Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baba on Earth's Sustainability

Today there is a very popular crisis called "sustainability." The thought is that earth is our only home, and as people gobble up the resources of their planet, their "species" will be lost. Let us see what Baba says about our "only home, Earth."
"In what is called space, numberless universes are continuously created, sustained and destroyed. This procession of creation continues so long as God goes on imagining. And when God's imagination is suspended, as it is at moments in eternity when God withdraws himself into his sound sleep state (just as a man's imagination ceases when he is in deep sleep), the creation is withdrawn and dissolved - Mahapralaya.

"Creation, preservation and dissolution are based on ignorance. In fact there is no such thing as creation, so preservation and dissolution never actually occur. The very cosmos has no foundation save that of ignorance. Ignorance believes: the cosmos is a reality; birth, death, old age, wealth, honor are real. Knowledge knows: the cosmos is a dream; God alone is real."

    (The Everything and the Nothing, p. 87)

"Even this Earth expends itself in time, and another earth takes its place. Science will soon come to know a little of what I have said."
   (Much Love, by T.K. Ramanujam,  p. 529)
"The sun that gives you light at present will burst after many crores (tens of millions) of years. But another sun will take its place. The earth is getting cooler, and will eventually turn into a moon. But another planet, just like the present earth, will take its place. What has been in the past will be in the future. The processes of evolution and involution will go on forever. Ignorance and creation go hand in hand."
   (Lord Meher, p. 1140)

"How long-lasting is this world, and how many times has it been formed and wiped out? Many a world has gone, and this too will go. To take its place, another world is being made ready. Three-fourths of it is already ready, one-fourth remains to be formed. If this world is destroyed today, evolution will start in another. Evolution consists of a fixed process of ages – stone age, vegetable age, worm age, and so forth. If this world is destroyed today, an interval will remain, but by natural processes new life in a new world will take millions of years to materialize. Millions of years are required for another world to come into being.
Natural and unnatural catastrophes come in cycles of time, not in ages. A cycle is made up of so many ages. Just as after four years a leap year occurs and a day is added for calculation purposes instead of adding a fraction of a day monthly; similarly this destruction will mean leaping millions of years. There is no question of time. Millions of years mean one second, because there is nothing such as time."

   (Lord Meher, p. 4203)
Another worry people have is about population. The notion is that the earth has a particular "carrying capacity," a very materialistic (almost farm-like) view of humanity. What did Meher Baba say about the population? As far as I know he only said two things.
"Thus it is that souls from other inhabited worlds finally take birth on this earth for their emancipation, more so during the Avataric advent when the highest spiritual benefit is gained, and most so when the Avataric manifestation is greatest. Hence the present influx of population on earth is but the natural outcome of the rush of migration from other worlds, and the ones migrating from the worlds of highest intelligence are responsible for carrying science to the peak it has reached today. All this has been recurring since timeless ages in a neverending tide and ebb. Even this Earth expends itself in time, and another earth takes its place. Science will soon come to know a little of what I have said."

   (Much Love, 1994 edition, p. 529)

"Selfishness, multiplied by population, results in wars, exploitation, persecution and poverty. Selflessness, multiplied by population, brings about peace and plenty. All the modern fads that are stalking the world today, in the guise of politics, economics, materialism, communalism, nationalism and socialism, have to be judged on the criteria of selfishness or selflessness."
   (Lord Meher, p. 3162)
So where did such a concept as people outgrowing their resources come from? Thomas Malthus in 1798.

For a more sophisticated discussion of carrying capacity see this article.

So, was Baba anti-life, anti-Earth, anti-environment, or anti-nature, or into conspicuous consumption? Of course not. Anyone who has read God Speaks by him will know that his theme is one of the most all-encompassing spiritual ideas in memory. Every creature has a soul, and all life in Creation (who are our own younger brothers and sisters in a sense) are One and destined for realization.

Theme of Creation Chart from God Speaks (click to enlarge)
And anyone who has read Mehera Meher, the memories of Baba's chief disciple Mehera Irani, knows how frugal Baba was, and how frugal those who lived with him had to be to stay there.

So what about this concept of sustainability?

Baba said that he was the Avatar of this age. In Hinduism, the Avatar is the incarnation of Vishnu, who happens to be the Sustainer aspect of the Hindu trinity of God. The way I understand this is that though Baba is God in His entirety, it is this Sustainer aspect that is emphasized in his advents.

In Sufism this aspect is called Parvardigar. Parvardigar, usually spelled Parwardigar, literally means sustainer. The word has Persian roots and comes from parwa/parva meaning to foster, cherish, to nurture, to develop/care for. Digar, when applied in this sense, means "again and again." Thus Parvardigar means "to care again and again." In the opening line of Baba's Master's Prayer, the first aspect of God that is beseeched is God as the "preserver and and protector of all." This alludes, I believe, to Baba as Sustainer, or Vishnu. We as humanity remind God that He is after all our protector, and beseech His continued upholdment, and to that end also all of Creation upon which man's existence is dependent.

The lilies of the field, Matthew 6
When worrying over those resources we human beings on this little earth may cause ourselves to have lack of, through greed, war, and povertization, it is good to keep in mind the words of Jesus on this exact anxiety in his own day.
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
(Matthew 6:15-34)
Hearing those words by Jesus can't help but remind one of Baba's so often quoted phrase:
       Don't Worry, Be Happy. I will help you.

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