Children, in business, when the workers stop, the company incurs losses and eventually shuts down. However, if Nature stops working, the world itself shuts down. At least from now on, after experiencing the intense suffering of this pandemic, man should set aside his egoism, stop harming Mother Nature and recognise that she is the ultimate master. We have to develop the attitude that we are nothing but Nature’s servants. We should practice humility, servitude and respect, and beg her to forgive all of our crimes against her. Because, with the coronavirus pandemic, she has finally shown us that she will no longer constantly forbear, suffer and forgive all the indignities we heap upon her.
The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the home in which we sleep, the sun that gives us energy—we are indebted to Nature for all of these. Our life on this earth is possible only because of the combined effort of all its creatures. The rivers, trees, bees, butterflies and worms all play their part. If they did not exist, we would not exist. If we were to visualise Nature as one tree, then all the creatures would be its roots, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. The tree becomes whole only as a totality of its various parts. If one part is destroyed, the rest will also soon perish.
We carry the memory of a time when we recognised this truth and lived in tune with Nature, loving and serving her. In those days, simple villagers, who could not read or write, would maintain a pond and a small shrine on their property. They protected even migratory birds and took care not to harm a single creature. However, as our selfishness and greed increased, our bond with Nature deteriorated. Forest-dwellers may have hunted, but they only took what was necessary to survive. But today, people kill elephants for ivory, hunt animals for their fur and chop down entire forests to make money.
In my childhood, when a tree was about to be cut down, it was like a wedding being solemnised. Before felling it, they would first worship the tree and pray for forgiveness: “I am doing this because I have no other means to survive. Please, forgive me.” Trees were never viewed as inert. We used to protect species from extinction; now we drive them to it. We have to understand that in destroying Nature, we are destroying ourselves—that each tree we cut down is like a coffin we are making for ourselves. May it never come to be that humankind has to perish in order for the planet to survive. In fact, it is the selfish things man has done to Nature that come back to us in the form of epidemics such as the coronavirus.
We put so much effort into educating our children to become engineers and doctors, etc, because we want to secure a happy future for them. But without clean air, soil and water, they won’t be able to survive at all. Thus, if we want to protect our children’s future, we should protect the life-giving air, earth and water.
In truth, we have already gone too far astray to return in this lifetime. Regardless, let us try. Let us walk back as much as possible. By “walking back,” Amma doesn’t mean you have to give up all the comforts of the modern-day world and live like a monk—merely, that the current generation must imbibe spiritual values and instill them in its children. Currently, it is as if Mother Nature has stage 3 cancer. Our care alone will determine how long she can be sustained. Our efforts can keep away pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and global warming to a great extent. If we are united in our efforts, we can walk back at least 10 percent of the way. But we also need the factor of grace. For that, we need effort, humility and to treat Nature with a respectful and prayerful attitude.
Amma is not trying to scare people or make them afraid, but usually, the truth is not very sweet. Moving forward, we must be very alert and cautious. We should give spiritual thoughts and selfless actions the same importance we currently give ones aimed at material ends. That is the need of the age. This is Nature’s message to us. Let us stand united as one and work together with love, compassion and patience. Let us pray intensely, with a melting heart.
It is the selfish things man has done to Nature that come back to us in the form of epidemics such as the coronavirus
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian