Kenya Vegetarian Club continued with the program of seed donation to farmers near Ketitu village near Kisumu today. The club donated more than 2000 seeds to local farmers who already have farms to plant Muringa trees. I am proud of my team which is helping me to reach out to people in different corners of the country. Our drive will continue for some more time as we still have 40000 seeds to donate.
Recently there was a discourse series at Pushti Marg Haveli in Nairobi. I was very fortunate to attend these lectures. The theme was the love of the gopis for Krushn in Gopi Geet. Pujya Jejeshree conducted the discourses and in his usual style explained so beautifully all the verses and dwelt at length on the pure love of these gopis for the lord.
Gopi Geet is part of Srimad Bhagavat Puran more specifically it is in the first half of the Tenth Book in Chapter 31. The nineteen verses are sung when Krushn suddenly disappears after leading the gopis to perform the Raas in Vrindavan. Each gopi had a form of the lord for herself and there were so many Krushns at the same time.
The beautiful verses of gopi geet start with Jayati te dhikam janmanaa vrajah, that is vraj is always the winner because it was here the lord conducted all his leelas. The gopis bound him with their pure love and totally surrendered their body, mind and soul. There was no ego in them. So Krushn could fill in their hearts completely. The power of love is so strong and it binds the lord as we can see from the lives of the gopis. They were simple, unlettered cowherdesses, still the lord decided to leave all other important matters and spend time with them.
For a brief time, the fact that Krushn was with them made them a little haughty and that was when the lord decided to take off from there. He simply disappeared suddenly. Overcome with terrible sadness they pour out their viraha or sadness through these verses. We can call it the Gopis’ song of separation. They describe all his leelas and recall the good times they had with him and also praise him hoping to win him back.
I had a nice time hearing the discourses and I was transported back to the golden age and could visualize the wonderful Raas dance and the eternal love of the gopis who were willing to give up everything for their beloved.
The dictionary meaning for assertive is self-confident, self-assured, confident, firm as also forceful, forward, pushy and aggressive.
We do not want to sound forceful or pushy. Without meaning to be offensive, I have always wanted to ask this question, why is it that we always shy away from revealing our eating choices. We need to acknowledge with pride on our right to be a vegetarian. Let us not hesitate to acknowledge the choices we have made. These are conscious choices and hence we need to assert our right to be a vegetarian and vegucate people. We want to promote a compassionate lifestyle and recognize the right of every being on this earth to live. This includes the poor hapless animals which have no voice of their own. And for us to do this we need to be very vocal without being rude of course. Whether it is in the airlines or at a pre reserved meal at a restaurant we can exercise our choice and also see we get what we have ordered. In fact when I travel around the world now, I find there are more number of vegetarian restaurants now than before. This is a very healthy sign that the world is waking up to people’s choices and not the other way around. When Mahatma Gandhiji first made his journey to the west, he found that people ate whatever was there as they had to eat something in order to survive. And this could very often mean going against one’s own principles and accepting something that goes against the dharma of the individual. Food was then linked to survival.
But today thanks to awareness campaigns, people are no longer associating vegetarianism with any one particular religion and are able to accept that it is a way of life of people who have decided to promote vegetarianism as a cause and they respect these choices. Organizations like PETA have really created a remarkable appreciation for the rights of animals and because of this people have changed their lifestyles completely. We have a long way to go. We have to keep up the momentum. People may not be subscribing to veganism or vegetarianism due to ignorance. We have to highlight the cruelty done to animals at the slaughter houses, the inhuman conditions at the abattoirs, the fear felt by the poor animals, the depletion of resources due to the meat industry and the effects it can have on global warming and so on. We can impress upon the policy makers in the government and private agencies to give vegetarians more choices, encourage vegan and vegetarian restaurants by patronizing and publicizing them. These are our rights. Let us assert ourselves and see that our numbers swell in the coming years. It is not difficult if we are committed.
Last Christmas, Kenya Vegetarian Club organized a vegetarian lunch for officials in our county at Kisumu Yacht Club and they enjoyed it thoroughly. Sometimes we feel our friends will feel offended if we do not provide them what they want. This, in my opinion, is wrong. Our friends enjoy if we serve them vegetarian dishes with love and warmth and explain the reasons for the world to become vegetarian in a scientific and calm manner. This is the way we can help our planet earth. So three cheers for the assertive vegetarian!!!!
With the arrival of the festive season, it is raining discounts and bargains everywhere. Festivals are no longer quiet affairs celebrated with close family and friends. Rather it has now become a season to look forward to what the malls and hypermarkets can offer. I feel using festivals to make quick sales is a marketing gimmick that has caught on in recent years. I remember when we were young, not so long ago, we used to look forward to festivals because it gave us time to stay at home or go visiting our friends. It was more quiet and peaceful compared to the glitz and glamour of what it is today. And then there are the online offers. There is something or the other every day so the e-commerce sites announce grand bargains and discounts. Sometimes they offer new gadgets in exchange for old ones- in an ‘as is where is’ condition is what they advertise.
But how much can one go on buying? Of course, every product undergoes change almost on a daily basis. But imagine how we keep accumulating junk cluttering our homes and in a larger sense our earth. Landfills are the greatest problem. There is no way to dispose of the used e-goods. It may take zillions of years for these landfills to be cleared. How much can this earth take on? If this is the story of bringing in junk into our homes then what about our bodies?
There is so much to experiment as far as food goes, new recipes find their way to restaurants and eateries. Our tongue relishes new tastes and one look around we know for sure that the food industry is thriving everywhere.
Wellness experts say it is better to declutter our homes and detox our bodies periodically. Whenever we feel low or negative then throwing out junk from homes brings in fresh air and fresh vibrations. This is a proven tip and I can say that I have experienced freshness and positivity after this exercise. Similarly, it is also good to detox ourselves especially after indulging in all kinds of rich food say after a wedding or celebration or a party. Taking simple, raw foods and plenty of fresh juices and water detoxes our body and gives our digestive system a much-needed rest.
Sikkim is a tiny state tucked in Northeast India. It has achieved a great milestone as it has become India’s first fully organic state by implementing organic practices on around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land. This was achieved over a period of 12 years as it was in 2003 that the government decided to make Sikkim a state that is fully organic. They enacted legislation for this in their state assembly. They banned the entry of chemicals for farming purposes, their sale was also banned. Farmers thus did not have any option but to go organic.
I was so thrilled to read this report. I wish we can also turn Kenya into a completely organic state. We can do it if we educate our farmers on the evil effects of pesticides. Very often it is ignorance and the ready availability of these harmful chemicals that make our farmers take the easy route. These chemicals may be easy to use- just buy them and have them sprayed and the pests are gone. But new problems come in even before we realize. Diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, brain, kidney, breast, liver, lung, skin cancers and various other hormonal imbalances can occur if these pesticides are used over a long term. These chemicals cause damage to the environment and sometimes they may destroy good bacteria too. The toxins can also get into the vegetables and fruits and cause many defects in the consumers.
We have to train our farmers to use bio pesticides using neem, garlic etc which can kill harmful pests and keep the nation healthy. Kenya Vegetarian Club is spearheading this campaign and we also talk to the farmers about keeping the soil healthy and for this, we have to use good bio fertilizers and nutrients. Then if good quality seeds are planted the yield will also be good.