By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 23-01-2014
In the beginning was the world. The world and all in it were good. In due time, humans appeared in the world. Only humans have freedom and awareness. As humans we are aware that we are aware. Humans were intrigued by nature and its various elements and forces. Our early ancestors developed a mystic relationship with nature. That mystic relationship is what is called nature mysticism here. This relationship is pure, natural, and spontaneous; and we are all called to mysticism. This relationship suffered markedly as humans gradually got alienated from nature with the development of city living. With the decline of truth and righteousness over thousands of years, our civilization currently got hijacked by material wealth, power, and control. It must be pointed out on the positive side, though, that consciousness of human rights and democratic principles has expanded over the years. In that sense humans have advanced. Other enslavements such as personality cults, poverty in the midst of plenty, exploitation of nature and its resources are rampant. It is of paramount importance for our civilization to regain its purpose and direction. The nature mysticism can only be healed and restored as humans return to nature, and re-engage nature. As humans lived in and actively engaged nature, they conceived forces in nature that were above and beyond them. These were gods for them. Finally they brought together all these forces in a monotheistic conception and conceived a Super-force called God. The gradual evolution of the concept of God, say in the Old Testament of the Bible, is fascinating. All the literature found in the Old Testament, Vedas, and the Vedanthas (Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) are gotten from Nature Mysticism.
In nature mysticism we created our own gods or God who did what we expected of them. These gods or Super-God punished, rewarded, or graced us according to our deeds or according to God’s will or wish. When our prayers were not granted, God was not nice to us. We know God as unknowable or indefinable. Yet we went about our life as if we knew this God by defining God, and giving to this God benign qualities and attributes. We have not been trained to take things as they come, to surrender ourselves gracefully to the inevitable, to accept things that we cannot change, and to accept what we are given by destiny or permitted by God when we do not get what we prayed for. We still do not have the wisdom to realize that what we get could be a blessing in disguise and thus better than what we want and desire at that point. Far-Eastern, Semitic (Jewish) mono-theistic conception and evolution of God led to Christianity and Islam. Hinduism has Rama or Krishna as God. Valmiki wrote Ramayana, the story of Rama, who is none other than Krishna in another avatar (incarnation). Ved Vyasan created Krishna in Mahabharata, who guided the righteous in the war with the unrighteous. The Bhagavad Gita, contained in Mahabharata, is the teaching of Krishna as well as the essence of Hinduism. Were it not for Vyasan and the great systematizer, Sankara, there would not be any Hinduism as it is today. According to Christianity, Christ as the Anointed of God existed from the beginning as the Word (Logos). The Word became flesh as the historical Jesus who, in spite of being innocent, was crucified by this wicked world, but rose from death by his power over life and death as the victorious Christ who overcame this world, and said to those who believed in him: “Live in my words, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”. The Sanatan Dharma (The Eternal Righteousness) culled by Indian sages from the best of nature mysticism and proclaimed by Hinduism as a way of life says: “Satyam vada (Speak the truth); Dharmam chara (Walk the righteous path)”. In a world where truth and righteousness have become casualties of greed, materialism, and consumerism, and where even many religious leaders have succumbed to the demonic powers of this world, we know we have the Kingdom of God – a kingdom of truth and righteousness, a kingdom of reconciliation and compassion – within us. Whether we believe in God or not, we have always with us what we need: the nature mysticism connecting us with the ground of our being and beyond.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.