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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Actual Sustainability


What is actual sustainabilty?

Is it the ability to create and sustain a consistent supply of foodstuffs locally and organically grown for your family and community?

Is it living by responsible environmental codes and practices that properly respects and doesn't denigrate the earthly planet we live on?

Is it driving your hybrid, drinking your soymilk, voting for Obama, or donating to Greenpeace or Sierra Club?

Is it all this, or is there something more?

Within the Iskcon movement...we do have the philosophical foundation to explain why and how spirituality is connected to sustainability and that there is no such thing as sustainability without spirituality. It is nothing but understanding the movement of the modes of nature, the permutation of goodness, passion and ignorance moving around. But the actual sustainability is that you are doing it for the pleasure and service of God. Therefore by Gods grace and his expansions or assistants, that arrangement makes everything co-operate with your effort to make nice devotional offerings. Thats actual sustainability.
Tapahpunja Das, 2008 Festival of Inspiration, New Vrindaban Dham

2 comments:

shick said...

Chris,

Tapapunja is focused on "something more," which transcends the "mode of goodeness" that you delineated (driving your hybrid, drinking your soymilk, voting for Obama, or donating to Greenpeace or Sierra Club), but we can also recognize that these trends in human society represents a yearning for taking care of the planet, and our fellow man. These things indicate a growing spirituality that I see in America, in harmony with the core principles of religion, or at least the mode of goodness, that is a stepping stone to transcendence. People are tired of the "me" generation, and wants to live in the "we" generation. They may not be completely aware the idea of service to a higher being, and some of them may even be atheists, but I feel that it is indeed an awakening, a movement toward the good, that is reflected in the the majority of people, as shown in the recent political revolution we just witnessed. This shows that most of us are willing to embrace alternative thinking, in lifestyle, in culture, in politics, and in spirituality. On the other hand, the Rush Limbaughs, and Sean Hannities of the world are not, in fact they are exactly the opposite. The "liberal," "eco-friendly" people are far more willing to embrace a wide variety alternative philosophies and spirituality, so I think you should be careful in how you contrast the message of your philosophy with the practices of people your are hoping to win over, (the majority of Americans). It may sound to them as condescending, in that you appear to diminish all their "mode of goodness" efforts. That is all they know. They are not aware of the concept of service to a Divine Being, so instead of mocking their efforts, (driving your hybrid, drinking your soymilk, voting for Obama, or donating to Greenpeace or Sierra Club), you should embrace them and their causes, and in that way, try to bring them into the fold, in a post-partisan, post-sectarian, even post-religious way. Does that way of preaching make any sense to you?

- Siksastaka dasa

Club 108 said...

Siksastaka Prabhu

Thank you for your kind and learned words.

In one sense, I am still trying to define the understanding of the ongoing process of detachment from my conditioning. Because this understanding is still quite immature, more often than not, my use of language might end up being alienating or too fatalistic. I offer my gratitude in pointing this out to me so that I can have a clearer picture.

Actually, it's the great challenge we face as devotees and spiritual personalities, to present our timeless message of Vedic wisdom in such a way that we are able to truly connect with sincere, progressive, and intelligent people.

Just yesterday we offered kirtan and prasad at a student environmental symposium at U-Pitt, and the main theme was trying to bring into practical action and focus the large awakening of environmental and globally collective consciousness that is happening now.

I personally take great inspiration from the genuine heart behind the motivations of this kind of progressive action and thought, knowing that we, as devotees, have the direct potency of Krsna Consciousness, to add to their stew of practical and powerful organization.

Again, the question and the challenge is to connect our wisdom and action with their wisdom and action in such a way that we don't come off as "cultish" or "religious" or conceited in any way.

It's a very vital time in the world in the battle of consciousness. If we can make this connection, then the field of positive and uplifting change for everyone involved becomes limitless and eternal.