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The Beauty of Trees

Updated on December 17, 2009

Ancient Spiritual Tradition of Conservation

The Parliament of World Religions is having a conference on global warming and ecological concerns. They have declared: "The Earth is sacred." The Earth is indeed our Mother. If we thought of her and treated her as we have treated our own mother, global warming would not exist. Conservation comes out a state of consciousness that each creature is part of the web of life.

The ancient spiritual tradition of conservation existed for thousands of years. Ecological wisdom is honored in all the spiritual traditions. Hinduism is the oldest major world spiritual tradition which honors wisdom of the beauty of trees. Trees have much to offer humanity in our quest to take care of Mother Earth (Bhumi Devi - goddess of the Earth).

In the Hindu Ramayama, one of our sacred books, Bhumi's daughter, Sita, discussed some very important ecological values with her twin sons, Luv & Kush. She was in the forest with them when one of them chopped at a tree for fire wood. She told him to ask forgiveness for chopping the tree. She said, "We only use dead wood for cooking. Trees provide shade, herbs and fruits for humans and animals. Trees provide oxygen for all living things." How wise and with-it Sita was! This is ancient wisdom, but so very modern to our times in understanding the greatness of trees.

The other wisdom story I will share with you is from the Bhagavata Purana, and it illustrates the importance of trees for ecological conservation. Lord Krishna, an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu, spoke eloquently about the beauty of trees. Krishna has this to say about trees in this beautiful passage of the Purana: "Look at these great blessed souls, who live only for the welfare of others, suffering stormy winds, heavy rains, heat and frost, sparing us. The birth of trees is truly the most blessed in the world, for they contribute to the well-being of all creatures. Just as no one needy returns disappointed from generous persons, so too one who approaches trees for shelter. They meet the needs of others with their leaves, flowers, fruits, shade, roots, bark, wood, fragrance, sap, ashes and charcoal. Offering life, wealth, intellect and speech to benefit others is the height of service of embodied beings for fellow creatures."

You can see how much Krishna loved trees and honored them as the great beings that they truly are. They make life possible on the Earth. They do so much for the Earth, so we need to do so much for them, and plant more of them all the time. Planting them and loving them will do so much for the ecology of the Earth. Many conservationists have promoted the power of planting and caring for trees. We also need to take care of resources, recycle, and avoid polluting the Earth.

In the Hindu tradition you pray to Mother Earth (Bhumi Devi) for permission to build anything. This is called a Bhumi Puja. This is the idea of being thoughtful when you build, honoring Mother Earth asking her permission. Building at the right time is important. Thinking also what we are building. Will it enhance the Earth or destroy it? We must be thoughtful about this. In some of the Native American traditions, asking permission is also necessary. When Native Americans hunted bison, they had a cermony prior to the hunt. The medincine man or woman would pray to the head of the bison herd for permission to hunt three or four bison for the survival of the tribe. We take only what we need and leave the rest. This is found in both of these traditions.

As the Global Warming Meeting in Copenhagen concludes, nations need to consider their part in global warming and take ethical responsibility for the whole ecosystem of Mother Earth. There are some actions which cost little money and can actually save money, which every nation can accomplish. Richer nations can help economically poorer nations with conservation projects. Poorer nations can share some basic ecological wisdom with us, which will help everyone conserve more wisely. The Earth is truly in the Balance.

JAI SHRI TREES!, Radhapriestess,

This hub was dedicated to Pandit Rajin Balgobind, my Guru Ji.

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