Living in Harmony with the Nature
One of the most threatening problems that the present humanity faces is the problem of environmental crisis. And the modern man with all its scientific tools fails to have control over the problem and thus fails to find a sustainable solution. However, it has been felt that the eternal teachings of the seers and sages of India can contribute positively towards finding greater solutions to the problem of environmental crisis.
The man and the cosmos, as envisioned by the Vedic seers and sages, are built on the same principles and mutually inclusive of each other. As per the descriptions given in our shastras the Prakriti in evolution of the world bases herself with her three gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) in her as the original substance of things out of which are evolved the five elemental conditions of energy or matter. These are called akasha or ether, vayu or air, agni or fire, jala or water, prthivi or earth. These are, in a true sense, ‘subtle conditions of material energy and nowhere to be found in their purity in the gross material world’. All objects are created by the combination of these five subtle conditions of elements. Further, each of these ﬁve is the base of one of the ﬁve subtle properties of energy or matter, sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Thus by these ﬁve elements of Matter and these ﬁve sense relations through which Matter is known is evolved the objective aspect of cosmic existence.
This discovery inspired the ancient Indian seers and sages to live in harmony with everything in this cosmic existence and also encourage others to do so. Further, the vision of One Reality as the source of everything and seeing the One in all and all in the One was the greatest teaching of the seers and sages for maintaining a harmonious living. Thus, the seers and sages of ancient India have provided a greater plan for right living with a reverential attitude towards all life, from the smallest animal and tallest tree, to the longest river and mightiest mountain, and even the stars and planets. This whole idea of being in harmony is further found in the vision of Chandas of the ancient Indian seers and sages.
The entire creation was seen by the seers and sages of ancient India as a great movement (jagat). And in this movement they saw a great harmony and rhythm which they called Chandas. Bhartrihari, one of the greatest grammarian-philosopher stated that this entire universe emerged out of the Chandas (chandobhya eva vishvamidam vyaavartata). If we look closely we find that everything in the Nature maintains this harmony and rhythm. Nature has its own law and rhythm. Any violation of its laws and rhythm brings disaster. Any disturbance created in this harmony and rhythm at a cosmic level brings various kinds of natural calamities. When it becomes extreme the Nature even brings total destruction and we have the record of the destruction of few civilizations because of the adverse attitude towards Nature. When the disturbance is at the individual level it brings various kinds of sicknesses. Our sicknesses are caused by disharmony at various levels of our existence. Individual psychological disorder or chaos also affects the Nature. Thus, good or bad, both man and Nature keep affecting each other. This has been felt that if a proper bonding between man and Nature is maintained then both can contribute towards each one’s growth. But unfortunately, because of the lack of harmonious living, the humanity today is at risk. The solution lies in bringing back the harmony, both at the individual and at the cosmic level; in re-establishing the relationship between human beings and Nature.
There is a beautiful conversation that took place between a seeker and Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma). In answer to few questions related to the man and Nature she said: “Nature means life to humans. She is part and parcel of our existence. It is an interrelationship that goes on at every moment and on every level. Not only are we totally dependent on Nature, but we affect her and she affects us. And when we truly love Nature, she responds in kind and opens up her endless resources to us. And just as when we truly love another person, in our love toward Nature we should be infinitely faithful, patient and compassionate.” She also mentioned that the relationship between man and Nature is much more than exchange or mutual support. Nature is much more powerful and will continue to exist even without human beings. She knows how to take care of herself. But humans require the support of Nature for their existence. If the exchange between man and Nature becomes complete then Nature will stop hiding things from human beings and open her infinite treasure of natural wealth, allowing the humanity to enjoy it. In a perfect relationship between humanity and Nature, a circular energy field is created in which both start flowing into each other. But due to ignorance, people think that Nature is just a place from which they can keep on taking without giving. Most human beings know only the language of exploitation. In today’s world, our relationship with Nature is nothing but an extension of the selfishness that we feel within.”
Amma further made it clear that it’s always good ‘to take from Nature only what we really need, and then try to return it to some extent. For only by giving will we receive’. Indeed, to grow by giving was very fundamental to the whole concept of Vedic Sacrifice.
It is not just enough for the man to grow conscious of the importance of Nature’s contribution towards his survival, but the need of the hour is to bring back the lost harmony through constant efforts and maintain it all the times. Man has to change his attitude towards Nature and develop deep love for everything in the Nature. If man’s attitude towards Nature is negative then she will react negatively and the consequences may be disastrous. Many of God’s beautiful creations have already been lost due to wrong attitude and total disregard for Nature. At the same time if the humanity treats Nature positively then she lends her support for the humanity to live peacefully and joyfully. It was for this reason that the Vedic seers invoked the presence of PEACE in everything:
ॐ द्यौ: शान्तिरन्तरिक्षँ शान्ति:,
पृथ्वी शान्तिराप: शान्तिरोषधय: शान्ति: ।
वनस्पतय: शान्तिर्विश्वे देवा: शान्तिर्ब्रह्म शान्ति:,
सर्वँ शान्ति:, शान्तिरेव शान्ति:, सा मा शान्तिरेधि ॥
ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति: ॥ (Yahurveda, 36.17)
May there be peace in the sky. May there be peace in the mid-region.
May there be peace upon the earth. May there be peace in the waters.
May there be peace in the medicinal herbs.
May there be peace in the plant kingdom. May there be peace in the cosmic forces.
May there be peace in the Brahman. May there be peace in everything and every being.
May there be peace alone. May that peace grow in me. OM PEACE PEACE PEACE