In Part 2 of the post continuing from my previous post “Critic or Profiteering – For Anti WCF Brigade – Part 1”, In around 16 years of association with Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and The Art of Living (AOL), I can say with some authority the concern and importance the organization and Gurudev attaches to ensuring harmonious co-existence of every element of the Universe, living and non-living.
The Art of Living ensures that everyone who crosses its path (not necessarily a follower or member) has nurtured a deep respect for our planet in thousands of people around the world. The earth may be made up of rocks, sand and water, but spirituality can help us to perceive our planet as a living vibrant entity, responding to our care and attention. Large scale tree plantations through Mission Green Earth, water conservation and protection including cleaning polluted rivers and zero-budget chemical-free farming which support poorer farmers to farm to farm in a way which is both economically and organically sound. AOL also recognises that it is necessary that these values be inculcated in young minds at home and at school. Awareness programes for young people and children (called ‘Deepening Roots, Broadening Vision’) also form an important and integral part of this long-term programme.
Now this is where Art of Living differs from the other 2-penny activists whose business stops if proposal for development actitivities stop. To perpetrate the business, backed by vested interests, activists obstruct development project, AOL did not rest at just identifying the problem, but studied it scientifically with a humane touch to ensure sustainability of the solution derived (Yes AOL never stops at identifying the problem) AOL’ites always believed as Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar keeps telling – there is no problem in the world that has no solution (though I strongly believe that there is No solution to retarded & obstructionist thought process of foreign sponsored, communist activists).
Chemical Free Farming: Art of Living is making immense contribution to environmental sustainability with its campaign to promote and popularize chemical-free farming. It has launched awareness programs to encourage people to return to traditional methods of organic farming and eliminate the use of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Chemical-free farming is seen as the only way to check degradation of soil quality. Excessive use of fertilizers have degraded the soil, not only reducing yield but also making produce grown on them poisonous for human consumption. Chemical-free farming is complementary to environment sustainability as it reduces the demand on natural resources such as water. It also runs an internship program at its Canadian Centre to educate youth about natural farming.
LAKSHMI TARU (Simarouba glauca DC; Common names: Simarouba, oil tree, paradise tree or aceituno) is an important tree species growing in the forests of Central America. It was first introduced by National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources in the Research Station at Amravathi, Maharashtra in 1960s. Read more details about Art of Living’s initiative on Lakshmi Taru here
Clean Bengaluru : Inspired by Param Poojya Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living Volunteers on May 1, 2010, Bengaluru was greeted by about 500 Art of Living volunteers donning caps, geared up to carry yet another cleanliness drive on a patch of 3.5 kilometers on Kanakpura Road. “A lot of effort was put in to clean the plastic dumped on the national highway, on 1st may 2011. But without conscious and strategic involvement of the local administration and people themselves, sustainable cleanliness is not more than a castle in the air.” As a volunteer Mona Pande, said “It’s time we clean up the mess we’ve created. Now we should take responsibility join hands to make a cleaner inside as well as outside” Read more about this Bengaluru Garbage Collection and Disposal project here
Watershed Management : The Art of Living has been undertaking water management on a large scale, especially in agrarian villages. The initiative includes educating farmers about the judicious usage of water, and teaching them to construct check dams and gabin dams that store rain water. This water is then used in the non-rainy seasons. Hundreds of poor and marginal farmers rely on degraded land and water resources and struggle to cope with a diverse array of agro-climatic, production and market risks. The rate of land degradation in rain fed areas in India is high, on account of soil erosion. How to produce more and better food and maintain or improve critical ecosystem services without further undermining our environment is a major challenge. Watershed management involves the judicious use of natural resources with active participation of institutions, organizations and peoples’ participation in harmony with the ecosystem.
TERAFIL WATER FILTER is a low cost device to filter impure water into clean drinking water. The filter is developed to cater the needs for clean drinking water, especially when the water is rich in sediments, suspended particles, iron and certain microorganisms causing water borne diseases.
It is most suitable for areas where water from both surface and ground water sources like dug wells, ponds, tube wells and rivers, is used for drinking purpose.
Kumudvathi River Rejuvenation Project: In view of the high level of drinking water needs for Bengaluru, catered till recently by Kumudvathi River, it was recognized by AOL that Cauvery water supply has to be augmented locally to fully meet Bengaluru’s needs. This river flows across 278 villages, covering 460 Sq. Km in 3 taluks, recently started running dry making it a nightmare for water managers of the city. AOL conducted a study and reported that main causes for the drying up of the river are urban encroachment and deforestation as well as unsustainable extraction of ground water and loss of traditional knowledge. Urban encroachment led to the destruction of the catchment areas that feed the river, while deforestation has loosened the soil’s water-holding capacity. Indiscriminate planting of species such as Eucalyptus also interfere with the natural recharge process.
The Art of Living Foundation, under the banner of the Volunteer For A Better India Movement, has taken up the responsibility of rejuvenating the river.
The project that was flagged off in early 2013 (in February), and so far five ground water reservoirs have been built on an experimental basis. Nine Gram Panchayats have also pledged their support and The Minor Irrigation and Water Resources Department has meanwhile offered full cooperation in the restoration of existing local water bodies in the region. While close to 100 boulder checks have already been placed, a 100 more will be placed before the next monsoon. The tree plantation drive is in full swing, with over 5000 saplings already planted in 14 villages in the Nelamangala taluk. The target for the drive is 1 lakh saplings over two years across the 278 villages the river runs through.
The results of the rejuvenation activities in eight villages have been very encouraging, where the existing water bodies have been rejuvenated due to this season’s bountiful rainfall. Read more about the Kumudavati project here
Having read the above, and then nay-saying for a Project to showcase our country’s ability to host a world class event of World Cultural Festival magnitude is sheer ridiculous. And reasons cited are even worse. Art of Living leaves no remnants post any event, except loads of happiness and development. The economic benefits to the local populace and generally to the public at large (tourism, merchandise, infrastructure, transport and logistics and so on) is enormous. The showcasing of talents and culture of the world cannot be measured in economic terms, but the value it accrues is priceless.
I only wish to see these activists on after the event, and I am sure I would only say – Look! What did I tell? Is there any negative traces or remnants? Naah! Take aways: Positive vibrations of 35 Lakhs of People meditating, Energy of thousands of Musicians performing, Power of virtual who’s who and ordinary you and me – What else do you need.
If you haven’t planned yet! What are you waiting for? See you on March 11th in Delhi.