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Kabir's (an AYUDH member) Journey with GreenFriends and the Bees

Mulching and a cover crop

I started coming to Amma’s Ashram in San Ramon, California in 2017, during Amma’s summer tour. I returned in 2018 as a Karma Yogi**, and in 2019 my family moved to a town near the ashram. During Amma’s absence, I was drawn to the ashram to do seva (selfless service) and learn the Vedic sciences from a hands-on, practical approach. In 2020, I got involved with GreenFriends, Amma’s environmental sustainability initiatives. I found it to be very therapeutic as well as a way to offset my carbon footprint..

GreenFriends Farm at MA Center San Ramon is one of the ashram’s many GreenFriends projects, which also include recycling, waste reduction, vegetable gardening, ecosystem habitat protection, solar energy and more. GreenFriends Farm (GFF) comprises three main orchards, the Maha Ganapati, the Lotus, and the Adi. The largest orchard is the Maha Ganapati. My first seva was to do tree maintenance to help conserve water for the trees during the California drought. This included mulching, and planting cover crops. Additionally the GFF crew worked on drilling holes to put in irrigation stakes so that the water from the drip system would go directly to the roots and stay in the soil for longer periods of time. .

Bees swarm arround the queen
Bees swarm arround the queen
My next seva was beekeeping which turned out to be an especially fascinating experience. I first got interested in bees years ago, after hearing about colony collapse disorder (CCD) which causes bee populations to mysteriously decline. However, I had never had an opportunity to learn about it. When someone mentioned to me that there is a GFF beekeeping team consisting of our bee experts, Bill and Dan, and GFF volunteers Jarret, Jasmin and Muneebah, I jumped at the opportunity to join.

Despite getting stung multiple times, joining the bee keeping team has been one of the best life choices I have made. There are so many lessons to learn from the bees, both spiritual and material. I look at the beehive as a fully optimized "system", as each type of bee carries out its particular function to ensure that the hive functions properly. Each bee is totally egoless and carries out its duties without question. One of the tasks in beekeeping is called queen-spotting, in which we have to find the queen amongst the thousands of bees. Oftentimes seeing the queen reminded me of seeing Amma, surrounded by hundreds of people, all clamoring for her attention.

One of the best parts of the GFF experience is learning from people who are passionate about the environment and who understand nature on a spiritual level. I have been mentored by people on the GFF teams who have been farmers in their native countries or localities, and bring their skills to the ashram. Each day at GFF felt like an adventure and many of the lessons that I learned at the ashram I brought home to apply to daily life. I learned how to properly care for houseplants, planted food for the bees in my home garden, and became more aware of the origins of the food on my plate. Additionally, I became more attuned to local bee populations and often find myself spotting bees in places that I never would have expected. GreenFriends Farm SR has taught me many life long lessons that have enabled me to connect to nature in a way that I had not before. I hope to learn more about the earth and its conservation by continuing my GreenFriends journey

Bill and Dan work with a hive
Bill and Dan work with a hive

One of the best parts of the GFF experience is learning from people who are passionate about the environment and who understand nature on a spiritual level. I have been mentored by people on the GFF teams who have been farmers in their native countries or localities, and bring their skills to the ashram.

Each day at GFF felt like an adventure and many of the lessons that I learned at the ashram I brought home to apply to daily life. I learned how to properly care for houseplants, planted food for the bees in my home garden, and became more aware of the origins of the food on my plate. Additionally, I became more attuned to local bee populations and often find myself spotting bees in places that I never would have expected.

GreenFriends Farm SR has taught me many life long lessons that have enabled me to connect to nature in a way that I had not before. I hope to learn more about the earth and its conservation by continuing my GreenFriends journey.

- Kabir - AYUDH member

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** - The Karma Yoga program at a few of Amma’s North American Centers is a program in which interested devotees can stay at the ashram for a limited period of time (from between 2 weeks to 2 months) and perform selfless service as their main sadhana focus. They volunteer each day in one of the areas of the ashram needing help or with one of the charitable programs. A Karma Yogi is a devotee who is participating in that program. Of course everyone who stays at the ashram as a guest or longer term participates in seva (selfless service) which is also called karma yoga.

For more information on the Karma Yoga Program go to:

MAC San Ramon: https://amma.org/groups/north-america/ma-center-san-ramon/guides/karma-yoga-program

MAC Chicago: https://amma.org/groups/north-america/ma-center-chicago/karma-yoga-program-ma-center-chicago

Apple tree at GreenFriends Farm

Read about Embracing the Trees in the Q3 2021 newsletter >>

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For more information, e-mail info@greenfriendsna.org