Rivers have been the lifeline of all civilizations; no wonder they are considered sacred across cultures. In India, the Ganga symbolizes knowledge, Yamuna was known for love stories, Narmada stood for bhakti, knowledge and logic, Saraswati for brilliance and architecture, and India got its name from the Sindhu.

Sanskrit has a beautiful word for water, apa and the word aptha means ‘that which is born out of water’. Aptha also means ‘the dearest one’. So it’s the same word for both ‘the dear one’ and ‘water.’ Sixty to 70 per cent of our body is made up of the water element. You need water vapour in the atmosphere; you need certain amount of humidity in the atmosphere. And you need water to drink as a fluid. Whether you dig deep into the Earth or you look above the Earth, there is groundwater and water contained in rain clouds. Just imagine a world bereft of clouds. There needs to be no reiteration of the fact that life will not survive.

In a land where water was recognized as the basis of life force and rivers were considered sacred, we’ve come a long way from worshipping, venerating and nurturing our rivers, to polluting them with all kinds of toxic substances. Waters of many rivers are not potable and many other rivers are polluted or are drying up.

An intimate relationship with nature is built into the human psyche. Historically, nature, mountains, rivers, trees, the sun, the moon — have always been honored. It’s only when we start moving away from our connection to Nature and our own selves, that we begin polluting and destroying the environment.

A spiritual outlook and sensitivity is essential to foster environmental consciousness. Click To Tweet

According to ancient scriptures, we have five sheaths, physical environment, physical body, mind, intuitive sheath, and the Self. Our connection with the environment is the most important one. A clean and positive environment can affect all the other layers of existence. When there’s harmony in these layers, there’s a greater sense of peace and connectedness.

Spirituality has the power to check greed. It elevates one’s consciousness and brings a sense of caring and commitment for the whole planet. Spirituality elevates our consciousness. It opens our eyes to the beauty of Nature, encourages us to revere Nature and life and helps bring more joy and celebration into our lives. A spiritual outlook and sensitivity is essential to foster environmental consciousness.

Do not look for God somewhere in the sky, but see God in the mountains, water, trees and animals. When a seeker can honor the sanctity of the environment, then he can experience the same sanctity in his own mind. For the one who has transcended his mind, all time, every place and every mood is anyway sacred. (March 22 is World Water Day).