Nature - The manifestation of Divinity
Go to Top
Qualities of Bhumi Devi:
- सत्यम् (Satyam): She is Sustained by Truth
- बृहदृतम् (Brhad-Rtam): She is sustained by the Divine Cosmic Law
- दीक्षा_तपो (Diikssaa_Tapo): She is sustained by Tapas (Penance)
- ब्रह्म_यज्ञः (Brahma_Yajnyah): She is sustained by Brahma Sadhana
- पृथिवी (Prthivii): She is the Earth
- भूतस्य_भव्यस्य_पत्नी (Bhuutasya_Bhavyasya_Patnii): She is Consort (Witness) of the Past and the Future
- असंबाधं_बध्यतो (Asambaadham_Badhyato): She extends Unimpeded Freedom to All (through Her Mountains and Plains)
- नानावीर्या_ओषधीर्या_बिभर्ति (Naanaaviiryaa_Ossadhiiryaa_Bibharti): She bears many Plants and Medicinal Herbs of various Potencies
- यस्यां_समुद्र_उत_सिन्धुरापो (Yasyaam_Samudra_Uta_Sindhuraapo): She holds all Waters, of Rivers and Oceans
- यस्यामन्नं_कृष्टयः_संबभूवुः (Yasyaamannam_Krssttayah_Sambabhuuvuh): She manifests the Food when ploughed
- यस्यामिदं_जिन्वति_प्राणदेजत् (Yasyaamidam_Jinvati_Praannadejat): She bears All Lives within Her
- यस्याश्चतस्रः_प्रदिशः (Yasyaashcatasrah_Pradishah): She bears the Four Directions
- यस्यां_पूर्वे_पूर्वजना_विचक्रिरे (Yasyaam_Puurve_Puurvajanaa_Vicakrire): She has sustained our Forefathers
- यस्यां_देवा_असुरानभ्यवर्तयन् (Yasyaam_Devaa_Asuraanabhyavartayan): She is the witness of Good Forces (Devas) overturning the Evil Forces (Asuras) since earliest times
- विश्वंभरा (Vishvambharaa): She is All-Bearing
- वसुधा (Vasudhaa): She Produces Wealth for All
- प्रतिष्ठा (Pratisstthaa): She is the Foundation on which we live
- हिरण्यवक्षा (Hirannya-Vakssaa): She is of Golden Bosom, Sustaining All
- जगत (Jagata): She is the World
- निवेशनी (Niveshanii): She provides the Dwelling Place for all
- वैश्वानरं_बिभ्रती (Vaishvaanaram_Bibhratii): She holds the Universal Fire (Vaishvanara) within Her Bosom which sustains us
- विश्वदानी (Vishvadaanii): She is All-Giver
- भूमि (Bhuumi): She is the Earth
- हृदयं_परमे_व्योमन्त्सत्येनावृतममृतं (Hrdayam_Parame_Vyomant-Satyena-Aavrtam-Amrtam): She is in essence Divine, Her Heart lies in the Highest Vyoman (Spiritual Sky) enveloped by Truth and Immortality
- यस्यामापः_परिचराः_समानीरहोरात्रे (Yasyaamaapah_Paricaraah_Samaaniir-Ahoraatre): She holds All Waters, which Flows within Her Day and Night from all Sides and sustains us
- यामश्विनावमिमातां (Yaam-Ashvinaav-Amimaataam): She was measured by Ashwinis, i.e. the Ashwinis filled Her with Herbs and Healing qualities
- विष्णुर्यस्यां विचक्रमे (Vissnnur-Yasyaam_Vicakrame): She was blessed by Vishnu Who strode over Her
- इन्द्रो_यां_चक्र_आत्मनेऽनमित्रां (Indro_Yaam_Cakra_Aatmani-Anamitraam): She is the Mother and Friend of All, Indra has made Her Heart free of Enemies
- विश्वरूपा (Vishvaruupaa): She decorates Nature with many Colours and Forms
- ध्रुवा (Dhruvaa): She is Firm and Steady
- इन्द्रगुप्ता (Indra-Guptaa): She is Protected by Indra [Vedic]
- अजीत (Ajiita): She is Unconquered
- अहत (Ahata): She is Unslayed
- अक्षत (Akssata): She is Unbroken Whole
- यच्च_नभ्यं_यास्त_ऊर्जस्तन्वः_संबभूवुः (Yacca_Nabhyam_Yaasta_Uurjastanvah_Sambabhuuvuh): She holds the Vital Power in Her Navel which emanates and sustains All
- माता (Maataa): She is our Mother
- यस्यां_वेदिं_परिगृह्णन्ति_भूम्यां (Yasyaam_Vedim_Parigrhnnanti_Bhuumyaam): She has laid Her Ground as a Sacrificial Altar (for us to progress Spiritually through activities in the spirit of Yoga)
- यस्यां_यज्ञं_तन्वते_विश्वकर्माणः (Yasyaam_Yajnyam_Tanvate_Vishvakarmaannah): She assumes the form of a Sacrificial Altar and spreads all Activities of the World as Yagya (for us to progress Spiritually)
- यस्यां_मीयन्ते_स्वरवः_पृथिव्यामूर्ध्वाः_शुक्रा_आहुत्याः (Yasyaam_Miiyante_Svaravah_Prthivyaamuurdhvaah_Shukraa_Aahutyaah): She makes the Sounds of All Activities rise up like Chants of Yagya (for us to become Pure and progress Spiritually)
- मानवा_येभ्यो_ज्योतिरमृतं_मर्त्येभ्य_उद्यन्त्सूर्यो_रश्मिभिरातनोति (Maanavaa_Yebhyo_Jyotiramrtam_Martyebhya_Udyantsuuryo_Rashmibhiraatanoti): She makes the Immortal Essence of Human Beings in this Mortal World rise up and diffuse with the Rays of the Rising Sun (thereby depicting that the Immortal Essence of Human Beings are same as Her Immortal Essence, and Divine Human Beings are one with Divine Nature)
- From Bhumi Sukta
Greatness of Nature:
Go to Top
Subsistence - Nature provides for our subsistence:
We depend on nature everyday for our daily food. Like a mother nature provides us with fruits, vegetables and materials of daily use. Also, every moment we depend on nature to get pure air for breathing. Thus nature takes care of our subsistence, so that we can live with a fit body and mind and advance towards higher life.
- Food: Nature provides fruits, vegetables and other food items. See this section on Fruits.
- Water: Nature provides pure water for drinking and other uses through its various water bodies like rivers, lakes and underground water.
- Herbs: Nature provides herbs for health and healing. The science of Ayurveda employs herbs to heal various diseases.
- Raw Materials: Nature provides the raw materials for all the items of our daily use, e.g various metals, wood, other tree-based products like rubber, coir, bamboo etc.
- Habitation: Nature provides habitation for animals in forests and space for human settlement.
Go to Top
Sadhana - Nature provides us the environment for sadhana:
Nature is both like a mother and a father. Like a mother nature provides us with fruits, vegetables and materials of daily use for our subsistence. But this aspect of nature which is visible to us is only its surface aspect. Beyond this, nature like a father provides us with an envelop for sadhana, to experience the greater consciousness of life.
The ultimate goal of human life is to discover the all-pervading spiritual consciousness. For this purpose, a person need to survive with a fit body and mind. Nature provides the foodgrains and other ingredients to make a person subsist happily. After the basic needs of life are satisfied, a person seeks for greater depths in life. The same nature which has provided food also provides fulfillment in life. The vastness and purity of nature provides the subtle envelop for spiritual development. Sages and saints of many religious sects have performed sadhana in nature and discovered the all-pervading spiritual consciousness.
Looking at these twin aspects of nature (of providing subsistence and environment for sadhana), one feels the divine presence behind nature. Nature takes care of complete development of human being - physical, mental and spiritual.
- Hermitages of sages: Nature provides the spiritual environment for sadhana through its tranquility and vastness. The hermitages of rishis were enveloped by nature and served as centers of spiritual development. Refer to Spiritual Realization and Nature and Hermitages.
- Forests for penance: Many ancient sages performed sadhana in forests and became enlightened. Refer to Penances.
Go to Top
Object of Worship - Nature is itself an object of worship:
Nature not only provide the spiritual environment for sadhana, it itself is often the object of worship. Various divinities have taken the form of nature as per the puranic traditions. By worshipping their various aspects in nature, we become pure and fit to pursue higher levels of sadhana.
We feel a sacredness in nature by looking at it with reverence and with a holistic outlook. We feel the planet is a living planet with the forests, rivers, lakes, sky, birds, animals etc and we are part of it.
- Suryadeva: The greatness of the Sun God is described in Suryashtakam.
- Ganga: Sri Adi Shankara describes the greatness of river Ganga in Ganga Stotram.
Ganga Aarti is held at Gangotri Ganga Temple (Uttarakhand), at Haridwar Har-ki-Pauri Ghat (Uttarakhand) near the Ganga Temple, and at Kashi (Varanasi) Dashashwamedh Ghat.
- Yamuna: Sri Adi Shankara describes the greatness of river Yamuna in Yamunashtakam.
Yamuna Aarti is held at Vrindavan Kesi Ghat (Uttar Pradesh).
- Narmada: Sri Adi Shankara describes the greatness of river Narmada in Narmadashtakam.
Narmada Aarti is held at Amarkantak Gwari Ghat at Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh).
- Tulasi: Sri Pundarika describes the glory of Devi Tulasi in Tulasi Stotram.
- Shaligrama: Sacred stone of the Vaishnavas.
- Rudraksha: Sacred tree of the Shaivas.
- Pancha Bhootas: The Pancha Bhootas associated with the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams.
- Pantheism: Pantheism describes nature as identical to divinity in whose wholeness God is immanent.
Go to Top
Festivals - Nature inspires celebration of Festivals:
As an extension to the worship of Nature are various festivals, which are celebrated to pay homage to various aspects of Nature. Nature inspires the celebration of these festivals. Some of the festivals are associated with puranic events and Nature provides the holy background for celebration of these festivals.
- Adiperukku: Festival to pay tribute to the life-sustaining properties of water. Celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month Adi (Jul-Aug). People offer pujas to the rivers.
- Chhath Puja: Festival worshipping the Sun God and his consort.
- Ganga Dussehra: Celebrates the descent of river Ganga after being released by sage Jahnu.
- Garh Ganga Mela: Bathing fair at Garmukteshwar (Ghaziabad district, UP) during Karthik Poornima.
- Kumbha Mela: Held on the banks of the following rivers - Ganga at Haridwar, Triveni Sangam at Prayaga, Godavari at Nashik and Shipra at Ujjain.
- Lohri: Harvest festival celebrated in Punjab during winter.
- Magh Mela: At Prayaga
- Makar Sankranti: Harvest festival celebrated all over India which marks the arrival of Spring.
- Pongal: Harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu.
- Pushkaram: Bathing festival of the 12 major rivers of India, held once in every twelve years for each river. The first 12 days of Jupiter's entry into the rashi (corresponding to the river) and the last 12 days of Jupiter's exit from the rashi are considered specially auspicious for bathing.
- Ratha Saptami: Festival worshipping the Sun God during the harvest season.
- Teej: Festival celebrated in North India to welcome the monsoon season.
- Vaisakhi: Harvest festival of Punjab.
- Vasanth Panchami: Festival celebrating the arrival of spring.
Go to Top
Pilgrimages - Nature preserves the holiness of the pilgrimages:
Many sacred pilgrimages are situated in the midst of nature. Nature provides tranquility and sanctity to those places. The essence of the devotion of the pilgrims visiting those places for ages are preserved by nature as spiritual vibrations. By visiting them our minds become pure and imbibes the holy vibrations of those places.
- Amarkantak:: Refer to Amarkantak, the place of origin of river Narmada.
- Amarnath:: Refer to Amarnath, the holy pilgrimage of Shiva inside a cave.
- Kailash Mansarovar: The great pilgrimage at Tibet.
- Uttarakhand Char Dham: Refer to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
- Manikaran: The place of Shiva-Parvati at Himachal Pradesh.
- Vaishno Devi:: Refer to Vaishno Devi, the holy pilgrimage of Ma Vaishnavi inside a cave at Katra, near Jammu.
- Vrindavan:: Refer to Vrindavan, the land of Sri Krishna.
Go to Top
Spiritual Heritage - Nature preserves the spiritual heritage:
Nature provides us with food and items of daily use for our subsistence. This ensures that we live with fit body and mind. Nature provides us with an environment for sadhana and helps us to realize the all-pervading spiritual consciousness and thus to get the ultimate fulfillment of life. Nature does not stop here. Nature preserves the spiritual heritage of a country or place for future generations.
Many sages and saints of various religious sects have performed sadhana in nature and discovered the all-pervading spiritual consciousness. These sadhanas make the place holy. Nature preserves the essence of these sadhanas for future generations in the form of subtle spiritual vibrations. People with pure minds can feel these vibrations in pilgrim places. This is much more than preserving the spiritual history of a place in books. Books can give information, but not the direct touch of holiness provided by nature. Nature with its vastness, purity and imbued with spiritual vibrations helps to expand the heart of the sadhaka and take him beyond his ego-self.
Traditional culture of a country is often linked to its rivers, mountains and forests, specially in Bharatavarsha. Many divine incarnations performed their leelas in nature and many saints performed their sadhanas in nature. Many divinities themselves have have assumed the form of nature. Nature distils the essence of goodness of traditional cultures and preserves it as collective memory, generations after generations. These traditional cultures are very important for spiritual development of humanity. Nature is long-living and has a touch of eternity. It preserves the traditional cultures with that touch of eternity which they are meant for. Contemplating on these traditional cultures set in the backdrop of nature gives a sublime touch and leads our bound consciousness towards eternity.
- Descent of river Ganga: The story of the Descent of river Ganga by the penance of king Bhagiratha (from Valmiki Ramayana).
- Descent of river Ganga: The Descent of river Ganga from the holy feet of Sri Vishnu (from Srimad Bhagavatam).
- Descent of Godavari (Gautami Ganga): The story of the Descent of river Godavari (Gautami Ganga) by the penance of sage Gautama (from Shiva Purana).
- Sri Rama and Chitrakoota: Sri Rama staying at Chitrakoota mountain forest during forest exile (from Valmiki Ramayana).
- Sri Rama and Panchavati: Sri Rama staying at Panchavati forest during forest exile (from Valmiki Ramayana).
- Sri Krishna and Vrindavana: Sri Krishna, Balarama and cowherd boys enjoying the nature of Vrindavana forest (from Srimad Bhagavatam).
- Shakambhari Mahatmyam: The incarnation of Devi Shakambhari for providing food to the hungry and vanquishing of demon Durgama (from Devi Bhagavatam).
Go to Top
Poetry - Nature reveals the poetry in life:
Life is full of struggles for survival, personal interactions and countless events. It often tires the body and burdens the mind. This is because most interactions happen within a small scope of consciousness, the scope of the ego-consciousness of persons. We do not get the deep fulfillment in such interactions because internally we are seeking the infinite. Nature reveals the beauty of life from a bigger scope of consciousness. The beauty of the six seasons, the beauty of the sunrise and sunset, the beauty of the rivers, mountains and forests, the beauty of the moonlit sky. Nature is like the great poet who reveals the poetry of the bigger life. Without this poetry, the greater life will forever remain hidden to many.
The greater life revealed by nature is the source of celebrations of many festivals. Many festivals are intimately related to nature, where nature and divinity intermingles to give us a sense of wholeness outwardly as well as inwardly.
The nature which subsists us and facilitates our sadhana, also makes the journey of self-realisation happy through this poetry.
- Poems of Rabindranath Tagore: Sri Rabindranath Tagore describes the beauty of nature (in Bengali with English translation).
Go to Top
Ecosystem - Nature teaches the cycle of ecosystem:
How are humans and so many living beings related to each other? Nature provides the ecosystem to which they belong. There are interdependencies at multiple levels. The sun's rays provide food for the trees, the fallen leaves nourish the soil, the earthworms purifies the soil. There are many many interdependent events taking place which add to the whole. But these interdependencies are not like bondages. Nature provides the underlying vastness and purity where we can feel our beings as part of a vast existence, and these interdependencies as part of that existence. Each one as if carries a part of nature within himself and takes part in the greater ecosystem. There is a human-divine commingling in this ecosystem which gives us the joy of a deeper sense of existence.
- Gaia: The Gaia hypothesis describes the Earth as a self - regulating living being.
- Deep Ecology: Deep Ecology describe ecology as the primary whole of which human systems are part. They call for an ecocentric view of values that place ecological concerns at the heart of all human culture and development.
Go to Top
Dharma - Nature is sustained by dharma:
The Bhumi Sukta of Atharva Veda starts by saying that the Nature is sustained by Satyam (Truth), Ritam (Divine Law) and Tapas (Austerity and search for the Absolute Reality). We are part of Nature. Whenever there is decline in dharma in human society, it will get reflected in nature.
In Shakambhari Mahatmyam of Devi Bhagavatam, a demon after doing severe penance propitiated Lord Brahma. As a boon he asked for the Vedas. As a result the brahmanas forgot the vedic mantras and rites. All yagyas stopped and the devas could not get their havis. As a result, the earth was engulfed with a severe draught which killed so many people that there was no one left even to cremate the bodies. This incident illustrates the interconnection between Vedas (signifying principles of dharma and search for Truth), the divine forces and nature.
The present society is undergoing serious ecological crisis which is wiping off large number of species and vast tracts of nature from the earth. The environmental analysts are pointing to the key causes of human greed and consumerism for this. Thus decline of dharma is reflecting on nature.
- Shakambhari Mahatmyam: The story of Devi Shakambhari distributing fresh fruits and vegetables to the hungry and vanquishing the demon Durgama.
Go to Top
Freedom - Nature provides freedom to the flow of energy:
Human beings get happiness by engaging in activities. It is not possible to remain static even in the best of surroundings because this develops an inertness within which hides our inner freedom and make our lives feel stifled. Activities give happiness if the flow of energy is towards freedom. If the goal of work is bound within small-consciousness, the flow of energy will get small-consciousness as its final end and feel stifled. Nature is by itself vast and pure and has the underlying divine freedom in it. By contemplating on this freedom during work makes the energy flow towards this freedom. Such an energy flow removes inner bondages gradually and makes us feel greater freedom within.
Shiva and Shakti are twin aspects. Shiva is the vast freedom.There is a bondage of individual consciousness limiting the sense of freedom. Activities.are the flow of Shakti travelling over Shiva and as if trying to measure him. This becomes a play if Shakti is allowed to flow over Shiva. If Shakti is constricted within small-consciousness, there will be misery. If activities are tuned with the vastness of nature, there will be sense of greater freedom.
We are part of Nature - We and Nature are part of the same underlying Consciousness:
When a person reaches the height of spiritual realisation, he / she experiences the same underlying consciousness in himself / herself and Nature. We and Nature are part of the same unity of God. They are inseparably connected. By harming Nature we are harming ourselves. Nature is such a beautiful manifestation of God that by nurturing Nature and orienting our lives towards Nature, we orient our lives towards the greatest freedom of life.
Go to Top
Go to Top
Go to Top