My special gratitude to you, Srimati Kiran Bediji for your incredibly transforming words, and my sincerest gratitude to the very sincere dedicated speakers throughout yesterday’s sessions, who were really sharing their realizations, their knowledge, their skills, and my special gratitude to each and every one of you who have come to our Govardhan Eco Village for this event.
Radhanath Swami points out the root cause of problems in world
We are especially focused on discussing, making changes, and finding solutions to the crisis in the environment. As we said yesterday, it is from a deeper perspective, we are not facing a crisis of the environment, rather it is a crisis of the human spirit, because whatever we see in the ecology of the world very much corresponds with the ecology of the human heart. A simple analogy, because in Mumbai we have our Bhaktivedanta hospital, so I always talk with doctors, any disease we treat the symptoms but it’s not going to solve the problem unless we go to the root cause of the symptoms. If a person is having boil due to a disease in the blood, we could put ointment and various treatments for the boil itself but they will recur again and again and again, unless we go to the root cause, toxins in the blood. The toxin of greed, arrogance, lust, envy, illusion, is plaguing the human heart. Bhagavad-Gita compares agreed to fire. The more you try to satisfy it, the more you feed it, the stronger and hungrier it becomes. Material resources, whether its prestige, fame, acquisition of property, expansion of our bank account, can never ever satisfy the heart; the more we become obsessed with these things the more the fire blazes for more.
Spiritual life, true religion, true yoga is the science of cleansing the heart from these toxins, and actually learning to live in harmony, the body, the mind with our own atma, with our own soul. – Radhanath Swami
And as we learn to live in harmony with our true self, we naturally learn and understand the importance of living in harmony with God, with all other living beings, and with nature, the environment.
Radhanath Swami on understanding meaning of compassion
In Sanskrit the word karuna is sometimes translated as compassion. In the English dictionary compassion is defined as having feelings for the welfare of other living beings. In Sanskrit there is a word para-dukha-dukhi, that an actual enlightened person is not just one who can quote a lot of scriptures, not just one who could perform some supernatural powers, an actual enlightened person is one who thinks, ‘Other people’s suffering becomes my suffering, and other people’s happiness becomes my happiness.’ And as our heart becomes cleansed, as we come in contact with Krishna or God and our own soul, naturally that spirit of compassion expands. As Srimati Kiranji was saying, we should have compassion for our own self, our own body because it is a temple of God, it is not mine, it is in my care; compassion to my own family members because they are not mine but they are children of God placed in my care; to all my possessions to my well and it gradually expands to the community, to our nation, to humanity, and to all living beings.
To the degree the spirit of compassion, the spirit of karuna expands, our life becomes meaningful and fulfilling. – Radhanath Swami
karuna does not just mean a theoretical conception of compassion, it means active, intelligent, and directed compassion, with commitment and care. It is that spirit of karuna that is most urgently needed in the world, and every other type of poverty and shortage is very much because of the poverty of compassion.
It is impossible to make sustainable environmental changes unless there are changes in people’s behavior, values, and philosophy of life. Outward change is directly corresponding with inward change. They go together. – Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami elaborates the meaning of logo of Nexus Conference
In the Nexus conference sign that is in front of us, I don’t know if you call this a logo or a picture, but whatever it is there are different colored, different shape, different size hands all holding each other, and that is the principle. That holding of hands is based on actually caring for each other. Compassion is not just an idea; environmentalism is not just a concept. If we believe in it, if we care for it, we will commit ourselves for the action and the example that will actually make those changes. The more we see problems in the world, the more we want to go deeper to be empowered by a higher power than our own, the power of God’s grace, so that we can actually make a difference.
Technology can be extremely useful or extremely harmful depending on who is using it. Similarly education, yesterday we heard from one of our speakers that most of the real big problems in this world are being created and perpetuated by people who really have a tremendous amount of material intellect and scientific technological training, but a polluted ecology of heart. Here at our Eco-Village, it’s a very humble and small attempt, not just to create a nice community for we who live in it, but trying to create an example, that could somehow give some enlightenment, some direction, and some hope for the world.
We were speaking yesterday that the biggest things in the history of this world began with just a few people committing themselves. If we are expecting, ‘Let’s have something big and then we will really get excited about it!’ then we may wait birth after birth after birth after birth; we have to begin with what we have and commit ourselves to it. Many of the brahmacharis and the monks that are living here are graduates from many of the world’s leading universities and colleges, many from IIT in India. They are engineers, in fact one of our devotees got his PhD at Penn State University, in Pennsylvania USA, and he really wanted to do something that was really meaningful and useful from with his PhD. So he came here and explored village technologies and made a tank that transforms cow dung into gas for cooking, and it’s so simple, there’s no electricity, it’s just a way of treating the cow dung picked up with our with the villagers. The brahmacharis, the engineers, are together with the village ladies picking up the cow dung and putting it in. People with some of the highest credentials of science and technology in their youth are hand-in-hand with farmers, with villagers, exploring what many of them have forgotten.
When Srila Prabhupada went to England, this is in 1969, one reporter asked him, “Swamiji, why have you come to our country, we have our own religion?” Srila Prabhupada smiled. He said, “You British people, you ruled over India for over a century and you took from Indiana and brought to London all of its treasures, but you forgot the most valued treasure of its culture, its philosophy, its spiritual lifestyle. I have come to freely bring to London what you forgot to take.” So we find here at the eco-village, we have some of the most influential industrialists, business people, engineers, who are coming together. I just went to one semester of a junior college.
So, the secret to real progress is when we learn to appreciate the potential within others. – Radhanath Swami
When we are selfishly centered, when there’s arrogance, we are thinking, ‘I’m doing better than you,’ or we become envious because we can’t do as good as someone else; but an actual enlightened person is one who can deeply appreciate the value of what others can do, in the service of God for the good of others. Whether we are Hanuman carrying mountains or a little spider lifting one grain of sand at a time, in Ram’s estimation they are equal, because they are sincerely doing what they can. So with this spirit, we are trying to address various issues that we see are really really important, built on the foundational principle of devotion to Krishna or God and compassion for others, with the help of Vishwanathji and several others we are developing water harvesting. The water is there. Are we grateful for God for every drop of water he is giving us, if we are, we will see its value and cherish it, not waste it. Sewage refining – they don’t even call it sewage here, they call it a symbiotic biotechnology. As I was speaking to Nimai Lila yesterday, I said translate it for people can understand, it is treating sewage but they don’t see it that way. Just like yesterday, one of our esteemed speakers was teaching us that we should not waste waste, because it’s not waste.
Everything within this universe has great value, oḿ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaḿ pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate, everything is perfect and complete if we understand its relationship with Bhagwan, with Krishna, with God. – Radhanath Swami
But what does that mean? That doesn’t mean just a theoretical idea. If we really understand its connection, then we will live in seva, we will use it in a spirit of service. Yes, human sewage is priceless if only we understand its potential value and use it accordingly, because that’s the way the universe was created. With the help of Chitra ji, who I believe is still here, she has taught us, according to Srila Prabhupada, our own guru’s idea, how to make bricks from our local soil, compress them, and dry them in the sun. The villagers, the industrialists, the monk engineers, together they’ve made over 250,000 bricks and the building we are sitting in is made out of it. And they really beautiful, aesthetic, and they last. It’s really incredible. We are walking on the land all the time, do we see the potential that we could build buildings and houses and temples out of this brick, if we just realize it’s potential. We have that potential within ourselves, if only by the association of people who see it, we can understand it.
Composting, taking organic trash and making it into incredibly valuable compost for growing crops, natural growing food without chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers. We have our PhD’s studying the technologies that hundreds of years ago simple farmers used in realizing this is superior to everything that modern science has ever created, and it’s right here in India. Electricity – the experiments of solar power, wind power, and as I said practically all the cooking is done with the gas produced by the dung of the cow. There is no reason to kill a cow or a bull. They are our brothers and our sisters and I have seen people from all around India and all over the world, when they come here and they actually come in contact with a cow that has been loved by humans, and that cow loves humans, they have a complete transformation, they could no longer ever eat meat again, because they make the connection that every animal ultimately wants to be loved and want to love; that is the universal principle of life itself.
Radhanath Swami shares the story of Redwood trees
I will end with a little analogy that I like to give. How nature teaches us so many things, like this illustration. In California, the redwood trees are the largest trees on planet earth, and I heard a Park Ranger explaining how these trees that we were looking at, there are on loose soil, their roots cannot grow very deep in that soil, over the centuries they have been subjected to massive earthquakes, blizzards, storms, how do they keep growing higher and higher and bigger and bigger. The underground secret! Because the roots of the redwood trees reach out for the roots of another tree and as soon as they come in contact, they intertwine with each other and make a permanent embrace. In this way every tree in the forest is directly or indirectly supporting every other tree; unity is the strength. In their own way they are not only holding hands, but the root of the tree is like the heart of the tree, their hearts are connected, this is karuna.
Compassion is when we actually connect our hearts with real love and concern for other living beings, and this is the real fruit of self-realization, enlightenment. – Radhanath Swami
And in this way even in the face of inevitable storms and earthquakes that come in so many ways to all of us individually and collectively, if we are connected, with karuna, with God’s grace between us, we will continue to grow and grow and grow. I thank you very much.