Nature is our Mother, do not ruin it to fulfil your materialistic desires !

Mr Durgesh Parulkar

The Hindu way of life is a treasure trove of life’s great lessons and instils virtues in all who sincerely follow it. Unfortunately, to our peril, we chose not to follow this great Hindu culture, and hence, are deprived of the precious lessons it offers. This great culture reinforces the thought that – The God Principle is present in all animate and inanimate things.

However, we could not understand and appreciate this unique aspect of our culture. Our intellect and myopic vision are the prime reasons for our casual attitude towards benevolent Mother Nature. Just as we treat the Earth as a Mother, we should regard Nature as our Universal Mother. Hindu culture reinforces the need for all humans to appreciate the God Principle in every object, limit their desire to milk Mother Nature to fulfil their endless greed.

1. The rationale for seeking the God Principle in everything that Mother Nature offers

Everything that Mother Nature offers is precious – trees, land, mountains, air, seas, the wealth buried beneath the Earth, etc. Hence, we typically begin any new activity or project by worshipping these gifts of Nature. This worship is an expression of gratitude towards Mother Nature. If we utilise this precious wealth moderately and judiciously, sustained development and prosperity will follow. However, if we milk Mother Nature, disturb Her peace and equilibrium, it will result in calamities. Hence, to control such a self-destructive human greed, Hindu culture treats these treasures of Nature as Deities. Hindu Dharma and the Hindu way of life deem these treasures precious; therefore, Mother Nature is treated as God so that we remain eternally grateful for everything She offers without asking for anything in return. Hence, we should endeavour to protect these treasures for our sustainable development.

2. Various Committees signal red flags about the Joshimath land subsidence

Cracks appear on the walls of many houses in Joshimath due to land subsidence
Cracks appear on many roads in Joshimath due to land subsidence

The definition of happiness has changed a lot in today’s digital, scientific, fast-paced world. It says our happiness is directly proportional to the number of gadgets and luxury items at our disposal. This myopic perception of happiness has led us to the path of disaster. We have witnessed Nature’s fury on numerous occasions in the recent past. Since the past few weeks, Joshimath, a town situated at an altitude of 6,000 feet in Uttarakhand, has become a topic of national concern, and rightly so. This town witnessed large-scale land subsidence.
Many Committees had warned the Union and the State Government about the impending land subsidence. One such Committee – the 18-member Mishra Committee, chaired by Mr MC Mishra in 1976, included representatives from the Indian Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Security Force, members of the Kedarnath and Badrinath Temple administrations, and the local administration. It conducted a detailed survey and revealed that the soil in Joshimath was loose, and the flooding of the River Alaknanda further eroded the landmass. The Committee warned of dire consequences if the administration failed to take concrete action. Unfortunately, the warnings fell on deaf ears.

3. The consequences of imbalance of Mother Nature

Our greed and material desires in the name of development made us ignorant about various attacks on Mother Nature, and its subsequent loss is a perfect formula for disaster. In this fast-paced digital world, we compare an ordinary and simple lifestyle with the Stone Age. However, living a simple and moderate life is a sign of being educated and cultured, since it maintains a balance between human nature and man’s need to survive, and Mother Nature and Her natural resources. Unfortunately, we have not come to terms with this concept as yet.
We consistently invent objects, manufacture them, spend money and buy new objects to continuously enjoy them. We have created an impression in our mind that only objects give us satisfaction and happiness in the true sense. In this process, we have turned our backs on Nature’s beauty and obtained pleasure from cosmetic charm. To create artificial attractiveness, we trampled upon our natural surroundings and built an artificial world using modern technology and scientific research, and thus, completely altered our surroundings.

The minerals found beneath the Earth’s surface seemed more valuable than the Earth itself. Hence, we deemed the soil worthless. The never-ending desire to have more and more disturbed Nature’s equilibrium. As a result, human life is plagued with different types of pollution – air, water, noise and land. Due to misplaced priorities, we focussed more on the gross, material development rather than on the development of the mind, intellect and thought.

Mother Nature takes billions of years to create its wonders which we refer to as natural resources in common parlance. We, greedy humans, have looted this treasure trove of Nature’s gifts to satisfy our materialistic desires without any shred of remorse. This has resulted in the degradation of the environment and depleted Nature’s coffers.

We destroyed forests, and now we are on the verge of destroying farms. We polluted water streams, rivers and seas with wastewater and effluent discharge. Advanced scientific research brought material comforts unimaginable a few years ago but cost us our health. This greedy attitude has led to an acute shortage of balanced diet, and we have got stuck in a viscious cycle of unnecessary consumption by trampling upon Mother Nature.

4. Electronic waste : A man-made disaster

The biodegradable waste decomposes naturally. However, this is not the case with discarded electrical or electronic devices. Mother Nature cannot break down something She did not create. As a result, we have to grapple with this widespread issue of managing e-waste.
Today, we pat our backs for the conquest of space and consider it a significant scientific achievement of our age. However, in reality, it has proved detrimental to Mother Nature and us. Space launches pollute space since they release defunct artificial objects called space debris. When space gets disturbed, it creates environmental imbalances. Experts believe that space debris can harm marine life, and e-waste has proved deadly for all living beings.

E-waste comprises inorganic constituents. It predominantly contains metals such as mercury, cadmium, beryllium and lead which pollute the environment. When these hazardous constituent metals come in contact with humans or animals, they become susceptible to various diseases.

A metal coating is applied on many electronic items to prolong their life by reducing wear and tear. Consequently, they take years to decompose; hence, they prove detrimental to the environment.

Donald J Kessler, a Senior Scientist for Orbital Debris Research at NASA, published his thesis on space debris in 1978. It posits that collisions between space debris become increasingly likely as the density of space debris increases in Earth’s orbit. A cascade effect results as each collision, in turn, creates more debris that can cause further collisions. This implies that even our most significant scientific achievements, including the conquest of space, have presented us with even trickier challenges.

5. Make every effort to protect Mother Nature

Scientists warn us of the rising temperature on Earth. Climate change has caused the glaciers to melt. Today, we observe the temperatures are significantly different in different parts of the world. Many unprecedented events are testimony to the fact that the sudden change in seasons is quite harmful to the biodiversity of planet Earth.

The only remedy to prevent further environmental damage is to limit our greed and safeguard the habitat of every living creature so that it can lead a happy and healthy life. The Hindu way of life subtly reinforces the same Principle – ‘Nature is our Mother, don’t ruin it to fulfil materialistic desires’. If we do not learn this critical lesson, the world will become helpless sooner than later, and move towards destruction; the Joshimath crisis may prove to be the beginning.

– Mr Durgesh Jaywant Parulkar, Devout Hindu Lecturer and Author, Dombivli. (25.1.2023)

The Hindu way of life reinforces the Principle – ‘Nature is our Mother, don’t ever ruin it to fulfil materialistic desires’ !