Krishna Consciousness & Ecological Awareness

HH Hridayananda das Goswami speaks on veganism
September 30, 2008, 1:08 am
Filed under: Morality, Religion, Veganism

The following is an excerpt from a lecture given by HH Hrdayananda das Goswami in Gainesville, Florida on August 30, 2008.  To listen to the entire lecture, please click here.

Bhaktin Kelly:Does Krsna willing accept milk from cows that were raised inhumanely and will eventually be slaughted?

HH Hridayananda das Goswami: A sincere devotee could have two positions.  You could just say, I am going to set a proper example and not patronize that cruel industry and not buy milk products- which is one position, which is obviously valid.  And then another position, someone could say, is that by offering the milk, the cows benefit by the offering to the deity and you are actually saving cows.  You could say that in practical terms, not ideological, the amount of milk that is being purchased and offered to the deities has absolutely zero impact on the dairy industry and, therefore, it does not change the economic dynamics of it.  So it doesn’t save cows but it saves souls by engaging them in Krishna’s service.

What I see in the Bhagavatam is that within Vedic culture there was a diversity of views.  People have different opinions on these things and a certain frame of consciousness.  Some are inspired to save cows by offering their milk to the deity.

Now let’s say the devotee is not making a serious offering, not really connecting with the deity, just “I like milk.”  Then I think to participate in this horrifically cruel industry just because you like milk is something which is much harder to justify. It is just one of those- “I’m hungry, I really want to eat, I have to offer it.” But if someone is seriously deity-conscious, their nature is really to worship Krsna, and their consciousness is to save the soul in the cow’s body, then I think, whether or not I would do that, is a position that should be respected.

Although, I do not think that devotees are required to do that.  If I was managing a temple with deities, I would not say you have to offer milk.  I think it is a matter of consciousness of the individual.

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Hindus restore sacred forests in Orissa
May 12, 2008, 6:00 am
Filed under: Environmental Politics, Land Conservation, Religion

Article found at Alliance of Religions & Conservation 

Hindu groups and the Orissa government agreed to re-establish the state’s sacred forests to provide sustainably-managed wood for the annual festival of Lord Jagannath.

The centrepiece of the ancient festival is the building and parading of three huge chariots – after which the English word “juggernaut” is named. These are made with timber from 20 local tree species and after the ceremony, the wood is distributed to local villages and used to fuel temple kitchens.

But over the centuries inadequate forest management has gradually led to a significant loss of trees. The implication both for the festival and the natural environment is serious.

The forests are rich in resources, but their proper management requires the co-operation of the people who live in and around them.

The Sacred Gift builds on the people’s devotion to Lord Jagannath – a devotion that has been a key element of Orissan culture for at least 2000 years – and aims to set up three forest conservation zones, each incorporating about ten villages sited in state-owned forest lands.

Since 2000 each village has had a Forest Protection Committee to promote joint forest management based around practical incentives and employment schemes.

In 2001 the local communities developed a management plan in collaboration with ARC.

By mid-2007 2369 hectares were earmarked for plantation under the Shri Jagannath Vana Prakalpa Forest Project. See link to learn more about this project and the management of Jagannath Forest.

The project sets an important precedent for other Hindu groups to extend their involvement in environmental matters. It also encourages the Orissa State Government to incorporate traditional cultural and religious practices into their forest activities – which are vital to the state’s economy.

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Geothermal System Helps Sisters Fulfill Spiritual, Moral Mandate
May 6, 2008, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Alternative Energy, Morality, Religion
Nicknamed the “Blue Nuns” for the blue habits they used to wear, the Catholic sisters of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary have renovated their motherhouse and campus in Monroe, Michigan, into a showpiece of ecologically sustainable development. The project recently earned national awards from the Environmental Protection Agency and the American Institute of Architects. It features the largest privately funded geothermal field in the country and ranks as one of the nation’s largest residential sustainable renovations registered with the U.S. Green Building Council.

Read full article here

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Earth Day 2008
April 18, 2008, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Alternative Energy, Morality, Religion

Earth Day 2008: Something We Can All Believe In


In coordination with the National Council of Churches, the Religious
Coalition on Creation Care and other inter-faith organizations, EDN
will integrate faith based Earth Day observances into nation wide
Earth Day 2008 actions. Our goal is to activate 500,000 parishioners
in areas of the country that have not responded to the climate crises
in support of climate legislation that invests in renewable energy and
the creation of green jobs and helps low-income Americans transition
to the new green economy.

On Earth Day 2007, EDN was successful in creating 12,000 sermons
and religious events through outreach to leaders from the Jewish,
Muslim, and Christian faiths. EDN created the 2007 Global Warming
in the Pulpit Pledge as a way to engage national faith leaders and
local clergy to deliver a sermon on climate change the weekend of
Earth Day, April 20-22, or to commit to preaching a sermon on
climate change one day during the year. Thousands of ministers,
rabbis, and other religious leaders throughout the U.S. and Canada
responded by pledging a deliver a sermon on climate change to their
congregations. We also created the first Earth Day Sunday at the
Washington National Cathedral, which was televised and which
included Reverend Richard Cizik, a leader in the Evangelical Church,
and other religious leaders.

Read more

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