Faiths for Earth Campaign‏ – A message from Bhai Sahib, Bhai Mohinder Singh

Dear brothers and sisters of the global Sikh panth,

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh

As a co-leader and co-animator of the above campaign, I write to you concerning one of the greatest challenges that we all face today: the challenge of protecting the earth and its climate.  If we stay on our current course, we can expect increasingly devastating natural disasters, widening shortages of food and water, mass migration and threats to human health and security. These effects will hurt all of us, most especially those already struggling with extreme poverty.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, our highest, sublime spiritual authority, provides constant inspiration for us to demonstrate our care and indebtedness to the mother planet. Jap Ji Sahib requires us to revere it as a dharamsal – a sacred place of worship orbiting in the cosmos, with its cycle of days, nights and seasons – ‘Rati ruti thithi vaartis vich dharti thaap rakhi dharamsal’ (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 7). 

Each day we also recite ‘Pavan Guru, pani pita, mata dharat mahat’, instilling feelings of deep gratitude towards kudrat or nature which, like a parent, selflessly and lovingly nurtures and sustains us.  Indeed, kudrat is to be revered as second only to God and to God’s Divine Name: ‘Aapinhai aap saajio, aapinhai rachio naou; dui kudrat saajiai, kar aasan dittho chhaou’ (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 463).  We are urged to live responsibly in the world and to inspire others to do so.  This loving duty, in fact, is our dharam

As humans, the Creator has blessed us with the most exalted position out of the 8.4 million species of life – across the realms of matter, vegetation, animals and humans inhabiting this earth.  Gurbani informs us that we are honoured and privileged as sovereigns, with all of nature’s resources at our disposal – ‘Is dharti mai teri sikdari…’ (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 374).  Beyond living by instinct alone, we have the power to reason and also the opportunity to kindle within us the latent spark of Waheguru by cultivating values, virtues and living with integrity.

As stewards and custodians, we have a responsibility to safeguard, heal, protect and facilitate the flourishing of all life – sarbat da bhalla.  Yet we are also prone to succumb to the negative traits which are part of human chemistry, such as lust, vengeance, greed, possessiveness and arrogance – kam, krodh, lobh, moh, ahankar.  The end result is that we become exploitative and destructive.

Bhai Gurdas Ji – the divinely blessed scribe of Sri Aad Granth and spiritual poet par excellence of the Panth – informs us that Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s advent in 1469 stemmed from a ‘pukaar’ – a cry of help from the world, anguishing under the strain of human vice, lack of gratitude and ignorance. Every facet of the Sikh dharam – from its visible markers the five kakaars anddastar, together with the spiritual emblems of Ik Oankar and the Khanda – goad and spur us to rise to the highest inside ourselves. We are alerted and warned about the effects of greed, exploitation and apathy in human affairs.

Today, once again the planet’s cry for help is real.  It is being felt and heard loud and clear around us.  More than technical solutions, transforming our mindsets and consciousness, first and foremost, is the vital key. Ultimately it is the human mind which is the driver for sustainable change and, in this, Gurbani is explicit – man tu jyot saroop hai, aapna mool pachhaan (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 441).  The best legacy we mortals can leave behind is to ensure that our actions result in immediate and furthest-reaching effects, to be enjoyed by the generations that will follow us. 

As Sikhs who carry forward the legacy of our Gurus, we can do so much to support the Faiths for Earth campaign.  As a first step, could I ask you to sign the petition and spread it through your networks http://faithsforearth.org/

I also invite your further participation as the campaign progresses.  For details please see: http://www.religionsforpeace.org/what-we-do/protect-earth

Bhai Sahib, Bhai Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia

International Trustee and Co-president, Religions for Peace (RfP)

Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ)

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