but is constantly interacting in a healthy person. The polar opposite systems are a landscape of the person; winter, relating to the head pole of the sensory-nervous system and summer, relating to the limb pole of the digestive-metabolic system. Both these systems should communicate with each other in the rhythmical system of the heart region. Here the balance is maintained.
These two systems are not only polar opposites, like the summer and winter poles of the earth, but one system creates, the other destroys. The spring and autumn part of nature could be likened to the rhythmical system, which in turn intermediates between warmth and coolness, harmonizing the destructive effects of one and the creative effects of the other. Here lies the strength of metabolism, anabolism and catabolism.
Both the warmth and the cooling systems are of utmost importance to regulate the bodily temperature. In case the warmth pole of the metabolic system overlaps or dominates or suppresses, the cool pole of the sensory-nervous system or vice versa, then the entire system is thrown off balance. This may lead either to inflammatory or to hardening illnesses and problems, not only of the body but of the mind as well. For instance, migraine is warmth on the false side of the body.
According to Dr. Steiner, illness is actually a positive force working on the wrong level, when the rhythmical system does not intermediate properly and disengages itself, leading to “either this or that”. This could mean that the rhythmical system is weak in character and that the relationship between the polarities is not properly established.
With the threefold nature of the person, Dr. Steiner brings into awareness yet a fourfold principal, relating to the four main elements of earth, water, air and fire, with their respective temperaments and constitutions.
The physical body, with earth as its element, relates to the mineral kingdom
The etheric or life body, with water as its element, relates to the plant kingdom
The astral body, with air as its element, relates to the animal kingdom
The Ego organization or the consciousness of the Self, with fire as its element, relates to the Spirit in the Human Being.
These four systems intermingle with each other, one dominating the other to create innumerable variations, physically, emotionally and mentally.
Dr. Steiner has listed further facets with intricate and detailed descriptions of the complex workings of the personality of the human being in relation to the universe. He has given step-by-step indications for diagnosis, along with extremely diverse treatments on all levels.
Dr. Steiner has written several books bringing more light to experience the human being. Secondary literature is also available. One such book by Dr. Steiner, in collaboration with Dr. Ita Wegman, a Dutch physician, is titled “Fundamentals of Therapy, an extension to the Art of Healing, extending Practical Medicine”. Yet another book by Dr. Steiner is “Guidelines to understanding healing based on Anthroposophical Spiritual Science” (28th August, 1923, GA 319). Most of the books are in original German, but almost all are translated into English and several other languages. All this literature could be had from: “Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Goetheanum, CH-4143 Dornach, Switzerland.
Yearly medicinal training in Hyderabad for medical students and medical practitioners is given by the Medical Section of the Goetheanum, under the excellent guidance of Dr. Michaela Gloeckler.
If one makes an effort to understand the intricate workings of the organism, then any proper treatment could be given by a responsible doctor for any illness – be it tropical or otherwise.
The holistic methods of supporting the patient’s health-giving forces are not only through diversely prepared, Anthroposophically oriented medication, but also through medicinal related movements of Curative Eurythmy. Included are also baths, massage and other relevant art therapies like painting, sculpture, speech formation and music therapy, which could be had at any Anthroposophically oriented clinic or institution. All this combined with proper nourishment and therapeutic life style of moderation signifies a complete sense of the term “holistic”.
This understanding, based on Spiritual Science, and the appropriate treatment for the patient, could be practiced by any system by a medical practitioner.
That is why Anthroposophical medicine is not considered as an “alternative” medicine. This special system of experiencing the microcosmic human being is complementary – extending one’s knowledge on a wider, deeper and higher plane of consciousness.
Anthroposophical Medicine is an enrichment to be able to diagnose thoroughly and treat the patient with further love and understanding. It is a patient oriented medicinal system, where one’s understanding is able to penetrate not only the physical but also the spiritual aspect of the person and in this the giving and receiving between the doctor and the patient is brought onto a perfect balance.
~ Dilnawaz Bana
Biodynamic Agriculture Training Programme (Anand Gujarat, Dec, 1 – 6, 2003.)
Ten years ago, Peter Proctor came for the very first time to India from his native New Zealand. Mr. T.G.K. Menon of Indore had invited Peter to share his knowledge and know-how of Bio-Dynamic (BD) Agriculture with farmers in India. In those days the only BD agriculture initiatives in India were the Maikaal Cotton Project near Mhow in Madhya Pradesh and the Makaibari Tea Estates near Darjeeling in West Bengal.
Peter began in real earnest with the task of spreading the message of BD agriculture throughout India. Together with his life-partner, Rachel Pomeroy, he spends a few months each year travelling thousands of miles in India, from Assam to Gujarat, from Tamil Nadu to Uttaranchal, giving courses, advising farmers, transforming hundreds of acres of poisoned land into healthy BD farms, enhancing the biodiversity of the flora and fauna in the process.
Peter’s enthusiasm is catching, his commitment complete. He helps Indian farmers realise that Dr. Rudolf Steiner’s Course in Agriculture that was held in Koberwitz, Germany, in 1924, contains the wisdom which was still alive in ancient India, and is now experiencing a revival.
Bhaikaka Krishi Kendra is a BD farm outside Anand city in the state of Gujarat. It is owned by Mr. Sarvdaman Patel, one of the most successful BD farmers in the country, and his wife Meena, a landscape artist of great talent.
Their farm is situated in the most verdant landscape, with a great variety of exotic birds and small animals everywhere. The farm has 40 milch cows. The great variety of fruit, vegetables, flowers, timber trees and bamboo speak for the good work that is done here. On this farm, Peter and Rachel gave a week-long biodynamic training programme.
The coordinator of this training is the Biodynamic Association of India (BDAI) co-worker, Mrs. Kamini Sheth, a lovely American lady married to an Indian and speaking fluent Gujarati. They own a BD farm near Diu, a picturesque island off Gujarat’s Kathiawar peninsula.
The participants at the training course were not only agriculturists, but people from all walks of life. Some had never touched cow-dung before!
The day began before sunrise with a nature walk. Peter started the lessons with the day’s verse by Dr. Steiner. This was followed by Eurythmy with Dilnawaz Bana. Peter gave the main lectures, introducing BD Agriculture, assisted by Mr. Patel. Rachel spoke about Cosmic Rhythms and led the star-watching sessions every night before dinner.
The food served at the course was excellent BD quality, pure vegetarian and delicious, a great variety and a new surprise each day!
One important feature about this training course was that after each introductory talk, the participants did practical work like making a compost heap, creating new Cow Pat Pit, preparing liquid manure, tree-trunk pasting as well as burying cow horns to make the preparations. Everyone worked hard, even the elegant ladies in their flowing dresses and delicate footwear and the gentlemen in their city togs!
It is really amazing how much one can learn in less than a week. We are most grateful to Peter and Rachel for their untiring efforts in spreading the message of Bio-Dynamic Agriculture in India.
~ Report by Aban Bana.
G O E T H E A N O B S E R V A T I O N
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German philosopher, scientist, statesman, artist, poet, writer, playwright, in short, a universal genius.
Born: 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt/Main
Died: 22 March 1832 in Weimar
He devised the Evolutionary System of all Plant Developments, which he established in 1790 as the Metamorphosis of Plants.
All plant parts can be traced back to a single basic element, the leaf developing out of the node. The concept is of the Primeval Plant, (“Urpflanze” in German). The mature plant derives from a step by step transformation, and its diversity is explained by various modifications of the metamorphosis. No matter whether a plant brings forth shoots, flowers or fruits, it is always the same elements which fulfill the laws of nature in accordance with diverse purpose and with frequent changes of form. The very element that has extended from the stalk as a leaf and adopted a great variety of forms, contracts as the calyx, re-expands as the petals, and contracts into reproductive organs so as to expand for a last time as the fruit.
Nature study – Goethe’s observations
What is universal to every single plant? Here we come to the concept of the primeval plant (Urpflanze). In each case of plant observation, we find the following four characteristics:
1. The Law of Expansion and Contraction. This has to be arrived at by making very minute observation of the object, because each stage in the development of the plant is either a contraction or an expansion and it is important for the observer to know which is which.
2. Enhancement. This is the development in the form of sepals, petals or leaves at different levels.
3. Metamorphosis. For instance, when the petals of a flower wilt and fall off, the fruit begins to form, as if the flower would turn inside out to form the fruit.
4. Each part is the picture of the whole. For example, the shape of the individual leaf can often be similar to the shape of the whole tree.
In Goethean observation we prepare our thinking to assist our observation. “Our sense perception without thinking is blind”. Knowledge is perception combined with the concept. (Erkenntnis ist Wahrnehmung und Begriff). We exercise the strategy of empathy. What is intuition? I stand within the observed object – the object and the self/situation is one. Is there a way to read the book of nature, without instruments? How do we make our thinking more objective? Take one object in nature and observe it.
1. First of all, just look. Take the object as a given fact – PHYSICAL
2. Now bring in the rhythmical process in your observation: open your eyes and look intently at the object, then close your eyes and visualize it, again open your eyes and look, then close your eyes and visualize, open, close, open, close, there is a rhythmical process in your observation – ETHERIC
3. Now fix the image in your consciousness, as it is, without prejudice. Try to make a drawing of it out of your memory and then compare the drawing with the actual object. When you observe and draw an object in nature, your hand draws what your eye follows and you internalize the object – ASTRAL
4. Now you decide whether or not to let this image enter your heart, a responsible and conscious decision, an encounter. What is the result of this encounter (an inner encounter, an inner dialogue) – I/EGO/SELF
5. We prepare ourselves that this encounter really becomes a meeting of beings, that the object really speaks to us (subject) while we become silent, receptive and sensitive listeners – SPIRIT SELF
6. We realize that we can love everything which we understand – LIFE SPIRIT
7. Finally, we learn to live with the other and to serve, to give back in service – SPIRIT MAN
8. To delve still deeper in the object, we may now ask, how is the plant in relation (as an indicator) to the four elements. The plant can reveal its faculties, is it a “complete” plant with root, shoot, leaves, flowers, fruit, or is something missing?
9. What is the interaction between the earth and the sun, between the plant and the
10. Mineral, Plant, Animal, Human: what is specific for each?
Foundation of the Anthroposophical Society in India
October 21, 2011 was a special day. The Anthroposophical Society in India was founded in the city of Hyderabad, in the presence of Hans Mulder and many dear Anthroposophical friends from India and abroad. (A brief report of its preparation has appeared in “Anthroposophy Worldwide” of June 2011). The ceremony began with the entire group doing Eurythmy together. This was followed by the seven members affirming their commitment to their new task within the executive committee of the Society. The brief but profound ceremony ended with the recitation of the Foundation Stone Meditation.
The members of the Executive Committee of the newly founded Indian Country Society are:
Aban Bana, President (in India) and Country Representative
Nirmala Diaz, Vice President
Dr. Swapna Narendra, Treasurer
Samia Alikhan, Secretary
Jakes Jayakaran, Joint Secretary
Angelika Mandaikar, Executive Member
Francis Aradhya, Executive Member.
In India there are over a hundred active and dormant members, both individual as well as belonging to the three Branches: the Gateway Branch in Mumbai, the Rudolf Steiner Branch and the Mercury Branch in Hyderabad. In addition, there are eighteen members of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science.
This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Rudolf Steiner. Many are the changes which have occurred in the history of our world since the day Dr. Steiner was born on February 27, 1861. We do not need to delve into details of all that has happened during this time, but suffice us to say that the whole of humanity has undergone a significant development, resulting in an increased awareness of the world. That can be considered a truly positive form of globalisation in the spheres of spiritual striving and culture.
One of the most enduring expressions of this development is the Anthroposophical movement, which has now spread to all parts of the world and has touched the lives of countless people, uniting us in our quest for higher knowledge. Rudolf Steiner was born in the West, and was active in that part of the world all his life, but his Anthroposophy has become a global impulse, which can be understood and realised by all individuals, regardless of their religious, social or cultural background. It is a world view based upon the individuality of the Human Being.
When we consider the origin of modern natural science, we are aware that it is a product of western civilisation and thought, and yet there is hardly any country in the world today, which has not been influenced by modern science. If used in a reasonable manner, it can benefit humanity to a high degree, and bring about tremendous progress. However, being one-sided and limited within the physical-material aspect of the world, if not used with care it could degenerate rapidly into spheres of destruction.
Modern day Spiritual Science, as founded by Rudolf Steiner, penetrates into the realms of the sense-world, into the world of nature and the cosmos, and attempts to reach out to the Spirit which is active within it. This is the new path of initiation, which has captured the imagination of many people in India, people who are well acquainted with the ancient spirituality and esoteric knowledge of the land. It is indeed enlightening to read about Rudolf Steiner’s views on reincarnation and Karma, or the holy cow or the Bhagavad Gita! In India Rudolf Steiner is also known as a Modern Rishi (seer).
Much of what we have learnt about the spiritual worlds from Rudolf Steiner is similar to the wisdom found in ancient Indian scriptures. Yet it must be emphasised that the spiritual insights gained by Rudolf Steiner are a result of his own independent research which he has conducted consciously, by means of his extraordinary clairvoyance and his spiritual-scientific methods and precise thinking. It is by no means simply a revival of ancient texts for the modern world, as is sometimes assumed. Rudolf Steiner borrowed many terms from the ancient Sanskrit language, which he then replaced with German words in keeping with the modern human consciousness. The German language he used for Anthroposophy is similar to Sanskrit; both languages are capable of precisely expressing spiritual thoughts.
What is it in Anthroposophy that holds so much love and interest for people in India, a land which has nine world religions and innumerable spiritual streams? The answer is, the capacity of Anthroposophy to permeate various fields of everyday existence with spiritual insight. Whether it is Education, Agriculture, Curative Education, Social Therapy, Medicine, Architecture, Social Sciences or the Arts, Anthroposophy enlivens them all spiritually, and brings new light into their practical application for the benefit of humanity. In ancient India too, everyday life was imbued with spiritual knowledge, but today much of that has either been lost or fallen into decadence. With the practical application of Anthroposophy, one connects oneself with the earth and activates the will forces; an important aspect in India today.
The number of people active within the Anthroposophical movement in India, a land of one point three billion people (1.300.000.000!) is miniscule, but it is growing. There are seven Waldorf schools in the country, and over fifty schools which are Waldorf-oriented/interested. Then there are homes and institutions for the mentally challenged, Bio Dynamic farms involving hundreds of farmers, a committed group of doctors, psychologists and therapists working in the field of Anthroposophical medicine, as well as hygienic and curative Eurythmy. In each of these subjects there are regular training courses, seminars and workshops, which ensure positive growth. We are deeply grateful to Rudolf Steiner, that we are able to experience a new meaning in life.
~ ABAN BANA
Kashmir – A meeting of three cultures
Kashmir is the northernmost state of India, a state of breathtaking beauty with the high HimalayanMountains, gushing rivers and pristine lakes. The flora and fauna are of an alpine and temperate variety, very different from those found in the tropical plains of the country. Kashmir includes the regions of Ladakh in the east and Jammu in the south, which is why
the state has been given the official name of Jammu and Kashmir, or J&K for short. The capital city is Srinagar, situated on the picturesque Dal and NaginLakes with the river Jhelum flowing through.
Jammu is home to the Hindu Dogra hill tribes who speak Dogri and Hindi, whereas in Kashmir the majority of the population is Sunni Muslims, who speak Kashmiri and Urdu. Further to the east lies the region of Ladakh, where one can meet an ancient form of Tibetan Buddhism, with Tibetan and Ladakhi as the local languages. Thus the state of J&K is indeed a meeting of three cultures based upon the religions of Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism, with some of the holiest shrines of all three religions to be found in this remarkable state.
The people of Kashmir are noble, good hearted and generous, true to their Aryan heritage (Arya in Sanskrit means noble). They are well spoken and intelligent, as also gifted with their hands, making the most exquisite artifacts, jewellery, woolen cloth and clothing. Agriculture, horticulture and sheep/cattle herding are important activities. Fruit orchards and kitchen gardens provide for their daily meals and the endless paddy fields give the staple rice which is eaten twice a day. Kashmiri tea is unique. It is called “Kahva” and is brewed with cinnamon, saffron, rose petals and cardamom.
The state government seems to do a lot for the population of J&K; there are schools and hospitals and well constructed roads with good public transport in most places. The infrastructure is generally better than in some other states of India. There are aesthetically created Moghul gardens in most towns and cities and people are sensitive to cleanliness and beauty. Both men and women wear traditional clothes and the women do not cover their
To the west of J&K is Pakistan, to the north Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and to the east is Tibet/China, so it is clear to see that the state has a strategic position like no other in India. J&K has had a turbulent history and is considered to be disputed territory. Since 1989 there have been many insurgencies from the side of the militants. The ruling government has had to use a large army presence to maintain peace and order in the state. Militancy has decreased somewhat, but one cannot predict when it may flare up again.
In January 2007 I received a letter from a Kashmiri gentleman called Ghulam Mohamed Rather from Ganderbal district near Srinagar. He had been on a visit to Kolkata where he received the book “Vision and Action for Another World” edited by Ulrich Roesch. The
first article in the book has been written by me, followed by articles by others, mainly Anthroposophists. Mr. Rather sent letters to all the authors in this book, but only received a reply from me. Thus we entered into correspondence and I discovered that his main interests were Bio Dynamic Agriculture and Waldorf Education.
Mr. Rather has a large circle of friends and relatives and soon he had spread this information about Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy many others. People like Ghulam Hassan Rather (his cousin) principal and chairman of H.K.M.C.School in Ganderbal and Abdul Rehman of Public School Wakura expressed their wish for an introductory course in Waldorf Education. We also received a request from Mushtaq Ahmed who is the head of the NGO “J&K Development Action Group” for information about the Three Fold Social Order which seems
to find a resonance among his group.
With so much interest being shown, and so many people keen on receiving knowledge about Anthroposophy, my sister Dilnawaz and I decided to go to Kashmir in the middle of July to give the required courses. We were received with great warmth and we stayed
in the home of our host Gh. Moh. Rather and his wife and three grown up children in a lovely cottage in the village of Yarmuqam, overlooking fields and hills and forests and also with Mr. Ahmed Azizand his family.
We spent the next days giving courses in Waldorf Education, Eurythmy and Anthroposophy at the two schools mentioned earlier and at the NGO J&K DAG. The participants were all Kashmiris who spoke good English and Urdu (we speak Hindi, which is similar to
Urdu). There is tremendous potential here; the young adults who attended our courses, both men and women, are seeking new realms of thinking and knowledge and are very open to different ideas. The ensuing discussions we had were most inspiring. Really, we had not
expected such a positive response!
It is very important to continue the dialogue thus begun, and to ensure that this enthusiasm is met with the right understanding and cooperation from the side of Anthroposophy. These
remarkable people in Kashmir are glad to receive visitors who are also able to contribute and in return experience the excellent Kashmiri hospitality and way of life.
~ ABAN BANA