Conscious Living, the Only Solution for the Environment

June 5 is celebrated as Environment Day every year. In this article, Sadhguru explains why we should appreciate our planet and shift from compulsiveness to a conscious way of living.
Conscious Living, the Only Solution for the Environment
 

Q: Sadhguru, why do we spend billions of dollars looking for life on other planets, while spending trillions of dollars destroying life on earth? What is wrong with us?

Sadhguru: What is wrong is, we are looking for boundless expansion through physical means. You want to go to the moon but you are on a bullock cart thrashing the bulls. You may kill the bulls but you will not make it this way. This is the fundamental flaw.

People are thinking of harnessing some other planet. But destroying that planet is also just a question of time.

A human being is constantly longing to be something more than what he is right now. If he knows only money, he is thinking of a little more money; if he knows power, a little more power; if he knows love, a little more love. There is something within him that will not settle for who he is. In whatever way you know best, you are trying to be a little more. But if you apply your awareness and look at it, you can clearly see that you are not seeking money, property, love or pleasure. What you are seeking is expansion. How much expansion would settle you for good? If you look at this, you can clearly see that you are looking for infinite expansion. Every human being wants to expand in a limitless way. But right now, we are trying to become infinite through installments of conquest, by capturing the world, or shopping. The longing to expand is finding expression in so many ways, which are all physical.

The physical realm, however large it may seem to you, is a limited realm. Right now, our very economies are built like this: it is all about more, more and more. Every country is talking about growth rate. This means everyone has to buy more and use more. But where is that “more”? So people are thinking of harnessing some other planet. But destroying that planet is also just a question of time.

Our Fantastic Planet

This is a fantastic planet – it has nurtured not one or two life forms, but millions. The sheer variety of life, of animals, birds, plants, insects, worms and microbes that we have on this planet is mindboggling. Though we have discovered a few million life forms, even today, every year, over 10,000 new species are being found. But we think things will be better somewhere else.

Because we have largely exploited everything we can over here, and we know it is going to come to an end, people are looking for another place to exploit.

The longing to expand is compulsive. Because we have not found any other vehicle through which we can expand, we naturally think exploiting physical resources is the only way. This is what our idea of science has become unfortunately. If scientific research is going on into some aspect, you can be assured that when they find something about it, they are going to look at how to exploit that. We exploited the land and oceans, now we want to exploit what is beyond. Our idea of life has become exploitation. People are making proteins out of microbes. They don’t even spare the damn bacteria!

It has come to a point where every creature is in need of protection. A fierce animal like a tiger needs protection! Just the word “tiger” is supposed to terrify you but now the poor thing has to be protected.

Because we have largely exploited everything we can over here, and we know it is going to come to an end, people are looking for another place to exploit. The moment they find such a planet – I hope they will not – you can imagine nations going to war with each other out there. Even if we make a movie, if we say “stars”, they say “wars”!

A Dark Environmental Age

We are in this exploitative mode not by choice, but by compulsiveness. The only solution for this is consciousness. When humanity begins to operate out of consciousness, compulsiveness will not rule us, and we will do just what is needed, nothing more, nothing less. If this does not happen, India will be among the first countries to be hit big time by the environmental disaster that is evolving. The rivers in India are in a serious condition. On an average, all rivers in India are depleting approximately 8% every year. So in fifteen years, most rivers will be gone. Most rivers already do not reach the ocean for most months of the year. This depletion is seen right across.

Today, if you look at the potable water per person in this country, we have only 25% of (water/person) that we had in 1947. By 2050 they say we'll have only 18%. It’s time to get ready for bottle baths – you must be able to have a bath with one bottle! This is a very serious issue. If people on the street do not have water to drink, let no one fool themselves that our lives will be safe and well.

Raising River Awareness

One thing that needs to be done is to create a catchment area for a kilometer on either side of the river, all along its course. There should be no ploughing and agriculture there. If it is government land, plant forest trees, if it is private land, plant horticultural trees. Distribute free saplings with subsidies for a few years till the trees yield. We have to do whatever is needed to ensure there are trees, not ploughed land with heavy fertilizers next to the river. I have been pushing for this for almost ten years and now the leadership in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have taken this suggestion seriously.

In Madhya Pradesh, on November 10th, we are launching a movement where 100 people will walk down the river, creating awareness.

The farmer is just working for his livelihood. He does not know anything about the unfolding ecological disaster. So we need to create a movement and make people realize this is necessary, and then make some policy decisions.

To do this, in Madhya Pradesh, on November 10th, we are launching a movement where 100 people will walk down the river, creating awareness. It is nearly 1400 kilometers and they will cover this distance in 90 days. Along the way, more people can join for a day or two. Meetings will be held in every village as they go. The Chief Minister will be there at least for a few days, and I am planning to be there for a few days too. All the young people should go and walk!

We want to make this into a national movement, so that we can stretch the life of our rivers a little more. This is not a solution, but this will at least slow things down. But the ultimate solution is that people start living consciously. This is the only way.

Editor’s Note: To read more about the state of the environment and what we can do about it, download the ebook, A Tree Can Save The World.

 

FICTION

FACT

Fiction

Isha Foundation has encroached on forest land

Fact

The land where the Yoga Center stands is 100% patta land purchased legally from private individuals. The officials of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department have verified and clearly documented the above, confirming that Isha Yoga Center has not infringed onto forest land and that there is no adverse impact on the surrounding flora and fauna. The document reference number CFCIT/07/2013 was quoted by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department in its Counter Affidavit for Writ Petitions filed by pseudo environmental groups in the Hon’ble Madras High Court and National Green Tribunal. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, in its Counter Affidavit filed before the National Green Tribunal has reiterated the same.

Interested parties can verify this further with a combination of survey maps, revenue records, Panchayat records and land coordinates.

For details read here.

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Fiction

Isha Yoga Center is located on an Elephant Corridor

Fact

Elephant corridors are narrow strips of land varying from 100 m to 1 km in width that serve as transit passages between two elephant habitats. As we stand, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, has listed the elephant corridors through ‘Gajah’, the annual report of the Elephant Task Force. Isha Yoga Center is not located in any of these elephant corridors. The report ‘Right of Passage’ by the Wildlife Trust of India, is edited by eminent scientists working in the field of Elephant conservation – Isha Yoga Center is not present in any of the Elephant corridors listed by them.

For more on this,read here.

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Fiction

The 112-ft Adiyogi is just another attention-seeking statue, an ego trip by the Isha Foundation

Fact

Adiyogi has been offered to the world as a symbol, an inspiration to move humanity from vague and divisive methods of approaching human wellbeing to a scientific and systemic approach. Ideologies, belief systems and philosophies have divided humanity forever, causing wars and genocides. This is essentially a mission to move humanity from Religion to Responsibility.

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Fiction

Isha Foundation has cut down forests to establish the Adiyogi Statue

Fact

As with the rest of the Yoga Center, the land that was purchased for installing the Adiyogi statue is privately-owned land. The Reserve Forest Land is nowhere close to the boundary of the private land. The District Forest Officer also has issued a NOC to the installation of the Adiyogi statue. The Foundation has approvals from the necessary authorities, including the District Collector, Coimbatore, the Forest Department and BSNL. A structural stability certificate from a government-certified engineer has also been issued for the 112-ft Adiyogi statue.

You will find the whole truth about the web of allegations orchestrated to discredit the Adiyogi image here.

To know about Isha’s engagement with nature read here.

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Fiction

The buildings inside Isha Yoga Center are illegal constructions

Fact

Initially, while planning the buildings of the Yoga Center, we applied and acquired the Panchayat approvals as standard procedure. All other NOCs were in place except for one from the Forest Department. With regards to the Forest NOC, the official did not respond despite our repeated appeals due to certain personal vendetta. It is true however that we went ahead and completed the construction in spite of not having the HACA clearances in hand at that time. A High Level Committee from TN Forest Department dismissed the false report of the particular officer, which was made with malicious intent. The Forest Department NOC was accorded post facto. The Hill Area Conservation Authority through its 59th meeting held at Chennai gave the Technical Clearance to all the constructions and the Foundation has paid the amount due to the Town & Country Planning Department under Infrastructure & Amenity Charges. The buildings have now been regularized and as we stand, all the buildings within the Yoga Center premises have all the necessary permissions.

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Fiction

Spiritual people are supposed to be hardy, like wandering monks and should be happy in thatched huts, eating fruit and berries. They don’t need proper accommodation, toilets, dining halls etc

Fact

For centuries, the spiritual process was transmitted as a mainstream tradition in India, accessible to all segments of society and fostered by kings, business and social leaders. Over the years, under the oppression of occupying forces, this same process was suppressed, eventually available only to a fringe of society. Over time, this led to the belief that individuals who are on the spiritual path must live barren, destitute lives surviving merely on fruits and dry leaves, residing in forests and caves. This disastrous idea has been enough to close the doors of the inner sciences to millions.

In Isha, it is Sadhguru’s endeavor and work to bring the spiritual process from the mountain tops to people’s homes, towns and villages. If we are to make the spiritual process mainstream, it is of utmost importance that we work with the current reality and create the appropriate context for individuals to receive this profound science. We live in a time and age with not much choice of forests left for us to live in and no caves to be accessed. Most importantly, human beings have lost their innate ability not only to survive in nature and find their food, but even to live in slightly uncomfortable conditions.

We trust all of you will appreciate the minimum comfort levels available at our Center, including nutritious food, comfortable bedding, clean bathrooms and electricity.

Read more about this here and here.

Fiction

Two monks were being held captive in 2016

Fact

This was a farrago of lies. The plea was instigated by vested interests, alleging that two young women were kidnapped and held at the Yoga Center against their will. Contacts in media informed us that it cost our accusers several crores to sustain this month-long smear campaign in July-August 2016.

In spite of social pressures to marry, the two adult women—well educated and aware—came to the Isha Yoga Center of their own will, with the sole focus of pursuing their spiritual path. Anybody who has interacted with them would be affronted that someone could even question their mental faculties. The Habeas Corpus plea was naturally dismissed by the court.

Read the details here.

Fiction

There was a controversy about Smt Vijayakumari’s passing; the cremation was hush-hush

Fact

On 23rd January 1997, Vijji Maa attained Mahasamadhi—the coveted goal of many a spiritual seeker, what Gautama the Buddha referred to as Mahaparinirvana—a practice where accomplished yogis with mastery over their life process consciously choose to exit their physical body at an auspicious time. At an appointed time that she had chosen—which everyone in closer circles was made conscious of, including her own 7 year old daughter—she exited effortlessly, at will. Eight months later, those who were set against Sadhguru's work at the time used Vijji Maa's Mahasamadhi as an opportunity to file a police complaint, claiming that foul play should be suspected in her passing, the main accusation being that the cremation was hush-hush. The fact is the cremation happened 12 hours following her passing in the presence of over 2,000 people. To expose these shamelessly false allegations, we requested a full investigation from the police and judiciary, who found there was no substance at all in the complaint other than an intent to malign, and as per Court Order issued on 8/1/1999, the complaint was dismissed.

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Fiction

Isha uses ‘Laughing Gas’ on people to keep them happy

Fact

We’re usually on a different mood enhancer. It’s called Yoga.

Fiction

Isha steals people’s kidneys

Fact

We hope these ludicrous people know what is a kidney, where in the body it is located. Seems like someone stole their brains.

Fiction

Isha keeps thousands of people maintained under coma

Fact

To understand the true facts—please come and experience the dynamism of the Isha Yoga Center.

Fiction

Isha Mahashivratri A Commercial Event

Fact

Of the thousands of devotees who come to the Isha Yoga Center to celebrate Mahashivratri, only a few hundred pay for their seating. We are grateful to these few, for they support the event to remain free of charge for thousands of devotees in person and crores of devotees virtually. Every one of the people participating in Mahashivaratri Celebrations at the yoga center is offered free annadanam, or free food.

Fiction

Isha’s compliance with the law is questionable

Fact

Isha Foundation is a law-abiding organization. Every aspect of our Operation is 100% compliant with the laws of the land.

Fiction

Isha is in violation of environmental regulations. It has even withdrawn its Environmental Clearance application.

Fact

We had applied for Enviromental Clearance under wrong category and hence the application was withdrawn. Isha is in compliance with all applicable Environmental regulations.