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DIVALI, ECOLOGY & 2012
Mayans & Indian Sages & 2012
Divali will be celebrated on October 26th this year. At its roots Divali is a five-day harvest festival which begins on a new moon night in the month of Kartik (October/November in the Western Calendar). On the fourth day of the festival the Govardhan Puja is performed. Krishna taught the ecological importance of the mountain which brought the rains, conservation of top soil and flaura and fauna for humanity and the cows.
Divali can be celebrated in a more ecological manner by using oil lamps instead of electric lights. Fire crackers cause a lot of air and noise pollution. It is time to think about its ecological roots and what the Vedic Philosophy has to say about these times of Global Warming and 2012.
There are people who are in deep denial about Global Warming and do not want to admit we all have a responsibility in changing our behavior towards Mother Earth. All of us can do some thing to cut down CO2 levels, pollution levels and waste found in landfills. Because of human pollution there are consequences in every country on the planet. Because of the high CO2 levels , the internal temperature of the Earth has risen to the point where droughts, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis are causing extreme problems in many countries. Temperatures are rising on the Tibetan Plateau, which are causing the Himalayan glaciers to retreat. Because trees have been cut excessively, you have problems of droughts and floods in Brazil and India. Each of these countries need to plant more trees to mitigate the effects of Global Warming. The USA creates a high percentage of air pollution, but its large city mayors see the problem and have started to mitigate the problem by allocating funds toward tree planting to increase the size of the Urban Canopy. In Minneapolis, Minnesota our Democratic green mayor, R.T. Ryback, has promoted tree planting, lower water useage in the city and instituted use of LEED and solar lighting and panels in the city. Energy efficiency and recycling are two other activities the city has engaged in for the last five years or more.
According to Mrs. Nandita Verma, Head, Faculty of Management Studies at the Institute of Technology and Management, Rajasthan, India, "Deforestation can be aided by religious belief. Cutting down forests accounts for one fifth of the emissions, more than those from all transportation. By protecting our forests, we can reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. This is more significant for countries like India which have a large percent of the world's fresh water resources, forests and valuable biodiversity." There is some tree planting happening in India but not enough. Cutting of trees must stop. Erosion of hillsides is causing floods and other negative effects. The Industrial polluters are also a problem and the government needs to do some thing about it.
Pandit Munelal Maharaj, a well known Caribbean Hindu priest, talked about the fact that Indian sages and teachers say that 2013 will be even worse than 2012 in the effects of Climate Change due to Global Warming. But there are practices we can do to help and mitigate the situation from the Mayans and Vedic Philosophy.
Mayan Elders are also speaking out about 2012. Both Vedic Philosphers and Mayans revere their elders. Carlos Barrios, Mayan Elder and Ajq'ij (ceremonial priest and spiritual guide) of the Eagle Clan, has interviewed 600 traditional Mayan elders about these times. He says, "We are no longer in the World of the Fourth Sun, but we are not yet in the World of the Fifth Sun. This is the time in-between, the time of transition. As we pass through transition there is a colossal, global convergence of environmental destruction, social chaos, war and ongoing Earth Changes...At sunrise on December 21, 2012 for the first time in 26,000 years the Sun rises to conjunct the intersection of the Milky Way and the plane of the ecliptic. This cosmic cross is considered to be an embodiment of the Sacred Tree, the Tree of Life, a tree remembered in all the world's spiritual traditions...If the people of the Earth can get to this 2012 date in good shape without having destroyed too much of the Earth, we will rise to a new, higher level. But to get there we must transform enormously powerful forces that seek to block the way."
He says the North and South poles are breaking up and sea levels will rise especially near Cuba. Unity is important in these times because dark forces stop unity through denial and materialism. The ether element will be very important during times of the Fifth Sun. Ether is very much about spiritual energy. What we need to do, according to Carlos is, "Work together for peace and balance with the other (dark) side. We need to take care of the Earth that feeds and shelters us. We need to put our entire mind and heart into pursuing unity and unity now, to confront the other side and preserve life."
He recommends meditation and spiritual practice in addition to action, eating wisely, preserving food and conserving energy, besides breathing practices. This is very similiar to what Pandit Munelal shared at our recent Yagna in Minneapolis. Reactivating energy in sacred places is very important. This is why preserving these places is very important. Lighting white or baby blue candles and being in peace with intention to sending light to all the world leaders for peace is good, too. Carlos recommends, "Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. The real knowledge is free. It's encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Find your heart and you will find your way."
Thousands of years ago ecological practices were written about in the Vedas, Gita and Upanishads. Many are similiar to the Mayan ideas. Both civilizations are ancient. The Rig Veda contains much ecological wisdom such as "do not cut trees, because they remove pollution." In the Puranas Krishna gave his famous discourse on the Beauty of Trees, which reads much like a modern ecological text book. The Divine is in all things and nature. In the Gita Krishna says, "On me the Universe is strung like clustered pearls upon a thread In water I am flavor. In sun and moon the light." We are all connected. The Native Americans of many traditions call this idea, "All My Relations." The Sarva Bhuta Hita states that the common good is more important than private advantage. Taking care of the environment, the poor, and oppressed and children are very important in achieving the common good. Pandit Munelal stressed this in his discourses at Vishnu. Building good karma by doing right action sets off a chain reaction where ill effects are mitigated. The Bishnois, a small community in Rajasthan, lived the concept of environmental conservation. They even gave their lives in the pursuit of protecting trees. Gandhi promoted this great idea, "The Earth has resources to meet everybody's needs, but not anybody's greed." As Swami Tripurari says, "Our present environmental crisis is in essence a spiritual crisis. The current deplorable condition demands a spiritual response. One of the measures that could help a great deal to fulfill this need is to regenerate and rejuvenate basic values of Hinduism."
I see that action is the key. Live as ecologically as you can to mitigate the ill effects of 2012-2013. I suggest starting with our own families and mandirs, then branching out. Recycling, reuse and repair are so important. Use of LEED lighting, wind, solar and geothermal (Earth) energy is the way to go. Use ceramic plates instead of paper plates. Installation of a dishwasher is worth every penny. Use natural products and Ayurvedic Medicine and principles. As Pandit Munelal says Americans are getting healthy by yoga, exercising and using Ayurvedic Medicine. Granted some are doing the opposite. In this age you see both practices. The way to go is living the ecological principles in the Vedas. Why are we using chemical products, not recycling, putting unnecessary trash in the landfills and using inefficient fossil fuels at our mandirs? I join Pandit Munelal who promotes healthy, ecological Ayurvedic Medicine found in the Vedic Philosophy of various sacred texts. Chanting will help relieve stress and mitigate the effects of 2012-2013. Both spiritual and physical yoga are needed in these times.
As Ammachi Ma says, "When we come to see a river as God, how will we dump toxic waste into it? When we see trees as manifestations of the Lord, how will we disseminate our forests? When we see the very air as Vaya Deva, how will we allow posionous fumes from factories to fill it?" Ma is involved in several green projects including tree planting. Go to www.amritapuri.org/activity/nature to find out about these projects under nature links.
Global warming is the number one challenge of our age, yet we can do some thing about it. The greatest gift of Divali is living the ecological principles of the Vedas.
JAI SHRI MAYANS! JAI SHIR ECOLOGY! JAI SHRI DIVALI! JAI SHRI 2012!