Art of Living News.

With the rains playing hide and seek and most reservoirs in the Cauvery basin going dry, the issue of water scarcity has become more acute than ever. The rivers and tributaries that once flowed through the urban jungle of Bangalore have either almost disappeared or just existing on maps like the Kumudvathi, or for that matter turned sewage carriers like the Dakshina Pinakini and Vrishabhavathi.

River-Kumudvathi-at-Nelaman

Following successful people’s movements for lake rejuvenation, it seems the only way out now is reviving our rivers next. Art of Living, under the banner ‘Volunteer for a better India’ has taken up the rejuvenation of River Kumudvathi at Nelamangala.

The movement kick started on February 17, and since then, Art of Living volunteers from the city have come to the villages of Kerekattiganuru, Arebommanahalli and Geddalipura.

Every Sunday after Sunday, they join hands with the villagers to put in a hard day’s work. The project aims to address the water shortage problems through rainwater harvesting, increasing green cover and desilting existing step wells, among other methods.

So far, the hub of  these activities has been the three villages but the plan is to eventually extend close to 300 villages situated in the Kumudvathi basin.

Traditional methods

Geologist and scientist Dr Lingaraju Yale, who is piloting the project believes in imbibing traditional methods of water conservation and storage.

Having digitally mapped the catchment area, he states that the amount of rainfall these villages receive fluctuates but, on the whole, it has not declined. Then, why is there scarcity of water?  “There has been a change in the terrain due to deforestation, loss of green cover and planting trees like the eucalyptus which sucks in a lot of ground water.”

He further added, “Our ancestors were simple people. They may not have been technologically advanced, but they constructed tanks and lakes to store water and built check dams along the course of the river to prevent soil erosion.”

He believes that reverting to the system that was in place then is the solution to the present water crisis. “There is also a natural system in place here,” he clarifies.

“This is a rocky terrain with undulations. So, when it rains, water flows down from the top of hills and collects in pockets in the rocks to make tiny pools.”

Recharging techniques

In addition, he explains that recharging of wells are also essential to raise the ground water table. “We dig up to 20 ft, and fill up the sides with gravel to increase the porosity. This, along with the pressure that the column of water exerts, speeds up the absorption of water along the river bed. If the ground water level rises, even the water flowing in the streams and river will increase.”

Dr Lingaraju and noted environmentalist and former IFS officer, Yellappa Reddy who is also on the planning team, visit the sites regularly to evaluate the progress. Reddy makes it a point to hold the attention of the villagers with instances from the scriptures and mythology. “Make sure you plant a lot of Atti (cluster fig) trees,” he tells the Arebommanahalli Panchayat secretary. “Do you know the importance of the tree?” he asks the people huddled around him. They shake their heads but their curiosity is aroused. “When Narasimha slayed Hiranyakashipu, poison from the latter’s body entered him through his fingernails. And Lakshmi used the atti fruit to nullify it. So, it also has healing properties, apart from its ability to help the soil retain water and being good for the cattle.”

Natural habitat

The environmentalist also believes in retaining as much of the natural habitat as possible, “Get the sludge and weeds removed from this rock pool, let the animals drink from here; make sure that you put in some guppy fish as they feed on mosquito larvae. Don’t clear the thickets here; plant neem and sandal trees amidst them and they’ll act as natural tree guards.”

Apart from this, Vivek Kulkarni, Incharge of the Youth Empowerment Seminar, has recently started bringing children from different schools in Bangalore for a day. “I want them to know the reality. Only then will they burn with fire to do something,” says Vivek who is confident that the project will help eradicate water problems.

Learning young

“We feel like we have learned something, it’s refreshing to come to the village and do such work,” says Pooja, a class X student from Jaigopal Garodia Rashtrotthana Vidya Kendra, Ramamurthy Nagar.

While the 15 or so children together planted 30 saplings, teams of volunteers and some villagers are emptying the stepwells of dry earth. They dig and pass on baskets full of hardened mud as if in an assembly line, making a pile close by as they have already done for about 10 such stepwells. As soon as they see some sign of moisture and feel some of its coolness, cheering and clapping break out with shouts of Jai!

Once more, the hope of more water is in the air, and the hope for a greener tomorrow…

Source : The New Indian Express

Art of Living Projects, Art of Living Wisdom.

Water And Food

June to September are the months when South and South East Asia get their monsoon rains. The word “monsoon” comes from the Arabic word, “Mawsin”, meaning weather, which is why we have the word “Mausam” in Hindi for weather. Here, the weather turns to rainy season.

It is the rain that gives us Pushkaram, fertility which is why every temple tank in India is called as Pushkarni, that land which gives us fertility. The purpose of this rain, the harnessing of these waters and creating fertility is to make food for humans, for animals, for plants and for the Earth as a whole. For food is the basis, annamaya kosha, of life for all living beings. Different beings take to different foods based on availability, biological needs, suitability and other such factors. Producing this food also needs water. Foods cannot be grown without enormous quantity of water. When we think of our needs of water, we  normally think of the few litres of water that we drink in a day. However, have we ever thought how much water is required to make the fruit that is served in our plate?

Water Consumption

We hardly think of the quantum of water that goes behind food production. Over 80 per cent of the water that is used on the surface of Earth is for agriculture and other type of food production. Only about 10 per cent is needed for industry and the balance 10 per cent is for domestic and other uses. In fact domestic usage is a very small quantity.

Art of Living Blog - save water

The average consumption of direct water per person, per day is 3 litres.

Food Consumption


The amount of food consumed by an average person during a normal meal requires 700 litres of water to grow on the farm. The chart here gives us the water needed to grow our food.

vegetarian meal

Thee real consumption of water is in food production, agriculture is bigger than we imagine it to be.

In the case of livestock, meat production, the need of water is manifolds times more because these animals also have to consume water, air, food for all their lives. At, the end of it, they offer only few kilos of meat.

 

water for meat production

 

 

water needed to produce food

Veg Vs Non Veg

Daily average consumption of water by a vegetarian eater is 2500 litres where as for a non vegetarian eater is 8000 litres per day.

This insight into how much water is needed for a vegetarian meal as opposed to a non vegetarian meal clearly indicates as to which is more eco friendly.

With the world facing increasing water shortage due to the unsustainable practices of man, the only sustainable, prudent and scientific way of sharing the available limited quantum of water is to be a vegetarian by choice. This is the simplest way to reduce our ecological footprint and leave the planet more sustainable for generations to come.

Consumerism to Conservation

Ecological footprint is the strain that we put forth on the resources of Earth. It is what we consume from our environment around us during our brief stay on this planet.

ecological footprint

 

The generation next is talking about ecological footprint as the new buzz word but do their eating habits show their concern for the ecology? For eating is what we do 3-4 times a day, making it by far the largest foot print that we leave on Earth.

If we and our generation next have to survive, then the planet has to survive this phase of consumerism. This is possible only by making a shift from consumerism to conservation. Conservation of Foodprints – saving water, conserving water, minimal usage of water is assured in moving from non- vegetarianism to vegetarianism four times a day, every day of our lives.

Bharath Gyan founders

 

D.K.Hari and D.K.Hema Hari, Founders, Bharath Gyan

 

Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Wisdom.

A few years back, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji visited the Indian state of Chattisgarh. On the first day of his four-day trip he landed in the capital city of Raipur. We had organized Sri Sri’s night stay in the house of a devotee. It was a tall building and Gurudev’s room was on the 7th floor. After a small satsang, Sri Sri went to his room. Having spent a long hectic day in travel and attending to people and calls, he eventually retired for the night.

sri sri - art of living blog1

Next morning I woke up early, finished my sadhana and went to Gurudev’s room at 7:30 am hoping to spend some exclusive time with him. Nobody was around; Gurudev smiled at me & suddenly got up from his seat and came near me. He appeared to zoom before my eyes and put something in the upper pocket of my kurta.

I often find it easy to write poems and give them to Gurudev rather than speaking out my feelings like many others. I thought, may be this time Gurudev has written a few lines as Diving Love cannot be expressed freely. It was a big surprise for me when I looked into my pocket and saw a currency note of Rs 1,000.

Sri Sri, prayer and money

Gurudev said, “Listen! you take this money and give it to the woman sitting at end of pandal (a temporary structure that was put up to accommodate people who thronged to take blessings from Sri Sri). She was praying last night when I was sleeping.”

“I was surprised! My mind was racing with confusion and questions – 7th floor? sleeping? Prayed from ground floor?? But my heart leapt up with firm conclusion, “SHUT UP! Anything is possible! We do not know the ways of Masters!”

I replied, “Okay Gurudev. I will go and give this to the lady.”

I came down and searched at the end of the Pandal as instructed by Gurudev. But couldn’t find any woman. Then I started searching for her in the front part of the pandal where many women were sitting. I scanned everyone’s face looking for someone with a sad face. But every face was in bliss.

sri sri prayer

I did not dare to ask an unknown lady whether she had prayed for money! Feeling totally clueless, I finally decided to ask Sri Sri again. I went up to the 7th floor & asked Gurudev to give more details of the lady to whom the money was to be given.
Gurudev held my hand, took me to the gallery and pointing below said, “Can you see that small hut at end of pandal? In that hut there is a well-built lady in red saree. Give her this money.”

Equipped with precise details, I went down to accomplish this graceful mission. I took one of the members of Art of Living Chattisgarh Apex Body with me. The small hut was just outside the pandal. We went and requested the lady to come out. The lady became anxious at the sight of two strangers at her door. When she came out we put the money in her hands. I said, “Gurudev has sent this prasad for you as you were praying for it last night.”

Art of Living blog - Tear of Gratitude
Her eyes opened in amazement & tears of gratitude started flowing from her eyes. She said “Unho ne sun liya!! (He heard my prayers). Witnessing the compassion of the Master on one side and gratitude of the devotee on the other, our eyes were also filled with tears.

Over the years, I have witnessed many such miracles. And, every time I am amazed. How does He hear the smallest of the prayers of everyone!

Jigishji Barot is a multi-talented, very creative, vibrant and super-humorous Art of Living teacher.