Natural disasters and extreme weather—why? By Manisha Melwani —Teacher, Writer and Speaker

2 min to read

A sudden tornado in Ottawa area last week, hurricane Florence in the US Carolinas, raging wild fires in California, super typhoon Manghut in the Philippines and China, tropical storm Lane in Hawaii, earthquakes in Mexico, Venezuela and Indonesia, massive flooding in Japan and south India, dangerous mudslides in British Columbia, and the list goes on….

Why are we experiencing these frightening natural calamities so frequently lately?

Of course, human activity and climate change have much to do with it. But what is the spiritual perspective? What spiritual laws are being violated that are causing these disasters as a natural consequence?

The spiritual writings of the Bhagavad Geeta, provide the answer*. . .

A Gift from the Creator

All aspects of nature are intimately connected and programmed to mutually support each other to sustain life on earth. For example, the sun evaporates water which forms clouds that bring rains. The sun and the rains support plant life on which the entire food chain depends. The sun shines, water flows, air moves and the planet supports all things and beings.

Unlike these elements whose functions are directed by nature, humans have a sophisticated intellect and free will to think and act independently. When the creator created us, he gifted us with the ability to voluntarily work in the same spirit of mutual service and cooperation, sacrificing our personal gain for the greater good of everyone.

The Bhagavad Gita explains that when we work together wholeheartedly, putting aside our individual desires and selfishness, cherishing nature and all life on earth, nature will cherish us back.

In other words, nature will become amiable, bountiful and assist our ability to create favourable outcomes by providing optimal conditions for our growth and progress. We will prosper and be able to achieve results way beyond what we think is possible.

The Bhagavad Gita continues by telling us that whoever takes only for himself and doesn’t give back to others goes against this law. He is considered a thief and incurs sin.

Greed and selfishness

We are abusing our intelligence and free-will by directing it to fulfil our egocentric desires. Even countries are looking out for their selfish interests without taking into consideration other nations and the environment.

Greed and selfishness are breaking the harmonious rhythm in nature. We are not meant to work only for ourselves. Being intelligent and social beings, we are programmed to work and share with others.

A narrow mindset will prevent sustainable progress and prosperity for all.

The conflicts, natural disasters and extreme weather conditions that we are experiencing are a result of this kind of mindset and behaviour.

Nature mirrors us

You may not be convinced about this and wonder how our greed, selfishness and conflicts can affect nature and the environment around us.

Vedanta, the spiritual science of life explains: As the mind, so the world.

The outer world is a reflection of our collective human consciousness.

Nature is simply a mirror that reflects our behaviour and thinking. It hasn’t gone suddenly mad, randomly on its own.

It’s easy to see how our inner world affects the outer world even at the individual level. For instance, if someone is holding anger, stress and worries, it’s unlikely that she will be living a quiet, peaceful life. She may have frequent flare-ups, be more prone to making mistakes and having accidents, and have volatile relationships.

The remedy

We have the capacity to think creatively, organise ourselves and come together to work selflessly for a common goal that will benefit us all. If we use this gift wisely, we can create the perfect world that we desire.

What we do at the individual level may be small, but the results of such a cooperative endeavour on the larger environment are cumulative and significant.

Each one of us can start expanding our circle of concern to include others. Small ripples of kindness, compassion, sharing and giving will grow into large waves of changes affecting our homes, workplaces, communities, nations and eventually the world.

Nature will then stop expressing its destructive aspects. It will echo our selfless attitude, support our endeavours and provide us with abundance that can be shared and enjoyed by all of us.

*Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3 verses 9 – 16. The material for this post is based on Swami Chinmayananda discourses on these verses.


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