Ma Yogini Bharti provides an update from the Ecuadorian Amazon, where she’s recovered from Covid but can clearly perceive we’re heading towards planetary disaster…
It is now well over two years since I wrote an article for Sannyas News, detailing my first meetings with Osho in 1972 and what happened to me subsequent to that. A lot has transpired in my life since then. For a start, the Covid virus made its way into the remote region of the Equadorian rain forest that I call home.
More than two million corona virus cases have been registered among indigenous people living in the Amazon basin (population 30,000,000), along with over 60,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the Co-ordination of Indigenous Peoples Organizations of the Amazon Basin (Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica, or COICA), the organization representing indigenous peoples across the Amazon’s nine countries.
I was one of the infected. Living where I do, running a fever is commonplace. Six months ago, I had a fever and put it down to being soaked in a downpour when tending my vegetable plot. It turned out that I had been infected by covid. I was bed-bound for two weeks and at one point I thought I was going to die because I could hardly breathe. Obviously I did not die and lived to tell the tale. I have recovered 99%, although I still feel a little tired some days, and I know it is not age-related. The same cannot be said for some of my neighbours.
The P.1 variant was first identified last November in the city of Manaus (a filthy city) in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. In the year since it was first detected, the new variant has almost completely displaced the original COVID-19 virus that is most common across the world. The rapid spread of the new variant caught Manaus health authorities (completely disorganized) by surprise and the city soon ran out of oxygen as new cases—and deaths—skyrocketed over a short period of time. The spread of the virus is a complete disaster for the Amazon’s indigenous peoples.
Sitting where you are reading this you might well think this does not affect you, but it does. Science tells us that South America’s tropical forests that are managed by indigenous peoples capture more carbon, harbour more biodiversity, and are generally healthier than any other type of protected area in the world. Indigenous peoples and local communities possess detailed, time-tested, traditional knowledge on maintaining healthy forests, biodiversity and ecosystems. They are often better placed than scientists to provide accurate information on local environmental changes, and are important contributors to the management of forests to provide local to global benefits.
The Amazon rain forest represents this planet’s lungs. It helps manufacture the clean air you breathe. If you can afford to donate money to a good cause please send it to Amazon Emergency Fund. Thank you.
Life goes on and so does Sannyas News. I downloaded a Kindle version of ‘The Very Best and Worst of Sannyas News’ and was thrilled to see my previous article published in Chapter Two, Was Osho Wrong About Drugs? He was! I’m about halfway through the book and I must say that I am enjoying it to the point of reading it slowly so that I don’t reach the end too quickly. Some might think the book overdoes it with Anand Yogi’s ridiculous rants, but I can’t get enough of the guy because I find him hilarious. I think that his message is that it is important to laugh about ourselves. Poor Shantam gets blasted by Yogi and he takes it very well. If nothing else, Shantam is a very good sport and is quite funny himself at times, although I am not always sure if his ironic humour is intended or not, so I give him the benefit of the doubt. The book has come along at a good moment because the world is becoming an increasingly serious place to live in. So thanks to everyone at Sannyas News for making it happen, especially Swami G, who I take it is none other than our beloved Scottish Skinhead, Lokesh.
A week ago, I returned from the northern town of Puerto Francisco de Orllana. I went to have myself checked out by a doctor who was recommended to me. Turns out my immune system is flooded with covid antibodies, so I do not have to bother with getting vaccinated. It was the closest I’ve been to a population centre in a long time. I enjoyed going out to eat in a half-decent restaurant, drinking a couple of imported beers, and the view to be had of the mud-coloured River Napa from the suspension bridge was beautiful, but by the end of my long road journey I was happy to get home.
It is night time now as I sit under my mosquito net writing this on my laptop. A winged insect as large as my hand, attracted by the screen’s light, is flying against the netting and buzzing furiously as if in protest at encountering an insurmountable obstacle, which it hopefully is. Makes me think how different my humble abode must be compared to where you sit reading this now. A troop of howler monkeys have finally fallen silent after making a racket in the nearby jungle all afternoon.
Some weeks ago. I attended a meeting of local elders, who have finally come to grudgingly accept myfemale presence after some years. The local dialect is not easy to understand, but from what I gathered, coupled with what a friend told me, the news was not good. Deforestation of the rain forest by logging and oil companies continues at an alarming rate and the elders see this as just one more sign that our environment is on the brink of destruction, and they were not just talking about the rain forest.
One old Brazilian, Nuaraque shaman spoke about even worse infectious diseases than covid developing and blamed it on the ‘white’ people. He glared at me when he said this because I was the only Caucasian present. I’m by now accustomed to this type of social branding. The shaman also shared a vision he’d had about the eventual collapse of the white people’s civilization due to their over-reliance on electricity and technology.
Yes, I can hear you saying, you’ve heard it all before, but it is one thing hearing about it on the news, but another thing entirely to hear it said by a guy with red vegetable dye smeared across his forehead, who looks like he is 300-years-old and grew out of a tree and speaks with a voice containing the vitality of a healthy young man. I not only heard what the Nuaraque shaman said, I also felt it. It breaks your heart to hear such awful news from such a venerable being. Well, at least it has not happened yet, or else I would not have been able to write all this on my laptop and send it off to Sannyas News, when I visit the nearest village with satellite internet access.
From what I can gauge, from listening to the BBC World Service on my faithful Sony transistor radio, the COP meeting in the UK is just a lot of hot air. Or, as Greta says, “Blah, blah, blah!” Human life on this planet will need a massive effort by everyone, if our habitat is to remain habitable. I doubt it will happen. Everyone is so damned selfish. Nobody wants to give up anything much that would help our precarious situation. As George Carlin so poignantly put it, “We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam…The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.”
I am happy to receive emails: firstname.lastname@example.org.-
I might add that the last time I put my email address on the site I received two emails from Indian guys asking me if I would like to have sex with them. There were other emails, one in particular I remember from someone called Lakshay in New Delhi, who sounds like a very sweet person.
Peace, love and harmony from the Equadorian rain forest.