Hindu community to lobby for sacred river site
An ancient sacred ritual is finding a home on rivers and streams of the Greater Toronto Area, causing some people to worry about the potential environmental impact of traditional Hindu blessings.
Floral arrangements, statues and even more valuable items such as money have occasionally been seen floating in the current of city rivers.
River offerings are an integral part of Hindu rites. With a growing Hindu population in the GTA, offerings and the scattering of a cremated loved-ones ashes are becoming more frequent events.
But some people are concerned that the rituals are leaving behind an unsightly mess that is hazardous to the environment.
"The leaves, the flowers and the fruits are biodegradeable," Pundit Rupnath Sharma said Sunday.
However, in some cases people are putting their offerings into plastic bags and dropping them into rivers.
It is a situation that Hindu community leaders and conservation organizations have been trying to address. Together they published a brochure to tell followers of the faith how to keep the rituals and respect the environment at the same time.
In response to the concerns, Toronto's Hindu community is now looking for a place of their own on one of the city's rivers where they could follow the ancient rituals so important to their faith and culture.
"Where they can sit and have their proper prayers chanted, the proper offerings made, and we know the sanctity will be maintained," Sharma said.
He and other spiritual leaders will be lobbying to have such a place designated.
With a report from CTV's Alex Mihailovich