Articles, Environmental - Written by on Saturday, September 19, 2009 3:00 - 0 Comments

Peace with Nature: Talk by Bri. Dipamrita Chaitanya

July 24th, 2009 at the 5th European Youth Exchange held at M.A. Center Germany

We may ask: How is peace on a spiritual, social and political level related to ecology? Or why do we need to respect the laws of Nature to give peace a chance? Or how can ecology be a way to peace?

We know that for peace to be present in relationships, we have to understand that we are related to each other, interdependant, and we have to take the needs of others into consideration along with our own.
Then we as human beings also have to see and aknowledge that we are connected to and depend on an environment. And that this environment might also have some needs and that for peace to have a chance these needs have to be respected.

Amma says, “Nature is like a duck that lays golden eggs. But if we kill the duck and try to take all the golden eggs at once, then we will lose everything. We should stop polluting and excessively exploiting Nature. We have to protect Nature in order to ensure our survival and the survival of future generations. Nature is the wish-fulfilling tree that gives humanity all fortune. But today, our situation is like that of a fool cutting the tree branch upon which he is sitting.”

I feel that this quote is complete and describes the situation we are in at this moment very well.

Amma further says: “Today, the biggest threat to mankind is not a third world war, but the loss of harmony in Nature – the widening division between man and Nature. This is why we should develop the awareness of a person at gunpoint. Only then will humanity survive.”

We hear a lot about the climate change. We also hear about the problem of energy supplies and non-renewable energy like oil and gas. But according to some experts, the main threat regarding conflict in the world will be over the shortage of food. And scientists predict that the west will not be spared.
Actually there are 15,000 to 20,000 children who die everyday of hunger. And in fact the earth has the capacity to feed them.

There is a solution for the food problem, which lies in the strength of the very soil itself – in the humus. Humus is decomposed organic material in the soil. It has the power to make the earth fertile so that we can grow what we need. The root of the words humility and hummus are the same and so symbolically speaking humus represents humility. It offers itself in humility, welcoming the seeds and the rain. And when the seeds fall into the humus they become one and creation takes place. This is what industrial agriculture is destroying.

Picture Combine HarvesterThe problem first started with use of chemical fertilizers. Fertilizers were the first important contribution that came from industry to agriculture so that things could be grown in higher quantities and faster. Unfortunately they destroy the effective microorganisms in the soil and this was allowed to happen because people believe the soil to be a simple substratum and not as a living organism.
Then came the machines. And for the machines to be able to run, all the trees and forests of large areas had to be cut down.
There is no more refuge for the wildlife and fauna. Where will the little animals hide and be protected? Where the birds will sit? The destruction goes on and the situation becomes more serious.

Another catastrophe can be seen when we move from ‘earnings one’s bread’ to ‘earnings one’s beefsteak!

  1. For 1 kilo of meat to be produced 10 kgs of cereals are used.
  2. The soil is being destroyed by chemicals and animals are seen as a source of protein instead of living creatures. For example the battery farming that is seen on chicken farms is just torture, damaging and a shame!

Picture Battery FarmingWe reached what we thought was a maximum of absurdity with the mad cow disease, cows becoming mad because they were fed with fish flour, when they should have been eating grass. Is it mad cow or mad scientist?

I could go on and on. There is so much suffering which is the result of all these actions and violence inflicted on Nature. This is also reflected in human beings’ mentality. The things that Nature teaches us such as patience, respect and that there is a time for everything is fast disappearing.
There is a saying “as in the heart, so in the earth.” Does the way we treat the soil reflect how we treat the life within each other and ourselves?

What will be destroyed next? The human being? Humanity.
Actually, we are already there. There has been an epidemic of the suicides of many farmers in places like India, and there are many diseases that are surfacing because of chemicals and unhealthy food.
In general, the elements of water, air and food, which are the source of life, are becoming the friends of death.
On a more humorous note instead of saying ‘bon appetite’ before eating diner, we should say ‘good luck’!

The industrial agriculture of today represents a civilisation that has given full power to greediness and exploitation of the living. This is a tragedy with multiple consequences.
Amma says, “The wall of separation between humans and Nature is created mainly by the selfish attitude of humans. They think that Nature has been created only for them to use and exploit in order to fulfil their selfish desires.”
The destruction of Nature is actually the destruction of humanity.

But it is too late to be pessimistic. We have to be active. We have to stop and reverse the situation.

This ecological crisis, the point that we have now reached, gives us only two choices:

  • Either we change
  • Or we disappear.

This crisis has brought all the mistakes, the blindness, the greed and the selfishness out into the open. Even if it is difficult to change and even if we try to postpone these problems in the short-term we come to the point where we have no choice. We have to change. We have to replace greed with sharing, selfishness with solidarity and ignorance with discrimination. This crisis can actually lead us to right action.

To be able to do that, to get the energy for it, and to change in the right way, we need to re-discover the miracle of Nature, we need to hear what Pierre Rabhi, a sage and visionary, calls ‘the symphony of the earth’. We have to rediscover that everything has been so perfectly organised.

Picture SpringI will share with you what I have experienced at the M.A. Center France in Pontgouin. In winter, the red berries, the bushes and the trees cannot be seen. You may see a piece of wood or a branch. You may look at the scene and wonder if there is any life there. Then as March approaches you can see a very small green dot coming from that piece of wood. The next day it is bigger. And if you look at it and feel it, connect to it, you will see the energy of creation. You feel it, it is so strong, so powerful, an irresistible force. It is coming from the earth. We can understand a lot about the workings of nature, how a seed germinates etc. But the source of the intelligence, which is the origin of this impulse, is a mystery. And this is a mystery that cannot be reached with the mind. One can only admire it, revere it and feel with awe the sacredness of this harmony and beauty. You can just contemplate it and love it.

It is this love, which will be the driving force for us to move forward and find solutions.
So the crisis can be the basis for a social change, a paradigm shift, which introduces or rediscovers a relationship of love and respect and peace between humanity and the earth, our mother. If we understand that this is the only way and we feel this is the right thing then it is possible for us humans to transform ourselves from destructive parasites to healers, and take care of our mother.

Taking this approach is much more than just restoring the balance of the earth, which is very necessary, but it is also linked to creating a deep feeling of respect and responsibility within each human being towards life. It is reconciliation with Mother Earth and also with the feminine principle which embodies the feminine qualities of patience, forbearance, humility, softness and peace.

Amma says, “Mother Nature is responsible for our birth and bringing us up.
We grow surrounded and nourished by her bounty: therefore it is our supreme duty to look after her and repay our debts to Nature.”

In the past the idea behind many religious practices were for human beings to recognise their connection with Nature and the whole of creation. By establishing a loving relationship between man and Nature, they ensured both the balance of Nature and the progress of the human race.

This does not mean that we must go backwards in time. We can use what we have discovered in this modern time for practicing service though projects that respect life in all its forms.
The assets of science and technology don’t have to be rejected, but they CANNOT go on serving greed and exploitation.
Unity and solidarity should be chosen instead of competitiveness and division. Humanity has all the means to serve unity.
The new paradigm or new way of thinking, should give priority to the respect of all humans and Nature.

Studies and personal experiences have come up with some ways we can reach a place where everyone can be fed and the world can be more in balance:

  1. Build homes in human size instead of skyscraper-size
  2. Reconsider the organisation of the lands.
  3. Educate the children in values such as cooperation, the interdependence of all things and to show them the beauty of nature and cultivate in them a love and respect of life.
  4. Consider moderation and self-discipline as an art to be practiced to be in harmony within and without, as the notion of progress through material possession has been proved unyielding.

The life we are living now is totally incompatible with Nature in the long run. It seems as if there is an ultimatum to change so that the human race can survive. Will we hear it?
We have to come back to dharma – right action, harmony and balance. Within and without.

Amma says, “Life becomes complete when humankind and Nature move together, hand in hand, in harmony. When melody and rhythm complement each other, the music becomes beautiful and pleasing to the ear. Likewise, when people live in accordance with the laws of Nature, life becomes like a symphony.”

A symphony of peace.

To conclude:
We are witnessing what an uncontrolled power hungry mind and greed leads to: destruction.
We have to change. This is compulsory and is not an option.
The change will be made easy through our love for Nature, her beauty, intelligence, diversity, generosity and our love for her children.

The crisis that we are now seeing in nature is an opportunity to reconnect with Nature, with dharma, and as a result of this, peace will have a chance.

Some pointers to keep in mind:

Eat local – eat organic.
Cultivate your own vegetables and fruit trees.
Respect nature.
Don’t waste. Save energy.
Think global act local.

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