Today is the day we welcome our beloved Ganesh to our humble abodes. He stays for different lengths of times in different homes with a minimum being a day & a half to a maximum of ten days. On the tenth day the idols are immersed in seas & oceans & on the eleventh day we wake up to a beach strewn with the remains of our beloved God. His trunk, his half dissolved arms, ears, clothes lie on the beach. Volunteers & municipal workers then get down to cleaning these beaches. And then begin the endless posts on Facebook, WhatsApp, forwarded emails, etc whether this is how we respect our religion & our Gods, is it necessary to pollute nature while worshiping our Gods while the atheists & agnostics feel superior for a few days as they condemn this God which leads people to pollute nature. Some devotees are confused, some are ignorant while some like always don’t care. But is there a way to avoid all this? Is there a way in which we can follow our religion & our festivals but not ruin nature.
My friend, an ardent Ganesh devotee, has come up with a plan for her home. It involves bending the rules to a certain extent & needs you to put in personal efforts for it. She has participated in Ganesh idol making workshops this year & has learnt to make Ganesh idols from Shaadu. Shaadu is a type of clay found along the riverbanks in Maharashtra. Traditional Ganesh idols were made from Shaadu clay instead of Plaster of Paris. This clay dissolves easily & causes minimum water pollution. However she plans on recycling the water too. She will be immersing the home made idol (which will be no taller than the palm of her hand) in a drum of water & will be later using the water for her home plants.
The Native Americans believed that if you take something from nature, you should return it back to it. Isn’t this a wonderful way of doing exactly that? You take mud from nature & return it with water to the trees.
Let me conclude this post with a quote from Hubert Reeves I keep coming back to time & again:
Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God & slaughters a visible nature without realizing that this nature he slaughters is this invisible God he worships.