Echoes of Eco

March, 2014 Vivekananda Kendra- nardep Newsletter Vol:6 No:1

Green Rameshwaram: The Model- 2
In this issue: • Green Rameshwaram: The Model-I • Teerthams Work Progress • The Happenings-I • The Happenings-II • From our Publications • Visions of Wisdom:
Golden Mongoose Hide & Seek Silence

The One Reality
[This is the continuation of the previous newsletter summarizing of the blueprint for Green Rameshwaram] Creating Nodes and Networks This involves creating the • Committees for Green Pilgrimage Audit • Concerned Citizen Groups • Museums and Exhibitions Committees for Green Rameshwaram audit will be created by professionals in the field of cultural and ecological conservation, historians of cultural heritage, Ramnad history experts, Tourism-pilgrimage professionals, social psychologists, local entrepreneurs and anthropologists, government officials who have dedicated and specialized service in serving the island of Rameshwaram. The committees will look after the solid waste management, hygiene, preservation of living cultural monuments like temples, teerthams from abusive behavior (like spitting pan to littering to damaging the sculptures etc.), green transport, creating of localized merchandize – which we are already working. Each sub-committee has an advisor who is a professional with ground-level experience in the field. And there will be a coordinator to coordinate the work as per the guidelines of the advisor. Then there are members in each group who belong to the experts, professionals, special interest groups etc. The following are the sub-committees on important dimensions: • • Archeology and History Gulf of Mannar – Flora and fauna of Rameswaram and Greening of Rameswaram Solid waste management Renewable energy – mainly solar power Water harvesting – inside the temple and in the island New merchandise Landscaping and beautification - Sculpture, paintings, photography etc. Sewage treatment Underground drainage Green transport path ways Participatory Pilgrimage (Local systems etc) Social Engineering

• • • • •

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That which is neither conscious nor unconscious, which is invisible, impalpable, indefinable, unthinkable, unnameable, whose very essence consists of the experience of its own self, which absorbs all diversity, is tranquil and benign, without a second, which is what they call the fourth state-that is the atman. This it is which should be known. Mandukya Upanishad 7. ve, 723

Service to humanity is the highest form of worship – Swami Vivekananda

We must find out for ourselves what is the relationship between nature and each of us. That is part of religion. You may not agree, but consider it, go into it. Have you any relationship with nature, with the birds, with the water of that river? -J.Krishnamurthi

From the message of Mata Sri Amritananda mayi on ‘Green Rameshwaram’ Amma is very pleased to learn that the Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari in cooperation with the district administration of Ramanathapuram, Government of Tamil Nadu, is in the process of transforming the ancient city of Rameshwaram into Green Rameshwaram. By taking up this work of transforming Rameshwaram into green Rameshwaram Vivekananda Kendra is doing a great service to Mother Nature, Indian people and her culture . That Vivekananda Kendra Kanyakumari is taking such a noble initiative is both welcome and happy news. Amma hopes that everyone will participate in the work and lend support to this noble undertaking.

Concerned Citizens Groups This is a group that will have both • localized presence • web presence through social networks The localized presence will be at Rameshwaram made of eminent citizens like eco-activists, social and media persons, government officials including district collector and police officials belonging to Ramsehwaram. This will also have a web presence through social networks. We envision an interactive documentation and feedback mechanism. For example any problem related to eco-green Rameshwaram model –like discovering a pile of unattended garbage, unhygienic toilets discharging polluted water into a public water body etc. will be reported online and corrective measures will be taken by bringing them immediately to the notice of the concerned authorities. The group will also organize constant awareness creation programmes for keeping Rameshwaram green and clean. It will also study the inflow statistics of the incoming populations, the infrastructural needs etc.

Museums and Exhibitions We are envisioning the following as the major thrust areas of work and end-processes of the project: • Documenting the symbiotic relations between the Gulf of Mannar - Flora and Fauna, with the sacred geography and traditions of Rameshwaram and establishing museum for the natural history of Rameshwaram and surrounding areas • Establishing museum for the presentation and conservation of cultural heritage of Rameshwaram (myths, history, folk traditions, epigraphy, archeology, music, dance forms, ethnic food and medicinal traditions etc.) • Establishing the anthropological museum for the proto-history of Rameshwaram. a There will be periodic mobile exhibitions which will be exhibited in educational institutions, nearby village and town community halls etc. Publications including posters, booklets, books will be brought out for each and every aspect that will be documented. The aim is both to increase pilgrim inflow and also to protect cultural and ecological heritage. [concluded]

Spend just 9 minutes watching these documentaries and see for yourself how you can make the pilgrimage to Rameshwaram cleaner and greener! • English: Tamil:
To know more about ‘Green Rameshwaram Pilgrimage’ Project contact: Secretary, Vivekananda Kendra - Nardep, Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari-629702; Phone:04652-246296, 9442646296 Email:

Echoes of Eco - Newsletter, Vivekananda Kendra – nardep, March 2014 Vol. 6 No: 1

There is only one Atman. It is all-pervasive. When we become broad-minded, we can merge with it. The same consciousness that flows in and through every human being lends its power to the movement of the wind, to the flow of the river and to the light of the sun. The life force that pulsates in the trees, plants and animals is the same life force that pulsates within us. -Mata Amritanandamayi

[The popular Tamil Newspaper ‘Dinamalar’ provided a very good coverage of our Teertham work in its Madurai edition (9-Mar-14)

To know more about ‘Renovation of Rameshwaram Teerthams’ Project contact: Secretary, Vivekananda Kendra - Nardep, Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari-629702; Phone:04652-246296, 9442646296 Email:

Echoes of Eco - Newsletter, Vivekananda Kendra – nardep, March 2014, Vol. 6 No: 1

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. – Charles Darwin Happenings this month: Sustainable Agriculture Happenings this month: Net working VK-nardep activities done with DST core support •

Happenings this month: Water Management

Workshops on Azolla Cultivation: • with DST, Core Support was held nd at TRC, Kalluvilai on 22 March with 7 participants by Dr.P.Kamalasanan Pillai.

Workshop on Apiculture: • was held for 40 students from North-East at TRC, Kalluvilai on th 28 March with Dr.P.Kamalasanan Pillai and S.Rajamony as resource persons.

On 5 March 100 farmers sponsored by the District Watershed Development Agency, Dindugul visited Gramodaya Park, and learned Biomethanation, Rain water harvesting and Organic farming technologies. Dr.P.Kamalasanan Pillai was the resource person.


Tested water from 14 wells in Kanyakumari Dist. as a part of the programme of Central Ground Water Board, Chennai. Happenings this month: Holistic & Indigenous medicines.

Green Health Camp was conducted st on 31 March at Rameshwaram by VK-nardep as part of the Green Rameshwaram project in collaboration with UNICEF. The resource person was Dr.V.Ganapathy

Demonstration of Green techniques by Dr.Pillai to farmers from Dindugal.

Dr.Pillai explaining the Apiculture with the Apiary Units established in Vivekananda Kendra. .

On 24 of March 50 farmers from Vellanad, Kerala sponsored by ATMA, visited Gramodaya Park and from VKnardep learned Biomethanation, and Organic farming technologies like Azolla, Liquid Bio-formulations, Bio-manure etc. Dr.Kamalasanan Pillai was the resource person.


Dr.Ganapathi explained to the youths Green First aid techniques with demonstrations

Students also saw and learnt Azolla cultivation and Vermi compost techniques

Farmers from Kerala learning the greenagriculture techniques.

Green Health Home of VKnardep functioned for 7 days and treated 172 patients.

Echoes of Eco - Newsletter, Vivekananda Kendra – nardep, March 2014, Vol. 6 No: 1

If you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomena of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. – Alan Watts

Happenings this month: Networking

Happenings this month: PAPERS PRESENTED

Training programme on “Biomethanation plant” was held at TRC, nd ( Kalluvilai on 22 Feb under DST core support) with Shri.V.Ramakrishnan as resource person. 7 persons benefitted from training.

Farmers studying the horticultural techniques at VK-nardep 12 Students from TDMNS College, th T.Kallikulam visited VK-nardep on 14 of March and learned organic farming technologies like Azolla, Liquid Bioformulations etc. 95 Students from Ponjesly College of th Engineering visited VK-nardep on 15 of March and learned organic farming technologies like Azolla, Liquid Bioformulations etc. 10 Farmers from ‘Farmers Club’ of Villupuram th visited VK-nardep on 18 of March and learned organic farming technologies like Azolla, Liquid Bio-formulations etc. Shri.V.Ramakrishnan attended the ‘Advisory Committee Meeting’ organized by the Community Polytechnic, Konam, Nageroil at the Audiorium of Govt. Polytechnic, on th 24 of March. It was attended by 30 persons. On 29 and 30 of March 102 students belonging to SPIC, NTTFT Training Center, Tuticorin cleaned the area surrounded near the renovated teerthams in Rameshwaram as part of Eco Awareness Camp. The programme was sponsored by Unicef, Chennai
th th

Bio-Methanation Technology awareness programmes/workshops: • On 4 of March at Arumanai, Kanyakumari dist. in which 43 persons attended. th • On 8 March for Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore in which 45 students attended. th • On 11 March for S.S.K polytechnic College, Poolankulathu patti, Tiruchirapalli in which 114 students attended. th • On 12 March at The New Polytechnic College, Inamkulathur Tiruchirapalli in which 44 persons attended.

Paper presented on Teertham renovation by Sri.Ramakrishnan

Paper Presentations in this month At the workshop on Water Conservation organized by the Central Ground Water Board, Chennai, at Anna th University, Chennai on 10 of this month Shri. V. Ramakrishnan gave a paper presentation on “The Teerthams (Water bodies) Renovation Project” 150 persons attended the workshop.

A session on Green technologies to students

Students also get an exposure of other green technologies

At the Brainstorming Workshop on ‘R & D on Biogas technology’ organized by MNRE, New Delhi at the MNRE Conference Hall, New th of March, Delhi on 24 Shri.G.Vasudeo gave a paper presentation on “Innovative work done by Vivekananda Kendra in the field of biogas technology.” 50 participants attended.

Echoes of Eco - Newsletter, Vivekananda Kendra – nardep, March 2014, Vol. 6 No: 1

If we could establish a deep, abiding relationship with nature, we would never harm, vivisect, a monkey, a dog, a guinea pig for our benefit. We would find other ways to heal our wounds, heal our bodies.the healing of the mind is something totally different. That healing gradually takes place if you are with nature, with that orange on the tree, and the blade of grass that pushes through the cement, and the hills covered, hidden, by the clouds. – J.Krishnamurthi

From our Publications
In continuation of giving eco-toons from ‘Samagra Vikas’ – Development with a human face, in this newsletter we give ecocartoons that strongly criticize the western development model. We explore the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and E.F.Schumacher. We also provide the eco-footprint concept and how the western world is destroying the natural resources for almost meaningless consumerism. We also give the latest eco-fact (New Scientist 29-Mar2014) that shows how relevant our publication is even today. We say this not with pride but with profound sadness and concern.

There is no polite way to say that Business is Ravaging the world….

An average western man uses • 1.3 million sheets of toilet paper, • 544 deodorants and • 13 cars in his life time.

Echoes of Eco - Newsletter, Vivekananda Kendra – nardep, March 2014, Vol. 6 No: 1

As is a mighty tree, so indeed is a man: this is true. His hairs are the leaves and his skin is the outer bark. From his skin blood flows and from the bark the sap. Therefore when a man is wounded blood flows, as sap from a tree that is injured. His flesh is its inner bark and his nerves are its innermost layer of bark, which is tough. His bones lie within, as does the wood of the tree. His marrow resembles the pith. –Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Golden Mongoose
It was on the occasion of Arudra Darshan (a Saivite festival). I was then living on the Hill at Skandashram. Streams of visitors were climbing up the Hill from the town and a mongoose, uncommonly large and of a golden hue, not the usual grey colour, and without the usual black spot on its tail, passed fearlessly through the crowds. People thought it was a tame one and that its owner must be among the crowd. It went straight up to Palaniswami, who was taking a bath in the spring by Virupaksha Cave. He stroked the creature and patted it. It followed him into the cave, inspected every nook and corner of it, and then joined the crowd to pass up to Skandashram. Everyone was struck by its attractive appearance and fearless movements. It came to me, climbed on to my lap, and rested there for some time. Then it raised itself up, looked around and moved down. It went around the whole place and I followed it lest it should be harmed by careless visitors or by the peacocks. Two peacocks did look at it inquisitively, but it moved calmly from place to place until finally it disappeared among the rocks to the south-east of the Ashram.

Hide and Seek
We are not living in a world where we ourselves, in the deepest sense of self, are outside reality, and somehow in a position that we have to bow down to it and say 'As a great favor, please preserve us in existence.' Nor are we in a system which is merely mechanical, and which we are nothing but flukes, trapped in the electrical wiring of a nervous system which is fundamentally rather inefficiently arranged. What's the alternative? Well, we could put the alternative in another image altogether, and I'll call this not the ceramic image, not the fully automatic image, but the dramatic image. Consider the world as a drama. What's the basis of all drama? The basis of all stories, of all plots, of all happenings--is the game of hide and seek. You get a baby, what's the fundamental first game you play with a baby? You put a book in front of your face, and you peek at the baby. The baby starts giggling. Because the baby is close to the origins of life; it comes from the womb really knowing what it's all about, but it can't put it into words. See, what every child psychologist really wants to know is to get a baby to talk psychological jargon, and explain how it feels. But the baby knows; you do this, this, this and this, and the baby starts laughing, because the baby is a recent incarnation of God. And the baby knows, therefore, that hide and seek is the basic game.

Every one of us knows the sensation of going up, on retreat, to a high place and feeling ourselves so lifted up that we can hardly imagine the circumstances of our usual lives, or all the things that make us fret. In such a place, in such a state, we start to recite the standard litany: that silence is sunshine, where company is clouds; that silence is rapture, where company is doubt; that silence is golden, where company is brass. But silence is not so easily won. And before we race off to go prospecting in those hills, we might usefully recall that fool's gold is much more common and that gold has to be panned for, dug out from other substances. "All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by Silence," wrote Herman Melville, one of the loftiest and most eloquent of souls. Working himself up to an ever more thunderous cry of affirmation, he went on, "Silence is the general consecration of the universe. Silence is the invisible laying on of the Divine Pontiff's hands upon the world. Silence is the only Voice of our God."

- Ramana Maharishi

-Alan Watts

Pico Iyer

Vivekananda Kendra – nardep, Kanyakumari-629702 Phone:91-4652-246296

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