Brisbane's Hare Krishna Community is doing their part for the city's ongoing water shortage, taking to the streets of the city's suburbs to chant and dance to bring rain.
Australia is currently in the most severe drought in recorded history, with various levels of water restrictions in major cities and a deepening crisis in rural areas.
Hare Krishnas belong to ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. ISKCON was incorporated in the West in 1966 by an elderly Indian monk, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He had been ordered by his spiritual teacher to share India's 5000-year old teachings of devotion to God, known as Krishna, with the modern world. Today the organization has hundreds of centers around the world and tens of thousands of members.
Brisbane's Hare Krishna community have been chanting on the streets of downtown Brisbane for the past 25 years on Friday evenings, and since October they have expanded this program to visit different suburbs in Brisbane each week. Their goal is to visit each suburb of the city by the end of 2008. So far they have visited West End, Fortitude Valley, Annerley, and Stones Corner. As they chant they distribute their pamphlet: "You Can Make the Climate Change" where they explain what they are doing and invite Brisbane residents to get involved.
According to Brisbane Hare Krishna spokesperson Sita-pati das, rain and other natural resources are ultimately controlled by Krishna:
"In Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains that He controls the material nature. He also explains that our food grows because of rain, and He sends rain when people are engaged in proper activities, which includes spiritual activities, which are the unique activity that separates humans beings from animals."
"Because we have turned away from spiritual practices, today we have a fever that drives us to need more and more. A person from 100, or even 20 years ago would be shocked at what we now consider 'necessities' of life. Instead of spiritual activity we try to fill our life with material objects, and like a person who eats junk food we need more and more and yet never feel satisfied."
"This misuse of our life leads to overuse of resources, and so the planet has a fever as a result. To bring the fever of the planet down, we need to bring our own fever down. The cure for the fever is given in the scriptures as the chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord"
"Not only our scriptures, but the scriptures of all the major religions of the world recommend the congregational chanting and glorification of the Holy Names of the Lord as the best spiritual activity. We encourage adherents of all faiths to come together to glorify the Holy Names of the Lord to provoke a change in consciousness, which will lead to a change in the climate."
"We personally chant the maha-mantra, which is especially recommended as the cure for this age:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare"
"The state of the external environment is a reflection of our internal state of consciousness. We cannot expect a change to occur in the world around us while we remain the same, because we are the cause of our circumstances. So as we purify and rectify ourselves, the climate situation will also rectify."
"We've found a very positive response so far. Many people have come up to us to say: 'Where have you guys been?' People who don't have a reason to come downtown on Friday night have really missed us and are glad to see us again. We're definitely part of the city's culture, and we have a positive spiritual message to share too."
Sita-pati das is covering the ongoing visits to the suburbs at his website: www.atmayogi.com
They are also holding a music concert at Yoga on Parker in Newmarket entitled "Climate Change - Consciousness Change" to raise awareness of the role that our consciousness plays in climate change and what we can do about it.