The planet is crumbing under the onslaught of
ecological abuse. Can the Hare Krsna's help?
ecological abuse. Can the Hare Krsna's help?
Last week my mausi (mother's sister) came to visit me in Mumbai. Together with her kids we went to the famous Marine Drive and the sea beach. "Alas!" she remarked, "soon this sea will swallow this city." Of course, she was referring to the recent report in a news magazine that had on its cover, the famous monument of Mumbai Gateway of India, half submerged in the ocean .
The magazine quoted the findings of the UN panel on environmental pollution . By the year 2050, Mumbai and other coastal cities of the world may only boast of aquatic flora and fauna as their population . The melting ice-caps will raise the ocean levels pushing it to eat up enormous land lining its shores. Meanwhile global warming will cause a d rastic drop in agricultural yield, melt Himalayan glaciers, and cause devastating floods. Later with no glaciers left at their sources, the great rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Beas, and others will turn dry. The result will be severe drought in most of Northern India. Per capita food and water supplies will hit rock bottom and 30 to 40% of flora and by Murari Gupta Dasa fauna that we see today will only be found in the pages of history. In the struggle for existence, extinction will be the rule. We will see the death of planet earth and unfortunately we will be the grave-diggers.
Although we have known of environmental pollution for decades, little has been done to control it. us and Australia together account for nearly 50% of the mess, yet the thought of curtailing the lavish , wasteful lifestyle is unacceptable to them. The developing nations, on the other hand, do little, apart from pointing fingers at the developed world: "You have messed with the environment for so long – now it is our turn!"
Even if governments of the world were to unite and form strict rules to control pollution and enforce strict guidelines, it will only be superficial therapy, much like blowing on a boil to ease the pain. So long as we do not seek the deeper underlying pathology and treat the cause from its root we will not see an effective result. Laws may control some current phenomen on but newer disruptions and pollutions will arise. To chase them we will need new laws. In games of politics much often the persons who make the laws are subservient to those who break them.
So we have to stop looking for a solut ion without , a nd look for it within.
THE ECOLOGY OF THE HEART
The problem of disrupted ecology is a result of exploiting nature. And the cause of sinful exploitative mentality is greed. Greed leads to lack of self control. Because of insatiable greed, people become blind to the havoc their profits may cause to others. They don't care what legacy they will leave for the next generation . The contamination of the heart spills into the surroundings around us.
The treatment therefore has to begin by cleaning the heart of garbage of lust, greed, and ignorance.
We must begin by purifying our thoughts. Pure thoughts lead to pure actions. Instead of contemplating selfish pursuits of sense gratification we have to contemplate on God , the all-pure. We have to contemplate spiritual meditation.
Then we have to change our lifestyle. Make it simpler. Because of intense greed and limited resources, the tendency is to lean towards exploitation. But if we are content in the heart, we can work enthusiastically and without exploitation. By living simply in harmony with the will of the Lord and not exploiting others, there will be no shortage. If we live a morally responsible life according to the will of the Supreme Father, then Mother Nature will provide all that we need. If we twist her arm to yield to our selfish desires we stand to receive her tight slap in the form of horrible natural calamities and karmic fate of an unstable ecology.
Human life is meant for responsibility. We have to solve the problem with sreyas – ultimate vision for the future and not preyas – immediate promise of happiness and profit. We have to solve the problem in an ecologically, socially, and karmically balanced way.
Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-Gita 9.27:
Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform- do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.
If we do what we do in the loving devotional service of God we don't create just temporary solutions, bur we solve the greatest problem – birth in the material world. We are suffering here because we are bound in the darkness of ignorance and we don't live in harmony with the Lord. If we enlighten the soul and live according to the will of God then there is real balance of ecology. This is possible by sincere chanting of holy names though. In the six years you have been in this country, in the United States, have you been encouraged or discouraged?
Srila Prabhupada: I am encouraged.
Interviewer: Encouraged. Why?
Srila Prabhupada: Because there are so many devotees coming daily.
Interviewer: Why do you say so many? We have may be two dozen people sitting here, but of course there are 205 or 210 million Americans.
Srila Prabhupada: When you sell diamonds, you cannot expect that everyone will purchase them. The re must be the right customer for a diamond. You cannot expect diamonds to be widely sold amongst the mass of people. You cannot expect that.
Interviewer: Do you in general approve of or do you have major complaints about the American society that you now live in?
Srila Prabhupada: I have no complaint. These boys and girls are very nice. I am, rather, encouraged that these boys and girls are so inquisitive about Krsna. This is the best field anywhere. I can understand that these boys and girls are hankering after something nice. They are frustrated. So now, since they have the best thing, they are commg.
Interviewer: I would like to thank you very sincerely for giving us a very brief insight into the teachings and the beliefs of the Krsna consciousness movement. May I ask you to ask your followers who are present here with us tonight to join you in the chanting of the mantra for just a minute to close out the program please?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh yes, we can chant.