In this Dark Age of selfishness and greed – when we as mankind are primarily looking to fulfill only our own desires for greater pleasure and physical comfort in all spheres of life – we humans have completely lost touch with Nature. We care little about Her, not just in the way we have integrated the enormously environment-damaging plastics in our lives or in the way we continue to ruthlessly deplete and pollute all of the earth’s resources, but even in the sense of spending time with Nature and showing Her some love.
Our Sanatana Dharma though has always held Mother Nature in highest esteem. She is a deity. Every aspect of Her is considered divine – the Earth, Water, Air, Trees and Forests, Rivers and Oceans, Animals and Birds, the Sun, the Moon and Stars… everything in Nature is divinity personified; an aspect of the Divine Consciousness.
In Srimad Bhagavatam (10:22:29-35) we find Sri Krishna speaking to His Gopa friends about the wonderful nature of trees. Seeing the trees serve Him as parasols shading Him from the scorching sun, Krishna points to their nobility in living entirely for the sake of others. They take on the rain, wind, heat and snow and protect others. Krishna then goes on to say, “How glorious is the birth of these trees, which offers support to all living beings just as saints do! No one in need leaves them disappointed. With their leaves, flowers, fruits, shade, roots, bark, timber, fragrant sap, ashes, pulp and shoots they offer everything that one desires.” Then Krishna goes on to say that this is truly the rightness of life for every living being: life becomes meaningful to the extent its energy, wealth, intelligence and speech are utilized for the good of others.
But alas, in utter selfishness, we are insensitively destroying even those who are a support to our lives!
Our rishis lived in Oneness with Nature. They had immense spiritual power and at the same time they were also great scholars, thinkers, researchers, scientists and inventors. Yet they never led society towards anything that would harm Nature even minutely. Our ancestors revered, loved and lived with Nature. Even our own grandparents and great grandparents led lives that were more respectful and caring of Nature. But somewhere down the line, we, as a generation, have lost that connection. We have lost our ability to even ‘see’ Nature, let alone connect with Her. And losing the connection with Nature also means losing the connection with one another, with other human beings.
In Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal, a book based on a spoken diary of the great philosopher and mahan Jiddu Krishnamurti (known as JK), he speaks candidly and clearly about this. He says:
“There is a tree by the river, and we have been watching it day after day for several weeks when the sun is about to rise. … and each hour seems to give to that tree a different quality… by midday its shadow has deepened, and you can sit there protected from the sun, never feeling lonely, with the tree as your companion. As you sit there, there is a relationship of deep, abiding security and a freedom that only trees can know. If you establish a relationship with it, then you have a relationship with mankind. You are responsible then for that tree and for the trees of the world. But if you have no relationship with the living things on this earth, you may lose whatever relationship you have with humanity, with human beings. We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves, …but its own sound of the roots. You must be extraordinarily sensitive to hear the sound. This sound is not the noise of the world, not the noise of the chattering of the mind, not the vulgarity of human quarrels and human warfare, but sound as part of the universe.
“It is odd that we have so little relationship with nature, with the insects and the leaping frog and the owl that hoots among the hills, calling for its mate. We never seem to have feeling for all the living things on the earth. If we could establish a deep, abiding relationship with nature we would never kill an animal for our appetite, we would never harm, vivisect a monkey, a dog, a guinea pig for our benefit. We would find other ways to heal our wounds, heal our bodies. But the healing of the mind is something totally different. That healing gradually takes place if you are with nature, with that orange on the tree, and the blade of grass that pushes through the cement, and the hills covered, hidden, by the clouds.
“This is not a sentiment or romantic imagination but a reality of a relationship with everything that lives and moves on the earth. Man has killed millions of whales and is still killing them. All that we derive from their slaughter can be had through other means. But apparently man loves to kill things; the fleeting deer, the marvelous gazelle and the great elephant. We love to kill each other. This killing of other human beings has never stopped throughout the history of man’s life on this earth. If we could—and we must—establish a deep, long-abiding relationship with nature, with the actual trees, the bushes, the flowers, the grass and the fast-moving clouds, then we would never slaughter another human being for any reason whatsoever.”