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MOTHER EARTH, HANUMAN & THE PASSOVER
Celebrated April 10th Passover & Hanuman Jayanti
On April 10th Hindus all over the world celebrate Hanuman Jayanti and on that same day at sundown Jewish families celebrate the Passover. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd with Earth projects worldwide.
Global warming is a worldwide problem. Members of all spiritual traditions can join together with greater respect and with great actions which honor Mother Earth.
Not surprised that the Bible is an Earth centered group of texts. The Psalms have many earth images. In the Psalms we learn that the Earth belongs to the Creator. We do not own Mother Earth. We are stewards of the Earth. The Hebrew word which is used concerning are responsibility towards the Earth is one of stewardship not about doing anything you want to Mother Earth. You treat the Earth as you would the Divine with high reverence.
In Hinduism the Vedas describe the Earth's great ecosystem in much detail. It is the first group of spiritual texts which describe the ecosystem. We believe that we do not own anything. It is given to us by the Mother. When we die we return as ashes to Mother Earth when we are cremated. Mother Lashkmi gives spiritual as well as material wealth. Spiritual wealth is greater.
There are consequences for destroying the environment. We live with that destruction every day. We have experienced various plagues because of our willful disrespect for Mother Earth. Drought, viruses, diseases, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other Earth destruction happens because we are like pharaoh. We do not want to give up our bad environmental habits.
In the story of the Passover several plagues are visited upon the Egyptians because pharaoh will not let the Israelites go and be free to leave Egypt. The angel of death passes over the homes of the Israelites. The houses of the Egyptians experience the death of the first born males because of the actions of pharaoh. Finally the Jews are allowed their freedom. Pharaoh has had enough of the plagues. It is about time we have had enough of them, too, and live more ecologically.
Food comes from the Earth and the Passover celebrates her bounty by re-living this ancient story through the Family Seder. Several years ago I was able to experience a Seder with members of the Lutheran Center and a Reformed Jewish Temple. During the time of the Exodus, the Jews wandered 40 years in the desert. There was a pillar which directed them and manna which was given for their daily bread. God is with us in our trials every day. When the Jews started worshiping the golden calf of wealth over God, they suffered the consequences. Our greed sometimes is more important than taking care of Mother Earth. People worship this false god of greed, but there are consequences when you do not take care of Mother Earth.
Hanuman Jayanti honors the greatness of Hanuman who was a servant of Shri Ram and Mother Sita. He is the 11th incarnation of Lord Shiva who transforms, liberates and eliminates destructive tendencies within ourselves. He sometimes uses destruction to create something new and greater.
Hanuman is called the son of the wind god, Vayu. The Hebrew word for wind or spirit is Ruach Elohim. The Bible states that Ruach Elohim moved over the waters in creation. The Elohim are plural, combining El, God as the masculine aspect, and Eloah, Goddess as the feminine aspect. So the wind and spirit has the power of God and Goddess.
It was the power of the wind which brought great Hanuman to the Earth. He was of the Vanara race who had bodies of humans and faces of monkeys. Dr. Rambachan, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, says that Hanuman was a forest dwelling human.
Hanuman chased the sun one day as a child thinking it was a fruit. Indra, king of the gods, tried to stop him with a thunderbolt on the chin. This is how he got his name, which means awesome chin. Eventually, Surya, the sun, became Hanuman's teacher or guru. Of course, Shiva is the great Guru, so it is not surprising that Hanuman became a great guru. The sun gives life and health to everyone and is certainly one of our greatest gurus of ecology.
Hanuman has spiritual powers. We do, too. Some of us know how to use them wisely. Some of us do not use them wisely. Hanuman, like Moses, was a liberator and used those powers wisely and liberated Lanka who was ruled by an evil demon called Ravanna who was a devotee of Shiva. Ravanna received powers and boons for this devotion to Shiva, but he misused them. He abducted Shri Ram's wife, Sita. Ravanna mentally tortured her and demanded that she become his wife. Ravanna was every bit the terrorist we see in modern times. He abused the people of Lanka and the saints and sages. Hanuman destroyed Lanka by using fire placed on his tail by his captors. He saved Mother Sita. Shri Ram fought Ravanna. In the end Ravanna admitted his deeds and asked for forgiveness as he was dying. He was forgiven despite his actions. He paid the price of having the leave this world because he misused his powers. He had to give up his earthly kingdom.
Hanuman is about greatness, yet he is humble. His guru, Surya, is connected with spiritual light. Surya means light in Sanskrit. The sun is very much a part of the ecology of the planet. Without light and fire, nature cannot exist. Wind and air are also important in the ecosystem. When they are in the right balance, ecology happens. The ecosystem is out of balance because of our actions. There are no excuses for our behavior towards Mother Earth. We should not deny our responsibility. Some people deny that global warming exists. It is very real. Look out the window. My guru, Pandit Munelal Maharaj, is the ecological pandit. He truly lives the ecological life style. This Earth Day stop being in denial about your responsibility towards Mother Earth. Use your spiritual powers wisely like Hanuman. Be a true hero and change your lifestyle. Elders must admit their mistakes. Their children and grandchildren will have to live in that world the elders created. It is not too late. We all need to change our actions today for the sake of Mother Earth and our descendants. Happy Earth Day. Happy Passover. Happy Hanuman Jayanti!
JAI SHRI HANUMAN! JAI SHRI MOTHER EARTH! JAI SHRI PASSOVER!