To simply say it is, is too easy.
And if it is, what makes it so?
Millennia past, the world’s camels roamed freely across vast, rugged, terrains. They lived in herds, large and small, journeying over deserts, plains, valleys, and mountain sides.
They lived under cover of the ever changing sky, far distant from the physical, and philosophic, structures of man.
They lived purely as they were, and always did, long before the word ‘camel’ (kamielis, ऊँटको, deva, camelo, ऊंट, kameel, тэмээний, deve, камила, καμήλα, 骆驼) was spoken, and well before they were ever treated as slaves for human gain. They were beings, free!Intelligent, sensitive, and contemplative, their natural life gradually changed, forever, as the unbidden hand of man violated their mystical realms.
And so, today, there is only one tiny place on this small Earth where the original wild camels still run free. Far, far, away from human beings, the critically endangered two-humped camels (Camelus ferus), still happily roam the harsh Gashun Gobi Desert.These are the only truly wild, and indigenous, camels left on the Earth, but for how long?
In the Australian outback, domesticated working camels (dromedarius) were released in the 1920’s, generating herds of the most magnificent and healthy camels in the world; now considered pests, often murdered, poisoned, and culled.
Everywhere else, camels belong to people. They are the properties of businesses, families, villages and tribes. They are bred and sold for meat, hide and profit. They are producers of milk. They are raced for high stakes, caged, restricted, pushed, pulled, sometimes harshly beaten, and deprived of authentic lives. Not all of them, but many. In some areas, very fortunate semi-wild camels are permitted to roam loose, though not too far from human designs.
In the west, domesticated camels are much fewer in number than in Africa, India, the Middle East, and Asia. Primarily, they exist for reasons that make them useful, or amusing, to humans. They produce milk, give rides, pack loads, perform in circuses and at fairs. They are bred and sold for monetary profit. Some are backyard pets; well cared for, or not. Their precious, intelligent, lives are often completely ruined by peoples’ ignorance and insensitivity. Many are penned alone their entire lives, in places too small, and impoverished, for sanity. They live day, by day, waiting for a real camel life, that never happens. Some are loved and respected. But a great many are regarded poorly, and treated the same.
An entire sacred culture of the earth has been subjugated, completely ruined; one among so many. Even the sanctity of their few remaining places, remains all too fragile.
Why does man push so hard against life?
Why do we align with so much fear, and control?
At the Sacred Camel Gardens we see things a little differently. Still in our early days, the camels (bactrianus) are deeply appreciated here, not for anything they can do for us, but simply for who, and what, they are – as individuals, and as culture.
They live together here, as a herd, in spacious fields, coming and going as they choose. They are not “trained” subject to man-made techniques, and methods of dominance.
With mutual respect, we engage each other at the awesome thresholds of our respective cultures, learning from, and uplifting, each other, rather than diminishing any parts of ourselves, or them.
We strive to uphold the sacred pact, that we must always honor the camels, and all other creatures, no matter how difficult the challenges pressing us to do otherwise. Our respect for the camels extends to all others.
The Sacred Camel Gardens emerges from the mutual love of a great bull camel, Jingle Baba, and a great human spiritual teacher, Adi Da Samraj. “I do not make the slightest jot of distinction between a human being and any other form or appearance. There is none to be made… I am in conversation with all beings and things… It is not that only human beings are full of ‘soul’ and everything else should be chopped up and eaten for lunch! If you examine beings other than the human, feel them, are sensitive to them, enter directly into relationship with them, you discover that they are the same – and not just the somewhat bigger ones… but the mosquitoes, too, which you swat out as if they were nothing.”
Adi Da requested that the Sacred Camel Gardens not follow the usual pattern of man’s approach to non-humans. He implored us to create a circumstance where human and non-human cultures could come together, intelligently, and safely, where all the varied inheritances could be integrated, in the clarity that all beings comprise one great, diverse, sacred culture of life on Earth; and where all are seen as equal – at heart – no matter that form and function differ.
This is the unique, daunting, task, and enjoyment, ahead of us.
Building the foundations for this has been difficult, but wonderful. When I look deeply into it all, I see that it has already happened. This has always been the case, except we all forgot… don’t you remember, now that I mention it?
Please stroll through this website to learn more about the Sacred Camel Gardens and what is being created here.
After recovering from the 2015 Valley Fire, we are intent and passionate on further growth, to deepen our process here, and enable our expansion of outreach and education.
The changes we make together, in this, are that long forgotten “other worlds” become remembered in the present act of who we are.
And the more who participate in this, the more will be remembered, and returned to life.
This blog-post is poetic and philosophical, but on the ground, with and around the camels, a very real, and basic process is going on, involving mundane projects of designing, building, fundraising, and so on. And there is the ongoing engagement (training) with the camels and others, and their health and daily care. There’s a lot to do. If you’d like to be involved, just drop us a line and we can start getting acquainted.