Five Sheaths of Human Existence

May 18 2013

Hangzhou, China

We all agree that we need to care for ecology, but this education needs to go down to the rural areas, to the villagers, and to the urban cities as well. We need to educate people, bring about awareness.

Today, greed is eating up our society. It is destroying ecology, it is destroying families, it is destroying the humanness that we are all endorsing. To keep greed in check, we need to create a sense of belongingness.

I am so happy that so many of you have spoken about spiritual values, love, humanness, and human values in this conference. Ten years ago, twenty years ago, this was taboo. Even to speak about love in any ecology or scientific conference was thought to be out of place. Today, we realise that we need to make the society happier. It is not enough to just have a high GDP, we need to have a high GDH, that is, Gross Domestic Happiness.

To create happiness, we need to create that awareness. According to the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred scripture in India, it is said that nature is eightfold or the Universe is made up of these eight substances: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether (Space), Mind, Intellect and Consciousness.

 
 

When we care for the planet,
when we care for people
around us, when we stretch
our hands and become
available to all those who
are in need, then depression
disappears from life. Such
education or awareness is
seen as an urgent need today
because depression,
according to the World Health
Organization, is going to be
the biggest killer in the
coming decade.

 
 

We need to protect the Earth. We cannot put so many dynamites in the name of mining.
We need to put a check on our greed, and consumerism can be checked only when humanism blossoms. When we have a sense of belongingness, then caring for the planet becomes more and more prominent. The Earth itself is an organism. It is living because it is housing so many living beings. We need to honour the Earth.
Ancient people all over the world used to honour the Earth, the rivers, the mountains, and the air. We need to retain these ancient values and have the modern vision for development and prosperity for everybody.

A stress-free mind is even more important. One is the environmental pollution that we create, another is, the emotional pollution. If there is someone with depression, he passes the waves of depression all around. The whole world is nothing but vibrations, everything is waves.
It is this perspective of viewing the world as waves that we need to use, to see that people are happy.

Suicide rates are going up in the world because we are not putting attention on the words called love, belongingness, and compassion. There is one easy formula to get depressed: just sit and think only about yourself, saying, ‘What about me? What about me? What about me?’ This is a sure way of getting depressed.
When we care for the planet, when we care for people around us, when we stretch our hands and become available to all those who are in need, then depression disappears from life. Such education or awareness is seen as an urgent need today because depression, according to the World Health Organization, is going to be the biggest killer in the coming decade.

Cancer is another malaise. All these illnesses can be tackled when we take care of our planet Earth, when we take care of our water, when we take care of the vibrations in the environment, in the atmosphere. With so many towers all over, the electromagnetic radiations are much higher than what it used to be, and it is causing health hazards in many urban areas.

There is an ancient saying in India, ‘Before you cut a tree, you have to ask permission from the tree.’ This is because the tree is a living being. You promise the tree that I am going to plant five of your kind. So, grant me the permission to cut the tree.
This tradition has been there from a long time ago. I am sure it exists in China too. (China and India share this common tradition from Vedanta to Lao Tsu, Buddhism.)

So, the whole universe is an individual part, and we are part and parcel of the universe. There are five sheaths to the human existence: the environment is our first body, the physical body is our second body, prana or energy is the third body (the Chinese terminology is chi; when the prana or energy is high, there is enthusiasm, creativity. When the energy goes down, that is when depression, suicidal tendency and the tendency to harm nature and oneself arises.)
So, developing this body of prana is essential. The fourth sheath is the mind, which plays an important role. The fifth is the consciousness, which plays an important role, both, in protecting the ecology and nurturing human kind.

To sum it all, I would say pollution-free environment, disease-free body, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory, and sorrow-free soul is the birth right of every individual.

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