Nature is your school, your laboratory, the gateway to liberation, and the panorama of God’s majesty. Seek to know the lessons it is ready to teach.
Sathya Sai Baba, October 4, 1970
Nature is the vesture of God
Nature is a great gift of God to humanity, but even more important, it is the vesture of God. The ultimate truth is that Nature is the manifestation of God. Every cell, every atom, every moment in the universe is permeated by divinity, which is love itself. We owe our very existence to Nature. Like a compassionate mother, Nature nurtures us, sustains us, and protects us by giving us food, water, air, land and natural resources that often are taken for granted.
Nature is also a supreme teacher, for she teaches us love, patience, forbearance and sacrifice, which can be experienced by observing the interactions of trees, plants, animals, rivers, lakes and other natural phenomena.
Our attitude to such a compassionate Mother Nature should be one of awe, reverence and gratitude. But unfortunately, instead of being grateful, man is the only being in creation that is abusing nature with unbridled greed and selfishness, while other species continue to live within their prescribed limits, respecting the laws of Nature and utilising its gifts sparingly, thankfully and respectfully. On the other hand, man also has the unique capacity to correct his outlook and conduct.
Man's unbecoming conduct is causing havoc
Man, in the past few decades, has been abusing the natural elements, polluting the air, water and soil without regard for their ill effects, extracting fossil fuels to satisfy his never-ending desires, destroying forests that support life itself, and eliminating the natural habitats of many species, to name a few. The consequences of these reckless actions are obvious and are being manifested in premature deaths, ravaging diseases, destruction of species and their natural habitat, as well as various natural disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, floods, droughts, forest fires and other calamities that are taking a heavy toll on humanity.
For example, in 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that air pollution is responsible for about one in every nine deaths annually, and scientific studies have shown that air pollution affects even unborn children. Climate change, leading to global warming is currently an immense threat to the planet – negatively affecting the Earth and all life on this planet, as explained in more detail in this booklet.
Many concerned people, including faith leaders, national governments, community leaders and environmental stewards are now taking action to increase our awareness and mobilise resources to protect Mother Earth – for the good of all creation.
How to re-establish balance between man and nature
Sathya Sai Baba has said that pollution outside is a reflection of pollution inside our minds. The fundamental cause of our environmental problem is man’s greed, selfishness and disregard of the laws of Nature, caused by excessive desires and neglect of the innate human values of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence. The best way to address this problem is to practise placing a ceiling on our desires – such as reducing petroleum consumption, plastic goods and water usage – along with other positive actions so that we do not waste precious natural resources unnecessarily.
We should also practise the basic human values with respect to Nature by manifesting love for all creation and the Creator, for Nature is a reflection of the divine. Our love must encompass all creatures and creation and be expressed in our thoughts, words and deeds.
Sathya Sai Baba, the universal teacher, and other great masters have not only warned us about the dangers we are facing today but also told us about ways to correct our behaviour and attitude to re-establish rapport with nature.
Actions speak louder than words
The Sathya Sai Organisation has implemented many initiatives to instil love for Nature, the practice of ceiling on desires, and the practice of human values with respect to the environment. Many environmental projects have been and are being implemented in India and around the world, as part of the divine mission, such as landmark solar projects in Prasanthi Nilayam and in Thailand; planting trees for reforestation in Azerbaijan, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Moldova, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa and USA; and cleaning beaches and riverbanks in Canada, Dubai, Ghana, Mexico, India, Nepal and Russia, to name a few.
Numerous public outreach initiatives such as: public meetings, Walks for Values, interfaith meetings and community projects are addressing environmental protection and restoration, and raising public consciousness about this important subject around the globe.
The way forward
The Go Green Conference proposes to implement our vision of living in harmony with Nature by conducting study circles, practising ceiling on desires at the personal level, using eco-friendly materials and practices at Sathya Sai Centres, Groups and other venues, incorporating environmental awareness in educational curricula and SSEHV, and public outreach programmes.
The conference material shows ways to, for example, reuse, recycle and reduce consumer products, buy local produce, use less energy, use fewer chemicals at home and in industry, and reduce our carbon footprint by changing the ways we travel. These and other wonderful ideas and concepts are discussed further in this booklet and will be deliberated upon at the conference.
The conference resolutions will be implemented by individuals, communities and countries through the efforts of the Sathya Sai Organisation.
Finally, when we are in harmony with Nature, we will be happy and peaceful and make our fellow beings happy. This is the best way to express our gratitude to Mother Nature and God. Each one of us can contribute to make our environment clean and habitable, not only for ourselves and our fellow human beings, but also for the flora and fauna that share this planet with us – thus fulfilling the divine commandments of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: “Love all, serve all; Help ever, hurt ever.”
Jai Sai Ram.
Dr. Narendranath Reddy,
Chairman, Prasanthi Council
Sathya Sai International Organisation
Human life will find fulfilment only when ecological balance is maintained. Balance in human life and balance in nature, both are equally important.
Sathya Sai Baba, September 25, 2000