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A Story of Creation

March 1, 2011

The Amazon past (the past where lies the origins of the biodiversity of the richest ecosystem on earth) is one of the greatest Unknowns. There are many theories and stories on how Amazon forest came into existence, how it was created. Some scientists are convinced and talk about the so called Paleozoic era, about Pangaea, about salt water washing the Amazon region, climatic changes and a story on how the forest came into existence. Some researchers still believe that the past of Amazon in its purest sense still remains unexplored.

Here I wish to share a short story of creation that I had heard somewhere and a story that I have started to believe in –

A few thousand or a hundred-thousand years ago Amazon was not the largest rain forest on face of Earth. The region did have a few patches of forests here and there. Different tribes inhabited the region. Within these tribes there lived Shamans, people who had the ability to heal, people who worked with energy and used it as a medium of transformation, and people who could ‘see’ visions. Shamans, are very much in existence even today and are very interesting people. I have heard that some of them can talk to plants, can understand what the ripples and waves in the rivers and whispers in winds have to say. Shamans are also famous as excellent healers. It is said that a senior healer from Shamans who would heal people out of grave illness has to once for himself face a near death experience and heal himself out of it, as a qualification. “How can he otherwise claim to have the ability to take someone else out of it”, they say. “Commendable”, I say, wondering what the modern doctors with 2 to 3 degrees today have to say about the same.

Well coming back to the story, so there were these people called Shamans who could also ‘see’ visions. It is said that one of them one day saw a very disturbing vision. She (Yes they have female Shamans also) saw that somewhere in future a time would come when air would turn black, clean water would turn murkier and species would start to get extinct on a daily basis. She went ahead and shared her vision with the tribe and subsequently with the tribes far away. The tribes discussed the vision and the impact for days together and finally reached a conclusion, a conclusion which said –

We do not know how far into the future would this vision materialize, that is if it does, but what we know is that we must start acting
We must act so that our children many many generations from now also would breathe the same air and drink the same water as we do today

And legend says that they started doing something beautiful. They envisioned Amazon. They started planting trees. Each day, each person from the tribe would wander far from his/her house and go plant a seed. For centuries, generations over generations each person from each tribe continued to do so. Overtime it became a ritual. It is believed that the indigenous tribes within the forest today continue to do the same even today. They plant a seed daily and the forest continues to grow both in density and diversity.

I want to believe in this story and the story could very well be true as the tribal in some areas still follow the ritual. The marvel of marvels, the richest ecosystem on the face of earth was created by the tribal like this and it continues to grow.

And the part I love about this story is that these generations were not a part of some non-profit organization, some movement, nor were the individual tribal doing this to strengthen their personal profiles. 🙂 They were just living that way and they were happy doing this. They were happy that they were doing something worthwhile with their lives for us (people who would be born in this world thousands of years later).

But what is happening today? Firstly what is happening to these tribal. There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.

Here is something else that is happening –

  • Rain forests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rain forests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
  • One and one-half acres of rain forest are lost every second with tragic consequences for both developing and industrial countries.
  • Experts estimate that we are losing 137 plants, animal and insect species every single day due to rain forest deforestation.

I do not understand why are these tribal called backward? Why are we called developing? Why is US called developed?Why are tribal everywhere treated as poor, uneducated?

  • Most medicine men and shamans remaining in the rain forests today are 70 years old or more. Each time a rain forest medicine man dies, it is as if a library has burned down.
  • When a medicine man dies without passing his arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants.

There are innumerable facts on the level of rain forest destruction that is happening today. You could read them here.

I could continue shouting at top of my voice, but I would leave that just so that I do not show myself to you as a skeptic or an eternal pessimist.

Let me end this by telling you about an 11 year old girl from Ladakh.

It was around 1965 and development had not touched Ladakh. There weren’t any schools in that area (this girl had never been to school: meaning was illiterate and uneducated in today’s language). A tourist was washing her face and hands in a stream. She is approached by this little girl, from a near by village. The girl asks the tourist to go further down and do the washing.

Couple of meters downstream people collect water to drink and further down they wash their clothes. You could go down and wash your face, if that is fine with you… so that the water we collect down is not dirty…

she said to her, smiled and walked away…

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Rihana permalink
    March 2, 2011 13:42

    137 species, every single day ! Each time a rain forest medicine man dies, it is as if a library has burned down ! I do not know what to say. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful and inspiring story and some startling facts, thanks for bringing in a 11 year old girl is all I can say.


  2. R Basu permalink
    March 2, 2011 14:48

    The reality today is quite stark and yet most of us do not know about it and some of us who know do not want to confront it and keep living in their cocoons. What a shame! 40 years and we would have no rain forest covers and still the humans continue to exploit and still the industries continue to grow. What a shame!


  3. Rashmi permalink
    March 3, 2011 13:05

    Aapka blog ek friend ne recommend kiya tha mujhe.
    Bahut accha laga padh kar.. All the very best 🙂 I have become a fan


  4. Gourav permalink
    March 4, 2011 15:33

    You are true Amit…we should do something about this (to spread the awareness)


  5. shiwa permalink
    March 9, 2011 13:37

    Just got a chance to read the post and
    i am wondering how difficult it must have been to inspire and teach so many generation about the wisdom of this noble act. proportional to
    the facilities we have option to bring about a change which is positive.
    I think the source of motivation to do something as likes of this is to be identified.


    • March 9, 2011 17:39

      I think it is not difficult at all… wisdom is something that only your near and dear ones can pass.. your family.. close community.. or a person who has become your true friend… and it passes on so naturally, that you do not even see any blips, you do not even realize that something great has been happening..


      • shiwa permalink
        March 10, 2011 12:48

        well i agree with what you are saying. but all for the “so called connected life today POWERED BY TECHNOLOGY” small things like tallking to parents is SO MUCH more complicated.

        i can say for myself that i shall discuss such ideas with people around me and let them see the big beauty of small things..



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