Nature, Natural Laws and Natural Living

Jun 03, 2018

The main focus of this paper will be our planet and its inhabitants and the incredibly complex and fragile network of interconnected systems from which it is composed.  From the smallest microorganism to the largest living being, all life on Earth has a common ancestor.  The complex system from which life arose is often referred to as Nature but also goes by other names such as the Environment, Prakrithi or External World.  Nature also refers to the inner or unseen activities that occur within living beings which in humans are reflected through the mind-body speech functions and in animals as instincts. As humans our relationship with the Environment has always been one of imbalance and overuse.  We have drifted further away from being in tune with Nature (both externally and internally) as the need for more resources has changed our way of life and our expectations from life.  In the process we have willingly ignored our role and responsibilities to the environment and, in turn, our self-interest.  Although every species has its own impact on the biosphere, not every species has the cognitive ability to measure their influence or capacity to change it.  Humans are unique in this respect. It is the root cause of  our environmental, social  and the day- to- day problems we face in life and in living. By the same token, the solutions are also in us if we think and act holistically rather than find piecemeal solutions to human problems (internal and external).

From the human standpoint, the external world is a gross form or “effect” resulting from subtle “cause” which are tied to perceptions and projections of the human mind. Mother Nature’s work is to shift, to change, to remove from here and carry it somewhere else (constant motion). The universe is transformation and life is succession of views. If we observe carefully, everything that happens in the external or internal world happens “justly” but our egoistic belief does not see it that way. The harmony in Nature reveals an intelligence of such superiority that in comparison with it all the systematic thinking of human beings is only an insignificant reflection. The Natural laws that govern and sustain the entire universe are way beyond our rational thinking but if we are sincere and open minded to know the truth it can be experienced in our own living body. For example, if we starve or eat unhealthy food it affects our body and leads to disease. The body responds to the natural law and experience is the proof. 

Dada Bhagwan has said that the human body is the universal laboratory and our living is a “live’ experiment that is going on within us.  Our human body is a natural creation and the human personality attains full development only when we gain our self-consciousness, i.e. we are a spiritual being in a mechanical body. If we hold on to this golden rule and live, we are living naturally.  There is nothing external which is not internal.  The mind (internal) creates reason and meaning from each situation (external) in life. When we recognize the external situations as our own projections, background and conditioning we can see a higher vision that reveals the mind as a mechanical, programmed instrument. In this vision, the mind is projecting “what should be” according to our conditioned ego instead of “what is” and simply recognizing this distinction diminishes the internal conflict within us and begins to free us from likes and dislikes. We can boldly declare “let the mind be, we don’t mind”.

We will look at some of our external and internal challenges that agitate our minds and how we could appease them knowing what is within our power and what is beyond our intervention.  Human interpretation of the natural laws is bound to vary as history tells us. Notwithstanding that fact, there is the Eternal law, the essence of all laws which sustains the universe.  What then is this Eternal law and how are we to live in accordance with it? We will address this in the context of our environment and human life and living.

All scientific studies and evidence point to a rapid degradation of the environment.  The apparent cause is linked to an excess of anthropogenic (human) activity.  However, it is not just limited to our external activities. The role of our thinking and perceptions of the environment and our understanding of our natural link with it have been ignored. Specifically, the greed and desire to dominate the environment through technological advances for commercial and economic gains have created a competition to control the natural resources. Today, how much we can take from our planet is an open-ended question. The current ecological crisis has come to our attention in just the past three or four decades.  The effects of this crisis are already being felt in several parts of the world as people are struggling to cope with deteriorating air quality, polluted streams, scarcity of rainfall and potable water and climatic changes.

As humans our ties to the environment are crucial and in a sense moral and spiritual. All of us at some time or the other have experienced the mystical and transcending feeling in our inner self when we are in nature’s space. This connection and feeling calls into question any notion of mastery over nature while illuminating constant struggle of mastery over oneself.  The conception of the environment in Indian tradition has from ancient times, been cosmos-centric:  everything is related to everything and creation and destruction take place simultaneously.  Nature is the perfect “recycle system”. As the Earth is the quintessential origin of all life the Indian tradition reveres all trees, plant life, rivers and aquatic life, and the sanctity attached to hills and mountains. The belief in the divinity of living organisms, in the intricate web of life, and our faith in the wisdom of our ancient traditions has slowly eroded with the advancement of technology.  In this age of science and technology, an age where we have established links with the moon, sent shuttles to space, launched satellites past planets and even claim to have discovered a new planet, we should stop to think for a moment what links we have established with the living cosmos that is our very life source. Our ancients had subtler connections with the Earth – they were truly “Green”. It is time for us to revive these connections and restore the ecological balance.   

Natural living is reverence to all living beings and oneness with nature.  What is needed today is not an ad hoc response to the environmental crisis but a holistic approach to life itself.  The solution starts with recognizing the oneness of all life irrespective of the hierarchical position in evolution.  Humans undoubtedly are the most evolved amongst all living beings but that does not diminish the value of other living beings in the hierarchical order. Instead of exploiting nature one has to milk it. The latter does not kill the cow but meets one’s need!  When it comes to nature and how it functions, it is in our power to refrain from opinion and judgements.  Instead we need to develop an internal attitude to observe the vital life force that is behind everything that is happening, be mindful of our actions and our basic human obligation to protect the environment.

Eternal Law or Universal Law and its Derivatives
Eternal law is the Divine wisdom insofar as it directs and governs all the actions and movements of creatures. Dharma is another word for it in the Indian tradition and Justice is its treasured virtue.  Everything in nature reflects the Eternal law imprinted on it through its own nature or essence; examples are heat and fire, wetness and water, light and sun.  Whether we accept it or not all beings participate in the eternal law and are moving towards their due end.  We humans are no exception. We participate by conforming to our natural knowledge of positive and negative moral precepts. For example, that good is to be done and evil is to be shunned are universally accepted precepts.  It is not a law in the legal sense but an obligation we have collectively accepted as a human race for the harmonious functioning of society.  Natural law is human participation in the Eternal law through our natural gift of knowing, reasoning and discriminating what is in the best interest of humanity and what is detrimental.  It is called natural because obedience to it leads us towards the good that we desire by nature.

The universe is said to be a reverberating chamber where every little sound is loudly heard everywhere and in which there can be no privacy.  Everything we project in the form of desire, likes and dislikes are recoded in the subtle realms, never get destroyed and are repaid in a befitting manner.  Under this scenario it would be wishful thinking on our part to try to attribute justice to any personality or individuality. Every thought, action or feeling that emanates from us has to be viewed and judged in the light of this natural law.  It is relentlessly operating within us and outside us.   Even the will of the omnipotent being cannot change or abrogate the natural law which is self-regulating (but not self-governing) according to Dada Bhagwan. Everything that is subject to change falls in the realm of Natural law or Prakrithi; we humans have only the independent power of projection.  The rest is done by Nature and therefore we need to be mindful of what we project in our own self-interest. Whatever abnormalities that we see outside or inside us they are a result or effect of our own projections from the past (causes) that have come back to us (effect) in this present life.   Nature is impartial and whatever has been projected is being purged through the mind, body and speech instruments.

Vyawasthith Shakthi—the Natural Regulatory Power
The wonderful secret of the Natural order and Natural law was revealed to Dada Bhagwan in 1958 during an intensive contemplative meditation when he earnestly delved into the very depth of his Being to understand Nature and how and why it functions as it does.  After experiencing the enlightening revelation he declared to the world that an “impartial, self-regulating power” which he termed Vyawasthith Shakthi governs and enables all laws of the world.  It is this impartial, systematic power that keeps everything functioning in its own natural way. We humans mistakenly think we are responsible “doers” and in the process we perpetuate the cycle of cause and effect.  It is not an animate power controlled by an authority which we commonly refer to as God.  Vyawasthith Shakthi is the inherent power in Nature charged by cosmic consciousness and controlled by Time and the laws of Karma (cause) and Karma Phal (effect).

Dada Bhagwan also refers to this power as Scientific Circumstantial Evidence (“SCE”). SCE is governed by principles like other scientific or natural laws that are rational and universally accepted.  For example, the inherent nature of the stone causes it to fall due to gravity. Cause and effect are built in it and are functioning together. “Circumstantial” implies that there are many elements that need to come together for an event to occur (e.g. time, location, the medium/instrument ). Dada Bhagwan gives the simple example of how various ingredients are needed to prepare a cup of tea and it is Vyavasthith which brings everything together. The word evidence implies that we cannot pinpoint the exact cause and its effect. A good analog comes from the science of nutrition where the number of factors that influence how our body reacts to the food we eat makes it difficult to identify a singular cause-effect relationship. Similarly, in nature multiple permutations and combinations are going on in the minutest time interval that make it impossible for the human mind to “decode” the language of Nature.

Dada Bhagwan has brought out this simple and yet profound universal law with numerous examples from daily living that everyone can understand.  It does not negate the code of conduct in the religious scriptures or human laws. It is all inclusive and universal.  It is the unchangeable law of Nature.  SCE when understood and implemented properly will take care of all human laws according to Dada Bhagwan, a fact borne out in the author’s life.  We begin a fresh life when we free ourselves from doership. We start to accept everything that is happening as correct and just and learn to adjust to all circumstances without finding faults.  Through this understanding and a positive vision we develop an obliging nature which will ultimately lead to perfect freedom even in this lifetime.

Moral Law and Ethical Conduct
The term Dharma which is commonly used to denote religious denominations (Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and others) has a deeper meaning. It is the inherent essentiality or primary essential attribute (dharma) without which it would be devoid of meaning. Right and wrong are offshoots of dharma, the positive, life affirming principle. For example the dharma or essential attribute of water is to be wet, fire to be hot, space to be expansive and accommodating, time to be ever progressing and an infinite number of such entities.  The universe has its own dharma with a cosmic intelligence responsible for it; a place replete with inherent meaning, value and an intelligent design. In the external world we can see this dharma operating through the natural physical principles by observation, reasoning and scientific enquiry.

Humans have their own dharma which is grounded in four values brought together under the fold of Purusharths or aim of existence.  These are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha which denote the moral value, economic value (wealth and material), vital value (physical, mental and aesthetic desires) and spiritual values. Each has its own code of conduct and is found in the Sanathan Dharma (a collection of teachings directly from the experience of the Indian sages from the Vedic period). These are applicable universally and have been time tested.  Dharma is placed at a higher level than Artha and Kama so that morality leads the physical and social man towards a higher goal.  The fourth Purushartha, Moksha (liberation or self-realization) is the evolution of the spiritual man who has transcended his own physical, social and moral self (Prakrithi).  It is the realization of one’s own innermost self with the cosmic self (Purusha). According to this tradition, human life is deemed complete when all four aspects of life are fulfilled with the increasing emphasis on higher values.

Dharma is the ultimate law that keeps the body, mind, society and everything in the external world in balance and in a state of perfect integration.  It makes us feel that we are an integral, holistic personality and life is nothing more than relating to everything in the external world of name and form and our own individual needs. Dada Bhagwan has given to the world the essence or code of conduct for humans in his Nine Diamonds which has been translated in English and other Indian languages.

The path to perfection is the highest goal in human life. Morality and ethical values are the gatekeepers that will open the door for us. They are only applicable to humans and are embedded in the natural law to remind us to distinguish “what is” from “what ought to be”.   Morality is not coveting other’s possession by thought, word or deed.  The Isha Upanishad tells us not to covet others possession and puts forward the highest truth that God pervades everything and only what is due to us comes to us and therefore it is not proper to covet others.  Ethics, from a behavioral standpoint, refers to the same principle as honesty and dishonesty.  Both morality and ethics tell us what ought to be done as opposed to what can be done.

Our trials and tribulations stem from violating this cardinal rule which create Karmic shackles that we have to deal with in our lifetime. Just as heat is generated when there is resistance to the free flow of electric current, we suffer pain when we go against the law of Nature.  It is the inherent nature of the river to flow always in the downward direction. For moving it upward we have to overcome the resistance by an external force. Does the river ever refrain from flowing because of pain?  Does the lighted lamp refuse to illuminate the surroundings by excusing from its natural duty in the name of pain? When we are pained (suffer) under any circumstances, we should internally accept that it is our own mistake and bear it without complaining. We are formed by Nature to endure everything and it is within our strength to bear anything that upsets our physical, mental and emotional balance.  We need not go after changing the events which is the worldly solution to problems. Instead we seek solace within and bear whatever comes to us with the attitude that it is in our best interest to do so or even consider it our duty to do so.  This is the highest morality that one can abide by in all circumstances. Living sincerely by finding no fault in anything or anyone and accepting total responsibility for all our sufferings (and happiness) is the royal path to perfection. 

Concluding Remarks
Natural living is possible only when we look at life from a holistic perspective.  Right understanding and positive vision are the twin foundations for a harmonious life.  Whereas the body-mind complex is a fixed entity given to us by Nature, the animating, enlivening and illuminating consciousness is free.  Freedom and determination, freedom and responsibility, fate and freewill these all go together.  They are not incompatible but need to be coordinated on moral and spiritual values.  Natural laws are an affirmation of the moral and spiritual nature of Man which is higher and different from the physical and social nature we share as humans. Complete freedom belongs only to the Purusha (Soul). Our earnest desire to free ourselves from the time-space constraint by which we are held together can be fulfilled only by Nature.  Experience tells us that life is changing every moment and one has to be prepared for whatever comes to us.

It has been said that life is more like wrestling than dancing, meaning we should stand ready to tackle the onslaughts from all directions.  Three principles can keep us alert and help us in making the right decisions in life.  These can be summarized as:

Personalization – We are at fault for our loss contrary to what our intellect will point to;

Pervasiveness – We can keep a positive attitude to learn from adversity and maintain separation from a sense of ‘doership’;

Permanence – The only permanent feature of the mind-body experience is change.  Grief, loss, joy, and pleasure are temporary and are not caused by any individual or higher power and will subside in their own course

Through these principles an approach to living can be cultivated which is in increasing harmony with natural laws.  It is an approach which can precipitate a change in attitude toward the environment, an expanding set of experiences of natural law, and greater appreciation of SCE.  Dada Bhagwan says:

“He alone is the Lord (Bhagwan) who is the Master of Circumstances and Ruler of Impulses.  Man is not punished For his sin (mistake) but By his sin.  Mistakes arising out of doership and ownership by Ego are to be lived out.”

“The Knower does not do; the Doer does not know”.  It is a beautiful way of saying that

God is in Everything!!  

Dr. Radha P Krishnan
Holistic Science Charitable Research Foundation