The United Nations established Earth Day in 1970 to promote environmental awareness and protection. The Day is celebrated globally on April 22nd every year. Sri Sathya Sai Baba has said we each have five mothers, our biological mother (Deha mata), the cow for its milk (Gomata), our cultural heritage (Veda mata), the country in which we thrive (Desha mata), and the earth (Bhu mata) itself. Sri Sathya Sai Baba spoke frequently about Nature (Earth). He lovingly describes the need for humans to manifest the inherent human values of truth, righteousness, peace, love and nonviolence which positively affects the balance of nature.
Greed disturbs balance of Earth
Man should put a ceiling on his desires. As man’s conduct is perverted, today we find natural calamities taking place. You are aware of the devastation caused by the earthquake in Gujarat. Thousands of people lost their lives. The reason for this is that man is entertaining excessive desires. God maintains perfect balance in His creation. In God’s creation, the earth and the oceans are endowed with balance. But man is indiscriminately exploiting the earth for extracting oil. Everyday tons of fish are caught from the oceans. This indiscriminate exploitation of nature results in imbalance in earth, which is playing havoc with human lives. Only when man is free from Kampam (unsteadiness) within, will he not be troubled by Bhukampam (earthquake). Not only the people of Bharat but also the people of the entire world should strive to maintain balance. The five elements are nothing but manifestations of the Divine. Man’s life will be secure only when he realizes this truth and acts accordingly.
A few days ago, I had sent Lorry loads of rice, grams, etc., to the earthquake victims of Gujarat. Some people asked “Swami, why should you take the trouble of spending so much money for sending the relief material to Gujarat. You could have as well averted the earthquake.” I replied, “My dear, man has to blame himself for the earthquakes. Due to excessive greed for wealth, he is disturbing the balance of the earth. Hence the earthquake. That is the law of Nature. You have to express your love for man by helping the needy. Love is your nature. Just as balance is very much essential for Nature, so also love is very much needed for man. Know that whatever God has created is for your own welfare. You should enjoy Nature according to your need. You should not rob Nature of its resources to satisfy your greed.
Here is an example. Once a greedy person owned a duck, which used to lay a golden egg every day. One day, he ripped open the stomach of the duck thinking that he would get many golden eggs at a time. Today man also is indulging in such foolish and greedy acts. Instead of being satisfied with what Nature is giving him, he aspires for more and more, and in the process, creating imbalance in Nature. Today scientists are interested in new inventions. The advancement in science and technology has also led to imbalance in Nature. As a result, there are earthquakes and no timely rains. Science should be utilized only to the extent needed. Science has its limitations, and crossing those limits leads to danger. You have a long way to go. Adhere to truth and righteousness. Our ancient sages said, Sathyam Bruyath, Priyam Bruyath, Na Bruyath Sathyamapriyam (speak truth, speak pleasantly and do not speak unpalatable truth). Make proper use of natural resources and do not put them to misuse. Help everybody and make them happy. Share all the good things you have learnt with others. This is your foremost duty.1
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.2
Human Life will find fulfillment only when ecological balance is maintained. Balance in human life and balance in nature, both are equally important.3
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.4
Each one of us interacts with the environment every single day, both directly and indirectly. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, how we travel, our use of electricity and water, how much air transport we use, the amount of waste we produce, the thoughts we have, all impact our environment. In every action, we can choose to be more conscious and act in a way that cares for our environment. Observing 'Earth Day' and becoming more aware of our individual and collective choices daily, will help us restore the natural balance, so that man and Mother Earth can coexist in peace and harmony.
1. Sri Sathya Sai Baba, February 21, 2001
2. Sri Sathya Sai Baba, October 4, 1970
3. Sri Sathya Sai Baba, September 25, 2000
4. Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, April 15, 1995