Sri Sri Guru Gaurangau Jayatah

St. Petersburg, ecological beach cleanup

by Vrindavanesvari Devi Dasi
  Writing from the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, St. Petersburg, on the 20th World Tour
of His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

News media attracted by devotees' efforts

The beach located just a few hundred meters from the St. Petersburg branch of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is now clear of scattered rubbish, thanks to the concerted efforts of many devotees who gathered on Thursday morning with large plastic bags and cotton gloves to comb the sands, search the bushes, and explore the shoreline.

They found cigarette butts, empty vodka bottles, plastic cups, chips, sausages, clothing, tree bark, ladies’ stockings, pieces of plastic, styrofoam, metal, mattress springs, aluminum, bottle caps, candy wrappers, and tires.

Two news media organizations covered the event, officially called an ecological action by the organizers: Sripad Avadhut Maharaj assisted by Vijay Raman Prabhu, Aditi Devi Dasi, and Amrita Lila Devi Dasi.

According to Vijay Raman Prabhu, the ecological action, which occurred for the fourth time, is a way to show by example that people should clean up after themselves. The organizers hope that by giving attention to cleaning the beach, others will participate and remember to pack their trash.

Vijay Raman Prabhu says the event also demonstrates the Vaisnava cultural values of cleanliness and beauty. So far, the public response has been positive.

In addition to the city-dwellers looking for a rural refuge, the devotees often go to the beach to rest, walk and meditate. For them, the beach clean up has a deeper significance as well.

If pure inside, then pure outside too...

Laxmi Kanti Devi Dasi from Ukraine says she has come to the festival to be in a spiritually pure atmosphere, and she thinks it appropriate to participate in purifying the physical environment around her.

"If you are pure inside, you must also be pure outside," says Mahadeva Prabhu from Ukraine. Prithu Prabhu from Smolensk says having an ecological consciousness is important because serving God means serving all living entities.

For Audarya Lila of Siberia, cleaning is simply a pleasant process, one that brings her joy and satisfaction. In just one hour, the participants created a mountain of bulging plastic bags, returning the beach to its natural, untainted state.

With a page of accompanying pictures.

What's New? - World Tour Information

Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math, Nabadwip: