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WHY IS MOTHER EARTH UPSET?
Earth Day Happens April 22nd
Recently I saw photos of global climate change from NASA's website. The contrasts in climate in the last decade as shown in these photos are very stark and graphic. It's enough to wake up even skeptics who are in denial about the serious changes in the climate in the last decade. Mother Earth is upset and reacting to the actions of us all. Every day we hear of earthquakes, tornadoes, storms, floods and droughts connected with humans putting too much C02 into the environment. This is why She is upset! She has every reason to be upset!
The Himalayan glaciers, which are the sources of the Ganga (Ganges) in India, are melting at an alarming rate. Glacial Lake Outburst Floods are a threat to the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. Lives and livelihoods are greatly at risk. The Norweigan government has developed a program and projects to help prevent future problems. Most floods are in Asia and cause 1/4 of the deaths on this continent. Many of these floods are tied to global warming. A UN climate report centers on the Ganga and the glaciers. Himalayan glaciers could disappear as early as 2030.
Rituals performed on the Ganga's banks may very well be in jeopardy if humans do not reduce their CO2 emissions. It's going to take everyone's heart-felt efforts to reverse this situation. We are all connected and we all can do something about it. All nations must do their part. There is no East vs. West, just us doing the right thing.
First of all we must develop a relationship with Bhumi Devi (Mother Earth). When we do that we will want to do what we can to calm our Mother. Last weekend I learned a lot about this relationship from my spiritual teacher, Pundit Munelal Maharaj. He came to perform a Hanuman Chaleesa ritual, do discourses and sing bhajans at MHDS Vishnu Mandir. It was an emotional experience for me because he gave me his mala of red carnations on Saturday night. I cried for joy. Little did I know I was going to learn a spiritual and ecological lesson within minutes of this event. I went into the fellowship hall to buy one of his CDs. I could not decide at first which one to purchase. Then I asked the woman selling the CDs which CD was his latest recording. When I opened the CD, I noticed a red/pink lotus inside and a quote from Punditji, "A life without devotion to God, is like a flower without its fragrance." He signed it, "Always in Dharma." My Dharma is connected with having an intimate relationship with Mother Earth and sharing it with others. On Friday when he came, I gave him an artistic card and some spiritual gifts connected with Hanuman and the Mother. In our private conversation on Friday, he talked about finding my Dharma, or life purpose. Wow! That is an interesting sequence of events! It totally changed my life and I will never be the same again. Now I have a real relationship with the Mother beyond what I had known before. It's much deeper.
You see when you develop a relationship with your Mother Earth, you will want to treat Her right just like you want to treat your own mother with great reverence. You will start to bring reverence to Bhumi Devi as a natural part of your relationship with Her.
Go out there and experience Her flowers, animals, plants and trees. Walk in the woods by the lake, river or ocean. At Lake Harriet in Minneapolis the spring is full of beauty this time of year. Recently I've seen deer, admiral and morning cloak butterflies, nuthatches, ducks and geese. Tulips, violets, blue bells and daffodils are among the delicate and showy spring flowers blooming in the Peace Garden.
This relationship with Mother Earth will motivate you to accomplish many great things: recycling, using natural cleaning products, using public transit or owning an environmental car, re-using what you can, eating organic food, growing a garden, using ceramic plates, using towels or a dryer as an alternative to paper towels, using natural materials at Holi and rituals. The list goes on and on. You will want to educate others and advocate for environmental laws and businesses. The future is with green businesses. Natural and organic products and foods can be purchased at food coops and other health food stores. While I do appreciate the businesses they have, I would advocate Hindus starting their own green businesses. The younger generation will start these businesses and will become the leaders at our mandirs. Vedic Ecology is a book which explains these Vedic Ecological Principles. Pujas have many natural and earth-based items, yet some Hindus do not always get that ecological connection of taking care of Mother Earth. They focus exclusively on their own liberation, not the equally important liberation of our actions toward Mother Earth. If your meditations only focus on your own internal spiritual work, your meditations are not really working. Gandhi did both internal and external work in his social activism. Both are necessary for liberation. So if you are merely doing rituals, prayers, meditations and chanting, it is not enough. It's how you treat other human beings, the plants, trees, animals and other beings in the Universe, which is the most important goal. You start within and then you go out and do your work in the world.
Discover the wonderful ecological hertiage found in the Vedas, the Purans and many other texts. Implement ecological pratices at home, at the mandir and in your community.
Tree planting honors Krishna, who gave the world a great ecological discourse on trees thousands of years ago. It honors Mother Sita who gave an ecological lesson to her son about not cutting green trees for firewood. Dead wood is to be used as recycling the bounty of the Earth, not living green trees. Many cities are starting to plant fruit trees near the sidewalks and streets. Trees are the lungs of the plant. Oxygen production is one of their tasks. This counter balances the excessive CO2 in the environment.
I encourage everyone to start an ecological project every year. When we work together as a community and a planet, we can acheive miracles. I encourage every mandir to develop an ecological project every year. What a great youth, middle age and elder program: Vedic Ecology.
I will leave you with these words from Pundit Munelal from his website www.punditmunelal.com), "I am the source of all energy in the universe. I am the light in the bright sun...I am the fragrance in every flower...I am the breath in every living aspect of creation." This is Mother Earth, Bhumi Devi, letting you know Her presence. Now go out and go into the woods. Have a happy Earth Day!
JAI SHRI BHUMI DEVI! JAI SHRI EARTH DAY!