Friday, March 16, 2007

Responsible Actions

Responsible Actions by Dr Vispi Jokhi

By Dr. Vispi Jokhi

August 25, 2006

In the humdrum of daily life we do many things, which seem trivial, innocuous and insignificant but adding them up they can have a Force Multiplier effect. I have no claims to be a preacher but in the spirit of karmayog I try to make every decision on the basis of three questions.

Is my action ethical? By this I mean is it morally correct? Is it a truthful, non-violent, unselfish act?

Is my action ecological? My action must be least harmful to mother earth. In fact it should conserve mother earth.

Is my action empowering? All the changes I bring into my life must enable me enhance me spiritually and take me on the path to freedom.

Quoting the first verse of the Isha Upanishad:

The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of All.

The Lord is the Supreme reality.

Rejoice in Him through renunciation.

Covet nothing, All belongs to the Lord.

Thus working you can live a hundred years and attain full freedom.

The improvement we want in the world must begin with each one of us. There are many ways in which we can make a difference. From my own life I want to share with my readers the force multipliers that can make a difference. These are all practical actions easy to incorporate in our day-to-day lives.

Our very first act of morning ablutions can be a force multiplier if we use a half tank flush system in our toilets. This can save water to the tune of 15 liters every single use. When we brush our teeth, shave or even wash our hands, keeping the flow of the tap of the tap moderate and the duration of the flow not more than required makes for substantial water saving. Using only a bucket of warm water in tropical India is an act inspired by Gandhi who while bathing in the Sabarmati river decided that he had a right only over what he needed for his bath and the water downstream belonged to those who lived downstream.

Similarly use of electricity sparingly and use of power saver CFL lighting is actions, which are ethical and ecological. When we leave a room we can do others and ourselves an invaluable service by switching the lights and fans off. Opening and closing refrigerators as infrequently as possible is another responsible action. Use of clean fuels, car-pooling and public transport when possible are more such responsible actions.

All these choices are empowering since they give me the inspiration to be unselfish. It makes me realize that whatever mother earth gives us is really a shared bounty for common use and enjoyment but certainly not for my indulgence.

The choice we make in use of eco-friendly products beginning with articles of personal use like tooth-pastes, soaps, belts, shoes, cosmetics free from animal products are responsible acts of humanity. We are created as intelligent beings more powerful than our animal brethren and we are thus duty bound to protect the lesser creatures on earth.

I was meant to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and sprouts and a diet based on these foods enable me to live a healthy life causing the least damage to the environment. Awareness of the cruelty that goes in the name of the meat, fish and poultry industry made me decide my choice of food I ate and products used. The principles of the 3 R’s Refuse, Reuse and Recycle became my mantra when it came using plastic poly bags. Gradually I have minimized the use of poly bags. Segregation of garbage into dry and wet garbage and the conversion of wet garbage to manure was my humble contribution to the food chain.

The realization of the inter-connections of my actions with my spiritual progress became a part of my consciousness. Although these actions were on a physical plane they increased my thirst for knowledge. Being a man of “science” books and reading became my source of knowledge. Mere letters were never enough. True knowledge was I realized was to be found not from without but from within. Therefore stilling the mind is presently my priority. The practice of Yoga and meditation are my aids to realize my true nature and to reach the divine principle of existence.

The Lord shows the path to those who search for knowledge but we all need guidance. In these choices I was helped by my teachers. My Guru in absentia is Mahatma Gandhi, whose life example is constantly before my eyes. I am indebted to my Yoga teacher Guru Zubin Zarthostimanesh and to my guide in matters of nutrition Dr. Vijaya Venkat. For meditation I follow the Eight Point Programme of Sri Eknath Easwaran available on the website Beside them there have been innumerable guides.

I continue relentlessly in my quest for making my actions selfless and more responsible and the illustrations above are by no means complete and exhaustive. If they were they would not empower me to take further steps on the path of knowledge. I realize fully that there is an invisible hand of the Lord who is the real doer and I am a mere instrument of change in his hand. I dedicate this action of writing this essay to the Supreme Lord. In the true spirit of karmayoga I offer my thoughts to my readers. I would like to hear from you your feedback and comments on my offering.

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