by Satish Kumar
“Satish Kumar’s own life is an admirable example of simplicity, compassion and care. And this shines through on every page of this delightful, yet profound, little book.” • Peter Russell, author of From Science to God
“In Spiritual Compass, Satish Kumar articulates the timeless values and world views which support right living. His book will help us move from the mechanistic worldview, which has pushed us to the brink of survival, to an ecological worldview.” • Vandana Shiva
“This book by Satish Kumar is wonderful. Full of wisdom, it is simple and elegant, displaying the quality of sattva as he himself defines it with profound and original insight.” • Ravi Ravindra, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Religion and Professor of Physics at Dalhousie University, and author of The Spiritual Roots of Yoga
In our modern, materialistic world it is easy to separate spirituality from everyday life. But spirituality is not just for saints, neither is it confined to religious services or holy books. It must be a part of our ordinary, everyday existence: it needs to be implicitly present in business, politics, farming, cooking - and in our relationships.
To illustrate this, Satish Kumar draws on the Indian Ayurvedic tradition which characterises the mind as having three gunas, or primary qualities: sattva (characterised by calmness, clarity and purity), rajas (energy and passion), and tamas (dullness and ignorance). These qualities can be applied to our work and the environment: for example, there are sattvic foods, rajasic foods and tamasic foods. The Ayurvedic aim is to live a life which is simple and close to nature (sattvic), to reduce rajasic tendencies, and to avoid tamasic. When we see ourselves in the light of the three gunas, they can orient us towards the direction in which we wish to go. They can help us to recover the art of living, and lead us towards a peaceful and contented existence.
Satish explains that there is no dualism between spirit and matter - all matter is imbued with spirit, and spirit manifests through matter. This integrated worldview forms the core of his book.