If You Lose Touch With Nature, You Lose Touch With Humanity

April 4, 1975

By chance it happened that one lived alone for some months in a small dilapidated house, high in the mountains, far from other houses. There were lots of trees, and as it was spring there was perfume in the air. The solitude was of the mountains and of the beauty of the red earth. The towering peaks were covered with snow, and some of the trees were in bloom. One lived alone amidst this splendour. The forest was nearby, with deer, an occasional bear and those big monkeys with black faces and long tails. Of course, there were serpents too. In deep solitude, in strange ways, one was related to them all. One could not hurt a thing, even that white daisy on the path. In that relationship, the space between you and them did not exist; it was not contrived; it was not an intellectual or an emotional conviction that brought this about, but simply it was so.

A group of those large monkeys would come around, especially in the evenings; a few on the ground but most of them sitting in the trees quietly watching. Surprisingly they were still; occasionally there would be a scratch or two, and we would watch each other. They would come every evening now, neither too close nor too high among the trees, and we would be silently aware of each other. We had become quite good friends, but they didn’t want to encroach upon one’s solitude. Walking one afternoon in the forest, one came suddenly upon them in an open space. There must have been well over thirty of them, young and old, sitting among the trees around the open space, absolutely silent and still. One could have touched them; there was no fear in them, and sitting on the ground we watched each other until the sun went behind the peaks.

If you lose touch with nature, you lose touch with humanity. If there is no relationship with nature you become a killer; then you kill baby seals, whales, dolphins and man, either for gain, for sport, for food or for knowledge. Then nature is frightened of you, withdrawing its beauty. You may take long walks in the woods or camp in lovely places, but you are a killer and so lose their friendship. You are probably not related to anything, to your wife or husband; you are much too busy gaining and losing, with your own private thoughts, pleasures and pains. You live in your own dark isolation, and the escape from it is further darkness. Your interest is in a short survival, mindless, easygoing or violent. And thousands die of hunger or are butchered because of your irresponsibility. You leave the ordering of the world to the lying corrupt politician, to the intellectuals, to the experts. Because you have no integrity, you build a society that is immoral, dishonest, a society based on utter selfishness. And then you escape from all this, for which you alone are responsible, to the beaches, the woods, or carry a gun for ‘sport’.

You may know all this, but knowledge does not bring about transformation in you. You have to act integrally as a total human being. Then when you have this sense of the whole, you will be related to the universe.