My quest was, how to bring the soil to life? In other words, how to increase the population of the living organisms in the soil? I got the proper clue for this from a shloka in the Parashar Smruti:
Krishirdhanya krishirmerdhya jantunam jivanam krishihi |
Hinsadidoshyuktoapi muchyateatithi pujanat ||
- Krishiparashara 8
The broad meaning of this is that, the farmer's life is dependent on the living organisms in the soil he cultivates. During the cultivation, some of these organisms get killed. Since his Dharma (primary duty) is to produce food for the sustenance of the world, he gets absolved of the sinful deed of killing the organisms.
This shloka set me on thinking about the living soil and I started exploring the ways and means of increasing the population of living organisms in the soil. My quest ended at our common but sacred village tree, the banyan. I cannot explain how this occurred to me but after the event, I started to note down the reasons for its importance in our lives:
- During the rainy season the soil under the banyan tree supports a very large number of crawler and farm worm type of earthworms.
- During the heat of the summer it is fully clothed in dark green foliage. It is ever green in our climate, providing a welcome shade to humans, animals and birds.
- Thousands of small fruit it produces is an important source of food for innumerable species of birds. Their droppings make the soil under the tree, highly fertile and teeming with soil organisms.
- The aerial roots set out by the tree during the monsoon season contain substantial quantities of hormones and enzymes needed for plant growth. In our villages, sterile animals are fed these roots to induce fertility.
- Our ancestors wanted to protect these valuable trees from destruction by indiscriminate use as firewood or timber. Hence the legend of instant death to anybody cutting down this tree. Also, the worship of banyan at the onset of monsoon by the womenfolk praying for long life to their husbands, forms one of our important religious rituals.
Steps Involved in Ahimsak Rishi-Krishi Deshpande Technique