Varanasi, March 4, 2017: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered several litres of milk, Ganga jal and flowers at the fabled Kashi Vishwanath temple here and performed aarti at the sanctum sanctorum during a break in his road show.
Amid tight security, the Prime Minister reached the temple at around 1:30 p.m. and paid obeisance to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of Varanasi. Prayers were conducted by five priests headed by Acharya Ashok Dwivedi, a source informed IANS.
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After offering milk, Ganga jal, flowers, chandan and janeyu, the Prime Minister performed aarti. The priests then smeared Modi’s forehead with chandan and vermillion, as a symbol of blessings of the Lord Kashi Vishwanath. He was also given some prasad by the management of the temple.
He later left for the Kaal Bhairav temple, which is considered to be a very holy place in the temple town.
Kaal Bhairav is considered by devotees as the ‘shah kotwal’ and it is believed that a trip to Varanasi is incomplete without a visit to this temple.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after his resounding victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections had visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple but skipped Kaal Bhairav temple.
Earlier, the Prime Minister took out a road show in the city as thousands lined up the route, chanted pro-Modi slogans and showered marigold petals on his entourage. The SPG personnel surrounding the Prime Minister had a tough time controlling the milling crowds who tried to come close as he stood up through the sunroof of a bulletproof SUV. (IANS)
Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.
However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.
The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.
Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.
After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:
Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs, agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?
Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.
Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.
Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.
These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.
On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.