Elegant Simplicity – The Art of Living Well

“Elegant Simplicity” by Satish Kumar is a magnificent read. If there’s ever a book to question the way we live life, and what the right direction is, this has to be one of the best. A must read providing many prompts to question what we’re doing.

elegant simplicity


I have no affiliation with Resurgence & Ecologist or Satish Kumar, and do not receive anything from them. I’m writing this article simply because I like what they’re doing and others might too.

I first heard of Satish Kumar through a circuitous route. I can’t remember how I found the “Resurgence & Ecologist” magazine but I’m now a regular subscriber. It’s an almost perfect magazine for me to receive every 2 months. Magazines like these, and the activation of the population behind them, show that we certainly do have the capacity to do the right things. Satish is the former editor of Resurgence & Ecologist and was the founder of “The Resurgence Trust”.

Satish bas born in 1936 and has a very interesting history. Apart from being a Jain monk in his early years, he also walked from India to Moscow, Moscow to Paris, Paris to London and London to Washington, all the name of peace.

To get a feel for the flavour of this book, take a look at the names of the chapters and an excerpt of the text below.

Elegant Simplicity – Table of Contents

  1. My Story: Beginnings
  2. Simplicity of Walking
  3. Life is a Pilgrimage
  4. Elegant Simplicity
  5. A Society of Artists
  6. Yoga of Action
  7. Learning and Living
  8. Right Relationships: We Are All Related
  9. Love Unlimited
  10. Power of Forgiveness
  11. Dance of Opposites
  12. Deep Seeing
  13. Union of Science and Spirituality
  14. Soil, Soul and Society

My favourite excerpt

From page 162, chapter 13 of my version.

‘Spiritual agriculture such as biodynamic farming, agro-ecology, and permaculture emphasise the value of the living soil and biodiversity. Whereas industrial “scientific” agriculture values nothing other than the quantity of food produced with the minimum input of labour. Modern agriculture uses combine harvesters, huge tractors, fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, and genetically engineered seeds because it lacks the spiritual values of reverence for the soil and animals. In scientific farming, food is no longer sacred. It is simply a commodity for profit. No wonder that millions of cows, pigs, and chickens are kept in the cruel conditions of factory farms where they never see the light of day in their whole lives. This is just one example of science and technology deprived of a spiritual ethos producing harmful results. We certainly need spiritual values in our agriculture!

Although there are scientists that embrace spirituality and work for the good of all, much of science has been in the service of greed, war, waste, pollution, exploitation, and injustice. This must change if science is to serve the interests and the needs of humanity and the planet Earth.

Einstein, one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century, said “Science without religion is blind, religion without science is lame.” If we have no science we limp. We can see what is good, but we cannot implement our vision. Therefore the people of spirit and religion need to embrace science.

People who have developed deep spirituality have often been reluctant to address the problems of the material world. Things are now slowly changing, but for a long time, some societies were good at meditation and yoga, philosophy and poetry, but without scientific research and methodology, they suffered hunger, deprivation, and material poverty. So spirituality without science is truly lame.’

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