I have visited Australia a number of times over the past few years teaching yoga and Ayurveda to share the knowledge and wisdom from India with lots of students.
After a while I realised that Australia has its own ancient wisdom so this time I decided to delve deeper. Scratching beneath the surface I struck treasure—the ancient gems of wisdom from the golden heart of Australia.
My first encounter was with Uncle Max. An Aboriginal Elder from New South Wales and author of the book ‘My People’s Dreaming’. I asked him about the importance of food and he replied, ‘First you have to know where it comes from’.
‘People think it comes from the supermarket even a warehouse. You have to take people to the land to see a growing as it actually comes from the Mother, the Earth’.
So far, this was very similar to the thoughts behind Ayurveda and yoga philosophy. It was very reassuring to hear the same truth from a totally separate culture and continent.
Then he continued with a wry knowing smile. ‘You get a can of beans but where does the tin come from? Again we might think it comes from the factory or the iron foundry’.
‘No! He says this is also from the Earth! The tin can comes from the mother too. You have to be aware of that and also grateful.’
‘This is the difference between Western culture and all others. Since the beginning of time all people respected the Earth. They knew that we came from it and we will crumble back into it. We just borrow this body and we are born from the Earth. She is a mother and she wants us to be happy. She gives us food, clothing, houses, everything we need.’
‘Even the motor car when does it come from?’ Uncle Max looks at me again with his deep eyes and there is a knowing pause.
‘The Mother!’ He laughs. ‘The metal, the plastic, the oil, the petrol it all comes from the Mother. It is a gift from her. The ingenuity that created it comes from our minds which also born from the Earth.’
‘This is the difference—a wise person knows it is all a gift. We don’t own any of it forever, it will all go back to the Earth. The car will rust, the rubber will crumble even the plastic will turn to dust eventually.
The main problem today is not what we do, it is what we think. At the moment it is like living in a house where there is no respect for the mother or father. The children just take without asking, there is no gratitude. Will this be a happy home? NO!
‘It may be a rich home with swimming pool, big gardens, everything you can imagine. But everyone in the house will be so unhappy. The mother will cry out in pain!
Imagine though the house where there is love. The children are so grateful and feel so safe in their parents home. It could be the same house next door or a simple hut or dwelling. This is a happy home.
This is a root cause of our environmental challenges today. We need to take practical steps but more importantly is how we think. In ancient Australia the people did change the land. It was cultivated, managed it was burnt. But because we respected the Earth as mother she gave more bountifully. She whispered into our ears be generous, be kind and we were.
Mother wants us to be happy in our cities with our cars and electronic devices but we are still her children. What we learned over thousands of years could benefit our country and world today.
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