The elder brothers call
Mamo Avinteira (Juan Bautista Villafaña)
Our welcome to all the younger brothers who have had the opportunity and patience to listen to us. I would be very pleased if we could have a closer communication, but because of the language, it is difficult. Anyway, through my interpreter, some messages might come out from this chat, which you ought to spread somehow for the sake of the generations living in this great coffee-growing region, and of the future ones.
I want to make a strong appeal for reflection, not only in behalf of our own country, but also of the Continent. These live times of great need, and its seems there is a wide opening for the philosophical and religious streams of thought we have in our bosoms. And it hurts us the possibility that this thought may go astray from its true path —the path through which you will have to walk along, and on which we shall meet again around something that is to be built.
You have suffered in your own flesh the injuries that have been inflicted to the earth. These injuries are also embodied in men who are gradually losing their identity. To preserve what we have defended for millennia, these reflections should lead us to an individual, inner communication with you. For it is as if we were making a selection of the best seeds to be sown in the future. I know it is a bit difficult, due to the type of community we are facing here. For there are different thoughts, different interests —some identifying themselves with darkness, others with light. I could not really evaluate you at this moment, but anyway, to be able to regard and appreciate ourselves as true brothers, there is something that we cannot deprive ourselves of. You must rediscover your own Mamos, your own roots; and you have to take good care of those roots, so that they reach deep into the wisdom we want to transmit to you.
We wish you would start making your "pagamentos" again; your offerings to each of your daily activities. We wish you would make your deep reflections on all that you investigate, on what you study, on the sages, on the scientists, on those who read, on all those who in one way or another are interested in the survival of humankind. That would lead us to a true life in communion, and not to what we see at present.
Just now I was listening to the message of the thunder; namely, that at this moment our people in the Sierra need us to achieve true communication with you. So let us start shedding our fears of natural phenomena, for they are part of our integrity. I would be happy to share with you many simple teachings. Not those of the profuse and greedy sages who do not want to teach. To us, humbleness is a sign of wisdom. That is what we want you to pass on to the new generations.
I also want to make a call for us to find our true identity. We are still in time to reach that goal. You, and we the Mamos, must be on the alert.
Every moment of the day, from the highest places in the Sierra, our reflections are directed towards humankind's finding of their true balance. This seems a bit difficult, but if we make an effort we can achieve it. We know there are younger brothers with plenty of good feelings and ideas, but the bad thing we see is, perhaps, that you have not been able to properly lay your foundations. You have too many ranks —there are too many careers, professions, etc. And that divides you, separates you. And so, everyone specializes on one field, and that is not done for the sake of his brothers, but for his own. Everyone wants to profit in the field he knows; and that means going out of balance. And not only thought goes out of balance, but also the idea we have about the riches of the earth.
We see how, for millennia, when the great forests covered these valleys, these mountains, we lived in complete harmony. There were countless water sources, birds, and animals. Birds of pray that were messengers; the thunder could be heard in its full meaning, the wind was pure; every one of them was the messenger of them all. But if today I sit anywhere on this mountain ranges to engage in my reflections —as we have been doing for over 25 centuries—, what I interpret now may be wrong; for here we cannot meditate anymore.
Therefore I make an appeal, and this appeal should also reach the President of Colombia: The reforestation campaigns, and the environmental education programs, must consider the native varieties of every region; for there lies our future nourishment, and not in the one-species plantations they are establishing nowadays, because the onset of insect plagues will be tremendously destructive.
So we need that, as we have preserved in the Sierra for thousands years a productive community, you too begin to make special plans to rescue the foodstuff that you have lost. A lot of research must be made in that direction. Moreover, you may observe that there used to be many different languages spoken by the communities of this Continent. Ijka, Wayu, and Kamsa languages may still be spoken. In the same way, you may speak the different languages of the world. But it does not suffice to speak them: you need to know the language of Nature, the language of all that surrounds you. To us, all that circles around us is full of experience, full of life; and if you do not understand that in this way, it is because you use those objects that please you. We consider that these elements should be found again; and still in this region there are places that I deem sacred. Let us rescue these great sources again, those great fruits of the earth that seems to have vanished. That is what I understand.
The first and second lightenings and the thunderclap that I heard tell me I am surrounded by huge mountains, and that westward from were we sit now there is a wide variety of jungles that must be defended. Its seems that the remnants of great water sources are still there. They could be the breath of this country.
We see that the destruction made by settlers and "guaqueros" —or grave plunderers— is spreading in the Sierra. We also see that the snows show their pain, and that pain you may see in the melting of the great icy summits. And it is an omen that tempests, earthquakes and diseases are reaching a crucial stage in this society. As a Mamo, I would not wish you evil, I would rather wish you good; but it is necessary that you find that great identity: you must go back to your roots. We know that many tribes live here together and that they have lost their languages, but of the plants there are still seeds to be rescued, and those seeds must be an example of the new identity of thought that you will sow from now on.
It is not enough, then, that new ministries be created, or that the President draws policies: we by ourselves must design policies suitable to our own needs. We ourselves are an example of all this: we have more than 25 centuries of existence in this Continent, and instead of being at home here, it seems we are facing extinction.
It would be good if you became aware that we share a common mother, and a common father, the wind, which is part of our breathing; that we have a common eye —the sun— which is our reflection and enables us to observe, to see all things.
In the same way as the variety of languages exists, there also exists a variety of climates, plants, fowl, and animals. We cannot afford to be confused by things that are strange to our planet, to our earth; here is the essence of all that She embodies: us, our bodies, are a fundamental part of our great quest for what you might interpret as God.
Religious differences are pointless here, for we do not have such a concept as religion. The God concept is, to us, unity, is the total living together, is the maximum total identity we might have as human beings: if we achieve that maximum of togetherness, we achieve a deep respect for all things we may observe. In that way, nothing would do us harm, for nothing in this life is evil, all is good. It is you yourselves who have turned it evil; humankind itself has turned it evil. There in the Sierra we have the Elementals: the deities representing all the big cities of the world; the high buildings; the flight of the airplane, which imitates the bird. We understand that. We regard the imitation of the auditory duct as the miracle of communication, but we communicate through reflection. We understand all that. No, that is not strange to us. What we see is that men have taken all those things with such haste that now they are capable of destroying our planet. By looking at the buildings, the cars, the highways, and all that I have observed in my journey, I understand that that acceleration to destroy our Mother Earth is overwhelming. I would ask some of you to go and take a close look at the way we live.
When you reach the capacity to identify yourselves with the day, and a deep understanding of the meaning of all this cosmogony that surrounds us all, then will you begin to interpret the true languages of what we all have in common.
Now, for my part, I simply ask you that this be not our last opportunity to talk together, to find again those places round us. Our wish is to go and rediscover those places. I would be willing to return, to point out the way to reconstruct those mounds, those sacred mountains, those lakes, so that they recover their true breath again.
This is an informal chat, it is just an opening; there in the Sierra we have much to offer you in the fields of philosophy, medicine, and on the interpretation of the phenomena that occur around you and around us.
To go on maturing this idea, I ask you the favor of disseminating the contents of this chat, hopefully through the different media. For it would help us there in the Sierra to offer our "pagamentos", to render our offerings to God; so that our words here do not vanish into the air or get blown by the wind; and you can find a vibration, a happiness, a joy, because this idea is going to spread all over the Earth.
(A talk at the Fondo Cultural Cafetero, June 7th, 1995) Interpreter: Mamo Arwa-Viku