G.K. Upawansa, Pasasa, Hyneford, Dekeinda Nawalapitiya
Eco-unfriendly conventional farming had spurred the mind of eco-conscious farmers as far back as early 1925. As a result of such few farmers' request, Dr. Rudolf Steiner in 1924 described farming in eight lectures, which laid the foundation for bio-dynamic farming (BDF). Principally BDF in addition to bio-physical factors such as land reparation, peat management, plant nutrition, etc.; cosmic (astrology) and spiritual influences are considered in farming. However it must be mentioned that use of astrology is at a very low level compared to Sri Lankan indigenous farming. Spiritual considerations are even much lower than astrology and confined to spiritual qualities of farmer and universal spiritual linkages among living organisms.
Having considered the above three dimensions of BDF four aspects that should be given due respect in BDF are
In a nut shell, BDF practices in tropics involves non turning of soil in order not to disturb soil life, crops should accompany weeds and trees to enhance flora diversity so that fauna and microbial diversity can be enhanced; incorporate organic matter as much as possible to activate microbial population so that crop and plant growth rate would be accelerated.
To make use of cosmic energies, absorb and transmit to soil BD preparations are made use of e.g.
To get the direct influence of cosmic energies or what is called lunar influence lunar positions in the zodiac or constellations are taken in to account. For this purpose crops are categorizes in to four namely; (a) fruits and seeds (b) yams and root, (c) flowers and (d) leaves. Following chart shows appropriate constellation in which each type of crop to be planted or seeded.
A manual calculation of there positions are made and published in the Mariya Tung planting calendars which is a really ready reckener of the times for planting. These times are also suitable and recommend using for operation like weeding manīring, pruning etc. of the crop type.
In ancient Sri Lankan farming instead of the whole constellation where moon is, only a section of the (2/9th) constellation is taken into consideration. This is termed nekatha or star. Some nekethas are good for some crops while others are suitable for other. In addition to position of the moon in the zodiac, phase of the moon was widely used in farming to increase the yields and for crop protection from wild animals. This lunar cycle is known as syndic while the previous cycle in the zodiac is termed as sidereal. The syndic cycle is divided into 30 segments and each is called "thithi" and each thithi is given a name by an animal. Sinha (Leo) and divi (leopard) thithi are used to protect the crops from wild animals. Each of these thithi is called karane and there are seven karanes. In Sri Lanka, both sidereal and syndic cycles are considered in planting and other farm operations.
Powers of spirits mainly as local and regional gods are being extensively used in Sri Lanka, wows (bare) offerings and ceremonies (mangalya, udakku, gammadu) are performed to please the gods not only to protect the crops only but also the farming families. Besides these, pirith, yantra, and mantra are also used for crop protection and yield enhancement. These practices can be termed as farming rituals. The out come of these rituals are unbelievable and also unexplainable in terms of modern science and technology.
Study of both BDF and ancient Sri Lankan farming shows the importance of threes spheres or environments. They are bio physical, cosmic and spiritual and influence food production and environmental conservation. As such adoption appropriate and effective techniques can solve many problems created by modern chemical agricultures. For example use of BD 500 enhances the yields of solanasious crop, bulbs and in many ornamental plants according to observations made for eight years in Sri Lanka. World biodynamic farming can be made more productive by incorporating relevant techniques falling in to the there spheres either from east or west.