Water – Connection and Lessons to Learn

From Janani: Water – the Sustainer of Life, Swami Prembhava Saraswati

Sanyam – saving water

There are many ways in which you can save water around your home, officeand garden and practise sanyam, restraint. Every drop that you save counts, it helps the planet; and it conserves water for the future generations.

  • Fix any leaking pipes or taps in your home.
  • Adjust the flush of the toilet so it uses less water, duel flush systems use less water.
  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth or shave.
  • Take short showers, cleaning the body can be done in a few minutes and with little water.
  • Wash clothes with less detergent and use less water. Fill the washing machine with full loads and wear clothes until they really need a wash.
  • Maintaining a lawn uses lots of water, small plants, hedges and ground cover in a garden are good alternatives. A vegetable garden is a more efficient use of water than a lawn, as the vegetables then become your nutritious food.
  • Use a bucket to wash your car instead of a hose.
  • Use a cloth or broom to clean and sweep paths, not water.
  • Try to use grey water on the garden, grey water is water from shower, hand washing, and clothes washing.
  • Eat less meat and dairy. These products use enormous amounts of water in their production.
  • Reduce the eating of processed foods. All steps required to process food require water. The less processed the food the less amount water used in its production.
  • Drink water! All other forms of beverages such soft drinks, soda, juices use enormous amounts of water to produce. Water is natures natural soft drink, perfect for body and mind.
  • Everything you buy, use and consume has a water footprint. It took water to process and transport it. Being thoughtful about purchases, reusing and recycling what you can, reduces your water footprint. For example, eat and buy locally produced foods and goods. Food and other products that have travelled from far distant places utilizes litres and litres of water.
  • Be aware of everything you throw down the sink, drain and toilet. Many personal products like shampoo, washing detergents, soaps contain chemicals that are detrimental to our rivers and oceans. Try to use the natural products that are biodegradable.

CONNECT TO THE SPIRIT OF WATER

Aradhana means worship, invocation, and realization of the higher divine nature that is within all. When we can perform simple actions with this sentiment in daily life then our spiritual awareness expands. Simple practices of aradhana awaken the spiritual awareness within us and connect to the spiritual and divine in the world around us. Aradhana helps us to break away from our normal mental activity and for a few minutes a day we connect to the divine within the elements around us, the trees, the fire, the air and water. In Yoga Ecology these are the practices that connect us to the divine in nature, and once we have reconnected then the communication begins. Life takes on a new meaning and the spiritual consciousness can be felt in the small things in life, for example the water we drink.

Apas Aradhana

Take a glass, clay or copper kalash or cup and fill with the drinking water you have available, tap or bottled water is fine. Place that cup of water on your puja table or a special place, light a deepak in front of it and chant the Sama Veda Shanti Mantras while waving incense at the container of water. Say a prayer of thanks and gratitude while placing your right hand on the glass. As you place your hand over the cup feel white light and peace filling the cup from your hand. This glass of water will now contain the purity of your intention and the peace of the mantras.

With a flowersprinkle some water on your head, your puja place, around the room, home and garden. You can drink this sacred water or offer it to your aradhana tree or the garden knowing that the water is a source of vitality, prana and life. Continue with this practice for some time and see the increased vitality and energy that comes. Also appreciate the connection that builds between you and water.

Aradhana of rivers

If the rivers in India are worshipped by millions of people daily, why are the rivers not happy and flourishing? This is because people do not perform aradhana for gratitude of the river, or for the health and well beingof the river, it is selfishworship or aradhana. The prayers are always asking for something: to bless the individual, to relieve the pain and suffering, or to liberate them from this world so they no longer suffer.

Along with the selfishintention of the worship, the acts performed around the rivers do not offer care or respect to the water. People worship the river and then defecate and dump rubbish in it. Is this really an act of purity or care for the river's health? It is the selfishhuman mind and activities that are killing the rivers. There is still a chance that the rivers can regain their health and vitality if we start to heal and protect them and pray for their health and well being.

To perform aradhana to a river, lake, ocean or any water body stand by it and offer your prayers for the health and vitality of its waters and give gratitude for everything the waters give you. This simple prayer and sentiment will connect you to the spirit of the river and also purify the water element within you.

LIFE LESSONS FROM WATER

We can learn many things from Mother Nature and the elements. All we need to do is look and learn.

1. Fluidity in life

Life must flowlike water. The nature of water is continually flowingand moving forward. Stagnant and still water becomes putrid in time. Water must flowto stay full of prana and vitality. Similarly, in our life we must continue to flowand keep moving, not allowing ourselves to become stuck and stagnant.

2. Water finds a way, always

Water will always finda way. It may cut through, circumvent, overflow, percolate, but it will always finda way. Water is one of the softest elements yet most persistent and therefore strongest elements. There is nothing it cannot wash away and dissolve. Similarly, in life we must always findways to overcome any barrier or problem in life, with flexibilityand persistence everything is possible.

3. Form and adaptability

Water always takes the shape of the vessel it is poured into and gets coloured by hues mixed with it but essentially it remains the same. When we identify with the spiritual side of ourselves we can remain untouched by the different pains and problems of life. We become like the spirit who remains true to itself no matter what form it make take. Life's truth is the truth of the spirit.

4. Still waters run deep

When a lake is still we can see to the depths of the lake and clearly see our refection in the surface. Similarly, the depths of a busy distracted mind can only be fathomed in stillness. Within the silence, everything can be revealed. Through yoga and meditation, we can learn to still the turbulent mind and experience the depth of our being and see our full potential and possibilities. To immerse oneself in spiritual practice and truth purifiesand awakens, clearing away the dirt of negativity of lifetimes.