The entire world is yearning for peace today. All around the world, in every country, there is some kind of conflict or the other. There is not a single day that we do not hear news about war, terrorism, racial conflict or natural disasters. To find a permanent solution, we should be able to find the real reasons behind them first.
In recent times we have seen innumerable natural disasters all around the earth and they continue today. Anything can happen at any time. Nature is losing its balance and harmony. A major reason for this is man’s selfishness. Like Sita who was seized by Ravana because she stepped across the Lakshman Rekha—the limit drawn by Lakshmana—mankind is overstepping its limits. We live our lives completely disregarding future generations. But our ancestors were not like this. They had the integrity to give back to nature that provided them with everything they needed. Like leaving enough milk for the calf to drink when the cow is milked, they used natural resources thriftily, making sure they left enough for posterity.
People should protect nature and realise that they are a part of nature. If the attitude of wantonly exploiting nature continues to prevail, before long, it will become the cause of humanity’s destruction. Living in harmony with nature was the reason behind the prosperity of the past. The Puranas speak regarding the earth as a cow, and milking her of various resources. Be that as it may, we must bear in mind that the cow is milked only after its calf has drunk enough milk. In the past, cows were loved and protected like mothers. Today, we must learn to see Mother Earth in the same way.
Nature and humanity are mutually dependent. In coastal regions and cold climes, where farming is not possible, people turn to fishing for food. For building houses and other purposes, people cut trees. However, we should not cause deforestation or the extinction of species because of our greed. Man may take what he needs from nature, but he must also ensure that, by doing so, he does not disturb the balance of nature.
We should not be apathetic to tragedies, thinking, “that is none of my business.” Say, the lowest floor of a multi-storeyed building catches fire. Hearing people calling for help, those on higher floors say, “Oh, it is their floor that is on fire. Let them put it out themselves. Why should we meddle in something that is none of our business?” Is this attitude correct? If the fire is not brought under control and put out, it will soon spread to the higher floors as well. Similarly, what may be someone else’s problem today may turn out to be our problem tomorrow. The longer we delay in waking up and acting, the faster our future will sink into darkness.
If we do not think in depth and act responsibly and sincerely, these problems will only escalate. Man will lose even the little peace and happiness he has now. So perform good actions, cultivate morality and ethics, and worship God. God’s power is beyond all strengths and abilities of man. This world and nature is God’s visible form. Realising this truth, learn to respect each other and to love nature.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader