In early March of 2020, the Global Peace Initiative of Women convened a gathering entitled ‘Hindu Dharma, Identity & its Role in Global Awakening’ on how we can reframe the conversation around Hinduism to focus it on deepening the understanding of Dharma – the upholding of universal principles of life, the foundational principle being that of love. The meeting brought together swamis and spiritual teachers, scholars of Yoga and the Vedas, along with young filmmakers, writers, educators and ecologists.
The meeting was held at the Govardhan Eco Village, an ecological self-sustaining retreat center and spiritual community about two hours northwest in Mumbai. Radhanath Swami, a spiritual teacher in the Bhakti Yoga lineage who is originally from Chicago, had the vision to create a place for spiritual practice built around an ethos of “simple living, higher thinking”.
Radhanath Swami addressed the participants and shared the intention behind the eco village- how it was created in a spirit of devotion for the Earth and ultimately to God, and built to encourage others to live in a spirit of gratitude for life and Mother Earth’s gifts. The eco village functions in a way that is entirely self-sufficient. Environmental engineers from top research institutes have helped the community employ sustainable practices such as water harvesting, grey water recycling, animal protection and care. It serves as a spiritual reflection of Vrindavan, a holy place of pilgrimage for devotees. More and more spiritual communities are seeking to live in greater harmony with the natural world and at Govardhan the interconnection between ecology and spirituality is a joyful and lived experience.