When he was only nine years old, Satish Kumar renounced the world and joined the wandering brotherhood of Jain monks. Dissuaded from his path by an inner voice at the age of eighteen, he left the monastic order and became a campaigner for land reform, working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a peaceful world into reality.
Fired by the example of Bertrand Russell, he undertook an 8,000 mile peace pilgrimage, walking from India to America without any money, through deserts, mountains, storms and snow. It was an adventure during which he was thrown into jail in France, faced a loaded gun in America – and delivered packets of ‘peace tea’ to the leaders of the four nuclear powers.
In 1973, he settled in England, taking the Editorship of Resurgence magazine. He has been the editor ever since (30 + years!). He is the guiding spirit behind a number of ecological, spiritual and educational ventures in Britain. He founded the Small School in Hartland, a pioneering secondary school (aged 11-16), which brings into its curriculum ecological and spiritual values. In 1991, Schumacher College, a residential international centre for the study of ecological and spiritual values, was founded, of which he is a Visiting Fellow.
Following Indian tradition, in his fiftieth year, he undertook another pilgrimage: again carrying no money, he walked 2,000 miles to the holy places of Britain – Glastonbury, Canterbury, Lindisfarne and Iona. Meeting old friends and making new ones along the way, this pilgrimage was a celebration of his love of life and nature.
In November 2001, Satish Kumar was presented with the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Abroad. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the Universities of Plymouth, Lancaster and Exeter. From March to May 2008 Satish was invited as Des Lee visiting Professor of Global Awareness at Webster University, St Louis, Missouri.
His autobiography, No Destination, has sold 50,000 copies and is published by Green Books. Satish’s three other books, You Are, Therefore I Am – A Declaration of Dependence, The Buddha and the Terrorist, Spiritual Compass and his new book Earth Pilgrim are published by Green Books.
In 2008, Satish Kumar presented a 50-minute documentary on the BBC as part of the Natural World series. In the programme Satish introduced the Dartmoor scenes and sights that most inspire him and contemplated the lessons they hold for humanity. A highly acclaimed documentary that mixed eastern philosophy with the western landscape of Dartmoor; the programme was watched by over 3.6 million people.
Satish teaches lectures and runs workshops internationally on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity.
Satish can be contacted at Resurgence, Ford House, Hartland, Bideford, Devon EX39 6EE. E-mail: Satish@Resurgence.org