All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Today I want to introduce to you a consciousness material which has been the result of months of work and, first of all, it tries to have environmental impact, so for this reason it is not printed on plastic, but it's handmade. This product was realized in our office in Vrindavan – India; before we printed it in Hindi and English, but we realized that the message is so good and strong we wanted to do a variation in Spanish.
This campaign is promoted in India by an organization called Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance, but in this version we have changed the phrase to "Our mission is to build sanctuaries in the hearts of every being". We've taken out the elements that focus only on one city (Vrindavan) and in one type of religion, including the various mystical traditions so it can be used by the whole world.
This poster was originally developed because of the ecological situation it's been lived in the holy sites to inform and educate them about it in different schools, ashrams and public areas. It is totally educational and looks like the typical Indian mantles that are very popular. It is full of green advices and hints that one can follow.
It is my heartfelt wish for this loom to be in all the temples and houses of grhastras. Why? Because our children need to interact with and learn these topics; so if you do not pay attention to this and don't practice it, means that you are clueless. The essential question regarding the subject of ecology is that only by seeing and experiencing it one can have the required concept to live in a different way.
I will explain you in details what the written messages here are talking about, so that you have a clue that tells us where we should walk through to deepen our mentality of respect for the Mother Earth, or how to have it if you do not already have it.
First I will refer to a key topic in the ecological issue: the topic of cleansing. We have recently been at the most beautiful lake in the world, Lake Titicaca and, although we have collected plastic from it several times, both the lake and reed plantations are full of garbage. Rivers and oceans around the world are contaminated by large amounts of waste of all kinds.
How do we approach to the cleaning?
You already know our program "A helping hand to Vrindavan". This is a project under development in which you can achieve perfection through the mercy of becoming someone humble and clean. Becoming someone who cleans. This is the reason why our Eco-villages and temples must be examples of cleanliness and if any of these sites needs to improve this aspect, please do something to make it happen. We must all participate, I do not want anyone to be without this opportunity to clean or assist in the cleanup.
Is true that life in community has many demands which makes difficult to work because there are many things to attend, we must always strive to be disciplined and clean. Together with the devotees who visit India we perform cleaning duties in the cities of Mayapur and Vrindavan, there we collect all the garbage founded in different holy places, we remove the plastic from rivers and lakes and transport it to the official city dump. At the end of the day of service, the result is a huge mountain of garbage.
We all can participate in this effort, while been away physically from Vrindavan, by sending a monthly donation to the cleaning program; by doing this we are not only giving something to the Holy Dham but also we receive much mercy. Thus we extend Vrindavan and Mayapur to other places on the planet, because we must remember that both are a state of consciousness. The Cleaning of Vrindavan - Mayapur and the sending of donations are an interesting example of activism, a practical way to become part of the solution instead of staying just in complaints. If we do not help with cleaning and garbage collection, everything will be contaminated.
Thats why we must take care of the sanctuary that exists inside and outside ourselves. We begin the cleaning task by keeping the temples clean and spotless, so every time we go to a temple we must look around it and pick up trash that we find, it is very important to experience firsthand the beautiful feeling that is produced by cleaning the temples.
We recently watched a documentary that tells the story of a village in the Himalayas which did not reach the roads, because they had no communication with the "so-called civilization"; later on that same village became a horror because of the contact with this "civilization", the impact was terrible, it made you want to mourn. The good news is that today there are still some communities that are kept separates from the materialistic influence to preserve their roots and do not suffer the evils of pollution on all levels that afflicts the whole world, an example are the native communities in the Sierra Nevada of Colombia.
Could it be that our life is to collect garbage? Is it the only conscious activity to protect the environment? The answer is no, there is much to be done in different areas, that is why we have more posts in this mantle that are of utmost importance to us and to our children.
Continuing with the explanation of the elements in the mantle of consciousness, we must pay attention to the center. What is there? We have kept the phrase "Jaya Radhe Jaya Syam, cleaning Vrindavan Dham", recalling the divine couple Sri Sri Radhe Syam. Above that is Sri Giriraj Govardhan, that represents our main iconography. We have also placed different universal symbols of love that have a deep meaning for many people who will come into contact with this mantle. We have also included the logos of some of the organizations involved in one way or another on this project, such as Values and Science, Yoga Inbound, Oida therapy, among others. We also placed the name of all our Eco Yoga Villages around the design, making a true pilgrimage around them.
We can also see some important temples of Vrindavan included on the poster, like Radha Gopinath Mandir, where we are doing restoration service, or Keshi Ghat, where is Pandavali Kunja, our main site of activities, and in the future will become a beautiful museum to spread the glories of the mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada. This way we can remember the cultural legacy of our teachers, because from them we came.
Another issue to consider is the transport. If we used ox-driven carts it would solve many of the problems caused by pollution containation. We've made four great oxen carts in Vrindavan, which look fantastic and are very useful. It is a solution for this issue. Similarly, in some cities of the world rikshawalas are being established as a transport; so for example there are rikshaws already in Barcelona and Rome and many of those who see them readily understand its usefulness and benefits. We obviously also count on the transport of bicycles and other non-polluting mediums.
We may be few, but we have much to do, that is why year after year we have established sites throughout the world witch the main criteria is ecology. These are our Eco Yoga Villages like the Eco Yoga Park in Argentina, Shanti Dwip in Bolivia, Vrinda Bhumi in Brazil and many other farms in South America, Europe and India.
Most important part of this mantle of conscience is that if you hang it somewhere along where people are passing, you will automatically provide information and exemplary education and you are also inviting them to become an activist. We need people to become activist for the benefit of the waters, to protect flora, fauna and Mother Earth itself. Imagine, if we could annul all the military activity on the planet, surely we would be able to reduce pollution by 70%. The same would happen if the whole world became vegetarian. We have tangible answers, but due to the current state of things, it become impractical, because what would the military say if they had to stop doing what they do and were forced to plow the land? So becoming somehow part of the solution to help Mother Earth is also a great help for yourself and your family. Another proposal is to use solar energy, for exemple.
All that we propose here is quite revolutionary, perhaps not everyone will be happy to read these proposals, but one of the basic premises of the work of an activist is to make himself to be noted and to fight for his ideals. On this course, we also suggest the suspension of visual pollution caused by large unconscious commercials advertisement.
It is our clear intention to serve humanity and the animals through all our activities. We must always be pending on this. For this, I invite you to become environmental activists today; the songle fact of making others become vegetarian means that you are already an activist.
We invite all the reasonable religions to participate in this cause, we do not exclude those who do not chant Hare Krishna, on the contrary, this is a universal call. We propose to all good will people to protect the Mother Earth, do not mistreat other beings, human or animals, and do not use anything but that of vegetarian origin. I can say unequivocally that if something is dirty on the outside it is also dirty on the inside. Let stop making the world sick and dirty. The dirty water must be purified and then it might be used; if we pollute the waters, we are obligated to clean them.
Further down in the mantle, we find a very direct message saying: study the Bhagavad Gita and other sacred books, use your time wisely and not waste it on superficial things. Before the twentieth century there were no problems like those of today. There were no large companies harming the Mother Nature, nor was there television with all the materialistic messages it promotes. Nobody imagined at the begining, that the TV or the computer could become the most powerful tool of the unconscious mind. Human beings in general were not capable to calculate the impact and difficulties brought by their own inventions, and that is how most people who use the internet have become addicted to Facebook, for example.
For this reason we have compiled all these messages, with the intention to wake up the people and so for them to take responsibility and awareness on issues that concern them and if, even so, they prefer to continue watching soccer or consuming marijuana, then we can say that is a person without reasoning or that has little humanity, because does not care for the welfare of himself or his family's. So, this is a call to everyone, to inform them of what is happening in the world and how we can help to provide solutions.
A practical example is that we all visit with some regularity the Yoga Eco Villages and are in direct contact with the ecological problems. But how many of us have put our hands into our pocket to help these farms or simply offered ourselves as volunteers? So there are many people on these occasions looking for consume only a few things nice things and that is all, but are not willing to do something to protect the flora and fauna of our planet. This is so because we are selfish and are part of a materialistic system that encourages selfishness in the highest degree.
There are not many who wish to hear this message, as it asks us for a real change in ourselves. I realized that this change is extremely slow, however, I continue to propose it because we had to start it sometime, we all know the saying "better late than never."
It is my wish that each of you has 10 of these mantles today, and that you take them to the temples or to your homes with the desire to spread them around the world, because that's why we've made it. It must be hunged everywhere. You can even distribute it and collect with it, but most important is that each one of you can give a daily lecture from one of the themes that are presented here.
A very important issue, discussed in the messages here founded, is the use of dry toilets, because waste and pollution are two things that are very closely related. Therefore, we must all take responsibility to monitor where to our waste is going. It is critical to note that only humans throw excrement and chemicals into the water, no other animal does such thing. The animals are much more aware than ourselves, constantly throwing papers and trash on the streets, lakes, rivers etc., without thinking that no one will come to pick them up for us. For this reason in this mantle is highlighted the phrase: "Water is our life, do not waste a drop".
Something transcendental to all of us and which is the basis of our daily awareness, in regard to the environmental issue and to all matters of life in general, are meditation and prayer, both are the crown of your heart. To illustrate this on our poster we put a devotee chanting japa, this is a way to make ourselves known to the world, and to show them our way of praying and meditating. We also helping to excite people to plant the sacred Tulasi.
In the poster we also address to the issue of noise pollution, which is another evils that afflict the world these days. Therefore we ask please not to impose loud noise to the people around, but to support with your actions the harmony and the meditative energies. The ideal is to always produce beautiful sounds and not to disturb those around us, the appropriate it not to invade the privacy of others; this includes our own kirtans, programs and conferences. I wish all the devotees to behave like true gentlemen and ladies, like friends of the heart, especially in regard to becoming a representative of the temple and the attitudes towards the deity. We should always transmit sweet sounds for all those who are participating in the programs can be attracted.
When enacting a healthy lifestyle that seeks to protect Mother Earth, we must bear in mind some details that are harmful to nature, for example, the burning of plastics. For anyone who wants to cultivate a green mentality this is completely forbidden, because it poisons the blood of people and Mother Earth itself. Therefore we encourage organic farming and celebrate all farmers who, despite all the difficulties imposed to them, are dedicated to maintaining a healthy production.
Oddly enough, people generally are not interested in the subject of healthy eating, as they are more attached to pleasant experiences when it comes to food. We do not stop to think that behind the taste of products on the market, there are components which are totally addictive. That is the reason for the high consumption of junk food, which is very tasty and totally harmful to health. The message is loud and clear: just eat food offered to God of which we know the provenance of its ingredients. It is essential the consumption of organic food and that means something very basic: Learn to accept the nature of things and to use what the earth gives us to live. Therefore we also constantly preach that eating meat, fish and eggs sadden Mother Earth.
When reading my words everyone can tell that to walk the path of consciousness is something costly. It requires a great investment not only monetarily, but more of effort, time and labor; but it is the only thing that has the power to awaken us from illusion. Today I want to wake you up with these messages and I clearly know that to read this type of thinkings cause some discomfort, this happens mainly due to the lack of chanting the holy name of Krishna with the right attitude and faith.
One more direct message for the consciousness is that everything that is produced in a place where there is alcohol, intoxicants and dead animal, becomes inauspicious. Marijuana use and tabacco produces irreversible damages to the respiratory system, thus the smokers converte their body into a hopeless case, because all the chemical residues from these products stay forever. It is amazing even knowing about all the effects people still continue consuming tobacco, as we all know that smoking is a major cause of death worldwide. For this reason is very recommended to watch and expose information about the physical consequences of the smoking habit. Despite this all, smoking is still considered as a social product, but the act of smoking is a complete insensitivity to the body that God gave us.
One of the facets of visual and noise pollution is the television. A box that makes us completely materialistic, because it's constantly sending subliminal messages with the idea that for us to be happy we must buy or have something new. So I recommend you not to waste your time on watching television, but to invest that same precious time in singing the Glories of God and the studies of the Sacred Books with the family. So this way we become part of the solution and help to provide options to the people of good will.
We must be aware even to the means of transportation we use, so you have to ride the bike whenever possible; other means such as motorcycles are a real anxiety and danger to people. There is always a risk of accidents that happens in the streets, therefore, one who operates a vehicle has the same responsibility as one who carries a gun. Our goal is to cover all areas to make us aware of every little detail that we must protect.
We want to see the streets, parks, rivers without litter; so we must educate and convince everyone of the importance of keeping the environment clean, including parents, and children at schools, etc. We must become aware of our trash, we think that everything we put in the trash can practically disappears, but it deosn't happen this way. The sun gives us a great blessing by acting on the organic waste and purifying it, but this does not happen with plastics. Therefore, we must avoid the use of all disposable plastic, cups, plates, etc. Use only biodegradable products, organic materials or metal made, or pottery, among others. There is somuch ability and technology in this regard that in the world today there are disposable products made from potato starch or corn; these are the conscious innovations we must rescue.
In this ecological loom, we have a variety of disciplines that are related to the value that is given to consciousness, for example: The Conscious Doctors, Values and Science, the Eco Yoga Villages, etc. All these programs are based mainly on affection and respect for those who love God, the nature and the animals. This is our political program and we want with our hearts that you become part of the party, that you have no other interest than the welfare of all entities, which seeks to promote a cleaner world, healthier people and that produce harmony within the environment. Thus the Supreme Lord in the heart might say, "This is a true son of Mother Earth who has been concerned about the welfare of his own parents and children and is not a disinterested person who just takes advantage of the environment by making suffer of other beings”.
I hope that throughout this effort we can raise some awareness, to some mothers who are representatives of Mother Earth, to make things right from now on and to see that it is possible to be part of the change, that we need help and energy to keep the beautiful places we have under our care as impeccable examples of consciousness; that must be our goal. To do this I need the continued support of you all, because I cannot do it alone. My heart's invitation is for you to become conscious and dedicated activists. It is not every day we touch these issues, so I ask you to take these words as treasures in your heart and hang the mantle of consciousness in your homes, temples, preaching centers or yoga schools.
I know it's hard for people to understand the meaning of consciousness, but we must spare no effort in it. I hope that from this moment on we become dedicated and conscious individuals in all these areas. Do not despair because people do not understand the background of all this, to one who has not been systematically educated it is very difficult to understand these type of issues, but we must not think that the others are in a lower level of understanding, that does no good for our spiritual development; but well, we must remember how we were when we used to live in unconscious manners, this way we can awaken others with much of affection. If you belive you are good and others are bad, you automatically convert yourself in a bad person. Only by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada who taught us to chant Hare Krishna, we received all this knowledge that took us out of ignorance.
All these issues are so important and interesting that we could talk about them day and night, so go ahead with the preaching of consciousness expansion. I thank you heartedly for all the beautiful things you are doing in our mission, devotees are always doing spectacular things and deserve our respect, although in some cases they still have much to learn. The effort is what counts; we must be tolerant but not condescending.
People are waiting to be awakened, they are willing for that and the OKis we are promoting are designed precisely to provoke mass awakening of consciousness, are new ideas to promote ancient messages. There are more than 1.100 varieties of OKis to be distributed and they are available to everybody. We have also DVD's and audiovisual materials that are very good, like DVD Changing the World, which was produced in Mexico's office, or the Eco Yoga Villages DVD produced together by several countries; we also have a film made in Colombia on conscious agriculture. They will be astonished to see all the materials we have to learn and implement in preaching, that's the most important, that all this is implemented and does not remain merely as beautiful words.
I wish you much enthusiasm in this life of serving the expansion of consciousness.
With great affection,
Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti