CHENNAI : Does your liver cell know your name? Does it know that it is working for you? Then where and how the separate individuality with a specific name, identity, emotion, ambition, greediness, and egoism arises? The cells and organs that constitute our body do not know anything about the separate status of our body. They work selflessly for the holistic existence of the body, to the best of their ability, without having any personal agenda of any sort.
Similarly, the sun altruistically sustains the life on earth. Biodiversity evolves with the environment. The study of the ‘earth-system-science’ and ‘systems-ecology’ is an eyeopener for the human being to select the right living for the joyous life on the surface of the earth.
Should we take the earth as one living organism, then, “The pedosphere, the outer covering of the earth is like the skin of a living organism; the rivers are its blood vessels; trees and plants are its connective tissue; The sea is its extracellular fluid, and the living beings are its different functional cells”. Every object, either living or non-living contributes to the holistic life of the organism, ‘the planet earth’ except the human being.
The human being refuses to identify with the holistic existence of life on earth. The co-existence is the life principle on the surface of the planet. The evolution of human being into an intellectual prodigy has divorced him from the basic idea of living as an integral part of the universe. His separation from the holistic living has made him inimical to the very life on earth. Therefore, Bhagavadgita denounces the vagabond, unbridled, and chaotic life of the human beings.
In its first sloka, Bhagavadgita has secretly encoded this truth. This encrypted message comes out through the mouth of Dhritarashtra who is blind not only physically, but emotionally. The sloka starts with the word ‘Dharma’. ‘Dharma’ is generally translated as righteousness which is not very appropriate. ‘Dharma’ means the holistic functioning of the body where every cell does its job for the well-being of the body without any selfish interest. ‘Kshetra’ is the physical body. ‘Dharma-kshetra’ means the inviolable commitment of the constituents to its parent physical body.
‘Kuru-Kshetra’ has two words. ‘Kuru’— means religiously perform, and ‘Kshetra’ means the external world. Should we work for the welfare of the organism ‘earth’, it becomes ‘dharma’ of the external world in which we live as its inseparable part. It is similar to the ‘dharma’ our body structures follow rigorously. ‘Dharma-Kshetra’ refers to the live-physical body where selfless work (dharma) is going on involuntarily. ‘Kuru-Kshetra’ is the realm of the external world where selfish human beings are not maintaining their ‘dharma’ due to the earth, though they are part of it.
The human being has turned out to be ‘cancerous’ to the organism ‘earth’, of which, he is part, because of his/her selfish nature. We are supposed to live in this external world as our cells live in our body. This is possible only when we consider the earth as our body.
We have to rearrange the first four words of the first sloka, ‘Dharma-kshetra- kuru- kshetra’ as ‘Kshetre- Kshetre-Kuru-Dharma’ (The physical body which is the part of the ‘earth-body’ has to perform ‘dharma’ for the holistic survival of the earth). We should extend the same ‘dharma’ to the external world as our cells display in our body. By Dr R N Sreenathan (Academic Director Chinmaya International Foundation). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org