“Mother Earth is the mother for all of humanity” ~ Amma Sri Karunamayi
When I first met my guru, one of the things that drew me to her was the way she seemed to view the world, and our relationship to the world. She would speak of rivers, mountains, trees and the entire planet as being utterly divine, resplendent with cosmic light, and ringing with nada, a subtle vibration that could be heard only in deep meditation. Listening to her, I felt transported to a completely different state. In my mind, I can hear her gently chiding us. “Children, Mother Nature has given you so much, but what are you giving her in return? Mother Earth gives us everything we need for a happy and comfortable life, but humans are just taking and taking. We pollute the rivers, we pollute the air, we have polluted the earth, and we are even polluting space with our negative thoughts and emotions.” Her words struck deep within my heart, and I began thinking about what the Earth means to me, and what my obligations might be.
In high school, I remember participating in the environmental club, because I knew on some level that environmental issues were important to me. I understood intellectually that pollution was harmful, and that the planet’s resources were not infinite. My approach was very scientific, and I analyzed issues in terms of supply and demand, action and reaction, chemical processes creating undesirable results. But after I entered into the path of Hindu or Vedic spirituality, I began to experience some tectonic shifts in my consciousness. As my attitudes shifted, my heart began to open further, and my inner eye also began to open to deeper realities all around me.
Mother Earth Holds Us All in Her Lap
As I’ve studied ancient Indian spirituality, my beliefs about the natural world have certainly shifted in an intellectual sense. I’ve come to understand that the ancient Vedic sages viewed the Earth as a divine goddess named Bhu Devi, a being who had feelings and consciousness, and who responded to our prayers and actions. The sages sang beautiful hymns of gratitude to Mother Earth, wished her peace in rhythmic peace prayers, and also performed elaborate fire ceremonies for her peace and happiness. They believed that Mother Earth holds us all in her lap, and that if we are to be happy and content, she must be happy first. I knew all this intellectually, but I still couldn’t quite connect this knowledge with my awareness of environmental issues.
However, all that changed as my worship of Divine Mother deepened. My spiritual practices come from the tradition of Sri Vidya, which is dedicated to the worship of God in the form of Divine Mother. According to Sri Vidya, the entire universe has emanated from God, who is a vast ocean of loving, blissful consciousness. That supremely divine consciousness is referred to as Sri Lalita Parameswari. She is considered to be fully immanent in the world as well as utterly transcendent of all that we can imagine or describe. It is believed that the five elements–earth, water, air, fire, and space–are simply five different forms of Divine Mother herself. Since everything in Creation is made of the five elements, everything around us is a form of Mother.
Worship of Lalita Devi Led to a Deeper View of Planet Earth’s True Nature
Throughout my spiritual life, my practices have revolved around Mother Lalita. As I’ve grown into these practices, which include things like chanting Sri Lalita Sahasranama, meditating on Lalita Devi’s mantras, and worshipping the Sri Chakra, my experience of the world has been transformed. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point, I became aware of the Earth as a living being. My first experience of this came when simply looking at photographs of our planet from space. Simply looking at the Earth causes feelings of immense love to arise in my heart. I’m no longer looking at a hunk of rock, a conglomeration of stardust spinning in space; I am seeing a beautiful and precious being with consciousness, who is very noble, sweet, and incredibly patient.
I have also begun to experience the natural world in a different way. It’s difficult to describe, but when walking outside, I feel an energy reaching up from the ground, enveloping me in a blissful embrace. At other times, I sense an extremely poignant sadness emanating from the ground. I often feel the urge to place my hand on the ground out of a desire to “console” Mother Earth. When I feel that sadness, I chant Sanskrit peace prayers and visualize peaceful, loving energy traveling through the soles of my feet deep into Mother Earth’s heart. I no longer feel that I am walking on dead, inert ground. The ground itself has come alive, and my connection with Mother Earth has become an experienced reality. When I pray for her, it’s as if I feel her love and gratitude seeping in through the soles of my feet and entering deep into my heart.
A Vedic Prescription for Planetary Health and Well-Being
From my studies with Amma, my guru, I have come to learn that we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mother Earth. She is bearing us all on her surface with a lot of love and tenderness. Everything we need comes from her. One powerful way of thanking her is to make prayers for her peace and happiness, and for the well-being of all the creatures who call the Earth home. We can follow in the sacred footsteps of the ancient Vedic sages and send our loving energy deep into the Earth, thus giving her comfort and peace. Of course, I have also learned from Amma that prayers are not enough. We are harming Mother Earth physically, and so we must also find a way to stop doing that. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to stop polluting the Earth and wasting natural resources. Becoming more “eco-friendly” is not something nice that we do for the environment; it’s a sacred obligation. It’s a tiny gesture we can make out of gratitude for everything that we have already received from our most loving Mother Earth.
Greening My World as an Offering to Mother Earth
In addition to my daily peace prayers, I have begun researching the different ways that I can make a difference for the health of Mother Earth. I admit, I have not always paid as much attention as I should to my own practices and behaviors and how they impact the environment. I’m not about to go live “off the grid” and start scavenging for my food. But I am determined to look carefully at my lifestyle and do whatever I can in a balanced way to reduce waste and pollution. As I evaluate and make changes in my life, I will share my progress and ideas here.
In the Vedic tradition, it is considered necessary to conduct “Bhumi Puja” before beginning construction of any new building. Bhumi is a word for Earth, and a puja is a worship ceremony in honor of a specific aspect of Divinity. During the Bhumi Puja, many auspicious offerings like flowers and fruits will be made to Mother Earth, and her permission will be officially requested to start construction. The Vedic sages considered it “good form” to ask permission before using a particular piece of land for any purpose, and the offerings were meant to express gratitude for the Earth’s kindness. So for me, my “Bhumi Puja” will be to try to live my life in a more eco-friendly way. By greening my own world, I can help to green the whole world as my auspicious offering to Mother Earth.
Om srim bhu devyai namaha
I offer my loving reverence to Mother Earth
Hear a chant to Mother Earth here if you scroll to end of the link’s page (link added by IYM Admin)
About the Author
For the past twenty years, Ekta has immersed herself in the ocean of Vedic spirituality, and loves exploring how to incorporate this profound knowledge into one’s daily life while living in the modern world. Visit her blog here.