Despite our technological and scientific breakthroughs, why does humanity appear so helpless in face of the punitive damages that Nature’s fury is hitting us with? What did Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba say about natural disasters and man’s responsibility towards the environment? From the very beginning of civilization, since times immemorial, Bharat or India has given the knowledge of nature to the entire world. Nature is worshipped as ‘Vishwa Swaroopa’, which is actually the entire universe. We don’t talk about one planet or one continent here. ‘Vishwa’ is something about which Bhagawan Baba spoke on a number of occasions. Swami said that scientists are learning nowadays to realize that this is not the only galaxy; there are millions of galaxies like this outside and it is not possible for any of us to visualise all these galaxies in our mind.
That is what is called as ‘Vishwa Swaroopa’. This ‘Vishwa’ is totally interconnected because the soul of the entire universe is related to every individual soul.
He is the one responsible for creating this balance between the various species. Sometimes we think that there are some species which are dangerous to us, but scientific investigations in modern times reveal that they help us in maintaining balance in the ecosystem. You may be scared of some wild creatures but there are many people in this world who live with wild creatures and consider them as members of their family. Bhagawan Baba always said there is a language called the language of the heart. Just because we don’t understand the language of the heart, we should not say that it is not there. We can speak when we have our hearts in place. We should really capture this most important message from nature. If you want to live in peace, what are you supposed to do? It is clearly given to us by the Vedas and Upanishads. It is very simple, as is repeatedly told by Bhagawan Baba – See Good, Do good, Think Good. Always think of the welfare of others before your own welfare. Today the problem is that everybody is becoming self-centred and wants to gain everything for himself, even at the cost of his own family. Selfishness is the root cause of all problems in the world
The whole perception of life has to change. We have to go back to our ancient times when life was visualized as a part of the entire natural scheme wherein you are given an opportunity to spend the time allotted to you to work for the welfare of the entire universe without disturbing anything in it. This means you have a pure mind and a pure heart and you enjoy living. That is why the Vedas say ‘Sahana Vavatu, Sahanau Bhunaktu, Sahaviryam Karavavahai, Tejasvinavadhee Tamastu Maa Vidvishavahai’ (May God Protect us, May God Nourish us, May we Work Together with Energy and Vigour, May our Study be Enlightening and not give rise to Hostility.)
You do it for the greater good of the largest number – mutual benefit – not only exclusively for yourself. The whole society is like a human being’s body. When one limb is harmed, when one part of society is suffering, other parts should not feel that they are different from this part. We are all one.” Swami always wants to take us from Vyashti (Individual) to Samashti (Society) to Srishti (Creation/Nature) and then to Parameshti (God). As Sastry Sir said, theIn one of the man management discourses, Swami addressed the boys in the college. Swami took up the issue of pollution of the natural environment. Pointing a finger at the boys very sternly Swami said, “Boys, if you go out and think that you can pollute the environment and that this Sai Baba will forgive you, it is not true! Your punishment is manifold because you are devotees and students of Bhagawan. If knowingly you make a mistake of even working in organisations that pollute the environment, there is no forgiveness for you.”
That is how careful we have to be! When you look at it today, because of our unbelievable greed, we are killing our villages, towns, cities, and rivers; we are killing our mountains, plants, trees, birds, and beasts. All in the name of development!y are not different from each other.
Having said that, all we are seeing of late is calamity after calamity, manmade. Even the so-called natural disasters, if we probe deeply as both of you are suggesting, go down to a cause by human beings. They’ve been caused by human beings collectively abusing and misusing Mother Nature. Where does the solution lie.
GS: The solution is given by Swami Himself. Today the problem is limitless desires. That is the only thing. We are running after so many things in the world and we want the whole world for ourselves. In the process, we don’t mind going to any extent in destroying everything that comes in our way. Endless desires are responsible for such a bad situation today. We go to places and spoil them. Take the Himalayas for example. People go there and even destroy the ecosystem there.
The calamity in Uttarakhand in June 2013 is said to be because of this. People went on eliminating the forests there. The speed at which the rain water flows down is cut down because of the forests. Forests are eliminated because we want to make money in the name of tourism. We are playing with nature and nature is going to bounce back with reinforced power; it will settle scores with you.
We are trying to harness all sorts of things such as energy. We want more and more energy; we are not satisfied with what we have.
This means the purpose of education, the road that education is supposed to take, is lost. Probably the worst-hit department in the entire country ever since independence is education. We are not imparting right education. That is why Baba started a University. The University’s central focal point according to Bhagawan Baba is to produce good individuals, not great individuals and not greedy human beings.
We have only one spaceship, Earth, of which we are all the passengers. If we destroy it, we have nowhere else to go in this whole universe.
What is the solution to this current situation? There is uninhibited feeding of the senses with material which is inappropriate, which only feeds our desires. All of us are trying to live a life which we are not really ready for and is not necessary. It is based not only on our needs but also on our greed and desires.
So as an individual if I want to take a moral responsibility for the catastrophes that are happening around the world and say, “No I have a part to play. I also contribute to the chaos that is around me. I also have the power to contribute to developing greater harmony”
Under the Divine Guidance and instructions from Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba the Disaster Management team of Karnataka, India was formed to train Individuals and Organisations in various Disaster rescue methods and prevention.
Mission: To Create Awareness among the people about the Disastrous Situation and How to React, Safeguard, Protect, Rescue people in such situations…
Whenever natural calamities have caused havoc to human life, the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation has been extremely responsive in providing assistance to the affected population. Under the direction and guidance of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation in India and the International Medical Committee, teams of volunteers have quickly reached the affected areas, assessed the needs, and developed plans. The relief teams were composed of members in the medical, paramedical, and non-medical fields.
Medical services included administration of first aid, treatment of acute and chronic conditions, and eye care with the provision of eyeglasses. More importantly, because of the sudden catastrophic nature of such calamities, grief counseling was given to the affected individuals, families, and large groups. This allows the individual, the family, and the community to emotionally cope with the situation and move on with their lives. Nonmedical relief included the provision of food, clean safe drinking water, shelters, sanitation, clothes, blankets, bed-sheets, cooking utensils, lighting supplies, and other basic necessities. Community-level needs were also addressed. These were mainly to reestablish educational infrastructure and provide school supplies. Tools of the trade such as sewing machines, bicycles, woodworking tools, etc., were provided so that people could return to their normal lives. All activities were carried out with an undercurrent of Divine Love, humility, compassion, empathy, and respect for the distressed.
Please find a document which gives an overview of Sri Sathya Sai Disaster Management in Karnataka:
Please find the Disaster Management report for 2016.
Please find the Disaster Management English Book for reference