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ECOLOGY, HINDUISM & GOING GREEN
Earth Day Celebrated April 22nd
The Vedas are one of the most ecological texts in the world. The Ayurveda describes in detail the ecosystem on planet Earth. In fact the Vedas are the first spiritual ecological texts created by humanity. They contain a valuable blueprint on how to live ecologically on Mother Earth. These books show us how to respect the plants, trees, flora and fauna which were created by the Divine. We learn the price of disrespecting our Mother Bhumi (Mother Earth) in the Ayurveda. According to Dr. David Frawley, "God is present in all nature, in all creatures, and in every human being regardless of their faith of lack of it."
Amma, the hugging saint, has a deep respect for Mother Bhumi. She is involved with a number of environmental projects, especially planting trees and providing environmental education through seminars. We must see Bhumi as our Mother. Amma 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 itself as Vayu Deva, how will we allow poisonous fumes from factories to fill it?" We would also likely take more personal responsibility to use natural products which promote health rather than worshiping chemical products.
I learned a great lesson from Mother Earth one beautiful summer day when I was at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. I sat peacefully with a friend enjoying the breezes of the Mississippi River. All of a sudden I saw this beautiful Indian woman with white robes come out of the river. She was showing me that the very river I was looking at was a goddess. I will never forget this beautiful experience.
When we don't take care of Mother Bhumi there will be a price to be paid. Karma is an important concept in Hinduism. Your actions follow you through this life and many lives to come. You can't keep on polluting the Earth without consequences. In these days of global warming, this is so stark and apparent. Yet there are those who deny what is happening. When you are in denial, you believe you are not responsible for changing your actions. No matter how much someone denies their responsibility eventually karma will affect that individual soul and many others, too. We must eventually realize that Earth is really our Mother and that we are truly Her sons and daughters. How can you throw chemicals at your own Mother? Your own mother birthed you and brought you into the world. Your energy and her energy are forever entwined. This is so true of Mother Earth. Every day you walk upon your Mother Bhumi. Her energy is so close to you.
Realize that 80,000 chemicals are being used every day in the United States with 2,000 more being added every day. Unfortunately, the government does not test many of these chemicals before they are offered for sale. So you really have to educate yourself about the health effects of products which contain these chemicals. Eighty percent have had no testing at all before they are offered by companies for sale.
The University of Minnesota did test many of the chemical cleaning products to determine if they killed germs. None of them did kill germs and many are unsafe. Some of the health effects of these products are: allergy, chemical sensitivity, asthma, cancer, renal failure and learning disabilities.
In contrast to this reality, the natural cleaning products do kill germs and are safe for Mother Bhumi, animals and people. Some of the most common natural cleaning products are: salt, baking soda, lemon and lime juices, vinegar, almond oil, borax, bon ami and essential oils.
For an air freshener you can use lavander and clove essential oils suspended in water. Buy an empty spray bottle at one of the food coops or drug stores. Essential oils are found at Indian groceries and food coops. Lavander and clove are two of the most tolerated essential oils by people with allergies and sensitivities. Put the oil in the water and put it in the spray bottle. Spray in bathrooms or kitchens. You can also use whole cloves or spices as an air freshener. Place them in a dish in the effected area in a safe place, so that children do not play with them.
Many of the yoga studios have gone green with their use of natural cleaning products and recycling. Some compost, like the Meditation Center on University Avenue in Minneapolis. The mandirs can be as good as these organizations. Start a Vedic Ecology course, a recycling program, a natural traditional, green Holi and natural cleaning system. We want to be relevant in order to attract youth. Becoming green is a great way of instituting youth programs at the mandir.
I say that we need to change our priorities for future generations and honor Mother Bhumi at our mandirs. If we have chemical cleaning products in our mandir bathrooms, it is a very bad example for the youth and we are putting everyone's health at risk. Our tradition is very ecological. It is time we really live those spiritual values and truth. Being green isn't just for the yoga studios, it's for the mandirs as well. Have a Happy Earth Day every day!
JAI SHRI MA! JAI SHRI BHUMI! JAI SHRI GREEN!