GURUDEV SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR
Indian tradition believes in the sanctity of nature. It perceived the mountains, rivers, Sun, Moon and trees to be sacred and that which is sacred, is honored. Unfortunately, we pollute our rivers and mountains in the name of sacred rituals. We also suffer from the misconception that ecological degradation is an inevitable by- product of technology and development. But the two need not be mutually exclusive. The purpose of technology is to harness nature, to bring infor- mation and comfort to human beings. When spir- itual and human values are ignored, technology brings pollution and destruction, instead of com- fort. The role of spirituality is to help maintain har- mony in the environment even while allowing technology and science to grow. This is the chal- lenge of the present century.
We can take our lessons in environment preservation from nature. Nature digests waste material and produces something beautiful every time. Despite all the extreme characteristics one finds in nature, somehow, a bal- ance is struck. It is not the science or the technology that is harm- ful; it is the waste material produced that is toxic. This waste needs to be minimized and recycled.
The greatest pollutant is, of course, human greed. It comes in the way of preservation of ecology, as it gives higher priority to quick profit and quick results over eco-friendly manufacturing practices. Greed pollutes the subtle environment and mind of man with negative emotions and impressions. Pollution permeates both the physical and subtle environment. An angry person exudes anger which spreads to others around him. It is a chain
reaction. At the root of all wars is compounded negativity of emo- tions. Often we are not aware that something that is anti-environ- ment is also anti-health.
By reviving traditional reverence for nature, we could restore a degree of purity to our surroundings. We can see God in nature – this would make us more sensitive to the way we treat nature. Then you can’t but be environmentally conscious.Both ancient and modern methods need to be adopt- ed. Vedic farming was done with cow urine, cow dung and neem leaves, and these have now been proved to be excellent for crop production. Recent experiments in India have shown that the yield has tripled just by natural farming done without fertilisers and pesticides. Just because something is new, it need not be good and just because something is old it need not be discarded. A good mix of the two can help us balance our lives with that of the environment and in this manner, we can prevent further degrada- tion of Planet Earth. This can only happen when human con- sciousness rises above greed, selfish motives, and exploitation.
We need to ask ourselves: How much do we want to exploit Earth? Or how much do we want to preserve it? We have to hon- our, respect and take utmost care of our planet and all its crea- tures. We should encourage chemical-free, organic farming. We should ensure that we don’t pollute the earth with plastic, poison- ous fertilizers and chemicals. It means that we become environ- ment conscious and this will be our greatest offering to God and the universe.