Spiritual Dimensions of Giri Valam Struggle

By Aron published on August 4, 2016
Written in the wake of protests against TN Govt. move to built roads by destroying the Girivalam ecosytem. Giri Valam Path mentioned in this writing is a 14 kms Pathway that exists for Hindu Pilgrims around the Holy Hill of Thiruvannamalai Tamil nadu. Millions of pilgrims and westerners come here to walk around the Hill that is actually Shiva.

The movement and struggle began to save the Trees and the environment.That is a noble cause that humanity must support.


If asked whether to choose between Trees and Roads, we must stand for the Trees.
The Development we deem indispensible at the cost of our Environment, is actually a Slide down the abyss towards Destruction of the Bio—diversity and Habitat.


There is no question at all which one to choose. No one can choose eventual planetary destruction mistaking it as faster roads to ‘Development’. It is slow decay and it swiftens.


In this the New Left is on same page as Sanatana Dharma- the Trees are Sacred.
We can plant other trees, and perhaps recover greenery- but more often it is not the case as Land availability for Industrialization is limited. So Trees once gone are mostly gone.


Reforestation is indeed done and can be a solution, but the net total doesn’t add up when we count what was lost.
Trees take time to grow and this a race against time- Industrialization guzzling rain forests and trees outpaces as carbon emission keeps melting ice cap. We may already be by felling this tree in a remote spot- and could be adding the last straw on the polar camel’s back.


Having said all this about the need to stand for Trees and the environment- we must take note of the Subtler Issues and the Spiritual Dimension of the Conservation movement.


There is also the Spiritual Eco-System.
There is also something called a Spiritual Utility. A Spiritual Infrastructure.


Given a choice over a Secular Utility, say such as building Express Highways and long standing Spritual Utility and Infrastructure serving spiritual needs of local communities like small road side shrines, where the busy man in his race for bread in the concrete jungle drops by to utter a prayer and obtain peace of mind and serenity, spiritual solace.We must choose the way side shrine. Not the Express Highway.
We must choose the Begging mendicants and monks, ‘misusing’ the Public Utility and living on pavements and road sides over job creation.


Going faster without that little shrines on the pavements often ‘unauthorized’ by Industrializing Governments that gets them bull dozed, will pave the way for faster race to mental illness and psychological ill-health.


Therefore the equal if not more importance of Spiritual Infrastructure with material infrastructure.


We can see this clearly in the movement of Westerners living in highly Industrailised nations with excellent material infrastructure, having to jet to the East where the Industrial Development hasn’t yet reached same level of creating spiritual deserts.


The spiritual suffocation is clearly so painful that they need these Oasis in the East and replications back home when they learn to replicate such Spiritual Infrastructure and spiritual environments.


The Giri Valam Path or Circambulation Path as in Tamil – is what it says it is by its name-
A Pathway meant to ‘go around The Hill’
It is a Spiritual Utility, serving a specific spiritual need for millions who come to this quiet sleepy town just for that.It is a Pathway. Not Highway.It also has a Spiritual Eco-System.


Those who come for their spiritual needs, support by giving charity to sustain those who have plunged into a life of voluntary poverty.


Removing the Pedestrian Side Walk which is the ‘home’ of these hapless monks and ‘beggars’ -Is nothing short of destroying that fragile but vital Spiritual Eco-System.


Like our rain forests, once they are gone, they are gone.Turning the nature of an Utility from it being a Spiritual Utility to a Secular Utility is also Environmental Destruction.


It destroys the Spiritual and spiritual diversity- just as knocking down rain forest trees destroys the Bio diversity and bio-environment.


Therefore, to understand the subtle and often missed Spiritual Dimensions of this Struggle for Girivalam Pathai, we are launching a Spiritual Awareness movement.


‘Girivalam Road’ is a misnomer. There was never ever any Girivalam ‘Road’. It is a Pathway not a Highway.It was meant to be trod by feet.And we must keep it that way.


Changing its nature to a Secular utility such as Highway, by broadening, even if its done under excuse to accommodate ever surging crowds of suffocating humanity.


This widening and dismantling of the Spritual Eco-System will only lead to rapid or eventual Industrialisation. Its disfigurement into just another Highway.


Exchanging such an unique Spiritual Path, for the looks of just another Secular Highway is the dumbest mistake we could be making as ‘Development’.


When faster vehicles fly by the slow walkers get elbowed out or knocked down and run over- as so many accidents that keep on increasing.Then the tired traveler and pilgrim come thither no more.

It has become just another Highway to perdition.

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Responses

  1. S Sankarasubramanian Reply

    September 11, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Just one of the very many unfortunate happenings in Tamil Nadu, named as development process.

    One must visit personally to understand how, westerners (as we call them!) are feeling sad for this act!

    Remember they are from industrialized locations, and is there anyone better than them to talk against this so called development process, because of their own experience?

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