Ammaji’s disciple Submitraji in Kisumu

It was truly a pleasure to host Submitraji, the disciple of Ammaji at my residence during his visit to Kisumu this month. When our committee of Sanatan mandir decided to invite him to temple, I quickly thought of hosting him at home to know more about Ammaji and it is always my pleasure to invite such saints in the house.

He was acoompanied by Manish Shah from Nairobi and two other members of his team. Nath and Rupal. Nath is a German guy who is always traveling with Swamiji to donate white Crane to blind schools. After picking up them from the airport, we checked the venue of evening talk and after lunch went to Kibos Blind school. It was really heart warming and touching to see so many blinds in the region not so far from Kisumu. They were truly happy to receive the sticks which can help them to get the direction and a strong support as well.

after the donation drive, we returned and went for the evening talk at the temple. The talk was in English and Hindi mixed which people enjoyed. I learned quite a bit more about the projects Ammaji does and how she has embraced the world by hugging each and every soul she has ever met. It was truly an amazing fact that she has reached out to millions of people and shared their pain and sorrows and given them a motherly comfort which they might have not got from their own family.

Our country is truly great as we keep getting such saints in the country who not only helps Indians but the people world over.

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Session on vegetable farming at Urudi Center

urudi center- ketito

Continuing the series of vegetarianism and vegetable farming, Lake Basin college invited me to yet another session at Urudi Center near Katito, an interior part of Kisumu county which I had never seen before. The drive to that place was pleasant with less traffic and a tarmac road.

The session started with the reciting of few verses of Bible and explanation given about food in it. The pastor explained the importance of food very well and even I learned few  things about food in Bible from him. The crowd was a mixture of model farmers and the farm owners of various places around that area.

When I started explaining the benefits of vegetarian diet, people were reluctant to  believe one can survive without meat forever. I understand that it is a tough war but I am getting there slowly. Every session is teaching me something new through their queries, expressions, interests they show in my research etc. This time I went with the actual samples of pulses and vegetables which many of them had not seen before. It was a good opening for  them to know what they need to grow in this region. I also realised that I may need to show the seeds next time and go with the chart so that they can identify the seeds quickly.

I am also glad to know that farmers taking more and more interest in learning more about farming and really keen on growing their farms. Let’s hope for the best.

 

Say no to plastic!

 

Sometime back there was a news report which said that a huge whale was washed ashore dead near Kent Beach in the UK. Such reports are becoming more and more common nowadays. I started thinking. Before the gleaming supermarkets and mega malls came up handing over all items in shining plastic bags what did we do? We carried cloth bags and wicker baskets to the market place to collect the vegetables and groceries that we bought. Our parents and their parents followed this method. Life was a lot peaceful. Earth too returned the favor by ensuring that everything was quiet in nature. True they might not have led a life of ease and comfort but they had something more precious, peace and quiet. Nothing was used and thrown, things were reused.

And then of course came the use and throw culture which we are all only too familiar. Convenience at the cost of environment took over. We could just go without planning to buy anything, so did not have to carry any bag with us. And then if something caught our fancy, the obliging shop keeper could always give it to us wrapped in a huge plastic cover which was anyway used by us to put all the waste and oosh, we could just throw it into the garbage dump.

Which brings us to the next point? What happens if all the garbage bags started piling up in the dumps? These land refills have started eating into our urban spaces and now we are choking, literally in our own dirt. This has become a major problem in all the cities of the world especially in the developing countries. We need to act before it is too late.

Why is plastic harmful? Why are they harmful to the environment? Let us find out why-

Studies have shown that Plastic takes 1000 years to decompose into smaller pieces. These then seep down into the soil and release chemicals, which eventually reach the water supply or the underground water tables.

On land, cattle roaming on the streets eat this plastic mistaking it to be fodder and die painful excruciating deaths. Also, this waste builds up in landfills and we have mounds of garbage as no one knows how to dispose them. At sea, juice cans and cola bottles and plastic covers thrown carelessly into the waters by reckless beachgoers kill animals in the water when they eat plastic bags thinking they are jellyfish.

Manufacturing of plastic bags is harmful to the environment because nonrenewable resources are used (petroleum and natural gas). The manufacturing process itself uses toxic chemicals, pollutes the atmosphere and consumes energy. Also transportation of the billions of plastic bags from the industries to various places means further energy consumption, largely in the form of more petrol and diesel.

Before the problem becomes any worse I think we should move in and act swiftly. Already it is too late but let us wake up atleast now. We can prevent it if all of us come together and act for the sake of our mother earth. Shopkeepers should first be enlisted into the campaign. They should politely stop giving plastic bags and hang notice boards all over the shops asking customers to bring in their own cloth or jute bags. Of course in some places shopkeepers charge for the bags but that is nominal and people do not mind spending on it so it will still encourage the use of plastic bags. We must ensure zero tolerance. Shopkeepers can give away cloth bags for a nominal price.

Another group which can play an important role is the restaurant owners. Disposable, plastic plates and cutlery should be discouraged. If customers want takeaways they can bring their own containers. In recent times, many high profile people in India plan eco friendly weddings and events where they use leaf plates and steel cutlery. Bouquets are wrapped not using fancy plastic streamers, covers and ribbons but using colorful leaves. These people show the way that we can help the environment in our own small way.

While going through various research papers about plastic, I found that we can reuse plastic bottles to build small huts and houses for the under privileged ones. It does the job of bricks and can hold cement or other binding agent for the house. The life of such houses are also long enough as the plastic itself takes years to decompose.

If citizens come together, then we can be the change that we want to see in others.

 

Received Hind Rattan Award in Delhi

Getting an award is always a gratifying feeling.. but when you get it really unexpectedly, it has a different charm. When I got a call from the organizer, I felt a bit out of the place as mostly people in their fifties get awards of any sort. But it still had its own charm and lured me thinking I will be able to connect with people from different parts of the world.

When I reached Delhi I found that most of the people were in their fifties and sixties and I was probably the youngest one. But it didn’t matter  to me. I met quite a few interesting professionals from different fields across the globe. Got a chance to share what I do in my country and with my foundation for the people. I met few like minded women who were really a go-getter like me. Got a very good looking award which is worth flaunting in the drawing room. The organiser, NRI Welfare of India has been doing the same for last 35 years. Many political and high profile government officials were present. Though it had lacked the charm of Modiji’s agenda as I didn’t feel Modi fever there.

I also realized that I have a different connection with Delhi, it just brings some or other good news to me. I think I should often visit Delhi to find out this connection feeling.

Yes the reason of awards also gave me an opportunity to go to Haridwar which was an extra bonus.

An interesting journey to kumbh snana at Haridwar

It is an interesting fact that who doesn’t know what is Kumbh Mela. From Maxico to China, every individual familier with world’s wonders would know what is Kumbh Mela in India.

It was my third kumbh visit at Haridwar this January. Though it is an ardh kumbh- half kumbh which comes after every six years at Haridwar. The city was prepared for the huge crowd and things were well arranged. I reached there by road from Delhi through NH 58 i think. The drive was pleasent and less traffic due to republic day holiday. While reaching near Haridwar, I found Ramdev baba’s research center so thought of checking the place. It wasa huge center with many research centers in inside.

Finally when reached Haridwar, I dipped into the water immediately  and I could feel the hoards of negative energy going out of my body and mind. The freezing cold water was difficult initially but later Gangaji accepted me whole heartedly. The serenity of the place, the belief of millions, the beauty of gangaji, the air of spirituality was visible all over the place. After attending the famous evening ganga arati I felt connected to that divine place and realised why this whole region in considered Dev Bhumi.

On next day went to Rishikesh and famous lakshman zula. Also visited parmarth niketan and other ashrams on the main ghat. Edit

I also went to a town called Massori near Rishikesh. A beautiful town, a center of education, famous for international Doon school where many famous indians have studied. Extremely cold but worth visiting as many beutiful places to see. The most surprising thing was that the restuarent of a famous garden in massori serves only vegetarian food, something I must share with my readers.