Author: Sathya Shivakumar, Global Member HSTD

As I reflect on Earth Day, Mohanji’s teachings come to mind. We are born on this Earth, which serves as both a platform and a canvas for expressing ourselves and achieving fulfillment. Contemplating life at various levels, as expounded in the scriptures, it seems that life can exist at a seed level with all unfulfilled desires and yearnings, without the platform to experience them. Mother Earth provides us with the opportunity to experience, elevate, and attain the highest human awareness.

Jnanappana, the devotional outpouring by Poonthanam, a devotee of Guruvayurappan, sheds light on the greatness of Mother Earth. It highlights that while there are many Lokas or realms where one can exist, Earth is the only place where one can extinguish the karmic effects and attain liberation.

Verses from Jnanappana extol Earth as the platform that leads to the completion of materialistic and spiritual aspirations.

“Know that this is where you sow the seeds of your karma,
The earth which is your motherland (place of birth),
To exhaust all the residual karma,
There is no other place

To the devotees and the people who aspire to liberation/moksha,
And to those who are materialistic,
Mother Earth fulfills all of their wishes,
Oh, Shiva Shiva! (Praises Lord Shiva)

Lord of creation of the Universe,
Who appears and shines as the mother Earth (earth itself is the God)
To save and protect this mother earth,
All the incarnations of God descended onto this earth,
Thus the earth is special and blessed,
And greatest among all the 14 worlds,
Says those who have mastered the Vedas,
And all the saints and the Vedas itself.”

(Note: According to Atharvaveda (and Puranas), there are 14 worlds – seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. The seven higher worlds are: Bhuh (earth), Bhuvah, Swah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah, and Satyam and the seven lower worlds are: Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasatala, Talatala, Mahatala, and Patala.)

In Bharat, traditionally, we venerate the earth as a mother. Any being or place that nourishes us is addressed as Mata or mother. Once, while feeding a cow, which is addressed as Gomata, my daughter asked me if it has the power to protect itself. This question set me thinking, and after some reflection, I understood that any being that operates unconditionally and in a giving mode seldom protects itself. It is the duty of those who use the resources to take up the responsibility of its protection and conservation.

In one of his satsangs, Sathya Sai Baba stressed on the significance of caring for five mothers: Mother Cow, Mother Earth, Mother Country, Mother Veda, and one’s own mother. In Bharat, the way of life is rooted in the principle of divinity present in all living beings. Earth is not seen as a mere provider of resources for self-gratification but as a divine being with all her children. The manifested universe is viewed as an integral part of the cosmic whole, emanating divine energy, and thus all forms of life are revered. Rivers, in particular, are venerated as Goddesses, exemplified by the reverence given to Ganga, addressed lovingly as Mother Ganga or Ganga Maiya. This bhav, or emotion, invokes an acknowledgment of the divine presence, expressed through myriad rituals and prayers performed in their sacred presence.

Humanity is but a tiny part of this vast world, where every species holds its own significance and value. The Earth, with its majestic mountains, flowing rivers, and life-giving trees, is deeply revered and respected. 

“Samudra Vasane Devi
Parvatha sthana mandale
Vishnu patni Namstubhyam
Pada sparsham Shamasvame

Oh, Mother Earth, The Devi Who has Ocean as Her Garments and Mountains as Her Bosom, Who is the Consort of Sri Vishnu, I Bow to You; Please Forgive Us for Touching You with Our Feet.

Mohanji encourages us to chant this shloka every morning and walk on Mother Earth with humility and reverence.

Some of Earth’s oldest inhabitants, such as rivers and seas, have witnessed the birth and demise of entire civilizations. Some of the trees have seen generations inhaling their oxygen.

This realization of our insignificance in the grand scheme of the universe helps us grasp the intricate dynamics of life. The Earth has undergone countless transformations over the ages, witnessing the fleeting nature of human conquests. No emperor could claim permanent ownership over the lands they once conquered. The Earth has been a silent witness to the ebb and flow of numerous civilizations.

Reflecting on this understanding encourages us to walk with reverence, humility, and detachment, recognizing the profound interconnectedness of all life forms on this planet. This also helps us to shed our greed and make progress towards conscious living.

As humans, we are blessed with higher awareness. As Mohanji often says, it is time we give back to the Earth more than what we take. This is a way of clearing the debt that we owe for utilizing Mother Earth’s resources. Saints and great Masters had walked this land as though they never walked here. Avadhutas and saints who need nothing also come down to the marketplace. Mohanji once shared an interesting story wherein even saints who did not have material possessions were reminded to share their “tapo shakti”, or the powers of their penance, with the world. This highlights a greater responsibility to give back to people like us.

At the individual level, it means elevating our frequency and contributing to a society where peaceful coexistence thrives. However, in current times, we find ourselves increasingly disconnected from nature and other beings, driven by growing insensitivity and greed, which lies at the root of much chaos. This sense of human superiority leads us to misuse technology and processes, causing widespread damage and destruction, and throwing life out of balance. Our treatment of animals, tortured and killed for food and pleasure, further lowers the vibrations of the Earth, evident in the collective consciousness. This is reflected in the unprecedented challenges we face, exemplified by recent events like the pandemic. To find light in these challenging times, we must internalize the teachings of liberated Masters and strive to resonate with love, kindness, compassion,  humility and embrace Ahimsa in thought, word, and action.

It is a time that we express our gratitude to Mother Earth for her nourishment. We must acknowledge that even with all the riches in the world, life would be arduous without access to pure air and water. It is crucial to recognize the priceless nature of our resources and exercise caution in their use.

A parallel drawn from the epic Ramayana serves as a poignant reminder for conscious living. Sita, also known as ‘Bhoomija,’ the sweet daughter of Mother Earth, was discovered by King Janaka while plowing the land. King Janaka, known for his dispassion, became her father. Prince Rama, an embodiment of supreme detachment, became her husband. In contrast, the demon Ravana, consumed by ego, pride, and greed, met his destruction when he tried to own Sita by force.

Similarly, Mother Earth, much like Sita, is a nurturing goddess patiently caring for all her children. However, attempting to own her would lead to a fate similar to Ravana’s. She truly belongs to the one who walks with love and detachment. May we strive to awaken the Atma Ram within us and be true guardians of Mother Earth.

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