There was a time in the United States when you could drink the water without worrying about it killing you. But those were the good old days.

The Taste of Water

When Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita "I am the taste of water," He's not referring to water with all the poisons added. The taste of that water doesn't represent Krsna. It's not even good for us.

From 1973 to 1980 more than 55,000 cases of illness related to drinking water were reported in the United States. In 1982 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared 13,600 community wells substandard. The EPA estimates that sixty percent of the private wells in the United States contain dangerously high levels of mercury, lead, bacteria, and other contaminants. No one really knows the long-term effects of drinking contaminated water, because it generally takes twenty years or more for an effect cancer, for example to develop. But consumer advocate Ralph Nader says contaminated water is the number one problem of the 1980s.

Of course, the United States is not the only country with polluted water. Practically all developed countries are now faced with the same problem. Why are we ruining our environment in this way?

Because of greed for money and temporary happiness. Lord Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita (16.21), "There are three gates leading to hell lust, anger, and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul." Because of impure consciousness and neglect of our spiritual live, we are jeopardizing even our physical well-being.

I've traveled throughout India, where people, although poorer materially, are generally happier because of a spiritual concept of life. Unfortunately, even in India, the people are grasping the materialistic ideals of the West, with government support. They're trying to depend on modern technology instead of Krsna for their happiness.

But all the problems in modern society stem ultimately from impure consciousness, which can be purified by bhakti-yoga "The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence, and even the senses, only for the purpose of purification" (Bhagavad-gita 5.11). Vedic society therefore promotes simple living and high thinking, allowing people to learn about Krsna and thus purify their consciousness. This is sensible living.

Instead of polluting our environment and our lives in the mad quest for material things, we should find satisfaction in spiritual life in chanting Hare Krsna. Why not try it? It's a lot less risky than drinking water.