Live in Harmony with Nature

Aug 02, 2017

Atharvaveda contains a beautiful hymn as an invocation to mother earth which teaches us to love and preserve the beautiful, natural environment by living in harmony with nature.

Our mother Earth is the only planet of the solar system nurturing life. Earth gives us food and nourishes us. Different nations live on this earth, in different parts. But though separated by national boundaries, we are a global family, ‘Vashudhaiv Kutumbakam’. The universe of ours is fundamentally interconnected and inseparable. It is one only, ‘Ekam eva advi-teeyam’. Various modern scientific discoveries today point to a holistic universe where matter, energy and consciousness are interconnected at a deeper and fundamental level. Science today projects more and more the picture of a holistic universe. The microcosm is inseparable from macrocosm, ‘Pinde so brahmande’.

‘Adjust Everywhere’ is a very important aphorism of Dada Bhagavan. And our experience bears testimony to this fact that Kaliyug is an age of adjustment. He who adjusts himself to any kind of circumstances succeeds, prospers and survives. Clashes of ego are very common in any field of life. But he who understands by the grace of an enlightened soul that to avoid ego is to be really happy because we are not ego-bags. Dada Bhagavan says, “You are not Chandulal. You are the Pure Soul, permanent, unborn and ever blissful. It is the body that decays and dies.” We usually sympathise with the person whose pocket had been picked, while he was boarding the bus. But Dadaji tells us that he who suffers is not innocent, he has invited this trouble himself. The law is that whenever one is punished, one is at fault. The ‘Vyawasthita Shakti’, (Universal, executrix) is just and fair. Whatever happened is justice. Dadaji very compassionately tells us, ‘Know your Real Self and your intercourse with the world and with yourself will be very happy.’

Dada Bhagavan enlightens us with his views on the ‘Vyawasthit Shakti’ (Scientific Circumstantial Evidences) : “It's a well-planned, well-governed universe by an impartial, detached executrix that plies the gigantic universe without violating any of her laws. An Almighty Power controls the movements of the universe.”

Human intellect has no definite answers to fundamental problems of life, like ‘Who am I ?’ ‘Why am I here ?’ We have learnt from the Gita that at times of acute crisis like decline of Dharma and the rise of Adharma, there is a divine intervention in the affairs of man to prevent him from doing irremediable harm to himself. An intellect, however successful, not blessed with inner illumination, is harmful to mankind. If man in his pride and ignorance flouts the laws of nature, he invites troubles for himself because these laws are just, exact and fair.

Now let us remember our word ‘Par-yavaran’ (Environment) which envelopes us–mankind, birds, animals and all forms of life on the planet within its folds and deeply influences the whole process of its growth, activities and well-being.

Environment comprises all physical and chemical elements of air, water and land technically known as atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere respectively as reflected in the Vedas which contain many ‘mantras’ to purify land, water, air, space and also to protect them from pollution and consequent degradation.

All religions of the world and their enlightened messengers have always advised man to live in harmony with his inner self and outer nature, surrounding him and not to pollute its environment but keep it clean and healthy for his own survival and that of other species inhabiting the planet earth.

The great enlightened persons, the seer-scientists have always worked and work for the spiritual well-being of mankind. They have left behind them their wise precepts for the guidance of humanity. Sanctify your tongue, heart and deed and live in harmony with your innerself and the world around you (the outer-self).

It is with the collaboration of the outer and the inner self of man that we can seek material prosperity and spiritual enlightenment. Dada Bhagavan says, “Know who you really are. You are the Pure Soul, not the body.” Seek the divine within yourself and attain divinity from within. The experience of the divine or the realisation of the ‘Self’ is not possible till such a time a man overcomes the vacillations of the heart, so man should gain spiritual awareness from within. Then peace and tranquillity can be established in home, society and the universe. Our scriptures advise us to eradicate ill-feeling, enmity, jealousy, greed by arousing in man, the sense of love, friendship, unanimity and fellow-feeling.

We must not forget that the individual and the universal peace are interdependent, the same way as the trees and the human beings. The real happiness of the individual lies in the happiness of the universe as a whole. The individual prosperity lies in the prosperity of the universe.

Matter is conscious. Matter floats on the surface of an infinite ocean of energy which obviously is an expression of underlying consciousness. “The whole universe is an ocean of matter and you are the name of a little particle and I of another and the sun of another. We know that this matter is continuously changing. What is forming the sun one day, the next day may form the matter of our bodies,” says Swami Vivekananda.

Just as a wave is inseparably connected with the ocean, one man contains the whole universe. One particle of matter has all the energy of the universe.

Matter, energy and consciousness are connected together in one inseparable common background which is Sat, Chit and Ananda. The universe of ours is very well-planned, well-nourished, well-ordered, well-loved and well-blessed by a Supreme Power. It is an ever evolving universe.

Nature is our mother. Man's relation with Nature is as old as the world. Our religious scriptures proclaim that so long as man lives in harmony with nature, he enjoys a happy fulfilling life. Man was very happy when he worshipped mother nature. But once he chose to lead a life devoid of natural environs, his harmony with nature was broken and then he had to face calamities of various magnitudes.

We hear of environmental degradation and desperation these days. When man lived with nature and worshipped her and loved her as his mother, he was happy. He did not interfere with the forces of nature. She was his real benefactor and life-sustainer. He had neither inclination nor the tools and will to defy the forces of nature. He led a simple, satisfied, contented life.

But a sudden change in the course of a river, the cutting of forests and loss of green cover, flood, fire and cyclone caused environmental crisis in those days. These are all natural calamities. But otherwise there was harmonious unison of life and environment.

The ecological relationship among plants, animals and environment must be maintained for smooth functioning and survival of the biosphere, maintenance of atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. In short, the ecological equilibrium must be preserved at any cost, if life on the planet earth is to survive. The problem arises due to disturbed and upset equilibrium of the natural environment either by our own activities or other causes exerting their pressure on the biosphere. The imbalances on the biosphere create structural and functional changes in atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere.

For the last 200 years, mother earth has been barbarously excavated and her entrails have been dug out ! Industrial revolutions, man's inordinate greed for wealth and lust for power, materialistic approach to life, want of moral and spiritual values, loss of harmony with nature, want of love and sympathy in human relationships, cruel cutting of green trees–earth's loving children and friends of mankind, commercialism, bankruptcy in family life giving place to display of deceptive feelings...

Man has torn asunder the heart of the earth, plundered her wealth in the form of precious materials like gold, silver, diamonds, oil, coal, yet mother earth gives us food and water which prolong our life.

Man has built big dams to harness the flowing rivers. But we hear of the tremors of earthquake near dams which cause panic among people. Man has forgotten that it is his duty to return more to society than what he takes from it.

The rapid advance of technologies has made the situation all the more alarming and the risks involved in the production process are heightening day in and day out. Needless to say that as unimpeded development flowed in unchecked, the ecological imbalances followed out rapidly.

Voices against this rising ecological imbalance were raised even at the outset of the industrial revolution which had unleashed unbridled tapping of natural resources. But soon it was found that econimical development was not an unmixed blessing. At one end it leads to worldly, material prosperity but at the other end it unleashes the destruction, depletion and disfigurement of natural resources causing environmental crisis. Many animal species are already extinct. Air pollution not only of big cities but even of minor cities has been forcing the government to upgrade fuel quality and run vehicles with compressed natural gas, chemical fertilizers, pesticides are badly affecting the fauna and flora and accumulating harmful chemical substances in food causing dreadful diseases like cancer and carcinogens.

Millions of gallons of carcinogenic computers seep into the soil and water and poison them. And because of chem-icalised and carcinogenic computers, today 30% of American male are infertile. The excessive use of fertilizers has considerably increased concentration of nitrats in the soil and the food that we consume gets poisonous. It is said that by the time of 2025 AD almost more than 48 countries of the world will be facing acute water shortage. Continuos use of pesticides affects ground water through seepage and our rivers, ponds and streams have become polluted because the concentration is toxic. It is horrifying to note that the level of accumulated DDT in the body tissue of an average Indian is the highest.

It is a sad fact that our water, air, rain, forest, rare species of birds and animals are threatened with extinction. Developed countries dump their industrial and nuclear waste in and around the developing and under-developed nations causing health hazards on an unprecedented scale.

The star war project, the global warming, the unchecked inventions of fatal biological weapons, the devices of land mines attack are going on to make human life not only insecure on the globe, but will cause ecological imbalance harmful to human existence. The overtaxed natural resources will make human life ‘nasty, brutish and short.’

All religions of the world give messages of love, compassion and sympathy for all creatures. We must become sane and develop a new concept of eco-spirituality (not only eco-friendliness). Then this eco-spirituality will cure the cancer of eco-crisis of the present age effectively and positively. To achieve sustainable economy, we have to build a new relationship with the mother earth by slowing down population growth by using our resources most frugally and more efficiently.

Indian cultural and spiritual heritage is rich enough to strike a balance between developmental activities and environmental equilibrium. Hinduism has preached the gospels of Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram. Ishopanishad says the universe together with its creatures belongs to the Lord.

No creature is superior to any other and human-beings should not have absolute power over nature. Let no one species encroach over the rights and privileges of other species. One can enjoy the bounties of nature only by giving up greed, avarice, arrogance and exploitation. Indeed the holy Upanishads are the Magna Charta of human rights and obligations. They advise us to desist from our mad search for happiness in the outside world. There is no bliss in finite things, the infinite alone is bliss. And ‘It’ is with us always.

The materiality of the modern world causing eco-crisis can be conquered only through discarding lust for amassing inordinate wealth and riches, banishing hatred and ugly competition and adopting love and compassion instead, by doing good to others including nature. The Quran reveals that man is a part of nature's web and he has no right to disturb that web. Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism talk of love and compassion for all the creatures and harmony with nature. All religions advocate the healthy preservation of the environment and show concern for the preservation of the human environment. True religion means love and compassion for the universe. Einstein says, ‘True religion is concerned with man's attitude towards nature at large with establishing ideals for the individual and communal life and with mutual human relations. Religion exists in nature and nature sustains human life; both religion and nature should be unescapable parts of human existence. Life is unnavigable without the soul and flag of religion and as life depends on environmental equilibrium, the teachings of religions can be fairly used for developing a concept of eco-spirituality graded by various religious faith of the world. A time has come to define man not by his ability to hurt nature but by his ability to heal the wounds caused to nature by his insatiable greed, avarice and lust for dominion over nature and not by his ability to destroy but by his ability to build nature-friendly universe. The pollution of human mind prejudicial to nature can go only by embedding the eternal precepts of religion; for religion is nothing but a symbolic relationship between man and his environments promising a homogenised and congenial ambience. So, it would be true to say that all technologies should be presumed to be guilty until proved innocent.”

We all know that two world wars have taken a very heavy toll of human lives. Now, the third world war will be for mineral oil. The fourth will be for potable water; the fifth will be for a breath of oxygen. Our wise men have said that take according to your need and leave the rest for others. Everything belongs to God.

Now, if humanity has to survive, it has to draw sustenance of spirituality from religion for assuring eco-friendly universe. This will be the noblest tribute to Vyasa, Buddha, Mahavir, Christ, Muhammad, Guru Nanak and Dada Bhagavan who have loudly sung the hymn in praise of inextricable relation between animism, ecological balance and mankind.

Religion has a great impact on the human psyche, so, it is necessary to draw upon the wisdom of religion to instil in man the importance of ecology.

Any one who reads the scriptures of the world and listens to the guiding precepts of the enlightened persons, Tirthankars, Rishes, Prophets and sages, learns the perennial wisdim : to love all living creatures, preserve the beauty of the earth by living in harmony with the forces of nature without violating her laws, without polluting the environment and thus disturbing the rhythm of nature.

All religions of the world unanimously declare that so long as man lived in harmony with nature, he was happy and contented. They warn man that he should not flout the laws of nature. But if he turns a deaf ear to these wise precepts of the enlightened persons, he invites calamities for himself.

Jainism lays great stress on ‘Ahimsa’ and pleads for compassion towards all living creatures. Jain ecological philosophy concentrates on the Jain principle of ‘Ahimsa’. It means to avoid violence in any form through thought, word or deed to all living creatures.

Buddhism is a religion of love, understanding and compassion. It too pays great importance to non-violence, to all sentient beings, trees, flowers and birds and animals. It believes in reincarnation and advises man to protect the environment with love, care and alertness.

Trusteeship of Allah, accountability to Allah and unity of nature are the three concepts of Islam, which form the pillars of environmental ethics of Islam.

Sikhism declares that God is the only source of birth, life and death of all creatures. He is the basic cause of creation. The bounties of nature draw sustenance from God. He alone is their master; without his ‘Hukum’, nothing exists, changes of develops. So, man should not interfere with the creation of God, so as to destroy nature's beauty and invite displeasure of the Almighty.

Chritianity preached dualism which separated man from nature. It gave boost to indiscriminate exploitation of nature by man. But it emphasized that to attain a wholesome and prosperous life, one need not do injury to other living creatures nor live an intemperate life.

Confucianism and Taoism of China talk of co-operative group of efforts so that individual's concerns are sublimated on larger sense of human good. Earlier Chinese philosophers were closer to nature, to farm life and they, therefore, pleaded for the conservation of natural resources.

Santoism of Japan was very emphatic on preserving natural environment which even to this day finds reflection in the preservations of the natural beauties of the temples.

So, all these religions advise man to live in harmony with nature. He has to behave eco-friendly, eco-spiritually, for his own survival on the planet earth. Nations of the world must unite like the members of a global family and help the have-nots by eradicating poverty, jealousy, greed and thus help establishing a happy world-order by arousing in them eternal, spiritual values like love and compassion, beauty and peace. This is indeed the sublime environment for mankind.

-Vishnu Pathak