(A deeper perspectives on environmentalism from a modern spiritual teacher, referred to in this dialogue as ‘Amma’. This perspective is based on a spiritual vision which views Nature not as an inanimate energy but as a living conscious force which can respond to our aspirations and attitudes.)
Tagline: A spiritual perspective on environment.
Questioner: What is nature to human beings?
Amma: Nature means life to humans. She is part and parcel of our existence. It is an interrelationship that goes on at every moment and on every level. Not only are we totally dependent on Nature, but we affect her and she affects us. And when we truly love Nature, she responds in kind and opens up her endless resources to us. And just as when we truly love another person, in our love towards Nature we should be infinitely faithful, patient and compassionate.
Questioner: Is this relationship an exchange or is it a mutual support?
Amma: It is both and even more. However, Nature will continue to exist even without human beings. She knows how to take care of herself. But humans require the support of Nature for their existence.
Questioner: What happens if the exchange between Nature and human beings become complete?
Amma: She will stop hiding things from us. Opening her infinite treasure of natural wealth, she will allow us to enjoy it. Like a mother, she will protect us, nurture and nourish us. In a perfect relationship between humanity and Nature, a circular energy field is created in which both start flowing into each other. To put it in another way, when we human beings fall in love with Nature, she will fall in love with us.
Questioner: What is it that makes people act so cruelly to Nature? Is it selfishness or lack of understanding?
Amma: It is both. In fact, it is lack of understanding that manifests as selfish actions. Basically, it is ignorance. Due to ignorance, people think that Nature is just a place from which they can keep on taking without giving. Most human beings know only the language of exploitation. Due to their utter selfishness, they are unable to consider their fellow beings. In today’s world, our relationship with Nature is nothing but an extension of the selfishness that we feel within.
Questioner: Amma, What do you mean by considering others?
Amma: What Amma means, is to consider others with compassion. In order to consider others – Nature or human beings – the first and foremost quality that one needs to develop is a deep inner connection, a connection with one’s own conscience. Conscience, in the real sense, is the power to see others as yourself. Just as you see your own image in the mirror, you see as you. You reflect others, their feelings, both of happiness and sorrow. We have to develop this capacity in our relationship with Nature.
Questioner: The original inhabitants of this country were Native Americans. They worshipped nature and had a deep connection with her. Do you think that is what we also should do?
Amma: What each one should do depends on their mental constitution. However, Nature is a part of life, a part of the whole. Nature is verily God. Worshipping Nature is the same as worshipping God. By worshipping Mount Govardhana, Lord Krishna taught us a great lesson: to make Nature worship part of our daily life. He asked his people to worship Mount Govardhana because it protected them. Similarly Lord Rama, before building the bridge across the sea, did three days of severe penance to please the ocean. Even Mahatmas give so much respect and regard for Nature and seek her blessings prior to commencing any action. In India there are temples for birds, animals, trees and even for lizards and poisonous snakes. This is to emphasise the great significance of the connection between the humans and Nature.
Questioner: Amma, in order to re-establish the relationship between human beings and Nature what is your advice?
Amma: Let us be compassionate and considerate. Let us take from Nature only what we really need, and then try to return it to some extent. For only by giving will we receive. A blessing is something that comes back to us in response to the way we approach something. If we approach Nature with love, considering her as life, as God, as part of our own existence, then she will serve as our best friend, a friend whom we can always trust, a friend who would never betray us. But if our attitude towardsNature is wrong then, instead of Nature responding with a blessing, the result will be a negative reaction. Nature will turn against the human race if we are not careful in our relationship with her, and the consequences may be disastrous. Many of God’s beautiful creations have already been lost due to the people’s misbehaviour and total disregard for Nature. If we continue to act this way, it will only pave the way for disaster.
Courtesy: “From Amma’s Heart”
Conversations with Mata Amritanandamayi Devi