Shree Sharavi Mahaganapathi Temple in Mangaluru did something innovative this Ganesh Chaturthi.
Rising to the increasing global warming that has become a threat to the environment, the temple management opened a counter for Vriksha Seva on the day. The counter had saplings of 21 kind of trees, each sapling priced at Rs 50.
So, it was not just offering prayers, flowers and sweets to the deity, but also planting a sapling in HIS name.
Interestingly, a large number of people booked Vriksha Seva and were given a sapling each as prasada, which they planted in the temple premises and public spaces around it. Some took the sapling home and planted it there. They also pledged to take care of the saplings till they turn into full blown trees.
The Vriksha Seva counter was opened in association with the NGO National Environment Care Federation (NECF). “It was an attempt to create awareness among devotees on the significance of environment in a religious way,” says NECF state president Shashidhar Shetty.
The NECF has plans to introduce this programme in all the religious shrines in the Dakshina Kannada district. “We plan to meet heads of all religions and urge them support this endeavour. Protection of environment should be made a part of religion,” he adds.
Set up 15 years back, NCEF has been working for the protection of environment. It holds environmental campaigns every fortnight, be it tree plantation, cleanliness campaigns or garbage disposal.
In a bid to increase the forest cover, NCEF volunteers also collect the seeds of seasonal fruits regularly and throw them in the valleys. “This month we plan to sow 600 seeds in the Western Ghats,” he says.
“Care for environment is enshrined in every religion. Worshiping trees and nature is written in each and every religious text. People are not averse to it, they only need to be informed about its importance in letter and spirit,” says Shetty, “and this is the reason we involve college students in our endeavours.”