Panel 4, “Ethics for Personal and Social Transformation” Questions and Answers

Prout Panel 4: “Ethics for Personal and Social Transformation”
Panel 4, “Ethics for Personal and Social Transformation” Translation of questions and answers. Facilitator: Nieves Pino, economist, social worker. July 8, 2011. Listen to the audio file in English or audio file in Spanish. – Read the Spanish text.

Nieves Pino: Let’s start with our companions Sandra and Luis. First question: “What does AnimaNaturalis propose we do to achieve concrete economic devolopment while preserving the environment and guaranteeing the ethical treatment of animals?”

Sandra Castillo Castro: We propose to empower ethical consumption that will push enterprises to change to change to a conscious production. An example, the number of animals that are used in circuses and other entertainment shows are decreasing every day. This is nearly disappearing due to public pressure. We are also seeing how the leather industry in China has changed by no longer using fur from dogs and cats in order to be able to sell their products to the West. Little by little this is strangling the global industry of animal hides because people are becoming aware that they don’t want to use.

Nieves Pino: “Apart from your educational presentations, how does your organization use the concept that so many resources are used to feed animals that only feed a few humans?”

Luis Verdú Britto: The organization AnimaNaturalis does educational presentations. In addition we are closely related to those institutions that can influence legislation that allows animals to be exploited in a cruel way. Our national director, for example, has had a wide participation in the campaign against bull fights in El Hatillo Municipality of Venezuela. Two days ago he received an opportunity to formally petition the City Council to eliminate the bull runs. AnimaNaturalis is dedicated to work for ethics and the ethical treament of animals. We are committed to achieve this, and to do so we need support from consumers to help make all consumers ethical. This is how we empower the ethical treatment of animals and the preservation of the environment.

Nieves Pino: Let’s ask Victor Vyasa, “Is there a training center for Aparigraha in Venezuela?”

Victor Vyasa: No there isn’t, but it would be a great joy for us if someone decided to start this. We invite you, and we would be very happy to give him or her all the necessary support. Because we consider it indispensable that people become aware of how the economic system we live in enslaves workers, that it is abusive. There are millions of people who suffer the effects of capitalism, and there are people who are not aware of it. They believe everything is fine, so it is necessary to make this known. Not necessarily by means of demonstrations nor protests. It is necessary to approach the consciousness of the people. Every human has love in their hearts. Every human wants to be good, but we don’t let them. Society doesn’t let us. We are pulled in different directions, and that confuses us.

Nieves Pino: Second questions is “Can you defeat capitalism with yoga and its spiritual aspect? How is it justified and what is your opinion?” “According to you spirituality is love of truth, but the same thing is said by philosophy. What is the conceptual difference?”

Victor Vyasa: Yoga, meditation and all spiritual work is to actually increase awareness of people. Once people’s consciousness is clear, they will realize the destructive characteristic of capitalism. Yoga is not going to offer a new paradigm to replace capitalism. We are simply presenting very important values that will help this change to happen. The transformation must be individual. Each person needs to grow and develop mentally, spiritually, psychologically and emotionally. Emotionally overall. The situation in which most people live is terrible. The other day we had the chance to commute by metro at rush hour, and this was awful. It was a degrading way, I would say, of how people need to squeeze themselves to reach their destination. There is no reason for this were it not for capitalist investments for arms, investments in completely unnecessary things that don’t help the development of people in a spiritual and emotional way.

Nieves Pino: Now we come to Juan Sarmiento. “How to define wisdom?”

Juan Sarmiento: I will restructure the question to what is truth, or what is knowledge? There are two truths: one is relative truth, and the other is absolute truth. Relative truth is the truth we learn, with the five senses, the five internal angles and the five means of communication. There are 15 canals of communication through which we learn about this relative world of space and time, relative truth. That’s the conflict we struggle with in this world, causing war and violence.

On the other hand, absolute truth is the truth of the soul, when a person learns how to journey within through the chakras and through the soul. The lessons of life, which are achieved internally through contemplation or meditation. This is called absolute truth. So we have relative truth in the external world and absolute truth in the internal world.

Nieves Pino:
Second question — “What is Venezuela Gente Excelente (“Excellent People of Venezuela”)?”

Juan Sarmiento: Venezuela Gente Excelente is the result of a mission that I was given by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar when he visited in 1979. He said to me, This is the future of the world. I want you to bring together all the beautiful people, the excellent people, the spiritual people, the ecological people, the people who love the country. Unite them and form a movement that will change Venezuela in 2012. This is the change that we are launching in Venezuela.

(Translated by Eugenio Mendoza and Dada Maheshvarananda)

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