Spiritual Cleaning through Cleaning up the Natural Resources
Sanat Sankrityayan 2010-09-17
Time to go green!
They have driven the masses on the spiritual and the social path, but nowadays spiritual leaders are increasingly assuming the role of environmentalists and are leading their followers on the green path
Rakesh Malik If the world’s leading spiritual leaders are taking a definite stand on environment and environmental issues then how can the Indian spiritual leader ‘Gurus’ be left behind? These days they too have been voicing their concerns on environmental issues. Not only that, they have also been launching campaigns along with their followers to save environment, especially rivers.
Indian spiritual leaders are using their wide reach to promote green causes and stress that preservation of natural elements is at the country’s spiritual core. Be it in the form of Buddhist monks trekking through the Himalayas and promoting protection of environment and sustainable lifestyles in the region or the Hindu spiritual leaders asking their followers to ensure that the sacred rivers are not polluted or just cleaning the river Yamuna, they have been doing this and a lot more all for the sake of environment. Last year trekkers, led by the head of the 800-year-old Tibetan Drukpa Buddhist sect, Gyalwang Drukpa, distributed canvas bags to more than 100,000 villagers along the way to encourage them to shun plastic bags and switch to carry-bags made of eco-friendly material that would not disturb the ecological balance of the area. The sect wanted to promote something that purges pollution. Since plastic litter has been a major concern of the region, the sect decided to create awareness among villagers about healthy alternatives.
Similar efforts have been initiated by The Art of Living under their project Meri Dilli Meri Yamuna that aims at making a difference to the city and river Yamuna. The initiative has become a full blown citizen’s action plan. The initiative aims at cleaning the city and river Yamuna before Commonwealth Games 2010 that will take place in October this year. The campaign has brought together groups and citizens, who are now inspiring other citizens to come out and clean Delhi before the Commonwealth Games. As a part of the initiative, banks of river Yamuna were cleaned recently and a series of similar activities have been planned for the coming days.
It is to be noted that river Yamuna assumes great significance for the people of Delhi. But despite numerous attempts to clean the river, not much success has been achieved. It is estimated that more than half of 3.6 billion tonnes of sewerage that is produced in Delhi everyday flows into Yamuna untreated and the city is dependent on Yamuna for more than 60 percent of the water needed by the Delhi region. Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Sri Ravi Shankar said, “The responsibility for cleaning up the Yamuna lies with us, the people she nurtures.”
Similar initiatives have also been started by the spiritual leaders who have gathered at the ongoing Mahakumb in Haridwar. The Shankracharayas of various peetha’s too gave a call to support the cause of saving holy Ganges from getting polluted which has been supported by various leaders present at the Mahakumb.
Swami Ramdev of Patanjali Yog Peeth too has been leading a campaign to clean the Ganga from its source in Gangotri to Ganga Sagar where it falls into the Bay of Bengal. He has been working under the banner of Ganga Raksha Manch. Speaking at a press conference recently Swami Ramdev said, “A clean environment is the cornerstone of a clean, healthy and strong India. Our endeavour is to attain that. The government has granted the Ganga National Heritage Status after our efforts for almost a year and the honourable prime minister has also sanctioned some funds to save the river. We hope that the funds are utilised properly and the affect of the same is visible. We are creating awareness among those who stay along the riverside and are educating them to save the river and not contaminate it as it’s the lifeline for the country as well as those staying along the riverside.”
Yet another campaign was launched by the Uttarakhand Government under the banner of Ganga Sparsh Abhiyan which was supported by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and top religious and spiritual leaders like Baba Ramdev and Swami Chidanand Muni.
Even spiritual and yoga expert Jaggi Vasudev, head of the Isha Foundation, a spiritual organisation has been leading the mission of planting trees and is known as a global tree planter. The foundation also entered the Guinness Book of World Records a few years back for an eco-conservation campaign and planted 7.5 million trees in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
With the Baba brigade going green and considering the huge number of followers that they attract, one can hope for a large section of people becoming more considerate about environmental concerns.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Launched the Meri Dilli Meri Yamuna campaign this year. It aims at cleaning river Yamuna and Delhi before the Commonwealth Games
Jaggi Vasudev Head of Isha Foundation has been leading the mission of planting
trees for years now and is known as a global tree planter
Swami Ramdev Leading the campaign under the banner of Ganga Raksha Manch to clean river Ganga
Dalai Lama Has been part of the Ganga Sparsh Abhiyan which was launched recently. He has also extended his support to Swami Chidanand Muni.