AIM for Seva

Responsible Living: Ishaavaasya Upanishad

Ecology includes all beings, human, plant and animal species. Responsible living entails least harm to all species and living with a prayerful attitude of surrender to Ishvara.

In this section, we share Pujya’s Swamiji’s insights from Ishaavaasya Upanishad that is appropriate for the times.

“For a person to be able to live a life of dharma, you require a society where dharma is predominant. It is not that you cannot do it otherwise, but it is difficult.  Because of the melting pot environment created by too rapid an industrialisation following independence, the society is undergoing some rather drastic changes and people’s desires have become manifold and in order to fulfill those desires people take to corrupt practices going against dharma. The changes have come from the top and there is no foundation, leaving the society top heavy without the roots that proper growth requires. Growth should be like that of a tree. First the roots are established and then the tree grows from there. In the absence of such a conducive society where even following dharma is difficult living a prayerful life is all the more difficult.

Prayerful life means living a life acknowledging the presence and contribution of Ishvara in the form of devatas to our living.

The devatäs will do their jobs whether you propitiate them or not, but when you go against dharma, you disturb the order and you are the sufferer. Therefore, everyone must do his or her job. The devatäs do their jobs and you do yours according to the order of dharma given in the Veda.

Animals, trees and other plants are programmed and therefore do not require the Veda. People, on the other hand, do need it because they have to conform to the order, for which they need the understanding that the Veda provides. It is said that if you do not disturb the order, the devas do not get disturbed. Thus, ecology of the universal order means there is no disturbance at the level of cosmic forces, the level of devatäs.

When the sun, water, fire, air, and earth do their respective jobs, what do you get? A delicious Thanksgiving dinner on your plate! In this example, food stands for the various enjoyments, all of which come to your plate as blessings of the deities, cosmic forces, natural laws, and so on. For us, these are not simply nature; they are Ishvara.

Although the deities do not need anything from you, you need to respect them and this respect is given in the form of a prayer. The prayer is recognition of all these forces and makes you a sensitive person.”