The greatest challenge facing us as a society today is not to be found in the politial arena, nor in the solution of immediate problems, but rather in a maturation process which will enhance a fundamental change in the way we view our role as a co-existent fellowship with the earth and the living world around us. As we see more and more clearly the interdependence and mutual creativity of all life systems and the universe which bears them, we will ourselves become a more capable, a more fulfilled people.
The planet’s soil is a living organ of great biological diversity, carrying within itself the vast potentials of all living systems. It reacts in the same ways, and with the same mechanisms as other living systems. As such, the deeper functional aspects of the Soil Organ can be understood through the same models as are used in Classical Traditional Medicine, giving us a picture of the universal analogies existing throughout all of creation.
By way of introducing this way of thinking, I have chosen to illustrate certain concepts within agriculture by using parralels from the ancient Indian medical philosophy of Ayurveda.
The soil’s physical nature is comparable to the KAPHA Dosa which is the physical/structural reflection of the human body, and has parameters like porosity- mineral constituent constellations—biochemical and microbiological resources- energy potential- air and water circulation etc. The vital processes of the Soil Organ however do not take place within enclosed Srota systems (channels), or specialized tissues (Dhatus) as in other life forms, but occur within the whole and comprehensive bio-system of the soil itself. The vital processes and fluid circulation are not contained wthin specific Kalas (membranes- the separation of one metabolic unit from another) as found in cellular organisms, but we find instead that these dynamic processes are fully exposed, in direct contact as it were, with the entire tissue of the eco-sphere.
The eco-shere, with its Soil Organ and its meteorologial events, can best be likened to a ‘placenta’ which not only bears and sustains all life, but insures the growth and fulfillment of its individuals as well. In this sense it is impossible to talk about the soil as an isolated phenomena- a ‘dirt’ comprised of various mineral substances- we must instead see it as a comprehensive living system dependent upon the life forms to which it gives birth and which in turn nurture and cultivate it. The Soil Organ participates as the fundament of terrestial creation through the life forms which arise from it- every leaf, root and tendril, each microrganism, every animal, including man, act as the productive sensory organs of the living soil. This is the basis not only of the biological event of life but also of consciousness.
Subtle forces (Tanmatras) at work within the sensory systems of complex life forms, as well as in the phenomena of bio-tropism found in less complex forms, are connected to metabolic processes which continualy recreate and evolve the individual from the basic matter of the universe (Mahabhutas). Contact between sensory tissues and their objects initiate profound chemical/bioelectric low energy transmutations which not only effect physiological functions but also contribute directly to the metamorphisis of the organism’s structure. These processes are related to events which one can only term ‘conscious’ (Mahat) in that they relate not only to the individual, but to a bio-interdependency which penetrates and unites every creative event of the universe.
The Soil Organ is thus a highly reactive metabolic organ which is characterized by microbiological energetic phenomena (Bhutagni) that effects the whole planetary eco-system. The Soil Organ besides producing organic plant life as its obvious manifestation, also, though in a less obvious sense, is the origin and sustainer of organic life in terms of a bio-productive atmosphere- respiration (Vayu); metabolic energy phenomena- digestion (Pitta); and molecular and vascular-hydrologic stability- structure (Kapha)—this is the environment (Prakriti) in its deepest sense.
The Earth’s Soil and its eco-shere has a metabolic relationship with the Celestial influences, making the nutrients of the Cosmos available to all forms of life. The “day time” constellations and planets effect the Earth as much as they do in the “night time”, though in a different way- their effects mirror the meridian/dosa ‘time clock’ operable in all cosmic processes—Vayu effects movement, the event of change- the ‘opening and closing’ of metabolic and respiratory systems; the power behind secretory mechanisms; the projections of growth and metamorphosis; and the initiation of new phases of tissue metabolism- Pitta regulates temperature phenomena; regulates biochemical, hormonal, and enzymatic processes- and KAPHA contains the energy potentials and resources reflected in anabolic tissue processes.
The cosmic rhythm of light and darkness are reflected in the polarities of functional energies associated with the TRI-DOSA (Vata/Pitta/Kapha). During the day time, the catabolic processes dominate, breaking down substances for further use, digesting both foods, light, and impressions- the ‘digestive fire’ AGNI mirroring the transforming fire of the sunlight. While at night, the anabolic processes dominate, and utilizing the wisdom of the deeper consciousness (Mahat) within Creation itself, the Earth’s Living Systems are recreated with the ingredients synthesized from the daytime’s digestive and metabolic processes.
In the ‘dark’ time under Earth, there is an enzymatic process in plants which opens the seed. In Man, we find the same rhythm of Light and Darkness reflected in the pineal gland and the metabolism of melatonin connected to basic immunity in the Reticulo-Endothelial System. This gland, the alchemist of the Light and Dark, connects our consciousness to the universe around us and unites us to the life process itself, where individuality ceases to exhert its seperate existence, and comes once again to reposses its eternal identity.
Each dosa therefore has both an anabolic and a catabolic function registered in the dimension of time, within which the micro-cosmos and the macro-cosmos reflect one another. Time is the dimension by which the individual evolves in Space, and is thusly the event of change, the inexhaustable fertility of Creation.
During the hours of daylight, the Earth receives the in-streaming nutrition of the cosmos, using these forces to create low energy transformations within the digestive processes of living systems. During the hours of darkness, the energies released by the Light, turn the invisible into the visible—turn energy into form, and form into life. It is in the dark and veiled energies of the night that the Earth nurtures the cosmos—the Earth itself radiating its energies out into the limitless potential of creative Space—Akasha, the dimension within which all events take place- the Ground and Container of all being.
Metabolic events are comparable to the PITTA/AGNI and have parameters involving biochemical processes, hormonal- bacterial/viral- and photo sensitive phenomena. These activities, as in all Earth/Soil phenomena, effect the entire environment in a direct physical sense due to the full exposure of the ecosphere to the environment. The dynamic quality of the processes taking place on a sub-atomic energy level, which is the basic ground of all manifestation, is comparable to the VATA dosa , and is visible in the specific symptom manifestations of both soil function, fertility and stability. It is on this plane that all living systems meet without the barrier of tissue, or the conjunctions of ‘inner and outer’ parameters. The structures containing and supporting these activities is comparable to the KAPHA Dosa, the forms which life takes as it manifests itself.
The SATTVIC manifestation (equilibrium) of Living Systems will reflect a form creating- sustaining- and transforming harmony characteristic of autopoeisis. An overlyRAJASIC manifestation (movement and projection) will reflect unregulated morphological processes or an erratic metabolism with an imbalance in growth mechanisms and fertility. Unbalanced TAMASIC manifestations (inertia) will reflect degenerated, closed/obstructed soil systems, poor soil stability , and tendencies to produce unhealthy soils in which pathological relationships predominate, being therefore not conducive to the more advanced living organisms with which they share the environment. It is worth noting that nature, if left to its own designs, will always manifest an equilibrium between the three archetypal forces creating a dynamic balance between integration, action, and inertia. History has shown us the consequences of Man applying his fragmented consciousness and aggressive goals to the earth’s vital and sensitive tissues.
We see through our observations that soil productivity in an agricultural sense, is an inter-dependency of the Tridosas, vata/pitta/kapha, and the Trigunas ,sattva/rajas/tamas precisely as it is in human mechanisms. Often for example we can ‘treat’ biochemical imbalances in the soil by simple aeration (a lack of which reflects imbalances in the Kapha Dosa), instead of supplying more nutrients or fertilizers. Whenever a balance is achieved in the Tridosas the soil will, from within its own symbiotic mechanisms, regulate and change its metabolism producing optimal conditions for the growth and fertility of all its individuals.
We also observe that non-domesticated plants (weeds) act as specific ‘healing’ substances in depleted, pathological soil. It is not coincidental that certain ‘weeds’ grow in specific places. Upon analyzing these plants in terms of the Tridosas we see that they act as local healing and balancing factors for the Soil Organ within which they grow.
This was brought to my attention very graphically while traveling in an arid region of the American West- a road/track had been made through the region consisting of a single, shallow depth “cut”, probably by a grader, with no fill or additional road surfacing. For miles along this track, growing about one meter from the track edge, was a particular species of hardy thistle. This plant was not observable anywhere in the nearby region except in this single line of growth following the new cut track. As we observe nature creating these phenomena of self-healing, we might contribute to the process by making calcinated or homeopathic dilution’s of these ‘weed healers’ to further open the process of synergistic integration within domesticated agricultural area.
To understand the true nature of the Planet’s flora, we must understand that it is a product of Consciousness. Just as our intestinal flora- the great living strata of micro-organisms, which synthesizes our biochemical environment from the digestive process, is conscious of which elements that our being needs at any given time, and breaks down the components of our ingested food to reconstruct the new, vitally needed combinations of nutrient substances- so the soil, a deeply sensitive planetary organ senses the needs of the environment around it and responds from within its matrix of living processes to produce the plant material which is essential to the well being and stability of the milieu of which it is a part and to which it is the Mother- the source of nourishment and growth.
Every phenomena is a manifestation of a coherent, all-embracing wisdom. Forms arise from within this dynamic Field, illuminating and effecting the whole, and dissolve again into different forms and relationships. No plant can of its own volition germinate and propagate in a soil which does not ‘recognize’ the need for the fruition of that plant- at that specific time, and under those specific circumstances. Each germinated seed, each subsequent growth, is a response to Conscious, highly sensitive mechanisms of soil sensibility, coming forth as the earth heals itself, nourishes itself, and creates the cradle of life- the environment- the Ground of all Form. The Prakriti.
Human and animal populations exert tremendous influences upon the earth/soil milieu. Some of these influences overwhelm the delicate balance existing in the soil, others are very subtle- but each creates a response from the living earth. At the round of each season, within a short radius of distance from any animal or human habitation will be found the medicinal substances which precisely answer to the specific needs of that group. Herbalists would gain deep insights into the processes of health and disease by investigating the local organic material within the immediate locality of their patients- instead of relying alone on the parameters of theoretic therapeutic qualities or biochemical constituents of the plant. We need to re-evaluate our concept of therapy, which is less a benevolent intrusion from some idealistic principle than it is an expression of the natural law of self-sustainability. The living organism digests, transforms, and reconstitutes the healing properties of the medicinal substance within its own organism, answering to its own specific, timely needs- therefore constituent classification of medicinal substances is only a basic guideline to its indication, and does not reflect an absolute criteria, existing as it does within a world of sympathetic and synergistic function.
Inherent in the very nature of phenomena is the quality of self-expression which in turn requires the process of maturation. This universal drive towards the fulfillment of potential, and the subsequent dissolving of the fully mature properties into an unlimited universal expression of nurturing (that which we call death), is the very essence of Nature. Just as the tissue, cells and molecules of our ingested food perish, and then resurrect into the dynamic form of our being, so do the effete materials, ignorance and bad habits of disease patterns, become the raw material of our healing- and thus, in time, the desert, the barren field, the infertile and the neglected, will become the Garden.
By way of illustrating Soil Organ synergy we can take a closer look at two main ‘inorganic’ components comprising the Soil Organ. If we look at the dynamic living surface of the soil, the interface of life between ourselves and our environment, we see certain common elements acting as process initiators. The silicates for example comprise over 70% of the earth’s crust and up to 90% of the earth’ soil. The next intimately related element to Silica is carbon- the basis of life’s organic chemistry. The crystalline shape of Rock Quartz, a synergy of silica and oxygen, forms as a central spire enclosing itself at its terminal end, showing its relationship to the life process- on the one hand, the force of expansion, growing, rising from within the shapeless energies of creation into the fullness of manifestation- and on the other hand, the enclosing of this new growth within the self motivation of Form, building a solidity and a parameter of existence for the continual growth of the individual living system. Silica becomes the basis of structure, the means by which consciousness incarnates and reaches self-manifestation. Wherever life needs the structure and the strength to fulfill its processes of growth, silica compounds will be formed- this is also its clinical indication.
Calcium elements, comprising the greatest part of the earth’s crust, complete and regulate the form generating forces of the silicates. The self-expression of life, the individual organism, reaches the zenith of its incarnation through the integrity of its form. This integrity most insure the potential for growth, but it most also control and regulate the growth process itself, preventing the uninhibited play of vegetative processes which would channel all energies into the expansion of structure and deprive the functional system of its vitality and fertility. Calcium reflects this process. It ’solidifies’ the form creating processes, turning the outwardly expanding forces inward upon themselves, allowing these energies to be used in functional capacities for the development of the organism’s abilities, rather than simply expanding its structure. The Silica and Calcium event thus represent a primordial Pulse, like the beating of a heart, which is mirrored within each cell, manifest in every atom-the very essence of Life.
Man has a responsibility—but perhaps even more, an opportunity—an opportunity to live as co-creator within the very cosmos of which he himself is an expression. By seeing more clearly, by discovering Creation as an expresion of our identity, we fulfill our Dharma , the nature of our being.