How to pacify nature
How to pacify nature
There are lessons to be learned when we carefully observe world events. The truth stares us in the face at all times. The symptom of everyday life is to ignore it and continue our mundane affairs, which revolve around trying to exploit the resources of nature for personal sense gratification. There are lessons to be learned when we carefully observe world events. The truth stares us in the face at all times. The symptom of everyday life is to ignore it and continue our mundane affairs, which revolve around trying to exploit the resources of nature for personal sense gratification.
The material world is an expansion of God’s infinite energy. It cannot be owned or controlled by finite men with their dreams of mastering it for their profit and pleasure.
Man comes into this world and is conditioned by having a material body that is subject to the forces of nature. He tries to dominate nature, but is instead subjected to the laws of nature and the sufferings of repeated birth and death. Throughout his life, he is constantly reminded of nature’s infinite power and uncontrollable forces that upset all of his plans to dominate and enjoy. Such overpowering events are constant reminders that man is not sovereign in this world. There are forces that are controlled by higher powers that are superior to man for whom we have no recourse but to submit. We experience these forces in our own body and in nature.
I will give a few examples of the overpowering forces of nature that man is forced to submit to and tolerate.
1. Tsunami in Southeast Asia December 26, 2004 nearly 230,000 deaths
2. Hurricane Katrina 2005 1836 deaths and 81 billion dollars in damage in Louisiana, USA
3. Earthquake in Haiti 2010 230,000 dead
4. Iceland Volcano eruption 2010 disrupted air travel across the Atlantic for weeks
5. Gulf Coast Oil leak 2010 this the most devastating environmental disaster in USA history and it is still not ended
The only recourse is to try and reconstruct after the damage is done. This, of course, is completely contrary to man’s will and desire, but he has no choice. Man can simply observe such overpowering disasters. He attempts temporary relief work, starts varieties of public and governmental institutions and policies to address the terrible suffering caused by nature’s devastating power. But, government has no solution how to pacify the insurmountable nature. This question is discussed in the Bhagavad-gita because it is of up most importance for man’s survival.
Without a correct and comprehensive understanding of the purpose of life in this world, man cannot plan how to have a successful life. With wrong answers, man is forced to suffer helplessly by violating the laws of nature due to ignorance. There is a verse in the Bhagavad-gita that helps to shed light on this question,
“Nature is said to be the cause of all material causes and effects, whereas the living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in this world.” (Bg 13, 21)
According to Vedic philosophy, living entities and material nature are both eternal or without beginning and endless. The living entities are eternal souls with individuality and limited free will. Their free will is limited to either accepting or rejecting God’s instructions. Depending on which way they decide, there are consequences. By accepting God’s instructions as the guiding principles of life, one gradually becomes free of the influence of the three modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance) that condition us to be attached to the temporary body and its temporary pleasures and pains. By rejecting God’s instructions, one becomes entangled by the reactions to activities that breach natural laws. Possible consequences of such errant behavior are natural cataclysms, body ailments, trouble caused by other living beings and repeated birth and death in an endless cycle because the soul is eternal. The soul can be eternally liberated or eternally chained to a cycle of repeated birth and death.
God’s instruction as revealed by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita and other bona fide scriptures like the Bible, Koran, etc., give an explicit detail of forbidden activities that will result in adverse reactions and prescribed duties that free one from the cycle of suffering. The Bible, Koran and Torah have the Ten Commandments and other codes to regulate human behavior. The Vedas have four regulative principles to avoid and four to do:
1- No meat eating including red meat, chicken and fish
2- No illicit sex outside of marriage
3- No gambling or philosophical speculation
4- No intoxication
1- Read and discuss Holy Scriptures like Bhagavad-gita, Bible, Koran, etc.
2- Eat only sanctified vegetarian foods that have been offered first to God
3- Chant and meditate on God’s names (holy mantras)
4- Volunteer for service in a temple or house of God in the association of holy people
Further, the Vedas recommend nine favorable activities to develop spiritual consciousness, daily hearing, chanting and remembering the glories of God, serving, praying, worshiping, becoming the servant, making friendship with and surrendering completely to God. Any one, several or all of these principles will cause one to develop spiritual consciousness, which means one acts with the knowledge that God is a supreme controller and proprietor of nature. God has a plan how the living entities can live in this world happily and at last attain liberation from the suffering of birth, old age, disease and death.
The plan of God for suffering mankind entails first recognizing that God is the supreme controller and owner of nature and everything in it. Once man recognizes this fact, he can learn to use everything in nature to serve the purpose of God rather than trying to usurp God’s creation for his selfish purposes. This change of world view is the beginning of real human life. If we use things to serve God’s pleasure, nature and time, which are both controlled by God, support and cooperate with man to help him reach the goal of life.
The root cause of sin is deliberate disobedience of the laws of nature through disregarding the proprietorship of the Lord. Disobeying the laws of nature or God’s instructions, brings ruin to a human being and society. Endowed with free will, man needs to be educated how to properly exercise it. Making decisions based on knowledge and certitude that we are subordinate to God’s will and that we cannot achieve anything without the approval of God, helps us to determine right action from wrong. Ignorance of this fact leads us to make fundamental mistakes and violate natural laws that bring about misfortune and suffering.
The Bible states a law of God, “Thou shalt not kill.” This sounds simple and unequivocal. Yet, it is the subject of speculation. It is generally understood to mean one should not murder another human being. Yet, the word kill refers to any kind of killing, not only murder. Misinterpreting this direct law of God causes continual suffering because following a wrong conclusion about killing could destroy any hopes one has of living peacefully and achieving genuine love of God. One cannot disobey God and receive His favor and protection throughout life. To avoid speculation, one needs to understand this
law of nature from an authority in Vedic knowledge. The Manu Samhita, considered the law book of the Vedas state in chapter 5 that there are very restricted conditions under which one may eat meat, but never the meat of cows. Those conditions are limited to animals that are permitted for sacrifice by priests. One is never permitted to just kill or purchase meat for consumption outside of ritually slaughtered animals. If you read the following texts, you see that meat eating is severely restricted and, in fact, not encouraged.
27. One may eat meat when it has been sprinkled with water, while Mantras are recited, when Brahmanas desire you do it, when one is engaged (in the performance of a rite) according to the law, and when one’s life is in danger.
31. The consumption of meat (is befitting) for sacrifices. It is declared to be a rule made by the gods; but to persist (in using it) on other (occasions) is said to be a proceeding worthy of Rakshasas (demonic beings).
37. If he has a strong desire (for meat) he may make an animal of clarified butter or one of flour, (and eat that); but let him never seek to destroy an animal without a (lawful) reason.
38. As many hairs as the slain beast has, so often indeed will he who killed it without a (lawful) reason suffer a violent death in future births.
39. Svayambhu (the Self-existent) himself created animals for the sake of sacrifices; sacrifices (have been instituted) for the good of this whole (world); hence the slaughtering (of beasts) for sacrifices is not slaughtering (in the ordinary sense of the word).
45. He who desires to please himself by injuring peaceful beings will never finds happiness, neither living nor dead.
46. He, who does not seek to cause the sufferings of bonds and death to living creatures, but desires the good of all (beings), obtains endless bliss.
47. He who does not injure any (creature), attains without an effort what he thinks of, what he undertakes, and what he fixes his mind on.
48. Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to sentient beings is detrimental to (the attainment of) heavenly bliss; let him therefore shun (the use of) meat.
49. Having well considered the (disgusting) origin of flesh and the (cruelty of) fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh.
50. He who, disregarding the rule (given above), does not eat meat like a Pisaka, becomes dear to men, and will not be tormented by diseases.
51. He who permits (the slaughter of an animal), he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he who buys or sells (meat), he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, (must all be considered as) the slayers (of the animal).
52. There is no greater sinner than that (man) who, though not worshipping the gods or the manes, seeks to increase (the bulk of) his own flesh by the flesh of other (beings). (Manu Samhita, Chapter 5)
The laws of Manu were spoken and preserved in oral tradition long before the appearance of Lord Krishna, which was over 5000 years ago. After the disappearance of Lord Krishna, the age of Kali (hypocrisy and quarrel) began 5000 years ago. Because people in this age have poor memories, Manu’s laws were written. The first recorded texts of the laws of Manu date about 500 B.C. However, with the advent of the age of Kali, more restrictions came into effect because of the lack of qualification of the brahman class.
53. Five things are forbidden in the age of Kali: horse-sacrifice, cow-sacrifice, acceptance of sannyasa, offering flesh to the forefathers and begetting a child in the womb of the wife of one’s elder brother. (Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Krsna-jnama Khanda 185.180). Almost all the rituals in which meat was required to be offered were eliminated. The only possibility for ritual meat in this age of Kali is the following: license is given to meat eaters to sacrifice a black goat once a month on the new moon night. It is strictly forbidden to purchase a commercially slain animal for consumption. The person who wants to eat meat must kill the goat on a dark (or new) moon night under the supervision of a priest who instructs him to repeat the following mantra before cutting the throat of the goat, mamsa khadatiti mamsah. The Sanskrit mamsah means, mam – me, and sa – he. “I am killing this animal; I am eating him. In my next life, he will kill and eat me.” Before the animal is sacrificed, this mantra is recited into the ear of the animal. “You are giving your life, so in your next life you will get the opportunity of becoming a human being. And I, who am now killing you, will become an animal, and you will kill me.”
The purpose of the ritual and the repetition of the mantra is to contain unrestricted meat eating by forcing the meat eater to kill the animal himself and witness the horror of the act as well as to repeat the mantra that reveals the consequences of such an act. Such regulation is meant to discourage the meat eater by making him understand that he will be held accountable for such unnecessary killing. Unrestricted meat eating is strictly forbidden in this age.
It is not only the person who eats the meat that becomes implicated by eating the dead animal, but also those who assist in the process.
54. He who permits (the slaughter of an animal), he who cuts it up, he who kills it, he who buys or sells (meat), he who cooks it, he who serves it up, and he who eats it, (must all be considered as) the slayers (of the animal).
55. There is no greater sinner than that (man) who, though not worshiping the gods or the manes, seeks to increase (the bulk of) his own flesh by the flesh of other (beings).
From the Vedic point of view, people who eat meat or participate in providing it, especially cow, are condemned to suffer for their brutal acts. This point was emphasized over five hundred years ago by Lord Caitanya, the incarnation of Lord Krishna in this age of Kali, to Chand Kazi, a Muslim scholar of the Koran. He explained a statement in the Bhagavad-gita ( 18. 44),
“The duty of vaisyas (businessmen and agriculturalists) is to produce agricultural products, trade and give protection to cows.” Thus, in Vedic society, it is imperative to protect cows, not eat them. It is forbidden to kill a cow or a bull in this age. Lord Caitanya told Chand Kazi in the Sri Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi-lila, Chapter 17, verse 166), “ Cow killers are condemned to rot in hellish life for as many thousands of years as there are hairs on the body of the cow.”
Therefore, modern spiritual teachers, whether in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism are misleading their faithful by engaging them in meat eating which will result in massive suffering in this life and the next. The ritual killing in Islam and Judaism to obtain hallal (or hillal) meat is also misleading because it includes cows. Judaism continued the pre-Kali yuga dietary rules of the Vedas without reference to restrictions in this age to cow sacrifice as well as ignoring the Vedic purpose of gradually eliminating all animal sacrifice through severely restricted animal sacrifice. The Old Testament indicates very severe restriction on animal flesh consumption. In Genesis 9, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.” In these verses, the God of the Bible restricts man from eating animal flesh with blood still in it. This is impossible. Therefore, meat is strictly forbidden unless there is no blood in it. The God of the Bible says He will require a reckoning for the blood of the every animal man eats.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad writes about Lord Jesus Christ in his commentary on the Srimad Bhagavatam (7.15.10), “Animal sacrifice in the name of religion is current practically all over the world in every established religion. It is said that Lord Jesus Christ, when twelve years old, was shocked to see the Jews sacrificing birds and animals in the synagogues and that he therefore rejected the Jewish system of religion and started the religious system of Christianity, adhering to the Old Testament commandment, â€œThou shalt not kill.” At the present day, however, not only are animals killed in the name of sacrifice, but the killing of animals has increased enormously because of the increasing number of slaughterhouses. Slaughtering animals in the name of religion or for food is most abominable and is condemned herein. Unless one is merciless, one cannot sacrifice animals as a religious act or for food.”
In the case where there is a famine and no other food available, the Vedas permit eating animal flesh for survival, but not otherwise.
The tragedy of modern life is that the common people are being misled into sinful acts in the name of religion by religious leaders and politicians who are ignorant or purposely ignore the laws of nature as given by God in the different scriptures. When the deep meaning of “Thou shalt not kill” is realized, one refrains from unnecessary killing. Saint Paul wrote, “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:21-23 NIV)
We should have faith that God loves all His creatures. Therefore, we should not kill if we can avoid it. The principle of ahimsa – nonviolence is not to cause harm to others verbally, physically or by withholding information about God’s instructions for man. Unnecessary killing will bring disaster upon mankind as we are seeing today. Therefore the four regulative principles of Vedic life, no meat, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling are meant to help us avoid breaking the laws of nature and thus suffering. By living according to the correct understanding of God’s instructions, we can avoid unnecessary suffering and bring about a pacification of nature by which man can live peacefully. Without pleasing God, we become a victim of our own misdeeds by breaking the laws of nature for which there will be a reckoning.