Monday, July 30, 2012

The Mahabharata (book 1.XCVIII)

Ganga was about half way through her eighth pregnancy. This was the last of the Vasus and her promise would finally be fulfilled, but rather than feeling relieved that it was almost over she felt uneasy instead. She decided that perhaps a walk in the countryside would help her clear her head.

After some time she came upon a farmhouse with a woman and boy sitting on front steps. They had a book open and didn't notice her. She hid behind a tree and continued watching.

"cha...rye..oat?" said the boy, looking up at the woman.

"chariot," she replied.

"What's a cha-ri-ot, Mama?"

"It's used by kings and warriors in battle. It's like our ox cart, except smaller and pulled by horses. It is usually very beautiful and shiny, and sometimes even embedded with jewels. One person commands the reins to steer the horses, while the other stands behind with a bow for attacking." as she spoke she motioned with her arms as if she were holding reins, then drawing a bow with an arrow and shooting.

Turning somber, she continued, "King Santanu hasn't been to the city to speak with the people and address their concerns in many years now, but the next time he does perhaps we can go and you can see him in his chariot."

"Oh, I would love that, Mama."

Ganga watched as they read together a bit more, then could see the boy was starting to get restless.

"Mama, can I play now?"

"Sure. You're doing really well with your reading and I'm very proud."

The boy hopped down from the steps and started running around in front of the house.

"Look how fast I can run Mama. I think I'm even faster than you now."

"Is that so?" said his mother, smiling, as she kicked off her chappals. "I think we'll have to see about that."

She jumped up and started chasing her son around the yard. He was giggling and screaming with delight as she feigned catching him during several instances. Finally, she scooped him up in her arms and hugged him tightly as she spun around. He too threw his little arms around her neck and hugged her back saying, "I love you Mama."

Ganga quietly left and returned to the castle reflecting on what she had seen.

A few months later Ganga gave birth, but on the day after, when the early morning arrived she followed a different course of action. Instead of going to the river alone, today she turned to Santanu and said, "Come with me."

Santanu pretended to be asleep and not hear her, but when she was at the door she said with authority, "Now!" to which he scurried out of bed and followed her.

They stood on the river bank together as she gathered her thoughts and then spoke. "During all of our years together we have done nothing but indulge ourselves in sensual pleasures while neglecting the kingdom and the people. We have even failed to produce an heir," she said while looking down at her sleeping son in her arms.

"As I look back, I am now sickened and disgusted by what we have done. What I have done. What you have allowed me to do."

She paused and looked at him for a response; he had none, so she continued. "So whether or not you decide to stop me from murdering our eighth son," as she motioned with her arms, "we are through."

Nooo!! Santanu felt his whole world crumble. He begged for forgiveness with his eyes, while reaching out to touch his wife’s shoulder. She pulled it away saying, "Don’t touch me!" then proceeded to walk into the water to drown her son.

Santanu fell to his hands and knees, but quickly realized there was still one thing in his life that could be salvaged, "Stop! Stop!"

He was weeping on the ground when Ganga came and stood before him. She shook her head and said, "Get up and be a man for God’s sake! Be a king!"

Santanu was startled by this new side of his wife, and got himself together and stood up. She then continued, "You have incredible talents and abilities that have all gone to waste during our years together. You are now going to put those talents to work and be the best king you can be."

Santanu's self-esteem was feeling a boost as she went on, "You are not only going to bring prosperity and happiness to your own people, but to people everywhere and be renowned throughout the world."

Santanu nodded in agreement as his life regained its purpose, but Ganga still was not finished, "As for our son, I will use my astral powers and take him to heaven with me and raise him there. He will have the best teachers in all three planes, to develop his mind, body and spirit to levels rarely seen on earth. I will teach him that life on earth is not about indulging in sensual pleasures as I had once thought, but about love. . . for your parents, your family, friends, neighbors and all the people of your kingdom. I will be the best. . . "

Ganga's emotions had been building throughout her speech, until her voice finally cracked. She looked down into the face of her son, and tears rolled down her cheeks as she said, "the best mother ever!"

Santanu watched as they dematerialized from view. He then focussed his attention on what she had commanded, for if there was any hope of ever winning her back, he would pursue it with every waking moment.


1. Derived from: Adi Parva, Section XCVIII, p. 210.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Founders on Agriculture (part 2)

This post continues from part 1 of this series. Here the Founders delve into the spiritual aspects of growing food and building a community.

Use prayer, meditation, and higher consciousness techniques to raise the yield and quality of your produce. The Findhorn community in Scotland is a prime example of this. For years, they have had the best produce in Europe, even though their soil and water are just average. This has been attributed to prayer and mindfulness, as well as harmonious and joyful living.

If you can, talk to the plants. Commune with them. Learn to telepath. It might be easier than you think.

Although you will not grow enough to feed the entire world, learn to be generous with your neighbors. Use protection to keep thieves at bay. Send love and compassion to those in the cities that are having trouble finding food, but set your intention to become psychologically invisible to anyone who would steal your crops or farm equipment. Erect an etheric dome of golden, loving light around your farm and those of your neighbors.

Have regular community meetings with everyone in the area. Propose a purpose of the meetings, such as, "We have gathered together to assist each other in a bountiful harvest, and to share ideas and insights on how to grow better crops."

Talk to the nature spirits. They will often know what kind of winter is coming, or whether a particularly exotic fruit will flourish or die in your temperate climate. Devote small portions of your farm to crops that your intellect might say you are crazy to plant, but for which your inner guidance says go ahead.

Balance your time between farming, family and spiritual practice. This is not easy, since farming can be quite labor intensive. Share your talents and abilities in a balanced way with others. You might not be the farmer, but you might have the money to buy the property. That might be your primary contribution to the community. Everyone has unique sets of talents and abilities. Encourage souls to express their latent, as well as obvious, abilities. Ask for what you truly need.

Visualize a community that has a balance of talents and abilities, so that you attract one person who is good at plumbing, another who has an electrical wiring background, another who can purchase and install solar panels, etc., instead of attracting 100 plumbers and no electricians.

You want a balance between highly grounded souls who work with their hands and the Earth, and those who are more visionary and mental. Both are needed for a successful enlightened farming community. You will need some administrators and those who are natural leaders, but you do not want everyone trying to be the boss.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Top 100: Prostrate Herbs (Wild Ginger)

This is the third of a series of posts that will cover the "Top 100" forest garden plants taken from volume 1 of the Edible Forest Gardens books. In this post we finish our list of prostrate herbs.


Wild Ginger - Asarum canadense
Hardiness zone 3, part to full shade, running mat former, 4-8 in. x indefinitely spreading, ground cover, edible root (image above)

Shuttleworth's Wild GingerAsarum shuttleworthii
Hardiness zone 6, part to full shade, evergreen clumping mat former, 4-8 in. x 14 in., ground cover

Wild ginger is one of our best native ground covers. These dense, low-growing species spread indefinitely. They make lovely ornamentals, especially evergreen species such as Shuttleworth's wild ginger. The roots of some species, including wild ginger, supposedly substitute for cultivated ginger. In our experience, the flavor is not nearly as pleasant as that of ginger—it has a bit of a medicinal flavor. Nevertheless, wild gingers are an outstanding choice for a native shade-loving ground cover.

Green and Gold - Chrysogonum virginianum
Hardiness zone 4, full sun to part shade, evergreen clumping mat former, 3-6 in. x 18in., specialist nectary, ground cover (image below)

Also known as golden star, this is another fantastic native ground cover. While not fast growing, this slow and steady mat former is a reliable low-maintenance species for sun to partial shade. It forms low, dense evergreen mats that are covered by beautiful yellow daisylike flowers in spring and early summer. Goldenstar flowers in the early part of the year—the crucial period when the forest garden needs beneficial insects but few other specialist nectaries are available. This trait, combined with green and gold's excellence as a ground cover, makes it a great choice for forest gardens.


Garden Strawberry - Fragaria X ananassa
Hardiness zone 3, full sun, evergreen running, 6-12 in. x indefinitely spreading, edible fruit, ground cover

Beach Strawberry - Fragaria chiloensis
Hardiness zone 7, full sun, evergreen running, 6 in. x indefinitely spreading, edible fruit, ground cover

Musk Strawberry - Fragaria moschata
Hardiness zone 5, full sun to part shade, evergreen running, 6-12 in. x indefinitely spreading, edible fruit, ground cover

Alpine Strawberry - Fragaria vesca alpina
Hardiness zone 3, full sun to part shade, evergreen clumping, 10 in. x 10 in., edible fruit

Wild Strawberry - Fragaria virginiana
Hardiness zone 4, full sun to part shade, evergreen running, 4-12 in. x indefinitely spreading, edible fruit, ground cover

As a group, strawberries generally make excellent edibles and only moderate ground covers. They are well suited to sunny pockets of production or to being interwoven with clumping species in polycultures. Most spread indefinitely as runners and are self-pollinating. A few varieties do require a pollinator.

Beach strawberry is native from California to Chile on the Pacific coast. Fruit quality is allegedly good but not great. Unlike most strawberries, it makes a dense, evergreen ground cover. Unfortunately, it is not very hardy. Musk strawberry is an underutilized species that, while not very productive, bears delicious fruit said to taste of raspberry and pineapple. Alpine strawberry is unusual in that it forms a single clump and does not spread. It is a great candidate for the edges of garden pathways because it ripens just a few small fruit at a time, but does so throughout the growing season. Thus if you walk by every day you can make the most of what it has to offer—and there is more strawberry flavor packed into one of these tiny fruits than in any number of enormous store-bought hybrids! Wild strawberry, our native wild species, bears small, sweet fruits. It is not much of a ground cover, but it intermingles well with grasses and wildflowers in meadows here in New England. We could use it similarly in the forest garden. Garden strawberry is the common cultivated form, a hybrid of several of the above species. You can't beat it for productivity, and many cultivars have excellent flavor. This is a perfect species for pockets of production, but it might want to have its patch rotated every few years for disease prevention. Strawberry-rhubarb pie is sure to be a favorite product of the forest garden!

Galax - Galax urceolata
Hardiness zone 4, part to full shade, evergreen running, 6-12 in. x indefinitely spreading, ground cover

This native evergreen ground cover is an excellent choice for forest gardens with some shade. It spreads, but not overly vigorously, forming a dense colony of tight clumps. Galax is another underutilized native deserving of attention. We are happy it is becoming more available as an ornamental.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Mahabharata (book 1.XCVII)

Santanu was the perfect son for a king. He was so much a born leader, warrior, diplomat, administrator and judiciary, that Pratipa made him king as soon as he was an adult. Pratipa and the Queen then retired to the woods to live out their lives practicing asceticism.

When Ganga heard that Santanu was now king, she decided it was time to collect on his father’s promise. But before she could leave, the eight Vasus appeared at her door looking dejected.

"What’s wrong?" she asked.

Prithu answered, "Brahma has commanded us to take birth on earth so that we may learn a lesson about stealing. It was Dyu actually, but the rest of us did help, and it was only a cow; more of a prank really. Anyway, we also heard that you were planning to go to earth to get married, so. . . "

Not making the connection, Ganga asked, "So?"

"Would you please be our mother?"

Ganga smiled broadly, "I would love to! Eight excellent sons such as yourselves would certainly make my husband very happy."

The Vasus looked at each other, something else was still troubling them, "Actually, we would like for you to drown us in the river after birth, so we can escape having to live a full life on earth."

"Oh. . . I don’t know about that. I doubt my husband would agree to something like that."

"Please don’t tell him then."

"But certainly he will demand an explanation, as well as try and stop me after the first one of you is drowned?"

"We understand that there are a lot of things that can go wrong, all we ask is that you try. . . Please. . . " They all looked at her with pleading eyes, drooping mouths and their hands clasped as if they were praying.

She sighed, "Fine. I’ll do what I can." They all leapt for joy and each one excitedly kissed their mother-to-be on the cheek and went happily on their way. Ganga just shook her head What have I gotten myself into!

It was late afternoon and Santanu was about to head back to the palace after a day of deer hunting, when the sun’s sparkle on the river Ganges held his attention and soothed his senses. His mouth dropped open in shock when a woman of blazing beauty began to rise from the water.

The shock was due to the story his father had told him about his future wife arriving in such a fashion. He had never believed his father’s story, but still entertained himself by fantasizing about it through his adolescence. Now that it was actually happening, it sent a shiver up his spine.

As his father had said, her beauty would be beyond imagination and it was. His gaze trapezed from eyes to toes, from lips to hips, in continued shock and disbelief. He rubbed his eyes and looked again; now slowly sipping in her beauty from the contours of her face to the slenderness of her waist.

His head began to swim with visions of lovemaking, as his arousal began to rage within. Ganga, seeing how enamoured he was by her, was very pleased. As she approached, he spoke first, "O maiden of heavenly beauty, please tell me you are here to be my wife."

"It is so, but under the condition that you never interfere with anything I do or speak to me harshly. The moment you interfere or are unkind, I will leave you."

Santanu gave her condition only a moments thought Interfere? Unkind? He didn't even think to ask why she requires such a condition, and worse, he didn’t even realize the threat she was making and answered "So be it." as sexual fantasies engulfed his mind.

Even Ganga was surprised her condition was accepted so easily, but then realized the time for lovemaking in the flesh was finally here. Their eyes locked as that single thought penetrated both of their souls. They rushed into each others arms, embracing and kissing passionately, making love on the river bank right then and there. A glorious royal wedding followed a week later, with celebrations throughout the kingdom.

All day and all night, day after day, Ganga was ready to please him, and he became addicted to it. There were sexual undertones to everything she did. From the way she walked and talked, to the way she liked to touch him and have him touch her; secretly in public, openly in private. But what he loved most was her dancing.

She instructed the court musicians in the creation of the most sensual music, and she would then dance to it. The flexibility of her body and the seductive grace of her movements ravaged his senses. He savoured it all, like a drug he couldn't live without.

Santanu lay awake in bed reminiscing about their past year together. It was early morning and Ganga and their one day old son were asleep in bed next to him. She had been breastfeeding all night.

During the pregnancy she couldn’t please him how he had become accustomed to, but it was worth the sacrifice to now have a son he thought. With servants to help with the caring of the baby and her only duty being the breastfeeding, he was wondering how long it would be before she could lavish her attention on him again.

She awoke, and saw he was also awake. Smiling, she kissed him and said, "Wait here. I’ll be right back." She then picked up their sleeping son and was gone. Returning a few minutes later, empty handed, she jumped into bed and made love to him. He was in heaven.

As the day progressed, he soon realized his son was nowhere to be found. He asked the servants if anyone knew what had happened, and no one did. Ganga acted as if she had never had a son, and now he became afraid. What is going on!

He was about to ask her when he remembered the condition she had given him. The threat that she would leave him if he ever said anything unkind, and he became even more afraid, for he couldn't risk losing her at any cost. He convinced himself there must be a reasonable explanation and stayed quiet. . . trying to forget.

When their second son was born, he had the servants working in shifts to watch her every move. When she left again with the baby in the early morning, he later found out that she had drowned the baby in the river. His stomach churned, and he fought to control his nausea; quivering with fear his thoughts lost all coherency.

After a few days, his nerves steadied and he decided to make a trip into the woods to see the sage his father consulted regularly for advice. When he arrived at the spot he remembered, the sage was still there thankfully. He bowed down and touched the old man’s feet in respect as is customary.

The sage stroked Santanu's head lovingly, "What is it my child? What is troubling you?"

"My wife. . . she. . . murdered our son."

"I see."

"What am I to do?"

"Did you ask her why?"


"Why not."

"I’m afraid she will leave me if I do."

"I see," said the sage as he closed his eyes and pointed his face skyward. After a couple minutes he spoke, "She is fulfilling a promise she made in heaven. You must choose between her and a son. I can say no more."

"Why? Why is this happening to me? What have I done to deserve this?"

"All I can say is that you must choose, you cannot have both."

Santanu made his way back to the palace, repeating the same thoughts over and over I cannot lose her! I will sacrifice a hundred sons for her! She is all that matters! I will sacrifice my kingdom, my life, everything for her! I will not lose her!


1. The Vasus: Adi Parva, Section XCVI, p. 207.

2. Santanu's proposal: Adi Parva, Section XCVII, p. 209.

3. Santanu's sons: Adi Parva, Section XCVIII, p. 210.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Founders on Agriculture (part 1)

In chapter 4 of the book "Earth Awakens: Prophecy 2012 - 2030" the Founders provide some practical recommendations on the number one investment priority for making the transition to the Golden Age: buying land and growing food.

If money is no concern, buy a piece of land mid-way between the flood plain and the mountains, import several tons of minerals, add these and a lot of compost to the soil, and begin planting. Focus on variety, for two reasons: (1) your body will get a variety of nutrients; and (2) if some of the crops fail due to erratic weather patterns or unforeseen pests, others will thrive.

Since many areas of the planet are getting warmer, buy your land in a temperate zone (away from the tropics) and then add some subtropical or tropical items to your temperate crops. You might be surprised, for example, that avocados, citrus, figs and mangoes might just make it north of southern California and Florida.

Use the latest greenhouse and hydroponics technologies. Read all about permaculture.

Learn how to properly store foods during inclement years. Do research on which storage materials are best. Make sure you select containers that do not release toxic chemicals during extreme heat or cold.

Practice living in harmony with beneficial and harmful insects, including parasites. Bless the creatures that prey on your crops and visualize golden light protecting your land and keeping it safe from predators.

Support your local heirloom seed bank. As GMO crops continue to proliferate, it will become harder to find uncontaminated seeds (due to cross-pollination).

Know your local farmer, or be your local farmer. If you know the farmers in a 100km radius to your own land, you can trade, barter, volunteer and get involved in each other's farming projects. If you get wiped out by hail, probably others will have crops that survive and you can assist the farmers that have the good yields and be rewarded with their surplus. If you are the fortunate one, be willing to feed those whose crops get ruined. Maybe one year the hailstorm will hit your field and everyone helps you, and the next year it will hit your neighbor's field and you can return the favor.

If some of your neighbors are not informed about the hazards of GMO crops, do your best to educate them. There are volumes of literature detailing the problems with such crops. If one of your neighbors insists on continuing the GMO practice, you will need to cover or otherwise protect your crops from cross-pollination.