Environmentalist or Priest

Half-burnt bodies will continue to be dumped in the Ganga and sewers continue to desecrate our holy rivers. Uncontrolled use of fireworks will continue to pollute the air and deafen the urban population during 5 days long Dipawali festival. Idols laced with chemical paints will be immersed in our water sources. If the mental and spiritual pollution of Hindus continues, India’s environment will continue to degrade. The spiritual cost will be beyond calculation. The human cost will be terrible.

When Lord Krishna was born, his father put him in a basket and crossed the Yamuna to reach the avatar of Vishnu to safety in the house of Yashoda and Nand.

This was to escape the cruelty of Kansa, the evil uncle of Lord Krishna. All the tales of Lord Krishna’s childhood have beautiful imagery of the Yamuna. In fact, in most Hindu minds, Yamuna and Krishna go together.

But take a look at the river now.

What if Lord Krishna were to come today and his father were to take him across the Yamuna! The putrid stench emanating from the water would be unbearable. And if the child Krishna were to sip the water, he would need to summon all the supernatural powers at his disposal to stay alive. The Yamuna has been polluted beyond imagination, mostly by those claiming to be Lord Krishna’s devotees.

Forgetting Vedic Culture:

“As we have always visualised ourselves as an integral part of the divine, and the divine as something which partakes in us, we have always maintained a harmonious relationship with nature. Indian literature, right from the ancient time to the present day, contains a detailed description of nature. Hardly any other literature from any other part of the world contains such an elaborate and intimate description,” writes Banwari, journalist and scholar on issues of environment and religion, in his book Pancavati: Indian Approach to Environment.

“The Vedic culture is aranyak , a culture of nature. You learn everything from nature. The panchbhootas are to be revered, not exploited,” says Swami Sevak Charan, an engineer-turned-environmental activist with the Sri Vrindavan Conservation Project in Vrindavan.

Political Power vs . Priest:

The general perception is that Indians are very sensitive about the matter of “religion”, so leaders do not want to touch upon the aspects related to it. This has made things worse. Clearly, it is a huge task to take on religious matters, revive their link with the ecology and undertake the greater task of carrying it to people all over again. While people in the religious arena are afraid to shoulder this burden, however some organisations and individuals have tried to integrate religion and the environment. And have succeeded.

9 interesting things about Makar Sankrati

While everyone is busy making laddu,  pitha,  chikkis,  while young men are safeguarding their “bhelaghor”,  wishing friends and relatives for this day, I am cock-a-hooped to perspicacious on January 14th celebration of  “Makar Sankrati”. So, go over!

  1. Why is it called Makar Sankrati: It is called Makar Sankrati makes the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign “makara” (Capricorn) on this date. The day is also believed to mark the arrival of Spring in  India. images (2)
  2. Harvest festival: It is a major harvest festival and all over the country, Makar Sankrati is observed with great fanfare.  images (7)
  3. It has a fixed Date:  Very few of Indian festivals have fixed date. But, Makar Sankrati is celebrated on a fixed date 14th January, because of fixed calendric day of the solar calendar. Though, thousand years ago,  it was on 31st December due to possession of the earth’s axis call “Ayanamsa”.  images
  4. One festival many names: In India it is known by different regional names like –  Magh Bihu,  Maghi,  Uttarayan,  lohri, Pongal,  Khichdi, Sishur Saeankraat, Makar Sakraman. images (3)
  5. Pilgrimage: Millions of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar,  Prayag river and pray to the Sun god.  Holy-bath-ganga-pushkar-150x150
  6. There is also Importance of other God and Goddess on this day:  Makar Sankrati is also  to honour, pray and offer respect to Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge), Sun God- as he regarded as regarded as the symbol of divinity and wisdom and prayers to Lord Vishnu. images (4)
  7. It’s about eatin a lot: Since,  the festival is celebrated in mid winter, many delicious food is made in a way, which keeps body warm and gives energy. The dominant ingredients of these snacks and delicacies are,  newly harvest rice,  Sesame seeds, jaggery, peanut, coconut and curd. In eastern region the state call Assam have grand feast and local wine too.  images (1)
  8. Full of activities: On this day, every town and cities people play with kites and the sky filled with beautiful and colorful kites, followed by other activities like bull fighting,  ox racing, cock fighting,  egg tapping or egg knocking.  images (5)
  9. Equinox: On Makar Sankrati day and night is equally long. images (6)