To worship is to respect and to respect is to conserve, a cycle that has been incepted into the human world as soon as civilization came into being, but somewhere amidst progress lost its significance. Recognizing the hold of nature on humans and vice versa was one of the preliminary things that became a part of human life back then; back when? The time when humans had just tasted the fruit of organizing themselves into civilizations by revering nature to simultaneously benefit from it. Their world revolved around nature with an element of submission constituting its core.
We come from a country that allegedly derives its name from a river, a river which itself is a manifestation of nature, shows the ancestry of thought process where we derive our very own existence from. ‘Indus Valley Civilization’ happened to be one of the oldest foundational civilizations of not merely the Indian subcontinent but the entire world. Harappans (people who constituted the civilization) are widely known for their reverence towards nature, be it worshipping the river Indus or respecting the animals, nature worship was indispensable. They were somewhere inherently aware of the fact that it is conserving nature and not deteriorating it for selfish purposes that will bear fruits of return for them.
The worship of nature underlines the fact that the divine can appear in any guise. The religious person is confronted by the paradox that the sacred can manifest itself in material form without losing its essential character. And this is where nature as a total collective entity becomes worthy of being respected. Nature worship in the true sense acts as a junction between practicality, needed for existence and belief, necessary for maintaining the spiritual balance. Experiencing the sacred in everything that altogether constitutes nature, like the stars, the Moon, the Sun, the mountains, trees, shrubs, lakes, ponds, seas, oceans, and even animals! Is what shapes the whole idea of worshipping nature.
Rather than regarding oneself as ‘apart’ from the enveloping nature, seeing oneself as ‘a a part’ of nature would in a real sense give us a chance to introspect as to what constitutes us as humans, it is nothing but nature itself. The earliest way of living, often called ‘Sanatan Dharma’ was nothing but all about worshipping nature in its true form.
Forests, mountains, herbs, shrubs, animals, centipedes, every little thing that paints the picture of nature was given a spot in this alleged ‘religion’, where rivers were seen as a mother and a source of life’s sustenance, where the earth itself was venerated as a guardian deity. It is not only about Sanatan Dharma but has been observed within all primary civilizations that developed in different global parts, that the deepest space of reverence was occupied by nature.
But today, in the contemporary modern world, man has set self-created boundaries between human life, belief, and nature, overlapping amongst which is not allowed even by a whisker.
Nature is treated aloof from belief and religion that becomes the major reason for its degradation. It is often witnessed that nature is additionally being maltreated to fulfil the institutionalized religion’s compulsions, making it nature versus religion tussle.
Thus, it is beyond the need of the hour that we should bring back the essence of worshipping nature into our lives. It is more than necessary that we stop attributing the practice of worshipping nature to only ‘certain’ tribal and remotely sparse communities. Revering nature and everything that constitutes it, being eternally grateful to the element from where we as ‘beings’ derive our existence is somewhere more rational than succumbing to an institutionalized exploitative religion that rips humanity off inclusivity.
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