We have witnessed more scientific and technological advances in the past four decades than in all previous recorded history. Scientists have uncovered many of the laws which govern nature itself. The more they learn about the mysteries of nature, the more they marvel at the perfection of the universe. Many now proclaim that the universe cannot be haphazard, but must be the design of some higher power.
There is a perfect balance in nature. Our world, our environment, and nature itself form a living, interdependent system. The perfect balance of nature which has maintained life on our planet for millions of years is being threatened by the very technology that has transformed the modern world. Every day the media report new threats to the environment. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land from which we derive our food are all progressively polluted. The very atmosphere protecting the earth is endangered. The concern for the ecology of our planet is not limited to any one country or part of the world. We face a global problem.
Concern for the ecology has become one of the main preoccupations of the world. If we look into the etymology of the word “ecology” we find that it comes from the Greek language. The Greek word oikos means “house” or “dwelling place.” The element “logy” means “the study of”.
There is another way of understanding the word ecology. Saints and mystics refer to our home or dwelling place as the physical body which God Himself has made. The indweller of this house is the soul. The scriptures tell us that we have a responsibility to maintain and preserve the purity and beauty of the soul and its dwelling place. Unfortunately, we have largely ignored our spiritual side and have sacrificed its purity for the sake of the transitory world. We can learn how to restore nature and our own self to their original beauty. And we can put into practice methods to preserve our spiritual purity.
All life forms one perfect tapestry. Fundamental laws and cycles underlie existence. The life cycle in nature is an example of perfect interconnectedness. Water from the seas evaporates and turns into water vapor. In this process, impurities and minerals are left behind. The vapor forms into clouds, which are blown across the land. As the clouds meet cool air, the water condenses into water droplets, and these pour down as rain or snow which nourishes life. For countless ages this cycle has brought water from the abundant oceans to the land so that animals and people can have fresh water to drink and green plants can flourish.
With all our advances, we have not devised a technology that can duplicate the method by which green plants convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into food and oxygen. Through this simple process the earth receives a fresh supply of oxygen, necessary for all life, and an inexhaustible store of food is available.
There is a perfect design in nature. Even death helps to bring forth life. When plants and animals die, their decomposed bodies provide essential minerals for crops. After millions of years the decomposed material forms into energy-producing fossil fuels. The ecological system which God created on our earth is so unique that ours is the only habitable planet in our solar system.
Like other natural cycles – such as the water cycle, the plant cycle, and the fossil-fuel cycle – there is also a cycle of the soul. The soul’s journey began with the creation of the universes, and it has been in motion ever since.
The scriptures tell us that in the beginning God was all alone. He was an ocean of all blissful consciousness. Then He decided to become many from One. This thought set in motion a vibration, which resulted in two primal manifestations: Light and Sound. All scriptures speak of this Light and Sound by various names. This Word or Naam was the God-into-expression power. It created various planes of existence: the purely spiritual plane of Sach Khand, the supracausal plane, the causal plane, the astral plane, and the material realms of this physical plane. It created human beings and all other species of life. It is this creative power which keeps the universe running in perfect symmetry and harmony, holding planets in their orbit and the stars in the heavens.
The soul is a spark of that creative principle. It is the enlivening force within us. As long as the soul inhabits the body, the body is alive. At the time of physical death, the soul departs that body for good. When God created the universes, He separated souls from Himself to inhabit the worlds. Thus began the cycle of the soul. For aeons it has been inhabiting the various planes of creation, taking up residence in one life form or another. When life in one body or life form ends, the soul returns to inhabit another. As a plant dies in the winter to regenerate in the spring, so does the soul transmigrate. When one life is over, it begins another, in a new form. Nothing is lost in nature. The soul, being a spark of the immortal God, never dies. It simply moves from one life to another.
God, while separating souls from Himself, has also provided a way for souls to return to Him. This way back to Him is through the current of Naam or Word. But, in the scheme of creation, it has been so ordained that the soul does not remember its past existence until it has achieved spiritual evolution. If we were to recall each previous birth, our present life would be so complicated with memories of former ties, it would be difficult to function within our existing relationships. We would be seeking out our parents, spouses, and children from previous births. Thus, a cloud of forgetfulness covers each soul when it enters a new birth. It has also forgotten its true nature as soul, a drop of God. In its successive births, the soul, in its state of ignorance, identifies with the mind and body. Instead of seeking the way back to its Source, it is attracted to the temptations of the world.
The knowledge of our true self lies buried in the deepest recesses of our innermost soul. Like a diamond buried deep within the earth, or the layers of rich oil lying far below the earth’s surface, our most precious treasure, the soul, lies buried beneath layers of mind, matter, and illusion. We need to tap into it during our present life span to uncover our greatest resource.
Let us devote our time to the spiritual practices so we can recover our innate God-given beauty. Once we develop it, we will reflect that radiance to all those with whom we come in contact. We will, in fact, shower that love on all living things and on our planet earth.
By restoring the ecological health of our soul, we will be purifying and uplifting all creation. Then, this world will return to the divine stage of godly bliss and ecstasy for which we were created.