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Amritaculture: Planting the Seeds of Amma’s Teachings Through Sustainable Gardening

Trellis garden in the forest

Trellis garden in the forest

"In the old days, there was no particular need for environmental preservation because protecting Nature was part of worshipping God and life itself. More than remembering “God,” the people used to love and serve Nature and society. They saw the Creator through the creation. They loved, worshipped and protected Nature as the visible form of God.” - Amma

Amritaculture Sustainable Gardening is a GreenFriends initiative. It brings together all the principles of Sustainable Farming and combines it with Amma’s Teachings. Amma has been asking us to grow vegetables for several years now. So, a few of us got together to make it easier for devotees to learn how to garden. We are an international team of devotees coming together to share our gardening experiences, Amma stories and our love for nature. We have online classes, monthly live Q&A sessions, as well as a blog with stories and articles from gardening devotees all over the world. We want to invite you to join us in expanding our understanding about how to grow food for ourselves and our communities. We asked Lola to share how she got started gardening with Amma to give you a taste of what Amritaculture gardening is all about:

Amma embraces a tree
My name is Lola and I have been living in Amritapuri India for most of my adult life. My story begins 20 years ago when Amma began giving me seeds. I needed a place to plant them, but there was no land available, So, my first garden was on a blue table next to the café.  I just had little pots and I put the seeds in the pots. I actually didn’t have many of the tools here that one would need to garden. The biggest thing that I didn’t have was dirt.

So, I decided to ask Amma what to do.  It was Devi Bhava and Amma was giving darshan in the big Temple. I went to Her and said, “Amma, I have no dirt to plant the seeds you have given me.” She looked deep into my eyes and she said, “Use the dirt of your mind, you have so much of it.” Amma! I went away feeling very dejected and sad. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of, "How can I move forward?"

In those days there was no internet (in the ashram), no email, no online classes. But, by Amma’s grace someone offered me a book on organic gardening. I began to read it. Soon, I saw there was a whole other world and a way to practice Amma’s teachings. That’s how I began. I used the dirt of my mind and that dirt became the soil for Amma to plant her seeds into.

It has been a great journey with Amma guiding me all along the way. We have a plot of land now to grow all the plants Amma has suggested we grow. We call it the Rudraksha Farm. We have vegetables, flowers, trees, and yes, so many weeds. We love them all. Amma taught us to restore biodiversity to the land. It is this diversity, we have discovered, that keeps nature in balance.

Lola in the garden
Lola in the garden

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Village women
Photo: © Jose Aragones

Now we realize that most of the organic gardening practices we use today are based on the principles and practices from ancient India. India has over 4000 years of sustainable agriculture that Amma is reawakening. The organic gardening movement has its roots in the villages of India. Amma is having us look at village life with new eyes and an open heart. Amma grew up in a village and so much of Her teachings are from Her mother and the way of life in the village

Village life is based on ancient texts like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These primarily oral traditions are from the Vedas. People incorporated these fundamental teachings in the very fabric of their daily life. One example is how the spirit of giving was central to the way people interacted. Amma’s mother would always give buttermilk to people passing by and prepare food for guests before they even arrived. The guest is seen as God in the Indian Village. People always wanted to give. Amma said the other day that they would always give more than they intended. Better to give too much than too little. That was their attitude. Amma sees the whole world like a village. She is the central flame and light of the world village. She is giving us so much all the time. She wants us to give, too.

Amma wants us to share in the abundance of giving from the heart. We can just read Amma’s words in a book, but to actually then plant those seeds, and put that forward, that is the real meditation, the practice and the real giving. The most important thing is Amma’s teachings and how we can implement those teachings both physically and practically.

Wheelbarrow filled with soil
A wheelbarrow filled with rich soil

A garden is one of the best places to bring life to Amma’s words. Amma says, "Nature, now more than ever, needs our love and care."

Planting seeds in a garden is a way of joining Nature’s bounty. When we regenerate dirt back into soil, we are giving Mother Earth a great gift of healing and renewal. Once barren places can be restored to abundant food forests.

After 20 years of gardening with Amma and with the help of hundreds of devotees, we went from a few pots to a 1.5-acre farm. There are so many plants, birds, animals, bugs and even ponds. Our garden is full of life. The Rudraksha Farm is truly Mother’s garden. This garden is a living and breathing example of Amma’s love and reverence for nature.

Join us now in the world of Amritaculture cultivating love, compassion, patience and beauty. Together we can bring all of these values and understanding into one, into the garden. We have three classes open for enrollment. We have set up a team of gardeners to answer all your questions and to hear your stories too. Just go to Amrita Virtual Academy and click on gardening to find out how you can start connecting with Amma and the Earth in your garden today.

The following are four easy ways you can connect with us.

Questions or Contributions: If you have any questions or if you are an experienced gardener and want to make a contribution to Amritaculture such as teaching a workshop, writing a article, Blog or a Vlog, you can email us at the following address: amritaculture@amritavirtualacademy.com

Courses and workshops: To see our current courses, go to Amrita Virtual Academy gardening

YouTube: To see our Live Question and Answer Session Recordings go to the Amrita Virtual Academy YouTube Channel

Blog: To see our blog posts go the Amrita Virtual Academy blog

Read about the Wonders of Nature in the Q3 2021 newsletter >>

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