Tuesday, November 27, 2012


www.thehindu.com - A century ago, around 25,000 sacred groves were believed to exist in Kerala, but now the numbers have dwindled to about 2,000. With 90 per cent of such groves disappearing from the face of land, it is a bad omen for the State ecologically. With the vanishing groves, the pond ecosystem that feeds the groundwater table and biodiversity of an area too disappears. 
Nobody wants a sacred grove on their part of the inherited land that would lower the salability of the property. It is either sold to non-Hindus or the grove is taken to another place where they will be happy after the observing the prescribed rituals. What happens when there is no one to look after them and the sacred groves (Sarpakavu) are left in the lurch? Ameda Temple is one of the temples that “accepts” the snake spirits of the sacred groves from places that the land owners are unable to maintain. “We try to talk to the land owners about preserving the ecosystem of the land.” 

“But most of the times the share of the land that has to be divided among the family would be small and the presence of the sacred grove would further lower the share. This brings them to us to conjure the spirits of their grove to join the Ameda temple groves,” said Vasudevan Namboothiri, one of the priests of the Ameda Mangalam, the family that runs the temple. “If the area has more space, we advise people to tend to the grove. But we do take it up when people from other religious communities approach us,” said Mr. Namboothiri, who has taken voluntary retirement after a long stint at Hindustan Newsprint in Velloor. 
With fast diminishing sacred groves, the down fall of society is imminent because it was the most natural way to preserve biodiversity, said N. C. Induchoodan, convener of the Project for Conservation of Sacred Groves in Kerala and the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Munnar. Only if people feel for nature and try to foresee a future for their children by preserving the ecology, rather than securing future for them through a better bank balance, can the sacred groves be maintained, said Dr. Induchoodan.

Ameda Temple is home to deities shifted out of neglected sacred groves (Sarpakavu). They are kept around a tree on the Ameda Temple premises near Kochi, a city in the Indian State of Kerala. Ameda Temple has the shrines dedicated to the Nagaraja and Nagayakshi along with the main deity known as Saptamathrukkal. “We are guided by astrological predictions in these rituals and sometimes if the spirits do not want to leave the place, no ritual or prayers can help,” said Mr. Namboothiri. The priests at Ameda had in a year invoked the spirits of about a hundred sacred groves to Ameda. “And these rituals have been on the rise for the last two decades. Earlier, it was just one or two such rituals in a year”, explained Mr. Vasudevan Namboothiri, one of the priests of Ameda Mangalam. Sacred groves should be cared for, worshiped and respected. The ones which still survive today are a reminder of the old Vedic culture.

Vrajbhumi, the region around Vrindavan, always had a very good environmental balance, following the traditional pattern of Hindu India. This balance was achieved through the relationship between human settlements, forests and water resources. Between the villages there would be three types of forest patches: forest sanctuaries, dense woodland and sacred groves. ... These groves were usually composed of fruit trees and were maintained by the village as places for religious observance, festivals and recreation. A typical pastime was Julan, swinging from a seat suspended from the branches of a tree. Most recreation, such as dancing or singing, had to do with religious festivals like rasalila, the circle dance of Krishna. This commemorates Sri Krishna's dancing with the cowherd girls during the full-moon night of the autumn season in the sacred groves on the banks of the Yamuna river.

Ranchor Prime (Śripad Ranchor Dasa) :
“Hinduism & Ecology”
Chapter Three: “Forest Splendour”
Friends of Vrindavan (FOV) - WWF

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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