– Vasudev Prjapati
– Translated in English by Avnish Bhatnagar
The whole world is suffering with covid-19 pandemic. Many a measure are being observed by every country to protect their people from this virus, which include physical distance maintenance, using face mask and washing the hands with soap at regular interval. Despite all these measures, the death toll has crossed the number of three lakhs in the world. The routine of life has stopped: be it urban or rural. The streets and markets are all lifeless, industries are not functioning, vehicles are not plying. As results, we don’t hear the news of road accidents, the environmental pollution is not being reported. Thousands of crores of rupees had been spent on the Ganga’s purification programmes, but now the flow of the Ganga and other pious rivers is actually pure. The peaks of Himalayas are seen from Jalandhar, as there is no air pollution after the industries stopped functioning and emitting carbon in the atmosphere.
Due to the declared ‘Lockdown’ the people are forced to lock down themselves inside their houses. They are unable to eat outside in the restaurants or to order fast food and junk food items. By washing hands repeatedly, not only corona but no other infection is possible. The result is a healthy society. The private hospitals are closed, no rush, no queue of patients. Overall, everybody is leading life smoothly in very limited resources. This scenario forces everybody to think at least once that it is better to live a life based on the Bharatiya way of life based on the theme of ‘simple living and high thinking’ in comparison to the so-called modern western lifestyle full of pomp & show. Despite the news flowing in, everybody will agree that the condition of Bharat is better still, if compared to the other so-called developed countries. Even with limited resources, the ill-effect of the pandemic is less in our country. The basic reason behind this is that the people of Bharat were already knowing the ways they were asked to follow during the lockdown or in order to safeguard themselves from the covid-19 infection. For example, it may be difficult for a European to adopt Namaskara with folded hands, but is a common practice amongst the people of Bharat.
Uniqueness of the Bharatiya way of life:
Bharat has the honour to be the ‘Adi Rashtra’ of the world. While the other countries were quite uncivilized, did not even know to wear clothes properly, there was a highly cultured society in Bharat leading a Yajnamaya life, proclaiming ‘कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम’ (Let us make the world cultured). Bharat has always accepted ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्’ (the whole earth is our family). Observing the whole universe with this integral vision is actually the Bharatiya way of life.
There are many a nation in this world. As every person is born with his unique nature, so is the case with nations too. This basic nature is never changed. The basic nature or instinct is called ‘चिति’, which is the soul of the nation. A nation stands strong only till its ‘चिति’ is intact. When this basic spirit of the nation is lost due to some or the other reason, the nation and its culture vanishes out.
The vision, conduct, character and the life style of the people of every nation develop on the basis of this fundamental feature. The people, by and large, lead their life on this uniqueness. The life vision of Bharat keeps the ‘Parmatma Tattva’ (the Almighty) in the center of all life practices, accepts the presence of that ‘Parmatma Tattva’ in each and every atom- be it a human being, an animal, a bird, a tree, a river or any insect. As a result, the vision of life changes, and the feeling of very presence of ‘Parmatma Tattva’ in every creature does not let-a Bharatiya to do anything wrong with any object in the entire universe. Contrary to this, the life vision in the west does not follow this unique feeling of presence of ‘Parmatma Tattva’, which is reflected in their life style too.
Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita describes this uniqueness as ‘दैवी’ (Divine) and ‘आसुरी’ (Satanic or Evil). The features in the life style of Bharat are ‘दैवी’ (Divine), as we look at the entire universe as a ‘Chetan Tattva’ (living being); whereas the west thinks everything other than the human as a ‘Jada’ object (non-living). In the present parlance, ‘आसुरी’ (Satanic or Evil) can be understood as one which destroys and ‘दैवी’ (Divine) is which creates and develops. For the existence of this universe, ‘आसुरी’ has to be rejected and ‘दैवी’ (Divine) should be adopted, which is the ultimate development of humankind. This needs ‘Sadhna”, a constant effort for inner development. The version of life and pattern here is full of some specific unique features in Bharat. Some of the main specialties are being discussed hereinafter.
The entire ‘Srishti’ (universe) is made of ‘Chetan Tattva’ (living beings):
The concepts as regards to the origination, creation and growth of this ‘Srishti’ (the whole creation) are altogether different in Bharat and in the western world. In fact, they contrast each other. In Bharat, while we accept that the ‘Srishti’ is made of living beings (Chetan Tattva), the westerners have the opinion that it is made and is full of the physical, non-living objects. As a result of this faith that the entire universe is a living creation, is filled with the eternal life; it is easy for every Bharatiya to understand and accept the fact the same ‘Chetan Tattva is present in every object, in each atom, even in the objects which are prima facie seen and understood to be lifeless. In the most commonly used words in Bharat, even the illiterate people know and accept that the Almighty God is present everywhere. This feeling ultimately helps every Bharatiya to connect himself with every object in this creation of God.
With this feeling of integration with each and every object in the universe, we Bharatiya feel and maintain relations with each creature- the cow is not animal only, Ganga is not simply a river and Tulsa (Holy Basil) is not only a plant –they are mothers- Gau Mata, Ganga Mata & Tulsi Mata. And the mother Earth (Prithvi Mata) also! Due to this integration, a part of our routine food is served to animals too. The first bread goes to Gau Mata and the last to the Dog. We spare grains for the birds, sugar for the ants and even milk to the snakes. This type of behavior can’t be even expected anywhere in the western countries as they don’t feel any connection with any other creature. On the other hand, it is very easy for any person in Bharat to feel this type of integration with the creatures – the living and even the non- living objects alike. This difference in the behavior is actually the difference between the aforesaid ‘दैवी’ (Divine) and ‘आसुरी’ (Satanic or Evil) lifestyle of Bharat and the rest of the world.
Human Beings are responsible towards feeding and protection of all:
Almost all faiths, religions, thought processes, countries accept the common or somewhat resembling background story of the creation of this universe – the God created the five basic elements (Panch Mahabhoota), the Earth, the rivers – mountains –seas & oceans, the flora and fauna, the animals and smallest bugs and insects, but still he was not satisfied. Still something better, some more improved version, He needed to convince Himself. And then, He created the human, and now He was convinced that it is His best creation- almost a copy of Himself, the creature having the maximum resemblance to the God! Up till now, the story runs alike ! And now the descriptions start deviating from each other. In all Sematic religions, it is believed that the God was very happy after creating a human and said to him that the entire creation was for his consumption and he could use it the way he liked. On the other hand, the faith of Bharat is that the god handed him over the responsibility of feeding, protecting and taking care of all creatures and elements in the universe as the human being are His best and super most creation.
This basic thought is relevant here. This has been the basic reason for the difference in the vision and lifestyles of east and west. While east understands its responsibility for conservation, upkeep and growth of the natural resources, the western lifestyle understands destruction also a part of his right of consumption.
In Bharat, we feel a responsibility towards the nature, which is a feeling of thanksgiving. We believe that our life depends on mother nature. We accept the natural resources and the five basic elements (Panch Mahabhoota) – Earth, Sky, Water, Fire and Air as God and worship them. On the contrary, the western world accepts them just as a natural resource, a physical element, which makes a part of their consumption. No doubt, these resources are consumed in Bharat too, but with restriction to a limited extent, without wasting or destroying them, with a feeling of thankfulness and without exploiting them.
As a result of changed westernized vision, in our country too-the forests are being cut, the underground natural resources are mined out, mountains are being removed to make hotels and roads, the rivers being polluted without thinking about the next generation. The modern mechanized systems are polluting our air and water. This all results into ecological imbalance which ultimately causes natural calamities, like floods, earthquakes, cyclones and the pandemics like covid-19. Due to this pandemic, the excessive exploitation and the pollution generating factors like vehicles, mining, industrial units stopped during lockdown and we could see the fair picture of our nature. All of us might have seen two videos going viral on various social media platforms – one, in which the peacocks are dancing on the road in a large group and in the other, a lion family roaming freely on the road and in both these, the spectators sitting inside their vehicles are shooting this scene. Such type of scenes is not common -at least have not been seen for last some decades.
In view of this, we have to think and understand that the protection and conservation of the natural resources is the only way for a better and safe future of the human race. This vision and way of life of Bharat provides this lesson to the humankind that it is the prime duty of the humanity is to protect mother nature and leave a better world for the generations to come.
(Author is educationist and Joint secretary of Vidya Bharati Sanskriti Shiksha Sansthan kurukshtera)