Down Under

You've seen some tweets about our return from Melbourne, and our two days in Sydney, a welcome break after such an intense and productive week at the Parliament of the World's Religions. Here we capture Bodhinatha and Senthilnathaswami in front of the landmark Opera house, with the Sydney bridge peeking out on the left.

Back to Melbourne and the remarkable gathering of some 6-8,000 people (we can't find a definitive number). Just learned that Obama's special team was there to discuss religious matters with the representatives of the major faiths. They especially were seeing understanding of Islam and better ways to

Palaniswami called it a gathering of the tribes, and throughout the parliament groups of Buddhists, Sikhs, Shintoist, Hindus and indigenous peoples marched by, all dressed in their traditional garb.

Sri Ravi Shankar founder of the Art of Living is greeted by Sikh elders.

Back at the ultra-modern Convention Centre (this was the first major event for Melbourne's high-tech hall), some minstrels visit the Hinduism Today booth.

And two Indian dancers join.

At the last minute, Hinduism Today was asked to join a panel on "The Religious Response to Climate Change." Palaniswami surprised everyone a bit by actually giving a spiritual response, urging that leaders not use fear as the chief motivator of change and noting it is a lower-chakra energy. Rather than scaring the world to death, he suggested, let's inspire through compassion, love of the beautiful world around us and knowledge of our duty to the Earth which as borne us all these generations.

Bodhinatha joined to listen. The panelists, who were more political than religious in their talks, did not much appreciate Palaniswami's call, thinking it a bit naive. But others from the audience came forward to say it was an important message that could bring about even higher results. Why did other panelists not like the message? Because it was a bit politically incorrect ("Such ideas have no political traction" the moderator offered). We were supposed to join the chorus and cry, in the name of human survival, for immediate action lest we all die a horrible death.


No Responses to “Down Under”

  1. Greg says:

    After considering their odd response to Palaniswami I just happened to scroll back up to the top of the post and re-read Gurudeva’s ever piercing, and germaine, response to fear, etc… “When through meditation, we view the universe from the inside out, we see that there is not one thing out of place or wrong. This releases the human concepts of right and wrong, good and bad. ”

    Gurudeva

  2. Ritesh Varma says:

    Vannakam:
    Couldn’t have said it better my self Greg :)
    Thank you :)

    Aum
    Ritesh

  3. Mat says:

    I’m here in Copenhagen reporting at the climate summit and Palaniswami is entirely right.

    The motivation of politicians, activists, and those saying nothing needs to be done on climate change at all is all rooted in fear. You can palpably feel it. The trouble is that when you try to tell anyone that in this situation they are too fearful, too clung to their slogans and negotiating points to hear it — and don’t realize that even more effective action towards environmental protection can take place if you aren’t burdened by that fear.

    Apologies for the editorializing, but after a week of being in amongst it all, I had to get it out.

    Aum shanti.

  4. Toshadevi Nataraja says:

    thank you Dear Palaniswamiji for speaking out the truth that they do not want hear.May God Siva within them enlighten them with the understanding that they need to make the necessary changes to their lifestyle individually and collectively so that positive change can take place on this our planet Earth.Aum Shanti

  5. Padmaja says:

    Thank you Paramacharya for giving a spiritual answer to this panel. It is hard to grasp this novel concept of compassion and duty if your awareness is flowing below muladhara.
    I also wanted to thank you for your fearless comments about BBC in your presentation.
    Aum Shanti.

  6. Frank van Waardenburg says:

    Mahalo Palanaswami for communicating an Earth approach based on love and wisdom. Silly scientist and politicians and activists may never understand that their approach fear based approach creates more harm. And also thank you in regards to BBC for showing us how to be fearless defenders of the faith. Aum Shanti.

  7. vinaya alahan says:

    Aum aum aum
    I believe time will tell what ideas have “political traction”. Certainly
    “disaster politics” is the order of the day and fear and anger are noisy. We are all living in interesting times. I am truly grateful for the deeper perspective articulated so well by Palaniswami. Political traction aside, hope and love expressed in duty ultimately trump fear and anger. Aum Namasivaya
    Vinaya

  8. Palaniswami says:

    We are moved by all this affirmation of Gurudeva’s teachings. I must say it was illuminating to have the panel moderator go after me with a bit of a vengeance following my talk, which also spoke of the Hindu way of revering nature, honoring sacred groves that protect trees and species and such. One Jewish man was deeply moved by it, and later trailed after me everywhere I went, asking questions about Hinduism, nature, reincarnation and such. Hopefully, this one small voice may cause them to pause and think of a higher motivation for the problems that lie ahead. Thanks for the reassuring comments from a higher ground!

  9. Himalayan Academy says:

    The interesting thing was that the religious leaders on the panel didn’t speak from a religious angle at all. They spoke about parts-per-million carbon dioxide and degrees of average temperature rise. When they say that spiritual leaders can have a great impact on their followers’ approach to climate change, they seem to only mean that spiritual leaders should simply parrot the scientific data and the fear-based approach that political leaders are trying to motivate the people of the world with. Not that there is anything wrong with those approaches, but they do not recognize that spiritual leaders may have a spiritual angle to add to the mix, a higher perspective that could be important, helpful, balancing.

  10. Siriesha says:

    Thank You for sharing it on the blog. Thank you Palaniswami ji for your spiritual wisdom and courage.

    Everything in this universe, cosmos, earth, life is constantly going through changes every minute, every moment. Everything is pulsating with energy. We are here because of those changes and also undergoing those future changes right now. Our minds, Our bodies are all constantly evolving.

    Let’s embrace that impermanence with equanimity and hope to accept change for what it is.

    In the meantime, let us also work towards understanding, educating, minimizing the effects of harm caused to earth and its environment by us – the human species.

    If in any way, I could help, please send me an email.

    Let’s be constantly aware.

    Siriesha

  11. Siva says:

    Spiritual people should speak spiritually. You are
    great Paramacharya Palaniswami. Thanks for speaking up Hindu spirituality there.
    Great example for us. Jai.

  12. jayshree says:

    “Thank you dear swamis for your hard work and dedication.
    How would anyone attending the PWR, including the panel moderator feel about doing a fair day’s work and being paid in a totally different currency to the one agreed to ? Surely some of the best presidents and primeministers have had policy makers& spin doctors to make wishful thinking of the vote bank into ‘politically traction’ worthy manifestos.”

    Perhaps the purpose of the PWR at start of each meetings and the PWR clearly distinguished from secular governments might have helped clarify and focus the minds of the audience and enhanced the agenda.

    Aum.

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