Befriend Nature to Protect & Preserve Environment
W hile last year deadly Corona pandemic put the spotlight on ‘Back to Basics’ (Back to Nature), the beginning of this year which saw massive flood and destruction of life and property in Uttarakhand through glacial burst, underscored the importance of living in harmony with the Nature. It was a grim reminder of 2013 Kedarnath deluge that claimed 5000 lives. Elsewhere, in America, the recent snow storm also wreaked havoc.
Today globally, climate change is an inescapable reality. Global warming caused by humans is resulting in more and more extreme weather. Be it flash floods, landslides, harsh droughts, snow storms or earthquakes, we have been calling these natural disasters whereas these are actually man-induced catastrophes Despite the Mother Nature constantly conveying the message that unbridled development is causing massive damage to green cover and fragile ecology, we are not paying heed to it. The result is the sheer scale of natural disasters is increasing by the day.
Every year, we spend billions to mitigate the massive misery heaped on humankind by devastating calamities in different forms. The government , religious ,social, and spiritual organizations coming together to provide relief. Moreover, since the destruction of green cover is causing floods and droughts, the focus is on propagating and spearheading tree plantation drives.
Underscoring the importance of green cover, the Supreme Court recently set a first ever guideline on the valuation of trees, not just on the basis of their timber value but keeping in view their positive impact on environment. The SC panel maintained that a tree is worth Rs 74500 a year that includes cost of oxygen and biodiversity. Further, it has put the value of a heritage tree of more than 100 years lifespan at over a crore. But unfortunately, in our quest for modern lifestyle, greenery in cities has become a big casualty due to our mad race to create concrete jungles.
While economic development is important, yet we need to understand that development and protection of Nature are not contrary to each other. Our overall wellbeing lies not just in our material progress but in finding right balance between our pursuit for material well being and wellbeing from the health point which depends on the wealth and health of Nature.
The development of mankind has been intertwined with that of Nature. And when humans go against Nature, they face its fury. Vedas taught us to worship sacred Nature in the form of ”Akash’, ‘Vaayu’ ‘Jal’, ‘Prithvi’ etc. For centuries, the elements, trees and animals have been worshipped. Bhagvad Gita also focuses on the relationship between humans and Nature. It describes Nature as a form of material energy which is eternal. The individual souls are also eternal which are housed in the human body that draws material energy.
Unfortunately, today we are behaving contrary to the teachings of our ancient scriptures by trampling the Nature. We must learn to live in harmony with Nature. That will be possible only when we are able to strike a balance between material and spiritual life. And this in turn will be possible only when we lead an aware life as an awakened person. Then we will realize that Nature is synonym with God and loving the Nature is equivalent to loving God. Spiritual bodies like Nirankari Mission have been putting great emphasis on human enlightenment by way of God Knowledge and spreading this divine knowledge to promote oneness of creation.
When we learn to befriend Nature, our every life breath becomes an all-encompassing embrace of existence. (SNE)
Vinod Behl is Editor, Sant Nirankari English Magazine.