Satvik Farming and Renewable Energy


Last week I discussed with you the three farming philosophies of Satvik, Rajsik and Tamsik. To recap, the Satvik philosophy is one of living with the land in harmony and being cooperative and cohesive with nature. Rajsik is the farming of power and control, controlling the land and bending it to your will, and controlling people to farm on a large scale through their labour. Lastly, Tamsik farming is deeply destructive and abusive of our environment and of the natural world. It aims for maximum harvest and profit no matter the damage to the land or the people. These three concepts originate outside of simply farming, they are the three ‘Gunas’, translating roughly as ‘threads’,’strings’ or ‘strands’ but more broadly in the philosophical context ‘virtue, merit, excellence’, or ‘quality, peculiarity, attribute, property’. In a sense, these are not dissimilar from the four humours of Greek medical philosophy, and it seems, every tv show ever:

The similarity in the ideas is that the three Gunus, as with the four humours, are said to exist in all of us to various degrees, and the levels we have of each of these things with in us is said to determine our personality and disposition. The three Gunus are constantly trying to suppress each other to get the fullest expression of their own qualities: ‘When Sativa is predominating, from all the gates of the human body radiate the illumination of knowledge. When Rajas is predominating, greed and the striving for selfish activities would appear. With the increase of Tamas come darkness, inactivity, recklessness and delusion.’ We should all be aiming for a full expression of Sativa, we should all want a world more saturated in Sativa. The world we do live in though seems far more dominated by the Rajas, and heading toward the Tamas.


Here at the farm we attempt to be completely self-sufficient. Or rather, to be part of a self-sufficient world that does not need to lean on destruction, on the Rajas. We try to work within the principles of Sativa. That means drawing what energy we cannot produce ourselves from renewable sources. At the moment, for instance, we are taking regular deliveries of biomass wood pellets from Liverpool Wood Pellets and operating this as our main outside energy source.


Burning wood pellets

Renewable energy is very much in keeping with the Sativa Guna. It is loving and it is cohesive. Remember, these Gunas are in a constant conflict for full expression, not just inside you but in all things. They are in constant conflict throughout creation. Every act you commit which promotes Sativa also acts to battle the forces of Rajas and Tamas. On any scale, at any level. It all acts against the forces of greed and destruction.


So act x

Farm Philosophy


In the Indian tradition of farming there are three approaches to the ancient practice. The first is the way of ‘Satvik’, also known as the spiritual way. This sees farming as a deeply spiritual process, you must work at one with the land and, in a spiritual sense, as a part of the land. I am not a spiritual person, but believe that most of everything is just semantics, when someone says we are all part of one spirit, we say we are all part of one ecosystem. When they say ‘global consciousness’ we say ‘global ecosystem’. We then recognize that our perspectives actually combine perfectly. Because the actually problematic divide is not how you describe or perceive reality, but how you want to act on it and live with it.



In the Satvik way of farming all techniques are supposed to be gentle, cooperative and cohesive with the soil and nature. Those farming the land are expected to act subtly and simply. This includes a somewhat minimalist approach, certainly not an industrial farming ideology here. Within the Indian tradition the food produced this way is said to be particularly refreshing, nourishing and revitalising. This holistic approach inherently comes with a lifestyle. The very act of farming this way is gratifying, relaxing and fulfilling.


The second way of farming under this Indian trichotomy, is the way of ‘Rajsik’. This is the way of ‘power-farming’. The meaning of the ‘power’ here is not quite how I first interpreted it. It is not power farming necessarily in the sense of ‘high-powered’ like ‘turbo farming’ or something like that. The power does not refer to intensity or level of imput of energy, it does not necessarily mean very high output, very high harvest or industrial techniques. Though all of these are far more likely within Rajsik farming than within Satvik farming. No, the ‘power’ here refers to political power, Rajsik is farming through controlling land and controlling people. The ‘Raj’ in ‘Rajsik’ refers to power and a position of rule, as in the British Raj, the former colonial rulers in India. We can see here that this three way division is actually a material and social dialectic, it is a tracing of how farming has developed with the world. Rajsik farming is farming as it was reconstructed under feudal rule. This form of farming, whilst clearly politically unjust and unfair in its treatment of people and how it conceives of land ‘ownership’, does not necessarily exclude practices which attempt conservation and cohesive living with the land. A feudal landlord does not necessarily hold the land and nature in contempt. Unlike Satvik farming though it does create the opportunity for farming outside of these principles, and it certainly destroyies the Satvik lifestyle of a satisfying relationship with nature at the point of contact.



Thirdly, and lastly, is the ‘Tamsik’ way. ‘Tamas’ is not a positive word, it does not translate simply into one word but generally gives the impression of darkness, depressiveness and ‘de-vitalisation‘. This is farming which is intensely destructive of land, livelihood, community and the ecosystem generally. This includes the use of pesticides or herbicides or any genetically modifying practices that over burden or simply destroy the land. This farming does not attempt to work with nature or the ecosystem, but instead attempts to bend it to the will of the farmer, to exploit it for maximum gain, with a small group massively overproducing to supply a amplified demand. This style of farming will leave one feeling guilty, disconnected and alienated. You will medicate these feelings physically, psychologically, socially and ideologically.



This commodification of land and nature has taken place on a mass scale. It is the situation of our planet and human race finds itself in. It is not a permanent state, it is not an eternal state. We have not always approached nature this way, wanting to beat and dominate it, allowing individual groups to work in a system of competition that drives them to find new techniques and practices to attempt over-exploitation of the land on an even larger scale and depth than their competitors.


I will write more on the Satvik, Rajsik, Tamsik trichotomy. All I will say for now is that these philosophies of farming apply to all aspects of life, and it is quite clear that from a philosophical angle at least, we should all be trying to farm and live in a more Satvik world.