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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Yoga of Envrionmentalism

From our friends at Govardhan Eco-Village

‘Environmentalism’ is the new religion today. Seeing through the mirage of the so-called development, many are realizing the detrimental effects of industrialization. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat nourish us a little, if not sap away our wellness. Our co-inhabitants on this planet are becoming extinct day by day, reducing their presence to mere museums and encyclopedias. Seeing this rapid degradation of planet earth, Environmentalism is gaining fast acceptance, especially among the intellectual sections of the society. But what does Environmentalism profess?

Environmentalism is an ideology and a social movement aimed at environmental conservation and improvement by establishing a balance in our actions. It advocates changes in national policies, industrial practices, public behaviors and individual lifestyles to bring about this harmony between the humans and the earth. In short environmentalism expounds a way of living, an eco-culture based on certain higher values. Such an ideology is not something new, for it was integral to the Indian spiritual culture.
Often times we attribute religion or spirituality to have its basis only in the metaphysical. Something dealing with in the physical realm may not seem to be connected to the domain of spirituality. One might hence wonder about the link between environmentalism and spirituality. But in actuality the traditional Indian ideology holds environmentalism to be as sacred a concept as ‘yoga.’ The very meaning of the word yoga is ‘to connect’ and the metaphysical connotation is to connect the individual self with the supreme divine.

The sacred Indian texts, the Vedas, interpret the entire cosmos to be the personal energy of the Supreme Being and hence is as sacred as the Supreme Being. While simultaneously decrying the pantheistic viewpoint of labeling everything in nature to be God, the Vedas present a culture of respecting nature to be divine and godly. The Vedas explain that the planet earth is a divine property of God and whatever resources we get from this planet have to be gratefully accepted and utilized back in the service of God. Thus by establishing this mood of servitude and respect the Vedic lifestyle indirectly propounded environmentalism.

The culture of caring for the planet is an integral aspect of the Vedic culture. Seeing the divine connection between the Nature and God will naturally make our every action eco-friendly. The Vedic lifestyle does not condemn development, but encourages sustainable development brought about by acting in a responsible way. Thus our every interaction with nature is one of knowledge of the divine connection among humans, nature and God. This is the essence of the yoga of environmentalism.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Govardhan Eco-Village

 For more click here to check out the Govardhan Eco-Village website

Govardhan Eco-Village illustrates ‘Simple Living & High Thinking’ – a principle which is so succinct, yet profound, and formed the basis of life in the bygone age of wisdom.

Life in the Vedic times was focused on Service, but not on exploitation; this was the cardinal rule of living and the very essence of people’s dealings – with each other and that with Mother Nature. With the concepts of eco-living being innate, the Vedic lifestyle was truly an eco-friendly way of living life as instanced in the timeless Vedic scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita. We at Govardhan Eco Village hope to present this model to the world as an alternative way of lifestyle and perhaps a solution to the impending ecological crisis.

Govardhan Eco-Village is a farm community spread over a scenic landscape of 60 acres at Galtare, Wada situated 110 km North of Mumbai, India. Since its inception in the year 2003, Govardhan Eco-Village has made steady progress in organic farming, cow protection, education, rural development, alternative energy, eco friendly constructions and sustainable living.

In the scenario where environmental crisis is on the rise, Govardhan Eco-Village is an example of living in harmony with nature. The purpose behind Govardhan Eco-Village is twofold – one is to present a sustainable living model based on community living and second is to educate people in the field of traditional sciences including Yoga and spirituality.

For demonstrating the principles of Eco-friendly living, Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), stressed on developing farm communities as they present the only sustainable way of leading a life which is physically, mentally, socially, economically, spiritually and environmentally friendly. He said, “The Krishna consciousness movement is therefore establishing various farms to show how to be happy and content with minimum necessities of life and to save time for self-realization, which one can very easily achieve by chanting the maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

Govardhan Eco-Village (GEV) is an ISKCON Chowpatty initiative under the inspiration and guidance of Radhanath Swami, who is the spiritual mentor at ISKCON Chowpatty. Radhanath Swami, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, spent a great number of years in a farm community established by Srila Prabhupada experiencing an eco-friendly lifestyle, serving the cows and leading the life of a monk.
To fulfill the dream of his spiritual master, Radhanath Swami envisioned a farm community in India highlighting the importance of living in harmony with nature, and inspiring his followers to serve the society by setting up a model farm community – Govardhan Eco-Village.

We invite you to visit us and have a divine and refreshing experience. Feel free to contact us at

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Monsanto And The American Way

An ear of corn is never just an ear of corn when it is grown from a Monsanto seed…” Anonymous

From John Bain at GoodBusiness International

For the past few weeks here at Good-B we’ve been talking about genetically modified foods. What are they? Why are they? And are they good for you or not?

In this field there is no company more lauded – and suspect – for its achievements than agricultural juggernaut Monsanto. 
We’ve invited this company into our homes – and make no mistake, you have eaten Monsanto today – without questioning their motives or thinking much of it at all. Why?

In researching this topic, I became increasingly aware of the stupefying depths of this company’s involvement in American life. I decided that to write about Monsanto is not so much to pen a clear-cut narrative of ever-increasing genetic tinkering, stock prices, or protest. The conglomerate doesn’t even fit into the familiar (to conspiracy theorists) metaphor of the “octopus” – tendrils everywhere, with a nefarious head plotting at the top.

No – and I hope you’ll forgive the aquatic word-wrangling while I get to the point – it’s best understood as a jellyfish. The thing about a jellyfish is that, because it’s composed mostly of saline water, we can’t tell exactly where it ends and the ocean begins.

See where I’m going here? Monsanto’s control over this country’s food isn’t an abuse of the system, as it stands – it is the system. It is so much a basic part of our food system, you don’t even think about it.

Corn is in pretty much everything these days. And this isn’t just a matter of muffins – I’m thinking more along the lines of corn-syrup sweetener in soda and candy, corn starch in chicken nuggets, even corn in your gas tank in the form of ethanol. And Monsanto is the corn cartel behind all of this, controlling 80 percent of corn seeds (not to mention 90 percent of soybeans) in this country and feeling free to raise prices whenever they feel like it.

How is this possible/legal? Not to suggest anything untoward, but this site has a list of Congressmen that Monsanto has given campaign contributions to. According to this source, they’ve spent over $50 million on lobbying to keep their genetically modified crops on the right side of the law. That puts them right up there with the oil industry, which has a similar effect on U.S. policy.

Did I mention that G.H.W. Bush-appointed Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas has Monsanto ties and refused to recuse himself from a case involving their GMO patents? Like I said, these tendrils run deep.

In fact, Monsanto’s rise to absolute power has everything to do with the Bush dynasty. Consider that Donald Rumsfeld was president of a company now owned by Monsanto, and that John Ashcroft was the top recipient of Monsanto money in the government when he was made attorney general. They’re also well-represented in the CIA. It’s no surprise, then, that they’re pushing farmers in Iraq and Afghanistan to use their GMO seeds.

Individuals with Monsanto ties were also conspicuous in the Bush-era FDA. They still work there, which perhaps has something to do with the current lack of progress on a proposal to label all GMO food.

Through the “revolving door” of Monsanto employees being recruited by the FDA, the company and its cronies literally decide most major U.S. food policy decisions. They even possess the capability to intervene in U.S. foreign policy, as revealed by a diplomatic cable from 2007 made public by WikiLeaks. This cable describes efforts by the U.S. ambassador to France to put pressure on that country after they banned Monsanto’s GMO corn. It is incredible –and palpably wrong – that one company has so much control over what this nation’s government does or does not do.

At the present moment Monsanto exercises nearly complete control over the food policy of the U.S. This control is further enabled by the patent system, which allows organisms to be trademarked; thus, Monsanto literally owns most of the corn in this country in the same way the RIAA owns most of the music.

Now, my objection here isn’t a moral one. Humans have been playing God with genetic material for centuries. Those who tinker with genetic material have the right to copyright it, just as an author has the right to copyright his novel. The problem I have with Monsanto is that what they’re doing is anti-competition; they’re in the halls of government precisely to cripple the kind of honest capitalism this country was founded on.

For purposes of illustration, let’s consider the case of OSGATA, an organization of organic farmers that filed suit against Monsanto last March.

OSGATA filed suit in response to Monsanto’s tactic of suing any farmer who is found with seeds from their GMO crops in his or her field. In many cases, OSGATA claims there was no willful infringement; rather, seeds and pollen naturally drifted from Monsanto-supplied fields to these farmers’ organic plots.

One perspective on this case is that Monsanto is simply trying to bankrupt the competition, using the drift of their GMO seeds as easy cover. That’s the view I’m inclined to.

In February of this year, the judge presiding over the case deemed the accusations of the plaintiff OSGATA to be without legal merit. The suit was dismissed.

This March, they appealed, with one plaintiff saying the Federal Court was “obsequious to Monsanto”. I’m anxiously awaiting any news on the progress of this case, but my hopes aren’t very high.

Still, the OSGATA case is only one of a series of events that shows people are waking up. Another would be the California ballot initiative to start labeling GMO food, or even more pointedly last year’s S.E.C. investigation of a Monsanto program that gave cash incentives to farmers who used their GMO seeds.

But those are the people who grow our food, the niche California “granola lobby”, and the Securities Exchange Commission, respectively. They all have direct reasons to be involved, and that isn’t enough.

After all, President Obama promised to introduce a GMO-labeling bill during the 2008 campaign. That’s failed to materialize as of yet, but I think Mr. Obama is the kind of politician who holds his cards close to his chest. Monsanto has a huge amount of clout in Washington, and without the clear support of the people any attempt to fight the GMO lobby would be very politically hazardous for him.

In other words, it’s our problem.  Right now a movement is growing. But I think it’s very likely that there’s nascent support for the anti-GMO cause in the hearts of many. Most just have blinders on, unable to see the Monsanto system for what it really is – and what it is is a racket, an anti-democratic and anti-competitive institution. What’s up to those of us in the know is to inform, to agitate, and to hope we strike a chord.

Call to Action: Gary Hirschfield of Stonyfield Yogurt and many other “pure food” activists have started a movement for freedom of choice in our food system called “Just Labels.” The key issue is that we should know what is in our food and have a choice over whether we want to consumer it or not.  Join the movement as we did at Good-b at

Click here as well for info on how 5 million farmers are also suing Monsanto for unjust economic practices.