Heal Our Planet Earth
World Tour for Earth

Anthony Marr's CARE-7 tour blog #5 - 13 Apr 2010

Northern California

It's been only 10 days Since the start of my 40-states-in-7-months Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #7

Today is Vivianne's last day before heading down to Los Angeles to meet with her spiritual master H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who, while based in India, has millions of followers worldwide. Her intention is to continue to persuade him to embrace animal welfare and animal rights in his teachings, and to establish an animal sanctuary near Bangalore. Some years ago, while on a pilgrimage to India, she saw, to her chagrin, indifference at best, and cruelty at worst, among the thousands of pilgrims. She went straight to the holy man to expressed her dismay, and did catch his attention, and later received his promise to do his best. But in doing so, she became the object of scorn and abuse of his followers. "How DARE you talk to his holiness in this manner?!!" And yet she is undeterred. Over the last few days, she crafted a 16-page letter to H.H., which she asked me to read, and this, in small part, is what she wrote:

"...I had a hard time going very deep into silence and meditation because of the stray animal situation at the ashram, and also because of two bad and sad experiences that happened to me while staying there, which I am going to share with you... Several times I broke my silence only to speak up for the animals who do not have a voice... I am so elated and happy that you told me in person that YOU and The Art of Living will do the very best for the animals. I can’t tell you my joy. Words fail me. Coming from you, I take it very deeply into my heart, because you do not say things lightly... Sorry, it is a little hard to hold back my enthusiasm, because when you are committed you do it in a very grand way with style and great power, which always brings fantastic results. I feel like you have finally heard me this time, and that you have felt the plight of the animal kingdom and Mother Earth. Don’t get me wrong Gurudev; it is not that I do not care about humans and children. On the contrary, I am always involved somehow to help them as much as the animals. Michael and I regularly sponsor one Indian little girl, one Tibet teenager, one woman oppressed war survivor and many children in the Sudan... I am not saying this to brag about us, no I am saying this with humility and only so that you are aware where my heart lies... in the Divine manifesting in all sentient beings; and only hope deeply to do so much more in the near future for many different causes... from human rights, environment, peace, (oppressed) women to animal rights issues... I am the voice for those who can’t speak... You always say to be passionate for the highest, the divine! Thus, I see the divine in all and feel the oneness in all creatures of Mother Earth... Indeed, some of the most powerful spiritual experiences of samadhi I have lived so far have been with my spiritual connection with the animals. The reason I am so persistent, and give great attention and efforts toward the animal cause, is that most people help the humans, but not the animals. In addition, the animals do not have a voice. Most people do not see the Divine in animals. Their hearts are still closed toward other species. Helping the animals is really helping humanity and oneself. And this seva is so humble Guruji. There is no glory, glamor, prestige, recognition, ego. On a personal level, only the unconditional love of the animals and the spiritual connection to the Divine Mother in them is the immediate beauty. What else can we want? Animal seva really exemplifies the Divine feminine energy at work at her best!

"Unfortunately, I often find a lot of opposition and sometimes strong animosity toward me from my brothers and even sisters because I help the animals... They look at me as if I were a fool. Perhaps, I am one!... But, it appears to me that many of your devotees and even teachers who are the closest to you physically don’t get your full teaching. It is time for the Art of Living organization to embrace animal seva all around the world! For instance, the man who works in upper management from the complaint department of the Indian ashram, the one who was very mean, rude, arrogant and angry toward me - because I gave a little piece of food to one of the sweetest dogs - said to me; “You foreigners, you think you come here, and can change the ashram in five days.”... But we do need to change fast, because there is not much time left for planet Earth. Bless his heart, and I pray for his awakening. Another example was Dr. E., one of your most senior teachers, and who happened to be my neighbor next door at the Ganesh building at the ashram. A pure synchronicity of the Divine Mother! I must share these stories with you Guruji, because they really prove that even some of your very close devotees or even some of your senior teachers can be cruel and very mean to the animals, and how their hearts are closed to other creatures and even to us who love the animals and see the divine in them. Often some of these high ranking teachers desire to be respected and to be viewed as your embodiment... these very teachers are tarnishing your reputation and Art of Living's reputation. Perhaps, they are not aware of it or their ego is the ultimate master in them. The world is watching Guruji and paying very close attention to the good, but especially to the wrong... I take the liberty to speak on behalf of thousands of my dear brothers and sisters around the world who also feel the same way. We are begging you Guruji, we need your support and leadership within the One World family and the entire globe... I would like to stress the great importance of this urgent need to change the consciousness and awareness within the AOL organization around the world first before it can spread outward. But it must come from you first Guruji. I am not trying to tell you what to do, or pointing out only evil doings, only how your teaching can impact the world in the very best possible way, benefiting billions of creatures who are suffering greatly and also benefiting millions of these disciples and devotees who love animals spiritually.

"Here is one of my little true stories that happened in my last visit at the Indian Ashram. One moonless night, one of the most loving and adorable doggies followed me to my building. When I arrived at my room, I gave him water outside since he was very thirsty. Several nights in the past, he had slept at my doorstep like good dogs do, protecting me and displaying his love. But that was before Dr. E. had moved in. So there I was giving water to the thirsty... does it really matter which species?... It was already pretty late, and Dr. E. with his lovely wife arrived at their room. Almost at once, Dr. E. started to yell at me and the dog with disdain uttering, “Don’t bring these filthy and disgusting creatures here,” as he chased the dog away with fury. “They are filled with diseases. I don’t want them around!” He never let me explain nor could I have a dialogue with him regarding the issue. I was not in silence yet at this moment, so I kindly and briefly reminded him of your teaching on universal responsibility, oneness, and about human values such as kindness, love, respect and compassion to all sentient beings. And Dr. E. told me I had the teaching “wrong” as he slammed his door. Clearly, we had begun a powerful process! But my convictions and my intuitive heart obviously knew that the teaching and knowledge flowing through me is purely satvic. Then, I reflected and asked for guidance on how to handle the situation. I knew it was not over. I meditated on it. Then, the answer came the following day. I wrote him a note, which said, "Dear Dr. E., If you had the good fortune or the misfortune to be a stray dog or any animal for that matter, how would you like to be treated?..." I slipped it underneath his door the following night. Several days went by and several of the doggies wanted to follow me, not because of food necessarily, but because of my love. I tried very hard to not let them follow me. A few of them got really attached to me! How can you blame them or me, they must have felt love for their first time in their lives. That is the power of love!! So, I got some following! That is a baby step. Another night one of my most adorable and very intelligent male dogs followed me. I called him “Boogie”. Actually, the same one - a close devotee! And, believe me I really tried hard to escape him in order to protect him. But, when I entered my room after just a few seconds, I heard this loud howling, screaming in pain. I ran out of my room to see what had occurred, as Dr. E. walked back hastily into his room with such righteousness, and a defiant, arrogant air on his face with his chin up. And also I could see shame on his face too. I took a deep breath and did not confront him. I stayed peaceful, calm and centered. There are no excuses for Dr. E.’s cruel and mean misbehavior toward Boogie. I do not know if Dr. E. kicked him or threw something hard at him. But, he did something wrong that hurt him, judging by the screams. It does not really matter what it was. That negative behavior is even more so coming from a high-ranking senior teacher like him. And it was clear that Boogie was in pain from his screaming. There is no reason in the world anyone should beat up on any creature or human being. I let it go and sent Dr. Eberhard my love, light and blessings, and then prayed for his awaking... Many more days went by. Towards the end of our program... one of my most lovable and adorable female doggies followed me to my building by accident. I closed the gate of Ganesh and told her to go. But, she lay there waiting for me outside. In a rage, Dr. E. came rushing out, grabbed whatever he could find such as stones and branches, and proceeded to throw it at this poor defenseless dog... I am not trying to pick at certain individuals or gossip, or to destroy someone’s reputation. It is not my nature. I am only sharing with you this kind of information, so you get the full picture of what is happening even with a so called spiritual teacher, and that this negative attitude is prevalent among many teachers and others within the AOL family. I have seen it many times with my own eyes. I hope you appreciate my honesty and integrity. I am sorry Gurudev, but I must share with you these things..."

There is a lot more to her letter, and the rest contained mostly positive suggestions for change and new developments, but due to her imminent departure, her husband Michael led us to the place of an Argentinian friend name Ramiro in another part of Marin County for the rest of our stay in northern California, where I finished reading the letter. Upon completing my reading, I was moved to write her a letter in response, which she requested me to write. And I wrote:

"Dearest Vivianne,

"I have read your letter to your spiritual master. I must say it made you in my mind an even great goddess than before. It is sincere, honest, insightful, passionate, compassionate, and above all, brave. I cannot think of another person among his other millions of followers who would DARE to utter a single word in the form of a question, much less a statement, much much less an advice.

"I cannot believe that some of the senior 'spiritual' teachers could be so unenlightened, not to mention callous, arrogant, and cruel. It does not reflect well on your Guruji in the eyes of the world (like mine). The master is defined by his followers, and he is not being well served. The question in the mind of a common person in the street would be: 'Is the grand master just the same as the lesser masters, who seems just the same as any animal abuser?'

"You know me, goddess, when I go to India, I am just one person, attempting to rescue an entire magnificent species from human destruction, of which we have no right. You have given me gifts, goddess, physical and spiritual, for which I am deeply grateful. Imagine me not only casting them away, but further trampling them under my feet. The tiger is a divine gift to the world, to humanity, and to our children. How can we call ourselves spiritual, to spite the divine gift in this atrocious manner? Now, I see millions of people going to India, and not one of them lifts a finger to help rescue this great treasure, for the world, for our children, for its own sake, and for the divine? Do these people go there to save the world, or just to get their own souls to Nirvana? If the latter, I would consider it the ultimate of selfishness. And if the former, what are they doing about it? The tiger is one of the most glorious creations of the Divine (through millions of years of evolution of course, which to the Divine is but a blink of the third eye). If we can't even save the tiger, which is universally admired, what CAN we save? If we trample on it and destroy it, what kind of gratitude are we offering the Divine? It is India's responsibility to rescue the Bengal tiger from extinction, and yet, it is a world treasure that all will enjoy. I cannot image how the world could be beautiful without it. I would weep for our children for their loss. Most of all, I would mourn the tiger for its own sake.

"It really pains me to see millions of people converging upon a great spiritual center, and only the few lone activists struggle in the mud against the oppressive tide of humanity crushing the last few remaining pockets of natural beauty, of which the millions are a part. Truly, I now see myself, and indeed you, as just two lone voices in the wilderness, while the masses indulge in their spiritual ascension, and stoning helpless animals when 'spiritually' satiated. I earnestly implore you, my goddess, since you, though you irresistible sincerity, have gained the attention of your grand master, to implore him to rally his forces to save this great gift from the Divine, for the Divine, and in doing so, also save humanity from eternal damnation, which would indeed be our fate if we let ourselves be the great destroyer of the Divine gift.

"To substantiate my request, please see and present to your Guruji my "Champion of the Bengal Tiger" video in www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr, and the "Year of the Tiger Special" in www.youtube.com/AnthonyMarr. The situation is more than dire. In another short decade, there will be nothing left.

"Your compassion warrior."

Within minute, Vivianne wrote back to me:

"Oh, my precious compassionate warrior, I hear you as clear as the moon reflecting on my soul. I totally agreed with you sweetheart. I will do my very best, and will always continue to be persistent with Gurudev. I will definitely bring the tiger in the forefront to Guruji's attention as soon as I get a positive response from this letter/proposal. We need to give him a little time. The tiger issue would be one of the first campaign we can work on when we open the Sri Sri Compassionate Animal Center, and you could be the leading force behind it since you are an expert on the issue, and I would make sure Guruji knows it... I will talk about it in my next letter to Gurudev so he can bring it up in India. Thanks so much for your heart felt and poignant letter to me. I am so grateful.

"In my heart and soul, I always feel that is so crucial to be authentic and genuine with our convictions regardless who it is... Guruji is my master, the most precious gift i can have in my life and I feel very close to him, so it is natural to pour my heart and soul out to him. It has to be that way, otherwise he is not my master. But, yes I agree with you - not a lot of devotes will dare to say one word! That is why i am a Goddess!

"And you are the other precious gift to my life and humanity. I am so honored to have you as my dear friend and compassionate warrior. Now you and Anthony D. go hunt big time.... yes go hunting the hearts of the animal hunters! Shoot millions arrows of divine love and compassion into their souls!

"Love you so dearly,
Vivi Devi"

Why do women make me cry so easily?

Now for something lighthearted. Ramiro is a very handsome Argentinian man, with a very handsome house with a very handsome view. He has vacated his house to stay with his girlfriend for a few days so that Anthony D and I could have his house to ourselves. He is an expert horseman, excelling in polo, and since I used to be one myself excelling in hunter-jumper, we talk horses and humane equestrianism, and shared our horse pictures. When it was his time to go, he said casually, "Here is the house key, and here is the key to the Ferrari." Anthony D and I were dumbfounded. I thought he was joking, but upon opening the garage door, there it was, a dark silver Ferrari convertible whose model name I could not begin to guess. We would not presume to drive it, but I did sit in the driver's seat and had AD snap a couple of pictures for fun-sharing with a few friends. Marla Stormwolf-Patty, who had always said that I was the most "Zen" person she knew, wrote back, "I like these candid shots of a very cool vegan. You're the only person I know who can look zen behind the wheel of a Ferrari." And I wasn't even in the meditative position!

Later, Ramiro dropped by for a brief visit, and told me that he was selling the Ferrari, saying that it was not his kind of car, and that he did not want to be stared at while he was driving. So why did he buy it in the first place? No, he did not. Someone could not repay a debt to him, and gave the car to him as payment. He had not driven the car for over half a year. A very fine man.

In the afternoon, we dropped by the IDA office, when Dr. Katz personally wrote me a $1,000 cheque in support of our endeavor. I was greeted warmly by Hope Bohanec who passed my blog #4 to her friends, and met Renee for the first time. Long may IDA run!

Tomorrow, we will move on to Santa Cruz and Monterey for a veg potluck and another speech. Then, southward down the coast to Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, where I will see my dear friend Coby Siegenthaler yet once again.

At 4 pm on Sunday the 17th, I'm slated to speak at the Animal Liberation Forum on Long Beach, to be followed by Lorri Houston at 6 pm. I asked the forum the expected duration of my speech, and was told that it would be up to 80 minutes! Wow, that's almost 1/4 of my favored time frame!

In closing, I wish to thank the following Global Anti-Hunting Coalition volunteers and friends who have offered me and Anthony Damiano their invaluable support, both practically and spiritually: Tia Terrel (NJ), Marla Stromwolf-Patty (CA), Christine Miller (FL), Michelle Yorty (PA), Cristina Reyes (Australia), Nan Sea Love (CA) and Eve Loves Cher (NY), and of course Anthony Damiano. I feel very blessed to have them in my life.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
[email protected]
www.facebook.com (search for “Anthony Marr Heal Our Planet Earth”
Touring cell: begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 216-386-7362

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