Saluting Mother Earth

Saluting Mother Earth

Earth Day today Harish Barthwal To early man, Earth was not just one celestial body but an epicentre of sort in entire space with other planetary...

Earth Day today

Harish Barthwal

To early man, Earth was not just one celestial body but an epicentre of sort in entire space with other planetary bodies performing subservient roles. In classical view of universe held by early Greeks, Indians, Chinese, Japanese and others, Earth was reckoned as one of the four cardinal elements pervading every conceivable entity we see or sense � other three being air, fire and water. To these was added ether, also called quintessence (quint meaning fifth); the fifth element was non-physical, the soul and 'human being' was referred to as Panchtatva i.e. composite of these five elements in Indian culture.

"Mother Earth was the first physician and healer" said Alma Hutchens. "Some day, everyone will realise that she alone owns the true pharmacy in medicine, for all drugs are made from her garden, or a chemical substitute that replicates the effects and benefits her plants."

Sciences continue to unravel the anatomy and patterns of Earth and explore the immense resources it contains. We haven't yet discovered precisely what innumerable flora, fauna, minerals and other valuable resources lie on its surface not to speak of several layers beneath. Victor Schauberger said, "Our primeval Mother Earth is an organism that no science in the world can rationalise. Everything on her that crawls and flies are dependent upon her and all must hopelessly perish if that Earth dies that feeds us."

Geologists, botanists, zoologists and other scientists are still in primary stage of gathering knowledge of its varied terrains. The litterateurs, the artists and the other creatives have often turned to Nature (read Earth) � to which man legitimately belongs � for placating their own soul and also producing the masterpieces.

Earth provided shelter, food, relief and everything for sustenance, nurturance and growth of all creatures, whether of animal or plant kingdom. More wonderful than the well orchestrated interdependence of various creatures in the ecological chain, the marvelous symbiotic matrix in any earthly setting is the ingenuity and imagination of its creator to have laid so perfect a design.

As a source of all life and the repository to which all live entities ultimately merged after its days are over, Earth came to be associated with divine powers worth reverence and worship. Those open to the variegated beauties of nature derive immense inspiration, relief and exhilaration from earthly nuances. Rachel Carson believed that those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

Not only is Earth associated with fertility, creation and motherhood (Rig-Veda calls Earth as Mahimata (meaning arch mother) but also provides way out to keep all maladies away; a branch of naturopathy (Mrida chikitsa) employs mud to cure all body ailments. Sleeping on ground and walking barefoot provided early man proximity to Earth, the electric system of which has perfect matching with the electric system of human body; the modalities of how human body benefits is an issue that new researches may unfold in future.

Those staying close to Earth report feeling of vibrancy, better sleep and little or no complaint of chronic pains and fatigue affecting most others who keep them insulated from conduction of 'grounding'. That the benefit is not one way was put by Khalil Gibran in these words, "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."

The motif of Earth Mother exists in many mythologies. The concept of 'Pachamama' among Andean Indians of South America; Ki, Ninhusag, Nintu, Mamma or Aruru in ancient Middle East; Phra Mae Thorani in Asian countries; Gaia in Wicca; Danu in Ireland; Don in Welsh; and Gaia-Zena, Papatuanuku, etc. elsewhere was well grounded in the ethos of various cultures.

Earth is a place we have on lease from posterity. We must therefore do all we can to see that it is not abused by indiscriminate and wanton tempering of its varied resources � air, water and earth. Robert Orben remarked in sarcasm, "There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all." On agricultural front, due to erratic climatic patterns, farmers are often in fix when to sow or harvest the crops.

In such a background hardly a nation can ignore the impending dangers of tempering with Nature's rhythm. Another issue is that of greed to acquire far more in excess of what one can ever use that is against the design of Nature. Other factors disturbing the ecological balance of Nature are: excessive use of new technology, green house emissions, erratic urbanisation, down pour of toxic effluents into waterways. Modern technology owes ecology an apology, said A.M. Edison.

Thanks to Gaia worship that led to formation of many policies for protection of environment, endangered species and biodiversity at the level of United Nations. The United Nations earth worship programme, The UN Environmental Sabbath Service, calls one and all "to join with earth and with each other" for salvation of Earth. What we direly need is not only reviving our connectivity to Earth and staying in sync with her designs but also keeping its pattern intact. Cutting across national frontiers and through call for preserving Earth, the pious Earth Day on 22 April unites people from all regions, creeds and persuasions, exhorting us to pledge what we can do to safeguard and protecting Earth and do our bit to have a clean environment for posterity.

Each year, Earth Day is marked by various events across the globe: individuals, organisations, governments and communities pledging support to conserve and protect it. In 2013, with Earth Day theme as The Face of Climate Change, over a billion people from Beijing to Cairo, Melbourne to London, Rio to Johannesburg, New Delhi to New York shall participate in activities like tree planting, recycling & conservation, using recyclable containers for food packaging, in some locations involving celebrities.

In India, a novel effort has been undertaken by Earth Day Network-India in collaboration with rotary Club of Calcutta Yuvis with launch of Bags for Earth campaign to help turn old and unusable clothes and other discarded cloth items into useful bags, thus providing a green alternative to plastic bags. Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to mobilise the environmental campaign involving about a billion people. As sons and daughters of Earth, the best way to pay our respects to our Mother Earth would be, not just taking pledges but doing nothing to hurt her and her other offspring.

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