“O wonder of wonders!
Thou art the spirit that pervadeth all
Tis thy Light, that light all hearts”
In Sikhism the nature or creation is regarded as the true manifestation of the creator or the Akal Purakh. Guru Nanak expresses the beauty of all-powerful nature in Japji Sahib as, “The air is the guru, water the father, and the great earth the mother. Day and night are the two nurses, in whose laps sports the entire world.” The almighty, the formless reality, created the cosmos and provided form to it. Guru Nanak regards nature as all-powerful and a source of great pleasure. He sees him everywhere — in the hills, valleys, flowers, oceans, rivers, trees and fruits. Every particle of nature reminds him the existence of the almighty. In Asa di Var, the Guru says, “In nature we see the Lord, in nature we hear his speech, nature inspires the divine awe, in nature is the essence of joy and peace.”
Nature is not only the provider and the protector but also a great teacher. Guru Nanak says that a man has to learn from the objects of nature like humility from a short stout tree laden with fruits unlike the huge and straight simal tree which can’t even offer shade to tired travellers. Here the parallel is drawn between a humble, helpful person and a person full of false ego. The Guru writes in his bani, “The simal tree is huge and straight, but if one comes to it with hope of gain, what will one get and whither turn? Its flowers have no fragrance, its leaves are of no use. O Nanak, humility and sweetness are the essence of virtue and goodness.” Nature alone is the source of sorrow as well as joy. Its varied moods are depicted in Barahmah — the 12 months. Guru Nanak describes the periods of separation and union with the almighty through the metaphor of a love-lorn lady. Of Chet, the first month of the Indian calendar, the Guru says, “The month of Chet is truly beautiful in the spring, and pleasant is the hum of the humble-bee. The forests burst into bloom. I long for my beloved to return home.” Barahmah is the journey of the soul towards its destination.
Nature does not require any artificial things or ornaments to admire and worship the creator. In his beautiful composition, Arti, Guru Nanak, says, “The firmament is thy salver, the sun and moon thy lamps; the galaxy of stars as pearls strewn. A mountain of sandal is thy joss-stick, breezes that blow thy fan; all the woods and vegetation, all flowers that bloom, take their colours from thy light.” Why to ignore nature and destroy our environment when it is given so much significance and recognition? EcoSikh, established in 2009, is a perfect answer to the growing threats to climate change and environmental problems. It is involved in increasing green cover in Amritsar and also engaging the Sikh community in Punjab to work on issues related to environment. EcoSikh, at the same time, tries to educate the farmers on the ill-effects of overuse of chemicals. It was invited by the United Nations to participate in the climate change deliberations and recently it is working with the SGPC to make the langar at the Golden Temple organic. It is truly being the Sikh of the Guru.