Saving the Planet

[Listen to Asha read this story]

Several people dedicated to ending war and banning nuclear weapons came to Ananda to try and enlist Swamiji’s support for their cause. Their presentation included a graphic description of what would happen if a nuclear bomb hit an American city. Using charts, graphs, and full-color illustrations, they explained how people would be vaporized, incinerated, burned, scorched, and, if that didn’t get them, poisoned by radiation.

Using fear to motivate people is not a tactic Swamiji admires. When you increase fear, you create more of the very consciousness you are trying to eradicate.

When the anti-war advocates finally paused long enough for Swamiji to get a word in, he said, “A hundred years from now almost no one who is on the planet now will still be here. Whether we dribble off a few at a time over the next century or all go out at once in one big bang, once we are in the astral world, it won’t make any difference.” 

Then more seriously he said, “When cataclysms come, as my Guru said they will, those who die will be the lucky ones. The real suffering will come to those who live through it.” He paused a moment to let his words sink in.

“I know you are trying to do a good thing,” Swamiji said sympathetically, “and I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm. But the only way to change the world is by changing consciousness—above all, by changing your own consciousness. Everything else is just a symptom. I prefer to work on the cause, which is consciousness itself.”

On another occasion, a man presented Swamiji with a long list of ecological disasters that had happened or would happen soon unless something was done to prevent them. He wanted Swamiji to put the resources of Ananda into solving these problems. 

Swamiji listened patiently then said, “We are already doing exactly what you ask. All the problems you describe are caused by wrong consciousness. If everyone in the world lived the way we do at Ananda, these problems would simply cease to exist.”

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