As the founder of Avaada Group, I have always been intrigued by the transformative power of purpose-driven businesses rooted in spirituality. These businesses are not just reshaping India’s business landscape, but also redefining the way we perceive success.
At Avaada, the chant “Jai Mata Di” is not just a symbol of divine blessings for us, but an expression of profound gratitude for the blessings life has bestowed upon us. Our annual pilgrimage to Mata Vaishno Devi is a testament to our commitment to harness the inherent power of divinity within humans to accomplish ambitious objectives through virtuous means.
This journey is marked by unity, shared joy, and a collective aspiration for divine blessings. But beyond material desires, there is a deeper blessing we often overlook—the blessing of transformation. To illustrate this, let me share a tale that has recently resonated with me:
Once, a group of disciples decided to undertake a pilgrimage, aiming to deepen their devotion. Their master, while approving of their intentions, gave them a task: to carry a bitter-gourd throughout their journey, place it at the feet of each deity, and bring it back.
After their return, the master asked them to cook the bitter-gourd and serve it. Upon tasting the first bite, the master exclaimed in surprise, “The bitter-gourd is still bitter, even after so many pilgrimages!” Confused, the disciples pointed out that it was in the nature of the bitter-gourd to be bitter. The master agreed and explained that just as the bitter-gourd didn’t change its nature despite the pilgrimages, our nature remains unchanged, no matter how many spiritual journeys we undertake, unless we intentionally strive for transformation.
True transformation originates from within. Divine guidance can illuminate our path, but the responsibility for embarking on the journey of transformation lies with us. It’s a heartfelt journey, a quest to harmonise our inner and outer selves, and a deliberate endeavor to live in sync with our authentic nature.
As we navigate our own paths at Avaada, let us remember that the responsibility for growth and evolution lies with us. By embarking on this heartfelt quest for self-discovery, we strive to harmonize our inner and outer selves, embracing our true nature and living a life in sync with our deepest values.
Let us harness the divine potential that resides within us and reshape not only our own lives but also the business landscape of our nation. After all, spirituality and business can coexist, and together, they can lead us to a path of success that is both fulfilling and transformative.
Jai Mata Di!
India, a land renowned for its rich cultural heritage, celebrates every festival that beautifully interweaves cosmic connections and scientific reasoning into every tradition. Every festival here is intricately linked to the lunar cycle. Among these cherished stories is the tale of the holy month of Shravan, which encapsulates profound spiritual and scientific significance. This connection is not just symbolic but offers profound insights into our relationship with the vast expanse of the universe.
In our ancient wisdom, the sun and moon are seen as potent sources of energy. The sun, often associated with the warrior archetype, symbolizes hot, violent energy, and embodies the relentless pursuit, the burning desire, the constant striving. On the other hand, the moon reflects the sun’s rays, orchestrating a transformation wherein the once-fiery energy metamorphoses into tranquil and peaceful vibrations. This celestial alchemy mirrors the transformative potential within each of us.
Despite these contrasts, these energies are reflected from the same source and manifested differently. The moon simply reflects the sun’s rays, and through its unique process, the once hot and violent rays transform into cool, silent, and peaceful energy. This transformation is akin to the alchemical changes that are possible within us.
Spiritual traditions impart profound wisdom, revealing that our lives are inextricably linked to cosmic entities like the moon and stars. But this is not a one-way street; the influence is mutual. When a soul of great spiritual attainment, like the blessed Buddha graces the Earth with its presence, the moon and stars subtly resonate with this divine energy.
Even the resplendent sun, with its fiery intensity, bears witness to this celestial change. During solar flares, the energetic outbursts can lead to widespread ailments on Earth—a testament to our intricate interconnectedness.
Unveiling the Depths of Shravan Month:
The month of Shravan is woven within the timeless wisdom of the Vedas. This sacred month is described as Nabhas, a celestial period when the divine Shravan nakshatra reigns supreme, adorning the heavens with its ethereal presence.
According to Vedic literature, during the cosmic churning of the ocean by gods and demons, a potent poison emerged, posing a grave threat to the world. Neither side dared to claim this deadly elixir. In an act of divine protection, Lord Shiva consumed the poison, holding it in his throat, which earned him the name “Neelkanth,” the blue-throated one.
This profound tale also symbolizes our inner journey. The churning of the ocean represents introspection, causing dormant emotions to resurface. Negative emotions like anger, greed, and jealousy symbolize the poisonous elixir. Just as Lord Shiva did, we should neither project these emotions onto others nor let them harm us. Instead, we must contain them, transform them through the power of positive emotions, and neutralize their detrimental effects. The act of offering the sacred water of the Ganges to Lord Shiva represents this transformative process.
Spiritual Significance and Scientific Benefits of Rituals:
As this sacred month of Shravan unfolds, typically spanning the months of July and August, the natural world itself seems to awaken, vibrant and rejuvenated.
The rituals performed during Shravan month stretch beyond mere adherence to tradition; it serves as a conduit to harmonize ourselves with the cosmic rhythms.
Similar to how the moon transforms the sun’s energy, devotees immerse themselves in self-reflection, humility, and tranquility. On an earthlier level, Shravan aligns with the monsoon season in India—a period of replenishment for the land as rainwater revitalizes the environment. This alignment with the natural world instills spiritual rejuvenation within us, urging us to replenish our inner well-being through prayer, meditation, and self-reflection.
Further, devotees observe fasting during the month of Shravan. Modern science has shown that fasting can aid in weight loss, improve metabolic health, increase longevity, and improve brain health. Thus, our religious practices align with scientifically proven health benefits.
Additionally, an increase in prayer and meditation during Shravan, as encouraged by our traditions, has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits. Meditation can reduce stress, increase feelings of well-being, improve focus and attention, and promote a sense of calm.
As we observe the holy month of Shravan, let us all remember it is not just about following tradition, but harmonizing ourselves with these cosmic rhythms and tapping into the scientific benefits of these practices.
“गुरू ब्रह्मा गुरू विष्णु, गुरु देवो महेश्वरा गुरु साक्षात परब्रह्म, तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः“
In the spiritual realm, this mantra venerates the Guru as the embodiment of creation, preservation, and destruction. The Guru is a transformative force, capable of healing the sick, illuminating the unknown, and changing lives.
The term “Guru” originates from the Sanskrit words ‘Gu’ and ‘Ru’. ‘Gu’ signifies darkness or ignorance, while ‘Ru’ represents light. Thus, a Guru is a beacon of enlightenment, guiding us from the shadows of ignorance to the dawn of knowledge. They sow the seeds of growth, leading us towards self-realization, and liberating us from the worldly constraints of body and mind.
The Essence of Guru Purnima: Guru Purnima, observed on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashad (July-August), is a tribute to Maharshi Veda Vyasa, the revered sage who edited the Vedas, authored the Mahabharata, the 18 Puranas, and shared his wisdom with the world. It was on Guru Purnima that Krishna Dwaipayana Veda Vyasa achieved enlightenment, revealing the importance of a Guru to the world.
Guru Purnima is a day of profound spiritual and scientific significance. It is a day when we acknowledge the celestial presence of Planet Jupiter, known as Bṛhaspati in India, among the Navagraha (the nine planets). Jupiter, revered as a symbol of kindness, optimism, knowledge, and wisdom, is aptly titled the Guru of planets.
Guru Purnima coincides with the Full Moon Day, a time ripe with positive opportunities and the potential to amplify our positive energy. On this auspicious day, the moon’s gravitational pull strives to draw everything on Earth closer, a phenomenon evident in the vast tidal waves in the oceans. During Guru Purnima, the gravitational pulls of both the moon and the sun align, creating a combined force that resonates within us.
As humans, our bodies are approximately 70% water, with blood being the predominant fluid. We are susceptible to the influence of these gravitational forces. The gravitational pull affects every part of our bodies and influences the Kundalini Shakti and Chakras.
The meditation performed during Guru Purnima enables the activation of the chakras by harnessing the abundant cosmic energy that permeates the universe. The practice of Shaktipat stimulates chakras, facilitating the upward movement of Kundalini Shakti.
As we come together to celebrate Guru Purnima, let’s delve into profound tales that unveil the mystic prowess of gurus, revealing the boundless grace that unfolds within their presence.
The Tale of Ekalavya: The Mahabharata presents the inspiring tale of Ekalavya, a young man who defied societal norms to chase his dreams. Despite being denied formal training by the esteemed guru, Dronacharya, Ekalavya’s unwavering determination led him to master archery through self-discipline and devotion. This tale teaches us the power of resilience and unwavering faith in oneself.
TheStory of Ramanand and Kabir: Kabir, despite facing societal barriers due to his lower caste, never let his quest for enlightenment waver. His relentless pursuit led him to lie in Ramanand’s path during his morning bath. Recognizing Kabir’s deep yearning for knowledge, Ramanand accepted him as his disciple, transcending societal norms and spreading the message of universal love and acceptance.
In the words of Sahib Kabir, “गुरु गोविंद दोऊ खड़े, काके लागू पाय । बलिहारी गुरु आपनो, जिन गोविंद दियो बताय।।,” we understand that even when faced with both Guru and God, it is the Guru who deserves our utmost reverence. The Guru illuminates our path, guiding us toward the divine and helping us unravel the mysteries of existence.
As we conclude our spiritual journey, the tales of Ekalavya and the encounter between Ramanand and Kabir exemplify the unwavering devotion, determination, and self-sacrifice that are hallmarks of a true seeker.
On this Guru Purnima, let us remember that the mere presence of a Guru in the world electrifies the atmosphere and inspires millions of people to turn to spiritualism. A guru comes to us by the grace of God, and brings divine wisdom, according to our preparation, readiness, aspiration, karma, and faith. Let us express our gratitude to the Gurus who have illuminated our paths, dispelling the darkness within us and leading us to the eternal light of wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. Let us continue to support the Mission so that more souls may benefit from this priceless wisdom.
समुद्रवसने देवि पर्वतस्तनमंडले ।
विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यं पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्व मे
Mother Earth, who has the ocean as clothes, adorned by mountains and forests,
And is the consort of Lord Vishnu,
I bow to you to please forgive me for touching you with my feet.
The Vedas have endowed us with a vast array of knowledge that range from environmental protection to ecological balance to rainfall cycles, and just about every phenomenon that occurs on planet Earth. Our ancestors believed in ‘sanrakshan’ – mindful of the society’s role towards sustainability and ecological preservation.
Unfortunately, since the world seems to have grown around us, we have forgotten to fear the invisible cause-effect relations that drive our reality. Now, despite receiving light nudges and warnings across centuries, our collective ignorance in pursuit of creature comforts has lead us to cause irreversible damage to Mother Earth and she is done with throwing us humans helpful hints.
Transverse Impact of Climate Change
A clear, impartial observation highlights the impact climate change has had not only on the current Covid19 Crisis era but has been felt for many decades, amplifying with each year and observed on a worldwide scale. We have always sensed the wrong and harm we have inflicted on nature for centuries. Mother Earth has had many warriors and champions, they warned us, threatened us but humanity never heeded.
Now that nature has taken matters into its own hands and we have been – as a species – driven into hiding and we need to press the refresh button. Things can’t go back to the ‘old ways’ so we have to look, learn, adapt and evolve. From factories to everyday grocery shopping – nothing can stay the same. Burning fossil fuel, the Amazon forest fires, bush fires as well as rising sea levels can no longer be terms we simply find bound between pages inside dusty, old libraries. The wrath of nature has brought these facts closer to home and impacted our everyday lives.
As per the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), fuel emissions alone kill an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year. The ice caps are melting and the sea-water levels are rising by 7 to 8 inches on average since 1900, slowly swallowing land and homes while fueling more inland flooding. From our homes to health to food scarcity if we don’t learn to adapt and grow – extinction isn’t a far off concept.
Playing a balancing game with nature
Humans are driven by comfort and are constantly challenging Mother Nature. Human activities like urbanization, deforestation, infrastructure building, etc. have led to severe decline of pristine natural environment. Rapid ice melting to glaciers floating along with an ever increasing human population had led to depleted biodiversity and loss of multiple essential natural habitats.
From polluting the water to excessive vehicular use, we as a species have pushed a multitude of flora – Silphium, Rhynia, Sigillaria – and fauna – the Black Rhinoceros, White Dolphin, Passenger Pigeon – towards absolute extinction. We have destroyed the balance between several ecosystems whose stability is amicably interdependent.
So then the question arises – ‘Can we undo our harmful actions?’
Even though the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as a yes or a no we need to try.
The solution, it seems, lies in one simple concept – Harmonious Sustainability.
Luckily a lot of research and holistic studies have been done for us. Extensive studies on the ‘Charak Samhita’ with special focus on the third chapter on epidemic diseases could be a start. It elaborates on living together as one with nature and learning how to notice warning signs.
Technology has brought us far. By rebuilding the world and marrying it to nature through eco-friendly methods is a successful step forward. From celebrating renewable energy to growing with plants and trees in their natural habitat to co-existing peacefully with other species are some foundational ideas that encourage Sustainable Living.
Just have faith and take a step forward. For now, Nature has begun to heal; let’s not miss this chance to create a sustainable future for the many generations that are yet to come.
विश्वंभरा वसुधानी प्रतिष्ठा हिरण्यवक्षा जगतो निवेशनी ।
वैश्वानरं बिभ्रती भूमिरग्निमिन्द्रऋषभा द्रविणे नो दधातु ॥६॥
She (Mother Earth) is All-Bearing, She is the Producer of all Wealth,
She is the Foundation on which we live,
She is of Golden Bosom, the Dwelling Place of the World,
She holds The Universal Fire within Her,
May the Mother Earth bestow on us the splendour of that Fire and make us strong.
माता भूमि पुत्रोहं पृथिव्या
During the Vedic period, we used to live in harmony with nature. The Vedas have several references on environmental protection, ecological balance, weather cycles, rainfall phenomena, the hydrologic cycle, and related subjects that directly indicate the high level of awareness of the seers and people of that time.
Rig-Veda states that “the sky is like father, the earth like a mother and the space as their son.” The universe consisting of the three is like a family and any kind of damage done to any one of the three throws the universe out of balance.
It is also stated in Upanishad that “The God who exists in the universe, lives in air, water, in fire and also in trees and herbs, men should have reverence for them.”
In fact, man is forbidden from exploiting nature. He is taught to live in harmony with nature and recognize that divinity prevails in all elements, including plants and animals. The Rishis of the past have always had great respect for nature. Theirs was not a superstitious primitive theology. They perceived that all material manifestations are a shadow of the spiritual.
But unfortunately, Today Indian rivers are the destination for waste produced by hundreds of industrial units, our cities have become gas chambers, oceans have become the dump yard for plastics and rapid urbanization leads to deforestation. The greed of mankind has led to grave danger to the future of the environment.
Mahatma Gandhi said –
“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
The effect of global warming and climate change are well emphasized in global narratives and India can neither remain unaffected nor be a mute spectator.
The punishing long and scorching summers and uneven rainfalls are just the latest indicators that we need to do more to hold back climate change. Solutions to control such devastations are within our reach, but to capture them there is a need to take urgent consolidated actions across every level of society and build a future for our coming generations that are sustainable and resilient.
We are all responsible as individuals, in terms of changing our habits and living in a way that is more sustainable. Now is the time for people in every facet to raise their voices and urge each other to take a historic first step towards a sustainable future. We must reduce carbon emissions to the point where we hold global warming to no more than an additional 1.5 °C.
In our journey towards carbon-neutral, the private sector will play a key role in accelerating global decarbonization by setting science-based targets to reduce emissions within their operations and value chains. Moving ahead, we need deep and sustained decarbonization of the industry at all levels—Hard to abate sectors, food production and consumption, transportation, construction, manufacturing, and retail. To do this, we require new and innovative solutions that transform the way stakeholders engage with the natural world. Industries must switch to green & sustainable energy like solar & wind. One tool that could help the ‘hard to abate’ sector is green hydrogen & green ammonia.
Every country, city, financial institution, and company should adopt plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050 and take decisive ACTION NOW.
Our PM Shri Narendra Modi always says – India believes in वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम.
Means ‘The whole Universe is one Family’
He has made a paradigm shift to a “whole-of-society” approach by involving and engaging sub-national and local governments, civil society organizations, local communities, people in vulnerable situations, and the private sector.
With his motto of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas’ (Collective Efforts for Inclusive Growth), serious efforts have been made in the county to develop a robust SDGs localization model centered on adoption, implementation, and monitoring at the state and district levels.
We have Science with us; technology is with us. We just need to step up to combat climate change. Azadi ka Amrit Kaal is a make-or-break year to confront the global climate emergency.
Let’s UNITE and FIGHT for a sustainable future.
We must turn this momentum into a movement.