Sacred Forest Project
Restore Environment and Livelihood To Support Life
"Goddess Earth, the Consort of the Lord Supreme,
You whose garments are the oceans and
whose ornaments are the hills and mountain ranges;
Please forgive me as I walk on you this day."
This prayer depicts the sentiment that we should seek forgiveness from the Mother Earth as we awaken every morning, for our very existence is based upon the nourishment provided by Nature - the Mother of all living creatures is rich in resources to nurture and sustain the miracle of life. It is imperative that nature and the life of human beings are interdependent; hence it becomes our responsibility and duty to preserve nature. Yet, human beings are continuously engaged in severing ties with this life-source, inviting destruction upon themselves. Today, there is an urgent need to reconnect with nature and restore harmony.
Siddha Yoga Dham, a registered charitable trust founded by H.H. Swami Chetanananda Saraswati in the year 1981, has been propagating the ancient and natural spiritual path of Siddha Yoga. The Siddha Yoga Dham, located in a village in Magadi Taluk near Bangalore, is surrounded by ancient monuments, hill ranges, expanse of open shrubs and is free from pollution. This atmosphere has been attracting peace-loving people from far and near.
Most of the population of the surrounding Magadi Taluk remains uneducated and has no means of a livelihood except agriculture. Land available for cultivation is also limited as the terrain is hilly, rocky and without much sources of water. Vast expanses of lands in Magadi Taluk are barren, with sparse vegetation, and neglected by the authorities as well as the local population. Drinking water is scarce here. Ecological restoration and conservation of land, water and geoloical resources in this area needs immediate attention.
The Siddha Yoga Dham realized the urgent need for restoration and rejuvenation of the environment and protection of; the glorious ancient monuments near Siddhaloka. It has been actively involved in creating environmental awareness by organising programmes for teachers, students, farmers and the general public for several years. The Dham has now decided to intensify its efforts towards ecological restoration by working more ardently with the local people.
The goal is to restore around 500 acres of wastelands in Magadi Taluk over a period of 5 years, in a phased manner, which would meet the various needs of the people. This ecological restoration will be taken up along the principles of watershed development. Soil and water conservation as well as the livelihoods of communities in the area are the main focus of the programme.
This includes developing 100 acres of land surrounding the ancient monuments as a "Sacred Forest" with selected medicinal plants and trees that are connected with Siddhas. This sacred forest will be open to public. The other 400 acres would be developed as a community forest, with active participation of the village community. This would meet the fuel and fodder needs of the local population in a renewable manner . The community forest will generate forest products, creating employment opportunities for the poor tribal communities. It will also restore the ecological balance in this highly fragile land, increasing soil nutrients, reducing water run off and recharging the water table. In the long run, this will also give a boost for agriculture, thereby improving the livelihoods of the community by meeting their fuel, fodder and food needs.
This experience of restoring 500 acres of land around Siddha loka will also pave the way for the establishment of an Environment Education Centre. This centre will conduct research and provide training to the village community on environment and eco-restoration. The community forest and the sacred forest would serve as a laboratory for research on nature, Siddha medicines, naturopathy and other natural sciences.
This is the overall plan for restoring the environment in Magadi Taluk of Karnataka state. While efforts are underway to raise the required community participation, support and funds, Siddha Yoga Dham needs to act now and pave the way for the process. Towards this, it is planned to take up the first stage of initiating the development of the Sacred Forest immediately surrounding Siddhaloka.
This task will be under the able guidance of His Holiness Swami Chetanananda Saraswati, Spiritual Head of the Siddha Yoga Dham. Poojya Swamiji's extraordinary abilities as an administrator and planner, blending with HIS supreme spiritual attainment will give the right direction to this project. Eminent environmentalists, experts in various fields, leading personalities, administrative personnel, and teh Board of Trustees, will assist HIM in this project.
Come let us all, friends of the environment and interested in uplifting the rural populace, participate in this noble work.
HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE ?
You can give time for Seva (service), help in identifying experts and enlisting their service, contribute towards the funds required for this task, and also help raise funds from other sources.
The Siddha Yoga Dham is granted recognition under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and exemption is given to donors.
Donations can be sent in favour of: “Siddha Yoga Dham”, Savings Bank Account Number : 54037197232 (for Indians), 54037250129 (for Foreigners) State Bank of Mysore, Magadi Branch (District Ramanagar, Karnataka State, India). Please email the complete transaction to Siddhaloka through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.