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    Nature worship for world peace and harmony

    December 17, 2019

    Nature worship for world peace and harmony

    Daya Dissanayake

    (Extract from a plenary paper presented at the International Conference on Environment, Culture and the Anthropocene, December 1 and 2, 2019 Berhampur University, Odisha.)

    Going back to the worship of Nature could be the best solution to bring about real peace and harmony among all life on earth and save Earth herself. Then we can still adhere to our faith, be it Buddha, Hindu, or Jaina Dharma, Christianity, Islam or Judaism.

    In the beginning there would have been only nature worship, with Mother Earth as the Mother Goddess. The new religions, with benevolent gods, even though all of them professed peace and co-existence, created conflicts and competition. The ruling classes exploited the new beliefs to gain more and more power and wealth, by inciting man against nature and his own brother.

    It is time we return to the worship of our environment. When we worship the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars, when we worship rain and the rivers, the trees and the mountains, we do not have to fight with each other because all nature belong to all of us and we belong to nature.

    Children of Mother Earth

    We are all children of Mother Earth. Mother Earth gave us life. She nourishes us, provides all our needs while we are alive, and receives our bodies back into her. We come from her and go back into her. It is our life cycle, which may have given rise to a belief in rebirth and samsara.

    That is why our ancestors worshipped Mother Earth as Mother goddess, and held her as most sacred. Our biological Mother is the next most sacred. She is our Mother Earth at home. When we worship our mothers we worship Mother Earth and thus all Nature. This is why we call our land of birth our Motherland.

    Our worries, our concerns about the ecosystem, eco-destruction and eco-criticism are all because in our anthropocentric arrogance we believe that we, human beings, are omnipotent, omniscient and the entire universe is there to serve us. We believe that we created god in our own image. It is time we realized that we are only predatory parasites on the skin of Mother Earth. Predatory as we prey on each other, and parasitic as we feed on Mother Earth. We have become the most harmful invasive species in the world, from the time our ancestors began walking on their hind legs, using the forelegs for destruction and started migrating all over the world.

    Earthquakes are really Mother Earth writhing in pain as we keep on molesting her. Lava flowing from volcanoes is her blood from her injuries. We have to stop molesting her, and go back to worshipping her.

    Dr. Shruti Das, tells us in her poem, “Of Mountains”,

    “Yes, you could not reach up.

    So you pulled me down.”

    That is what we are doing. We could not reach up to the glories and wonders of nature. So we are pulling her down, all the time, in every manner.

    We are all worshipping nature and Mother Earth, unconsciously or unintentionally, when we worship a statue, a building, a mountain or a rock, because they are all a part of nature, all made of what belongs to Mother Earth. All we have to do now, is to worship them intentionally.

    Nature developed a really well balanced, well sustained, ecosystem, which would always be in equilibrium, except for occasional natural geographical, climatic or biological changes, but always getting back to a stable state very soon.

    Nature too follows Patticca samuppada, Dependent co-arising. In nature studies they are called cycles. Rain Cycle, Oxygen cycle and Carbon dioxide Cycle. All three cycles depend on trees. Trees depend on water, sunlight and Carbon dioxide. Thus the trees depend on animals for the Carbon dioxide, and the sun for energy and for operating the Water cycle.

    In India the worship of trees go back at least 5000 years, based on the evidence of the seals found at the Harappan sites. We still worship the same tree, as the Bodhi tree. Recent archaeological excavations revealed that Lumbini too had been a sacred grove, where deep under the Maya Devi temple they have found probable evidence of pre-Buddhist tree worship. It could have been a place of worship of a tree goddess or a Mother goddess, a symbol of Motherhood, for fertility and safe childbirth. This sacred tree could have been a Sal or Asoka.


    A well-balanced ecosystem continued for millennia until we developed agri-destruction in the name of agri-culture. Even in Sinhala we use the term Krushikarma. It is really our bad karma that made our ancestors develop Krushi karma. Man’s first victims were the plant life. The first acts of destruction were the clearing of vegetation to plant a few specific trees, thus destroying the delicate balance of nature which later developed into vast land areas limited to monoculture, of rice, wheat, tea, rubber, and worst of all oil palm and tobacco.

    Water is sacred. As Mother Earth gave us life, water is our life blood. Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. 50 – 65% of the human body is water. Without water we cannot survive.

    Like everything in life today, religious beliefs too have been commodified. Ganges water is held sacred. Bottled Gangajal from Gangotri is now available at Amazon. We have to collect the water at Gangotri, because down river the water is no longer sacred. It is polluted and defiled, by us. 260 Million Litres per Day of industrial sewage is added to the Gangajal on her way down to Gangasagar. We worship the most sacred river with sewage, garbage, industrial and agricultural chemicals which are all poisonous and carcinogenic.

    When we hold all nature as sacred and we respect her, we would never think of violating her. When we worship a tree, we would never think of cutting it down. When we worship a river and hold her sacred, we would never think of polluting her. We would not need to start campaigns to clean the Yamuna and Sri Pada, if we do not pollute them. When we hold a mountain as sacred we would never think of destroying her forest cover and use the earth and the rock from the mountains to earn filthy lucre.

    One more reason we have to go back to nature worship, specially the worship of Mother Earth, is because it has now been accepted by many scientists, that Mother Earth is a living goddess, she is Gaia. When we look at Gaia as a living organism, and as a tiny planet in a multiverse, then man is probably like a single celled creature in the mighty ocean.

    To save ourselves, to save all life on Mother Earth, and to save Mother Earth herself, we have to respect and worship nature. This could be the one simple way to bring back peace and happiness to all of us.

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    Last modified on Tuesday, 17 December 2019 11:16

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