Sadhguru: You are an inseparable part of everything around you. Both the human and cosmic body are made up of five elements. In the yogic system, with mastery over these five elements within, you take charge of both your inner and outer ecology; the two are inseparable. But human consciousness has grown so fragmented that most people have forgotten that interdependence is not a theory, it is a reality. An experiential state of yoga means that you experience the Earth as you experience your little finger – as an integral part of yourself.

The Isha Foundation’s initiative, ‘Rally for Rivers’, comes from the organic view that the individual and planet cannot be disengaged. Concern over the serious depletion of water and soil is neither about being ideologically chic or politically savvy; the concern is as ecological as it is existential. Soil and water are not commodities, but life-making material. The elemental composition of the human body is 72 per cent water and 12 per cent earth.

A Stable Foundation

Only when we truly understand our elemental connection with the environment can we create a stable base for ourselves that empowers us to explore higher possibilities. This is the significance of the muladhara chakra in the subtle anatomy: Without a stable foundation, transcendence is not possible. But we overlook this and opt to live in a psychological space that is utterly estranged from our physical and existential reality. Though nature has evolved humans to an extraordinary level of self-awareness, we are refusing to accept the promotion!


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The environmental situation we are in, currently, is grave. What took nature millions of years to produce, we seem ready to wipe out in one generation. It is estimated that by 2030 we will have only 50% of the water we need for our survival in this country.

Heading Towards Disaster

Since most of our rivers are forest-fed, the best way to resuscitate them is with more vegetation. But, the organic content of soil has fallen drastically and the rapid pace of desertification is alarming. Soil depletion in this country is so acute that nearly 25% of Indian agricultural land will not be cultivable in the next three to five years. In forty years’ time, it is estimated that over 60% will be uncultivable.

The only way to increase organic content is through tree cultivation and animal waste. If we destroy our capability to generate food, we will be heading towards disaster. Due to lack of vegetation and indiscriminate urban expansion, we are witnessing alarming cycles of flood and drought. In the last 12 years, nearly three lakh farmers have committed suicide. Agriculture has become a truly heart-breaking process.

Time to Wake Up

But there is hope. This is a land of extraordinary responsiveness and aliveness, evinced in its still-incredible biodiversity. When ancient sages called this a ‘sacred land’, it was not pure hyperbole. With just a little attentiveness and timely action, this land could rejuvenate faster than any other on the planet.

Let’s rise above narrow, gated communities of opinion. If we truly recognize that every subatomic particle in our body is in constant dialogue with the cosmos, it will be clear that it is time for all of us to wake up. Our rivers are our lifeline. Their crisis confronts us with a collective deadline. We can defer responsibility no longer. With responsible action, we can reverse this situation.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can support Rally for Rivers at

A version of this article was originally published in Speaking Tree.