The save Ganga movement seeks to put an end to the senseless over-exploitation and pollution of the River Ganga. It also aims at protecting Indian ethos for the Ganga represents the flow of Indian wisdom down the centuries through the unbroken tradition of the guru-shishya parampara. This traditional wisdom emphasizes that all life is sacred and interconnected and that whatever human beings do to nature, they, in fact, do unto themselves.
The role of Chinmaya Mission and other spiritual organizations in creating awareness about environmental conservation can hardly be over-emphasized today. Ancient wisdom, enshrined in the scriptures, guides us to live a life of inward and outward balance. When spiritual values partner with the efforts of environmental activists, the movement grows
in depth and momentum.
Ganga means, “She who leads Her devotee (literally, one who sings Her glories) to the supreme state of Realization or Liberation.”
For a devotee to sing the glories of his chosen ideal does not require musical accompaniment — only Love. To truly extol the glory of any person, place, thing, or principle, one must first love, respect, and adore that ideal in the altar of his heart. The expression of this love is seen in one’s caring for, and spreading the glory of, the ideal to all people. Therefore, to love Mother Ganga is to care for Her. Without this caring, our love for Her has no meaning.
The Vedic scriptures say that the mere sight, remembrance) or drop partaken of Mother Ganga purifies the devotee. Even from a pragmatic standpoint, our Mother has been serving us selflessly, in countless ways, ever compassionately nourishing and nurturing. It is indeed an indignity that Her own children have polluted and obstructed Her flow and purity.
I congratulate all those movements, especially the Save Ganga Movement, that have taken the initiative to bring Her plight to the recognition of all, and to cleanse Her of the pollutants that man has filled Her with because of his greed and selfish actions.
It is heartening to know that the Government of India has declared Mother Ganga as India’s National River and is attempting to do what is good for Her. Chinmaya Mission extends its support to such a noble cause.
I congratulate Chinmaya Mission Delhi, which is organizing a jnana yajna dedicated to Mother Ganga. May the Lord’s grace and Pujya Gurudev’s blessings invigorate one and all to help heal and care for our beloved Mother Ganga.
Mother Ganga is intrinsically associated with the Chinmaya Mission. In fact, the inspiration for the great work that the Mission is engaged in was a gift from Mother Ganga to Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993). This happened in 1951 when once, Gurudev (as we at the mission refer to Swami Chinmayananda), sat contemplating on her waters at Gangotri.
Resting on a boulder watching the Ganga in her infant state, Gurudev marveled at how the little stream forced her way through difficult mountain terrain cutting through gorges, circumventing boulders and other obstacles to become a strong and swift current that finally reached the vast plains of northern India. (see photo 1) Joined by an increasing number of tributaries along the way, she steadily grew in strength and size, bringing life sustaining nourishment to plant, animal and man along the way. Thus, giving of herself tirelessly, ceaselessly and unconditionally to one and all, Mother Ganga has nurtured Indian civilization through the ages.
Reflecting on this, it dawned on Gurudev, that, in the same way, he would take the knowledge of the Upanishads to the parched minds of his fellow countrymen. Just as the Ganga purified and nourished all life, so also would he revitalize and nurture a new generation of Indians newly awakened to freedom.
They would then become, he visualized, the harbingers of a revived Hindu culture — where reverence for all life, selfless service and spiritual knowledge would constitute the foundation of national resurgence.
With this inspiration Swami Chinmayananda came down to Pune to begin his divine work. Today, the Mission is a global organization engaged in a range of activities that cover rural development, public health, education, music and culture. Now, with this new initiative, the Mission has also ventured into the domain of environmental conservation. Through a variety of programs it will seek to spread awareness of this pressing issue, particularly among the youth. Thus, under the guidance of the present head of the Mission, Swami Tejomayananda (referred to as Guruji), the Ganga of spiritual knowledge has become a powerful river. It has given children growing up abroad, an understanding and admiration for their ancient spiritual roots. It has given a sense of purpose to countless youth and inspired enthusiasm and direction to the elderly. Above all, it has brought to the modern Indian a clear and convincing understanding of what Hinduism represents at the highest level. Such an understanding is the key to peace, co-operative endeavour in all fields as well as sustained well-being and all-round development.
The core activity of the mission, however, remains the dissemination of spiritual knowledge. That alone can inspire each individual to realize his or her own divinity. The different projects are but platforms to serve society and, thereby, discover one’s purpose in life.
The heart of the Mission is the modern Gurukul, the many Sandeepany Sadhanalayas where in-depth knowledge of Vedanra imparted to young men and women with a background in secular education, to become future leaders of transformation.
At the first and largest Sandeepany, in Mumbai, the image of Mother Ganga occupies an important place in the Jagadeeshwara temple. The daily evening arti to the Ganga is accompanied by the chanting of Adi Shankara’s Ganga Stotram. Thus, homage and gratitude are regularly offered to Mother Ganga. Fervent and many are the prayers that we, too, may receive divine inspiration, which is only given to those who have tuned in completely to the heartbeat of nature.
Mother Ganga represents all nature and we are but one small aspect of it. The Upanishads and the Rhagavad Gita emphasize the unity of life. Nature and man are not separate. they are both enlivened by that same spark of divine consciousness char expresses through every aspect of creation. That is why, since time immemorial, men have worshipped rivers, mountains, trees, stones, animals, birds as well as evolved men and women. Each is hut a reflection of the Supreme Being. Nature can thrive without man but the latter needs nature. Reverence for nature is, thus, reverence for all life.
Chinmaya Mission, Delhi, joins hands with the SAVE GANGA MOVEMENT and all those who are striving, in one way or another, to safeguard the well being of Mother Ganga. As more and more people recognize the fact that our own prosperity depends on that of nature, the Ganga of our aspiration will gather force and grow into a mighty initiative. Thus is there hope that we, the people of India, will overcome our mental negativities and let the blessed river heal herself. For, as Swami Chinmayananda has emphasized time and again, instead of focusing on cleaning the river, we need to focus on our minds that are polluted. For then the question of river pollution and over-exploitation will not arise in the first place. Hence, what is required is a new understanding leading to a change of attitude. That alone will enable the river to revive on her own, in a lasting manner.
I invoke God’s grace and the blessings of Pujya Gurudev on all of you who have lent effort, voice and other forms of support to this initiative. May your devotion and dedication lead us to touch more and more hearts so that they open in love and gratitude to Mother Ganga.
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