On Thurs 7 Aug 08 @9PM I had a deeply moving and spiritual experience when I lit candles and deeyas for Tibet. This was in unison with everyone in my time zone and done globally. I'd like to explore this and share my experiences with you and hear yours as we participate in universal collective prayer events together. I hope to work together with all the universe's beings as we move toward the ideal of Universal Collective Prayer.

Come join me in Universal Collective Prayer!

May God Bless Us All!

UCP-Universal Collective Prayer is produced by Meady's Musings Production . Copyright 2006-2011

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mother Earth: Preserving Our Lives...

In 2007 I gave the feature address at my company's Diwali show as follows:

When the (company)Diwali Committee convened this year spurred on by Shami to “Let’s get an early start”. It was suggested again by Shami that this year we do a feature address with something to do with the environment. He had been hearing much talk about it in the global media no doubt and who wouldn’t have? I mean the theme of Global Climate Change was plastered everywhere on BBC and CNN with several documentaries being done with titles something like ‘Global Climate Change- Is it Really Happening?’. But fires really roared when former US Vice President Al Gore released his documentary - ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ which later went on to win an Academy award and more recently was part of the body of work that resulted in his winning the Nobel Peace Prize along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC). In fact people from all over the world shared in this prize as part of the IPCC including two from TnT! This seems to be a big boost for those of us who believe that Global Warming is a serious issue but many still don’t believe or perhaps more choose not to believe that the world is really heating up!

The reason that topics like Global Warming and other environmental issues are usually shrouded in so much controversy is simply this- it involves money, lifestyle choices and ethics- what is right, what is wrong? And who gets what and who doesn’t so things get messy- “You doh want me to drink water while you drinking wine” or “I must take a maxi while you drivin big car”. The haves and the have-nots emerge. How do we share our resources and who manages it? And here is where the politicians come out to play and the lobbyists and the moneymen. An experience of how they, the politicians, handle that is still fresh in our minds coming out of the recently concluded hustings season.

But what does all this have to do with Diwali and with Hinduism? Well the Diwali committee decided on our theme Mother Earth- Preserving Our Lives because we feel that in going back to our roots there are so many treasures to be found. Hinduism is rich with examples of sound lifestyle choices where man co-existed in harmony with the environment and utilised plants and animals effectively without harm. Many of these examples can be found in the Ramayan, which is linked, to Diwali in that it is said Diwali was celebrated when Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya.

However Lord Ram’s time of exile in the forests of ancient India was not really a trying time for him but a time of man existing in complete harmony with nature. And for me personally I’ve so far never read or seen a clearer picture of love, beauty and joy as depicted in the Ramayan when Lord Ram and Mata Seeta together with Ram’s younger brother, his eternal supporter, Lakshman were in Panchavati. The trio existed in perfect bliss, eating whatever simple sustenance the forest could provide and taking care of the birds and animals as if they were their own children. It is said that Seeta Maa herself was the happiest of the three as she had come from the earth itself and can be seen as a representation of Mother Earth in Hinduism.

So what we the (company) Diwali Committee is portraying this year is Diwali and it’s origins around the Ramayan and how the Ramayan is a book that shares with us an ideal way of life that all of us as a society can learn so much from, especially when it comes to how we look at our earth. We can strive to live in harmony with nature, and experience it as the complete bliss that existed if only temporarily, in the story of the Ramayan when Lord Ram lived in Panchavati. Or we can choose to ravage our earth and damage it making it cough and cry at our mercy. The choice is up to us. But, how can we make that ideal choice shown to us in the Ramayan in today’s world? After all this is’ Kal Yug’ according to Hinduism the ‘Dark Age’ and the Ramayan existed in the ‘Sat Yug’ the ‘Age of Truth’ and even in the Ramayan life in Panchavati didn’t last forever as it was followed by war and other ills that existed even in that greater age. I guess the answer to that question is not easy to come up with and the solutions to the world’s ills and environmental problems will not come easily. However I think as a nation we have much to learn from our forefathers who lived simple lives, ate simple foods and toiled the soil, took care of cows. They seemed to be happier, healthier somehow and the so-called developed world status that all of the developing world from China and India to Brasil are chasing after, may be a fool’s paradise. I mean isn’t the developed world just about realising what they have done to the environment with mass industrialization, and to their bodies with land intensive farming practices and fast food? Then why are we rushing head long into this without asking ourselves what went wrong with them? Is it that we are still ruled by the masters of our past? So we follow them to such an extent that we are doomed to repeat their mistakes even after they have realised it themselves? Even though our ancestors before our colonial masters may have already know better? I’m not saying not to embrace change but to do it wisely…responsibly. Pick the good from the bad not just the left overs of the developed world. Don’t simply settle for brand names and tag lines and discard the old unnecessarily.

This Diwali season I ask all of us to reflect on the simple life of our ancestors not just the ones from India but the ones from China, Africa, Syria, Lebanon and all over and wonder as Nappy Mayers if we shouldn’t bring back the old time days, bring back them all time ways.

Another theme that the Diwali Committee has touched on this year is ayurveda – the ancient Hindu system of health care that can be found in the Vedas. This again can be linked to our main theme Mother Earth- Preserving Our Lives. This ancient system again exists in harmony with nature and uses the gifts from mother earth effectively and efficiently to heal and nurture us. Some herbs or plants that are famously used in ayurveda are the neem, tulsi and turmeric and our display this year outlined some of the details about these plants. In addition to this our crossword competition prizes comprise of many products, which utilised these plants to be made. In the case of ayurveda our nation can look at meshing our past with our present to create an amazing future. Many pharmaceutical companies globally have fought to patent the medicinal wonders such as the neem for their own commercial use. Luckily they were unsuccessful due to the efforts of Indian activists like Vandana Shiva. But where are our activists in Trinidad and Tobago? Where are our Vandana Shivas? And when they exist do we listen to them? What are we doing with our wonders of nature? Trinidad and Tobago has a large diversity of insects and plants that might hold the solution to the next deadly disease out there. Maybe this is our chance to look at our old time ways and use the technology of the now time days to develop medicines and patent our own indigenous solutions to health problems. This can come from our ancient Indian herbs that we brought here or from plants that grew here when the Amerindians were widespread or can be from practices our African ancestors would have honed. The point is Trinidad and Tobago is where we live and so it is our piece of the Mother Earth, our Dharti Mata and it is up to us to choose to use it wisely. So this Diwali as we fill our homes with light, love and warmth let us resolve to do what we can to work in tandem with what Mother Earth has gifted us with so we and she can indeed preserve our lives for many generations to come. Shubh Diwali!

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