“The creation and the Creator are not two,” Amma constantly reminds us. It is this principle that informs and motivates the various environmental programs and ‘green initiatives’ of Amma’s Ashram. For when we see Mother Nature as the embodiment of God, we will automatically serve and protect her.
When we see Mother Nature as the embodiment of God, we will automatically serve and protect her.
In India, the sun is not considered some inert ball of gas, but Surya Deva—the Sun God. The earth is Bhumi Devi—the Earth Goddess. Similarly named are the rivers, mountains and trees. India’s culture is one wherein everything one sees serves as a reminder of the all-pervasive nature of the Divine. At its heart, this perspective is not polytheistic, but an acknowledgement that all names and forms are but various manifestations of the one all-pervasive consciousness that serves as the substratum of creation.
When we come to see a river as God, how will we dump toxic waste into it? When we see trees as manifestations of the Lord, how will we disseminate our forests? When we see the very air itself as Vayu Deva, how will we allow poisonous fumes from factories to fill it?
Through the planting of hundreds of thousands of saplings each year, through seminars aimed at fostering ecological awareness and through the environmental group GreenFriends, Amma’s Ashram is offering service to God through serving Mother Nature, reawakening the world to principles that protected our environment for millennia.
“Nature is our first mother,” Amma says. “She nurtures us throughout our lives. Our birth mother may allow us to sit on her lap for a couple of years, but Mother Nature patiently bears our weight our entire life. Just as a child is obligated to his birth mother, we should all feel an obligation and responsibility towards Mother Nature. If we forget this responsibility, it is equal to forgetting our own self. If we forget Nature, we will cease to exist, for to do so is to walk towards death.”.
GreenFriends is an organization established by the Ashram for the preservation and protection of the environment. Below are the main projects undertaken by GreenFriends.
Waste Management Department
The Recycling Department at Amritapuri collects all the non-biodegradable waste from the ashram and sorts into many different useful categories. The sorted waste is then sent to AIMS Hospital and Amrita Ettimadai University where they sell it to recyclers who can re-use it. All proceeds directly support Amma’s many charities. This effort keeps many thousands of kilos of waste out of landfills and off the streets and fields. The Recycling Department is one manifestation at the ashram of Amma’s India-wide “Amala Bharatam Campaign”. Read more. . .
The Ecology Department is Amritapuri’s center for environmental education, outreach and innovation. The department has a library of books and videos on a wide range of environmental issues, and it showcases organic and natural products for personal care and optimal health. It partners with local providers of organic and natural items to encourage sustainable livelihoods and indigenous nature wisdom. Read more. . .
A central theme of Amma’s teachings is the love and care of nature. Amma teaches that all is the Supreme Consciousness. When we start to realize this beautiful truth more deeply, we then feel that the natural world is an extension of our own body and our own spirit. The effortless functioning of nature provides us with all the basic necessities of life; fresh oxygen, clean water, healthy food. Read more. . .
Introduced to the world in 1982 by the Japanese scientist Dr. Teruo Higa, EM (effective micro-organisms) is a combination of aerobic and anaerobic micro-organisms that coexist symbiotically in one liquid solution. In layman’s terms, it is “good bacteria,” beneficial micro-organisms that naturally eliminate harmful bacteria from the environment. Read more. . .
The GreenFriends at Amritapuri Ashram have been working to create a large organic tulasi garden that Amma Herself asked to be grown. During Amma’s 2004 U.S. tour, a large packet of tulasi seeds was brought to Amma to be blessed. Amma held the seeds to Her heart and gazed at them intently with a beautiful smile on Her face. Read more. . .
Amrita Plastic Project
Is it possible for a dirty thrown-away plastic bag to become a useful, durable and beautiful object that people will even be eager to purchase? The answer is a clear and resounding “Yes”! And it has been demonstrated with wonderful creativity by the Amrita Plastic Project. Read more. . .
Amrita Vanam (Amrita Forests)
Provides reforestation through the planting of 100,000 saplings every year. 200 greenhouses were established to independently generate these saplings. Read more…
Kavinte Raksha Nadinte Raksha (Sacred Groves)
Participants set aside a small portion of their property as a sacred grove, a sanctuary for plants and animals, consisting of a pond and small shrine. Participants care for a grove as they would a temple. Read more…
Harita Teeram (GreeenShore)
Planting 100,000 casuarina saplings in Alappad Panchayat, Kerala. The casuarina trees not only beautify the shoreline but also protect the beach from erosion. Read more…
Prakruti Sameeksha (Nature Talks)
GreenFriends also organizes Prakruti Sameeksha (Nature Talks) in institutions and schools to help people understand the interrelatedness of all living beings. The talks encourage children to love nature and serve humanity through environmental awareness. It also conducts Aranya Sameeksha (Forest Retreats), wherein GreenFriends members take nature walks, observe ecosystems and learn how to avoid disturbing or damaging them. They also practice meditation and discuss Amma’s teachings, deepening their awareness of humanity’s unity with Nature.