Posted in Being Prayerful, Blessings from Appaji, Celebrate Today, Love and Blessings, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji

Celebrating Sri Karya Siddhi Hanuman’s Anniversary and Appaji’s Birthday!

Jaya Guru Datta!

Yes, you have read the title correctly!

“It’s a Happy, Happy, Happy Day! It’s a Holy, Holy Day! “

These are the words which have been playing in my head all day, because for us (meaning the devotees in Trinidad), the celebration is two-fold! The difference is, I am hearing it in Sri Bala Swamiji’s voice and the only other song I stopped to sing today was “Vande Santam Hanumantam” when I heard it in Pt Ganesh Maharaj’s TikTok video being sung by His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda!

This was one of the first bhajans of His Holiness that I heard and today I was reminded of my initial visits to the majestically tall Sri Karya Siddhi Hanuman Murti which stands tall in Carapichaima. It is one many Datta devotees enjoy listening to, so I am sharing the YouTube link here.

Why is the celebration two-fold?

Let me explain:

  1. June 9, 2022 marks the 19th Anniversary of the consecration of the 85ft Sri Karya Siddhi Hanuman Murti by His Holiness Pujya Appaji.
  2. At the time when this post is being written, it is already Jyestha Sudha Ekadasi in India. It is also the day when we celebrate the Lunar Birthday of His Holiness and we wish His Holiness a very Happy 80th Birthday!

The 85ft Karya Siddhi Hanuman Murti here in Trinidad is one that reminds us day after day, how blessed we truly are here in Trinidad. No amount of words can ever say how truly grateful we are!

As the day began, for me it didn’t feel like one where I wanted to be rushing and sorting work! Yes, I know work is important and it takes so much of my time, but it was a day when I wanted a different pace and in more ways than one, I got it.

The energy, the peace and the way the entire day unfolded was proof of it!

For those wondering about Sri Karya Siddhi Hanuman, please allow me to share an excerpt from a post on Trinidad Hanuman Datta Mala, “Apart from that, Sri Appaji has always realised from His early visits, that our ancestors brought Hanuman worship in their hearts and minds and would sing his Chalisa if physical worship was not always possible, because of the difficulties they faced! This Hanuman devotion sustained them and helps us now also to overcome all obstacles!”

Please take the time to click on https://www.dattamalatt.com/post/happy-19th-consecration-anniversary and read the article in its entirety. Also, please take the time to view the video on the page in its entirety.

As described in “The Journey- Memoirs of A Devotee of Parama Pujya Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji,”  by Sheetal Prasadji, a very humble and gentle soul who is widely known as a musician and author, who is Trinidadian by birth, “On that most auspicious day, Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, Pontiff of Datta Peetham and Spiritual Master to countless devotees all over the world, by His Divine Sankalpa, consecrated the Karya Siddhi Anjaneya Temple and later stated, Now He had synthesized Himself with Sri Hanuman and taken permanent residence in my ‘Bhoomi’ my home land (Chapter 31).

For those wondering about the consecration day itself, please take the time to view this video posted by Hanuman Hoffman. https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=YcgT5S_1360 Also take the time to view this video posted below:

With an abundance of posts on Social Media, namely on Facebook to mark this historic occasion, the energy and celebration were evident. They were all filled with so much love with several special moments and memories shared by Datta devotees. For most of the day messages and posts celebrating the anniversary of Lord Hanuman dominated social media and messages celebrating Appaji’s birthday were evident as soon as it was either morning in India or it was morning in other parts of the world.

What made my day was being able to view Puja and Purnahuti live from Avadhoota Datta Peetham in Ashrama and being able to hear Appaji’s message as before one of the live sessions concluded. It gave me renewed energy to do one of the things I love most- writing!

Today was a day of peace, a day of giving thanks and a day for counting blessings! It was also a day of positivity and gentle reminders.

Happy 80th Birthday year Appaji!

In closing I take this opportunity to wish Appaji a very Happy Birthday 80th Birthday year to You! Please accept our humble Prostrations at Your Lotus Feet!

Posted in Celebrate Today, Education, Educational Opportunity, Learning Opportunity, Life

Announcing UNICAF’s University Programmes!

Yes, you read the title right!

For those who know me, you would know that I am on a mission to help others and touch the lives of people the world over, one country at a time. A question I always ask is, “Why deny yourself an opportunity to achieve the success you deserve?” As such I am sharing this link with you as I want it to be easily accessible to you https://apply.unicaf.org/

Have you seen this video? If not, please check this out as an opportunity to study with UNICAF is one you certainly should not pass up!

Backed by top investors from across the UK, US and Europe, their reach is global and in this video you can see they help students from around the world. They offer a host of programmes- Bachelor’s Degrees, Masters and Doctoral in a variety of fields- medicine, law, science and technology just to name a few.

Also, if you need to look at this video:

Give yourself the opportunity to invest in your future and to make your dreams a reality. Don’t lose any more time and remember it is yours for the taking! Apply today and start that new chapter of your journey today! Also, apply, share and give someone the gift of education today! Apply today!

Posted in Celebrating Existence

Happy New Year 2022!

Happy New Year everyone!

2021! What a year! If you are reading this thank God because it means you are alive! It means you survived to see another day and the start of another year!


It may not have been the easiest year but we pulled through- every single one of us! We can all agree that this was not an easy year and it was challenging in more ways than one. 
As we begin 2022, let’s begin by giving gratitude for ALL blessings.
Also take the time to celebrate, reflect and rejuvenate because we need to keep going and we need to take positive energy with us. Here are some helpful pointers!

  1. Practice self-care.
  2. Decide not to give attention to anyone that caused you pain and do not let their negative energy dominate your thoughts.
  3. Remember to keep living- enjoy life!
  4. Find a positive in every negative.
  5. Move forward- don’t look back.
  6. Keep your resolve!
  7. Use the scissors of life and cut out everthing you don’t need.
  8. Enjoy your journey!
  9. Give gratitude every single day!
  10. Be your best friend- not your worst enemy!

In case you are wondering what musical treat awaits you today then take the time to listen to this!

As you go through the year, take it one day at a time! Also, please remember to do your best to stay safe!

Posted in Uncategorized

Celebrating Independence Day 2021- T&T!

Happy Independence Day Trinidad and Tobago! Today we celebrate 59 years! 
“Together we aspire, Together we achieve” with “Discipline, Production and Tolerance”.


Have you taken the time to celebrate the Independence of our country? Don’t worry, it’s not too late!


We are a country that is culturally diverse! We are a country that is a melting pot! We are talented and we are gifted! We are people known for our warmth and a truly rich blend of food. Do you need some proof or a gentle reminder? Then click on this link:

https://www.discovertnt.com/welcome/national-icons/#axzz75BGoFt5N

Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to celebrate! Have you ever met a Trini who doesn’t have a story to tell or a Trini who cannot make you laugh? 


I hardly doubt it! We survive! We rally! We persevere! Maybe I am just speaking for those of us who do that, but I happen to think that is a lot of us!

 
Our music helps to tell our story and so does our food! So do our culture and our traditions! 

https://wordpress.com/posts/rachaelathomasj.com?s=independence

When challenges come our way this is something we should remember:

Here is another favourite that I am sure many would enjoy:

Posted in Nature and the Environment, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji

Sri Swamiji’s Discourse: Episode 513 Srimadbhagavatam SGSPosts

This is a message from His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji! Episode 513 Srimadbhagavatam SGSPosts:

“Bhagīratha mounted his chariot and drove swiftly at the speed of wind. River Ganga rapidly flowed behind him purifying different lands as she flowed through them.”

Swamiji explains: What a meritorious deed Bhagīratha performed! He brought purity to all lands by bringing Ganga to Earth. Because of the existence of Ganga, all smaller tributaries and distributaries flow everywhere. You may wonder- do other rivers not have any speciality in them? Of course they have! Each river has its own speciality. But River Ganga surpasses all other rivers with its purity!

How should the auspicious river bath be taken in sacred rivers? It is incorrect to directly go and bathe in the river and cleanse oneself using soap. Prior to proceeding for a river bath, the person should bathe and cleanse himself. He should complete all his daily obligatory duties. He should then, with feelings of total purity and reverence, proceed to the river.

Washing clothes or utensils, bathing with soap, polluting the river with chemicals and factory wastes or dirtying the river by any other method are forbidden. Fetch the river water in a bucket and then use that water for your needs. It is incorrect to pollute the entire river in order to complete your tasks. A river is considered sacred and akin to nectar. A river flows through many mountains and herbs imbibing their medicinal properties. As it flows through varied types of rocks and gems, it absorbs their energies as well. It is natural mineral water. Drinking such water cures diseases. Crops grown with this water are nutritious.

Is it right to pollute such rivers? The Government’s efforts to clean the river are not yielding complete results due to lack of co-operation from citizens. They continue to pollute the river despite Government’s efforts. If at all polluted water needs to be let into the river, the water should be treated and then released. Sewage treatment plants should be set up for this purpose. When treated water is released into the river, the aquatic animals do not perish. By releasing polluted water, the plants perish, the animals are destroyed and the water is no longer fit for consumption. We are poisoning the water. We pollute the water and then blame the Government for not taking adequate steps. Government has been doing its best in this aspect.

When drainage waters are collected and left to dry, then Sun’s rays suck up the dirt and impurities. Germs are destroyed. When treated water is used for watering plants, the water enters into the earth. It gets purified there. Water table improves. We get purified drinking water again from earth.

We are careless in disposing garbage. We worry only about the cleanliness of our house when dirtying the streets and then shift the blame on to the Government. Shamelessly we use plastic covers and indiscriminately dispose them. Cows and buffaloes eat plastic and fall sick. Are we not sinning? When there are alternatives to plastic, why are we insistent on using plastic? Plastic rice and plastic noodles have flooded the markets. Let us now get back to the story.

When we go for a sacred river bath, we should at first bathe and cleanse ourselves at home. With devotion and reverence we should go to the river and dip thrice. That’s all. Applying soap and bathing in river increases the sins instead of destroying them. Sins of those who bathed earlier in those waters transfer to the person who dirties it.

“River Ganga flowed over the ashes of the sixty thousand sons of Sagara. With the touch of Ganga, these sons were purified and they reached heaven. From here originates the custom of taking the ashes of the deceased and offering them in River Ganga. She swallows up the sins”.

Krishnaya namah

Posted in Being Prayerful, Celebrating Existence, Life, Remembering Loved Ones

Celebrating Angels

Today a nation cries. Today a country is brought to its knees. Today hearts were broken into pieces throughout the island. Today tears were shed by many and pain, anguish and anger were evident everywhere. 


February 4, 2021- the day the body of Andrea Amy Bharatt was found in the Heights of Aripo, her body thrown over a precipice. This is a day many would not forget. Prayers were being said for the young law clerk to return home safely since she went missing on the evening of Friday 29 January, 2021. Hundreds turned out for a vigil only the evening before while several hunters and trackers had joined the police in the days she went missing- many hoping they would find her alive. 

Andrea Bharatt


The life of a family was turned upside down as this young woman who had done everything she was told to do was subjected to a horrific end. She travelled with a friend in daylight shortly after finishing work in what appeared to be a registered taxi. However, she was lured into a trap many others would not have expected as the license plate was fake. God only knows how her father is coping. To think that she left home and could not return as she left, to think that they could not say goodbye or hug each as they would is the unfortunate reality that her murder has brought.

To think of her last moments is painful and heartbreaking. To think of the scant disregard and respect for her body as she was assaulted and her body thrown over a precipice is beyond disturbing. 

A YouTube video Andrea Bharatt made during her studies


Described as an ‘angel’, Andrea was also described as a soft-spoken, pleasant and very hard working young lady who worked towards her dreams and she greeted everyone she met with a smile. She was one who left many with great memories and there has been an outpouring of love and concern since the day she went missing.

Photo Credit: Pinterest(Susan Noyes Anderson)


To have raised her alone for the last eight years following the passing of his wife, for her to grow up to be the young woman she was, it means Andrea’s father did an incredible job. It also means the bond they shared would have been a very close one. To have her snatched from him like this and to lose her like this is inconsolable. More so it means more hearts are continuing to break as many think of the irreparable damage done to him and the constant pain and anguish he is facing. 


Andrea’s story is one of the many that has brought pain to many in our twin island Republic. This is not the ‘sweet T&T’ Natasha Wilson described years ago. The stories of the tragic end Andrea Bharatt, Ashanti Riley,  Krysta Lackpatsingh, Joanna Díaz Sánchez, Rachel Logan, Cindy Joseph, Hope Arismandez, Emily Annamunthodo, Sean Luke, Jezelle Phillip, Ellena Dial and so many others faced have showed the harsh reality of the times we are living in. We pray for each of their souls. We pray for each of their families. 

Ashanti Riley


Ashanti as many would remember left home to attend her grandmother’s birthday party. She was on her way to meet her boyfriend and other family members and together they would go to her grandmother’s home but Ashanti never arrived. Like Andrea, she was a beautiful young woman with a beautiful soul. She too was described as a loving young lady who was hard working and she too had a horrific end. She brought joy and laughter to many. 


Ashanti had spent her Sunday morning at home with her Mom and when she left little did anyone think that she would never return. Ashanti disappeared on the 29th of November and her corpse was found on Dec 4th; Andrea disappeared on January 29th and her corpse was found on February 4th. Her murder sparked outrage and the ordeal she faced in her final hours was surely inflicted by persons with no compassion, no mercy and no respect.  


Let us go back to a most tragic day in 2004! When Krysta Lackpatsingh’s life was taken in 2004, it was on a day when she had returned home early to type up a report on the family’s computer because a computer had not yet been installed at work. Krysta, a Probation Officer attached to the Point Fortin Magistrates Court was found by her parents, Jade and Steve Lackpatsingh in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed at least 18 times. Always pleasant, she loved helping others and she loved life. She was beautiful inside and out. Her laughter could fill a room and she had a special ability to soothe those around her.

What wrong did Krysta do? She came home early to complete her work because it could not be done at her place of work and instead had her life taken in a most tragic way, heartlessly and brutally. Krysta’s death shocked the entire Cedros community.

Krysta Lackpatsingh

The torture Andrea, Ashanti, Krysta and each of the other victims endured is unthinkable. So too is the torture their families have endured and continue to endure. 
When several of these victims did the right thing how can we say they did wrong? Their lives were ended by heartless, cold, unfeeling monsters that are roaming our land. Who are they to take lives they did not give life? Yes, once there is birth, death is inevitable but when that time comes is not to be determined by man. 


We need to wake up and look out for each other. We need to be vigilant and careful. We need to take measures for good protection and we need to keep praying. We need to be thankful for our loved ones and for our time with them. 


Yes, many of us did not know any of these victims, but it has not stopped us from caring and praying. Do not let their stories be stories which will be forgotten. Do not let their lives be a distant memory in time to come. Do not forget their families. Do what you can to offer them comfort and prayer. In essence, keep applying the golden rule- Treat others the way you want to be treated. 


The lives of each of these victims matter! Let us remember what they taught us, how they have inspired many and what they have showed us. The lives of their families matter too! This is not about you or me but it is about every single one of us! 


We celebrate each of these Angels! Together they have shown us how inner beauty radiates outward! Together they have shown us how rising in the midst of adversity is imperative! Together they have shown us that the purity of their hearts is something they were blessed with! They were gone too soon but they will never be forgotten!  

Posted in Being Prayerful, Celebrate Today, Celebrating Existence, Life, Love and Blessings

Celebrating Life’s Lessons!

In this post I am Celebrating Life’s Lessons! Regardless of how many times your brain may feel saturated, at some point something happens that shows you it isn’t but you have time to take in more. 

Quote by Rachael Ann Thomas-Jeremiah (Oct.4, 2020)


Every day is a new one and every day brings a new dawn. Let that be your hope that you are not alone! Your Master, whatever name He is called by, is always with you, guiding and protecting you. 

Every now and again it may happen and you might be flooded with something unexpected! Every now and again someone may show you something you lost sight of or something to snap you out of the illusion you have been living in. Many may think they have the right to judge but in truth and in fact they don’t. That is a fact that remains whether people want to hear it or not. 


Friendship and love should never be mixed with envy. Friendship and love should never be synonymous with being selfish. Friendship and love should never be negative. Friendship and love should never be toxic.


Always give yourself the best chance possible! Always learn not to expect anything from anyone but always focus on being you and focus on being the best you that there is! 
I made a decision a long time ago that giving up or quitting is not an option at least not for me. Those who know me would know why! Those who don’t can question it but they may never understand why. 


Like you I have had my fair share of experiences and I continue to have them day after day. Don’t let life break you and don’t let it trick you into living an illusion or getting entangled in one! Don’t let circumstances get the better of you! 


Being in pain doesn’t mean you are justified in causing someone else pain. Nothing justifies being jealous of someone so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for what you have or what you deserve. 

Think of every cold shoulder you got, every harsh word you have received, every tear you shed and every ounce of pain you experienced! Thank God you did not let it define you! Thank God you are where you are and Thank God you are existing! 


After you do this I urge you to take the time to do the following:
1. Celebrate every challenge you have overcome!

2. Celebrate every time you have turned a frown upside down.

 3. Celebrate every negative you have walked away from.

4. Celebrate every negative you have turned into a positive. 

5. Celebrate every toxic situation you have walked away from. 

6. Celebrate the fact that you have removed every toxic person who is no longer in your life or you are in the process of doing exactly that. 

7. Celebrate every opportunity you have grabbed and made the most out of. 

8. Celebrate every genuine person who has become a part of your life. 

9. Celebrate every time you have done something for you.

10. Celebrate your growth.

11. Celebrate your strength! 

12. As you focus on your healing celebrate how far you have come on your journey.

13. Celebrate the success and happiness of others.

14. Celebrate every day you survived. 

15. Celebrate every today and every tomorrow you are yet to see. 

Posted in Life, Love and Blessings, Surviving Depression

Celebrating Clarity!

Life is what you make it! Well it certainly is!

Life presents us with so much and it can be a mix of so much- overwhelming, heart wrenching, confusing and complicated. But it can also bring reason and clarity!

An original SWS (Signature Writing Styles) Design and one of my quotes (Rachael Ann Thomas-Jeremiah)

Clarity can be as bright as daylight! Clarity can be as harsh as the coldness that hits your face in winter! Clarity can hit you like a ton of bricks! Clarity can knock you off your feet but you it is important that you stay grounded!

An original SWS (Signature Writing Styles) Design -my design-and one of my quotes (Rachael Ann Thomas-Jeremiah)

Sometimes you need to have a good laugh and sometimes you just need to get rid of the bottled up pain. Whichever it is do what is necessary!

Like many people I have had my fair share of experiences and I have learnt many valuable lessons:

  1. People will always think what they want. They may even call you names because they don’t know you or like you.
  2. You cannot force anyone to do anything. You can try to help others but only people who want your help will accept it.
  3. Be careful who you talk to! Talk to God knowing He always hears and He always answers.
  4. Never let yourself be disappointed! People will always do as they wish.
  5. Always focus on what you are sure about. Those are the things that will keep guiding you.
An original SWS (Signature Writing Styles) Design-my design- and one of my quotes (Rachael Ann Thomas-Jeremiah)

Reality presents us with so many harsh truths that sometimes they may feel hard to swallow but here are some useful things which should be of help:

  1. Always keep your focus. It’s easy to get distracted but keep your goal in sight and always work towards it.
  2. Never resort to treating people the way they treat you! Nothing good can come from that! Focus on being you and always being a better you! Let people deal with the karma they create.
  3. When you get clarity embrace it! Celebrate the things that didn’t work out and celebrate the toxic people that get removed from your life!
  4. Never give up on prayer. Let God be your comfort and your solace!
  5. Always look to each new day as a new dawn! Remember every moment matters!
  6. Always accept reality for what it is! Some circumstances cannot be changed and people need to want to change in order to effect change.
  7. Don’t allow yourself to be a pawn in anyone’s game. Let them keep playing their games and reap the rewards of their actions.
  8. If you ever feel alone don’t. Close your eyes and allow yourself to feel all that is good and also allow yourself space to remember that you are beautifully made and designed by the Master.
An original SWS (Signature Writing Styles) Design -my design- and one of my quotes (Rachael Ann Thomas-Jeremiah)

Be clear! Be firm! Be resolute! Be you and love yourself! Repeat!

#celebratelife #celebrateclarity #livelovelaugh

Posted in Being Prayerful, Blessings from Appaji, Hanuman Jayanti

Celebrating Hanuman Jayanti 2020!

Jaya Guru Datta!

Om Namo Hanumate Namaha! Happy Hanuman Jayanti!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For those who do not know,

“Karya” means wish or act. “Siddhi” means realizing. Therefore Karya Siddhi Hanuman is one who fulfills your wishes”.

Sri Karya Siddhi Hanuman stands majestically tall at the Sri Dattatreya Yoga Centre in Carapichaima. His is the 85 ft Murti which is known by people the world over and it is the largest in the Western Hemisphere. He represents strength and He represents victory. He gives Protection, Courage and He is synonymous with friendship, loyalty, compassion, bravery, purity of mind, thought and action! On a day like today thousands would make their way to the Ashrama to make offerings, give thanks, do puja, chant and glorify His name. Today however is quite different.

Today would be a day steeped in history as Hanuman devotees cannot do so! Why? We, like so much more of the global human population, are forced to stay at home to protect ourselves, our families, our communities and others because of Covid-19, the global pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on humanity by its spread and increasing number of deaths. Added to that Tuesday being Lord Hanuman’s Day was celebrated as Lord Hanuman’s Day by most of the Western world.

As I am typing this I have stopped for a view minutes to take in the Facebook Live from His Holiness Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji! I am blessed to witness Poornaphala, I am blessed to witness Homa and I have been able to see many devotees from Trinidad and around the world being blessed to experience the very same! I have also been blessed to see Lord Hanuman as He stands majestically tall from a beautiful vantage point at Sri Datta Venkateswara Temple. Priceless!

Today, in Celebrating Hanuman Jayanti, I also take this time to celebrate His Holiness Param Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji – our dear Sadgurudeva, Appaji, Nada Brahma- and Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji- our dear Bala Swamiji! Both always take care of us. They always guide, They always share, They are always selfless and both show us sincerity, humility and all that is good and kind. They have made it possible for us to keep our focus in this very trying time of Covid-19 when so many are confined to their homes. If I may say, They have provided the oxygen to keep us going!

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32-holiness

Day after day we are given the opportunity to look at various lives from Mysore Ashrama. Appaji has given devotees an opportunity to guess the Bhajan that will be sung, day after day we are invited to participate in Puja, there is daily Kriya Yoga and this is in addition to all the other daily messages and activities to participate in.

Karya Siddhi Hanuman Msantras dattapeetham_493c0c2e63036c14292c1311f2dce5c1-page-001

Photo Credit: Avadhoota Datta Peetham

How can we make this a true celebration?

  • Keep being good and doing good by being true to yourself and being your brother’s keeper
  • Chant Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Record your count and submit it on Avadhoota Datta Peetham. Do not just do this today but do it every day!
  • Chant Sri Hanumanji’s Mantras
  • Be thankful for life and for this lifeline we have been given
  • Make today count and let every day after bring added value!
  • Click on the links for each of the videos shared here and sing with Appaji
  • Use the Bhajan Mala App to learn the words for the Bhajans
  • Keep your focus
  • Keep praying and keep giving thanks

As we thank Lord Hanuman for all His blessings, let us also pray for the health of our dear Appaji- our Sadgurudeva- and our dear Sri Bala Swamiji. Appaji and Sri Bala Swamiji, thank You for all that You continue to do for us. Please accept our Humble Pranams and Prostations at both of Your Lotus Feet!

Posted in Blessings from Appaji, Life, Nature and the Environment

Celebrating Life: Protecting the Environment

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/plastic-pollution/
A simple click on the above link would help to paint the picture of the reality that mankind faces as a result of plastic pollution.
One very important fact we can all attest to is that the Earth is in trouble because of our use of plastics. This is primarily due to how humans pollute the Earth because of the way plastics are used and more so because of the way plastics are disposed of.

On October 17, 2019 His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda issued a call for all ashramites to stop using plastic. To each His Holiness provided an eco toothbrush.
Those who are devotees and followers of His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda would surely understand that His Holiness does nothing that is against nature and He also does nothing that is against mankind. Instead it is the very opposite and His love knows no bounds. His actions are always filled with thought, love, sincerity and compassion and this is always directed at all of Creation.

His visit to Antarctica https://www.dattapeetham.org/events/2013/sri-swamiji-in-antarctica-29-dec-2013-to-07-jan-2014 is an example of this. The care given to animals wherever His Holiness goes is another indication of this. Shuka Vana which is home to over 475 species of birds, the koi pond, the Bonsai Garden which has a plant for each of the 365 days of the year, the Gau Shala and His visit to various places around the world is proof of this. One particular memory which stands out in my mind is seeing squirrels and monkeys up and down trees and running around the Ashrama. The way that they are comfortable and the way that they are at peace is evident. No questions need to be asked. The truth is they may not be able to live as peacefully as this in any other part of the country.

As humans we owe it to Mother Earth (Dharti Maa) to take care of Her because she has blessed us with the food which sustains and nourishes us and the land where we make our homes. However we should not take care of the Earth because we feel obligated to but it should be because we care and we genuinely want to.
One very real way of doing that is by reducing our use of plastics. It is doable and it is very possible. All it requires is firm conviction (your thought and belief process) and action (actually efforts and measures to reduce your use of plastics).

Here as some ways to help the environment:
1. Recycle- ( glass bottles, plastic bottles, paper, unused books)
You can do this by checking locally in your country of residence for this. Those who live in Trinidad and Tobago can refer to this previous post (https://rachaelathomasj.com/2018/01/23/celebrating-nature-recyling)
2. Reduce wastage meaning use just what is needed. Do not use what is not needed. Do not be complacent and mismanage. Such actions will not help anyone.
3. Support animal relief efforts. Provide help at animal shelters or render assistance by helping however you can – feeding, care and the upkeep of the homes of animals. Share information on protecting endangered species and lead by example. Whether it is leather back turtles, birds, fishes or snakes, help animals that you can help.
4. Switch to eco friendly products. His Holiness set a precedent at the Mysore Ashrama. No use of plastics now means eco friendly toothbrushes, compostable garbage bags and no plastic bottles. In essence it means an opportunity to now use eco friendly water bottles that are BPA free and greater use of copper water bottles. These are products you can adopt in your everyday lives. These products are available online and many businesses in Trinidad have eco friendly bags for when you purchase goods or they allow you to bring your eco-friendly bags.

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Photo Credit: Sgs Swamiji

This being said it is advisable to do some research and find out what is available where you live. Go through the internet, go through social media and see what is available for you!
Here are some other things you can also look into using:
1. Bamboo cutlery
2. Compostable plates
3. Bamboo fiber cleaning towels
4. Recyclable storage bags
5. Dissolvable due free detergent
6. Reusable bottles
7. Reusable coffee cups
8. Metal straws
9. Paper wrapping
Every step counts! Every action matters! Do what you can and make a difference! Save a life, help protect our Earth!