In just a few centuries with science and technology, humanity has moved from feeling largely at the mercy of the Creation to a world-view where we thought our power was limitless. We have searched the Earth for all its resources and let our population and societies expand without limit; while dumping our wastes and polluting land, oceans and the atmosphere. It is important for us to understand a key distinction between our world of technology and the natural world. It is up to humanity to manage and limit the impact of our technology and society on nature and its ecosystem because our prosperity and survival depend on it.
The natural world provided everything human beings have needed to survive and thrive. This includes food, water, medicine, materials for shelter, and even natural cycles such as climate and nutrients. Beyond such physical goods, the natural world provides less tangible, but just as important, gifts in terms of beauty, art, and spirituality. Mother Nature is kind and compassionate in terms of sustenance of humans and the entire creation. Unless humans realize with a passion and reverence, beyond thought or words, its inter-being with nature, it will destroy in its greed the very environment which sustains it.
Human beings live in the realm of nature; they are constantly surrounded by it and interact with it. In order for us to once again work with nature to achieve true sustainability on our planet, we must recognize what we owe to the natural world and resist exploiting it solely for our own ends. Our Lord Sai Baba taught us to be in communion with Nature and create an atmosphere of harmony between Mankind and the Natural World.
Shirdi Sai Baba was a great proponent of Nature Conservation and Care for the Environment. He undertook various measures since He knew that Mankind owes a responsibility towards Nature and its protection. He inspired people to plant lots of useful trees that give edible fruits, vegetables, shade and many other benefits to all living beings. Baba’s care for earth and nature is well seen from His Lendi Bagh. He created that from barren land and planted all the flowering plants and watered them by Himself. He stressed on feeding all living creatures. Baba fed daily several animals from the food that He got from begging in 5 homes daily. He also told His devotees not to torture/hurt any living creature.
The following lines from the poem ‘From a Distance’ (Bette Midler) recapitulate the essence of coexistence between Nature and Man in a meaningful way:
From a distance, the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance, the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.
From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
and it’s the voice of every man.
The beauty of nature shows just how little humans really know in life. We can never create the constantly evolving show of Mother Nature. It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on earth, and if we can teach our children to honour nature’s gifts, the joy and beauty of the outdoors will be here forever.
Rajiv Kaicker, New Delhi