SWAMI AND THE ENVIRONMENT: SOWING THE SEEDS OF SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION
TREAT NATURE WITH REVERENCE
- “Man should treat nature with reverence. He has no right to talk of conquering nature or exploiting the force of nature. He must proceed to visualize in nature its God.”
- “Today the world is losing its ecological balance as man, out of utter selfishness, is robbing the mother Earth of her resources like coal, petroleum, iron, etc. As a result, we find earthquakes, floods and such other devastating natural calamities. Human life will find fulfillment only when ecological balance is maintained. Balance in human life and balance in Nature, both are equally important. Today even marine life is in danger due to so-called advancement in science. Advancement in science is welcome but it should not lead to ecological imbalance. The people and the world at large should be benefited from science. But today everyone is interested in selfish gains. No one seems to care for society. The food that we eat, the water that we drink, the air that we breathe, are all polluted. In fact, all the five elements, which are of utmost importance for man, are polluted.” – SSS vol. 33:15
- “Man’s misadventures have created several problems for the entire mankind. He has polluted the five elements causing havoc on the earth. There is pollution everywhere in air, water, food and so on. His misdeeds coupled with his evil thoughts and feelings have degraded human life on the earth. If man acts in the righteous way, there will be no pollution at all.”
- “There are five yajnas (acts of service) prescribed as mandatory for every human being … (5) Bhhootha Yajna – unselfish acts done while dealing with trees, plants, birds and pets like cats and dogs.” (2-10-1981)
- “The five elements have to be adored and treated reverentially, as the Rig Vedha directs. Worship them in humility.” (Dasara Discourse, Prashanti Nilayam, Oct. 20, 1982)
- “Nature is a great preacher of spiritual truths. Consider, for instance, a tree. It puts up with heat and rain, summer and winter, and all the harm inflicted on it. It offers shade and fruits to whoever approaches it. It has no feelings of hatred and vengeance towards those who cause injuries to it. It seeks no return from those who benefit from it. Everyone should learn this lesson in selfless service and forbearance from the tree. Consider, next, the bird. The lesson it teaches is self-reliance. A bird perched on the twig of a tree is not affected by the wild swaying of the twig or the storm which might blow it off because it relies not on the twig or tree but on its own wings for its safety. It knows it can always fly away and save itself. The bird is always happy and carefree, sporting as it pleases. Birds are not concerned about acquiring things for the morrow. They are content to make the best of the present, living on whatever they can get for the day.” (TFTD September 24, 2005)
- Man has the rare good fortune of adoring Nature as the Body of God and offering grateful worship to God. But, is he conscious of God being the Source and Sustenance? Does he give God the first place in his thoughts which is His due? Or, is he engaged in the activities of life in total disregard of God? It is a pity that, instead of paying attention to God, Nature and Man, in that order, men today are concerned most with themselves, more with Nature and very much less with God. From birth to death, from dawn till night, man pursues fleeting pleasures by the exploitation, the despoiling, the desecration of Nature, ignoring the truth that it is the property of God, the Creator, and any injury caused to it is a sacrilege which merits dire punishment. – Divine Discourse, July 11, 1985.
- “Spend your time in the contemplation of the beauties of nature that are spread out before you in earth and sky: green expanses of the crops you have raised, cool breezes that waft contentment and joy, the panorama of colored clouds, the music of birds.”
- There is no greater example of selfless love than Nature.
GOD AND NATURE
- “The Universe is the body of God; every particle in it is filled with God, His Glory, His Might, His Inscrutability. Believe that God is the inner Truth in every thing and being. He is Truth. He is Wisdom. He is Eternal. Be humble, before the evidences of His Power and Majesty.” – SSS 12:34
- “The birthplace of Dharma is the heart. What emanates from the heart as a pure idea, when translated into action will be called Dharma. If you have to be told in a manner that you can understand, one can say “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. That is Dharma. Dharma consists in avoiding any action which would harm others.”
- “I am the indweller of all the insects, all the birds, and animals. I am present in all the living beings.”
- Man has the rare good fortune of adoring Nature as the body of God and offering grateful worship to God. But is he conscious of God being the source and sustenance? Does he give God the first place in his thoughts which is his due? Or, is he engaged in the activities of life in total disregard of God? It is a pity that, instead of paying attention to God, Nature, and Man, in that order, men today are concerned most with themselves, more with Nature and very much less with God. From birth to death, from dawn till night, man pursues fleeting pleasures by the exploitation, the despoiling, the desecration of Nature, ignoring the truth that it is the property of God the Creator, and any injury caused to it is a sacrilege, which merits dire punishment. – Sathya Sai Speaks vol. 28, chapter 15
- When you see a mountain, waterfall or forest, you feel happy. All these proclaim the presence of the Divine. Light shines, the stars twinkle, the sun blazes, the planets revolve in their orbits. All these phenomena are manifestations of the Divine. By understanding the nature of flame, you can understand the nature of fire. By examining a drop of water, you come to know the nature of theGanges. Likewise by understanding Maanavathvam (the true nature of humanness), you can understand Daivathvam (Divinity). TFTD 15th March 2009
- The scriptures (Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) declare, “All Nature is God” and “The Lord is in all beings”. When learning about the sublime secrets of the trees, appreciate the Creator and strive to understand the principles behind creation. Life is a tree. The mutual relationship we cultivate and cherish are symbolized by the branches, twigs and leaves; the thoughts arising in the mind are the flowers; Ananda (Joy) is in the fruit, Dharma is the sweet juice it contains. The tree is held firm by the very roots which fed it…roots that symbolize faith and self-confidence. Nurture the roots well. -Divine Discourse, February 18, 1980.
- The five elements — ether, air, fire, water, and earth – are the vesture of God, as well as of man. Use them moderately and with wisdom, with fear and humility. Sathya Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Speaks VI, 27, 125.
- “You have to realize that Nature is a manifestation of God.”
- “You enjoy the sight of the mighty mountains, the big rivers, the vast ocean, and the dense forests. Who is the creator of all these beautiful manifestations in Nature? God is the basis for all these.”
- “Water is not anybody’s property; it is God’s property. People are fighting with each other for water, which, in reality, is the property of God. So, they have no right to fight. Water is God’s gift to man. Everybody has equal right over it…..The five elements are the gift of God; water is one of them.” –Divine Discourse, 14 April 2007, Tamil New Year and Vishu
- “Nature is very close to God, closer than man is. For in man there is a veil of ignorance clouding his vision and marring his sight. But, Nature is the purest handiwork of God. If you are able to love Nature and feel in tune with it, you are that much closer to God. Is very easy to know God through Nature, for in Nature there is goodness, simplicity, purity and selflessness.” – Sathya Sai Baba (in Nature – a Mirror of the Divine, Mother Sathya Sai magazine, May 6, 2007, p. 35)
- “Whosoever worships the Supreme Lord should also worship Nature (Prakriti). He should love and adore Nature because Nature is not different from the Supreme Self. Nature is the effect and God is the Cause.” (in Nature – a Mirror of the Divine, Mother Sathya Sai magazine, May 6, 2007, p. 36)
- “People want to see God. How can they do it? Nature is the mirror in which the image of God can be seen. A mirror needs a mercury coating to reflect an object. To see God in nature the mirror has to be coated with the mercury of love.” (in Nature – a Mirror of the Divine, Mother Sathya Sai magazine, May 6, 2007, p. 37)
- Sai Avatar has persistently drawn our attention to the fact that man has a strong relationship with the five elements of nature which are sustained by the Divine Energy of Love. He has emphasised that the relationship between Man and Nature is integral, as man also is the manifestation of the five elements.
- Baba explains that as the five elements in nature are in perfect harmony, so all the five human resources in man should be in harmony. But this balance within man is unfortunately totally upset today, and man has become responsible for upsetting the balance of the five elements in nature, resulting in what we call calamities.
- To a question put to Swami as to how man can maintain the balance of the five elements in nature; Swami replied that “Man can achieve this only by practising Human Values”. Thus, Swami has given us the true relationship of the Five Human Values. This is Sri Sathya Sai “EDUCARE”. Proceedings of the International Convention of Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Gurus; Sri Sathya Sai Educare, 2–4 July 2001, Prasanthi Nilayam, p. 11.
- In response to a question regarding the mass misery and suffering brought about by earthquakes, tidal waves, etc. Swami said: ‘Everything is God! Earthquake is God! Tidal wave is God! And what is God is good. But there is no suffering!….These are the ways of nature. A doctor to cure a patient who has a pain in the stomach has got to use a knife, cut the stomach open and remove the cause of pain. The doctor thus has to cause pain to cure pain. This is also the way of God. There is no suffering, the soul does not suffer.’ JTG P 54
- Prakrithi (Nature) is just a Leela (Creation) of the Lord set before you, so that you may become aware of His Glory, His splendor. — Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 3, Ch 17, 2-8-1963
- “The indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources by the scientists and technologists such as various types of mines for extracting minerals, mica, coal, petrol and other oils results in imbalance and pollution of the five major elements, leading to catastrophes like earthquakes, and volcanoes, etc.”
- “…you have the ozone layer in the atmosphere which protects the people on earth from the evil effects of solar radiation. Because of the advance of technology, several factories have sprung up causing emission of harmful gases in the atmosphere as a result of which the ozone layer has become thinner; and if this goes unchecked, it may have disastrous consequences.” – SSS 26:04
- “All the five elements are affected by pollution. People should, therefore, try to reduce the use of automobiles”
- “My advice to office-goers and students is that it is good for them to commute by cycle at least 5 or 6 kilometres a day.”
- “The scientists are trying to stop the break-up of the ozone layer, but they are unable to find a remedy. The actual cause for this situation is that more carbon dioxide is let into the atmosphere, which normally is absorbed by plants and trees which can assimilate the gas and supply oxygen by the natural process of photosynthesis. But because there is deforestation to an alarming extent, the extent of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has considerably increased. Therefore, the remedy for this situation is intensive afforestation, growing more trees everywhere and protecting the existing trees without destroying them for other purposes.” – SSS 26:03
- “Non-violence is the supreme dharma. None should be hurt or harmed by thought, word or deed. You may wonder whether such a conduct is practical. Yes, it is definitely possible.”
- “Today men are forgetting their obligations. The Cosmos is an integral organism of interrelated parts. When each one performs his duty, the benefits are available to all.”
- “Out of 84,000,000 species of living beings on earth, 83,999,999 species of creatures like insects, birds, animals and beasts etc., live on what is provided by God in Nature, and hence they do not generally suffer from any diseases. Man is the sole exception in this regard.”
- “Unfortunately today, as a consequence of scientific and technological progress, humanness has declined and man considers the world as only intended for his enjoyment. As a result, the powers of Nature are being used in a manner which poses a great threat to the world. The world has not been created for mere enjoyment. Abusing the resources of Nature and forgetting his own basic human nature, man is going against the purpose of Creation. Many natural catastrophes are entirely due to man’s behavior.” (Sathya Sai Baba, Benedictory Discourse to the XI Convocation, Vidhyagiri Stadium, November 22, 1992)
- “Polluted air and water are full of maleficent viruses and germs and have to be avoided at all costs. There are four pollutants against which man has to be vigilant – of the body (removable by water); of the mind (removable by truthfulness), of reason (removable by correct knowledge) and of the self (removable by yearning for God). Vaidya Narayano Harih, the Sruthis declare. God is the doctor. Seek Him, rely on Him, you will be free from Disease.”(Sanathana Sarathi, 1979. Discourse given by Bhagavan on Hospital Day, Dasara at Prashanti Nilayam on 21 September 1979)
- “Whenever I talk about Srikrishna people ask that why did not SriKrishna stop the war, why had so many people have to die for the sake of a kingdom, My answer always is that God does not interfere with the course of nature, God never stops the natural Course of things, It is only that God teaches people lessons from the Course of nature so that people become better human beings. The Greatest Lessons from the Mahabarata is that God never leaves those who pray sincerely and give up their Lives for him.” – From Swami’s Divine Discourse in 1965
- The progress of modern technology, by polluting the atmosphere with Carbon dioxide smoke, is causing a threat to life on earth. This smoke has already created a hole in the ozone ring above the earth which has been serving as a protecting cover against harmful radiation from the sun. If the ozone layer is destroyed, the effect of the sun’s rays may be disastrous. All nations are now worried about this threat. All that needs to be done to avert this danger is to reduce the pollution of the atmosphere caused by automobiles and industrial effluents. The uncontrolled development of industries has to be checked. Development should be in the common interest, to promote the welfare of all.
- The Navarathri celebration is an occasion for revering Nature and considering how natural resources can be used properly in the best interests of mankind. Resources like water, air, power and minerals should be used properly and not misused or wasted. Economy in the use of every natural resource is vital. Pollution of the air has many evil consequences. The inner significance of observances like Nagarasankirtan and bhajans is to fill the atmosphere with sacred vibrations and holy thoughts. – SSS vol. 25:30, Inner Significance of Navarathri Festival
- The basic significance of Devi Navarathri is the adoration of Prakruthi (Nature). Devi refers to Bhudevi (Mother Earth). All the vital requirements of man can be found in the earth. Those who travel to the moon have to carry with them the oxygen, water and food they need from the earth. None of these can be found on the moon.
- Today’s world is experiencing many troubles and worries and also there is so much pollution all over. Even I am affected by this pollution!!… I am speaking all the time, in My house and also here so my voice has become weak and to add to that because of this pollution, water and the food are polluted and so my voice has become much more weaker. From Discourse 092906 Sai Kulwant Hall
- “Natural calamities like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts and floods are the result of disturbances in the balance of Nature caused by reckless exploitation of natural resources.”
- “What is the cause of droughts and floods which occur in the world? Man seeks to enjoy the benefits of Nature without any restraint or regulation. The result is the imbalance of Nature which has grave consequences.”
- “The Tsunami is the result of human behaviour. It has nothing to do with God. All this is because of what man has made of man and not because of what God has made of man.”
- “Our primary task is to purify the environment which is affected by pollution of air, water and food. All the five elements are affected by pollution. People should, therefore, try to reduce the use of automobiles and control the emission of harmful industrial effluents.” SSS vol 26:4
- Today, all the five elements in the world–space, air, fire, water and the earth–are polluted. You cannot get pure water or pure air. The sounds you hear are impure. The earth is polluted. The Kali Yuga has become Kalmasha Yuga (the age of impurity). To purify all this the only means is chanting the names of the Lord.” — Sri Sathya Sai Baba, 3rd March, 1992.
- Not only in the field of education, but changes have now crept in the area of health. Earlier, people used pitchers, plates, and pots made of clay by local artisans. After some time, stainless steel utensils replaced the clay utensils. But now plastic pitchers, plates, and pots have come into vogue. These plastic articles have exposed man to great dangers. The plastic bags and other articles have created enormous waste material which is not biodegradable. Even if you bury it underground, it does not decompose and remains as it is even after many years. Much land is being spoiled by this plastic waste. Vegetables grown in such land are harmful to man. In this way, many harmful changes have crept in the life of man today. – Divine Discourse, Sai Kulwant Hall, 22 Aug 2007, 21st Anniversary of the School ofBusiness Management, Accounting and Finance of Sri Sathya Sai University
NATURE IS THE BEST TEACHER
- A tree gives shade to others and takes nothing for itself. It gives fruits to others but does not itself partake of them. A plant sprouts beautiful flowers and gives joy to others but does not enjoy the beauty by itself. The sun is constantly at work, giving life, light and energy to the world. Does it ask for anything in return? No it performs Nishkama Karma, that is, action without the desire for reward. These are some of the examples of the selflessness of man. If only man watches and studies Nature carefully, he can imbibe a lot of philosophy from it which will help to make him a better person. – (Sathya Sai’s Amrita Varshini p 24)
- The five elements are all aspects of God. Because of their Divine origin, our ancestors worshipped them as the embodiments of Divinity. They adored them as goddess of Earth, various goddesses representing Rivers, god of Fire, god of Wind and god of Space. Only use the five elements to the extent necessary. Do not misuse them. Baba
- There are many valuable lessons to be learnt from Prakrithi (Nature). Trees distribute their fruits and grant their shade to everyone, even to those who lay their axe on them with intention to destroy them! Mountains suffer heat, rain and storm without demur (protest), and are plunged in meditation for ages. Birds do not hoard for years together, the wherewithal for food or shelter; they do not use more than is absolutely necessary for their survival. Nature is your school, your laboratory, the gateway to liberation and the reflection of God’s manifold majesty. Seek to know the lessons it is ready to teach; all things in Nature are Brahman (God) just as you are. So, every act is Divine; all work is worship; build the mansion of your life on the strong foundation of the faith that all creation is Divine. – TFTD July 28, 2007
- The whole world is a university for you. You can imbibe wisdom from the sky, clouds, mountains, rivers, daily phenomena of sunrise and sunset, seasons, birds, trees, flowers, and the insects in fact, from all beings and things in nature. Do not worry that you have no mastery of Sanskrit; samskara [sacraments] is enough equipment for the university that lies around you. Sanskrit is the language of the ancient scriptures and of classical literature; samskara is the language of the heart, the refined medium of fruitful communion with nature, in all the manifold outpourings of divinity.
- The world is a great teacher, a constant guide and source of inspiration. That is the reason why man is placed in the world. Every bird, every animal, every tree, mountain and star and each tiny worm has a lesson for man, if he has but the thirst to learn. These make a world a veritable University for man; it is but a Gurukulam (a school for spiritual learning) where he is a pupil from birth to death. Thought for the day 14th January 2008
- Nature is a preacher; life is a teacher. Knowledge is not to be derived from books alone. Nature is to be accepted as a better instructor. By its forbearance, unselfish bounty, patience and serenity, Nature is continually proclaiming its inherent and true role of the preacher of spiritual truths. Consider, for instance, a tree. It offers shade and distributes fruits to whoever approaches it. It bears no feelings of hatred or vengeance even towards those who cause injury to it. It seeks no reward from those who benefit from it. Everyone should learn this lesson in selfless service from the tree. Thought for the day 7th November 2008
- “During a marriage function, our ancients used to erect a Pandal with green leaves. What was the reason? During marriages and other functions, a large number of people gather at one place. In those days, even the illiterate villagers knew the scientific principle that the green leaves take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, absorb carbon and release life-giving oxygen for us. In those days, villages were located in the center of a vast forest, where ample supply of oxygen was available to the people. That is why they were free from diseases. Heart diseases were not even heard of. Asthma had no existence at all; so was eosinophilia. Trees do so much good to man by giving life sustaining oxygen. People are not able to realize this truth. They are cutting down trees with increase in population with the result that today there is deficient supply of oxygen. In this way, we are ourselves inviting dangers for us.” – Divine Discourse, 16 June 1996
WHAT WE LEARN FROM NATURE
- “You take the example of trees which bear sweet fruits for others, but do not themselves eat them. Similarly, cows give milk to others, but they themselves do not taste even a drop; rivers provide copious supply of water for the people, for animals and birds too; but they do not drink even a sip of it themselves.”
- “Learn lessons from the sun, moon, clouds, and the sea. All are teachers of prime importance of discharging one’s duty without complaints. Mountains endure the sun, rain, and storm without demur and are plunged in meditation for ages, teaching us on devotion to God.”
- “The birds take no thought for the morrow and are content to live on what they can get. They teach man the lesson of contentment and indifference to the future.” (18-7-1989)
- “The birds are satisfied with what they get to eat each day. They do not store food. Thus they teach the sacred lesson that one should not be worried about the future. (poem) Birds teach the lesson that one should not be worried about the future.” (25-8-1999)
- “Birds, beasts and trees display the spirit of sacrifice.” (20-2-1992)
- “All creatures, like birds, fish, sheep and others are serving man in different ways” (Sathya Sai Speaks, vol. 21)
- There is no greater example of selfless love than Nature. – Baba
- “I derive great pleasure from watching wild animals in their own habitat. Their movements, their relations with others of their own kind, their free, uninhibited lives are very attractive to behold. They do not grieve, lamenting their misfortune, comparing their fate with other denizens of the forest. They do not plan or prepare to earn positions of power and authority over other animals. They are not eager to accumulate possessions that are superfluous.” – Baba
- “Non-violence means not causing harm to any living creature by thought, word and deed.”
- “Compassion toward all creatures is the greatest virtue, willful injury to any creature is the worst vice. Have full faith in this; spread love and joy, through compassion, and be full of joy and peace, yourself.” (25-10-1974)
CEILING ON DESIRES
- “Do not waste the elements, nor misuse them.”
- “In order to protect Nature, man has to practice a ceiling on desires. He should not trigger the negative aspect of Nature. Care should be exercised in providing comforts as excessive comforts may spoil man’s mind and cause misery instead of happiness. Nothing good can be achieved without certain restraints. Because of the advancement of technology and provision of excessive comforts, life has become mechanical and spirituality has declined.” (Madras, Jan. 21, 1993)
- “Man should realise that there should be no excessive indulgence in any desire, whether it be food or other necessities.” – SSS 30:24
- “Essentially, there is no conflict between man and creation; just as a child is entitled to enjoy the milk from its mother and the bee is entitled to enjoy the honey from flowers, there can be no objection to man enjoying the resources of nature. But as a result of uncontrolled desires and reckless exploitation of natural resources, Nature is exhibiting frightening disorders.” – SSS 30:04
PRACTICAL LESSONS FROM SWAMI
(Posted by: Kumar Mahadevan, Oct 5, 2010 ([saibabalist] Digest Number 2698)) – Taken from talks by Dr.Anil Kumar:
Once Swami started reading letters in front of us. He opened an envelope and took out the letter. A boy had written two lines on a long white sheet of paper. There were only two lines on the top. The rest of it was blank. What did Baba say? He tore it there and gave that remaining white paper to a boy saying, “You use it. I don’t want you to waste anything, not even white paper.” Further Baba said, “Don’t waste food. Food is God. Don’t waste time. Time waste is Life waste. Time is God. Don’t waste energy. Don’t waste water. Don’t waste money. Waste of money is evil.” He taught these wonderful lessons to the boys who were assembled that afternoon.
I recall one of Bhagavan’s visits to the boys’ hostel. He got out of the car and immediately He said, “Hey, come here! On the third floor, a fellow has not turned off the water tap there in the bathroom. Go and close the tap! After using it, you should turn the water off. You should not let the tap run and waste water.” That’s what Bhagavan said.
You must have also noticed that when He calls you for an interview, Bhagavan goes into the room first. As you all go in and sit down, He switches on the fan Himself and the moment you leave, He will turn it off. Why? “Don’t waste energy. Don’t waste electricity.”
Bhagavan sets the finest example for all of us to learn from His own life. That is why Bhagavan has every authority to say, “My life is My message. My life is My message.” As He does not waste anything, we should follow His example and not waste anything either.
SAI BABA QUOTES FROM THE BOOK “TREAD SOFTLY” BY TINA K. SCHWEICKERT
Whatever man seeks to achieve, he has to rely on Nature. Nature is not anyone’s private property. It belongs to God. Without the grace of the Lord no one can enjoy the benefits of Nature. Not realizing this truth, some people embark on the exploitation of Nature, out of arrogance and self-conceit. This is highly misconceived. – SSS vol. 22:17
Mountains help man to build houses by using stone slabs, quarried from them. Trees provide the timber for constructing houses and also firewood for domestic use. Among animate beings, every creature, from an ant to an elephant, is of assistance to man in one way or another. Cows provide nourishing milk to man. Bullocks are useful for ploughing the fields and helping to grow food crops. All other creatures like birds, fish, sheep, and others are serving man in different ways. – Sathya Sai Baba 1988
“Look upon external Nature as the vestment of God, the expression of the Will of God, the manifestation of His Glory, His Power, His Might, His Majesty. See these in every blade of grass, in every floral petal, every slice of fruit. Learn lessons from the rivers, the mountains, the stars and the sky. Through this worshipful attitude to man and beast, plant and stone, you can become aware of your own Self. – Sathya Sai Baba, Voice of the Avatar Part II, chapter on “Dharma,” Nos. 2 & 57 (in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 32)
“Nature is more progressive than man, so to protect it, man should only exploit it within limits. When man tampers with Nature recklessly, it reacts adversely and trouble arises. In order to protect Nature, man has to practice some ceiling on his desires. He should not trigger the negative aspect of Nature. – Sathya Sai Baba, “The Predicament of Man Today,” Discourse 21-1-1993 (in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 55)
“On account of the stupendous temperature in the core of the sun, enormous quantities of hydrogen, several million tons, get transformed into helium every second. By this process, which began with creation and will go on for aeons of time, a tremendous quantity of energy is radiated from the sun. If even a tiny fraction of the solar energy that reaches the surface of the Earth were to be put to use, intelligently and diligently, the needs of the human race would be met in adequate measure….Using electronic devices and associated instruments and facilities, we should devise effective steps to convert part of the sun’s energy to productive and humanitarian use.” – Sathya Sai Baba, “New Horizons For Sai Institute,” Discourse 4-3-1993 (in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 56)
“In controlling the forces of Nature, the balance should not be upset. In dealing with Nature, there are three requirements. The first is knowledge of the laws of Nature. The second is the skill to utilize the powers of Nature for human needs. The third is to maintain the balance among natural forces. It is the disturbance of the balance that has led to such consequences as soil erosion, pollution of the atmosphere, etc.” Sathya Sai Baba (in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 58-9)
“Today in many parts of the world, Nature is causing various disasters such as earthquakes, famines, floods and volcanic eruptions. What is the reason? The spiritual lapses of man account for these calamities. Disturbances in the human heart are reflected in earthquakes.” – Sathya Sai Baba, “Glory of the Lord’s Lotus Feet,” Discourse, Oct. 7, 1993 ((in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 59)
“God is the echo of the hills, the flutter of the leaves, the whisper of men, the babble of children, the OMthat is wafted everywhere.” – Sathya Sai Baba, “Music of the Spirit,” Discourse, 13-8-78, (in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 59)
“Mankind is not making the necessary effort to understand the relationship between himself and the phenomenal world. These two are very intimately related to one another. The relationship is the same as between mother and child. Just as the child is fed by the mother’s milk, so should man enjoy the gifts of nature but, instead, he is like the greedy man who killed the goose that laid golden eggs, thinking he could extract all the eggs in one lump! Such acts of folly are being committed by scientists today, by exploiting Nature’s gifts beyond all limits, creating a disastrous imbalance resulting in earthquakes that spell danger to humanity. Those who apply scientific discoveries without discrimination are to be blamed for this. They fail to consider with true deliberation, the effects of excessive depletion of the natural resources. They have no concern for the harmful effects that accrue to society from their inventions.” – Sathya Sai Baba, “The Predicament of Man Today,” Discourse 21-1-1993, (in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 60)
“You must recognize that you must accord to others the same amount of freedom which you claim for yourself. Freedom is thus interdependent and cannot be absolute or unrestricted.” – Sathya Sai Baba, Discourse at the Summer Course in Brindavan, 31-5-1990 (in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 149). That recognition of the need to “accord to others the same amount of freedom which you claim for yourself” forms the bedrock upon which right decisions are made. Throughout life there is a constant need to make decisions, and Baba gives us a very simple yardstick by which we can judge the action to be taken: is what one is thinking of doing likely to harm someone, either now or later? Is it ecologically harmful? Is it going to be harmful to oneself, spiritually speaking? If the answer is ‘no’ to all of these questions, then go ahead. (In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 149)
“Love all God’s Creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s Light. Love the animals, love the plants. Love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better everyday, and you will come at least to love the whole world with an all embracing love.” – Sathya Sai Baba, Discourse 1-4-1995 (in In His Image by Madeleine Guillemin, p. 159)
EXTERNAL POLLUTION IS A REFLECTION OF INTERNAL POLLUTION
Divine Discourse delivered during Summer Showers in Brindavan, 15 May 2000
Because of man’s misconduct and immoral behaviour, there is pollution everywhere – in air, water, land, and food. All the five elements have been severely contaminated, consequent to man’s unbecoming behaviour. If man behaves properly, is pollution of the elements conceivable? It is all due to the extensive prevalence of immoral feelings and improper behaviour. The sharp decline of virtues like love, compassion, and forbearance is directly responsible for the wide-spread pollution that one sees today. In fact, one might even say that the five elements are afraid of man! The five elements as God created them are all pure and sacred. There is nothing wrong with them whatsoever. It is man’s misconduct that has caused them all to become polluted. Impurity within gets reflected as pollution without. Here is an example.
The water of river Ganges is pure. However, if you fill a coloured bottle with the water of Ganges, it would appear coloured. If the bottle is red the water would seem red while if the bottle is blue the water too would appear blue. Where does the colour come from? From the water or the bottle? Ganges water is intrinsically pure; the colour is therefore due to the bottle holding the water. The human being is like a bottle. If evil thoughts dominate, the body indulges in bad actions; if good thoughts prevail, the body performs good actions. The body is not responsible for the actions; the thoughts that propel the body are. Bad feelings, bad thoughts and bad company provide the stimulus for bad actions. You must understand this basic fact.
You should have good thoughts and aim at purity in character. Recognising the five elements as God’s gifts, their sanctity must be preserved. They must be made use of in a proper and befitting manner. Why do you sing bhajans? Enquire deeply into the meaning of this practice. Bhajan singing provides an opportunity to chant the Lord’s name in a sweet and pleasant manner. The vibrations associated with the divine Name then suffuse into the atmosphere and cleanse it; the pollution present is wiped out. Thus, the basic purpose of bhajans is to convert bad into good.
As is the flame, so is the smoke.
As is the smoke, so is the cloud.
As is the cloud, so is the rain.
As is the rain, so is the crop.
As is the crop, so is the food.
Therefore, if the food has to be pure, then smoke must be the starting point, i.e., the flame. When trash is burnt, the polluted smoke percolates all the way to food. And when such food is consumed, diseases result. Contaminated food is thus responsible for most of the bad thoughts and actions one sees today. Seawater is salty but when it evaporates, the vapour is free from salt. Subsequently, the vapour becomes a cloud, which too contains pure and sweet water. The rain that comes down brings this pure water to the earth. This is God’s Love manifesting as rain, bearing water as pure as that of Ganges. In a similar manner, buddhi (intellect) the blazing sun must distil away all bad feelings. What results would be the vapour of good qualities. When sufficient vapour accumulates, there results the rain of love. The cloud from which the rain comes is truth. Thus, truth is the source of the love drops. The rain of love ultimately gives you the crop of divine Grace. Therefore, all your thoughts and actions must be pure and sacred.
If you constantly chant the name of God, the polluted atmosphere would automatically get purified. The divine vibrations originating from the chant of the divine Name mix with the atmosphere and spread everywhere, indeed throughout the world. A radio programme is broadcast from Delhi but in a fraction of a second you can hear it here. How? Because of the propagation of vibrations. Therefore, good sounds and holy vibrations generated by bhajan singing will propagate, purify the atmosphere, and help in the production of good food. In addition, when you breathe purified air, it also helps to keep out bad thoughts.