THE PROBLEM OF ECOLOGICAL IMBALANCES
– SIKH CONCEPT OF NATURE AND Its spiritual GUIDELINES for CONSERVING Global Ecology –
Social scientists believe that human responsibility towards sustainable development technology of conserving the ecology of the planet is intrinsically religious. All faiths, traditions and religious teachings freely instruct us to care for the natural world and yet the sacred creation ‘Nature’ is being violated all over the world. A religious response is essential to divert attention of humanity towards continuously increasing ecological imbalance and urgent need for its checkmating. Religion is a system of attitude more definitely called Faith, has all along ruled main events of human history. Infact, religion is man’s mainstay and most important life support system. One acts in the way one believes and being an integral part of human culture and civilization, it shows the direction and guidance in which the societal pattern would establish itself. Religious attributes focus invariably upon the perception of environment. We have to remember that, religion, broadly defined would include all the belief systems that allow Homo Sapiens to achieve a sense of transcendence of life consciousness and a sense of the possession of a right of proper place in the universe. Religion also teaches to find legitimate and morally proper ways of living and inculcating a sense of utilizing natural resources to preserve friendly eco-system for the planet. Therefore, this consciousness generates a sense of world citizenship by virtue of common bond to preserve natural resources at all costs as our religious duty.
At the outset of this study we have to acquaint ourselves with the basics of ecology. The science of ecology is the study of living things interacting with each other and with their non-living surroundings to form natural systems or eco-systems. Basically ecology studies the relationship between organisms and their environment. The function of ecosystem is related to energy flow and material cycling through and within the system. Both the environment and the energy fixation in any given eco-system are limited and cannot be exceeded without causing serious undesirable effects. The distortion of environment is classified as ecological imbalances. Alteration in the environment represents selective pressures upon the population to which it must adjust. Organism which are unable to adjust to the changed environment are bound to vanish. Therefore conservation of the natural resources (water, forests, mountains, minerals, flora and fauna) are necessary for the survival of life on the earth. During the last two centuries urban industrial activity as well as energy consumption have increased greatly. Infact modern technology entails the high risk of unavoidable deterioration of the environment which accompanies over production, wastage and over exploitation of forests and mines etc. We have to remember that the natural resources are not unlimited. It is dire need of the hour that man must take serious notice of the limitations of his environment. Unprecedented eco-disasters like over-exploitation of forests have caused havoc in the form of floods, soil erosion, droughts and extinction of many species of birds, animals, fisheries and reptiles, insects and other species. Over 12 millions hectares of forests are estimated to be lost every year. At this rate, forests of the globe are estimated to last for only three decades. Moreover, tropical forests and environment are fast disappearing with its characteristic flora and fauna. The forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Loss of forests is disturbing world climate and destroying eco-systems. In India, the ill-planned construction of hotels and shops in the Himmalyas on the river banks on the roads in the high mountain areas is alarming as it is disturbing ecological system in the hills causing floods, cloud bursting and land sliding etc. The recent example of manmade tragedy in the Kedarnath area of Uttrakhand in the month of June 2013 is a serious eye opening lesson. It is understood that even construction of hydro electric power projects have contributed to environmental degradation causing disaster, floods and loss of human life and property. The Uttrakhand tragedy has laid bare the cost of development when pursued with disregard to ecology. Besides industrial development in plain areas with high power technology, coal, oil, petroleum, nuclear power etc. has added a crucial dimension to ecological imbalances. Global emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by over 46 percent since 1990. Accumulation of harmful gases in the biosphere has polluted the environment tremendously. This state of ecological imbalances is generating abnormal climatic changes over the globe. Similarly acidification of land and fresh water eco-systems, due to excessive industrialization is destroying plant and animal life and causing incurable human diseases. The number of toxic chemicals used by industries has been increasing rapidly and some of these are causing grave damage to human health, especially the radio active fall out. The biotic effects of radiation can be somatic, genetic and ecological. These factors have all combined to bring all mankind together for our common future to meet the global challenge.
It has been scientifically proved that air pollution leads to crime. Researches conducted in USA have brought to light that heavy air pollution caused by heavy metals, Lead, methane and manganese are particularly responsible for crimes of violence and acts of anti-social behavior. Laboratory tests have proved that brain tissues showing effects of Lead prevents the neurocells from performing their job in keeping a stable mechanism in the brain. These cells nourish nerves. Their functions are hindered by metabolic products accumulating in the brain and can block the reception of messenger substances of the brain system. The toxic metals change the brain’s chemistry and it may result in violent behavior which leads to violence, robbery and sex crimes.
With the global warming, pollution will increase the temperature of the earth considerably. The atmosphere contains an array of natural green-house gases. These gases are enough to raise earth’s average surface temperature suitable for life’s existence. The climate change would seriously disrupt serious food production system that already is showing sight of stress, resulting in rapid rise in price index of essential food grains. The scarecity of food and hunger are challenging problems for many countries. India is also facing this difficulty. Recently, Govt of India has passed National Food Security Bill on September 2, 2013 for providing low price food grains to nearly 82 crore people in the country. Other potential dangerous global problems include sea level rise, which would result in coastal flooding and contamination of ground water as well as causing more intense storms and Tsunamis. Natural eco-system is our life support system. We will have great difficulty in adjusting to rapid climate change. The dynamics of friendly atmosphere will collapse.
Destruction of natural green houses is at the peril of humanity. On account of pollution, ozone layer has also been adversely affected. The scientists are warning that the reduction in atmospheric zone will cause more solar penetration of ultra violet-radiation in the land and ocean causing irreparable damage to human organisms and disruption of immune system. The decrease of atmospheric ozone will cause serious eye diseases, skin diseases, allergies and cancer. More and more fatal diseases are threatening the destiny of humanity. The most serious threat from-violet B radiations could seriously reduce yields of major crops and mutation in wide variety of plants, animal species and micro organisms of human body. In spite of our great material, technical and scientific advancement, we live in constant stress and agony of fear of disease, untimely death and destruction. At the threshold of the third millennium, civilization and environment remain issues of the greatest importance.
Human Consciousness of Environmental Degradation
Long ago, the great Greek philosopher Aristotle had advocated that happiness is the result of virtuous living. Our ancient rishes, munies and religious leaders had also professed this eternal Truth. But we have drifted from this ideal art of living.
By his hostile attitude towards nature, man has created ecological imbalances and has brought trouble for himself. For the betterment of humanity, we have to change our negative attitude to natural environment and adopt a different approach for the conservation of nature. We have to chalk out devices and means for sound ecological principles and balanced use of natural resources. At the same time, we have to make sincere efforts to nurture value based cultural and spiritual environment at the global level for preserving pollution free eco-systems and value oriented social organizations for the welfare of the organisms.
The global consciousness for the survival of life on the earth on account of the threat of environmental pollution, has forced people all over the world to think together and make collective efforts to encounter the ghastly challenge of modern industrial and commercial pollution. Organized efforts in this respect have already been initialed by various scientific communities of the world. Even the United Nations Organization has realized the gravity of the ecological imbalances. The impact of these collective efforts have made various nations of the world to participate in the task of reconstructing National Environment in their areas. In this direction, the sacred Sikh scripture, its contents and philosophy provide valuable guidance for environment conservation.
Sikh Scripture: Sri Guru Granth Sahib – An Introduction
Authenticated by its contents and internal evidence Sri Guru Granth Sahib has been universally acknowledged as the world’s first inter-faith scripture. Sri Guru Granth Sahib not only leads us into the Divine spheres of Truth but it also shows us the right path here in this world and an ideal way of leading an integrated spiritual and temporal life for the welfare of the whole humanity. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is very much relevant to the modern man to deal with the fundamental problems of life existence in relation to question that arise out of the selfish nature of man and the exploitation of nature by mankind.
Sikh Concept of Nature
According to Sikh scripture Nature (defined as Qudrat) is the creation of God.1 It is a wonderful gift of God to humanity.2 It has varied phenomenons of flora and fauna.3 There is no scale which can access the values, benefits and virtues of nature.4 The whole cosmos exist as per the Order (Hukam) of the Almighty.5 Only God knows the depth of Nature and the Lord resides in it.6 Nature is sacred and true.7 Awareness of the sacred relationship between human beings and environment is necessary for the survival of life on this earth. Sikhism impresses upon people to respect nature.8 Nature is the key to understand God.9 It is the bedrock of culture and cradle of civilization.10 For the sake of our convenience the anthropologists have divided the vast area of culture into three parts - material culture, cognitive culture and normative culture. It is very interesting to note that nature has been explained in a very subtle manner in all these components of culture in the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.11 The Sikh Gurus instructed people to respect nature and to protect natural resources as a religious duty in order to keep the balance of ecology in harmony.12
The specific features of different seasons of the year have been described by Guru Arjan Dev in detail in Barahmah13 (description of twelve months with spiritual message) incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In appreciation of the beauty of the blossoming (Maula) season (Basant) in the month of Phagun, Kirtan (recitation of the hymns) in Basant Rag is recited daily at Sri Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar the central shrine of the Sikhs popularly called the Golden Temple.
References to nature are frequently found in the holy verses of Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Arjun and Bhagat Kabir incorporated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It is explicitly stated in Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Bhagat Kabir that intellectual curiosity and scientific knowledge are necessary for removing doubts that beset human understanding and that for a properly developed and integrated person, intellectual reasoning and logic are imperative for preparing the mind suitably to make it receptive towards acceptance of Cosmic Order and development of humanitarian attitude towards the environment. Says Kabir:
But to enlighten our mind some holy wisdom needs to be studied.14
Kabir again reminds human beings for ignoring the Divine element of Nature as ‘living creation of God’ even while plucking flower petals for the idol worship of deities which are lifeless. Kabir says:
The stone image for which these petals art thou plucking is lifeless,
Deluded is the flower-girl.
The Lord is the living God even in flowers,
Brahma is the petal, Vishnu the twig, Shiva is the flower,
These three Gods art thou visibly plucking —
Whom dust thou worship?15
The Sikh view about nature is quite noteworthy as it has been allied with socio-economic development and ecological harmony. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism was deeply concerned with the study of humanities and natural sciences and placed great value on the cultural cultivation of mind. He propagated the idea that nature is a precious gift of God. The Guru has highlighted various devices and suggestions in his teachings which have helped us to change the world-view of man’s relationship to his environment. In his hymns, Guru frequently reverts to the appreciation of the varied diversity of the sources of nature and the vast expanse of its potentialities and phases of its enormous canvas. The Guru says; there are myriad forms and layers of nature. Nobody knows the limits of nature created by the Lord. Only Creator knows the depth and mystery of nature.16 But if some one is bestowed with the Grace of God, one can visualize it.17 Guru Nanak’s sense of immense gratitude to the Creator for the enormous store house of gifts of nature is expressed in high aesthetic feeling of intense wonderment (vismad) and yearning of the human soul to once again be united with his beloved (the Supreme Creator, Almighty God).18
According to Guru Nanak to perpetuate greenery for the preservation of life is the vision of the Lord.19 He also emphasized that Nature permeates through socialization of spiritual activities.20
Guru Nanak, while formulating the ecological structure of his teachings has treated nature as a fundamental philosophical concept of Sikhism. The Guru has employed the Arabic term Qudrat for nature but has imparted it a precise philosophical status. It is to be noted here that Guru Nanak in his chosen term Qudrat includes both the Quranic attributes of God’ Al Khaliq (Creator of the World) and Al-Qadir (Controller of the world and nature). Therefore it becomes clear that Guru Nanak employs the term Qudrat to designate nature and cosmos in the sense of the general cosmic order ordained by God. Guru Nanak adopted this Islamic term from the common lingual pool of the medieval Indo-Islamic culture. In Arabic language Qadir means power, strength, nature and omnipotence of God. In Persian language Qadir means power, potency, authority of God, Universe, nature and God. It was this terminology and connotation which Guru Nanak picked up from the cultural parlance of his contemporary world to which he gave a precise meaning and philosophical interpretation. Let us observe the following hymns of Guru Nanak in this context:
The Universal Self has created the individual self and He himself hath created the differentiating names. Thus nature hath He created as ‘the other’ and depositing himself therein, He is in a relation of aesthetic contemplation to nature.21
Guru Nanak explains the phenonom as:
From the True Lord proceeds, the Air and from Air comes Water.
From Water, God created the Three Worlds,
And in every heart He infused his Light.22
According to Sirdar Kapur Singh: “It thus becomes clear that Guru Nanak employ the term Qudrat to designate nature and cosmos in the sense of the general cosmic order ordained by God in contrast to human derivatives from it”.23
Guru Nanak’s idea of Qudrat cannot be equated with the concept of Prakriti of Indian philosophy. Guru Nanak’s concept of nature is more advanced. The Guru presented a whole system of the Prakriti and Purusha hitherto considered as two absolutes by various shades of the Indian philosophical thought. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion. There is no Duality and no place for avtarvaad (reincarnation of God).24 In Sikhism the reality is a non-dual systematic coherent unity. The relation between the Creator (Purusha) and Prakriti (nature) is also real and not Maya illusion. Qudrat is the creation of the God and he is present in it.25 It is also dependent on the Creator at every moment of its existence.26
It is a significant development in the history of Indian philosophy and theology that Guru Nanak had employed an Arabic word Qudrat and had rejected the traditional Indian term Prakriti as a philosophical term as co-related to the concept of nature. It is a unique feature in the history of Indian culture and linguistics that Guru Nanak’s vocabulary cuts across the conventional Indian philosophical terminology. Guru Nanak has not only picked up a non-Indo Sanskrit word but has also imparted it a precise philosophic status. Since then the word Qudrat has attained an exaltation as a fundamental philosophical concept of Sikhism.
Guru Nanak in his bani has retained the term Purusha as fundamental to his system of religion, but he has abandoned altogether the term Prakriti though he was quite familiar not only with the dualism of these terms but also with their philosophic imports as is vouchsafed in his hymns enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikh concept of nature is different from the various forms we find in the entire fabric of Indain philosophy. Apparently, Guru Nanak picked up a non-Sanskrit word for nature primarily to impart such connotation and meaning as would fit in with the basics of the new religion he revealed. The concept of nature in its intellectual base and proper practice breaks new ground in the cultural constraints and prejudices encircling the Hindu mind and its biased attitude towards modes of human communication in languages other than their religious language Sanskrit. Guru Nanak aimed at creating a cosmic man with universal outlook and an elevated soul through spiritual education and social training as to employ his critical faculty and accumulated wisdom for the service of humanity and love of God for the welfare of the global society.
Thus, the status of nature in Guru Nanak’s vision is also encompassed within the time cycle as other creations of the God.27
Man’s Relationship with Nature
In Sri Guru Granth Sahib, concern human concern and its response to conservation of nature has been presented in a systematic manner. In Sikh theology, man as an instrument of God has to carry out the will of God (Hukam) for maintaining harmony and balance in the Universe.28 Sikhism is a way of life. It lays primary stress on the practice which leads to cessation of human suffering. Sikh ethics has a clear cut injunction to man to maintain attitude of commitment of involvement in preserving the order of the Universe and deem it as moral duty. Pollution has been equated to degradation (koor) in the Sikh scripture.29
In the Sikh theology pollution is considered as a sin. Pollution has been explained in an extensive manner at physical, social and spiritual levels.30 In fact, Sikh religion presents a composite view of ecological concerns.
It is an established fact that the relationship between environment and organism including man is reciprocal. The whole cyclic process of gradual evolutionary change is the development of the eco-system in which there is a free flow on long channels of energy and matter. Disturbance in this relationship by man, animal or natural phenomenon disturbs the flow of energy and thereby decreasing its over all production capacity. The eco-system in its natural state is the balanced one and any factor resulting in the imbalance or disruption is the action against the natural order of the Will of the God.
Guru Nanak was not merely a mystic and a prophet but a thinker with a scientific mind. His sermons about the relationship of man with nature are in consonance with the observations of the modern scientific approach. The intellectual framework of man’s relationship with nature is perhaps best explained by Guru Nanak, in the concluding salok a (couplet) of the Japu ji.
The Guru says:
Water is the source of all life
And mother Earth is benigh sustainer
Day and night are nurses twain.
In whose lap, man does his assigned role play.31
The above sloks sums up Sikhism’s argument about the preservation of nature and man’s duty in this respect. The message is that while the Lord has created everything i.e. creatures and natural resources to sustain man physically but human life’s basic purpose is something beyond mere physical existence. To qualify himself morally and spiritually in the eyes of the Creator, man has to make continuous efforts to evolve himself morally and spiritually to reach his goal. Endowed with these divine bounties the human beings have been allowed free play on this earth.32 It is inferred from these hymns that the relationship between the organism and environment is that of respect, kindness and caring for one another. Guru Nanak exhorts man to maintain this mutual relationship in harmony with the natural order.33 This ecological relationship comprising of action-reaction, cause and effect has a lesson for humanity. Guru Nanak warns: as man sows, so shall he reap.34
According to Gurbani conservation of nature is work for God who has made the universe blossom and evergreen.35 To perpetuate greenery for the sustenance of life is the vision of God. He is the Maula (blossomer) who has kept in bondage water and land and has made world blossom and ever greener.
The most common appellation used for God in Sri Guru Granth Sahib is ‘Hari Har’ which also denote greenery, which is the basis of life.36
Guru Arjan Dev emphasizes that, plants and trees help to make atmosphere congenial for the survival of life and growth. Greenery is of vital importance in material as well as spiritual life of the man.37 According to Guru Arjun Dev, a person ignorant about the significance of nature is a savage (Kucheel)38
Any destructive activity against nature is shunned in Sikh tradition. In his act of going against the will of God in treatment of environment, man must suffer, however, powerful, resourceful and great the man may be.39 Preservation of nature and conservation of ecology is the Law of Nature. God is benevolent to all beings - man, animal, birds or bees, and cares for their sustenance and survival. Guru Nanak says:
Behold the birds of air, they build no granaries.
They construct no tanks for water supply.
The Lord provideth them all.40
Gurbani considers that nature is sacred. Since God pervades in the creation therefore to act against the preservation of such a wonderful system would be a sin against the will of God (hukam). It also reminds that one who is ignorant of the reality of God’s creation is to be deemed as profane and a sinner. There are clear cut instructions to conserve physical aspect of nature. Nature has been visualized in the context of socio-cultural milieu. Pollution in physical environment affects existential life and social relationships. Socio-cultural ecology is polluted in the atmosphere of negligence of law of nature, moral order, ethical values and social norms. Negative tendencies cannot remain hidden. Persons with destructive mind and immoral acts loose everything, status, rank, reputation etc. It drives one away from Truth, Real and the Divine including chance of spiritual emancipation and loss of heavenly boon (Mukti). Harmonious coordination with nature helps the seeker in spiritual endeavours. Ethical aspect of nature has been stressed upon as moral agent, source of virtures, truth and justice. Harmony with the law of nature is the overall solution to eradicate pollution and ecological imbalance.41 Man should not forget his duty towards universe, humanity and God. If he neglects his relationship with nature it would cause environmental pollution, if he does not follow social order it would lead to social disintegration and if he forgets God he would be deprived of the spiritual greenery which is the gift of God. Therefore, Gurbani provides a holisitic approach to environmental protection.
Message of Sri Guru Granth Sahib: Love of Nature - Part of Human Life
Although environmental concerns are voiced in many of the world scriptures, but they form a well defined integral part of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It is to be noted here, that, a vast area of research concerning Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the spheres of literature, theology, philosophy, history, linguistics and grammer has been conducted by the scholars but very little has been attempted from scientific let alone environmental point of view. However, Dr. Gopal Singh Puri, a scientist, Biologist and Ecologist of Liverpool U.K. has made a pioneer effort in this context in the study of Sri Guru Granth Sahib about thirty years ago.42
Sri Guru Granth Sahib’s bani recommends that plant conservation is the religious duty of man.43 Similarly, water conservation has been stressed upon. Water the source of life and the symbol of purity, tranquility, piety and immortality has been considered as the most significant material element in the Sikh thought. It has been considered as the very source of life, the ambrosia (amrit/nectar).44 Water is the primal life which has made all the rest green.
For water conservation, the Sikh Gurus constructed tanks (sarowars) and declared it a holy work. This substantial life giving element is placed as an integral part of the Sikh Temple Architecture to impart natural surroundings to the Gurdwaras. Besides, tree plantation is another distinguished feature around the Sikh places of worship.
Sikhs, in their historical development have, truly acted as lovers of nature and guardians of environment. They consider nature as the wonderful gift of God to man. After establishing their political rule in the Punjab, the Sikh Sardars, Rajas and Maharajas laid down many beautiful gardens. A number of canal colonies were established by Sikh agriculturists (of the elite group) in the West Punjab (now in Pakistan) with the assistance of British rulers. After Independence of India, they have attained a reputation as professional horticulturists and conservators of plants and animal resources. In the introduction of tree plantations in waste-lands, flowers, fruits, orchards and in rearing animal husbandry, the Sikhs have proved their worth. This trait of farming is ingrained in the mind and soul of the Sikh people through the impact of the teachings of the Gurus and Bhagats enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
The success of Green Revolution and White Revolution in the Punjab goes to the credit of the Sikh professionals and agriculturists. The Sikh missionaries especially the Sikh saints and the Karsewa Babas are doing pioneer work in launching green drive by planting thousands of saplings of trees alongside different roads and countryside to augment the green cover since a long time. At present Sant Baba Sewa Singh of Khadoor Sahib is making significant contribution in tree plantation and free distribution of saplings. Saplings of trees are also distributed to devotees for plantation who throng the Golden Temple on March 14 every year which is the first day of the Sikh New Year (Month of Chet). This day is also the occasion of the celebrations of the anniversary of the Gurta Gaddi Diwas (March 14, 1644) of the seventh Sikh Guru, Gur Har Rai, who was a great lover of nature and promoter of horticulture, gardens, floral cultivation and plantation of medicinal herbs.
Now, Sikh missionaries following the teachings of Sri Guru Ganth Sahib to preserve pawan pani (air and water) as sacred duty45 have also undertaken big projects for cleansing the pollution of river waters in Punjab caused by discharge of sewerage inlets, garbage, discharge of hazardous effluent of industrial waste and growth of weeds. Sant Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal is the pioneer missionary in this field. He has made excellent experiments in providing planned, economical and indigenous solutions to ecological concerns in Punjab to fight with pollution of river waters involving public in environmental protection without government support. His massive projects are being implemented with collective efforts and active participation of the community (sangat) doing voluntary service motivated with the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The mission of protecting ecology and eradicating pollution is a moral responsibility for the Sikh missionaries. Sant Baba Balbir Singh is also spreading awareness in the public about the dangerous menace of air and water pollution in a scientific manner to masses, students and intellectuals through media, seminars, and conferences. The Central Government has announced to follow Sant Balbir Singh experiment in its Mega Project for cleansing the river Ganga.
Bhagat Puran Singh, the founder of Pingalwara at Amritsar was the first missionary to publish literature on the dangers of pollution for spreading awareness of ecological concerns among the masses. Papers, pamphlets and books in English, Punjabi and Hindi are distributed free of cost to the people at public places and religious centres by the Pingalwara. Later on, Sundar Lal Bahuguna, the leader of the Chipko Andolan of Tehri Garhwal benefited by the economic resources and plateform of Pingalwara earned for himself national fame for preaching hazards of pollution and preservation of natural resources. Now, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, the central body of the Sikh community dealing with the management of the Sikh Historical Gurdwaras has introduced ‘Go green drive’ slogan by planting lakhs of saplings of shady, ornamental and trees of other genre in and around Gurdwaras and educational institutions run by SGPC.
As the environment around the world is deteriorating and also the natural resources of Punjab are dwindling on account of rapid spread of industries and urabanization, it has become ardent task for the Sikh community committed to their ethical norms to get involved in preserving eco-system of the planet at international level. A couple of years ago Eco-Sikh an International Sikh Organisation aiming to conserve the ecology of the planet was established at Washington, USA under the Presidentship of Dr Rajwant Singh. It is the biggest effort of the Sikh community supporting global environmental agenda. Hundreds of Gurdwaras across the world are joining this green drive movement. The Eco-Sikh Organisation has opened branches in India and other countries. Eco-Amritsar and Eco-Nanded Hazoor Sahib programmes have been already launched on the green map of the world engaging people at grass root level to do something meaningful about the crisis of pollution facing the humanity.
The SGPC is keen to spread more awareness among the people about the importance of preservation of environment and role of trees. The Sikh people have been appealed to make ‘green drive’ a big success by planting more trees in and around their houses and domestic surroundings. Therefore, we expect greater contributions from Sikh community for eradicating pollution and preservation of natural resources.
Sikhism is a world religion. It has universal approach for solving problems of human existence on this earth. Therefore its message of universal brotherhood has all potentialities to perceive the ideal of world citizenship with emphasis on the goal of universal responsibility towards sustainable development by way of conserving the ecology of the planet in a pragmatic and realistic way.
The subject under study clearly indicates the potential of Sikh scripture to serve humanity at present in its hour of crisis for survival caused by ecological imbalances. The message of this study is that the Sri Guru Granth Sahib provides definite guidance to check and control man’s hostile attitude towards nature as mankind’s moral duty and thereby eradicate human sufferings caused by environmental degradation.
1. ਆਪੇ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕਰੇ ਸਾਜਿ॥ Himself His might He establishes, Rag Basant, Mahala I, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1170
2. ਅਚਰਜੁ ਤੇਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਤੇਰੇ ਕਦਮ ਸਲਾਹ॥ ਗਨੀਵ ਤੇਰੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ ਸਚੇ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ॥ Marvellous Thy manifested might, worthy of laudation Thy feet. Holy King! a rare gift is Thy Laudation. Bhairo Mahala 5, Ibid., p. 1138
3. ਅਨਿਕ ਰੂਪ ਖਿਨ ਮਾਹਿ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਧਾਰਦਾ ॥ Rag Gujari, Mahala 5, Ibid., p. 519
4. ਤੇਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਤੂਹੈ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਅਉਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਜਾ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ Thou alone, O Lord, knowest Thy power. No one else knows it. Basant Hindol Mahala I, Ibid., p.1185
5. ਸਭ ਤੇਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਕਾਦਿਰੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪਾਕੀ ਨਾਈ ਪਾਕੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਵਰਤੈ ਤਾਕੋ ਤਾਕੁ॥ Saith Nanak: All Creation operating under his Ordinance He watches; Yet from it is He separate, sole. Mahala I, Ibid., p. 464
6. ਆਪੀਨ੍ੈ ਆਪੁ ਸਾਜਿਓ ਆਪੀਨ੍ੈ ਰਚਿਓ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਦੁਯੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਾਜੀਐ ਕਰਿ ਆਸਣੁ ਡਿਠੋ ਚਾਉ॥ His self He created, and manifested His Name. Then the second object, expanse of the universe He made; Settled on His cushion, in joy He beheld it. Mahala I, Ibid., p. 463
7. ਸਚੀ ਤੇਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਚੇ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹ॥ Mahala I, Ibid., p. 463
8. ਪਵਣੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਣੀ ਪਿਤਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਧਰਤਿ ਮਹਤੁ ॥ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਰਾਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਦਾਈ ਦਾਇਆ ਖੇਲੈ ਸਗਲ ਜਗਤੁ॥ Air is the Guru,water the Father, earth the great Mother, and day and night the two female and male nurses, in whose lap the entire world play. Slok, Japuji, Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 8
9. ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਪਉਣੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਬੈਸੰਤਰੁ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਖਾਕੁ॥ ਸਭ ਤੇਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਕਾਦਿਰੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪਾਕੀ ਨਾਈ ਪਾਕੁ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਵਰਤੈ ਤਾਕੋ ਤਾਕੁ॥ By thy might are created air, water, fire, and the earth, dust laden. All is manifestation of Thy might, Thou wielder of this might. Holy Thy greatness, by all this unalloyed, Saith Nanak: All creation operation under His Ordinance He watches. Yet from it is He separate, Sole Asa Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 464
10. ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਪਾਤਾਲੀ ਆਕਾਸੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਰਬ ਆਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਵੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਣ ਕਤੇਬਾ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਰਬ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਖਾਣਾ ਪੀਣਾ ਪੈਨ੍ਣੁ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਰਬ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਜਾਤੀ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਰੰਗੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਜੀਅ ਜਹਾਨ ॥ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਨੇਕੀਆ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਬਦੀਆ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਮਾਨੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ॥ In the neither regions and skies is the manifestation of His might; Of His might are all forms and manifestation In the Vedas, Puranas and Semitic scriptures is expressed Divine might, And by Divine dispensation comes all contemplation. Our eating, drinking and wearing of apparel is all Thy play. So is the love inspiring humanity. By Thy might are created groups, species and forms, All living beings all the world over. By Thy might are created good and evil, honour and dishonour. By Thy might are created air, water, fire, And the earth, dust laden. All is manifesta of Thy might, Thou weilder of this might. Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 464
11. ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਵੇਦ ਪੁਰਾਣ ਕਤੇਬਾ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਰਬ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ॥ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਖਾਣਾ ਪੀਣਾ ਪੈਨ੍ਣੁ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਰਬ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਜਾਤੀ ਜਿਨਸੀ ਰੰਗੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਜੀਅ ਜਹਾਨ ॥ In the Vedas, Puranas and Semitic scriptures is expressed Divine might, And by Divine dispensation comes all contemplation. Our eating, drinking and wearing of apparel is all Thy play. So is the love inspiring humanity. By Thy might are created groups, species and forms, All living beings all the world over. Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 464
12. ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਪਉਣੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਬੈਸੰਤਰੁ ਸਭ ਤੇਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਤੂੰ ਕਾਦਿਰੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪਾਕੀ ਨਾਈ ਪਾਕੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੁਕਮੈ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਵਰਤੈ ਤਾਕੋ ਤਾਕੁ॥ All is manifestation of Thy might, Thou wielder of this might. Holy Thy greatness, by all this unalloyed. Saith Nanak: All creation operating under His Ordinance He watches; Yet from it is He separate, Sole. Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 464
13. Baramah, Mahala 5, Ibid p.132-137
14 ਮਨ ਸਮਝਾਵਨ ਕਾਰਨੇ ਕਛੂਅਕ ਪੜੀਐ ਗਿਆਨ ॥ Gauri Purbi, Bawan Akhari, Kabir,, Ibid., p. 340
15. ਪਾਤੀ ਤੋਰੈ ਮਾਲਿਨੀ ਪਾਤੀ ਪਾਤੀ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਜਿਸੁ ਪਾਹਨ ਕਉ ਪਾਤੀ ਤੋਰੈ ਸੋ ਪਾਹਨ ਨਿਰਜੀਉ ॥1॥ ਭੂਲੀ ਮਾਲਨੀ ਹੈ ਏਉ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਜਾਗਤਾ ਹੈ ਦੇਉ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਪਾਤੀ ਬਿਸਨੁ ਡਾਰੀ ਫੂਲ ਸੰਕਰਦੇਉ॥ ਤੀਨਿ ਦੇਵ ਪ੍ਰਤਖਿ ਤੋਰਹਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਸੇਉ॥ Prabhati, Kabir, Ibid., p. 478
16. ਨ ਸਾਜੇ ਪੁਛਿ ਨ ਢਾਹੇ ਪੁਛਿ ਨ ਦੇਵੈ ਲੇਇ ॥ ਆਪਣੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਆਪੇ ਜਾਣੈ ਆਪੇ ਕਰਣੁ ਕਰੇਇ ॥ Sri Raag Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 53. Also Mahala 5, Ibid., p. 390,625,743
17. ਤੇਰੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਤੂਹੈ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਅਉਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਜਾ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਕ਼੍ਰਿਪਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਮੇਰੇ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਸੋਈ ਤੁਝੈ ਪਛਾਣੈ ॥ Basant Mahala 5, Ibid., p. 1185
18. ਕਰਤਾਰ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕਰਣ ਖਾਲਕ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇਰੀ ਟੇਕ ॥ Sorth, Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 724
ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕਵਣ ਕਹਾ ਵਿਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਵਾਰਿਆ ਨ ਜਾਵਾ ਏਕ ਵਾਰ ॥ Japu, Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 4
19. ਸੋਇ ਸੁਣੰਦੜੀ ਮੇਰਾ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਮਉਲਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪੰਦੜੀ ਲਾਲੀ ॥ Slok Mahala 5, Ibid., p. 964
20. ਅਖੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕੰਨੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਮੁਖਿ ਆਖਣੁ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਮੁ ॥ ਪਤਿ ਕਾ ਧਨੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਹੋਆ ਲਾਗਾ ਸਹਜਿ ਧਿਆਨੁ॥ Basant, Mahala I, Ibid p.1168
21. ਆਪੀਨ੍ੈ ਆਪੁ ਸਾਜਿਓ ਆਪੀਨ੍ੈ ਰਚਿਓ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਦੁਯੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਾਜੀਐ ਕਰਿ ਆਸਣੁ ਡਿਠੋ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਦਾਤਾ ਕਰਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਤੂੰ ਤੁਸਿ ਦੇਵਹਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਸਾਉ ॥ Asa Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 463
22. ਸਾਚੇ ਤੇ ਪਵਨਾ ਭਇਆ ਪਵਨੈ ਤੇ ਜਲੁ ਹੋਇ॥ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਸਾਜਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮੋਇ॥ Sri Raag Mahala I Ibid., p. 19
23. Guru Nanak Life and Thought, Eds, Madan Jit Kaur and Piar Singh, Pub. Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, 1991, p. 150
24. Guru Nanak proclaimed:ਸੋ ਮੁਖ ਜਲਓੁ ਜਿਤ ਕਹੋਹ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਜੋਨੀ ॥ (A hundred curses on the mouth which utters that God incarnated) Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 930
25. ਦੁਯੀ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਸਾਜੀਐ ਕਰਿ ਆਸਣੁ ਡਿਠੋ ਚਾਉ ॥ Asa, Mahala 5, Ibid., p. 463
26. ਭੈ ਵਿਿਚ ਪਵਣੁ ਵਹੈ ਸਦਵਾਉ॥ ਭੈ ਵਿਿਚ ਚਲਹਿ ਲਖ ਦਰੀਆਉ॥ ਭੈ ਵਿਿਚ ਅਗਨਿ ਕਢੈ ਵੇਗਾਰਿ॥ ਭੈ ਵਿਿਚ ਧਰਤੀ ਦਬੀ ਭਾਰਿ॥ ਭੈ ਵਿਿਚ ਇੰਦੁ ਫਿਰੈ ਸਿਰ ਭਾਰਿ॥ ਭੈ ਵਿਿਚ ਰਾਜਾ ਧਰਮੁ ਦੁਆਰੁ॥ ਭੈ ਵਿਿਚ ਸੂਰਜੁ ਭੈ ਵਿਿਚ ਚੰਦੁ॥ ਕੋਹ ਕਰੋੜੀ ਚਲਤ ਨ ਅੰਤੁ॥ Asa Slok, Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 464
27. Asa Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 463
28. hukmy AMdr sBko bwhir hukm n koeI ] Asa Mahala I, Ibid., p. 1
29. AsMK kuiVAwr kuVy iPghy] Asa Mahala I, Ibid., p. 4
30. Mahala 1, Ibid., pp. 469-471
31. ਪਵਣੁ ਗੁਰੂ ਪਾਣੀ ਪਿਤਾ ਮਾਤਾ ਧਰਤਿ ਮਹਤੁ ॥ ਦਿਵਸੁ ਰਾਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਦਾਈ ਦਾਇਆ ਖੇਲੈ ਸਗਲ ਜਗਤੁ॥ Asa Slok, Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 8
32. ਪਵਣ ਪਾਣੀ ਅਗਨੀ ਪਾਤਾਲ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਵਿਿਚ ਧਰਤੀ ਥਾਪਿ ਰਖੀ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਵਿਿਚ ਜੀਅ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਕੇ ਰੰਗ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਕੇ ਨਾਮ ਅਨੇਕ ਅਨµਤ ॥ Japu, Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 7
33. Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 7
34. According to Guru Nanak, all deeds done must find retribution. From this law three is no escape:ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਣਾ ਲਿਿਖ ਲੈ ਜਾਹੁ ॥ ਆਪੇ ਬੀਜਿ ਆਪੇ ਹੀ ਖਾਹੁ॥ Mahala 1, Ibid., p. 4, also pp. 83 and 1138
35. ਮਉਲੀ ਧਰਤੀ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਅਕਾਸੁ॥ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਆਤਮ ਪ੍ਰਗਾਸੁ॥1॥ ਰਾਜਾ ਰਾਮੁ ਮਉਲਿਆ ਅਨਤ ਭਾਇ॥ ਜਹ ਦੇਖਉ ਤਹ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥1॥ਰਹਾਉ॥
36. The appaleth of ‘Hari’ and ‘Hari Har’ (The Creator of the universe) has been used for the Almighty Lord for more than two thousand times in the whole text of the Holy Granth.
37. It is a Scientific fact that Chlorophil is the basis of life. With light it fixes carbon dioxide of the atmosphere and water to form simple molecule. Life flourishes as green plants with abundance of both constitute the supply of the required material regularly.
38. ਸੋਈ ਕੁਚੀਲੁ ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਜਾਨੈ ॥ ਲੀਪਿਐ ਥਾਇ ਨ ਸੁਚਿ ਹਰਿ ਮਾਨੈ ॥ Bhairo Mahala 5, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1151
39 Ibid., p. 83
40. ਪਰੰਦਏ ਨ ਗਿਰਾਹ ਜਰ ॥ ਦਰਖਤ ਆਬ ਆਸ ਕਰ ॥ ਦਿਹੰਦ ਸੁਈ ॥ Var Majh ki, Mahala 5, Ibid., p. 144
41. ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਿਖਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ Asa Mahala I, Ibid., p. 464
42. Dr. Gopal Singh contributed a number of research papers in international conferences and Seminars on this issue and had written a booklet on the subject entitled Environmental Perspective in Sikh Faith which was published by Guru Nanak Dev Mission Patiala, serial no 425, 426 and 427
43. Ibid., pp. 476-479
44. Asa Var Slok, Mahala I, Ibid., p 8 and 479
45. Mahala 1, Japu, Ibid., p. 8