- Religion and Philosophy»
RESTORING THE GANGA, THE GITA & DR. SHIVA
All Rivers are Goddesses
In the Mahabharata we hear about the story of Duryodhan, the son of Dhritarshtra, who jumps into the Ganga, believing his sins will be taken away. He is a prince who has a bad attitude, bad intent and malicious ways. You can jump into any river but if your intent and heart is not in the right place it will do you no good. Water is a symbol of what you have in your heart. Only good deeds can overcome bad karma. Good deeds are what grace is all about.
What is the truth? All rivers are goddesses. I discovered that one day while sitting next to Minnehaha Falls. All of a sudden an Indian woman appeared coming right out of the river wearing white robes. What I discovered is the Ganga Ma's color is white, which represents purity. What if you treated all rivers and the Ganga like a goddess? We would not have pollution problems would we? You would not throw a bunch of chemicals at your own mother. So, too, we should not throw chemicals and pollution into rivers.
Dr. Vandana Shiva and many others worldwide are working on restoring the greatness of the Ganga. New Delhi has many chemical industries who think India is a chemical dumping ground. Laws, standards, enforcement and law suits are what are needed there. Seventy percent of pollution is due to these polluters.
Untreated sewage is dumped into the rivers. Dr. Shiva says that there is a better way to deal with the sewage problem. Treating the water is not the way to go. Here is her solution: "Intelligent zero-to-waste sewage treatment systems like those evolved in IIT-Kanpur by Dr. Vinod Tare would clean the Ganga and also fertilize the soil. We would not be wasting 130,000 crores on fertilizer subsidies and thousands of crores on river action plans. Organic farming can be a major action for cleaning the Ganga."
The ghat priests say that people will put murtis and other items into the river and not think about how it effects the river, animals and plants. They do not follow the correct protocol, so they can harm the river by not following these protocols. It is best to reuse the murtis instead of placing them in the river.
Another problem is dams in the rivers of India. These dams destroy farms and land. The government of India has proposed future dams. Now there is a serious discussion about not building any more dams.
Global warming is a serious problem and the Gangotri Glacier is showing signs of this serious problem. There has been swift increases in the rate of melting snow. The average melting rate per year is 20 to 38 meters. If this rate continues, the Ganga will become a seasonal river. If the Ganga disappears, India will be threatened. Many people live near the Ganga and many animals and plants dwell there, too. There are consequences to destroying the environment. We must stop what we are doing to this beautiful planet we live on.
Not long ago in the news we saw Lord Shiva's murti in Rishikesh being flooded and covered up by dirt. This is because erosion is very seriously getting out of control. Too many people come to this area and the results are not pretty. Severe weather threatens everyone in this area. It is becoming a serious problem worldwide.
When we start treating the Ganga like a goddess, we will be saviors of Mother Earth and Ganga Ma. Dr. Shiva started the Save the Ganga Movement along with many other Indian environmentalists, swamis, priests and devotees. There are many people worldwide who are greatly concerned about the pollution problems in India who have joined the movement, also.
Dr. Shiva is a great example of a karma yogi. She works hard to preserve the river and environment. We must all get beyond ritual and change our lifestyles. Taking care of the environment is everyone's responsibility. You can make a difference. Live ecologically. Please think of future generations. We started the pollution problem. We can stop the pollution problem.
Greed has caused a lot of ecological problems. The Gita warns against greed. Greed causes so many social problems. It is the worst sin of our age. The big corporations are big polluters, but we can do something about it. Refuse to buy the products of the polluters. Recycle, reuse and reduce in your living space. This should be the philosophy of all mandirs. Every mandir should be using green cleaning products, using energy efficiency and recycling. Teaching environmental education is another important thing a mandir should be doing. Young people like discussing relevant topics like this. Some mandirs have bathrooms which look like toxic waste dumps with so many chemical products. Speak up and talk to the boards. You can make a difference. You can change what you are doing. Enjoy the river and remember to treat all rivers and the Ganga like a goddess.
JAI SHRI GANGA MA! JAI SHRI DR. SHIVA! JAI SHRI MOTHER EARTH!