Saturday, May 26, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere.....

Last Tuesday night, at a jam-packed program at the Astanga Yoga Studio and Sri Ganesh Temple in Manhattan, His Holiness Radhanath Swami spoke about the need to clean the pollution from the ecology of our hearts,so that we will be able to clean the pollution from the ecology of our surrounding natural environment.

Maharaja gave a startling, personal example, in which he related that during a recent visit to the Himalayan Mountains, the same mountains he had wandered through thirty-five years ago in search of the Truth, he noticed that the formerly pure-white snow-capped peaks had become stained gray and black from the immense air pollution spewing from India's major cities.

He then related a very sobering bit of news he had heard from one of his scientist associates, in which because of this pollution and its resultant climatic alterations, there is every chance that two of India's biggest and most sacred rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna, may dry up by 2050.

The fact is that the body of this planet and our own physical and emotional bodies are on the verge of chaotic collapse. Who can chant Hare Krsna in the streets of Manhattan when the streets of Manhattan have been swallowed up by the Atlantic Ocean?

My first reaction, being a prideful rascal, was one of dare I say pleasure to hear one of the most spiritual personalities alive on this planet using the plight of our earthly environment to forcibly get across his point of the drastic need for a immediate re-spiritualization of the planet.

As I try to become more absorbed on this path of devotion to Krsna, to rid myself of my lusty attachment to all that is material, I cannot shake the plain truth that unless we as devotees move more towards the forefront of the worldwide movement for sustainability, we will be losing a grand portion of our ability to spread the rays of the benediction moon that is this sankirtana movement.

What must we do within our institution of ISKCON to make these environmental issues a priority in our outreach? What can we do as individual devotees and as individual temples to help make these issues a priority? At New Vrindaban, even though we live in a vegetarian community and are trying to systematically protect a number of cows, we struggle to convince the majority of the community to not use wasteful styrofoam, and previous composting and recycling programs have been lost in a haze of inefficiency and indifference. It is a very uphill battle.

Radhanath Swami said that the waters of the Ganges are always completely pure, but when mixed with polluted elements, the waters appear to be unclean. We must remember that the Ganga water, like the nature of the soul, is never contaminated.

Like the filtering of this water, we must begin by filtering out all polluted elements within our selves so that we can face the challenges of this world with positive, forward-thinking consciousness. True action begins within ourselves, but we must begin now, and move quickly, because it may already be too late.

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