Dear LWP Readers,
As I’m getting ready to send this newsletter, I learn of the horrible terror attack in London on Saturday night and want to take a moment to say that our prayers are with the families of the dead and affected. I feel especially sad to know that the attack happened in the London Bridge neighbourhood that I called home for many years. May the world come to peace soon. Om Shanti.
Turning back to this newsletter, I’m pleased to see the LWP community growing so rapidly in such a short time. A warm thank-you for the support! If you’re not doing so already, you can also follow LWP on Facebook and Twitter (@livingwiseproj). Plus if you would like the weekly newsletter e-mailed to you every Sunday, please sign-up.
Last weekend, LWP featured an exclusive article co-authored by the distinguished Professor Subhash Kak and me on ‘The Spiritual Foundations of Ayurveda’. The article helps us understand Ayurveda’s intrinsic connection with the life process by viewing it within the framework of the Samudra Manthan legend. A new and interesting take that I would encourage you to read.
In other important updates, LWP will now publish weekly newsletters such as this one that will reach your inbox every Sunday if you have signed-up on the website. The newsletter will include the weekly round-up/digest of articles posted on LWP (scroll down to see the ones from last week).
Weekend Thoughts: “We won’t always have Paris”
The past week has been an eventful one albeit not in a desirable way. Fresh concerns over the environment surfaced on the global stage with the US backing out of the Paris Agreement. The move symbolises much of what is wrong with the world we live in. The biggest superpower on the planet, instead of leading the world towards higher ideals and a higher consciousness, decided to stick to its materialist-minded ambitions.
What is ironic is the accusation levied by Donald Trump that the Paris Agreement favours countries like India and China. The reality is that if the entire world was to enjoy the average standards of living in the US, we would need four planet Earths! In India on the other hand, most people are still living without air-conditioning, dishwashers and washing machines. More importantly, as Prime Minister Modi mentioned in his fitting comeback, India has a tradition of protecting the environment that is over 5,000 years old.
Respect for the environment is so deeply ingrained in Indian culture that it is often difficult for those lacking the environmental sensitivity to understand why we revere the cow say, or consider certain trees and plants to be sacred. Many plants and herbs with important medicinal properties are considered holy in India – our forefathers having realised that the ‘holy’ stamp was a good way to ensure that the tradition of use and respect continues. The many deities in Hinduism are each identified with a particular vegetation and animal, for e.g. Saraswati with the swan and peacock, Vishnu with the banyan tree and tulsi (holy basil), etc. No part of the planet is left out of consideration, making for a truly wholistic tradition. Rituals are incomplete without coconuts and particular fruits, flowers and leaves, ensuring that these are always a part of our daily lives. Were it not for these traditions, it is easy to see how our flora and fauna would have instead been sacrificed at the altar of economic progress to a much larger extent than they have.
Life takes care of life, in the words of spiritual master Mooji. Because we have lost touch with the life within us, the human species is consuming other life on the planet at an alarming rate. Modern societies are so painfully estranged from nature that millions of people now live without much contact with other ‘life’, including other human beings. Unless we turn within, all other approaches like recycling and ‘going green’ will be cosmetic and insufficient. With the new developments on the global political stage, it is even more imperative that the tools of Yoga and the science of Ayurveda be available more widely. LWP featured Dr David Frawley’s article on Yoga and the Environment this past week, which highlights the crucial role that Yoga and Ayurveda have to play in the world today. Together with balancing the body and mind, they will ultimately enable us to also balance the ecology.
While the US’s acceptance of the Paris Agreement would have been good cause to repeat the catchy line “We’ll always have Paris” from the 1942 film Casablanca, we can sadly make no such confident statements in relation to our ecological future. But we can take a cue from PM Modi instead and decide that Paris or no Paris, let’s make sure we’ll always have the Earth, our only home.
Finishing up with a weekly round-up from LWP in case you missed it:
Monday: YouTube picks of 7 amazing Shiva chants & songs
Tuesday: A short slideshow video about avoiding some little-known bad food habits
Wednesday: My thoughts about the need for India’s spiritual light in the world, inspired by Sri Aurobindo’s vision a century ago
Thursday: An excerpt from Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s must-read book ‘Inner Engineering – a Yogi’s Guide to Joy’
Friday: Baba Ramdev’s tips for beating the summer heat
Saturday: David Frawley’s article on Yoga and the environment
Last Sunday’s Recipe: a chilled Summer Chickpea and Mint Salad
As always, I look forward to your comments, feedback, suggestions and article contributions. Do share this newsletter with those you think may be interested so that they can also sign up and join the wiser-living movement!
Wishing you a lovely Sunday wherever in the world you may be.
Editor, the LivingWise Project