> Nature - Manifestation of Divinity
Nature - Manifestation of Divinity
Understanding Nature holistically:
Today Nature is endangered due to various human activities. As a result, there are many initiatives being carried out to address different aspects of Nature preservation. The initiatives often address an immediate crisis situation. However Nature-preservation efforts will be fragmented and short-lived if Nature is not understood as a whole. When Nature is understood as a whole, we will grasp our interconnection with Nature, and will see how Nature fulfills our lives. Once we understand this, we will go towards a new type of civilization based on Nature, where Nature preservation is not out of crisis, but due to our interconnection with Nature. The ancient sages preserved Nature when Nature was bountiful and there was no need of preservation. Why did they do that? Because Nature preservation was not preservation for them but an interconnection with the whole.
The ancient wisdom of the Vedas and Puranas saw Nature with the eye of wisdom. They did not approach Nature by materially analyzing its different parts and trying to grasp the sum-total of it. Such an approach is more or less a materialistic approach which sees Nature apart from us. On the other hand, they approached Nature spiritually trying to understand where the Heart of Nature lies. They found out that Nature is a spiritual being almost like an incarnation of God, an incarnation which is most tangible and visible to us.
To understand that ancient wisdom, we need to understand Bhoomi, the Earth Goddess, representing the fullness of Nature. She is not apart from us, but envelops us like a Mother. We are interconnected with the ecosystem of Bhoomi. By understanding Bhoomi, we will understand how mountains, forests, rivers and oceans are related to us, not as separate entities, but as a whole. We will understand that our interconnection with Bhoomi itself is our sustenance, both materially and spiritually. Life will become more satisfying to us, and through Bhoomi we will understand many aspects of the greater life itself.
Bhoomi - The Earth:
Stotras of Bhoomi Devi:
Ancient wisdom about Bhoomi:
1. Bhoomi is upheld by Divine forces:
2. Bhoomi flourishes in the presence of Dharma, Penance and Divine personages:
- Bhoomi is held by Cosmic Divine Laws (Satyam Brhad Ritam) - Bhoomi Sukta v1: Bhoomi is held by Divine forces. Therefore Bhoomi is not under the control of human beings, individual or collective. The goal of human beings should not be to control Nature and extract from Her as much as possible. Human beings should see Nature with a worshipful attitude and then accept Her bounty. Nature is there to give us, not only materially but also spiritually.
- Devas protect Bhoomi sleeplessly with vigilience (Yam Rakshanti Asvapna) - Bhoomi Sukta v7: Bhoomi is upheld by Divine forces, therefore the Devas protect Bhoomi with vigilence. Bhoomi Sukta describes Bhoomi as All-Giving (Vishwa Daani). Everyone is sustained by Bhoomi. If Bhoomi is in danger, the life of everyone is in danger. So the Devas protect Bhoomi with vigilence. When Bhoomi is endangered by human activities, there will be consequences from the divine plane which will give a chance to human beings to correct themselves.
- The sages found that the Heart of Bhoomi lies in the highest Spiritual Sky enveloped by Truth and Immortality (Yasya Hrdayam Parame Vyomant Satyena Aavrtam Amrtam Prthivyah) - Bhoomi Sukta v8: According to Bhoomi Sukta, the sages tried to understand the real nature of Bhoomi through yogic powers. They performed penance sitting above sea and lying immersed in the sea. They found that the Heart of Bhoomi lie in the highest Spiritual Sky (Vyoman) which is enveloped by Truth and Immortality. Therefore Bhoomi is essentially Divine. It is like an incarnation of God nearest and most tangible to us. Therefore Bhoomi needs to be looked at with a worshipful attitude.
- The Aswins measured out the Bhoomi (Yam Ashvinav Amimatam), Vishnu strode on Her (Vishnur Yasyam Vicakrame) and Indra made Her soul free from enemies (Indro Yaam Cakra Aatmane Anamitram Shaci Patih) - Bhoomi Sukta v10: The Aswins (Divine Physicians) measured out the Bhoomi, i.e. filled Her with life-sustaining Herbs; Vishnu strode on Her, i.e. blessed Her with Divine Qualities, and Indra made Her soul free from enemies, i.e. made Her soul the friend of all bereft of enemies. So She is like the Mother of all filled with Divine Qualities.
- Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Varaha Avatara to rescue the Earth - Srimad Bhagavatam 3.13: Lord Vishnu assumed the incarnation of Varaha Avatara to rescue the Earth from the clutches of demon Hiranyakasha. He lifted the Earth from under the waters with His tusk.
3. Bhoomi degrades in the absence of Dharma and Penance:
- Bhoomi is held by the Penance to realize Brahman (Diksha Tapo Brahma Yagna) - Bhoomi Sukta v1: Bhoomi is upheld by Divine forces and not human ego. Penance to realize Brahman (Absolute Consciousness) uncovers the Divinity within us. It is the same Divinity which upholds Nature. So there is a divine consonance. We see that sages and spiritually-evolved persons love Nature naturally. They feel the divine consonance with Nature. The hermitage of ancient sages were in Nature in peaceful surroundings.
Nature will flourish in places where people perform penance (through meditation or worship). Penance sets up spiritual vibrations in a place and Nature flourishes in place where spiritual vibrations are set up. Nature acts as a store-house of spiritual vibrations. When people come in contact with Nature in a holy place, they evolve spiritually.
- Bhoomi flourished during the presence of Sri Krishna - Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.40 & 1.11.12: Kuntidevi says that by the grace of the glance of Sri Krishna, the cities and villages (Janapadas) are flourishing with Herbs and Plants (Oushadhi), Vegetables (Virudha), Forests (Vana), Hills (Adri), Rivers (Nadi) and Seas (Udanvanta).
Also, the city of Dwarka (the kingdom of Sri Krishna) was filled with the opulences (Vibhava) of Nature in all seasons (Ritus) and had a holy atmosphere. There were Trees (Vriksha), Creepers (Lata), Hermitages (Ashrama), Orchards (Udyana), Gardens (Upavana), Parks (Aramaih) and Lotus-Ponds (Padma Aakara) all around increasing the beauty of the place.
- Bhoomi produced everything abundantly during the reign of king Yudhishthira - Srimad Bhagavatam 1.10.4 & 1.10.5: During the reign of king Yudhishthira, the Rain-god (Parjanya) showered rains abundantly, the Earth (Mahi) produced everything abundantly and the cows full of milk used to moisten the grazing ground. The Rivers (Nadi), Seas (Samudra), Mountains (Giri), Vegetables (Savanaspati), Creepers (Virudhah) and Herbs (Oshadhi) satisfied all the seasonal needs.
4. Bhoomi is the witness of our Past, Present and Future:
- During the advent of Kali, both Dharma in the form of Bull and Bhoomi in the form of Cow were reduced to one leg - Srimad Bhagavatam 1.16.18-22 & 1.17.24: In the age of Satya, Dharma in the form of a Bull had four legs - Tapa (Austerity), Shauca (Cleanliness), Daya (Mercy) and Satya (Truthfulness). In the age of Kali, the three legs of Dharma are broken due to Irreligion (Adharma), Pride (Smaya), Lust & wrong association (Sanga) and Intoxication (Mada). Dharma is somehow hobbling with only one leg (of Satya), and Kali is trying to destroy even that leg.
One day Dharma met Mother Earth in the form of a Cow while wandering. She had tears on Her face and was grieving like one who lost her offspring. Mother Earth said that She had lost Her three legs and is standing on only one leg. She told about the degradation in the age of Kali. Due to the absence of sacrifice, the demi-gods are bereft of sacrificial offerings. Living beings are suffering due to famine and drought. Children are left forlorn. Brahmanas are acting against the principles of religion. Administrators are putting the state of affairs in disorder. Human society in general are not following the rules and regulations of good life.
- When demon Durgama took hold of the Vedas, due to the absence of Agni and Homa there was absence of Rains, and the Earth became completely dried up and waterless - Shatakshi Mahatmyam - Devi Bhagavatam 7.28: In the Shatakshi Mahatmyam (Shakambari Mahatmyam) of Devi Bhagavatam the relationship between Nature and Yagya is brought out. Demon Durgama, getting a boon from Lord Brahma took control of the Vedas. As a result the Brahmanas forgot the Vedas and consequently Ablutions, Sandhya Vandanams, regular Homas, Sraddha ceremonies, Yajnas, Japas etc. disappeared from the surface of the Earth. Due to the absence of Havis the Devas became weak and were defeated by the demons. Due to the absence of Agni and Homa there was absence of Rains, and the Earth became completely dried up and waterless. The lack of Rains existed for hundred years and led to the death of many people and lot of cows, buffaloes and other animals. In all the houses the dead bodies of people got accumulated, as there did not exist anyone to perform the final rites. It was a great calamity. Devi Shakambari incarnated during this time by the prayers of the Brahmanas and saved the Earth by slaying demon Durgama and rescuing the Vedas.
This is an incident where the lack of Penance (Penance taken in a broad sense to include Vedic rites, Japas etc.) affected Nature because the Devas became weak due to the absence of Havis.
5. We are connected with the ecosystem of Bhoomi for our material sustenance:
- Bhoomi is the consort of our Past and Future (Bhutasya Bhavasya Patni) - Bhoomi Sukta v1: Our relationship with Bhoomi is not of a single life. As we evolve life after life (i.e. birth after birth) Bhoomi supports us both materially and spiritually in each life. Bhoomi is the witness of all our past lives and will be the witness of all our future lives. The Divine which knows all our past, as if, has Its eyes and ears in Nature.
- In Bhoomi our Forefathers lived and performed their activities in earlier times (Yasyam Purve Purvajana Vicakrire) - Bhoomi Sukta v5: Bhoomi is related not only to us but our forefathers also. In Bhoomi did they live and performed their activities. Bhoomi sustained them materially and spiritually, and had been the witness of their lives also.
6. We are connected with the ecosystem of Bhoomi for our spiritual development:
- Bhoomi bears many Plants and Medicinal Herbs of various potencies (Nana Virya Oshadhi) - Bhoomi Sukta v2: Our lives are sustained by the food we take and those food (and medicines) come from the plants and herbs. Bhoomi bear those plants and medicinal herbs. Those plants and herbs have various potencies which are required by our bodies to be in a healthy state. "Balanced diet" signifies diversity of potencies to keep the body healthy. This in turn depends on Bhoomi bearing plants and herbs with diversity of potencies. So our little bodies are connected to the greater body of Bhoomi and derives nourishment from it.
- In Bhoomi is contained Food which She manifests when ploughed (Yasyam Annam Kristayah Sambabhuvuh) - Bhoomi Sukta v3 & v4: We require food to sustain our body. All the food is contained in Bhoomi. So Bhoomi sustains us by providing us the food we require. To get the food we require to plough the field. There is a spiritual angle to it which will be explained later.
- In Bhoomi is woven together Waters of all Oceans and Rivers (Samudra Uta Sindhur Apo) - Bhoomi Sukta v3: Like food, our body is sustained by water. We also require water for various activities. All the water comes from rivers and oceans. Bhoomi holds together all the oceans and rivers in her and thus provides the life-sustaining water to us.
- Bhoomi is the dwelling place of all in the World (Jagato Niveshani) - Bhoomi Sukta v6: Bhoomi is the foundation on which we live. Bhoomi is the dwelling place of all in the world. Therefore Bhoomi sustains us not only with food but with shelter.
- Bhoomi bears the Universal Fire (Vaishvanara) - Bhoomi Sukta v6: Bhoomi bears the Vaishvanara or Universal Fire. According to Bhumi Sukta, this is the fire which empowers Indra and Rishabha (that is, it is the fire which gives energy to everyone). Bhoomi Sukta v12 says that, from the navel of the Earth the vital power emanates and spreads out. Like the fire in the navel of humans provides strength to the entire body, the Fire emanating from the navel of Bhoomi provides power to all beings.
- In Bhoomi Water flows from all sides day and night unceasingly (Yasyam Apah Paricarah Samanir Ahoratre Apramadam Ksharanti) - Bhoomi Sukta v9: In Bhoomi water flows from all sides day and night unceasingly to keep it moist. The flow of water is not only what is seen in rivers and streams above the earth's surface but also takes place below the earth's surface. This water like the veins of the body keeps the entire earth moist for vegetation to grow. Our sustenance is interconnected with this flow of water. Therefore our lives are connected with the ecosystem of Bhoomi.
7. Bhoomi fills our lives with Diversity:
- Bhoomi extends unimpeded Freedom in our lives (Asambadham Badhyato Manavanam) through Her mountains, slopes and plains (Udvatah Pravatah Samam Bahu) - Bhoomi Sukta v2: We all want true happiness which we find only when we discover the freedom within us. This freedom is not the external freedom to do anything, but the Divine freedom experienced as a result of awakening of Divine consciousness. Bhoomi helps us to awaken this freedom through her vast landscapes of mountains, slopes and plains. Anyone who visits the vast mountains feels a tinge of Oneness with the Vast (Bhooma Ananda). Bhoomi, as if, reflects the vastness of our consciousness externally and shows us that we are really Divine.
- In Bhoomi is contained Food which She manifests when ploughed (Yasyam Annam Kristayah Sambabhuvuh) - Bhoomi Sukta v3 & v4: We require food and water to sustain our body. But that is only physical sustainence. Our lives are not meant only to eat and drink. Our lives are meant for spiritual development. Bhoomi takes care of our spiritual development also.
For spiritual development we require flow of energy directed towards God, i.e. we need to work for others in the spirit of worshipping God. Then we gradually realize the Divine presence amidst everything. Bhoomi helps us in this activity by manifesting the food contained in Her only when the field is ploughed. Food is not given out ready-made. The ecosystem of Bhoomi requires the activity of ploughing to get food. This activity of ploughing done for others in the vast landscape of the field directs the flow of energy towards the vast (if done with the right attitude). This, as if, cultivates the field of our lives (Kshetra) internally. The result is gross food to sustain our gross body, and development of character to evolve us spiritually.
- In Bhoomi the Devas overturned the Asuras since earlier times (Yasyam Deva Asuran Abhyavartayan) - Bhoomi Sukta v5: In Bhoomi the good forces (Devas) overturned the evil forces (Asuras) since earlier times. So spiritual development by overcoming the evil forces is going on in Bhoomi since earlier times. Bhoomi acts as the container of life where the soul of the man keeps evolving birth after birth.
- O Mother Earth, may Your Hills and Snow-Clad Mountains, and Your Forests spread delight in us (Girayas Te Parvata Himavanto Arannyam Te Prthivi Syonam Astu) - Bhoomi Sukta v11: Pure Nature has a refreshing quality which spreads delight in us. This delight is not from the mental-level but felt deep within. Seeing the vastness of mountains and pure greenary of forests gives a sense of the soul within us. This delight cannot be replaced by any indoor entertainment, which though provides stimulation for sometime, does not leave us with a sense of spiritual delight in the long run.
- O Mother Earth, on Your firm foundation which is unconquered, unslayed and unbroken whole, I stand firm (Ajite Ahato Akshato Adhyashtham Prthivim Aham) - Bhoomi Sukta v11: Contemplating on the firm foundation of Bhoomi, which is unconquered, unslayed and unbroken whole, we will get the conviction that our lives will also be firm and whole (because we are connected with Bhoomi). When the difficulties of our lives tries to shake us, we will remember that we are still standing on Bhoomi, the firm foundation, underlying which is the unbroken whole of divinity.
- In Bhoomi, the Earth spreads out like a Sacrificial Altar and the activities of the world are like Yagya (Yasyam Vedim Parigrhnanti Bhumyam Yasyam Yajnyam Tanvate Vishva Karmanah) - Bhoomi Sukta v13: Bhoomi is Divine manifestation. Bhoomi is held by Divine forces. Dharma and Penance sustains Bhoomi. The goal of our lives are to experience the Divine. Bhoomi symbolically spreads Herself as a Sacrificial Altar where our activities can be performed with the attitude of Karma Yoga. The activities then become like the oblations to that sacrificial altar. The various sounds of the activities of the world are like the chants of the Yagya. When the oblations are given (with the attitude of Karma Yoga) they rise up to the purifying upper layers, thus purifying us by expanding our inner selves.
8. Bhoomi acts as a role-model of Virtues:
- In Bhoomi resides the four Directions of the World (Yasyash Catasrah Pradishah Prthivya) - Bhoomi Sukta v4: The four directions points to the diversity in our lives. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The wind blows from other directions. We get different stimulations from different directions and this brings about different mental states. Each direction has a presiding deity. Thus the directions bring about diversity in our lives; and the directions reside in Bhoomi.
- Bhoomi presents a Vishwarupa with many colours - Babhru (Brown), Krishna (Blue) and Rohini (Red) (Babhrum Krishnam Rohinim Vishvarupam) - Bhoomi Sukta v11: Bhoomi presents a Vishwarupa with Her many colours - Babhru (Brown) of the Mountains, Krishna (Blue) of the Rivers and Rohini (Red) of the Flowers. These diversity of colours are like a natural festivity in Nature. We are often left wonderstruck by this creation of God. Indeed it is like a Vishwarupa of Bhoomi.
9. Bhoomi is our Mother:
- Bhoomi is Vishwambhara - The all Bearing (Vishwambhara) - Bhoomi Sukta v6: Bhoomi is called Vishwambhara because She sustains all. Bhoomi sustains everyone without expecting any return.
- Bhoomi is Vasudha - The producer of all Wealth (Vasudha) - Bhoomi Sukta v6: Bhoomi is called Vasudha because She produces all wealth. Bhoomi gives out that wealth to all without expecting any return.
- Bhoomi is Hiranyavaksha - Having Golden Bosom (Hiranyavaksha) - Bhoomi Sukta v6: Bhoomi is called Hiranyavaksha or one with golden bosom. This is probably because of the Universal Fire which She holds within Her, the fire which gives power to everyone.
- Bhoomi is Vishvadani - The All-Giving (Vishvadani) - Bhoomi Sukta v7: Bhoomi is called Vishvadani because She is the All-Giving Mother. She gives everything to everyone without expecting any return.
- Bhoomi is Dhruva - Firm and Immovable (Dhruva) - Bhoomi Sukta v11: Bhoomi is called as Dhruva because She is Firm and Immovable. This is a great ideal of life. To accomplish anything great, one needs to be Firm in the ideal and Immovable against various distractions which tend to shake us. Remembering Bhoomi will help us imbibe this quality.
- O Bhoomi Mata, I am the Son of Mother Earth (Mata Bhumih Putro Aham Prthivyah) - Bhoomi Sukta v12: Seeing the various qualities of Bhoomi and how She sustains us, we start to acknowledge that Bhoomi is our Mother. We are safe if our lives are closer to Mother Earth (like the Son of Mother Earth), and various problems arise in life, even threatening our very existence if we get separated from Mother Earth.
Other sections on Nature:
- Nature Stotras
- Poems of Rabindranath Tagore
- Parks in Chennai
- Plant Nurseries in Chennai