What is Nature? Nature is not only out there: the forests, the flowers, the mountains, the lakes and the animals. Humans are Nature too. We are as much Nature as the birds flying in the sky. We are all Nature. We are all made of earth, air, fire and water. So to love Nature is to love all living beings and all things. Love is to accept life as it comes, warts and all, with total equanimity. Accepting pain and pleasure, gain and loss, ups and downs, delights and difficulties with equanimity is love! “Love is letting go of fear.”

Love is to drop all expectations and to participate in life as it unfolds. We experience transformation through dialogue, compassion and communication. The poet Rumi said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field” – beyond ‘us’ and ‘them’ and beyond criticism and complaints. Lovers meet in the field of love. Flowers of mutuality and reciprocity blossom in the garden of love. Love makes us magnanimous. We shift from self-interest to mutual interest and common interest. Love breeds generosity and magnanimity.

When we love Nature, we love everyone and everything. We love every moment of our lives. We love dark nights as we love bright sunshine. We love winter as we love spring, summer and autumn. We love the whole of humanity irrespective of religion, nationality, race or political beliefs. We love, and so we go beyond judging others. We love diversity of opinions, truths and traditions. Love transforms divisions into diversity, and we see the unity of life in the diversity of forms. Diversity and unity dance together. We honour the diversity as well as the unity of humanity and the unity of life.

Because we love Nature and all living beings, we cause no harm to anyone. Judgement and discrimination harm. Hatred hurts. Love heals. Hatred is hell. Love is heaven. Hell and heaven are not physical locations somewhere beyond our precious planet Earth. When one is filled with hatred, one is in hell, and when one is filled with love, one is in heaven. It is as simple as that!

There are no causes good enough for which we can be allowed to kill or hate a human being. Love forbids wars. Not in the name of our motherland or fatherland, not in the name of our religion or race, not in the name of our political beliefs are we allowed to kill, if we follow the religion of love! There is only one law in the land of love: first and last, do no harm! No harm to yourself, no harm to other people, and no harm to Nature. No harmful thoughts, no harmful words, and no harmful actions.

No harm to Nature means no destruction of rainforests for commercial gain, and no cruelty to animals in factory farms. How can we love Nature and cause climate catastrophe? Mountains of waste in landfills, piles of plastic in our amazing ocean, and poisonous chemicals in our sacred soil are totally incompatible with love for Nature. Maintaining the integrity of Nature is fundamental if we are committed to love Nature and do no harm to Nature.

Nature is not simply a means to an end or a resource for consumerism, materialism and wasteful lifestyles. Lack of love for Nature has resulted in the pursuit of endless economic growth, industrialism and overdevelopment. True love for Nature manifests in the practice of frugality and elegant simplicity. A dose of degrowth in economically obese countries would restore the health of Nature as well as the health of people.

For those who love Nature, less is more! Nature provides enough for everyone’s needs, but not enough for anyone’s greed.

Nature is not an inanimate object. Nature is sacred. Nature is precious. Nature is not a commodity. Nature is a community of living organisms. Nature is conscious. In the words of William Blake, “To the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is imagination itself.”

The ecology of love

All our ecological crises are caused by the lack of love for Nature. When we love Nature, we love earth, air, fire and water. We love food, flowers and farms. We love our marvellous Mother Earth. Love of Gaia helps us to cherish, conserve and protect Nature and never to damage or destroy Nature.

When we truly love Nature, we rise above the narrow anthropocentric view of the world and embrace the biocentric view. The ecology of love is deep ecology. Humans are not above Nature or superior to Nature. They are integral parts of Nature. The value of forests, rivers and animals cannot be and should not be measured in terms of their usefulness to humans. Nature has intrinsic value. We need to cultivate a deep reverence for Nature and for life. This is reverential ecology and spiritual ecology.

Indigenous cultures believe in the rights of Nature as they believe in human rights. We need to learn from their wisdom and love life, love people, love ancestors, love future generations. Before we act, build and invent anything, we ought to think of future generations and how our actions will affect their lives. Indigenous people of North America take into consideration the wellbeing of the seventh generation. They believe that we should leave a beautiful planet, a planet that is unpolluted, undepleted and uncontaminated for future generations. Every day they offer a prayer: “May the future generations live a good life.”

For the wellbeing of future generations, we need to love diversity: biodiversity, cultural diversity, economic diversity, political diversity and truth diversity. One language, one religion, one political ideology and one economic system for the whole world would be too monotonous and too boring!

Satish Kumar’s Promise of Love

I for one offer my deepest love to the whole of humanity, to all my beloved brothers and sisters, in all their glorious diversity. I love them whether they are black or white, communist or capitalist; whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist or belong to any other religion; whether they are American, Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Ukrainian, Palestinian, Israeli or of any other nationality.

My love for all people is unconditional. I love them as they are. Whether a king or a beggar, a priest or a prisoner, a saint or a sinner, I love them all. Even when they are less than perfect, I love them all. Through love we help each another. Through the alchemy of love we transform one other. Through the alchemy of love we grow, evolve and transcend together. The alchemy of love turns the ordinary into the extraordinary!

Love gives meaning to life; without love, life is meaningless!

Love transforms. Hatred kills. Hatred is too heavy a burden to bear. Do I want to harbour hatred in my heart, or do I want to harvest harmony in my soul? The choice is mine, and mine alone! I practise unilateral love. I don’t wait for others to love me first. I take the first step. I take the initiative. I am love possessed. I drink the nectar of love!

It is good to love someone we like. Loving our friends and family is good. Loving our colleagues and companions is nice. That is moderate love. We need such love every day to sustain ourselves. But to love even people we don’t like and we disagree with is radical love. Nothing wrong with disagreeing. It is good to have many views and many thoughts. But radical love is to disagree without being disagreeable.

Love is to live and let live! How can highly educated people calling themselves rational, intelligent and pragmatic wage wars? How can they justify the death and destruction of tens of thousands of innocent citizens, vulnerable children and pregnant women? We have seen the futility and failures of war in Vietnam, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in many other countries, yet politicians learn nothing about the sheer stupidity of wars! Now in Gaza and Ukraine the same stupidity is causing immense suffering and environmental degradation. Wars contribute heavily to climate catastrophe.

Governments say that they don’t have enough money for schools, hospitals and housing for their citizens, but they seem to have plenty of money for wars! Many billions and trillions are spent on bombs and drones in the name of national defence, forgetting that “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind!” Love is a true defence measure. “Love your neighbour” is the ultimate strategy for self-defence and national defence. Governments around the world spend more than two trillion dollars a year on military budgets! Wars are expensive, wasteful and dangerous, but peace is economical, ecological, practical, easy and very safe.

Hate your neighbours, and they might harm you; love your neighbours, and they will help you. “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way!” Talking with our friends is a pleasure, but talking with our adversaries and opponents is a necessity. Talking makes peace possible. Yes, peace is possible!

Statesmanship is a branch of love. Diplomacy is another branch of love. The art of skilful negotiation is to reach a win–win outcome. That is true statesmanship and proper diplomacy. War leaders are failed statesmen and poor diplomats. They suffer from trust-deficit disorder!

I ask Mr Biden and Mr Putin, and also Palestinian leaders and the leaders of Israel, what legacy do you wish to leave for future generations? A legacy of hatred and war, or a legacy of love and friendship?

My beloved brothers and sisters in Israel, in Palestine, in Ukraine and in Russia, I urge you, with deep love in my heart, to please sit down together with your neighbours over a cup of tea and talk to one another. A cup of tea is a cup of love, a cup of peace. You have tried tanks and bombs and have failed again and again. Now try tea! You will be surprised to discover the power of drinking a cup of tea together! I love you and I do not want to see you suffer. War will bring as much suffering to you as you inflict suffering on your opponents. I urge you to love yourself! Be kind to yourself and kind to others. Kindness is everything. Ultimately war is a game of self-hatred.

Aspire to be a peace leader rather than a war leader. Wisdom leads to love, stupidity leads to war. War is ugly, peace is beautiful. Unlock the house of peace with the key of love! Hatred locks the doors, love opens the doors. Hatred divides, love unites. Love first, then truth. Each and every one of us has their own truth, their own point of view. But love is common to us all. Let us seek truth through love! Love first, and then democracy. Democracy comes in many different shapes and forms. Democracy can be left wing or right wing. Democracy can elect an autocrat or even a dictator or a warmonger. Love makes democracy great. Democracy without love is not good enough! Love is the mother of all virtues. Love is the primary principle. Therefore love planet, love people and love yourself. The rest will follow.

Only a monsoon of love can dispel the drought of despair and help to bring about a crop of justice, prosperity and peace.

Hundreds of thousands of men and women in uniform spend all their lives waiting for a war to start so that they can go and kill others and get killed! If they were not in the military, they would be producing food, building houses, writing poetry and engaging in many kinds of useful, productive and creative activity. What a waste of time and life to be in the armed forces!

Letting go of ego

Those of you who are fighting in the name of freedom, I have great respect for your courage and commitment. But I urge you to use the power of nonviolence and love in your struggle for freedom. Follow the supreme example of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. The moral power of love is greater than the power of bombs. It is better, braver and more courageous to accept suffering upon yourself than to inflict suffering upon others. Freedom gained by guns has to be maintained by guns. But freedom gained by love is maintained by love. Ends cannot justify means. Noble ends need to be obtained by noble means.

As I urge you all to love one another without exception and without expectation, I also urge you to love yourself without exception and without expectation.

I love myself even when I am less than perfect. Loving myself is the first step in loving others and in loving the world. Self-love is not selfish, not ego. I see the whole world in myself, and myself in the whole world. I am a microcosm of the macrocosm. The world is, therefore I am. Language, art, architecture, religion, philosophy, food and so much more have all come to us as gracious gifts from the world. With deep humility I accept the world as it is and l also accept myself as I am, who I am and what I am.

Every human being is unique! There is no one else like me. When I feed myself, take care of myself and love myself, I do so so that I can love others, take care of others and feed others. Through self-love and self-knowledge I achieve self-realisation and thus release my true potential. Intimate love of the self and the ultimate love of the universe are two sides of the same coin!

Love is letting go of ego! Ego separates. Love connects. Love leads us from ego to eco! All wars are a consequence of ego. A personal ego or a national ego or an ideological ego leads to war.

In eco-consciousness we are all connected and united with the cord of belonging. There is no disconnection between I and us or between me and we! Between you and I. All our flourishing and thriving is mutual. We are all related. We are made of one another. The web of life is a web of relationships. Nothing can exist in itself or by itself. Not even a particle or an atom exists by itself. Existence happens only through relationships. Nature is not an isolated phenomenon. Nature is a cohesive community. An individual is indivisible!

We are all connected via the invisible thread of love. Whether we are American, Russian, Chinese, Indian or any other nationality, we all share one common humanity and one common home: our fragile, beautiful and precious planet Earth.

Love is a system of survival. Love and live, or hate and perish! As gravity holds our physical existence together, love holds our human relationships together. Love is the gravitational force behind all relationships.

The cosmos is our country, the planet Earth is our home, Nature is our nationality and love is our religion. This is ego-free mind, a universal mind, a cosmic mind, a magnanimous mind.

All the great religions have one thing in common. They all teach the perennial philosophy of love. All the great rivers of religion flow into the ocean of love. Religion is not in a church or a temple or a mosque or a synagogue! Religion is not in the Bible or the Quran or the Gita. Religion is in the daily practice of love. Religion is not a label. Religion is an act of love. Love is common to all and special to everyone. We are all soaked in eternal love. It is marvellous to be a part of the universal love-game!

When I am in love, I have no enemies. I give no offence, I take no offence. I am a friend of the Earth. All living beings of the Earth are my friends. If anyone has done anything wrong to me, I forgive them unreservedly, and if I have done anything wrong to anyone around me, I beg for their forgiveness. Love and forgiveness put me at ease. Hatred is too uncomfortable for me to handle.

Love is the home of happiness. I tell myself, if you want to be happy, just love! Keep falling in love all the time! Love is the solution to all our problems. Love is the answer to all our questions. Love will liberate us and will set us free. Love will make us free of poverty and free of injustice. The root cause of injustice, inequality, poverty, misery and despair is the lack of love. The light of love will dispel the darkness of despair.

If I am a billionaire but have no love in my heart, what good is that wealth? If I am a president or a prime minister but suffer from a lack of love, what good is that power? I seek the power of love, not the love of power.

You may call me a naive idealist! But please tell me what the so-called realists have achieved. Wars? Climate breakdown? This may be the time to give an idealist a chance!

I am a child of love! When I love Nature, I love life in its panoramic glory of multiplicity and diversity. To love Nature is to love life, love myself and love all living beings. No ifs, no buts, no exceptions and no excuses! Walking on the path of love is the most practical, pragmatic and effective way to address the ecological, economic, spiritual, social and political problems of our time! Love is the answer; what is your question?

To view a trailer of Satish’s forthcoming film Radical Love by Julio Hey, visit tinyurl.com/film-radical-love. The film will premiere at Bertha DocHouse in the Curzon Bloomsbury Cinema, London on 5 September 2024. www.dochouse.org

Satish Kumar is the author of Radical Love, published by Parallax Press and available from www.resurgence.org/shop