The heroine of the Indian mythology Ramayana was a female deity of agricultural fertility. She was believed to have been discovered in a furrow when king Janaka had gone ploughing. Considered to be a child of Mother Earth, her birth was taken as a symbolism of union between the king and his land. Some in fact considered her to be a personification of fertility, abundance and well-being. In all likelihood it was possible that the wise ancient writer Valmiki was conveying a deeper message to all mortals for all times; a message of love and respect for the environment through his leading character of Sita.
However Sita’s journey was not one of exhilaration but one which had much anguish in it. In the present day too, her story is often repeated in accounts of abduction where she is often found dwelling as a shadow, afraid of coming out in the open to be spotted by evil Ravanas.
‘CONNECTING PEOPLE TO NATURE’ has been chosen as this year’s World Environment Day theme. However, the odour of violence today appears to be bordering extremes of aggression and the worst sufferers of all wars inflicted on man or nature are the women. In the past, humanity went to war unthinkingly. It was like a ‘Follow the Fool’ plague that struck every unthinking mind; but today the modern minds are blessed with the breeze of awareness. We are today aware that war only destroys and never leaves any winners to enjoy fruits of its destructive labour. Why would then any sensible species run into a game which has no scope or hope of a win? Every day, news channels splash blood in every home and all relatives of mankind are fed up of all kinds of destructive action. However, on the scale of justice, the side of awareness today seems to be getting heavier with the help of education. Everywhere, in spite of human generated damage, talks of peace can be heard. Enough generations have been taught the effects of war; now teaching effects of peace is in fashion. If continued, this definitely will bring about positive results. It will take time of course, for the old crop of vengeance to wither and die unattended and the new crop of love to blossom with focused attention. Our generation has understood that at times, in order to move ahead in the right direction we need to go back to the wise words of men like Martin Luther King who once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Celebrating the environment once again this year a large number of us will ritually gather with the knowledge which we normally refrain from using on other days. We will visit parks, plant trees, host pro-environment activities and events and then I hope that we will not go back in an inconsiderate slumber like the yesteryears but instead continue to connect to nature. In the past we were very busy being ‘social-animals’; so engrossed in our social life were we that we missed the point and turned into animals; beasts who drank blood of the innocents. But today, a large number of us work hard to protect ourselves from the barbs of universal blame for the misbehaviour of some solely responsible for evil constructions. Many of us today have already begun to hold tight to the knowledge that we are a superior race, too strongly armoured with compassion, love, care and concern to ever indulge in war with humankind or our environment.
Mother Earth will never be able to forgive us if we do not esteem the feelings and minds of others. The animal in us from the past has sorrowfully dug into her womb, making graves to bury all consideration and mutual respect for our fellow human beings and our surroundings. In fact every inch of the anatomy of the earth, is the knowledge that those of us destructively intelligent, left out from our laboratory of research.
However, today we are learning from the lessons of the past and submitting in love which grows only out of peace. All we need to do is pause and see the beauty of our environment; not just one day a year but every single morning we wake up to walk on the surface of the planet. Decades of stress to the ecosystems has caused us suffering, but today we have understood that we simply cannot displace and destroy in the name of God, who we believe commands us to fight a holy war. To our misery we have realized that when we plant a bomb to destroy our human enemies, we also damage our own compounds along with rival courtyards.
We will hopefully celebrate this World Environment Day with respect for our creation’s master maker with reverence, for we have understood that when our creator formed the earth, he put his love of abundance in her. “Creation made you and/ you created us. Where else could I see/ the creator, but in you! You are the clasping/ hands of the Lord./ You are the kissing / lips of His./ Where He not in you/ how could you have/ so much?” – from my poem, ‘Where Else Could I See?’
However, to achieve this stage, we will have to become irreligious and step out of an indistinct mindset into the luminosity of a belief where we will make use of science and technology to restore the earth we have battered and not fight and waste our time and energy battling over superiority of one faith over another. Then with the help of our newfound peaceful intelligence, we will be able to see the damage we have done to the earth; whether we will do something about it or not is the question awaiting an answer. Today we need to consciously strive for a continuous lifestyle for peace to celebrate our former monarchy.
The earth, like a patient on a hospital bed is lying silent in excruciating pain; will we be able to hear her silence and work towards her healing is the question. “Your spiritual height/we do not understand./Since you prefer/to lie under us/we take you as an object./ Your silence reveals/ nothing to the deaf./ It would take/ears of understanding/to hear your message./ Oh Mother Earth!/ You speak the sacred voice,/if only all could hear it.” –from my poem, ‘Ears of Understanding’.