All of us are participating in this special program of ‘Paryavaran Divas’ (Environment Day) being organised on 30 August by the Hindu Spiritual Service Foundation.
Environment, this word is very often heard and spoken today. And this is also an occasion to celebrate a day dedicated to the environment, that too universally. The reason for this is the lifestyle which the world has been following or is still prevalent predominantly all across the world today. This lifestyle is not sustainable and environmentally friendly. It believes that man has to live by conquering nature. This lifestyle believes that nature is for human consumption and man has no responsibility towards it. It assumes that man has complete authority over nature to run this way of life. And we are living like this for the last 200-250 years. The ill effects of this lifestyle are now coming to light, and the horrors it has resulted in are now visible. If it goes on like this, then we will not be existing live on this planet. Or it could also be that this earth will not exist. Hence, man started to rethink now and he has felt that the environment should be protected. That is the reason why we are celebrating Environment Day. But this is about the lifestyle being followed for nearly 2000 years, and especially the kind of deviation adopted in the last 300 years.
But the Indian way has been very different. Our ancestors understood the truth behind our existence in its entirety. Since then they understood that we too are a part of the whole nature. Just like the fact that our body can function only when different parts of the body function. And as long as the body is alive, only then a part of the body can function. If there is no life in the body, the heart stops, in a while the brain also stops working, then the nerves and the intestines stop, all the components stop working, at last they die. The body is dependent on the functions of the organs, the organ is dependent on the pranic energy received by the body. This is the same relationship we have with earth. We are a part of it and it is our duty to nurture the creation. To be alive, we take something from the universe which we should not exploit but we are exploiting that very creation today. Our ancestors understood this way of living and created the lifestyle not only for a day or a single body but for the entire life. Here, it is said that one should not touch the trees in the evening as the trees fall asleep. There is also life in the trees, and a part of the same creation. Just as there is the animal kingdom, so is the plant kingdom. Thousands of years before the knowledge of modern science came to us, every ordinary illiterate person of Bharat knew that trees should not be disturbed in the evening.
Our lifestyles, things that are part of it and not part of it, are all interwoven. Everyday, as part of the Bharatiya lifestyle one used to have their own food only after sacrificing food to various animals; flour for the ants in the house, grass for the cattle, food for the dogs, grains for the birds, worms for the insects, and after offering food for any guests in the village who might be hungry. This offering is not the violent sacrifice but the cooked food in your house. It is the responsibility of human beings to nurture all of them because man gets nutrition from all these creatures. We used to live by understanding this. Therefore, rivers are also worshiped here, trees, plants and Tulsi are all worshiped. In our tradition, the mountains, the cows, and even the snakes are all worshiped.
There is an omnipresent lifeforce in the entire creation. This is the same lifeforce which we saw in every creature and revered it. We treated them with respect and considered them as being intimate to us. We treated them as friends so that everyone lived a life of mutual cooperation. This was the Bharatiya way of life.
It is said in the Bhagavad Gita that when you behave well with the gods, the gods will also behave well with you. It is because of this mutual good behavior, the world works and this was our lifestyle. But due to the influence of the modern misguided lifestyles, we forgot it. Therefore, today we too have to remember it by celebrating it as environment day. This is a good thing. This should be remembered in every household. This year we have initiated August 30 as a day of remembering nature. But we have Nag Panchami here, we have Govardhan Puja here. We observe Tulsi marriage here. We have to celebrate all these days in today’s context and have to revive and reinvent these traditional practices throughout our lives. It is only then that the new generation will learn them and experience them. We too are components of the same nature. We have to get nourishment from nature, not conquer nature. We have to keep nature alive by getting nourishment from nature itself. It is only by adopting this way of life, the next generation will follow and only then will we be able to overcome the deviation that has occured in the last 300-350 years during the next 100-200 years. The world will be safe, mankind will be safe and life will be beautiful.
While celebrating this day, we have to be aware that we are not merely indulging in some entertainment program, but to nurture the whole creation, to make our life beautiful, and for the advancement of all. I think that we should think with an open mind and implement the message of this day by bringing about small changes in our lifestyles and implement it each day throughout the year. I put these thoughts in front of you for your consideration. I wish you all the best on this day and end my statement.
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