Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshipping

Hubert Reeves

The Realm of God on Earth : Spirituality and Climate Adversity | Priyanka Singh

The same piece of rock is holy for some, yet futile for others. What is this relevance that some might feel towards an object? The experience of sacredness doesn’t have to be backed by logic; it’s a feeling. With all the words in many languages, beyond the definitions found in dictionaries, we all have the liberty to define and choose what it means to us; it could be as unique as our individualities.

The presence of this feeling that there is something bigger than us that we are guided by or mesmerised by is proof enough that humans are essentially spiritual beings.

This feeling can come from anything: a flowing river, a flower, an animal, a fellow human, or something as massive as the cosmos.

There is a saying in my language, ‘’कण कण में हैं भगवान’’ which translates to ‘’God is in every particle” similar to the view of Pantheism (it comes from ‘pan’ meaning all and ‘theism,’ which means belief in God): “God is everything and everything is God.”

I’m Priyanka Singh, founder and EIC of Planted Journal. I’m here to comprehend: what could spirituality mean in the age of climate adversity? With the constant degradation of the planet, the urgency to understand the power of spirituality is essential.

The human pursuit of experiencing a connection with divinity is mysterious yet omnipresent. With the evolution of our species, there has been a parallel evolution of spirituality.

There is strong evidence that prehistoric humans performed rituals and possibly engaged in ancestral worship. During burials, diseases accompany grave goods like stone tools and animal bones. Ritual burials signify an awareness of life and death and a possible belief in the afterlife.

Living beings are primarily spiritual beings that sustain themselves by interacting with other spiritual entities, such as plants and animals, and eventually merge with ancestral and natural spirits.

For the indigenous communities in southeast Asia, the spirits of everything from the mountains, rivers, forests, and soil are holy and considered to be guarding these places. Certain animals, especially tigers, possess or can acquire their power. They believe that these spirits are governing their lives. (Robert Wessing)

Animal worshipping is a form of spiritual practice that has existed since prehistoric times. Bears, cattle, leopards, and other animals were worshipped, and this tradition continues in some parts of the world. Half-human and half-animal deities were prevalent in Greece, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. They have been spotted in cave art in Germany and Indonesia. These supernatural creatures remain part of the native folklore. The origin of such ideas is perhaps the result of an altered state of consciousness or trance induced during shamanic rituals. It symbolises the transformation of spirits into a different realm.

The kinship between humans and animals is also a foundation of totemism. The individual or group shares a mystical relationship with a being (plant or animal), and that particular entity is a totem to guide and protect.

The shamanic rituals also tended to pass on totems as a hereditary custom.The solar and lunar cycles mark the beginning of many rituals since the primaeval periods, continuing until now. The celestial bodies created a sense of godliness; the archaeological sites of Stonehenge  and the pyramids evidence of such beliefs.

Though the term ‘animism’ was coined by English anthropologist Edward Burnett Taylor less than a few centuries ago, the existence and understanding of practising spirituality in interconnectedness with nature are there from the very beginning.

These practices are of a primitive kind, yet they offer the understanding that we now need to tackle the current climate adversity.

Nature could leave us awed and induce a sense of mysticism. The act of surrendering to nature and letting it take over by appreciating the truth that we are nature manifesting in human form is essential at this point. Whatever we need for survival—food, water, air, and sunlight—is all found in this source.

Being at war with nature and forgetting her power to influence humanity is problematic, as she is at the core of our physical and spiritual formation.

Every year since August 2019, the Amazon Rainforest has made headlines for breaking records with forest fires. This year, 2022, will be the worst day for Amazon fires in 15 years. 

The Indigenous communities use fire to clear small plots of land for agricultural purposes, then move elsewhere, leaving the land to be naturally taken over by the forest. This strategic use of fire was a means to avoid large-scale forest fires. The Indigenous people have their way of understanding and working with the element of fire, leading to a viable union within the ecosystem.

However, the fire that we are witnessing now is different. Now, the forest fires are set to clear the land for commercial agriculture and cattle ranching—land that will never be left to be taken over by the forest. The sole purpose of this form of fire is to convert the sacred land into profit-oriented fields. These forests hold undiscovered plant species that could be the cure for diseases and could benefit medical science. By destroying the forest, we are destroying our last hope for survival.

Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshipping.

Hubert Reeves

With the changing ecological aspects, we must remind ourselves of what we have inherited from our ancestors, what makes us sentient, how our spirituality evolved, and how nature has witnessed it all by remaining at the very centre of it. This connection is divine in every aspect. The depths of forests are not meant to be crossed; they must remain in exclusion from mainstream human activities and solely dedicated to wildlife and indigenous communities.

In the heart of these forests is the realm of God on Earth.

Words by Priyanka Singh Parihar 


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